Be. The. Good.

20140218-162643.jpgIt may not be something that happens every day.  However, I am certain that if you consciously look, you will see opportunities to do good for others present themselves fairly frequently.

Take a short trip with me down the Boulevard and you may see. It’s early and sunny but cold and I have just made the prerequisite morning stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. I said “yes” to the combo and am happily snacking on the hot and tasty hashbrowns that came with my coffee and breakfast sandwich. I come up on a red light, as is so common on any city boulevard, and I take out my hot, heavenly scented breakfast sandwich so I can unwrap it.

As I pull the wrapped sandwich out of the take-out bag, I glance up at the light and at the corner and see a man with a sign made from a scrap of cardboard. You know the man and the sign, because even in a country where so many are blessed to not be this man, there are still many in every town, city, and state that share his plight. I look at him and then I look at my still wrapped, hot, delicious, breakfast sandwich and I make the decision.

I offer my sandwich to this man, this stranger, who is alone and standing out in the cold with his sign. He smiles hesitantly as he approaches my car and then, sandwich in hand he thanks me, wishes me a good day, and thanks me again.

That is an opportunity. Am I saying that you should go to your local purveyor of hot, delicious breakfast sandwiches, buy some, and drive around searching for folks with cardboard signs to give them to? No, not quite. Although, I like where your head is at. I am saying that situations may present themselves more frequently than they are seen and acted on.

Was I hungry? You bet. In a 14 hour window, those hashbrowns were the only thing I had eaten. However, that was my own doing and I could easily obtain my choice of food again. I was only at my own mercy.

That man on the corner, I don’t know his story. I don’t even know his name. What I do know is that there is a pretty good chance that he doesn’t know when his next meal will be or where it will come from, and that by giving him mine, he has been helped.  Good has been done.

Will that small gesture solve his problems?  Nope, but it will help him.  If we all seek to do little things like this or spend time volunteering or being an advocate for change, we can make a huge impact on the world we live in.

Be the good, folks.  Be the good.

Are you among the very young at heart?

youngatheart.jpgYoung at Heart, sung by good old blue eyes, is hands down my favorite song of all time.  It always puts a smile on my face, pep in my step, and inevitably takes up residence in my head for days at a time.

“Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you.  If you’re young at heart…”

It is so darn catchy, I just can’t help it.  And it’s so happy, I don’t want to.  I love the thought, the message, the voice of the lyrics.

Young at heart.  My very most favorite people are just that.  They color, in coloring books!  They dance, everywhere- EVERYWHERE.  They play Marco-Polo, while grocery shopping.  They are delighted by the wonders of nature.  They are curious.  They play sports.  They take things apart and reassemble them to see how they work.  They get lost in books.  They skip instead of walk, when the mood strikes.  Their face lights up when Disney, soft-serve, or puppies are mentioned.  They come up with amazing ideas and put them in motion.

These people are also happier.  They handle stress better.  They know how to have a good time and, if you’re with them, you’re guaranteed a good time too.  They make a habit of finding the bright-side.  They are kind, caring, and compassionate.  They are, unfailingly, among the most intelligent people I have the pleasure of knowing.

“The point, what is the point?” you’re shouting.  The point is, being young at heart is a lifestyle, a mindset, and a daily, hourly, minute by minute choice.  It is much like happiness in that respect, and the two go hand in hand much of the time.  You too can be young at heart.

So today, go and be young at heart.  Look up at the sky when you walk outside.  Smile at a stranger.  Link arms with a friend.  Find the can, where you only saw can’t.  Tomorrow, be young at heart.  Draw a picture.  Open your mind.  Go for a walk.  Laugh, truly belly laugh out loud.  Be alive.  Repeat.  Again.  And again.

“And if you should survive to one hundred and five, look at all you’ll derive out of being alive…if you are among the very young at heart.”

Up and at ’em!

Get up earlier.  Yep, that’s right.  Get. Up. Earlier.

Easy?  No.  Worth it?  Yes!

Give yourself time to REALLY wake up.  Allow yourself to get your day started in a stress free, rush-less mind set.

Are those extra 15 minutes of “sleep” that you are clinging on to by hitting the snooze alarm actually benefitting you?

Why not try using that time to set your day up for success instead?

You might indulge in:

  • Yoga
  • Eating a good breakfast
  • Making coffee and reading the paper
  • Packing a delicious lunch
  • Playing with your dog or cat
  • Enjoying nature
  • A short, brisk walk
  • Meditation

Before you know it, you may start to look forward to getting up.

Or maybe you will notice an improvement in your general mood and outlook.

Your days may even seem to go smoother.

You will never know if you don’t try!

I challenge you to try getting up 15 minutes earlier for one full work week.  Leave yourself a note next to your alarm clock as a reminder of the treat you have in store that morning.

I double dog dare you to kick the snooze button to the curb next week!

Are you up to the challenge?

Crazy Morning Lady

Are you a morning person?  Every morning?  I’m not.  I do a lot of things to get me rolling in the right direction in the morning but the craziest thing I do is say, “Good Morning!” to all kinds of things that it’s not “normal” to talk to.  And I say it out loud  like I mean it!

Good Morning Sid!  (He’s my beta fish.)
Good Morning Sunshine! (Yep, I talk to the sun.)
Good Morning Birdies!  (Yes, noticing and greeting random wildlife feels good.)

I think you get the drift.  I don’t do it everyday, but I do it often enough to notice it.  And I do it often enough to feel a little weird about it.  However, my point is by really focusing on the happiness that lies in the word ‘Good’ and the joy that my given object of greeting brings me, I’m taking these little moments to brighten my own morning and mood.  Don’t think it’ll work?  Give it a shot anyhow, you just might be surprised.  (And if you think you’ll be embarrassed, do it in the car.  Tell me you don’t sing along to the radio in ways you’d be embarrassed about if overheard.)

Just remember to say it like you mean it!  If you say “Good morning…” the same way you’d say, “Meh, it’s raining,” it’s not going to make any difference.  You will still feel meh.

(The first installment in my Re-frame Your Mind series)