Connecting by Disconnecting

Makai 7th hole.jpg

What can happen when we choose to not answer emails, respond to text messages, return phone calls, or schedule anything?  I don’t know what can happen because I’m still doing all of those things that I said I wouldn’t do.

My plan for this trip to Hawaii was to go into a black hole for 8 days. I even did my best to manage the expectations of others by turning on the auto-reply letting people know I was on vacation for 9 days with an intent to not read or respond to any messages. The week leading up to vacation was filled with crazy long days as I crammed everything in so that there would be nothing left on my to-do list when I got on the plane. I was prepared, so now that I’m here why is it so hard for me to just relax and be where I am?  My goal was to disconnect with my regular Minnesota life in hopes that I could reconnect with myself and my husband… and for me, it’s really hard to do that. Perhaps my expectations are too lofty. Perhaps I’ve had some small wins. I thought maybe I would feel better tonight if I spent some time reflecting on what has been different over the last 5 days.

When I go to the pool, I don’t take my phone with me. I only bring books to read that are actual books and don’t involve looking at a screen.

When we’ve gone to dinner at night, I’ve left my phone at home so that I can focus on being in conversation with the people at dinner.

I’ve taken walks and just listened to music – no podcasts – no business books – just music that makes me happy and pumped up about being able to be in this beautiful place.

The only phone call I made was to check on how our puppy dogs are doing at the kennel, and that only took 90 seconds.

I have not turned on a TV, checked any scores or seen any news headlines.

I’ve played games with friends for 4 nights in a row.

I got up early to watch the sun rise.

I’ve spent time thinking about what makes me feel good about myself and life.

I’ve realized that while I love the slow pace, the sound of the ocean waves, the fresh pineapple, and living in shorts that I would not want this for an extended amount of time.  I could maybe handle 2 weeks of vacation and then I need to feel as if I am doing something meaningful and productive. I am only in love with the idea of the relaxing life – in actuality, I mostly love my current life. What I really want is to infuse a little more disconnect into my everyday life – not work like crazy for 50 weeks so I can spend 2 weeks doing nothing. I believe if I can successfully do that, I will feel more connected to who I am at my core – not who everyone else needs or wants me to be. I think it’s about moments – a consistent flow of daily moments.

I don’t have a plan for how to do that yet, but I am going to practice disconnecting so I can feel more connected. I can have a full life – a busy life – a successful life and still have a disconnected life. Life is short and moving really fast and I don’t want to miss a moment of the ordinary, everyday moments because I am focused on the unimportant things. As my buddy said today on the golf course, “I need to remember to look up today. If I’m not careful, I will get heads down into this golf game and forget to notice my beautiful surroundings.  At that point, it just becomes another game of golf.”  I want to make sure that I remember to look up – look behind – look forward –  look to my side - look somewhere besides down at the same old patterns and structures and schedules that can keep me busy but don’t connect me to what is important.

Time to get off this device and read a book while I listen to the waves pounding the shore … and ponder what it is about the sound of crashing waves that soothes me …

ONE WORD for 2018

2018 One word.jpg

About 8 years ago I gave up on my life long practice of creating resolutions for the new year and switched to a ONE WORD approach.  It has worked brilliantly for me. In this months' TAKE NOTICE (my newsletter), I challenge my readers to select ONE WORD and share it with all of us here on my website. I truly look forward to what the focus will be for all of you. I have already heard from 3 people ... BRAVE, FOCUS, ACTION.  All great words.

On Day 12 of my CONSISTENT focus, I want to share what I have learned so far. 

  • Knowing that I have made a commitment to be consistent in certain areas has motivated me to do some things that I really wanted to skip. Have that extra glass of water instead of another Diet Coke. Take the dogs out for a walk even though the wind-chill is -20.  Pause to kneel and pray before I begin work for the day (even when I'm running late). It's been fantastic!
  • I notice where I am inconsistent. Then I get a choice on whether inconsistency produces the results I am looking for, or whether I need to be more consistent. 
  • A version of the word consistent is consistency and that often is used as a descriptor for food. The gravy is lumpy. The potatoes were chunky. The batter is too thick or too thin. Not everyone likes their food to have the same consistency.  So, what consistent looks like for me might be very different than what it looks like for you and that is OKAY!
  • I feel really good about myself. Seriously!  After 12 days of applying my one word to a few very important things in my life, I feel different - inspired - motivated - accomplished - purposeful.  It's all good stuff.

So, if you are not familiar with the ONE WORD concept, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter here on the site and read all about it off and on during the year.  You can also check out the book, ONE WORD THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  

Most of all, if you choose to create a ONE WORD focus for 2018, will you please share it here in the comments?  I think it will be fun for all of us to see what others are choosing to focus on. 

It's a Wonderful Life; Holiday Movie Lessons


It certainly is - a wonderful life! The message of this movie is one that I wish everyone would embrace and take to heart. Every person is here for a reason, and the things we do everyday touch others lives - in ways we may not realize.

My husband said it best "Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and forget to look at the big picture and see what a wonderful life we have and the seemingly insignificant things we do that make a difference for someone."  

Let's all remember to appreciate the people who make a difference in our lives!

