Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 28!

I am bittersweet about endings. This holds true for the end of my month dedicated to Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust. Of course, I will keep working on this resolution for the rest of the year, and likely the rest of my life. But it will be back to (mostly) regular programming on my blog.

At times, I felt I wasn’t keeping up with my own challenges. So I almost couldn’t believe it when John and I donated more than 70 items to charity Saturday, and I tallied 14 short-and-easy workouts in February. I even managed, against the odds, to get a few of those valentines sent. Not nearly as many as I would have liked, but hopefully the small start of a new tradition.

The real question is how did I do on becoming more Ridiculously Optimistic and Radically Trusting? Writing daily about this ambition forced me to give shape to a lot of floating thoughts. It helped me give myself a cheat sheet for practicing optimism and trust in concrete ways.

1. Mind your thinking.
2. Change your mood with music or movies or books.
3. Clear a path, and give or throw away anything in your way.
4. Be generous.
5. Be grateful.
6. Be silent.
7. Be brave.
8. Take action, big and small.
9. Start again when you fail and fall.
10. Do everything with enthusiasm.

I’ll be taking these practices with me into March, where I plan to tackle some Things I Have Been Too Afraid to Attempt. And what more could I ask from a month, except that it make me more brave for the next. So here’s to Sweet February and 28 Days of Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Finish Up

Don’t panic. Get moving. Today is the day to tie whatever loose ends need to be tied before we bid goodbye to February.

Day 27:
1. Donate your 28 items. You don’t want them hanging around when March arrives.
2. Celebrate all your hard work.

**Keep Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust fresh in your mind with this picture as a reminder to look on the brighter side of life. Prints are available at a special price through Sunday, Feb. 28. Order here:**


Friday, February 26, 2010


Friday alone is reason enough to celebrate. But this is the last Friday of February, and we have company coming. Joy and Peace are at the door. Don’t just stand there. Let them in.

And while you pop open the bubbly, think about this: What could you do to make Joy and Peace frequent guests in your home? Do you dare convince them to become permanent residents?

Excuse me, Kool & The Gang are beckoning.

Day 26:
1. A month of Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust is worth celebrating, which is what I suggest we do this weekend.
2. Still three days to squeeze in a bit of progress on that resolution.
3. And you might want to get those 28 items ready for the nearest charity.

**Keep Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust fresh in your mind with this picture as a reminder to look on the brighter side of life. Prints are available at a special price through Sunday, Feb. 28. Order here:**


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The F Words

Funks. Flailing. Failing. At some point, we fall down. We fall off the Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust Wagon and hit the ground hard. So hard, we want to stay down. We want someone to throw us a blanket and pillow because we would like very much to curl up into a ball and crawling to our bed would be too much work. We want to return to our pessimistic, realistic, practical ways. Which is fine, if that is what we really want. But I don’t think it is. I don’t think we would have been attracted to Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust in the first place. We would not have been searching for Joy and Peace. So when disaster and discouragement come your way, allow yourself a few minutes to wallow. Have a bad day if you must. But don’t give up.

  • “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” ~Thomas Edison
  • “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” ~Japanese proverb
  • “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill
Day 25:
1. When did a "failure" in your life turn out to be a success?
2. There is still time to work on your resolution. Take action today.
3. Already have 28 items to give away? Add a few more.

*Special Announcement: Keep Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust fresh in your mind with this picture as a reminder to look on the brighter side of life. Prints are available at a special price through Sunday, Feb. 28. Order here:


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Leaps & Baby Steps

I am not a master of getting things done. I have friends who could teach classes on the subject, and I am constantly asking them, “How do you do it?” But if I am honest with myself, I know what to do. I can look at my list of Things I Have Been Too Afraid To Attempt and I can see the logical first step. That is the step to take. Be it big leaps or baby steps. These things are asking me to be brave, to exercise a little Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust.

Day 24:
1. Look at your list from yesterday. Pick one item. How can you take action today, and if not today, this week? Commit to following through.
2. Made progress on that resolution? There are five days of the month left.
3. How close are you to 28 items to give away?

