Friday, June 18, 2010

Stop Worrying and Start Living -Dale Carnegie

I'm pretty sure moms always know more than they let on to...maybe even more than they think they know.  I just started this book - "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" on my mom's recommendation.  She bought it at Good Will a while back, and loaned it to me the other day when I asked for a good read.  This particular book was printed in 1948, just a few years after it was published.  It doesn't look like the one in the picture...mine is black with a hard cover and it has Dale Carnegie's signature on the front.  It smells like an old book and the pages are well-separated, like it's been read a million times.  I love that.  I've only read the first 12 pages and already feel that it's changed the way I think and helped me see what I need to do in order to...well...stop worrying.

That my mom would even suggest this book is an insight into my heart, whether she knew it or not.  Worry, anxiety, distress, doubt, fear, uneasiness and that unsettled feeling in my heart and stomach have been my constant companions for a while now.  And when you feel those feelings long enough you start to believe them AND you start to let them define you.  You start to think that what you feel is what you believe and who you are.  Those are lies.  Ugly lies that keep us down and make us feel hopeless and helpless.  They make us feel stuck in the mistakes of the past and worrysome about the worst the future could possibly hold.  But that could be its very own post...needless to say, 'worry' had made itself uncomfortably comfortable in my heart, without me really even realizing it until now.

What's funny about the age of this book is the irony of it having something so worth while to teach me.  Not that I am foolish to think that there aren't entire libraries of old books full of things I don't know.  What I mean is, even though this book was written 60 years ago, the things that Dale Carnegie writes about aren't new, and at the same time they are SO new and enlightening.  None of the concepts are so new and foreign that I haven't heard them before.  I think it's the power in his words that hits me so hard...I mean listen to this...

"Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.  anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.  Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.  And this is all that life really means."  -Robert Louis Stevenson

Dwelling in the past and fretting about the future is what gets us into trouble...the meaning of the entire quote is summed up in the very last sentence - "and this is all that life really means."  Life isn't lived in years or weeks or even days, really.  Life is lived right NOW.  I mean, when else are you going to enjoy life?  Tomorrow?  To think that we can be happy or that we will be happy at some point in the future is not only's impossible.  In order to be happy, we do what we can....we do everything we can right now and enjoy it.  Sure we learn from what we've already been through and we plan for what we think lies ahead, but why hold on to any anxiety about it.

When I picked this book up, I wondered what it would say.  And after 12 pages it makes perfect sense that the very first chapter would be about living right NOW and forgetting about the lie that I can change anything in the past or control anything in the future.  And because of that, I have to let go of my pet excuses....the ones I keep around because they make me feel "good".  The excuse that "I will be happy when...[fill in the blank with 1 million expectations] and "I will start exercising tomorrow...or Monday...or after I have this baby."  Lie.  It's not gonna happen.  The excuse that "I will keep in touch with the people I love another day" or "I will set the table and make beautiful dinners for my family next week."

They're all lies.  If I want to change anything or accomplish anything worth accomplishing, TODAY is the day.    And you know what the real secret is?  The real secret is that once you decide to live right now (and as a side-note, I DO believe that there is a learning curve and it takes time to learn a new skill), but once we decide to live for today and for the very moment we're in, everything changes.  On the very first day of trying (you know...when it's the easiest) the anxiety about tomorrow goes away, and life becomes blissful.  I have really learned what I had always heard and what Dale Carnegie is teaching - there is no happy destination somewhere in the future...that illusion is a mirage....a pretty picture in the desperation of life's desert.  Life is meant to be blissfully happy right now.  AND there is more than enough to be blissfully happy about.

I'm not perfect at it, and still feel worried but I am taking it a day at a time and learning to do what I can about my troubles today and let tomorrow take care of itself.  I choose to live be happy let yesterday and tomorrow take care of themselves....Here's to a happy day TODAY for you!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Keep only what is useful or beautiful...

"Have nothing in your houses 
that you do not know to be 
useful or believe to be beautiful"
                       William Morris

I got this quote from my mom (actually it was on her facebook page), and it describes PERFECTLY the feelings I've been having and the tactic I used to decide what stays and what goes.  Surely it's because we knew we were moving into such a tiny space, but we were VERY picky with the things we packed.  If you've been reading for a while, you already know we sold most of our furniture and big stuff like that, so that's out of the picture.  But MAN we had a ton of other entire house full of things that were neither useful nor beautiful.  (Since taking up space does NOT count as 'useful'.)  

For example...when we were in Utah and getting ready for this adventure I decided to go through my clothes and keep ONLY what I really really love.  I ended up with 4 bags...FOUR. BAGS. of clothes to take to good will.  

