Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Owning the Roots

I subscribe to updates from the DailyOM, and today's article was particularly relevant for me. Rather than paraphrase, I'm including the text below. My quest for self-improvement continues; happy reading!

Owning the Roots: Leading by Example

Often the best way to create change is not to try to convince others to change, but to change ourselves.

We all know from experience that we can’t change other people, yet most of us have a tendency to try. This is because we naturally feel the need to do something to change situations that we find troubling. It often doesn’t occur to us that the best way to create change is not to try to convince others to change but to change ourselves. When we make adjustments from within, we become role models for others, and leading by example is much more inspiring than a lecture or an argument.

We sometimes look outside ourselves for what’s wrong with the world, but the outside world is really just a mirror reflecting us back to ourselves. When we encounter negativity—anger, depression, fear—we empower ourselves by looking for its roots inside of ourselves. For example, if you have a friend who is unreliable, observe yourself and notice if there are ways in which you are unreliable. You may be surprised to discover that you have your own struggles with this issue in ways you weren’t able to see. Once you own the issue for yourself, you can begin to work for change within yourself. This will also enable you to have more compassion for your friend. At the very least, as you strive to become more reliable, you will become more of the person you want to be. In the best-case scenario, you will be an inspiration to others.

You can apply the same method to larger issues. For example, if there is something you see in the larger world that you would like to change—let’s say, greed—try taking responsibility for changing it in yourself. Instead of being angry with those you see as greedy, seek out the roots of your own greed and come to terms with your power to transform it. This may be the best way to lead the world toward greater moderation and generosity.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Rejuvenation

There's something about spring that make me feel lighter. Not lighter in the sense that I can shed my responsibilities and frolic in a field of flowers, but lighter in that I have a renewed energy and that unstoppable "I can do anything" mindset that was more common in my early 20s.

I'm embracing this newfound Lighter Me and we're traveling to unknown places together. Lighter Me coerced me into signing up for my first dance class - a class called Zumba. It's one incredible workout, but, wow - dance is not my calling. I knew this, of course; I was essentially kicked out of ballet class when I was five. My limbs move independent from my core, and it's not an attractive sight. But I don't care. Lighter Me makes it easier to laugh at myself, to enjoy being completely out of my element in this eight-week experience.

Lighter Me also showed me the impact that Yoga can have on my mind and body. I attended a Gentle Yoga class with Robin last weekend in West Palm Beach, and a hour and 15 minutes later I was hooked. I've been desperately searching for a studio near my house that offers introductory or beginner's classes. It seems the typical yoga practitioner does not have a 9-5 job, because most classes are offered during that time. I hope to find something that fits my schedule soon.

Lighter Me wants me to eat more organic food, to learn to cook (healthier), to forgive quicker, to be slower to anger, and to do one thing every day that is just for me. In my ideal life, Lighter Me becomes a close friend, and I can't determine where I end and she begins. My normal routine becomes infused with new experiences and daily challenges. I stop wasting time and start writing, scrapbooking, and creating. I dance to an offbeat rhythm and never look back.