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Archive for Choice

The North Side

Snow! This white moisture is falling as I write. And I was reminded how beautiful snowflakes are when they spin and float. The wind may push these flakes into drifts. They become heavier in some spots. And lighter in others. Tucked away in crevices. They get stuck where they land.

But here’s what is most interesting: when the sun comes out, and the snow begins to melt, some of these white patches disappear quickly. Some take a bit longer or partially thaw, freezing overnight. They become hard and unyielding. It takes days or even weeks for the ice and snow to dissipate. And the north side is the most stubborn. It takes the longest to melt, often lingering for a month or more. This side is often cold, perhaps shaded by trees or boulders. Or it’s stuck deep within a tree, shielded from the outside.

Just as the north side snow stays longer, we too have parts inside of us that may be stubbornly entrenched. Perhaps it’s a grudge held from years ago. Or a recent dustup with a friend. Maybe even a long-held belief (I’ll never lose weight, I’ll always be like this, I hate myself/my life). Or a recent decision, say “I’m just old. I can’t learn how to do (fill in the blank).”

These feelings, emotions and beliefs can be tenacious and sometimes downright intractable. We can get stuck. The mind sets a pattern. “This is what we did the first time, and it was successful. That’s the way it will be from now on.” Just as the north side of snow and ice is fixed in its way, the mind continues to do what it’s always done until there’s a change in its thoughts.

But how to change that thought? Here are some tips to melt your north side:

  • Be mindful of where your north side resides. Someone in your family instantly sets you off and you explode before you know it. Take some time to gently tease apart the reasons for this immediate reaction before you deal with the problem. Resolve each issue as it comes up, knowing your experiences resemble an onion. Watch as each layer unfolds.
  • It’s a challenge to hear opposing points of view. Some friends have different opinions from yours. You feel yourself getting steamed up. Do you shut them off? Or listen to what they have to say? Be curious as to your reaction rather than quickly getting stuck. 
  • If frustrated, ask yourself, “What else can I enjoy doing right now?” This simple sentence opens the door for more options. Rather than being stuck in the same rut, you can develop new patterns of behavior.
  • What’s the smallest action you can take to resolve the situation? You’ve gone to lunch with friends. And once again, you are paying more than everyone else. You feel frustrated and put upon. Stop! Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Next time? Ask for separate checks. Go to a restaurant where each pays for their own meal. Meet for coffee. And keep the friendship.
  • Put your words to music. The other day I came across a long-standing north side of my own. Instead of the nasty downward spiral I was creating, I sang my words to “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning.” The issue disappeared. And I was laughing. I was unstuck.

I hope I have opened the door to investigating your own inner north side.


Did you ever have to finally decide?
Say yes to one and let the other one ride?

—John Sebastian, The Loving’ Spoonful

Duff here. I was thinking about Decisions the Other Day. Big Ones and little ones. The kind that are Life changing. And others that are of the everyday Variety. I have watched People become Stressed Beyond belief when making these Choices. You might call it Paralysis Analysis. This color or that? Buy it? Or let it go? Extensive vacay? Or a short weekend? Making up Your Mind can be Difficult, if You allow it to be. Not unstuck.

I, Myself, have few problems with Decisions. What’s for Dinner? Time for a Walk? Naptime? Perfect! The only Challenge I have is when Mom goes out to gather up My Bedding from the Car. Laundry is done once a week, and How I revel in clean sheets (so to speak). I am to stay Close By. But I am so tempted by The Great Outdoors, I decide to ramble about. I do check over My Shoulder to be sure Mom’s following Me. And so She is. A good Decision for both of us. Living unstuck.

How about You? Do You get stuck making Choices at Times? Saying yes? Or not? I say: Gather all the information You feel comfortable with. Then take the Plunge.  Have fun. Enjoy Your world. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#decisions

Smooth Sailing and Eddies

As I go on my morning walk, I pass a ditch. Small trees and shrubs line its path. Weeds and flowers are abundant. Sometimes it is filled with water to the brim, hustling along to a large culvert at the end of the road. It burbles and bubbles as it travels, paying no mind to anything but its journey. One time water flooded a nearby field, refreshing the grasses but causing havoc for the owner.

Then there are times when it is dry. I can see the bottom of the trench. It is cracked from exposure to the sun, not seeming to be useful to anyone. But once the water begins to move, this drainage area is ready to serve its function. The water flows once more.

Right now, there is movement in the ditch. Water is smooth as it glides along, rippling occasionally as rocks on the sides or the bottom interrupt its journey. Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil as it goes. But there are times when the water is blocked. Debris may pile up or the flow may narrow so much that there is no other place for it to go. Eddies are created as the water backs up, but are soon dispersed when the pressure increases and the flow continues once more. Drifting along to its final destination.

The flow in this ditch is much like your life. Sometimes, your world is filled with excitement and adventure. Just as the ditch when it is almost brimming over with water, you too have a busy life and are intent on your journey. Others may be involved or it could be a solitary trek. But the flow is rapid and quick, causing you to make snap decisions and move quickly to keep up with the flow.

Then there are times when there seems to be nothing going on in your life. To your way of thinking, your life is dull and boring. When this occurs, you might reach for a distraction: a food indulgence, binge watching a favorite series, picking a fight with someone nearby. Not necessary, but it can happen.

Your life can also move smoothly, with few ripples and waves to distract you from your goal. Everything falls into place, almost as if it was orchestrated. You feel calm inside. At peace. Content. Smooth sailing. But no challenges, so no growth.

