This project's goal is to give each family member and myself just 10 minutes of unconditional positive regard every day. All attention is focused on the other person for those 10 minutes and only positive comments or thoughts are allowed. Just 10 minutes often becomes much more. Try it and see. You'll find the Just 10 guidelines on the right side of this blog.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Appearances Can Deceive

It's Saturday morning.  My husband and I both awoke about 6:30.  We listened to a quiet house and talked about the crazy dreams we had last night.  My husband's dream had him out in the yard, vacuuming the grass.  He broke the vacuum cleaner hose and I told him he'd have to fix it.  His answer was "Super Glue!"  Naturally, he had to go to the store to get it.  He gets to Fred Meyers and has to buy an iced coffee.  Heading for the Super Glue, sipping his coffee, he suddenly remembers he had some Super Glue in his tool box at home.  Sounds a lot like real life, if you ask me.

I suddenly and enthusiastically said,   "This is the perfect time for you to have 10 minutes of my unconditional positive regard."   Of course, this is a conversation stopper.  Sometimes you just can't come on that strong. He blinks in silence and then says, "Hmm,  I don't have anything to say."   I wait a few seconds and since I love to fill silence with words, I begin to chatter about the book I've been reading, what I plan to do today, etc.    He lays there smiling at me in silence, letting my words wash over him.

I pause for air and come to my senses.  I say to him, "This was suppose to be your time.  I'm supposed to listen to you."  He replies, "It has been my 10 minutes.  I'm enjoying listening to you."  Spoken like a true diplomat.  In this case, I also believe he was being entirely sincere.

On the surface these 10 minutes seemed to be all mine.  I was doing the talking.  I got up and started coffee. As I scooped coffee into the coffee maker, I realized that it was a good Just 10 for my husband.  It was a 10 minutes in which his talkative wife shared with him little details of her life.  That sharing allowed him to feel needed.  It let him enjoy my company.   It told him that I feel comfortable enough with him that I can chatter about the little details of life as we lie together on a Saturday morning.   

Just 10 isn't just listening.  It's purpose is to really share who we are with each other.  Not every conversation is about  important things.  Sharing the little things makes it easier to have the important conversations.  It establishes a connection, a pattern of communication.  It opens the door to those more important and often more difficult conversations.  Conversations that take us to a deeper, more intimate place.  We can not get to that deeper place if we haven't invested the time to talk to each other about the little things. 

The morning chatter about our silly dreams, my plans for the day, seems insignificant.  Yet, it was important.  Today's Just 10 was time well spent for both of us.

(This is one of the books I'm currently reading.  I shared bits and pieces of this book with my husband this morning.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Keeping It Simple

During my Just 10 today, I couldn't wait to think about this and then write about it.    I keep running into the fact that often I make life a lot more complicated than it is.  When I relax life gets easier.  Things flow more smoothly. What's outside of my control becomes evident and less troublesome.  I remember to breathe and pace myself.  Things that seem hard become less so.  It's as if my psyche has taken a radical shift and entered another world.    I'm sure some people have already figured this out, people like Buddha, Jesus, the Dali Lama, and maybe my dear friend, Sheila.  For me, this is a relatively recent discovery.

Playing Super Mario, I've tried so hard to keep my character, Luigi, alive which usually resulted in my certain death or at least bubble entrapment.   When I relaxed and didn't try so hard, I found myself bouncing along, avoiding danger, conquering my enemies, gaining the flying helmet, obtaining the ice flower.   During these successful phases, I wasn't consciously trying I was just being, forgetting about myself and what I should or shouldn't do.  I was just going with the game.

I couldn't ignore the parallels to my real life.   When I'm trying too hard, the problems that arise are unwelcome enemies.  When I relax, problems are easier to handle.  Occasionally, they open new doors.   They are less unwelcome enemies and more helpful guides on this journey.  The serious problems still get my attention, but the little ones. .  .when I'm in my "zen"- frame-of-mind, I just skip right over them and go on my  way.  The game of life becomes a lot more fun and a lot easier.  Those big problems become part of the game.  Unavoidable, normal, I don't blame myself.   If I contributed to the problem, then it's important to learn what to do differently the next time and I promise you there will be a next time.  My strategy is to figure out how to solve it, get past it, climb over it, learn to love it, or if I can't love it, to simply accept it. 