*Special Announcement: Want something to remember your Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust experience? This picture is one of my favorites, and it always reminds me to look on the brighter side of life. The print is available this week for a special price. Check it out here: Yes, that's me with the umbrella.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Be Brave

Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust are not just a state of mind. They are a way of being, a way of behaving. In other words, action is required. No one ever ridiculed someone standing still. It is not enough to be unafraid. I need to be brave. I need to be daring. I need to be acting in a way that makes other people say, “Wow. She really believes anything is possible.” So much of this adventure, for me, has been seeing what stands in my way and what I can do to create a more optimistic environment. Kill negative thinking. Pump up the volume on positive music and thoughts. Clear a path and the clutter. Practice generosity and gratitude and silence. And when I’ve done all of those things, I still need to do something more. Sweet Sheila sent me this Confucius quote yesterday, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust goals, adjust the action steps.” Oh, that’s right. I need to take action.

Day 23:

  1. What areas of your life need TLC in the form of RORT (Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust)? I am not talking about every to-do task clamoring for our attention. We all want the laundry clean, folded and put away, but few of us are afraid of it. I am talking about the things we know we want, but we are too scared to do anything about. What are those things? Think about it. Make a list. No pressure to share, but I would love to know you’ve thought about it.
  2. What about that resolution?
  3. And how about that clutter?
*Special Announcement: Want something to remember your Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust experience? This picture is one of my favorites, and it always reminds me to look on the brighter side of life. The print is available this week for a special price. Check it out here: Yes, that's me with the umbrella.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Fabulous Week Four

Seven more days of my 28-day project. Seven more days to give Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust all my love. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. It's time to pull out the good china and pick out a party dress. The celebration is just days away or maybe it is already here. My goal from the beginning was to be hopeful to the point of deserving ridicule and so extremely confident in God that my life is absent fear. This ambition requires more than a month's worth of practice. It requires daily determination. But with every day, I feel myself getting closer. I feel myself getting better at living Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust. And that makes me feel like celebrating.

Day 22:
1. Practicing Optimism and Trust is a lot of work. Get your beauty rest. Go to bed early. 
2. What can you do in this last week of February to get closer to your resolution?
3. Do you have something else to give away? How about something to throw away? By the end of this week, let's make sure to be 28 items closer to clutter free. 


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Good Books

I am a terrible reader. I don’t start many books, and I rarely finish the ones I do. Despite this, I still love books. I love walking into a bookstore and feeling surrounded by so many people’s stories. Sometimes I get all the encouragement I need just by reading the titles. And sometimes I will read the same passage again and again until the words sink into my memory and become part of who I am. Like music and movies, books have the power to change our mood and our perspective.

An Incomplete List of My Favorite Books (the ones that help me hope and trust)

  • The Bible, especially the gospels
  • “I Believe in Love,” by Father Jean C.J. d’Elbee
  • “A Simple Path,” by Mother Teresa
  • “Gift from the Sea,” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • “Traveling Mercies,” by Anne Lamott
  • “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak
What books are you grateful for?

Day 21: Sunday Check-In
Did you complete the Weekend Dare?
Do you have 21 items to give away?
Did you give your resolution any attention this week?


Saturday, February 20, 2010


“The fruit of silence is prayer.” ~Mother Teresa

Somehow, in silence our hearts know we are not alone. Even if we are physically alone, we know with a deep knowledge we are not alone. We are not abandoned. We are not so lost that God cannot find us. He knows where we are. And, if we are quiet, we can hear him coming for us. We can hear him say, “Everything is OK.”


Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend Dare 2

"I felt in need of a great pilgrimage so I sat still for three days
And God came to me."
~Kabir of India

 John and my dad can hardly believe I stop talking long enough to eat let alone that I would voluntarily be quiet for an entire weekend. They suspect my annual "silent retreat" is actually a trip to Vegas. It is not. I go to the hills. I listen to talks. I meditate. By the end of the weekend, I have arrived at the place Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust constantly point us toward -- that elusive destination of Joy and Peace. A weekend of silence is a luxury. But even if we can’t get away from it all, we can hush our hectic, crazy, loud lives. Consider it a shortcut.