The Santa Clause; Holiday Movie Lessons

The Santa Clause.jpg

Super clever, right?  Taking Santa’s last name and turning it into the terms of a legal contract is a creative plot for a movie. I have always liked Tim Allen and watching him change from a curmudgeon into a guy that not only gets the Spirit of Christmas, but also into a good dad is pretty good stuff. This movie brings everything about Santa Clause to life for me – from the reindeer (adorable) to life at the North Pole to the true magic of Santa’s Christmas Eve escapades. I find myself really wanting to believe that this is all true – thus the following points.

1.      Kids are willing to let go of reality so easily and I love that.

2.      Sometimes we should let go of the plan, go with the moment and enjoy the ride.

3.      Why is it so hard to believe in something we don’t have a logical explanation for?

Maybe one of the reasons I love this time of year so much is that I can imagine the sound of reindeer hoofs on my rooftop and someone that keeps track of all our doings – naughty and nice! Here’s to all the BELIEVERS!

Jack Frost; Holiday Movie Lessons

jack frost.jpg

I love Michael Keaton (always have), but this is a bad movie. I own it because … I own all of Michael Keaton movies and that is the only reason. It seems there are a lot of Christmas movies where someone dies, or someone is living a life of poor choices and an angel (or snowman) comes from beyond the veil to offer help. I guess I never really thought about that until I starting watching these movies looking for what they might teach us.  So, even from a movie that isn’t very good, I was able to find a few things to ponder (a couple might be stolen directly from the script).

1.      If you want to stop an army, stop the general.

2.      Not handing over your report card as soon as you get home is never a good sign of what’s to come.

3.      Sometimes we think that the material things like houses, cars, nice clothes or big paychecks matter more than spending time together with people we care about.

4.      Some things only happen once and they’re gone; those are things we need to consider when making about choices about where we spend our time.

A Christmas Story; Holiday Movie Lessons

A Christmas Story.jpeg

Why do think this movie is so popular?

Is it because it’s super easy to watch, while being partially distracted?

Is it because we can all relate to at least one scene in the movie?

Is it because we all had that childhood Christmas when we desperately wanted something that we were sure we wouldn’t get and by some miracle, we got it on Christmas morning?

Whatever the reasons for its popularity, it’s become a Christmas tradition!  And, here are my 5 lessons.

1.      Imagination is a powerful, driving force.

2.      Having someone put soap in their mouth for swearing DOES work (I have personal experience).

3.      Little brothers are annoying.

4.      Moms make almost anything better

5.      Really, really wanting something can set us up for disappointment or a magical ending!

Scrooged; Holiday Movie Lessons


Watching someone be so incredibly cynical and mean is tough. I know that the Charles Dickens’ Scrooge was unkind and selfish, but Bill Murray’s character takes mean to a new level.  It wasn’t difficult at all to find some words of wisdom in this movie.

1.      If your boss’s values clash with yours, save yourself and quit your job.  You’ll be fine somewhere else.

2.      We might benefit from listening to the voices of those who have been down a similar path; their advice may be very helpful and save us some tough times.

3.      Drinking does not erase pain – it only delays it.

4.      Everything we do and say is teaching our kids something about how to behave.

5.      When we get so wrapped up in our work that we no longer notice how people around us are feeling, it’s a sign that we have the wrong priorities.

Christmas in Connecticut; Holiday Movie Lessons

Christmas in Connecticut.jpg

This movie is so much fun, and pure nonsense.  I could only pull one lesson from it;

TELL THE TRUTH!  Sooner or later your lies are going to catch up with you and the longer you tell them, the more lies you have to tell to cover up and the more difficult it becomes to remember all the lies. 

My Dad always said, "If you always tell the truth, you won't have to worry about not remembering what lies you told."   It's funny in a movie, but not so much fun in real life!

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town; Holiday Movie Lessons

Santa Claus is coming to Town characters.jpg

These little Claymation characters don’t look very realistic, do they?  Who cares? The story is great, and if anyone is planning on having Santa Claus as part of their family tradition then they need to watch this because it answers every Santa question they could possibly have.

The lessons below all come from Santa’s story, but they seem like pretty great year round ideas to me!

1.      Maybe we never outgrow the child inside us that finds delight in a toy

2.      We get what we give

3.      It is difficult to resist genuine happiness and cheer

4.      It takes a group to accomplish something wonderful, as everyone brings their own extraordinary gifts.

Beyond Christmas; Holiday Movie Lessons

Beyond Christmas.jpg

This movie is ancient! Made in 1940 with actors that have now all passed on, it was originally filmed in black and white. I am quite sure I own it because I get sucked into purchasing things on iTunes and Amazon when they say "if you like this, then you might also enjoy this".  Invariably, I buy both this and this!

If you haven't seen it, it's a cute old fantasy film about three successful, lonely old men who befriend two people on Christmas Eve. The two people quickly become a couple and the three old men die in a plane crash. After that, their ghosts play guardian angels and try to help these two young people find lasting happiness.  Predictable - unbelievable - hopeful!

These lessons are direct quotes from the film.

1.      The way to be happy is to serve others ( I LOVE THIS ONE!!!!)

2.      There are no strangers on Christmas Eve

3.      We need music in the world just as much as we need bridges

4.      Sometimes we have to go to the darkness alone before we can see the light