When I was younger, I had the false notion that problems reflected by own imperfections or failures.  If I was smart enough or good enough, my life should be problem free.  (Note the word, should.  It indicates a big problem.)  Life was a game of Russian Roulette and I was forced to play it by all the "shoulds" that were crushing me.  I was not having a good time.  I was afraid of almost everything and every one.

Life is more like this silly Mario game.    There are levels.  Sometimes you get through a lot of levels and other days you're stuck in the same one.  Practice makes it easier to play well.  There is a beginning, middle and end.   If you don't start, you won't get anywhere.   There are obstacles and other entities causing trouble.  These are things you try and avoid.   There are a few "people" that actually help you and make you stronger.  Sometimes you get to fly.  Sometimes you get trapped in a bubble and wait for rescue by another.  Eventually, you die and that game is over, but just for you.  The others keep going until they finally die. 

If life is a game, I'm going to chose the one that is most fun.  Learning to accept what is and still have a good time can only be achieved, if I learn to relax and just go with it.    When I relax, those countless "must-dos" during a normal day become easier.  I spend less time complaining about them and more time just doing them. And, that gives me more time to do what I enjoy, like Just 10's or writing blogs and talking to you.   In that relaxed state, what is painful is easier to handle.  It doesn't hurt as much.  It doesn't ruin my day.  Who would have thought that playing a simple video game with my son could teach me so much?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just Play

In addition to Just 10 time with family members, I also try to find time to just play.  Lately, we've been using the promise of some video game time with mom or dad as a motivator for my son.  When Andrew has completed his morning tasks and is ready for the bus, we play Super Mario Bros.  I bet you can guess who is good at it and who is always dying.

We have to limit his game time so he doesn't overdo it.  So earning game time in the morning is a big deal.  I've also noticed another benefit.  Since he is better at these games than I am, he gets to feel empowered.  He can enjoy the fact that he is better at something than his parents.  That has to feel good to a boy who is easily frustrated by the "glitches" in a normal day.

Andrew's world view is colored by Aspergers and his unique perspective.  Subtle shades of gray and layers of meaning often escape his detection.  A simple glitch, like toothpaste on his shirt or the bus coming two minutes early can elicit a meltdown.  To him it feels like the end of the world.

We see a lot of drama over the little things so we spend a lot of time reframing, helping him see minor problems for what they are.  While I'm helping Andrew, he is also teaching me.  I learn as much or more than he does.  He has taught me patience, perserverance and the importance of thinking outside the box.  As I try and encourage him to be a "flexible thinker" he is making me be one.

What seems like just playing video games is actually a lot more.  He can enjoy his superior game skills when compared to the much older and hopefully a bit wiser, mom.  We're working on perserverance and delaying gratification as we help him earn this special play time.  My having to work so hard to keep my character from dying really helps me empathize with how he must feel when he struggles to do something that is hard for him. 

While we are just having fun, we're also accomplishing a lot more. Some days, Just 10 time can be rather intense.  Taking time to just play is just important.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Project Inspire

Projects are a passion of mine.  I usually have at least 5 or 6 going at one time, some tiny, some big.  It's no wonder I love Jeffrey Yamaguchi's can find the the original 52 projects heading in a side bar on the right, if you're interested in how it began.)

Yamaguchi is also the author of 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity.

Here's the link to the book on

Early in the book, the author lists the benefits of projects.  Many of these benefits apply to my own Just 10 project.  I'm listing many of these reasons below just as stated in his book.  The comments in parentheses are all me.

1.)  Projects are a major source of energy.  (i.e. projects energize.  Just thinking about Just 10 gets me "jazzed.")

2.)  Projects can make you feel better about yourself.  (Knowing that I've given my family quality time feels good.)

3)  Projects can make your close friends and family feel special(Yes!)

4.)  Just like the projects of others inspire you, your projects inspire others.  (I am so committed to the Just 10 project that I'm willing to expose myself to others in hopes that once in a while someone can find a crumb of inspiration.)