Depending on your noise dependency, dare yourself to do the following for 10 minutes, an hour or a day at a time:
  • Turn off the television
  • Turn off the radio
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Turn off your computer
  • No email
  • No Facebook
  • No Twitter
  • If possible, don't talk
  • If you are really daring, sit still 
Days 19, 20 & 21:
1. Complete the Weekend Dare.
2. Find three more items in your home to give away for a total of 21 items.
3. Work on your resolution.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Simple and Fun

I used to get so hung up on what to give up for Lent that we would be halfway to Easter before I made a decision. Paralysis by analysis, my friend would say. And a total waste of time. Now, I know myself a little better. I know for me getting almost anything done means keeping it simple and fun, and that includes sacrifice. Actually, I don’t even use the word sacrifice. It freaks me out. The second I start thinking something is going to be hard, I’m over it. Instead, I prefer to think of everything as a game. With that in mind, the following is a list of Lenten suggestions for anyone who is still on the fence about what to do for the next 40 days. If you are not practicing Lent, this list doubles as a what-the-heck-I’ll-try-that-for-a-day set of challenges. Have fun!

  • Give up complaining, whining, pouting and/or nagging. When you hear yourself complain, whine, pout or nag, stop talking or change the subject.
  • Give up worrying. If you worry about something you have no control over, make the decision not to worry about that particular thing until the day after Easter. Every time you find yourself dwelling on that issue, remind yourself you are taking a 40-day break from the subject.
  • Give up swearing. A friend of mine collected a quarter from herself every time she cursed and gave the money to the poor.
  • Give up multitasking during conversations with family members and friends. Stop everything and give your complete attention to the other person. Focus on being a good listener.
  • Give up clutter. We’ve been doing this with the one-item-a-day approach, but I just heard of a 40 bags over 40 days challenge.
Have other suggestions? I would love to hear them!

Day 18:
1. If you are doing something for Lent, make your decision today.
2. Work on your resolution, which may or may not be different than what you are doing for Lent.
3. Find something else to give away.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Ash Wednesday

The idea of practicing ridiculous optimism and radical trust might seem counter to the solemn season of Lent. But I don’t think it is. All day, the chorus of Hosea has been in my head. This hymn, written as a love song from God to us, is traditionally sung on Ash Wednesday. I only know two lines by memory: “Come back to me with all your heart, don’t let fear keep us apart,” and “Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.” Maybe I’m imagining in it or maybe it’s all just starting to become clear. But it seems the new, deep life God wants to share with us requires absolute, complete, radical trust.

Day 17:
1. Fast, if not from food, then from fear.
2. Work on your resolution if it doesn’t require strenuous labor.
3. Find something else to give away.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Feast Before The Fast

Today is Fat Tuesday. If you eat every sweet in the house before starting a diet, you understand this day. It is a day to clean the cupboards. A day to mentally prepare. A day to indulge prior to the 40 days of going without. But what should we, devourers of optimism and trust, be giving up? What is ruining our diet of hope and confidence in God? Maybe it’s anxiety or fear, criticism or self-doubt. These are items much harder to clean from the cupboards than chocolate. Items you might want to give up for Lent regardless of whether you are Catholic.

In the meantime, enjoy Fat Tuesday. Every optimist likes a party. And tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

Day 16:
1. Indulge a little.
2. Work on your resolution.
3. Find something else to give away.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Spirit

Week Three is here and so are the Olympics. I am sure I am not the only one who feels swept away by the magic of the games. But what do these world-class athletes have to do with us? How can we harness their triumphant spirit? Is it too much to imagine we are all Olympians and life is our event? In which case, we should go for the gold and give our best no matter what.

Day 15:
1. Get back to that resolution.
2. Again, set aside something else to give away.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine for You

If any area of our life deserves Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust, certainly it is love. One could argue that nothing else exists. Love is what we are called to and what we crave. It is the purpose for which we were created. But that doesn’t mean it is always pretty. So for you, dear friend, a valentine meant to remind us how to love:

“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered,
Love Them Anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
Do Good Anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,
Succeed Anyway.
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,
Do Good Anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
Be Honest and Frank Anyway.
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,
Build Anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,
Help People Anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,
Give the World the Best You’ve Got Anyway.”
~On the wall of Shishu Bhavan, Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Day 14:
Practice Sunday Gratitude. Who loves you and who do you love?


Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Wish for Saturday

“Clear a path,” is what John says when there is too much stuff between us and the emergency exits. God forbid we trip while running for the door. So we take the preventative measure of pushing piles of clothes and papers out of our way or into a closet. This is fine and dandy except, of course, that nothing actually gets clean or organized. The disorder is simply displaced, temporarily and repeatedly. Which is a problem because I actually believe tidiness breeds optimism. The day seems more doable without a huge mess between us and our dreams. So my wish for today is simple, if not boring. I wish to clean my house. I wish to organize and de-clutter. If possible, I would like to fill my giveaway bin with 28 items (one item for each day of this month). Finally, I wish to figure out a system that helps me keep my home company-ready.

Day 13:
1. Assuming your house might also need a little love, spend 10 minutes organizing or cleaning. It doesn’t seem like much, but 10 minutes can make a big difference.
2. Put aside yet another item to give away.
3. Work on your resolution.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Reality Check

I haven’t worked out since Saturday, and my valentines have yet to see the inside of a mailbox. Not. Giving. Up. Just keeping it real. Thank God it’s Friday.

Day 12:
1. Catch up.
2. Relax.

*UPDATE: Kept my date with the treadmill this morning!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

John loves the Ridiculous and Radical Project and he certainly likes the Valentine Challenge, but he wasn’t quite sure what one brilliant idea had to do with the other. If red and pink hearts aren’t enough on their own to make you feel light and giddy, then I hope writing a love letter to a dear friend was. In this attempt to embrace Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust, I’m intentionally trying to manipulate my own feelings. And what better way to feel over the moon lucky in love, then to actively recognize the people who fill my life with joy.

Day 11:
1. Mail your valentines.
2. Work on your resolution.
3. Find something else to give away.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Funny Valentine

You have paper and pen, and you’re ready to begin. Today is the day for making valentines. You might know exactly what you want to say, but in case you don’t, below is a collection of sweet, clever and funny quotes.

  • “There is no remedy for love but to love more.” ~Henry David Thoreau
  • “Take away love, and our earth is a tomb.” ~Robert Browning
  • “The only true gift is a portion of yourself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.” ~Barbara de Angelis
  • “You call it madness, but I call it love.” ~Don Byas
  • “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne
  • “True friends stab you in the front.” ~Oscar Wilde
  • “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” ~Tennessee Williams
  • “Are you upset, Little Friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry. … I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.” ~Charlie Brown to Snoopy, Charles Schulz
Day 10:
1. Make your valentines. Keep it simple. Get it done.
2. Work on your resolution.
3. Find something else to give away.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines: A Three-Day Challenge

I love red and pink and hearts and sweets, but I struggle with Valentine’s Day. In my mind, it is a perfect day to celebrate love and friendship. I imagine how delighted my friends will be when they receive an unexpected valentine from me. The fantasy is so precious I crack under my own pressure. My friends never even know I thought of them that day, and I end up running around last minute and panicked, trying to pick out something not completely lame for John. By that point, I total begrudge this greeting-card holiday, even though deep down I think it’s nice to punctuate the year with reminders of how lucky we are.

This year, I am going to break my own somewhat stressful and rather disappointing Valentine’s Day tradition. This year, I am sending valentines to at least a few loves of mine. Of course, I would be thrilled if you would join me. To make it easy, I have broken up this challenge over the next three days.

Day 9:
1. Decide who you will send a valentine to and locate your stationary and colored pencils, stickers, etc. Whatever it is you will need, find it today. But you don’t need much. An index card with a stamp on it makes a charming postcard.
2. Work on your resolution.
3. Find something else to give away.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Welcome Week Two

When it comes to doing something new, Week One is always easier for me than Week Two. Week One is amped with motivation. Week Two is plagued with a lot of why-am-I-doing-this-again questions, which almost inevitably lead to I-don’t-have-time-for-this-anyway answers. At best, Week Two is a challenge. At worst, it is a change killer. The only solution I can think of is to treat Week Two as if it were Week One. Start again with the same enthusiasm that I started before. And be sure I have solid answers for those nagging questions.

So, why do I want to be Ridiculously Optimistic and Radically Trusting?
1. Why not? What real reason do I have not to be?
2. What’s the worst that could happen? I see a limited downside and a huge upside to embracing this mindset.
3. At the core of this goal is a desire to rid my life of needless anxiety and fear. I want to be someone who is joyful and peaceful even when things are far less than perfect. And I really believe optimism and trust can help me get there.

