Name: Charity

Posts by cfowler:

    Being the Change: What Does it Take?

    January 18th, 2011

    Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    The quote has become one that is almost a cookie cutter quote for almost every positive thinking path in the world, I think. I can’t count how many magnets, bumper stickers and websites I’ve seen it adorning in the past few years. It’s one that I think gets seen so often, though, that it’s possible we don’t even really think about what it means anymore.

    How often do you look at other countries, other places in the world, and the way they live their lives and think, “If only they’d be more like us, then they would…?” (and while I’m an American, and I know we’re guilty of this, I’m betting a lot of other countries look at America and think that about us, too–if only we were more like you…so, this goes for all of us, no matter where you are from)

    How often do you stare across the political aisle and wish the other party would change their minds and see things the way your political party does?  Can’t they see how wrong they are about health care? About immigration? About gun control? (and yes, this goes for everyone, too. I don’t care which side you’re on right now–just if you’ve wished the other side would see it your way)

    How many times do you find yourself looking at the person in your office who aggravates you the most and just wished they would open up their eyes and get their head out of the dark place they’ve shoved it and get a clue?

    How many times has a friend done something to hurt you, and you’ve lashed out, and wondered how they could be so cruel?

    How many times have you stared at your parents, or your child, or your husband, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or wife, and wondered how on earth this person you loved could do something so insensitive, or something so unkind, or keep doing something that drives you so very insane?

    Or from a seemingly positive standpoint–how many times have you seen a loved one doing something, or making a choice, that you know is all wrong for them, and yet nothing you say can dissuade them, and you know it’s going to end in heartbreak, but they won’t listen and why won’t they just listen to you? Why can’t the see things like you do?

    Why won’t they just change?

    You aren’t asking much, right?  You don’t want all of this for selfish reasons. You’re not trying to rule the world, or acting out of greed or a desire to hurt anyone.  In fact, you want to help.  You want to make the world a better place.  You want to help the poor and end war and make sure that the oppressed are able to walk in the freedom you enjoy.  You want your friends and family to be happy and you can see all these little things that are polluting the world and their lives and they need to change–other countries, other parties, other people.

    But the thing is…you can’t change other people.

    All those other people, other parties, other countries–they’re looking back at you probably wishing the same thing.  We’re all so caught up in wishing that other people would change that no one’s focused on the one thing they can change which is themselves.

    I’m not saying that we don’t focus on changing ourselves at all, of course. You wouldn’t be here reading if you weren’t interested in changing your life for the better. We all work on improving our lives in lots of ways.  But one that I’ve noticed in my own life, and in those of my friends and family, is that it’s really hard to focus on change in our interactions with people.

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    2010 Word of the Year – Release

    December 18th, 2010

    I’ve been choosing a yearly word since 2008. Every year it’s surprised me with how it manifested in my life. This year  was no exception.

    I was carrying a lot of anxiety last fall. I had applied for graduate school and was desperate to get out of a job that seemed to be going nowhere, but I wasn’t sure what path to take. I felt I needed to lose weight after an injury sidelined my running practice, but anxiety was killing my motivation.

    Though I considered “forgive” for a while–feeling I needed to do some work on that when old anger arose after learning my ex-husband had remarried–in the end, release just kept drawing me back. Somehow, some way, I needed to release everything that was miring me in that pit of anxiety and fear. I had certain expectations of how that would happen, of course.

    Read the rest over on Christine Kane’s blog, where it went live today as a guest post!

     

    [Photo credit: pedrosimoes7 ]

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    Three Reasons to Celebrate Your Past

    December 15th, 2010

    The past month has been a hectic one of deadlines upon deadlines and making lists and checking them twice–sadly not in a happy holiday fashion. Getting my tree up was a moment of joy and accomplishment, and has been the one bright spot to remind me of holiday cheer. After a long day, I’m able to curl up on the sofa next to it, with a cup of spiced tea, and just breathe.

    There’s a quote of Andrew Wyeth’s that has always stuck with me: “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” There hasn’t been a great deal of time to feel that bone structure lately, but as the days get shorter, I have finally been able to take the time for reflection.

    The end of the year has always been a time of reflection for me, a time to examine the year that is ending, and a time to look toward the one to come. This year feels particularly momentous for several reasons. My cousin just turned forty last week. A couple of my friends turned thirty-five last week, and my thirty-fifth birthday is coming up next month, to be followed by those of several more friends in the coming year.