5.)  Projects help you overcome the fear of failure(I've failed so many times over the years that it has gotten a lot easier to fail.)

6.)  Projects help you deal with insecurity.  (The Just 10 project makes me feel like a more capable person and parent.)

7.)  Projects lead to self discovery.  (Wow, this says so much.)

8.)  Projects enhance your skills and talents.  (I'm better than I was yesterday and look forward to being even better tomorrow.)

9.)  Projects give you a sense of accomplishment.  (Completing one feels great.)

10.)  Projects help you come up with even more project ideas.  (I'm mentally working on something I call the Smile Project.  Stay tuned.)

My big and small projects give me purpose and a sense of worth especially at those times when life is challenging and my soul is weary.  They ground me in what I believe to be most important, the simple work of my hands, using time wisely, learning new skills, having fun or showing my love for the people in my life.

The Just 10 project restores my soul.  At the end of the day, when I've taken time to really be with those special people in my life and have given them the gift of unconditional positive regard, I am filled with a sense of peace and accomplishment.  This is a peace I wish for others.  Try Just 10 at home.  I'm sure it will be one of the best times of your day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm a Fun Mom and Don't You Forget It.

The Just 10 project is opening more than my mind.  It's also opening my heart.  I'm beginning to see and hear things that lead to feelings of warmth and love that have long lain asleep inside me.

Yesterday, our breakfast conversation gave me the opportunity to say, "I'm  a fun mom and don't you forget it" to both my children.  I said it with a mock threatening tone for humor.  Neither of my children found it ironic.  Straight-faced, my daughter looked at me and said, "You are a fun, mom.  I already know that."  My son chimed in and said, "Yes, you are."  I paused for a few seconds and then said, "Yes, I am aren't I?"  I couldn't deny it any longer.

Many days I have my doubts.  I'm not always fun.  I can be really grumpy and once in a while even mean.  I often feel very insecure as a parent, full of doubt about my choices or parenting style.  There are so many experts giving parents advice that I can get confused.   Someone always has an opinion on how to raise children and many freely share advice even when no one has asked.    Sometimes I'm full of advice for others.  Times like that I'm betraying my fear that I'm not good enough.  The truth is I am. 

 All the books in the world mean nothing on those days when you're deep in the trenches of parenthood and doubting your ability to be a good enough parent.  Or worse yet, those days when you know you've messed up and haven't made the best decision.   Kids don't come with instructions and even if they did, we probably couldn't figure out half of them.  That is the way it is.  It's part of being a parent.  The uncertainty, the self-doubt, the worry, the fear.  They are all part of the package when one signs up for the parent job.  The best and the worst job you'll ever have all at the same time.

It's messy.  I'll blow it again and again.  I'll doubt.  I'll  yell.  I'll cry.  I'll worry.  It's all part of the job.  I can't be a fun parent if I don't allow myself the room to mess up, to make mistakes and to feel the results of those mistakes.  It's part of being a parent in this flawed world of ours.  If I relax and give myself the freedom to make mistakes, my children can begin to see that it's ok for them to make mistakes too.  They'll see what really matters is that you pick yourself up and try again.  And, some day when they're grown with families of their own, they'll be talking around the breakfast table,  when one of their children says something simple yet true, that makes everything worthwhile.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Home Really Is

Since the days in our house are probably limited, I've taken time in my daily Just 10 to ponder what "home" really means.  The things I most love about our house are the people and the memories.  Home is more a state of mind than a place.

There are many things I love about my house.  I love my kitchen because of the meals and laughter we've shared with family and friends.  I love my oven because it allowed me to bake cookies for my family.  Cookies that make them smile and say, "Mmmmm."    I love my kitchen sink because of the friends that have talked and laughed with me as we cleaned up after a feast.  Who needs a dishwasher?

I love the living room where I've sat waiting for my family to return after a day at work or school.  In the family room, we've laughed so hard I cried over something we were watching together on TV.   We cried when we watched Marley and we cried together.   We've played board games, worked on crafts, talked about our problems,  did homework, shared our victories, the big and the small, in this house.  And we have been together.

