Friday, July 24, 2015

Imagine this: you're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and says, "Hi! I'm spreading the message that the world needs the real you. I would like to give you this be you button as a reminder."

How awesome is that? In this culture of not-enough and be-more and get-with-the-program, what a gift to be invited, nay encouraged, to be myself.

The oh-so-awesome woman in the photo above, who actually did stand on the street handing out be you buttons is Lisa Myers. I was lucky enough to be her coach through the process of creating this feel-good project.

Lisa knew she wanted to do something uplifting and creative. She told me she often noticed folks on the street who hold up signs when they need food, work, or money. I remember her musing about how wonderful it might be to have a different kind of roadside sign — one that offers something. So Lisa created her be you Project, a somewhat simple idea involving printing some buttons and making a sign.

The not-so-simple part was overcoming self-consciousness about putting herself out there like that. That takes gumption! But I remember Lisa saying how much she has been inspired by people who are willing to be out there in the world, offering something unique to others — like the people who give free hugs.  Lisa was willing to push at the edges of her comfort zone in order to do something meaningful and fun for others.

So Lisa printed up her buttons, made her cardboard sign, and took to the streets to be a spark of magic and inspiration.

***

I first met Lisa at a women's retreat. Lisa has a way of being totally honest and open and it is really refreshing. She has a quirky sense of humor and an amazing writing style. She's herself in the world. And you know what? By being just exactly who she is, she invites others to do so.

Usually my writings here center on some sort of celebration or on one-of-a-kind gifts. I think this story is about both. Lisa's creative project of standing on the streets handing out be you buttons is definitely something that turns an ordinary day into something extraordinary. It is a celebration. And, just like I talked about in my last email to you, ("What do water balloons have to do with anything?") Lisa's be you events in the world are experiential gifts. They're gifts of energy, connection, and memorable moments.

***

Once, after she had passed out a bunch of buttons, Lisa was headed back home. She happened to pass a teenage girl, who had taken about a dozen buttons to give her friends. Lisa said the girl was sitting on the curb, with her back to Lisa, talking on the phone. Lisa overheard the young girl say, "Yeah, the coolest thing just happened...this lady gave me a handful of buttons that say be you. I just love that."

How great to have even just one person be impacted positively by a conscious gesture in the world. This teenager may always remember "the lady who gave away buttons on the street." Maybe someday she'll be inspired to do something out-of-the-box herself because of Lisa. Who knows?! And chances are that almost everyone who received a button from Lisa was changed in some way because of it.

You may not feel as brave or creative as Lisa. But maybe there is some amazing project you'd like to embark upon that would be a sparkling pinprick of light in the world? If there is, and you need some cheerleading along the way, let me know. I had a blast coaching with Lisa for this project. I'd love to work with you, too. Check out my Jumpstart Juicy special.

Or, if it suits you better, just think of Lisa one day and do just a little something out of the ordinary to make someone smile. Surprise the person in line ahead of you by buying his ice-cream cone. Strike up a conversation with an elderly lady on the bus and listen intently. Buy a few sunflowers and give them to store clerks where you shop. Send an anonymous note thanking someone for a kind deed you witnessed. Wear a costume to the grocery store.

Be a gift.

And remember, always be you. Because that is what makes you an extraordinary gift.

With gratitude to Lisa for her inspiration—
Delights,
Sherry

 

P.S. Lisa generously gave me some be you buttons that I could pass out to people. Yay! Do you know someone who could use a little encouragement to simply be themself in the world? (Is "themself" a word? I prefer a single word rather than the ole himself/herself but maybe I don't have an option? But wait ... I'm just gonna take a page from Lisa's book and be me. I mean, be myself. I'm gonna use the word "themself" 'cuz I want to!)  If you do know of someone who needs a boost of "be-you-ness," let me know. Be one of the first three folks to send me an email with the snail mail address of a loved one, and I will send them a cheery note + a be you button! Remember, the snail mail address is really important cuz this ain't no eButton! This is a Be-button.

Don't forget what Oscar Wilde said: "Be you— because everyone else is taken." {Hee hee.}





Saturday, July 18, 2015

What do water balloons have to do with anything?

