Yes, I am smiling under my mask.

There is no time better to practice optimism and kindness. We all know we are experiencing something that is unprecedented. I like to think that we are doing our best to get through this as a society. However that does not mean I am happy with what is going on. I am happy that we are working together to keep everyone healthy and safe – both at home and at work. In fact, in many ways my job has become essential and I am seeing how companies are caring for employees.

There is plenty I miss and one of the things I really miss is a kind nod or hello from a stranger. That smile you give (or get) when you are on an elevator with others, or when someone smiles because you held a door open. Trust me they are there still. I know we are worried and there is plenty of concern. There is also room for optimism for how we will interact when this is all over. I hope we will be more understanding and kinder. I think we will. I hope we will smile more so people can see you smile.

So, in case you were wondering, and in case I run into you soon, yes, I am smiling at you under my mask.

Oh and thank you Jordana my eternal optimist for the theme —

These are not my words – But they are appropriate for today —

This poem was written in 1869, reprinted during 1919 Pandemic. It is timeless and timely!

And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply

Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal

And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

Reprinted during Spanish flu
Pandemic, 1919

Passover Bondage 2020

Passover has been my favorite Jewish holiday for a long time. If we look past all the rituals, the food, the celebrations (I love them all) we have an important lesson.

We were slaves – all of us, not just Jews – but we are all slaves to something, and we also enslave others sometimes physically and more often emotionally. Simply by being stubborn or self righteous we are enslaving others by being controlling and not being open to ideas. So this brings us to Passover 2020

Passover 2020 – we are all  in bondage (not just the Jews – but all of us)– being locked down and following the stay at home rule, the virus has put us into bondage. While in this situation, we must think of others and how this Covid-19 Bondage is treating them: Are they alone? Are they safe? Can they cope?

What are you doing differently than you did when we were free of the worry we now live with? Are you making your screen time more meaningful through face -time conversations? Are you learning a new skill? Are you taking walks with family and friends with the proper social distancing? Are you communicating differently with the people you are in bondage with so you all make it through the day?

My guess is we are all doing one of the above – what will you continue to do when we are past this? How are you connecting with people differently to continue to build and strengthen your relationships?

When we are free, what will you do to make the world a better place?

Positivity in Isolation

While we are all figuring out the new normal, I thought I would share some positivity and ways that my clients and partners are staying positive through the day:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Your smiles are contiguous

Take a break from working and take a walk or workout. FaceTime with a friend or family member that you can’t see in person right now. Listen to music that gives off the same mood you want to be in. Look through old pictures during a happy time in your life. We’ll get through this!

Keep the windows open as much as possible – fresh air makes all the difference!

I’m healthy and employed! I’m home to cook dinner every night.
My kids are living a simpler /80s childhood…riding bikes, playing outside, sleeping in a fort they made. No scheduled activities is a breath of fresh air.

Create a new morning routine, I started a 30 day yoga challenge

No commute means extra time to learn something new! I decided to try learning embroidery!

Commute time is now home gym workout time!

Getting up each morning and doing a work out keeps me from going crazy! Makes me forget about what’s going on in the world just for an hour

No more getting up at 4am to hit my spin class. I can work out on my lunch break.

I get to spend time with my 15 1/2 year old Yellow Lab. Granted she’s sleeping most of the day, but comforting for us both that we can spend this time together. 🙂

Through my home office window, got to see a family of 4 deer hang out in my back yard woods ALL DAY. Experiencing some moments of the beauty of nature on a work day… priceless.

Adopting a puppy! You’ll never have time to be stressed about anything other than what he has in his mouth 🙂

Do at least 1 thing from your childhood per day – drawing with chalk.

Getting some extra zzz’s in and afternoon walks when it’s sunny with my daughter!

Trying to keep a schedule helps get through the day; make sure you take breaks and stretch so you aren’t sitting at home all day in front of your computer; find something to laugh about or smile about during the day to relieve stress

I lost 4-5 pounds because I eat more at home and control what I eat better! Yippee for me!