And I still kept everything I liked.  That means I was lugging around all this junk and looking at it every day, which made me think, "I have nothing to wear".  When the truth is I have LOTS of things to wear...clothes that I LOVE....that make me feel good about myself.  Maybe I just couldn't see them all because they were hiding in all that crap.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that it's GONE!  Why keep it around? Nobody knows.

As a continuation of our clean out, the day before we left for Idaho, we took another whole trailer load of stuff to Good Will, and in another trip about a month ago, we took a trunk-load of books.  

Now that we're here, and we have plenty of room for everything we need (with room left over), I don't know why we didn't do this earlier.  I wonder why we kept all that stuff around for so long.  More junk = more to organize (and give you a headache), more clothes = more laundry, more dishes = more to wash, more space = more to clean!  Seriously, why keep it?

I really wonder what it is that makes us hold on to stuff.  Does it make us feel better somehow?  Do we not get rid of it because we are lazy or because we really think it is useful or it will someday be?  Whatever the reason, I'm glad we figured out that we don't need all that junk.  We are in a good place.  A place where we really have everything we need and enough of the things that we want that we're happy.  I am so glad to be here, and my challenge is for YOU to try it out.  It's spring time still (at least if feels more like spring here than summer), and even if you think it's too late for spring cleaning, it's not.  So try it out...go through your things and keep only what you know to be useful (that's KNOW and not THINK....if you haven't used it in the last 6 or 12 months, it's not useful...and fooling yourself into thinking it might someday be useful is just that...fooling).  And of course keep everything you believe to be beautiful.  That means if you have decorations that you don't love, get rid of them.  Clothes and dishes too.  Keep only what you really truly LOVE (that's all you really use anyway!  The rest just takes up space!).  Have a yard sale and use the cash to replace the things you didn't love with things you DO love.  Or give it all to Good Will and know that someone will find your ugly useless thing there and it will be just the beautiful thing they need.

Feel free to do this or not, but I promise it will be worth it if you do!  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Night

Wow.  We have been in Idaho for 2 weeks now.  In some ways it seems like we just got here others way it seems like we've been here for MUCH longer.

Last night was our first night sleeping in the trailer as a family, and it was perfect!  Jeff and I obviously have a bed to sleep on.  We brought our mattress from our 'bricks n sticks' house and it is just as comfortable here.  Plus even cooler since we're in a camper. :)

{Our Bed...the cabinet doors have yet to be painted...maybe I'm avoiding it a little.} 

We made Jackson a little "room" in the living room where he can have all the dark he needs in order to sleep well.  (Right now his bed is back in my mom's house, so he can nap and Jeff can work on the roof during the day.)  But this is a picture of where his bed goes...the blanket is what makes his room (eventually I will make a curtain), and the white noise from the fan right by his head is what allows us to move around and even watch movies in the living room while he's sleeping away.  The best part??  He slept in for an extra 2 hours this morning!  I think it's the dark that helped him sleep longer...whatever it was I LOVED it! :)

{Jackson's sweet room} :)

Until now, we have been sleeping in my mom's house while the trailer underwent a major overhaul.  We have painted the entire thing and Jeff installed new carpet.  There was nothing really wrong with it before, but we wanted it to be more like home, and had extra paint and carpet from remodeling our home in Utah, so why not?  (I could give you a million reasons 'why not' after the fact...remodeling anything is EXHAUSTING...but totally worth it.)

Paint and carpet sound like such easy things on paper...even after going through the craziness and never-ending-ness of it, I feel kind of sheepish saying that it took us nearly 2 weeks to get just that done.  It sure feels like it drags on forever when everything is out of its place (because there is no place for anything) and chaos reigns.  Somewhere in that chaos we tried to sleep out our beds.  Jeff and Jackson made it, but I got all restless and had to go inside and sleep on the couch.  It's the chaos I swear.  I don't know how to relax when things are so out of order.  I think I'm okay with that (as long as there's an alternative place to sleep!) :)

{The Chaos...not before, not after, but during...ack!}

Anyway, back to trailer living.  This morning I made our very first trailer breakfast, and loved everything about it.  I have such GOOD memories of trailer camping from when I was a kid, and I love the smell of the gas stove (which is different from the way it smelled when I cooked with the gas stove in our house...then again that's probably all in my mind) even the food for some reason even smells different.  I love all the quaintness of the whole experience.  I made eggs and hashbrowns.


The best part?  The dishes.  Seriously this idea of 4 plates, 4 cups and 4 bowls is something I could get used to.  When there aren't many dishes there aren't many dishes to wash!  This might be the start of a life-style change for this little family. :)