    I’m not sure why thirty-five feels like a milestone birthday. Maybe just because I can no longer say I’m in my “early thirties.” Maybe because it feels like I should most certainly be “grown-up” by this age. Maybe because I had definite ideas about what life would look like by this time, and my life has gone in such a different direction than what my twenty-five year old self thought, that I hardly know what to think about it.

    It is that looking back to look forward that I find myself doing in the recent moments in which I can breathe, though. I have unearthed essays I wrote during my graduate work in 1999, and reading over them is like a journey to the past and a rediscovery of the girl I used to be. I’ve come up with some surprising insights.
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    What’s Easy – What’s Not ~ By Christine Kane

    December 8th, 2010

    (This is an article I come back to often, and one that I thought could offer a lot of value to others who might not have discovered Christine. So I share it here for all of you. Reposted with permission. Photo credit: mine.)

    It’s easy to be right.
    It’s not easy to be kind.

    It’s easy to hope.
    It’s not easy to know.

    It’s easy to be a damsel.
    It’s not easy to be a heroine.

    It’s easy to complain.
    It’s not easy to make requests.

    It’s easy to have the perfect retort.
    It’s not easy to listen.

    It’s easy to be busy.
    It’s not easy to be productive.

    It’s easy to criticize.
    It’s not easy to create.

    It’s easy to say you don’t feel like it.
    It’s not easy to do it anyway.

    It’s easy to obsess.
    It’s not easy to meditate.

    It’s easy to sing your heart out when the audience loves you.
    It’s not easy to sing your heart out when no one is paying attention.

    It’s easy to wait for rescue.
    It’s not easy to rescue yourself.

    It’s easy to resent people who take up your time.
    It’s not easy to say no in the first place.

    It’s easy to make excuses.
    It’s not easy to take responsibility.

    It’s easy to worry.
    It’s not easy to make a plan.

    It’s easy to come up with reasons why someone pissed you off.
    It’s not easy to ask yourself how you participated.

    It’s easy to dabble.
    It’s not easy to commit.

    It’s easy to rail on the idiot driver behind you.
    It’s not easy to just move out of his way.

    It’s easy to read books about writing.
    It’s not easy to sit down and write.

    It’s easy to say no to bad things because you want good things.
    It’s not easy to say no to good things because you want great things.

    It’s easy to fire off an angry email or blog comment.
    It’s not easy to pause and breathe and clarify your feelings.

    It’s easy to react to an angry email or blog comment by firing one back.
    It’s not easy to pause and breathe and clarify your meaning.

    It’s easy to start your idea.
    It’s not easy to finish it.

    It’s easy to buy something cheap because it’s cheap.
    It’s not easy to buy something expensive because you love it.

    It’s easy to say you don’t know what you want.
    It’s not easy to admit what you do want.

    It’s easy to let a kid watch TV.
    It’s not easy to find ways to play with a kid.

    It’s easy to do urgent things.
    It’s not easy to do important things.

    It’s easy to say it’s too hard.
    It’s worth it to do what’s not easy.

    Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.

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    Top 5 Benefits of Challenges

    October 24th, 2010

    Challenges seem to abound these days. Looking over my 101 Things to Do list, I see several sprinkled through. The Complaint Free Challenge. The 100 Push-Up Challenge. The 200 Sit-Up Challenge. The Gratitude Challenge. The list itself is a challenge of sort.

    Day 1’s task for the Gratitude Challenge was to sign the Gratitude Pledge and to express why I accepted this challenge and what I hope to achieve from it. Basically, it involves promising to do all of the challenges, and count my blessings and look for things that are good in my life.

    To be honest, I made the latter part of this pledge to myself a while ago, after reading Marci Schimoff’s Happy For No Reason, and having her words hit home to me (in a way, of course, my mother’s wisdom never quite sunk in) that happiness really is a choice, and that being grateful is one of the first steps toward making that choice.

    So why the challenge? Sometimes I lose sight of it, even now. The challenge is a way to kick myself in the pants, to remember the things I already know, to remind myself in this time of upheaval and transition of how wonderful life really is, to reach out and touch people in general–saying “thank you” a little more often to those around me, and to life itself.

    Having to state why this challenge, though, got me thinking about why challenges in general. I mean, I have my workouts–in them I do crunches and push-ups, so why bother with a challenge? Is the Complaint Free challenge really even worth it at this point?  Has anyone managed to go 21 days without a single complaint?

    Does it matter?

    Why do challenges? Why sign up for them again and again? I think it boils down to 5 major reasons and benefits which challenges offer:

    1.  It’s a preset, measurable and attainable goal

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