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Good Reads

Ending the Year: A Few Easy Things to Do

Ending the Year Ending the Year: It’s that weird week between Christmas an New Year’s where you may be working, but you aren’t quite back in the saddle. I thought I would offer a few things to do in this in between week that will help make your new year a little brighter.

Choose Your One Word

I’m looking ahead at what I want to see next year and what I think I might encounter and I am solidifying my choice of word. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you go about choosing yours.

Jot Down All the Ideas

I’m in the process of putting down all of the ideas I have for goals for next year. A friend recently asked what the difference was between New Year’s Resolutions and Goals and honestly, probably nothing, except my goals get worked on all year and the bad rap that Resolutions have for fading off in the month has always made me wary of them. I usually do 9 goals, but am considering 12 this year because either I’m overly optimistic or I want to really hustle. Either way, this time is when I start writing down all the ideas. No idea is too big or too silly at this point and they are a mix of work goals and personal goals.

Purge Your Closet

I will be spending some time this week packing away the warm stuff, getting rid of the things that I never wear, and pairing down my clothes in general. I’m completely enamored by Un-fancy’s approach and am thinking of really doing a capsule wardrobe. I don’t love clothes (for a variety of reasons that I’m sure a therapist would enjoy) and want to look polished and put together – that is my only goal. Either way a purge to the closet is in order this week.

Goodbye Old Cornstarch

On Christmas Eve I made traditional fondue, which was great because my daughters boyfriend had never had it. Unfortunately, when I opened the cornstarch there were creepy crawly things in it. Umm. Yuck. So, this week I will be going through our pantry and saying goodbye to anything old and outdated.

Read All the Books

I am diving into the Name of the Wind, a fantasy fiction tome that I would never have chosen, but our badass book club learned that Lin-Manuel Miranda has the rights for TV and film for it and we wanted to be in the know. Therefore I have stepped into unknown territory and am reading a book that has a map with faraway places, killer iron spiders and magicians of some sort. It’s the perfect week for this epic tale.

Ending the Year Doing Good

Move Your Body

I broke my eating plan with a few (literally three) chocolate chocolate chip cookies and an orange roll this holiday and you might have done even more damage and so this week is a great week to do some slow yoga, go on walks and move a little more than you were moving over the holiday.

Whatever you do this week love your people and be kind to those around you. Last week I had to stop into Walmart (something I don’t do very often) and I stopped the worker in produce and asked if they always work in produce. He visibly tightened and said yes, but he wasn’t the manager. I let him know that I didn’t need a manager, but wanted him to know that the current batch of California navel oranges that they have is amazing and that I am so pleased to have them this winter. He relaxed and said no one ever says anything nice and only complains. He was stunned and wished me a happy holiday. People, we can do better. We can be kind during this week and throughout the year.

I Don’t Have a God Shaped Hole

God Shaped Hole I’m edging back to writing my book – looking at the outline I crafted and reading everything I can (probably totally as a distraction) that would help me write a better book and that had me recently reading a lot of Christian books. Which, for those that know me, know that isn’t my wheel house. I am able to, usually, read them without attaching too much to the God that they are dishing out and seeing, instead the goodness they are serving.

Why read them? Because I am looking for a certain kind of narrative that is easily found in the breezy, here I am style that dominates that genre. Women, mostly my age, who have lived a little, who are sharing their lives or an experiment with their lives and seeking to be better humans. That’s my jam, too – without the faith.

My problem with these books is that I am not the intended reader. They are for that small circle of women – mostly white, middle class, that are already Christian – they are playing to their crowd and I think they are missing out. The books could be so much more mainstream if they would drop the bible verse every chapter. Even atheists don’t care if you talk about God, but we aren’t in love with the constant battering over our heads – and for the most part – won’t pick up these books because we don’t have a “god shaped hole” like Anne Lamott thinks we all do.

Sorry, Anne. I was WAY into you. I wanted to stalk you at your church (I lived just across the bay), but I never did and it was because you went from being a very cool writer writing about writing to someone only writing about your God… you lost me along the way when you joined that insular club.

Really. I don’t have a god sized hole.