Day 8:
1. Why do you want to be Ridiculously Optimistic and Radically Trusting?
2. Recommit to your resolution. What will you do this week in terms of your personal goal? (By the way, I exercised five times last week!)
3. Find something else to give away.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Practicing Gratitude

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” ~Meister Eckhart

Every day deserves our gratitude, but Sunday was designed for it.
It is a day of rest and thanksgiving. Celebrate by doing both.

Day 7: Sunday Check-In
I’m not just checking in, I’m double checking.
How did the week go?
Did you complete the Weekend Dare?
Did you find seven items to give away?
Did you give your resolution attention?


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Make-Me-Happy Playlist

I asked for the most mood-boosting music, and you delivered your favorite tunes. In no particular order, for your listening pleasure, here are the results:

1. “Haven't Met You Yet,” Michael Buble
2. “I'm Yours,” Jason Mraz
3. “Say Hey,” Michael Franti
4. “Little Wonders,” Rob Thomas
5. “Three Little Birds,” Bob Marley
6. “Hallelujah,” Rufus Wainwright
7. “You Belong To Me,” Bob Dylan and Jason Wade
8. “Baby Mine,” from Dumbo
9. “The Hamster Song,” check YouTube
10. The Ting Tings
11. “Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum
12. “Three Little Birds,” Bob Marley (made the list twice!)
13. “If You Could Read My Mind” (remix)
14. “Supermassive Black Hole,” Muse
15. Anything by Michael Buble
16. “Don't Rain on My Parade,” Barbra Streisand
17. “Jump” from Glee
18. “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles
19. “Imagine,” John Lennon
20. “Cantares,” Joan Manuel Serrat
21. “Mud on the Tires,” Brad Paisley
22. “Steal my Sunshine,” Len
23. “LoveGame,” Lady Gaga
24. Anything by Abba, especially “Fernando”
25. “Walking On Sunshine,” Katrina & The Waves
26. “Don't Stop Believin’,” Journey
27. “Your Grace Is Enough,” Chris Tomlin
28. “Shine Like the Son,” Matt Maher
29. “Go Ye Out,” Tom Booth
30. “Blessed Be Your Name,” Matt Redman
31. “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Hold Me Down,” Men at Work
32. Old-school Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know”
33. “Walking On Sunshine,” Katrina & The Waves (also made the list twice!)
34. “Inner Smile,” Texas
35. “I Don't Feel Like Dancin’,” Scissor Sisters
36. “Down Under,” Men at Work
37. “Fishin’ in the Dark,” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
38. Anything by Spirit of the West
39. Anything by The Buccaneers
40. Anything by Barenaked Ladies
41. “More Than A Feeling,” Boston
42. Theme from “The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not),” Joey Scarbury
43. “Shine,” Collective Soul
44. “Raise Your Hands,” Bon Jovi
45. “Sunrise,” Norah Jones
46. “Pride,” U2
47. Anything by Francesca Battistelli, especially “Free to Be Me,” “I'm Letting Go,” and “My Paper Heart”
48. “September,” Earth, Wind and Fire
49. “Play that Funky Music,” Wild Cherry
50. “Jackson,” Johnny Cash
51. “Running on Sunshine,” Jesus Jackson
52. “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Bon Jovi

Did I miss something? Let me know!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekend Dare

I’m going to propose a dare that makes me a little uncomfortable to suggest. You may wonder if I’ve lost my mind or if I lack a clear understanding of the current economic crisis. Let me assure you I am well informed and as sane as I’ve ever been. (So that last part isn’t saying much.)

My dare for the weekend is this: Separate yourself from some of your money.

Maybe you can only spare a buck or maybe you can do without $5 or $10. I can’t say what will work for you, but I would challenge you to challenge yourself. Decide what you can give and then give. It doesn’t take a lot of money to make someone else feel rich or lucky or like they just won the lottery. You can give to a charity. You can give to Haiti. You can give to the homeless man on the street. Or you can go to the bookstore and slip $1 into your favorite book with a post-it saying, “This is a great read.” Use your imagination. Make it fun. Brighten someone else’s day in an unexpected way.

I’m quite sure other people have written much smarter explanations regarding the importance of financial generosity. So I’ll just say this: For me, separating ourselves from our money, not holding too tight to our hard-earned cash, is a way to say, “I trust. I trust there is more than enough. I trust our needs will always be met. I trust you, Lord, with every area of our life and that includes our finances.”

