Just about a year and a half ago, I started #projectgoodness, a community dedicated to noticing and adding to the goodness that surrounds us always. I wanted to invite everyone to engage in a practice that changed my life, the practice of actively taking note of the goodness in myself, those around me, and my environment. The idea behind #projectgoodness is that its about your attention and where you put it. Sure there are all kinds of things happening in and around us, things we sometimes can’t control, but our attention is ours and we can point it (like an arrow!) towards what lifts us up. Towards goodness. So far hundreds of goodness packs, and thousands of stickers, have been sent out. It is through your support, words of encouragement, and passion for noticing and adding to the goodness that surrounds us always, that I continue to be inspired, and continue to look forward to sharing in all that is to come with you.
Sometimes the easiest way is the best way
This is something I've lived through creating a website and designing the #projectgoodness stickers. At the start, I thought making my own website would be too hard, being that I had no idea where to even begin! I then found Weebly, which was easy to use and super user friendly. It was and continues to be a work in progress, and for me having it exist (in real life, and not just in my mind) is the BEST! As for the stickers, I prolonged making them for a some time due to my nonexistent Illustrator skills. After some time of them being an idea I, impulsively, opened pages and played around with some fonts and shapes. I sent in my design to a stickermule, and bam! The first generation of goodness stickers were born. Sure the sticker could of been made through taking "harder" approach, but for me, having them exist, like withgoodness.com, was the BEST!
It was and continues to be a work in progress, and for me having it exist (in real life, and not just in my mind) is the BEST!
Doubt has no place in trying to make "it" happen:
That was something I kept reminding myself. Doubt cannot be invited to the meetings/brainstorming sessions. Sure there are ways the doubt can support the main idea, and help in pinpoitning possible problems and solutions, but for me, I found that with doubt came discouraging thoughts, that didn’t serve me or the project. In the words of my dad, “you have to think a little unrealistically, in order to make it happen.”
In the words of my dad, “you have to think a little unrealistically, in order to make it happen.”
A little encouragement goes a long way
On days where I needed it most, I found encouragement left by others (in my inbox, on a street corner, as a comment or post on instagram) as being the thing that lifted me up, and pushed me forward. I try to be an encourager, because over the past few years that I've been paying attention to it (goodness), I've found that the encouragement of others, effected me and my days in such a positive way. By practicing encouraging others, you never know whose day you might make! And the ripple effect that it might have!
On days where I needed it most, I found encouragement left by others (on a street corner, in my inbox, as a comment or post on instagram) as being the thing that lifteded me up, and pushed me forward.
Since starting to document the goodness that surrounds us always, I have come to notice more goodness in me and those around me. It has totally changed the way I go about my day, and increased the gratitude and overall positive regard towards all things.
Its about your attention and where you put it
Becoming aware of the goodness in yourself, those you care about, and in your surroundings with help train your brain to focus, and see, goodness in most people/situations/environments. Focusing on that goodness will make life’s ups more enjoyable and life’s downs more bearable.
Having the dream is the first step
I used to think that the dream didn’t count, and that one I acted on it, then I was on my way. I now see having the dream, as being on the way to making it come true.
It happened today as I got off the 5 train. Among a bunch of people going about their days’ was a person (I’m almost 100% sure she was a tourist) posing for a picture looking extatic to be on an NYC subway platform. Witnessing this got me thinking about ways in which we could keep that special kind of “tourist enthusiasm” and excitement around for everyday activities, like commuting.
When we travel, we strive to get the full experience of being in a foreign land. There is something enchanting about doing the things that locals do (like take public transportation) and going to the places that locals go to. We find splendor in their “regular” things. Yet, when we visit those places, there is something (besides for any language difference) that separates us from the bunch, and makes it easy for anyone to label us a *tourist* - and that is our excitement! And the same is true for our own "tourist radar." Chances are you can sense if someone is a tourist right off the bat.
So I leave you with this question: What would our days look like if we were as excited as the girl I saw on the subway platform today, about life, and our everyday experiences? If we approach the things we do every day like it's the first time we are doing them, with a tourist's sense of wonder.
I will be trying to bring my "tourist enthusiam" along everyday , and I encourage you to do the same! And keep in mind the marker for success - To be mistaken for a tourist! I hope I am, and I hope you are too!
Photo Source: New York Daily News
Finding inspiration in unlikely places has turned into quite a hobby for me. And although I love finding it in places I expect it, there is a magic in finding it when I don’t. For example, today, I woke up thinking about all the things I wanted to accomplish. I felt like I was somehow already behind, in a race that had just begun.
I then decided to go for a walk. And there, on the side of the road was this mini garbage truck, with some words of advice for me. When I saw it, I felt like it was telling me, “Today, slow down to get around. Don’t think of this day as a race, rather take your time, and take it all in.”
My takeaway from this is that if we can teach ourselves to slow down when we feel like we have a lot to do - which is hard, since at these times, there is usually a voice in our heads' telling us to "hurry up!!!" - we can enjoy the things we need to do and "get around" with more ease.
I will be adding this garbage truck's teachings to my to-do lists this week, since I know that when I look at it, I'll need its reminder. Try coming up with places that you feel like you would need this reminder, and place it there! Some ideas: In a phone memo, on a post it on your desk, by your bed...
Today, this garbage truck was my teacher. I thank it for it’s lesson - as it changed the course of my day. May it change the course of your's as well.
Growing up, I worried about everything under the sun.
Thankfully somewhere along the way I realized that it wasn’t working. Which left me pondering, could it be that our natural inclination to worry, may not actually improve any situation?