Our pets have never been happier!!

I’m not rushing home at the end of the day to get the kids fed and to bed. Our weekends are more relaxing without having to run around doing errands or going to swim lessons etc.

Families are spending time with each other, instead of going separate ways to events, gatherings, etc.

Best Practice and Acceptance

We have all received hundreds of important email responses from our communities and business partners about how they are addressing the New Normal – they are all good (some better than others) . Are we at a point that we are reading them all? Are we deleting more than we are reading? From NetFlix, UBER, PayPal, Amazon, the local city you live in, your gym, virtual yoga classes almost any business or APP you have registered for. I love that the world is responding and I do not discount a single email. My message is simple and one we are trying to observe in my house:


Practice:

Kindness

Care for others

Understanding 

Patience

Acceptance

Hygiene

Distances

Listening (and hearing)

Laughing

Accept

Unexpected challenges

Others fears and obstacles

Your own fears and challenges

We are all doing this together. It is a new reality for all of us a temporary New Normal, that is changing rapidly.  What we thought we could do (last week, yesterday, an hour ago) may not be the same in an hour.  We are doing everything we can to mitigate the challenges that are put on us all worldwide.

Keep up the good fight and please send me your ideas on positivity, we all need it!

The Grass is Always Greener – is a bad way to live!

The Golden Calf, A Trojan Horse, The Grass is Always Greener….

None of these are good ways to lead your life. We control how green the grass or the value of the gift horse. If you simply covet what you don’t have and think that it is always better on the sunny side of the street, than you will live in shadows.

Make your sunshine and always be ready to make it brighter.

Remember that what you currently have may be perfect and you may destroy it by not appreciating what you have.

Somewhere between beginner and expert…..

Are you an expert or a beginner, or more importantly which do you want to be?

How about striving to be an Expert Beginner or a Beginning Expert? If you are an Expert you may be also communicating that you know it all and that there is no room to learn more. To me that is too limiting, things change and experts have to adapt and change.

No matter how good we are at anything – we can still get better, or more importantly, we must still be willing to accept changes and be willing to get better.

A true expert is always getting more expertise!

Measure twice, cut once? Or the other way around?

In full transparency I used to be a 100% Cut First guy, go on my gut instinct, “it will always work out”, I would tell myself. Well truth be told, I was lucky, it did not always work out but it often did and when it did not, it was not catastrophic. But what if it was? How much time and energy was lost re-doing things? I won’t know the answers.

The good news is that I have changed, not a 100% change but I have changed. I usually wait for my second gut instinct before reacting. Or in other words I at least measure once and then cut, rather than cut first.

It is a process that I use everywhere, If you are a cut first person try it!

Maybe one day I can report back that I am measuring twice! That would be nice.

As my friend Mike told me the other day, “you have two ears and one mouth, you should listen twice as hard”.

There is so much going on and without clear communication, there is nothing going on.

So, I read this the other day …Communication leads to community—that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.

It really spoke to me as a father, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend, a colleague, a boss. So basically as a member of society. It is one of the most simple things that I have read lately that can truly change how we connect and interact.

There is so much going on in our daily lives that sometimes we forget to communicate to others around us and build a wall instead of a bridge and a connection.

The Practice of Yoga

I really like doing yoga, I’m not always as flexible in class or do I always have the best balance in class. – Other days it just clicks. On the days it clicks I feel great, but on the days I wobble I can get frustrated until I realize it is called the Practice of Yoga and not the Perfection of Yoga.

Take a moment to think about practice vs. perfection for a bit. I can reach my goals 100% of the time of practicing something. I am not sure that I can reach my goals of perfection 100% of the time .

Given the ultimate choice, I would rather practice working towards perfection, and keep practicing. If I expect to meet perfection, I think that I will find disappointment before perfection. Practicing will not end in dissapointment

If we accept that every day we are practicing to make each day better and we will collectively reach our goals.

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