Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Things to Change Your Life

First thing: We only choose 5% of our behaviors and reactions. According to some recent literature and research, about 95% of what we do is outside our awareness. We behave and react from a place we do not have conscious awareness. When did we develop the repertoire of responses in this 95%? F. Scott Fitzgerald nails it in the first line of The Great Gatsby: "In my younger and more vulnerable years..." One of my favorite opening lines of all time. Yes, when we are born to age six, we are basically walking around hypnotized, quite literally. Our early brain wave states matched those of adults under hypnosis. We were completely vulnerable to suggestion and took what we saw for the truth, including what we were taught to believe about ourselves. We are learning at exponential rates! Our parents represented our model of how to deal with the world through everything they did. If you have kids, you are their window to the world.

The last half of that famous Gatsby line is, " father gave me some advice I've been turning over in my mind ever since." In fact, we are turning all that information from our parents, siblings, TV shows, teachers, etc., over and over in our subconscious minds. Good thing we don't have to think about everything every time there is a situation--we'd surely die. So much of what we learned in our hypnotized state is very important. However, there are also some thought patterns and ways of relating to the world that don't serve us so well, and yet, we see our ways as normal, and further, not like our parents. Believe it or not, we are so much like our parents because they were major factors in developing how we see, act, behave, and respond to the world. If you know your in-laws, you know a lot about your spouse, and if you are not too bright, you bring this to your spouse's attention.

The second is this: Knowledge itself does not bring change. I can know it doesn't help to ask my wife 3 times if she really wants to eat at Jimmy John's--she has made up her mind and it is not helpful to challenge it. It just comes out and the consequences follow, which in this case, are an eye roll, a sigh of frustration, and a wife who no longer wants to make choices if she is going to get interrogated about them. But, my need to make sure she is sure of her decision comes from my childhood where it was "normal" and "rational" to second-guess decisions. We learned not to raise our hands because we were not really "sure."

So what makes the difference? In one word, intentionality. The more you are intentional with your responses, the more you are able to respond in more productive ways. This grows your "response-ability." The more I practice not second-guessing my wife's dining decisions, the more I can choose a beneficial response. The best part is that it really doesn't matter if you know why you say or do what you do, although a therapist can help you with that. What matters is knowing how to choose different responses that may not feel natural (indeed, they are not), but have better chances at being beneficial, and more importantly, getting your wife fed!

Two books to consider: Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, and Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Friday, March 26, 2010

Essentially what we have here is one of those stories where a mother lifts her car to save her baby.

Ben kinda stole my thunder for my Friday blog with his previous post about what’s been going on with us. Good thing I am creative & will just have to wing it!
Craigslist Fiasco
Last weekend we invested in a firmer mattress that we bought from our friend’s estate sale. Who knew you could sleep 10x’s better if you had support & weren’t constantly gravitating towards the center of your mattress where it sloped in the middle? After WWIII while trying to decide whether to get rid of our queen mattress or the full mattress in the guest bedroom, we decided to list the queen on Craigslist for $100.

We did get several inquiries due to my amazing staging skills that I used for the pic we posted. Unfortunately, our anxiety got the best of us & we opted to donate it to the DAV rather than dealing with the craziness that is Craigslist! Having nice people come pick up our mattress & feeling good about donating to a good cause won over dealing with strangers emailing & calling us with all kinds of deals & haggling.

Here are some small adventures that happened to us this week:
  • I saved 15 cents just by bringing reusable bags to Target & Whole Foods
  • Learning Japanese Reiki was actually fun & not as wacky as I thought it would be
  • I watched the movie Remember Me with a friend & am begging Ben to go see it with me again this weekend
  • Panera makes amazing bunny sugar cookies with lemon frosting around Easter
  • Apparently, Memphis humidity can make hand-tossed pizza look like thin-crust pizza
  • Watching movies where the actors smoke & drink all the time makes me want to smoke & drink
  • Ben is killing my buzz by buying documentaries about the way our bodies work & the food we eat
New Blog Segment Unveiling
I have a friend that is a home stager who had a great idea to blog about projects she does around her house. I love doing this kind of thing & have decided to incorporate this into my Friday blog in the near future, so stay tuned. This will consist of before/after shots & good deals I get because if there’s anything in this world I like, it’s a good deal!

