The Spiritual Practice of Play

During lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2012, one of the things he shared was that he learns best when he laughs.

Our spirits need celebration! What feels joyful to us encourages us along the path of personal growth and expansion.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” — Michael Pritchard

Play is the exuberant expression of our being, it fuels our joy and wonder. Play provides the energetic space we need to feel alive; it taps into unlimited possibility, inspiring us; it resides at the heart of our creativity and our most carefree moments of devotion. Play is a powerful way to feed our soul.

When was the last time you stepped into the transformational space of play?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Not just for Writers — Criticism versus Critique

When I spoke at the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison, one of my topics was why critiquing is necessary. My presentation included defining the difference between criticism and critique:

I represented CRITICISM with scissor blades facing the recipient — putting a person on the defensive. We typically react (knee-jerk) to this style of communication, viewing it as an attack. Criticism is problem-oriented, negative, and critical.

I represented CRITIQUE with scissor handles facing the recipient — putting the person at ease. We typically respond (thought-filled) to this style of communication, viewing it as a gift. Critique is solution-oriented, positive, and helpful.

When you provide feedback (at home, work, or in a writing situation), is your message respectful, honest, useful, clear, and specific?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Surfboards, Skateboards, and Vision Boards

There are numerous types of boards—longboard, snowboard, keyboard, emery board, ironing board, diving board, cork board… But to my way of thinking, the most exciting is the vision board!

Unlimited in scope, a vision board can take you anywhere! From scorching sand-whipped desert plains, to pristine peaks on snowcapped mountains; from the pulsing heart of dense jungle foliage, to the uncharted depths of the deep blue sea.

Here’s a photograph of my husband’s vision board. As a pilot, Len’s dreams and goals revolve around aircraft: with propellers, without, single wing, bi-wing, tail dragger—you name it! If it flys or glides, he researches it, watches videos about it, and attends the annual EAA AirVenture Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Len’s vision board — click on the image to enlarge

You’ve heard it said before, “What we think about, we bring about.” That’s the purpose of a vision board—a collection of graphics that help us keep our attention on our intention; graphics that clarify intent and trigger action steps that manifest thoughts into reality.

Did you notice that the right side of the board is empty? I temporarily cleared it of flying paraphernalia to make a point. I call this side Vision Bored. It represents a ho-hum attitude; a mindset that doesn’t carve out time to savor the juicy energy of anticipation.

Are you more of a vision board or vision bored type person?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

Six Word Stories

The delicate task of selection and arrangement of words on a page—writing—is as vital to a wordsmith as breathing.

Much like a surgeon’s unwavering use of a scalpel, writers carefully trim their work to achieve effectiveness through concision—the hallmark of good writing.

Perhaps the most famous example of brevity is the heartbreaking six word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In creating an assignment for my Life Harmony students—write your memoir in six words—I first had to craft my own. For those of you don’t know me well, I ran away from home when I was a sophomore in high school. My six word memoir:
“Left home walking, learned to soar.”

I took this photo titled “Untethered” in September of 2011 while driving across a small portion of the Mojave Desert. Click on photo to enlarge.

What is your six word memoir?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Salt of the Earth

Considered “the spice of life” by many in the culinary world, salt has numerous uses both inside and outside the kitchen. Historically its value was so great that in some countries it was even used as currency. Today we refer to exceptionally kind, reliable, or honest people as the “salt of the earth.”

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“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”
          — Buddha

  • The glass — a small container we allow to hold our life.
  • The salt — difficulties that mask our joy.

When we allow ourselves to venture beyond self-made boundaries, difficulties don’t disappear, but seem to diminish and take a less active role in our life.

Do you prefer a glass or a lake?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

I See You, See Me, See You

I enjoy taking photographs! Through the lens I’ve observed that when some people see me taking their photo, oftentimes a slight shift occurs—they may stand taller, suck in their tummy, smooth their hair, or tilt their head slightly to their “best” side.

When we see others observing us, sometimes a story starts writing itself in our head about what we think they think. Each person views life through their own experience-based lenses and filters. Sometimes their view lines up with ours. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Stephen Hopson is an inspirational speaker, author, and the world’s first deaf instrument-rated pilot. I admire his perspective: “What other people think of you is none of your business!

What matters is what you see, what you think, and how you feel.

Are you held hostage by the opinion of others?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

The Makings of Home Sweet Home

A robin feathering her nest
has very little time to rest
while gathering her bits of twine and twig

A few weeks ago when the branches were still bare, we saw the makings of an impressive nest in our back yard. Having recently trimmed Willa’s coat, it’s clear that birds find her wiry hair to be prime building material!

It might be a person, a feeling, a specific structure, or a tangible item—what makes a house a home has as many different answers as there are people. Whether you’re:

  • Gil in South Africa
  • Kevin in Scotland
  • Sandi in the southern US
  • Terrill or Leanne in Canada
  • Sam near the Big Apple
  • Ted in New Zealand
  • Kathy in a her little house in the big woods

What is it to you that makes a house a home?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity for phone-intensive interaction with people—some I know, others I don’t. Regardless, at the end of each conversation I stop and reflect on the exchange of words, tone, and delivery style.

I find myself wondering once again, “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?”

When I was in the corporate world, I taught MAGICMake A Good Impression on the Client. One of the tips was to keep a mirror on your desk and smile into it when speaking on the phone.

Mirror - Laurie

With that in mind, I’ve taken my own advice and placed a mirror on my desk so that I smile on purpose and use words, tone, and a delivery style that I myself would welcome.

What kind of “magic” do you use?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

Woody Woodpecker Heralds Spring

I’m out of my cast and into a weight-bearing air-boot—Whoohoo! Although I’m not allowed to drive in it (considered reckless endangerment in the state of Illinois), I now have the mobility to go outside and enjoy spring.

Sitting on the front porch basking in the early morning sunshine, I hear the distinct rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker. With still-bare branches, I easily spot the wily redhead as he pecks away with joyful abandon to find his wood-dwelling breakfast.

When I was a kid, Saturday mornings were cartoon-laden with the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and my favorite, Woody Woodpecker.

Rat-a-tat-tat! Rat-a-tat-tat! Spring is the harbinger of new things.

What opportunity is knocking at your door?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Brain Food You Don’t Eat

Our neighbor across the street drives a school bus. Each weekday morning we hear a deep rumble as she starts the bus engine, rev’s it up, and then goes back inside to enjoy a cup of coffee while it idles to warm. Her route consists of elementary aged children she transports to and from school so they can learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and numerous social skills.

I would venture to guess that most of the people reading my blog no longer ride a school bus, but we do continue to learn. Whether it’s for our job, a hobby we enjoy, or out of necessity like troubleshooting an issue on our computer or mobil device, the lifelong practice of learning benefits us in so many ways—it broadens our horizons and makes us much more interesting to be around.

Several years ago Len and I attended the Center of Deafness in Northbrook, Illinois where we learned American Sign Language (ASL). We soon discovered, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Since my right leg has been in a cast, I’ve refreshed my knowledge of the alphabet and I’m re-learning a new word each day.

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What’s your most recent learning?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book — Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience — Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence