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Posts Tagged ‘values’

The Magic Ingredients

January 3rd, 2018

Oops. I just got into The Magic Ingredients.

Ever since the boys were small, often on Sunday mornings, I have been making them “Mommy’s Epic pancakes” for breakfast. What makes them Epic is what we have all come to call “The Magic Ingredients.” The Magic Ingredients are butterscotch chips, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Howdy.

Sure, plain pancakes are delicious. But pancakes made with The Magic Ingredients are extraordinarily delicious.

For as long as I’ve been making Mommy’s Epic Pancakes, I’ve been requesting my husband, Jerry, to hide The Magic Ingredients. This is how it goes: Sunday morning comes, and about 50% of the time, depending on who is all home and what’s going on and if I’m feeling like a great Mom, I’ll offer to make Mommy’s Epic Pancakes, to which the boys respond enthusiastically.

The next thing that happens is I instruct Jerry, “Honey, I need The Magic Ingredients.” And Jerry goes somewhere in the house, to the hiding spot he selected for The Magic Ingredients after the last time I made Mommy’s Epic Pancakes, he brings them to me, and I proceed to make the pancakes. When I’ve used the last of the pancake batter, I instruct Jerry to “Please hide The Magic Ingredients again.” I’m always sure to add, “Please hide them so well that I can’t possibly find them.” And off he goes.

Well, I often have a hankering for some butterscotch or chocolate or peanut butter, and when I’m not very disciplined, I will go looking for The Magic Ingredients. Either I’m a good hunter or Jerry’s just not a very good hider, because when I go looking, about 50% of the time, I find the goods.

As the first sentence of this post indicated, I found The Magic Ingredients just this morning. The butterscotch chips are my favorite. I actually really believe that I have some sort of addiction to butterscotch. I have no turn off switch, and the flavor of butterscotch just kills me I love it so much. When I was pregnant with our son, Hayden, and had a hankering for butterscotch, I put son Wolf in his carseat, and drove out during a hailstorm to a place called Dairyland, so I could get a butterscotch malt with extra butterscotch chips. Well, that little hankering cost us significantly in hail damage to our car. Oops. Like I said, I love butterscotch, and I may have a problem. But I digress… Sorry about that. 🙂

Thinking about all of this has inspired me to think about what are The Real Magic Ingredients.

I’m talking about The Magic Ingredients when it comes to my life. When I go to bed at night and rest my head on the pillow, I usually feel one of two ways: 1- Anxious because I didn’t do my best in one or more areas that are important to me. I feel regretful; or 2-Happy and satisfied about how the day went. My cup feels full.

The first will cause me to have a mediocre night of sleep, complete with at least one major bout of insomnia. On these nights, I often am awakened at 2am by my uninvited inner critic, who feels the need to provoke a struggle within me. You know the feeling, when your head is about to explode with thoughts of how you should have done this or should have done that, and all of the ways you could have done better.

I love the way writer Elizabeth Gilbert describes our mind when we are visited by our inner critic: “My head, like most of our heads, is a neighborhood you don’t want to walk alone in at night.” 

On the other hand, when I rest my head on my pillow at night and I feel great about how the day went, I experience a wonderful night’s sleep. If I do wake up during the night, my mind is likely reflecting on something great that happened, or anticipating something I’m looking forward to. It’s not the hostile environment that comes with the inner critic.

This is all to say that finally, at my age of 49, I have realized that the way to feel great about myself and my day is to make sure to have The Magic Ingredients in my life.

And I’m not talking about the butterscotch, chocolate and peanut butter chips for the pancakes.

I’m talking about these Magic Ingredients:

1. I’ve had a meaningful connection with each of my sons. I’ve connected with each of them in a meaningful conversation and exchange, and had time with all of them, and there have been some hugs. I’ve made them a meal, and/or offered to help each of them in some way.

2. I’ve had a meaningful connection with Jerry. We’ve looked into each other’s eyes some, had some quality conversations, and also connected on things that are practical and necessary. There have been some hugs and affection. (A friend of mine who recently went with her husband to a couples workshop told me about “launching and landing” — the idea that couples should make sure to connect at the start and end of their days. I like that, and it’s similar to what I’m talking about when I say meaningful connection. There’s meaning and intention in your connection with someone; you’re not just acting like roommates passing each other or bumping into each other in the house while getting things done.)

3. I’ve called and touched base with my Mom and Dad.

4. There’s been a group text that provided connection for my two sisters, my brother, and I.

5. I’ve cuddled with and had some time with our dog, Buddy.

6. I’ve had some contact with a close friend or two or three, whether it was a text exchange, or email to arrange a coffee date, or a quick call.