On the way to work this morning I said to Ben, “Guess what I want to do this weekend?” to which he responded, “Probably a whole lot of stuff with me.” He was right on. We have been asking ourselves a lot of “What if…?” questions like, “What if we didn’t live for the weekends?” or “What if I started my career over from scratch?” The story we find ourselves in has a high probability of change & I can’t wait! Here’s to hoping that you do not “live for the weekends”!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Universal Self-Care

The Thompsons are embarking on what we call "Universal Self-Care." We had to call a special session within ourselves and push through our resistance to make a change. We found ourselves in the critical place where we knew what we needed to do and were not doing it. Why not take an active part in our health, rather than feel crappy all the time? Monica also got tired of me complaining about feeling fatigued all the time, and I got tired of her telling me she was tired of my complaining.
So here's what we have done over the past month+:
  • Substantially reduced our sugar intake and almost eliminated high fructose corn syrup intake completely
  • Began regular chiropractic appts. and are actually sticking with the plan for adjustments
  • Participate in almost daily moderate exercise
  • Practice deep breathing, meditation, and Reiki self-treatments regularly
  • Bought a newer, firmer mattress which has greatly increased the depth of our sleep
  • Moved our bedtime to 9:30 and observe it almost every night (our bedtime was TBD every night)
  • Eat a higher percentage of organic food in our diet, esp. fruits and veggies
  • Eat more raw seeds and nuts, and switched to healthy whole grain bread
  • Decided in our minds based on solid evidence that changing our thoughts changes our biology and, as a result, have decreased the negativity and hopeless thought patterns keeping us and our energy captive
It has really been great and my energy has increased. Sometimes the sugar cravings are huge, but the craving to be healthy often overrides it. Of course, the problem with doing preventative and healthy stuff like this is that you don't really know what you are preventing, because you don't get it in the first place! However, we find this better than the current model of health in which we are the victims and taking medications or going to the doctor for whatever comes along "out of the blue" and affects us.

It is either take charge of our health and wellness or be charged by doctors and drug companies for them to take care of our health. Personally, it has been really empowering to choose better options (the other night at a get-together I had 2 cookies instead of 8) and to know I can make the difference--quite freeing!

Universal Self-Care is the change we need. When did we decide we couldn't heal ourselves? Whereas it will be great for everybody to have health coverage, it will be even greater for more people to have self-care, so the medical industry can focus on those who really need medical interventions. It is a Self-Care Revolution! Please join us! What are you actively doing to positively impact your health? We'd love your comments...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wait, what day is today? Um, tonight is Ghost Whisperer. So Friday.

American Girl
I have been a fan of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers ever since I got out of my Vanilla Ice phase around jr. high. My awesome best friend, Bobbie, introduced us & it was love at first sound.

Over the years, I have been involved in many road trips to see him in concert & I even decorated our guest bedroom completely around a TP poster (don’t believe me, come stay with us!). This summer shall be no different - we bought tickets to see him in Nashville this August!

Census Spensus
This week we received (drum roll please) our highly anticipated census form in the mail. For the past several months, we have been bombarded with cool, hip advertising on why we should do our part & more importantly, "get what gov’t money our communities deserve!"

Ben recently had the luxury of filling out our passport renewal applications, so I was voted to tackle the census. I was prepared with our laptop cushion, a pen & determination, only to be finished in all of 2 minutes. That’s right, none of those embarrassing height/weight/income questions. It was simple, short & sweet – the most anti-climatic event I’ve experienced in 2010.

Out of the Industry Loop
Has anyone ever had a previous job that you learned a lot in a specific area & then later on down the road felt out of the loop not knowing up-to-date info. in that field? I had one of those experiences this week when I was researching Caribbean vacations for this fall. Apparently, since Delta took over Northwest they have pulled the direct flights from Memphis to both Jamaica & Mexico - augh! After having been a travel agent several years ago, this was like a punch in the gut that I was unaware of this vital travel info.

I also had a similar experience when I could not for the life of me remember what “ERN” stood for after having worked several years at a health care technology software company & dealing with this term every day. It stands for Electronic Remittance Notice in case you were dying to know. Fortunately, I have not lost my ability to critique websites, which I learned at my first grown-up job working in web marketing – whew!

I don’t think I have ever been MORE ready for a weekend than today - & the weather is supposed to be beautiful! We are just doing the usual… you know, Sat breakfast at Panera, yard work, Japanese Reiki training, watching movies. Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One Year Ago...

Last year on this day, we were in Dublin, Ireland, for St. Patrick's Day. Today is a little bittersweet as I am aware that we are not in Ireland and are not going to be missionaries there, as far as we know.

If you have a chance, read the story of St. Patrick today. He was a prisoner in Ireland for several years before he escaped, only to move back as a missionary. Pretty bold guy! His missionary efforts were unusual in the sense that he didn't seek to change everything about the barbaric religions in Ireland in an instant; rather, he came alongside them with a new religion and let it mingle with their religions and customs. St. Patrick was not really following the missions model of his day. I love his patience with culture and his respect for it. I think we often try to change things too quick and can embitter and harden people with rushing into things.