Everything!

It's about going just a wee bit out of our way or our comfort zone to create moments that are joyful, giddy gifts for the people around us.

That's the ending of the story. That's the punch line. That's the why.

Now here's the short story behind it: Last week I was visiting family who live in Ohio. My son, his dad, and Ian (my beau) all traveled with me to stay for a couple weeks.

Ian decided to sneak up to the dollar store and buy a bunch of water balloons. He then spent a long time painstakingly filling them up and storing them in a big tub where no one would see them.

Then, one afternoon when it was sunny and hot, he announced, "Water Balloon Fight!" And we all had dozens of water balloons at the ready for a silly, playful, happy time.

We ganged up on each other; we ninja attacked one another; we got splat-splat-splatted by surprise when we least expected it; we tried to play catch with 'em; we laughed and snorted and hollered and zipped around the yard; and then we ran out of balloons and resorted to dumping buckets of water on one another.

Mostly, we just had lots of plain ol'-fashioned fun.

And why?

Because someone spent about $3 and a chunk of time to plan an experiential surprise gift for us.

You could shrug your shoulders and say, "meh" if you want. But I'm here to tell you that this is the stuff life is made of. This is what makes us feel healthy and vibrant and alive. This is what deepens relationships. (Yeah, that's right ... sneak attacks and splats do indeed foster happier families. Write that down!)

Moments are gifts. And we can intentionally give the people in our lives memorable moments. Just like Ian did for us that afternoon.

It doesn't take a lot of money. And it doesn't even have to take as much time as it took Ian to fill up that bucket of balloons. But what it takes is an intention to add some zip-a-dee-doo-dah to life. And the wherewithal to follow through on it.

Don't wait for someone's birthday. Don't wait for a holiday. Don't wait until the planets line up or you have the time or you're "ready." Do it now. Plan some simple extraordinary moment for someone in your life. Then follow through.

And when you do, just watch and see how good it feels to spread some ninja joy!

Summery delights,
Sherry


P.S. If you decide to bring the magic of water balloons to your own family, here are a few tips:

Buy your water balloons at the local dollar store: they are cheap and plentiful. You don't need artisanal water balloons!

 

When you are filling up the water balloons, float them in a big tub (or small plastic swimming pool) of water so they don't break.

 

Before the water balloon fight, set some ground rules like "no hitting in the face" or "no running near the spears or hot grill" or "the patio is a safe zone." This is supposed to be fun; the last thing you want is anyone getting their feelings or body hurt!

 

If you're taking amazing slow-mo video of someone getting smacked with a water balloon, keep looking over your shoulder to ensure you don't get a surprise attack and water on your phone!





Friday, June 12, 2015

I met some new friends last week who absolutely delighted me with their energy, humor, and heart.

Afterward, I emailed them an audio note, telling them that when I was walking home from meeting them, I felt like I'd been injected with a vitamin boost. I told them about parts of our conversation that really touched me. I read them a short poem that was aligned with something we'd been talking about.

I just wanted them to know the impact they had on me.

The audio note was five minutes and 39 seconds long. That's it. Just five minutes. And they LOVED it.

In fact, they loved it so much, that they bought this magnet (pictured above) for me.

I'm telling you this because it's easy to get hung up on thinking about what to do for others. We keep trying to think of the right thing. And then time passes. And we end up not doing anything at all.

I want you to know that it doesn't take a lot of time or money to express how much we appreciate and love someone in our lives. Really. It can be as simple as turning on the audio app on your smart phone, recording something you appreciate, and emailing it to that person. Voila!

If you don't know how to send an audio memo, send a voice mail when you know they're at work. Or heck, call them live. Or go all wonderfully old-fashioned and send a greeting card in the mail. (Postal mail! Remember that?!)

Holy Love Fest! It is that simple.

All too often we get that perfectionist bug. We think something needs to more or better. I'm here to tell you that it doesn't!

Before you close this post and return to your regularly scheduled life, please think of one person you know who could use a boost of appreciation today. Then, commit to spending just five minutes to somehow shower that person with some surprise love.

Say it now!

If you wanna tell me about it , I'd love to hear! (It's not bragging; it's sharing the joy!)

