"The Dog" Journal

Welcome to the Dog Journal, a Sunday afternoon blog, where I'll share my best finds of the week for taming those puppies that gnaw at your planner.

Could be a quick time management tip, a smell-the-flowers moment, a comment overheard on the elevator. Whatever the inspiration, I hope you'll blog right along with me by commenting and sharing your tips and stories for taming an overbooked life.

Why Sunday afternoon? That's time I call "white space," a block of time I set aside for reflecting on the week before and planning the week ahead.

Florida Re-Frame Just In Time

February 27th, 2011

IMG00023-20110226-1118 There must be something better than eating blueberry pancakes on the beach at Pass-a-Grille, Fla., but I’m not sure what it is.

Maybe the walk down the beach to work them off, watching kids scoop out sand with two hands to make a castle, or breathing in warm salty air.

All I know is that a long-weekend escape here to visit a friend feels like it might just get me through another month of Ohio winter. Judging from the license plates along the waterfront, I’m not alone in my need for a Florida reframe.

Just in case I need a reminder that we’ll soon be living in the sunshine state, too, a beach view’s going up on my wall. And maybe some blueberry pancakes on the griddle. Spring can’t come soon enough.

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Time Flies With Laughter Meditation

February 13th, 2011
Sarito Sun

Sarito Sun

Every coach needs to be the client sometimes and feel that breath-sucking moment that comes from being challenged outside your comfort zone

I got to experience it last week when a seemingly innocent conversation with mine led to the astonishing agreement that I’d meditate 20 minutes each morning and 20 minutes each night. When I hung up the phone, I wish I’d countered with “How about TWO?”

Twenty minutes doesn’t seem like much EXCEPT during meditation. Then distracting thoughts bounce around like pellets in an ice storm.

Friday night, though, some friends and I beat the 20-minute discomfort by trying something new: laughter meditation, using a CD by laughter meditator extraordinaire, Sarito Sun.

For more than 35 minutes, broken by five minutes of silence, we laughed. We bent over laughing. We got on the floor and kicked our legs in the air. We danced around the room. We were a laughter choo-choo train.

Especially during the laughter but mostly during the silence, too – the ice pellets stopped bouncing. So little room for mental multi-tasking during laughter. So much room later for amazing deep sleep.

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Ice-olation Wears Thin

February 6th, 2011

PowerLine Who, in an overbooked moment, has not imagined how WONDERFUL it would be to cocoon in a comfortable armchair, wrapped in a blanket, reading a good book?

“I could stay there forever!” I’ve thought.

And yet, when the opportunity arises – as it did this past week in the ice-covered hill that was our neighborhood – forever needed to end after about 24 hours.

First, there was the observation that a neighbor in her 70s (who apparently tolerates the cocoon for only a few hours) was skating toward her mailbox, arms flailing. She made it back with a few letters – hopefully not just bills.

“Ridiculous!” I muttered. And then found myself doing the same thing the very next morning. An irresistible itch had set in to escape the four walls.

By the time the sun came out on Thursday and did its sparkling, magical melt, I had learned something from the other side of an overbooked life. Solitude is delicious at first, but a little goes a long way with me.

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What’s “True Grit”?

February 1st, 2011

true_grit27 Whatever you think of the movie, the title is a thought-provoker. What is “true grit” anyway? Watching the perseverance of the pigtailed 14-year-old girl-woman who set out to avenge her father’s death, I marveled. What kind of woman negotiates a businessman four times her age to the ground and walks away with $325 in hard cash? Who charges across a river on horseback to catch up with a U.S. Marshal who’s broken his word? And the short answer is: someone who’s not only talented but possesses a depth of perseverance that drives her toward long-term goals. “Focus” was written all over the open countenance of Mattie Ross, and whether or not you believe revenge is a worthy goal, there’s no question that in the movie and in psychological studies of “grit,” focus over time is associated with success. Not a bad lesson in a world that promises a steady diet of distractions, quick fixes and smooth rides. Just love, by the way, that this gritty role model is a girl.

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