Empathy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”
The action of understanding is an interesting sentence. It reminds us that it is an act, it is a choice. It’s not a thing you should consider yourself exempt from. It’s not that some people are empathetic and some people aren’t. It means that, for the most part, empathy is a trait you can choose to develop. Today our intent is to practice empathy.
Getting back into the swing of things can be tough. If you’re anything like us, you’re tired, you miss your routine, you probably developed a habit for eating sugar every 45 minutes or so… In an effort to live lives of intent, we want to make sure we’re focused and acting with purpose. This means we want to face our time wasters head on. So what are the things that are intentionally or unknowingly taking all your time or providing distractions? Are you trying to escape or are you getting sucked in? Our intent is to identify the time wasters. You too? Here are 3 places to check yourself: Continue reading →
“Waste not, want not.” Today we’re focused on shopping mindfully so that our expenses don’t go wild this holiday season. Whether it’s food, gifts or household items that just need replacing, we want to make sure we are connected to how and why we spend our money.
Last night, around 9:30pm (LA time) when it was clear Trump would win, I sat in bed with my girls as they both cried. They are 14 and 12 and completely engaged in politics and the world. They were hurt, scared, confused. How could this happen? What will happen to women, immigrants, Muslims? Are we going to move? It took everything in me to assure them it will be ok. We have checks and balances in this country. I ended up just going to bed with them, and skipping the remaining results. This morning, we woke up to tears once again knowing this is our reality.
But we made a commitment, before getting ready for school, that we will not to engage in the hysteria. We are going to keep the tvs off. We are keeping our schedules today. We are not talking about moving. We are focusing on family, friends, school, work.
And as the reality of this new world settles (which truly affects the whole world), we will do our part to stand up. We will strive to be more compassionate and understanding, but also strong and bold about living every day with intent and purpose.
Today in the US polling places are filled with people who are going to make history with their votes. We’ve been inundated for months with opinions of every person with a computer, phone or video camera. Who should win this election? What are the issues that matter most? Which issues are being underrepresented? Everyone has an opinion and sadly, it seems like it has brought out the worst in so many. It happens when people feel violated. It happens when people feel unseen and unheard. It happens when people are scared. Regardless of what happens, the sun will still come up in the morning. The hands on the clock will move forward. Your neighbor will still be your neighbor. So today our intent is to speak kindly.
You too? Here are some things to help:
Not every thought we have needs to be spoken out loud. We know that may be hard to believe. But words, like the feathers of the proverbial pillow, have a hard time being gathered back up and replaced once they’ve been set free. Before rushing to say everything that pops into your mind, make sure you’ve heard clearly and correctly. Consider whether your opinion helps or hurts the situation at hand in this very moment. Not sharing something doesn’t make you less right. Sharing something doesn’t mean you are right at all. Today, choose to think twice before speaking. Think of the bad day.
There are roughly 7.5 billion people on this planet right now. That is 7.5 billion people with 7.5 different upbringings, different day jobs, different routes they traveled to work today, different hours of sleep they got the night before. Before being harsh or seeing someone as a speed bump in your day, consider the possibility that this my be the worst day of their life. Imagine what you would want from a friend, family member or even a stranger on the worst day of your life. There is significant power in being able to empathize and maybe kind words are the unexpected solution to a bad situation. (We love this commencement speech by David Foster Wallace where he encourages us to see the people who frustrate us as complete humans with experiences we don’t fully understand, instead of roadblocks or hindrances.) Think of what you’re making.
The words we speak are making something. They are building things up or tearing things down. They are strengthening and affirming or they are weakening and destroying. Some things in our lives need to be torn down and some need to be built up so, you decide your intents and the future you are trying to create. If it’s a world that’s a little more peaceful, a little kinder, a little softer, then do you part in your tiny corner of this earth to create that. Create that by choosing kindness when you speak. Choose it by letting your words matter every time they come out of your mouth. Because those words have weight and they give life to things that you may never fully grasp. Words of encouragement have encouraged the underdogs of our world to achieve amazing things. Words of discouragement have torn down many a brave and hopeful human. What are you making?
Tomorrow is election day in the US and many are nervous about what the future will hold. Will it be the end of the world at the strike of midnight? Will it be the answers to all our hopes and dreams? The bigger question is what do you hope the future will be like and what are you doing to build that future? Our intent is to picture the future we want to live in. It is with intention that we plan to build something we’re proud of.
Feeling misunderstood? Sometimes that happens because others aren’t listening. But it can also happen when we aren’t fully saying what we mean. Our words, our commitments, our attention can be so vague and non-committal and, while that serves a certain purpose, it can often leave us feeling disconnected and not fully ourselves. So today, our intent is to say what we mean. Our honest feelings. Our realest opinions. Our worries and concerns, our joys and our hopes.
Just make it through the day. Just make it through the day. Just make it through the day.
It’s a sad mantra but a lot of times, it’s the only thing getting us through. We live in an age where everything is coming at us so fast. We are reachable 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We’re already behind when we wake up in the morning. So is something other than survival mode even possible? What is the secret of people who look like they’re always either coming or going from a beach vacation? Today our intent is to learn what it means to thrive instead of just surviving.
Our intent today is inspired by the many times we’ve ended the day feeling dissatisfied, unproductive and not enough. What do you do when you feel like you don’t measure up? Our intent is to instead accept what we CAN do. Maybe it was one huge task, a bunch of small tasks or that you just got out of bed today. Accept the progress you’ve made. Celebrate the ways you showed up today and the strength you gained since the day before. Today is the building block for tomorrow!
Are you struggling with where you are in this moment?
Here are some resources to help: Continue reading →
To keep up with the news these days is to be heartbroken. Families grieve the loss of fathers that should’ve come home that day. Politicians speak words of hate about ethnicities who live and thrive in this country and will vote in November. Women suffer assault and the perpetrators of those crimes will have their athletic accolades included in backstory of their act. It can make you wonder if anyone is fighting for peace, kindness, gentleness.
Today our intent is to be those people. You can be one of those people.
You can make your intent to be a person who furthers love and patience instead anger and hatred. You can choose to grow and change into a human who accepts and pursues good instead of a person who is self-seeking and narrow-minded.
How? There are lots of ways to dig in. Here are a few things that might help with today’s climate:
This video from ACLU deputy legal director Jeff Robinson calling for policing reform.
In the wake of two more police shootings, we revisit this video shared after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Robinson calls us to find a better way.
In choosing to be a peace-maker, it also means dealing with the resentment and anger in your heart. There is much to be upset about. There is much change that awaits us. This does not mean a root of bitterness should be fostered in the process. Choose to pursue change because you desire a better future, not because you wish to remain trapped in the past. Forgiveness does not mean you have to forget where you’ve come from. It can mean accepting the freedom to take a different path.