Here's to your one small act filled with great big love,
Sherry

 

Note on how to create an audio message: If you have an iPhone, you already have an app called "Voice Memos," on your phone. Hit that great big red button and record your message. Then click the icon for email and voila, love sent! (If you have any other kind of phone, just search the app store for something called "audio recorder" and see what you find!)

Note on how to get me to do it for you: To make it super duper extra easy for you, I'd be thrilled to create special audio note for someone you love from you.  I can't deliver automatically the way you can, but it is lots of fun. And there's an added oomph when someone knows that their goodness is being witnessed by a third party!  Find out more here!  (If you're thinking ahead, this makes a cool Father's Day surprise!)
 





Thursday, May 28, 2015

 

 

Last week I sent you a link to a short audio conversation I had with my friend, Patty Burgess, who is Founder of DoingDeathDifferently.com.

I hope you had a chance to listen to our conversation, because I really believe that talking about death can bring us to life. It's one of the keys to living a life of celebration.

I know that might sound kinda of odd, but when we open up the conversation about death — our own or that of people we love— it reminds us that life is fleeting. When we're reminded that life is fleeting, it changes the way we live. We're more likely to love in this moment. We're more likely to send that note to tell someone we love them. We're more likely to schedule the beach walk with our friend. We're more likely to splurge on an airline ticket to go see our mom.

We're more likely to celebrate what is here in this moment if we remind ourselves that in the blink of an eye, it could be gone.

When people are injured in accidents or are diagnosed with a terminal illness, they often feel life's nudge to live more fully. Patty and I hope that these conversations can be that same kind of wake up call — without the illness or near-death experience. We want to shake things up because it is important to not fall asleep at the wheel. If we're not paying attention, life zooms by and we miss so many amazing moments.

Granted, life is full of all kinds of moments — including some really painful moments. Our instinct can be to run from the hard ones. But avoiding feelings we don't want can leave us feeling anxious or flat. I know for myself when I practice experiencing "unpleasant" or "difficult" feelings, I actually end up feeling more connected to myself and to other people. It takes a bit of risk to dive down into the dark waters, but there's a depth and weight to it that is part of being human.

Same thing when it comes to our fears about death and dying. Avoiding these conversations with people we love sadly also lead to avoiding important connections so needed at the end of life — and actually, all throughout life. If we're practiced in feeling the myriad of human feelings all throughout our lives, then at the end of our own lives or those of people we love, we will be more present and compassionate.

To keep this conversation going, Patty has generously offered to give away copies of her eBook, which is all about "doing death differently." It is a first step in helping us all reframe the way we view death. This eBook is full of compassionate ideas about how to be with a loved one who is dying.

If you listened to the audio, you know that "presence" is a word Patty uses often. This eBook is one of the tools that can help us all be present in a situation that is often fraught with fear and anxiety. After all, it is an unknown. This book helps us familiarize ourselves with the process of dying so that we are ready to support our loved ones (or ourselves) when the time comes.

I know this isn't an easy or light topic to talk about. But it's worth it. It's worth it because our lives — and those of the people we love— are fleeting and fragile. Let's be here for every moment we can. Let's celebrate and appreciate ourselves and the people we love every single moment we can.

With deep appreciation to you for being on this journey with me,

Sherry

 

P.S. One of the chapters of Patty's free eBook is all about looking at our own beliefs and feelings about death. As she says, "As part of this journey to care for your loved one, it only makes sense to examine your own views about death." It's worth downloading the book just for this chapter alone.

 

P.P.S.  I've always had an affinity for cherry blossoms. I chose them for today's post for a specific reason. Obubu Staff of Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms said: "Cherry blossom season is notoriously short and hard to predict. A feeling of sadness rises up with you when you realize that after seeing the first blossoms, it will only be a few short weeks before all the beautiful petals are gone. Indeed, the fleeting nature of the cherry blossoms reminds us all that nothing in life lasts forever and that the most lovely things are often the most fragile." Let's be here with the beauty while we can, okay?!

 

P.P.P.S. I hope you'll leave a comment below and let me know what you think of anything you've read here, heard in the audio, or enjoy about Patty's free eBook.