I love the bedrooms.  I've lain awake when everyone was asleep and felt love for my sleeping family.  I've tiptoed in each of my children's rooms to check on them at 2 in the morning.  In the quiet darkness, I experience the world as better place because they are in it.

If the walls of this house were to dissolve tomorrow, we would remain.  The laughter, tears, joy, and trials would remain.   This is only our home as long as we're in it.  If and when we leave this house behind, we will find a home where ever we are.  We'll make new memories.  We'll learn new things.  It won't matter that I never got to paint this or that room this or that color or that I never refinished the deck.   The fact that my bathroom towels didn't match or that my kitchen floor often needed a good sweeping won't matter.  Those things don't really matter now.

All the money in the world can't buy a home.  A home is made when the people that live inside it love each other.  Today, that is really all that matters.  I am home.  I am with my family.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blowing It

Since I've been candid about some of the successes of the Just 10 project, I need to also admit that some days I really blow it.

Yesterday, I had every intention of spending Just 10 with each of my children.  The day was rapidly slipping away.  I was more tired than usual.  The the proverbial "stuff" hit the fan.  I reacted instead of responded.

My husband and I have given our kids a regular schedule.  We eat together at about the same time every day.  They have a set bedtime and a time to brush teeth, etc.  They have a rotating chore assignments.  Despite all this predictability, they still need to be prompted and goaded and sometimes threatened before we gain compliance.  Yes, I know that some of this comes with being a kid and yes, I too often was guilty of mutiny when I was a child.   Combine their lack of compliance, with my fatigue and the formula for mommy melt down has been achieved.

I' m not proud of it.  In fact, I hate it when I loose my temper.  I know that a lot of my anger was fueled by fear. I worry that my children won't be self-sufficient, that they won't have learned perseverance and responsibility.   Everyday I work with teenagers.  I've learned a lot about what to do and what not to do with my own children.  Last night I felt like a miserable failure. All my chore charts, pep talks, Just 10 times, seemed for naught.  Did I overreact?  Yes, absolutely.  Sometimes I just blow it.

Part of me would love to engage in a self-pity party and nurse this feeling of failure.  I fight the urge.  I simply have got to brush myself off and get back up again.  Later today, when my two treasures come home from school, I will apologize to them.  I'll confess my fears and I will tell them what I think it important.  During my private Just 10, I'm going to think up strategies, ways to encourage their participation.  I want to make compliance attractive, at least some of the time.  I have to show them the rewards of following through and build in consequences when they let things slide.  Most importantly, I have to summon the energy to follow-through myself.  I'll bet that my own failure to follow through was at the heart of my melt down. 

Wielding a verbal club, beating them into submission seems a little too barbaric for my taste.  Although at times, it's so attractive because it is so familiar and so gosh darn easy to do.    My job is to help them be self-driven.  It isn't an easy one but I can make it a lot more rewarding by stripping it of all the emotional baggage and really applying all my creative energies to it.  After all, the fuss, the reality is, my children are good kids.  They aren't perfect and neither am I.  Together we are learning how to be better people.  We're not on opposite teams.  They've had their dose of negative attention.  They need the positive experience of a Just 10.    Once again, Just 10 is on top of my to-do list.   I begin again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Fork in the Road

As I walked to work this morning, I spent my private Just 10 in the comfort of my own mind.  Suddenly, I stumbled upon a fork in the road, not just any fork, a real fork, wonderfully bent and scratched.  Frozen for a second, I stared at the fork.  I tried to go on, but could not.  I had to have this fork.

I love the unexpected and decided that I had to take this new found treasure home.   This unexpected, bent, scratched fork that can no longer function as silverware will become the center piece for a mobile, a mobile I'll make out of the junk that I happen upon.   This fork will become something other than what it was.  It will become something better. 

I also love the irony of this "fork in the road."  It truly was in the street.  I love the serendipity of the find.  Forks don't move themselves.  I love the mystery.  What story does this fork have?  Was it the focus of someone's breakfast rage?  Had someone used this fork to stab at the unjust universe and hurled it heavenward only to have it return to earth to be crushed and found by me?