Then there are the eddies. There are times when you have prepared and are ready for an event or occasion. Then life appears to stand still as you wait and wait. Almost going in circles as you watch life go by. But this is time for growth. It’s the opportunity to develop patience with yourself and go within, discovering the myriad of facets that are a part of you. What you find may surprise and delight you. Or again, you may move into being distracted and slow your learning. But much as the water in the ditch, the pressure of life’s energy increases. Your life picks up again and you are moving along, going with the flow.

I’m curious. What choices do you make? How do you react when your life is so busy you can hardly breathe? When it slows to a seeming crawl? When it’s smooth sailing and you’re going with the flow? When you come to an eddy? Take a moment before each movement and check your inner landscape. You can change it to what you would prefer and create another pathway in your mind. You can even have fun with your life, moving along with what happens. It’s all up to you. That’s living unstuck.

Paving Another Way

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.

—Dolly Parton

Duff here. I played a fast One on Mom today. We were on the Move to meet a Good Friend at a local Eatery. During Summer when the Weather is Warm, Mom has a Choice. She lets Me do My Number. If it’s Cool enough, Off I go with Her. But if She deems it Too Hot for Me to stay in the Car, She gathers Me up and takes Me back inside where It’s temperature controlled. To Her, that’s living unstuck.

But I was having none of That today. I hopped downstairs and stood in My Appointed Area for My Business. Walked around. Sniffed a bit. And kept checking over My shoulder to see if Mom had opened the Car Door yet. She kept waiting on Me until it was almost Too Late to be on Time for the Get Together. She decided The Temperature was Acceptable and Opened the Door. Into the Car I went. I waited her out. Squeeze play! Now, that’s living unstuck.

How about You? Have You had a Negative situation that, to Your Dismay, happens Time and Time again? And You’re ready for Different?? I say: Use this as an Opportunity to figure Out another way. Employ Your Creativity. Apply some Determination. And change what’s Happening. Works every time. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#

My Nemesis: The Smoke Alarm

Duff here. A while ago, Mom and I were having a peaceful morning. The Sun was shining. Birds were singing. A gentle Breeze was wafting in the trees. When suddenly: the Smoke Alarm erupted with that Abysmal Sound. You know: the Dratted Chirp, Chirp. And those high Pitched Tones? Hurt My delicate ears. Not unstuck at all.

I slid off the Sofa and Sidled over To Mom, asking Her to make It stop. Please. (She’s good at doing That.) The dilemma? Mom was on her way out the door to Walk with a Friend. What to do? She thought for a Moment, Then gathered Me up. Down the Stairs We went, proceeding over to the Car. She Popped me inside, then Closed the door. At first, I barked once. Then Twice. But quickly realized the problem was Gone. (And Yes, she fixed it before I came back Into Our abode.) Living unstuck.

How about You? Have You had a problem Intrude on Your peaceful Day? Then had It easily resolved? I say: Cultivate solving problems in Multiple Ways. You never know when One will work. Or not. But with a Variety to choose from? Freedom! At least, that’s been my experience. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#smoke-alarms

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the silent voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow.”

—Mary Anne Radmacher

Dead Ends

Duff here. Dead ends are discouraging. I was walking along in My Winter Wonderland, minding My Own Business. Playing with My Shadow. Running Circles around Mom. (Such fun To Do.) But then, It was Time to head back Inside. My Paws were cold. I could Warm up and be Ready for the Next Adventure. That’s living unstuck.

But first, there was a Big Road Block. I hit a Dead End. Seems that Someone had backed up Their truck, and what I thought was a Path was the Rut they Left behind. Drat! I stood there for a Moment, figuring out What My Next Move would be. Would I jump Across? Would I turn around? Would I wait for Mom to Pick Me up? (She does that Sometimes.) The Decision Drama ramped up. I quickly Backed Out and went on My Merry way. Living unstuck.

What about You? What do You do when You come to a Dead end? How do You figure out Your Choices? And How do You know which One is right For You? I say: It’s a Gut Feeling. Evaluate Your options. Then feel what’s Right. You’ll never go Wrong. I guarantee. For I don’t. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#bypss-dead-ends

Dead-end roads don’t mean you’ve come to your end; just means you need to take a different detour.

—Anthony Liccione

Life is Like . . .

Life is like a series of commas, not periods.


Duff photoDuff here. Have you felt so that Life is totally confusing? Circumstances overwhelming? Can’t see Your way out? I have done that a Time or Two. And it’s not Fun. Everywhere I looked, it was Dreary. At times, I thought it Was Forever. I thought it was a Period . . . when actually it was a Comma. I forgot to Live Unstuck.

But I Shake Bad Times like that off Quickly and Easily. Of course, They happen to all of us. (Sometimes, I Shake my Entire Body from my Nose to my Tail as I move Beyond them.) I’ll admit: these Wretched Times are not easy to move through. But I live Unstuck. I acknowledge Them, figure out their Learnings and Teachings, and keep on Going. Too many Delightful Adventures to explore to get Bogged Down in the past. I am one Persistent Puppy, bound for Higher Ground and the Cheerful Experiences Life has to offer.

Are You like Me? Do you Calculate your losses and let go to Move Ahead? Or do you get Mired in the Muck of What Could have Been? I recommend: Let go and live Unstuck. To do so is far more enjoyable, for life is short. Or so They say. #unstuckliving#lettinggo