What I’ve learned is that it is important to notice when we are worrying, and then to make a choice, to continue “rocking” or to get off (clearly the harder choice) and come up with ideas that could possibly improve the worrying situation. It redirects our “caring” energy away from worry and towards something more productive.
I’ve had times where I had to say to myself: I know I shouldn’t worry, but I’m worried, and right now I just need to be worried for a few minutes. But still it was a choice, which took me away from being a slave to my worry.
If the person we are worried about is someone else, when we stop worrying
we open up to the possibility of, being totally there for them, in that very moment. When the subject is ourselves, it’s the same. We can be there for ourselves, support ourselves, and practice self love.
One thing I just wanted to add: The words "Don't Worry" can be very annoying/upsetting to the person they are told to. It's usually the last thing anyone wants to hear. So instead, try this: "I see your worried, why don't you _______?" Which gives them/yourself an action to direct their care and concentration towards.
I’ve always been a big fan of rest stops on journey’s that require travel on a highway. They may not be the cleanest, but they do give me the opportunity to stretch my legs, get some fuel (for me and my car), and use the restroom. The fresh air, the fuel, and the stopping action always leaves me feeling energized, invigorated, and ready to continue on.
It recently dawned on me that rest stops are not just vital for road trips and highway travel, but for life – which takes the “life is a journey, enjoy the ride” metaphor a step farther.
On the highway, rest areas are strategically placed. Someone’s job was to dot the highway with relaxation hubs every several miles! While in our lives, besides for sleep, our days don’t come built in rest stops. If we want a break, we have to consciously decide to take one.
Here are some suggestions:
Create your own rest stop: Give yourself an opportunity to stop. And do nothing. Or do one thing! And let that be a thing that you enjoy. This doesn’t have to be a huge deal or take a lot of time. You can think about taking a simple one-minute brake from technology, listening a track of classical music, taking a walk around the block, lighting a candle…
Know when to take a rest stop: The best rest stops are the ones we take before we realize we need one. So take them while your feeling great! The ones that help us refuel, and prevent burnout.
Recommended spots for stops:
Wake up stop: Before I even start on my journey, I enjoy this stop. It gives me a chance to enter my day in a good frame of mind. I like to use this time to practice gratitude, and wake up saying thank you.
Meal stop: I like to try to store my phone (and any other technology) during this stop. Here, I enjoy stopping and checking in with myself (if I’m eating alone) and with those I am sharing my meal with. I have found that this practice allows for slower, more mindful eating while nurturing the bonds of those around the table.
Nap Stop: A little reminder that naps are not just beneficial for children! A quick power nap can work wonders, as can a long delicious nap, schedule permitting.
Bathroom Stop: This may sound silly but stopping, taking a few deep breaths, and releasing my jaw and relaxing my shoulders here has been a key for me on my most hectic days.
Bedtime Stop: Time to put the say away. I like to take a moment here to accept everything just as it is. And with that prepare for the grand rest stop that is built into our days.
Breathe alarms: This requires one to set alarms for random times throughout the day, for self check ins. And when the alarm rings, ask yourself, – How’s it going? How do I feel? What’s going on in my body? What’s going on around me?
I’ve found that productivity coupled with pauses or “rest stops” throughout the day make for a satisfying and meaningful days. These pauses help put things in perspective, and although at the moment, it may feel like there is no time to stop, taking the time to stop will only enhance the “going” that comes right after it.
The phrase “work hard, play hard” is usually taken to mean that work and play are two very separate things.
But, what if they were able to mix? What if we brought our playful, fun selves to work? What if we got the chance to be silly and funny, while still being successful and productive? What would that be like?
Often we make things harder on ourselves than they have to be. Work can be like that. Of course there are times where we have to “work hard” and be serious, but there are also opportunities to “play hard” while working hard.
Think about your day, the conversations you have, the meetings you go to, the pauses you take, the time you can make for little drops of joy.
Turns out people are drawn to playful energy. It elevates the mood, elevates the corners of everyone’s mouths (aka makes everyone smile), and my guess is that playfulness actually increases productivity! And overall quality of life.
So bring your ability to be playful wherever you go! Tell a joke. Smile. Make a silly face. Talk about a time where you did something ridiculous. Ask your coworkers what they like to do for fun. Wear a silly hat to work. Do whatever you got to do, to make work and play coexist. It will be the best mix you ever make!
Did you know that Central Park is 843 acres? Me either!
Situated in the middle of a New York City, a city that around 8.406 million people call home, Central Park acts as an oasis. Its benches hold those on break from work, or watching their children play. Its trees, grass, and flowers are a sight for sore eyes, used to seeing mostly grey most of the time. Its playgrounds, sports fields, and ponds are a place where laughter and joy are most likely found. Whether one needs to take a stroll, a bike ride, a run, or a seat, Central Park is there for them.
Today, as I walked through the west side of Central Park, I took time to marvel at the peace. I noticed the trees, the grass, the green, the people strolling (and running!). I saw smiles. I saw people holding hands. I saw a park holding space for people/me to wander, explore, and play.
Later, as I thought back to my time there, it dawned on me that we can learn a lot from Central Park’s existence. It’s filled with ease, yet surrounded by hustle and bustle that never stops!
What we can learn from Central Park:
If Central Park can exist with the entire city (that never sleeps) around it, so to can we, find calmness/equanimity* within all that is happening around us.
Some ways that we can "be the park:"
1) TakIng a few minutes a day alone in a quite place to: do nothing
2) Practice staying calm within chaos by taking a break/throwing yourself a 30 second dance party and/or finding your own personal chaos coping tool
3) Knowing that no matter whats going on, you have a choices! Choices about how to act, react, and be in challenges.
4) Being a person that people can turn to when they need an oasis.
*Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.