Maybe, and most likely, it was simply dropped or forgotten, the owner completely unaware of its loss.  This scenario makes it the most valuable to me.  Forgotten, bent, seemingly useless junk, it is to me, a rare find, an odd little treasure, this dear fork of mine.

This fork gave me hope during my Just 10.  Pondering the mystery of the fork helped me remember that perspective really is everything.  I can see the circumstances and challenges of my life as crappy fate, horrible luck, as evidence of personal failure and on and on.  Or, I can accept what is and find opportunities in trials and hope in the unexpected.  I can enjoy those moments when forks await discovery.  I can see the hard and often cruel world with fresh eyes.  I can use what lies discarded and begin again.

My little fork brought magic to my day.  I can't wait to see what I'll find next.

The dear Mermaids at have listed my humble blogs in their links under Dive Into Inspiration.  Thanks!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Biggest Challenge

Getting a Just 10 daily with my husband is the hardest of all.  We spend a lot of time together but active listening makes us both feel a little uncomfortable.  Nevertheless, it's obviously, one if not, the most important Just 10 of the day. 

Neither my husband and I are young.  We've experienced the pain of bad communication.  We are a bit hesitant to reveal too much.   We have built up layers of emotional protection attempting to prevent further hurt.  We have been vulnerable and our self-esteem has paid the price.  We have a lot to unlearn and overcome which is exactly why Just 10 with each other is so important.   It was at the top of my action plan for the day.

As we started our walk, we discussed plans for our son's birthday.  I was tossing out options and he wasn't giving me any sense of what he might prefer.  I took a chance and blurted out,  "I know that you sometimes let me decide and that you sometimes have a preference which you don't share with me.  I don't like dictating what we are going to do if you have strong feelings about something, I would like you to share that with me."

Husband responds with a simple, "ok." 

I told my husband that since it's the hardest to give him his Just 10 everyday this would be his Just 10 Walk and Talk.  Right away, I can see he is uncomfortable and I am too.  So, I admit it.  He next asks, "Where did you read this idea?"  I said, "I came up with it."  He presses, "you didn't read it somewhere?"  I admit, "I don't think so but I read so much, it's not impossible."  Seeing that we might need to get back on track, I add, "It doesn't really matter.  What matters is that it's a good idea."

(Just for the record the Just 10 project is my idea.   Reading over the years has just made coming up with the concept so much easier.)

I return to the basics of the Just 10 project.  I tell him,  "You have my undivided attention.  I can't criticize, or instruct or suggest.  What ever I say has to be supportive, accepting and constructive.  My listening is more important than my talking."    

(I have briefed him on the elements of the project before.  I suspect his questions are just filling in the time and helping him avoid talking.    It is important that I don't become defensive or aggressive.  He needs to feel comfortable and that may take a host of Just 10s.)

We walk with many silent moments.  We comment on the birds, on how pleasant it was to walk in a warm rain. . . and as we near the house, he turns to me and says, "Let's take Andrew to the Lego store.  That's what I'd like to do."

Our Just 10 Walk and Talk was time well spent.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Move It

The Just 10 project has really helped me focus my attention on the things that I value most.  All the words in the world mean nothing without action.  My private Just 10s help me decide what actions to take as I strive to live a more genuine and authentic life. Taking time for Just 10 with my family members helps me to keep their needs in mind as well.

This morning I jotted down my action plan for the day and then organized the troops.  First, we were getting some exercise by walking around the neighborhood.  Then, we would collectively, scrub the kitchen floor and then break for our individual pursuits.  Sometimes, as a mom, you have to be a bit like a drill sergeant.  It's the best way to get the unpleasant jobs done. . .that and the promise of leave when the task is completed.  Oh, and the promise of a dime or two in the Good Choice Jar(See sidebar on the left of this blog, entitled Good Choice Jar for more information.)   Yes, the Sarge is sometimes a softy but the lure of a dime is just good behavioral conditioning when working with new recruits.

Young Mr. A. wasn't too happy to be on work detail.  He didn't enlist.  He was drafted.  The Sarge used positive psychology to keep him moving.  She also used it on herself.  The Sarge likes a clean house but she doesn't always like the work that gets it clean.   Sometimes, you just have to buckle down and take action.  You have to harness the power of  just moving it as a means to an end.

