Tuesday, 23 October 2012

catch and cradle

In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham talks about balance. That everyone's striving for balance, but that it's not a realistic or desirable goal. Balance is a shifting target, and we're never quite sure whether we've achieved it. I know I usually come up short when I try to assess my life in terms of 'balance.'

He says that we should strive for imbalance - intentionally shift our lives toward those moments and activities that bring us joy and strength.

He calls this intentional imbalancing "catch and cradle."

By catching, we're noticing the moments in life that strengthen us, and intentionally "catching" them, holding them, noticing them.

By cradling, it's like we're paying very close attention to the moments, like you would when you cradle a small baby. We're concentrating on, accepting, cherishing, and nurturing those moments of strength.

I loved this idea. So, in my search for imbalance and for strong moments several weeks ago, I went for a walk. It was a beautiful fall day, and I brought my camera to help me catch and cradle the fall beauty.

I started to see leaves all over the place that were "caught" - by cobwebs or crevices in trees or by magic, it seemed.

Blessings to you as you catch and cradle moments, days, weeks this fall.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

naming strengths

I just finished reading Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. A good, easy, inspiring read. He offers an online test to help you figure out your "lead" and "supporting" roles. Mine were "creator", followed by "influencer". The test directs you back to the book to find out more about these roles.

Buckingham defines strengths as those things that make you feel strong. He asks the reader to notice the moments in your everyday life where you feel strong and magnificent - moments that go by quickly, where you're so absorbed you don't notice time passing. And he encourages us to live a life that amplifies these strengths - where you are ideally doing some of these things every day.

So I took some time this week to write down the moments in my week/days where I felt strong and magnificent. Take, for instance, yesterday. Here is my list:

* crawling through a cave (actually slithering at some points) at Rockwood Conservation Area, and encouraging some unsure 8 year olds to do the same. I loved it! Felt so good to do it and to get to the other side. And to help someone else do it - even better!

* watching grade 7s and 8s run a cross country meet at the conservation area brought back a strong memory from high school. I ran on the cross country team, and sometimes my coach would run right behind us in practice, just tapping us on the backs to make us run faster. During some races, I swear I could feel that hand on my back (it wasn't there). It made me feel stronger and faster. And finishing the race - what a feeling of magnificence! (and nausea too sometimes, but that is another story...) Pushing my body gave me a feeling a strength.

* fishing through a river with my hands, looking for insects and crayfish. And catching a crayfish with my bare hands! And showing kids what a water penny insect and a dragonfly larvae look like.

* cleaning up the dishes. This was a surprising one for me, and please don't tell my husband this one. I  usually put off cleaning up the dishes, but I noticed that the feeling of magnificence I feel at seeing a spotless counter makes it all worth it. I need to remember that the end feeling (just like the x-country race) is worth the yucky feeling of forcing myself to do a chore I don't really "feel" like doing.

* bedtime reading and prayers. I've become more intentional about this time with my girls, and I love it. I look forward to hearing about the things that made them "glad, sad, and sorry" each day, and looking ahead to the next day with hope and expectation. They are incredible, spiritual beings who teach me so much.

* noticing the beauty of nature - the colours, the light, the textures. And capturing it with my camera.

In general, here are the areas I noticed that gave me strength:
  • creating (writing, dreaming up new ideas, crafts, taking photos, making things for others)
  • bringing order to chaos
  • being outside; enjoying the natural world
  • pushing my body physically
  • teaching/leading/presenting
  • creating meaningful family rituals/routines

Seems like I've known this before, but reframing them as my strengths has given me a different way of looking at my days.