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What were your wins this year?(DW #852)

It is very useful to begin the process of end-of-year reflection by acknowledging what went well.

Now aacknowledging what we have done well may not come naturally to many of us. t is SO easy to gloss over the good stuff and go straight to how we need to improve. And yet it is very important to give ourselves a little pat on the back.

Research suggests that when we pause for a moment to reflect on what we are already doing well, it encourages and motivates us to tackle the less-than-easy stuff on our task and project list. Taking a moment to let the good feelings of taking action is VERY effective at training our brain to do more of what works. In a sense, we are "rehearsing" what we need to do more of.

Here are some questions to get you going:

1) What are my 3 biggest successes for this year?
2) The next 3?
3) What are the small successes that were the most challenging for me?
4) What is a smart decision that I made this year?
5) What are 3 ways that I have grown this year? (have...

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The one thing you must do before setting goals...(DW #851)

If you are anything like me, about this time every year, you ask yourself the same question: where did the year go?

Even though this year has been extraordinarily challenging for some, and seemed to be going by verrryyyy slowly as we spent time huddled up at home, looking back, it may feel like we started hearing about this new disease just yesterday . .  .

Although many things have changed, there are some that haven't, including our habits and the way we tend to use our time.

Some of us get into a mad dash at the end of the year, trying to accomplish everything that we meant to do this year. Others are already thinking ahead to January and planning what goals they want to set for next year.

In order to start the next year off well, there is a very important step we can take right now.

Taking stock of this year as it ends.

Writing an end of year reflection is an excellent way to acknowledge your successes and wins and start considering where and how you might do better next year.

This...

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The Gift of Life [DW# 850]

death gratitude Nov 27, 2020
Let us wrap up our series on Momento Mori (remember death) by an expected benefit of the practice of remembering death.
 
Not only can it help us give our best on a day to day basis, science has shown that our "Memento Mori" practice help us cultivate deeper levels of gratitude.
 
Robert Emmons writes in Gratitude Works:
"This recent study found that thinking about one’s own death could make a person more grateful for the life that he or she has. Researchers asked participants to imagine a ‘death’ scenario (do not try this idea at a dinner party) where, trapped in a high rise, they are overcome by smoke and perish in a fire. They were then asked to respond to a series of questions convening their present levels of gratitude. The death reflection condition produced a greater increase in gratitude in comparison to two control conditions. Confronting the possibility of dying may lead a person to realize the accuracy of the British writer G.K....
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Capacities Clamoring to Be Used(DW# 849)

"What one can be, one must be." Abraham Maslow
 
Maslow described the need to self-actualize as real as the need to breathe. In Toward a Psychology of Being, Maslow tells us that we have "capacities" that are "clamouring to be used."

 

"The muscular person likes to use his muscles, indeed, has to use them in order to self-actualize, and to achieve the subjective feeling of harmonious, uninhibited, satisfying functioning which is so important an aspect of psychological health. People with intelligence must use their intelligence, people with eyes must use their eyes, people with the capacity to love have the impulse to love and the need to love in order to feel healthy. Capacities clamor to be used, and cease their clamor only when they are used sufficiently."
 
LOVE this passage. Reminds me of what I want on my tombstone:
 
SPENT. USED UP. PLAYED FULL OUT.
NOT: Full of potential.
 
What capacities do you have within YOU that are clamouring to...
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Momento Mori(DW# 848)

As we mentioned, remembering death can be a powerful way to live our best selves in the present.
 
The Romans had an effective way to remember death at all times.

In the glory days of the Roman Empire, when a general or a warrior would win a big victory, the crowd would cheer and celebrate his return from a successful battle.

During the celebrations, there would be an advisor sitting behind the general. That advisor had only one job and that was to whisper something into the general’s ear.

Can you guess what he would whisper? Would he congratulate the general and celebrate his success?

Nope.

His job was to whisper a variation on a couple themes—either saying "sic transit gloria" or "memento mori."

Sic transit gloria:  Latin for "all glory is fleeting."

Memento mori: Latin for "remember death" or "remember YOU will die".

The wisdom behind this was that appreciating how ephemeral life is and that we will die allows us to

1)    Let go of...

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Let’s stop committing crimes against ourselves(DW# 847)

The failure to live up to our ideal self comes at a great cost.

As Abraham Maslow says in Toward a Psychology of Being:

"The serious thing for each person to recognize vividly and poignantly, each for himself, is that every falling away from species-virtue, every crime against one’s own nature, every evil act, every one without exception records itself in our unconscious and makes us despise ourselves.

Karen Horney had a good word to describe this unconscious perceiving and remembering; she said it "registers." If we do something we are ashamed of, it "registers" to our discredit, and if we do something honest or fine or good, it "registers" to our credit. The net results ultimately are either one or the other—either we respect and accept ourselves or we despise ourselves and feel contemptible, worthless, and unlovable."

People of faith of course call this our conscience, our internal moral compass that guides us towards virtue: it makes us feel good when...

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The Eulogy Exercise Part 2(DW# 846 )

Yesterday we did the Eulogy exercise where we imagined what our loved ones, colleagues and acquaintances would remember about us after we are gone.

It is common for this exercise to bring up some sadness and regret specially if we notice a big difference between what we aspire to be and how we are actually living our lives.

Here’s the thing:

While we are still on this planet, we are in the zone of action, we can still take action to live up to our aspirations.

So here is part two of the Eulogy Exercise:

Step into the future reality of your own funeral. Imagine what you hope others will say about you.

Write down the qualities that are most important to you. Also write down what you wish that they would say. Write down how you would LIKE to be remembered. What virtues would you like your life to stand for?

Think of it as a To-Be List (as opposed to a To-Do list).

 
Keep this list somewhere you can access and review it every single day.
 
Make an intention to...
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The Eulogy Exercise(DW# 845)

Have you started thinking about how you would like to be remembered?

 Steven Covey in his seminal book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People suggests an exercise which can help us get some clarity on our eulogy virtues.

 Here is how I do this exercise:

 Imagine that you walk into a funeral. There’s a casket in the front of the room. You walk up to the casket to see who’s in it. You look inside.

 It’s YOU. It is you who is lying motionless in that casket.

 You realise that you are at your own funeral.

 Feel into that for a moment.

 Look around – who is there?

 What do the people who are present have to say about you? What qualities did they most admire and appreciate in you?

 Are you surprised? Delighted?

 Or Sad? Disappointed? Regretful?

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Speaking of virtue(DW# 844)

A few weeks ago, we spoke of how we can "chisel" our character one virtue at a time.
For today, let us reflect on this concept of living with virtue.
People of conscience and understanding throughout the ages have attempted to live a life of virtue, to have an upstanding character.
 
In modern times, however, the idea of living with virtue seems a bit old fashioned. David Brooks in his excellent book, The Road to Character writes that modern society is obsessed with what he calls "résumé virtues." Your degrees, accomplishments, your title, your social media profile etc.

 

He explains that résumé virtues are important for success of course but they are certainly not the whole picture of living a meaningful life.

 

David tells us we need to focus more on "eulogy virtues"—the stuff that, ultimately, REALLY matters. Eulogy virtues, he explains, are the kind of things that people remember about you after you die, and when your...
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