Many mornings, I don't feel like getting out of bed.  Once I do, I rarely regret it.   There are days when I don't feel like giving any one Just 10 but when I remember why I'm doing this and to get in the right mind frame, I am so grateful that I made the time.  The time for action is at hand.  Move it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just 10 Laws of Cookie Preparation.

This morning, I wrote out an action plan for the day.  After spending Just 10 with each family member my next priority is to make Snickerdoodle cookies.  Nothing profound or urgent here.  I haven't made Snickerdoodles since I was in grade school.  Baking is relaxing and one of my creative outlets for relieving stress.

I love that baking involves collecting a bunch of compounds, mixing them in certain ways and letting them develop in the heat of an oven.  The compounds work together to become something greater than any of its' individual parts.

Controlling the ingredients, the temperature of the oven provides me with a sense of control, yet, I can't control exactly how the parts will interact with each other.  That's up to the scientific laws that govern matter and occasionally a touch of luck.  The goal is to create something delicious or at the very least, edible.

As I've become a more experienced baker, I've learned that I can alter the recipe, change or substitute ingredients or alter the time or temperature to achieve a different result.  Still, the natural laws must be obeyed. I provide the right conditions.  Nature does the rest.  Baking contains an element beyond the baker's control, that which can not be altered, that which simply is.    I can't make candy without sugar.  Too much salt ruins everything and sometimes so does too little.  Yeast needs to be kept alive to work.   Vanilla matters.

Maybe baking Snickerdoodles is more profound than I thought.  Maybe I need to apply the baking metaphor to my life.  There are some things I can change, alter or substitute as I try to create a "delicious" life.  There are some natural laws that must be accepted.

1.) Experience is a guide.  Rely on it.
2.) When things don't turn out, try again.  Something delicious is waiting to be made.
3.) Life is better with cookies.
4.) Moderation and balance in all ingredients, makes the best end product.
5.) Sometimes you have to break a few eggs.
6.) Creating is often messy.  Clean up after yourself.
7.) Baking takes time.  Patience matters.
8.) Sharing with others makes everything taste better.
9.) Be creative with the ingredients.  It so much more interesting.
10.) Love really is the secret ingredient.

This afternoon is cookie time.  It's an important part of my day.

Here's the link to the Snickerdoodle recipe:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Getting Back on the Right Track

Today, during my Just 10, I thought of the SNL skit in which Chris Farley plays motivational speaker, Matt Foley.  A dad hires Matt to help get his teenagers, "back on the right track."  Part of the humor of the skit lies in the fact that Matt Foley, himself is divorced and "living in a van down by the river."  Nonetheless, Matt is highly enthusiastic and uses his personal story as a cautionary tale to motivate others.

I thought about "getting back on the right track."  Grieving is getting kind of old.  It's also getting in my way of surviving and thriving.  It's time to take action and I've come up with a good plan.  The Just 10 project can be adapted to more than a focused 10 minutes with significant others or the self.  I realized that listing my priorities and then focusing specific actions on those priorities might help supply the direction that I am often lacking.  Taking Just 10 in the morning to focus my energies for the day ahead would be a great idea.  I know it's rather "Franklin planerish" and that phrases like "getting on the right track" and surviving and thriving" sound simplistic and clique and yet,  I find that when pressed for time, simple often works best.

I've started a daily priority and plan log.  Each morning I write what my priorities are for that day.  These can be as general as my family, quality relationships, giving back, and moving forward.  Once the priorities are stated, I write what actions I can take that day that will honor those priorities best.  The actions have to be specific, measurable, and bound by time.  At the end of the day, I'll take Just 10 to see how I did. If a priority is too vague, I'll soon find out through trial and error what is most important and how to honor what I value most.  All I need to do is to start paying attention.  Life will take care of the rest.