I have a peace shaped hole, a love shaped hole, or a kindness shaped hole that is only filled when I am peaceful, loving and kind. I used to go looking – just like all the Christian authors – for something to fill that hole with. First it was candy and sweet things (from 4-12 years old), then boys (13 – 21 years old), then work (24 – 40 years old), shopping (ongoing)… whatever to make me feel whole – but none of those things ever worked.

In fact they always made me feel worse, like I wasn’t good enough. Until I stopped and realized that if I filled that hole with my own peace, love and kindness I could feel whole. It was a process and it is still a process, but I’m pretty sure that feeling is exactly the feeling that my Christian friends and authors have – they just decide to fill theirs up with something else – with God or Jesus. We are more similar than we are different and finding that common ground seems important to me. Language and culture can separate us, but if we can find some similarity in experience we can stand next to each other and build a huge support (go ahead, sing Kumbaya… it’s where I see the future).

In case you care – if not skip below: Where did my love shaped hole come from? I was raised by wolves. My mom was sad and depressed and overmedicated. I was a replacement baby for a stillborn that she carried to full term because the doctor was a monster. My parents were older and not prepared to parent for the long haul. They meant well, they really did, but they couldn’t sustain the love that a kid needs 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Instead they were only able to dose it out in fits and starts which is hard on a little kid. My brother and sister tried to make up for it, but they were teenagers and they were struggling with their own big things and their own love sized holes. Family is never perfect and growing up in the 70’s in Southern California was a free for all of Partridge Family and Addams Family mashups where no amount of Xanax, VW Buses or shag carpeting could stick it together. I have some great/tragic/terrible stories right up until I moved my own little family far away to the Ozarks. The damage was done and the work to make it all whole continues and probably will until I die – I get that and for the first time I’m ok with it.

I also get that you going to church makes you feel safe and surrounded by like minded people and getting to know someone like me who isn’t in your stream can seem scary and even risky. Honestly, I don’t want you to be different or believe differently (Ok. A part of me does. I want you to believe in science. A lot.). I just want you to see that we are the same. You can like minimalist buddhists and women who shop for shoes like it’s their job and find something in common – if you try. And that is what I want you to do. I want you to try.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here avoiding writing my book by reading other peoples books – or not. (Maybe it’s time to just write finish my own.)

Curious what I’ve been reading? 
Carry On Warrior – Everyone loves a redemption story. I get why people like her, but she still makes me cringe a little. Her new book is about marriage and she’s getting a divorce. I know.. y’all are into her, but I think getting marriage advice should be from folks who made it work and are doing it every goddamned day… (it’s hard, but worth it).

Loving My Actual Life – This was a fun experiment to read about. Not very meaty, but interesting.

Power Over Perfect – I haven’t started this yet… you?

A Book Review of The Four Agreements as a Business Book

I don’t normally do vlogging, but thought it would be fun to mix it up. Yes? No? Tell me in the comments! I wanted to do a  review on the books The Four Agreements and the Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz as a business book. They are usually in the self help section or spirituality section of the bookstore, but I think they should solidly land in the business section.

What’s the case for that you ask? Business and personal ethics are how we do business, how organizations run and how we work in our businesses. It isn’t just about making money, widgets, selling products, or moving agendas forward. Really. We spend MOST of our adult life working and if we can bring in our vision of what that looks like to help people and the planet it is a win win for everyone! LOVING the win win!

The Four Agreements

Here’s the Cheat Sheet:

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word. When was the last time you gossiped and felt bad about it afterwards?
  2. Don’t take anything personally. Dude. Have you been on social media lately and been crushed by some comment made? Seriously.
  3. Don’t make assumptions. How much time do YOU spend thinking about what you think they are thinking about? Stop it. They are renting time in your head and they haven’t even paid you.
  4. Always do your best. No brainer. #DoGoodWork

The sneaky 5th Agreement: Be skeptical, but learn to listen. Just because someone said it, or you heard they said it, or they posted it online doesn’t make it true for them or for you. And, really, the two ears thing is so right on.

Go buy it. Let’s talk about it in the comments. Do you have an unorthodox business book that you go by? I’d love to know what it is.

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