7. I enjoyed some time outside, regardless of the weather, and walked some.

8. I’ve done some real work for Epic Life, whether it was coaching calls, or Epic Adventure planning, selling/marketing, or working on a keynote presentation.

9. I was kind to everyone I came in contact with.

10. I helped someone.

11. I was grateful. I prayed and was thankful.

12. I did something to improve my health and take care of myself.

13. I ate healthy foods. Depending on the day, I may have even fasted.

14. I’ve read something, or many things. Articles, pages from a book, and as a result, I was inspired.

15. I wrote an article, or worked on a future blog post.

When all of the above are in place, they feel like The Magic Ingredients for my life. They are the things that make my life extraordinary.  

I know  – the list is long. There are 15 Magic Ingredients. But none of them is that difficult to do, and they are all things that I value.

Most importantly, they are all things I can control. In other words, I have a choice about how I will feel by the end of the day. That’s powerful, and good to know. If I’ve made sure to add The Magic Ingredients to my life, then I will have been my best and done my best. I will go to bed feeling good, and without regrets.  

What are your Magic Ingredients? I challenge you to come up with your own list. It’s valuable work to do.

By the way, I wrote a “Manifesto” for me and my life in 2011 that I still adhere to. I read it every single morning. Writing my Manifesto 6 years ago, and reading it daily has helped provide clarity for me about who and what are most important to me. It is only as a result of that work, that I know what my Magic Ingredients are, and can work to intentionally insert them into my day.   

Please check back soon. I’m writing a blog post about my Manifesto, and will share it soon. You might want to write your own for 2018. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and happy new year!

Related blog posts:

Daring to Fail, and Sometimes Failing

Meandering Thoughts from a Mind that’s “Under Construction”

An Experience to Rave About

Dear iPhone and Facebook: I Love You Too Much

Nobodies: I Want to Hear Their Stories

 

Are You Ignoring the “Maintenance Required” Alert

April 7th, 2015

About three weeks ago, I was driving my Prius to a trailhead about 10 miles from town when the “maintenance required” alert came on. It’s still on because I still haven’t taken the car in for its service, or to have it looked at for anything that may need repaired.

Howdy.

Seeing this alert always reminds me of what it feels like when I’m not honoring a value, or when I’m ignoring or avoiding something or someone yearning for my attention.

In my work with others, and in my own life, I emphasize and value the importance of having clarity about who and what are most important, and knowing what our values are. Having this awareness is critical to our well being. The more self awareness and clarity we have, the more we feel it when we ignore these people or things that matter so much to us, or when we fail to honor our values. It’s as if our own “service engine soon”, or “maintenance required” alert comes on.

Is this happening for you right now?

I’m not talking about feelings of guilt, necessarily, but those can also provide constructive signals. I view feelings of guilt as being those twinges (or feelings similar to heavy bricks weighting us down) that we experience when we’re not delivering on others’ expectations of us. Guilt, by the way, isn’t always a negative thing, despite the inconvenience it often causes us.

Brené Brown said it best in a post called Shame v. Guilt: I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.
I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.

I have grown to sense when I’m not fulfilling a value or relationship in the way I would like to. Some examples: I want to have meaningful connections with each of my three sons on a regular basis – several times each day. I want the same with my husband. I want to carve out time to spend with my mom and my dad, my closest friends, and so on. When I’m not honoring any of these wishes, I sense it. It’s like a signal or an alert. Sometimes it can be many signals going off at once. Usually, for me, these “signals” come in the form of waking in the night and realizing what is out of check.

Another example is writing. I want to write more frequently. This is an important goal of mine. And yet I haven’t been honoring it. (My last post here was March 16!)

Like the “maintenance required” alert that is currently on (and has been for 3 weeks!), when I drive my Prius, when we ignore or fail to honor a relationship or value that’s important to us, we can probably continue to ignore it for a while without major consequence. But sooner or later, if it goes unchecked, it’s also possible that we’ll find ourselves a little (or a lot) broken down on the side of the road.

Thankfully, tending to our people, values and goals – our best, most Epic life – is something we have control over.

I dare you to take a minute – or 5 minutes – right now. Reflect on signals you’re receiving/feeling but ignoring. Address one or more of them TODAY. I think that you’ll find that your life will almost suddenly feel more at ease. You will immediately be happier.

As for me, I wrote this post. I’m also going to reach out to some people I haven’t been making a high enough priority. And, I think I’ll schedule an appointment for my Prius this week – if for no other reason than to get the alert to go away. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share about your own “alerts” or anything you’d like to contribute to this topic and post.