For example, one of my obvious priorities is having a positive relationship with my children and husband.  Spending Just 10 a day with each of my family members can be measured.  It is bound by  time and specific.  (See rules below.)  Since I've needed "to get back on the right track" to move forward on the "survive and thrive plan", I've neglected taking the time to give everyone their daily Just 10.  Spending  Just 10 getting focused and outlining my priorities every day and then listing specific actions to take , moves me closer to my ultimate goal.  Playing Bejeweled on Facebook for hours does not. This has been a big time vacuum lately.  It isn't going to make my list of priorities no matter how much my tired mind wants it.   Accountability can be a very good thing and it's time I used it to my advantage.

I am not disciplined or organized person.  The free spirit in me can wax poetic about not being confined by rules and regulations.  That same rhetoric can be a smoke screen hiding my inertia.  Discipline and organization has its' place and it's time my free spirit used them as the tools they can be.  I have much to gain.  I'll keep you posted.   I'm off to spend Just 10 with my children.  It really is one of the most important things I'll do today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Letting Go

This has been a hard week.  It appears that foreclosure is imminent and letting go is hard.  I find myself grieving the loss even before it's actually happened.  Having a head cold and not getting a walk in didn't help matters. What I missed most was the Just 10's with myself and family members.  I squeezed a couple in with my son.  Those times were really the high points of the week and helped me to regain perspective.  Possessions, after all are only possessions, even if that possession is as big as a house.  My family is most important.

Thanks to my family, I am determined to be resilient.  I've been reading Getting Up When Life Knocks You Down by Jerry White.  He says we build our resilience three ways:

                                     Nurturing a positive view of ourselves
                                     Keeping things in perspective
                                     Maintaining a hopeful outlook

What do I have to lose?  It's starting to be a beautiful day outside.  I'm going to spend my Just 10 with myself as I walk to work.    I'm going to practice letting go of what I want to happen.  It's time to accept what is with a hopeful outlook.  I'm moving forward.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just Quality Time

Spending time with the men in my life is often very different from spending time with my daughter.  I recently discovered that "the boys and I" can spend Just 10 doing something provided I put on my Just 10 thinking.

While I still advocate keeping Just 10  free of activities other than active listening, I discovered that I can use my Just 10 thinking when I'm participating in an activity with another family member.   I've already written about the Walk and Talk which combines active listening with exercise.  A winning combo, I must say but there's more.  The Just 10 mentality has started spilling over into other parts of my life and I'm loving it.

My son and husband have taught me that Just 10 time together doesn't always equal a lot of conversation.  After all the male mind isn't as full of the verbal "stuff" we females thrive on.  Sometimes "too many words" are just that "too many words".   Since Just 10 is about  listening and providing unconditional positive regard for the special people in our lives, it's important to be sensitive to the times when word overload has set in and just being together is enough.  The men in my life sometimes really appreciate not having to talk or listen.  They like to just be.

My son, Andrew, introduced me to Burning Rubber 3.  This is a speeding, crashing, shoot-em up game.  I can't drive and shoot so he mans the guns and I drive like a crazy person.  We enjoy playing this together and laughing at how far I am off the track, how much damage I can sustain to our car and how much smoke will pour out of the vehicle.  When I get hopelessly turned around or off track. Andrew hits the letter "r" and I'm back in the race.  We work together.  No yelling or correcting, no judging or criticizing (believe me, he could criticize my driving.)  When we mess up (usually when I mess up) we just start again.  We talk very little but we laugh a lot.  When we finish our time together,  Andrew turns to me and says, "I really liked having fun with you."  I feel the same way.

Unconditional mutual positive regard makes this time together so much fun.  Unconditional positive regard is at the heart of the Just 10 project because it is so basic in really displaying love for the other person.  This love starts first with a mindset that directs positive behaviors.  What started out as a conscious choice is slowly becoming more and more natural and easier to do without much effort or thought. 

I have my challenging moments when I'm less good parent than I aspire to be.  I guarantee you that I'll never be a perfect parent and someday not too far from now, I will yell like a banshee about some trivial thing.  Just 10 has made me a better parent than I was a year ago, or a month ago, or yesterday.  I'm convinced I'll be a better parent tomorrow as long as I keep my eyes on the prize and let Just 10 transform my relationships with the people I love.