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the problem with problem solving

We often think that if we find the solution to a problem we have the magic ticket.  We have the answer and we will never need to solve that problem again.

This likely true most of the time.

The problem is that it’s highly unlikely we will ever need to solve that particular problem in that particular set of circumstances again.

Problems (however you want to define that) are almost always unique.  The solution (magic ticket) we find is unique to that particular time, place, people, set of circumstances, etc..

Solving problems isn’t about finding magic tickets.  It’s about embracing the challenge of whatever problem we are currently experiencing.  Instead of looking for the magic, perfect solution; consider being okay with good enough for now, based on what I know today.  Knowing that tomorrow’s problem will require a slightly different solution, because you will have learned from this one.


Embracing who you are

Embrace who you are.

Easier said than done. But I think we might all be a little bit happier if we just accepted who we are, good parts, not so good parts, quirky habits, annoying tendencies, and all.   And not only talk about embracing the parts of our self that we consider not so positive, but instead consider the ways these things can also be a strength.

Embracing who you are can be a challenge for many of us.  But I think it’s well worth the effort.  And I appreciate the people around me who are modeling this philosophy and approach to life.

It’s September

It’s September.  September can often feel like a new year.  The childhood pattern of starting a new school is ingrained in many of us, whether or not we have school age children ourselves.  I like a new year and a fresh beginning, and so I like September.

It’s September.  September can often feel full and busy.  Our societies pattern of activities and meetings and structure slowing down over the summer means that when everything starts up in September the pace of life picks up again.  I don’t really like feeling busy, and so I don’t like September.

As you head into this month of September and think about what you might want to add to your life as a new positive thing this year, also think about what you might want to subtract from your life or say no to.

It’s September.  September can be and feel however you want it to.  We can decide and choose how we feel about our lives.  We can decide and choose what we add and what we subtract.

It’s September.

a good laugh

Sometimes a day or two after a really great laugh, you know those ones where you laugh and laugh till you almost cry, I remember the laughter and the people, but can’t remember what it was the caused or lead to the great laugh.

I try and I try to remember, and most times the reason for the laughter does not come back to me.

Maybe that’s the point.  It’s not about silly moment or crazy conversation caused the laughter.  All that really matters and all the needs to be remembered is the great laugh with wonderful friends.

A good laugh is good for the soul.  It might not cure or solve anything, but it never makes it worse.


mindfulness & chickens

I’m getting better at mindfulness each morning as I spend time with the chickens.

Mindfulness is the big thing these days.  I’m not always sure that when people talk about mindfulness they are all talking about the same thing.  And likely that is okay.

For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to say that mindfulness is the process of being present in the current moment.  It’s being aware of what you are doing and not thinking about what you will do later that day or next week or next year.  It’s being aware of what you are doing and not worrying about things you can’t control.  It’s being aware of what you are doing and not re-living something that happened in the past.

This can be harder to do that we think.  Particularly when doing a repetitive task or activity, like for example walking through a chicken barn (or 2) each morning.

I frequently find that I’m thinking about something other than the chickens as I walk through the barns.  I’m not saying I’m not effective at the task while thinking of something else, because I think I’m still doing what need to be done.  But it is a great opportunity for me to practice being mindful. To practice being fully present.  To be reminded again and again that it is far to easy to not be fully present and fully focused on what we are doing at that current moment.

I’m pretty certain that the mindfulness gurus are not using chicken barn chores as their example of how and when to develop your mindfulness skills, but for me it seems to be the perfect practice grounds.

It’s easy to not be present in the moment.  What routine task is in your life that would provide you with the perfect opportunity to practice this habit?

I love my backyard

Years ago we went on a vacation with friends whose son at the time was about 3.  We had a great vacation.  As the vacation drew to an end, it became clear the 3 year old was also ready to go home, as he frequently commented on just wanting to be in his backyard.

I too get a lot of joy and happiness from being in my backyard.

And yet I frequently seek to find activities and things to do away from home.   For some reason I can think that going away has more value than staying home.

One of the ways I help myself think differently and change this pattern, is by saying to myself, “if you had a cottage you would be thinking of places to go and things to do, you would just enjoy being in that space.”  And it doesn’t have to be different with our homes and yards.  It can be so good to have an afternoon drink in the shade of the pear tree, to harvest beets and garlic and lettuce from the garden, to work together to make and bbq an amazing dinner with those things from the garden, and to enjoy all the flowers and birds and wonder there is in my backyard.

Sometimes it is good to go away and experience your community.   Sometimes it is good to stay home and love your backyard.


just getting started

I heard a story the other day about a 92 year old woman who when she introduces herself and says her age, she says “and I’m just getting started”.

A lot of the time it’s easy to feel like I”m getting older.  That I’ve already lived more years that I have yet to live.

And yet at the same I feel so much hope and excitement and positivity about the future.

Yes some days we feel old.  But I truly believe we are all just getting started.

What might change in your thoughts, in your attitude, in your life; if you started telling yourself and everyone you mean that you “are just getting started”?

I never thought about it that way before…

I never thought about it that way before.

Thinking differently about something is one of the ways we grow.  It’s one of the ways we improve.  It’s one of the ways we become more connected to other people and the world around us.

When was the last time you said or thought this?

What things or people have you made a part of your life to help you think differently?

waiting to for inspiration doesn’t work

I haven’t written a blog post in awhile.  I’ve thought about it.  I couldn’t think of anything to write about.  I was waiting for inspiration.  Waiting for the idea that would feel blog worthy.  Waiting for something profound and new.

But the truth is, I know that when it comes to almost every activity we can think of, if we wait for inspiration or wait to “feel” like doing it, it might never get done.

Some things are easy for us to do than others.  For me this varies on a day to day basis.  I’m also aware that it varies from person to person.

In most cases, we just need to do it.  Not worry about inspiration.  Not worry about feeling like it.  Not worry if it’s wonderful or turns out perfect.  We just need to start.

Because once we start, we are doing whatever it is, and at that point inspiration, and feeling like it and and perfection stop mattering so much.

people and change – wisdom from Seth

Credit for the content below goes to Seth Godin.  It was too good to not pass it along.  

People don’t change

(Unless they want to)

Humans are unique in their ability to willingly change. We can change our attitude, our appearance and our skillset.

But only when we want to.

The hard part, then, isn’t the changing it.

It’s the wanting it.