Challenge Day 30: Score!

I swear I have the 30-day challenge blues.  After pushing day after day, I’m pretty sad that there is no more challenge left and that sucks the wind out of my sails.  Funny since I expected Day 30 to be the day to end all days where I would stand atop the mountain of my achievement and look out with puffed chest congratulating myself for daring the impossible.

I’m sure that I have the blues.  Now that there is no challenge each day, what will I do with myself?  Haha!  Anything and everything. The interesting thing about challenges is that they beget challenges–a sort of challenge-addiction.  Tomorrow or later this week, I’ll ruminate about lessons learned.  In the meantime, let’s get on with our last challenge!

Today’s challenge: Take stock of the last 30 days.  How did you do?  What did you do well?  What did you not do well?  What would you like to continue to work on?  How did it go?  What did you learn?
I’ll be sorting through the lessons learned on this journey for days to come but in the meantime, here are the stats of what I attempted this month:

My closest friends can attest to the wonderful peace I gained in these 30 days as well as the struggle it was to complete these last few days.  I know I couldn’t have done it without them or you.  I also know that I’m not quite done yet.

While I was able to challenge myself to different things each day, I haven’t gained mastery over anything new.  I have an experience of what it is like to live a revolutionary life but I still have work to do.  Each day of these 30 days of challenges revealed so much about myself to me.

The greatest revelation is that this month was a buffet of challenges for me to choose from and work on extensively in the near future.  All the challenges have been interrelated.  They are all pulling for the same transformed, galvanized life.  The next step for me is mastery.

Gratitude: I am grateful for that I could complete this month of challenges when I’ve done nothing like this ever before

On the horizon: More results, lessons and mastery…the journey – to be continued.

This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.1
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Challenge Day 22: Don’t Assume

Wow, one more week and November and my month of challenges will be over.  That went by faster than I imagined.  I wonder if I’ve done all my challenges justice.  We’ll see on the 30th!

Today’s challenge addresses a source of absolute torture for me.  I’m someone who often feels compelled to “know” everything, anything.  In instances where I just can’t “know”, I make it up–based on some great logic–but made up nonetheless.  The third of the Four Agreements is right on time.

Today’s challenge: Take on the third of the Four Agreements.  Don’t make assumptions.  Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Ever notice how some people always assume you think the worst of them?  If given two possible explanations as to why you did something, they would surely choose the least favorable one?

Consider that you can be just like that person.  In fact, you might be that person doing that to everyone and everything in your life.  It’s pretty eerie to me how many times I assume the worst of things, people and life.

This challenge pulls for me to do more than rest on my assumptions.  Instead I am charged to get explicit information about what’s really what by asking questions.

Asking questions is the very last thing I want to do, especially with people or situations where I feel prone to harm.  Yet it’s those answers that will most likely make me feel safe.    It’s funny how often I/we choose to not ask questions in order to be polite but all we do is replace those missed explanations with the most impolite, unkind theories.

So, I will work on the mastery of asking questions that make my stomach flip–questions tied to truths I’d rather avoid than address.  I’m showing assumptions the door and I’m welcoming transparency and peace.

Today’s victory: There have been so many that I haven’t shared this month.  Like the times I make sure that I take care of myself thoroughly and primarily each day.  Or the experiment that I have become in communication and relationships and all the rewards I reap from sticking to my commitments.

The highlight of today’s victories was overcoming taking things personal–the second agreement in action.  I have a very good friend who’s taking her sweet time to check out this blog even as I update her about it.   I suggested she get to it sooner than later since I add a new one each day and there’ll be thirty hearty entries before she knows it.

I tried to explain why it was important for her to read it as it was happening rather than months from now because I wanted her support and wanted to share it with her.   For her, it was fine that she’d get to it when she got to it.

I had to step back from the place of “Ugh, what kind of friend are you” again and again in that conversation.   I let her be and finally had to accept that, after explaining and requesting that she read it before the end of the month, that her answer was noncommittal if not bordering on a “no” and that it had nothing to do with me!  Ugh! Haha! Everything is not about me–at least not to peeople who aren’t me and it’s ok!  My friendship goes on and maybe one day she’ll read this.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the boundless energy I dip into every day to do what I do.  It never fails me.

On the horizon: Being ok with where and how I am

Challenge Day 21: It’s Not Personal

Yesterday’s challenge was to be impeccable with my word, the first of don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements.  I have taken on these agreements in the past and done relatively well.  They have been very helpful but not lasting.  I have to keep reminding myself to keep doing them or they disappear.

This time was no less difficult.  I’m very clear that the words that come out of my mouth shape my world and give me the life that I have, but that doesn’t remove the inclination to grumble, exaggerate and use words to fuel dissatisfaction instead of staving it.  Most of this month’s challenges have had some element of being mindful of what I say and think.  Being impeccable with my word requires a vigilance that is not my norm.

As usual, I did well until I came across a situation where my upset trumped my commitment to an extraordinary life.  In those cases, I’ve had to go back and apologize and restore my word.  I’ve been doing a lot of apologizing this month and I’m happier for it.  Restoration is the flavor of the month.  Today’s challenge will help in those situations as well.

Today’s challenge: Take on the second of the Four Agreements.  Don’t take anything personally.  Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

This, by far, is the most difficult agreement for me to work on.  Actually, it’s the most difficult challenge for me this month.  I take everything personally.  I’m sure that you/he/they tweeted that, said that, did that knowing that it would hurt my feelings.  Of course it was about me and meant to disparage me.  Right?

What does taking things personally do for me other than create opportunities for suffering?  If I considered that people do what they do without targeting me, what would that look like?

I’d have less anxiety if I wasn’t trying to figure out people’s motives.  I could let them be.  I could let me be.  I’d have more energy for the things I love to do.  Without of the burden of perceived judgment or rejection, I’d be free to dance through life.  I am the source of suffering in my world.  I get to say whether it can stay or go.  I promise to do my best these next few days to actively remind myself that it’s not personal.

Today’s victory: I was able to dig deep into my network across continents to assist someone I love and respect. I am more powerful and influential than I imagine.  I can make a difference in places and ways that I never thought of.  You are too.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the talents and abilities that I’ve been blessed with that I often take for granted or assume everyone else possesses.  I understand that these gifts are mine own.   For that, I am beyond grateful.

On the horizon: When ducks aren’t ducks.

Challenge Day 20: Impeccable Word

As this month of challenges winds down, the challenges are ramping up.  I’ve been fascinated with The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book by don Miguel Ruiz for a few years now.  The next few days of challenges are directly related to gaining mastery in these four practices to dramatically change my life.

The Four Agreements:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Today’s challenge: For the next four days, work on mastery of each one of The Four Agreements.  Challenge yourself to each Agreement each day and practice them until the end of the month.  Take on the first one today.  Be impeccable with your word.  Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

This is can be a tough challenge for a sarcastic, self-effacing jokester such as myself.  For the rest of the month, I will pay attention to what comes out of my mouth.   I will use my words to ask for exactly what I want and build the kind of world I want to live in.  I’ll have to examine the place where my jokes fit in but in the meantime, I’m ready to live into the power of the words that slip out of my mouth.

Today’s victory: I finally realized how important it is to be in regular contact with my family that’s scattered across 3 continents.  I learned that compassion is healing when people are hurting .  Where there is pain all you can do is radiate love until the person crawls out into the light.

Gratitude: I am grateful for  my two brothers.  They have grown into incredible men.  I pray to marry a man as amazing as them.  My heart swells when I look and think about them.  They are mine forever and likewise.

On the horizon: The personal