Days 5, 6 & 7:
1. Complete the Weekend Dare.
2. Find three more items in your home to give away.
3. Work on your resolution.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Choosing Optimism

We choose our thoughts. We can choose the lies or we can choose the brighter, lighter truth. The lies are only easy because we’ve practiced telling them to ourselves. But the truth can be easy, too, with practice. Lots and lots of practice. That’s my challenge for us today: Act like treasure hunters and collect gems of truth.

A few of my favorites:
1. "All things are possible for God." ~Mark 10:27
2. "Everything, and I mean everything, is unfolding exactly as it should." ~Jen Lemen
3. "In the end, when all is revealed, it is only the lack of trust that you will regret." ~Faith Gillis
4. "We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world." ~Marianne Williamson

Day 4:
1. Share your favorite prayers, mantras, affirmations or quotes.
2. Give away something else.
3. Work on your resolution.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Identifying the Demons

If by some chance you find optimism and trust easy, please tell me your secret. I do not. The challenge to be positive and unafraid sometimes pushes me to the point of tears. It is as if expecting the best causes me to lose my footing. I am far more comfortable holding tight to a “realistic” and “practical” mindset. But where is the faith in that? I believe God has a plan for each of us and it’s a good one – a great one. I am just much more convinced of that truth if we are talking about you, not me. It is the worst kind of double standard, and it is a total lie. The lies are the demons we need to identify. (I’ll go first.)

A few lies I tell myself:
1. There is not enough time.
2. I don’t have the talent.
3. The market is saturated.
4. You can’t make enough money doing what you love.
5. It is easier for everyone else.

Day 3:
1. Identify at least one lie you tell yourself. (It may be disguised as a seemingly benevolent excuse.)
2. Find something else to give away.
3. Work on your resolution.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 2: Groovin’ Through

1. I need to listen to more music, more get-up-and-dance music. I had to think hard, too hard, about what songs make me happy. But a few on the list include: “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire; “Play that Funky Music” by Wild Cherry; “Jackson” by Johnny Cash; and “Running on Sunshine” by Jesus Jackson. Oh, let’s not forget Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” I had that song stuck in my head all Monday.
2. I set aside three empty photo albums. I’m never going to use them, but I’m sure my neighbor (the one whose house just burned down) would really love them.
3. Another 22-minute stroll on the treadmill.


Optimism & Trust Defined

Ridiculous: Deserving ridicule, absurd, preposterous, laughable
Optimism: A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation; hopefulness; the belief that good is ultimately triumphant over the evil in the world
Radical: Extreme, counter-cultural
Trust: Complete confidence in a person or a plan; to allow without fear

In case it wasn’t clear, I want to be hopeful to the point of deserving ridicule and so extremely confident in God that my life is absent fear. How does that sound?

Day 2:
1. What four songs make you happy? (I am making a list.)
2. Give something away. Or set it aside to give away at the end of the month. (This will be a repeat every day of the month.)
3. Don't forget about your resolution.


Monday, February 1, 2010

First Day Done

1. I took a 22-minute walk on the treadmill. (Regular, not rigorous, exercise is my goal even though I secretly wish to love cardio as much as Sheila and Kaecey do.)
2. Mood boosting movies and TV: The Blind Side; You’ve Got Mail; Emma; Gilmore Girls.
3. I set up a bin for my giveaways. First items are clothes. If I do this every day, by the end of the month, my closet will be clean.


28 Days: Ridiculous & Radical

I spent a lot of January asking myself why I’m striving for ridiculous optimism and radical trust. Are they just pretty words or do they mean something more? My heart imagines these words act like a magical compass pointing me in the direction of Joy. And Joy is where I want to live. My destination is not a just a Happy Place, where emotions are fleeting. I’m searching for a place where Peace is unshaken in times of trouble.

This idea of a journey has been stirring inside of me. It feels like a dare, like a dare from God: Commit yourself in every way to Optimism and Trust. Make a game of it, if you have to (I like games). But do the work.

So I’ve made a game, and I’m going to do the work. You are invited to play along and travel with me.

Day 1:
1. Recommit to one of your dropped resolutions. (For me, this means regular exercise.)
2. Answer this question: What are four TV shows or movies that lift your spirit?
3. Give something away. Or set it aside to give away at the end of the month.


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