Last year on this day, old people were selling shamrocks to us on the trains and we were on the coast of Ireland overlooking the sea. It was a great day with friends and family! Today, we both wore green and sat waiting for a freight train to go by on our way to work.

One year ago...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Maybe we're the last people on Earth. Maybe we are legend. You're Will Smith and I'm the dog!

The Best Laid Plans...
As you all know, we had planned 2 brainstorming sessions last weekend to help us focus on our secret plan to take over the world. Ben went to bed super early Fri night & then we both woke up in stinky moods on Sat. I was anxious about a baby shower I was co-hosting on Sun & Ben was just pouty & miserable. Regardless, we were able to fill up both sides of our dry erase board with lots of great ideas!

Dogs are Weird
A few nights ago, Cali woke me up moaning at the end of our bed. My mommy instincts kicked in & I jumped out of bed assuming she needed to go potty. When I opened the back door she looked at me like I was crazy, & then proceeded to drink all of the water in her doggy dish. I assumed she was just really thirsty & we went back to bed.

The next night, same thing. Ben got up & realized that the problem was that she had gotten “stuck” in all the shoes & clothes that we had let pile up. Keep in mind that Cali is extremely sensitive when it comes to “obstacles” in her way, so when she had tried to come over to Ben’s side of the bed in the dark she felt trapped – hence the moaning. I had no idea we had raised a princess.

Which brings us to our segment, called "Really!?! with Ben and Monica."
Monica: Really, US gov’t? You are going to mail a letter to 120 million households at a cost of $85 million just to tell us that in about a week we will be receiving our US Census form? Because you really should be wasting US dollars right about now. Ever hear of the economy tanking or the federal deficit standing at $1.9 trillion? Really.

Ben: Really? What's next? A mass mail out of packets to tell us we're going green? Al Gore, if he wasn't too busy driving around in a motorcade of SUVs, would not approve of this. Really.

Monica: And, really, US Census Bureau. Even the US Postal Service is barely bobbing their heads above water. There is talk about nixing Saturday mail AND no more money in the budget for those ridiculous hats or knee high socks. Really.

Ben: Yeah. Really.
Monica: Really!
Ben: Really!
Monica: Huh!
Ben: Huh!
Monica: Wow!
Announcer: This has been "Really!?! with Ben and Monica."

Well, we're off to the Show-Me State this weekend to spend time with my fam & to celebrate my grandma's bday. Don't forget about the time change & 1 less hour of sleep on Sat night! Y'all have a great weekend now, ya hear?

Friday, March 5, 2010

I cooked my way through Julia Child's cookbook. And now I'm halfway through the Twilight cookbook.

Oh how time flies when you aren't blogging! As Ben said, "You really need to write one, I can't keep the blog going all by myself, lady!" I have really enjoyed Ben's less serious blog posts lately.

Taking the Leap
Some exciting news that has happened in the past few weeks is that I am in transition of going part-time at my job. They are looking for my replacement & then I will continue working part-time. I will be focusing on starting my own home staging business as well as another business venture that Ben & I will be doing together. Am I terrified? Yes. Am I excited? Yes. Do I feel like this is crazy? Definitely.

I see people I know left & right moving up the corporate ladder or starting a family or moving across the country or the world. The problem is that Ben & I dream big & the even bigger problem is thinking that our dreams may actually come true, if we just try. This week we invested in a 4×6 dry erase board which we found on Craigslist & this Sat we plan on having 2 brainstorming sessions about our secret business venture which will be unveiled shortly. Watch out world - here we come!

Thank you, hubby!
I was thinking the other day about how so often I focus on things around the house that Ben DOESN'T do rather than the things he DOES do. The following is a honey-do list of things I take for granted, but am incredibly grateful that I do not have to do:
  • pick up Cali’s poop in the back yard
  • change the air filter every 3 months
  • take care of bugs, spiders & anything in our house not human or canine (a bird actually flew into our house once)
  • yard work
  • changing the oil in our cars himself (I didn't realize there was an alternative to Jiffy Lube)
  • taking down & putting up our x-mas tree from the attic
I realize this blog is short & sweet, but I leave you with a pic of Ben & the newest addition to our home, Ben the hen! Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Props to Mosa

If you look beyond Bed, Bath & Beyond on White Station, you'll find Mosa. With a warm atmosphere and kind waitstaff, we found ourselves settling in quite nicely. Some atmospheres are just easier to get lost in conversation and Mosa provides it.

The crab cheese wontons were exceptional and lighter than most. The real payoff for me was the Thai Curry--spicy enough to get the nose dripping and yet not too spicy to render my taste buds useless for the rest of the meal. Monica had the Pad Thai and enjoyed it as well.

The only problem is I now know there is good Thai close and at affordable rates ($7-9).