the necessity of play.

Over the weekend, my husband and I dressed up as Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera for a Halloween party.  We weren’t necessarily in the mood and it would’ve been easy to stay home.  A few hours before the party I thought about the opportunity to walk three houses down, see costumes, have a few beers, eat some chocolate and talk to a bunch of interesting people. When I thought about it, well, it would’ve been really stupid to stay home.  Culturally, I think we sometimes consider PLAY as frivolous or unnecessary.  NOPE.  It’s really necessary. I know that play makes me feel more creative, relaxed and better able to handle setbacks.

I’m pretty sure I’ll remember dressing up like Frida & Diego for a Halloween party more than another night on the couch watching a movie. GO FORTH & PLAY, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.

I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Frida Kahlo’s home in Coyoacán, Mexico, but I can pretend I have with Photoshop.  Don’t you love my cigarette spoke.  I think Frida probably could do things like that with smoke.lisa-lillibridge-fridaFrida is worth knowing more about.  She had a remarkably interesting life. Her paintings, clothes and attitude really speak to me and provide inspiration. http://www.biography.com/people/frida-kahlo-9359496

PLAYverb (Merriam Webster)

1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  YUP, and frequently.

tall tales of cowgirls & cowboys

cowgirl-boots-printed-skirt-railroadcowboys-and-road-trips cowgirl-boots-and-a-chevrolet-lillibridge  old-cowboys-railroad-dreaming-lillibridge

These are images I created from my photographs one night this week when the house was quiet and I stayed up late.  The cowboys are from photographs I shot at the Burke Stampede Rodeo in Burke, South Dakota.  The boots are mine.  The railroad shot was taken in Sandwich, Massachusetts. The Chevy truck I shot in New Orleans.

the power of 5%.

I was reminded this morning of how I can be an ALL or NOTHING sort of person in my proclamations.  I LOVE CHANGE.  I love change so much more than the rest of my family and it drives them totally bonkers.  EXAMPLE:  If I could flip the rooms where the kitchen and the living room are I would do that.  I have to satisfy that part of my nature somehow and it’s abundantly clear that I must largely do it on my own. No public proclamations…or at least a helluva lot fewer of them.

I can be a little unrealistic: I WILL NO LONGER eat potato chips, drink beer, read news, use FACEBOOK, watch TV, eat meat or sugar, drive when I can walk, be critical of my kids or my husband, spend money on X…blah, blah, blah.

Thankfully, over the course of the positive psychology program I took through the Wholebeing Institute. I was taught something quite valuable and rather easy to incorporate into my daily life.  The simple trick of five percent.

I can improve 5% of damn near anything in my life…

then I can build on that incremental change.

I will try to exercise 5% more.  I will try to spend 5% less. I will try to eat 5% less sugar.  I will try to watch 5% less TV.  I will try to eat 5% fewer potato chips.  I will try to drink 5% less.  (NOTE:  I’ve discovered a great trick.  My beers are now 1/2 club soda and 1/2 beer.  Bartenders aren’t crazy about this order.  Who cares? It’s half the calories, half the alcohol and it’s much better for staying hydrated.)

SO, the next time you notice something you would like to improve in your life— think about a relatively painless 5% shift and just do it.

This might be all you need to get started on a desired new path.

Good luck!  Let me know what works for you.

I starting thinking about…

nonconformity-graphic

I read this line yesterday and it got me thinking about nonconformity.

“A culture that prizes traditional conformity, for example, may perceive specific kinds of individual rights and freedoms (e.g. freedom of speech) to pose a threat.”   Geographical Psychology, Exploring the Interaction of Environment and Behavior edited by Peter J. Rentfrow

There certainly is ease within organizations or families when conformity rules.  However, there also is a lack of creativity and innovation when we don’t have opposing viewpoints to challenge our long-held assumptions.

“A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates
when he becomes a conformist.”   —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Similarity or perceived similarity creates PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY to speak our minds, knowing that people basically agree with you. The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson refers to the people in our lives who challenge us as “BEAUTIFUL ENEMIES”.   What an apt description, huh?  We need to be challenged to be stretched.  Keep your beautiful enemies close AND consult them often.

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How do we share our perspectives without making others wrong?

Perhaps the goal isn’t to change minds.

What if our goal was simply to be HEARD?

To be heard, we have to LISTEN. Really listen.

Now, if I can practice what I preach, my teenagers would tell you I have a lot of work to do.

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I have a very helpful one page pdf file titled Blocks To Listening.  It’s a real game changer for both our personal and professional lives.  I thought I was a decent communicator—I learned that I was way off the mark in so many ways.  E-mail me to request a copy.

NEW VAGUS—my planet.

Yesterday my son asked me, “If you had your own planet, what would it be like, Mom?” Sometimes I rush these kinds of discussions and don’t want to play the game.  But, yesterday thinking about MY OWN PLANET entertained my brain all day. What would it be like? I needed to do something creative and playing with my photographs while thinking about my planet really sparked my imagination, thanks Ellis. The images I created are a very different direction for me. I finally went to bed at 1am still thinking about my planet.  It’s magnificent. I’ll be working on more images to convey NEW VAGUS…perhaps a recruiting  brochure, a psychological test, a song or a movie…I like options.

It’s called NEW VAGUS after my favorite nerve.  The vagus nerve wanders like a vagabond (I love that).  It’s also the captain of your inner nerve center.  If you get off course, your captain can get you heading back in the right direction.  There are some relatively easy ways to stimulate your vagus nerve. I found this fascinating.  Gargling.  Cold showers.  Prayer.  Deep breathing.  Making some of these things a regular practice can help with inflammation, migraines, anxiety, addiction and so much more.  See link below for more options and information and share broadly.  It might really help someone you love.

How to stimulate your vagus nerve. This is your nerve captain speaking.

vagus-nerve-benjamin-cummings

“What happens in the vagus nerve, it turns out, doesn’t stay in the vagus nerve. The longest of the cranial nerves, the vagus nerve is so named because it “wanders” like a vagabond, sending out fibers from your brain stem to your visceral organs. The vagus nerve is literally the captain of your inner nerve center—the parasympathetic nervous system, to be specific. And like a good captain, it does a great job of overseeing a vast range of crucial functions, communicating nerve impulses to every organ in your body. New research has revealed that it may also be the missing link to treating chronic inflammation, and the beginning of an exciting new field of treatment that leaves medications behind.”

http://mentalfloss.com/article/65710/9-nervy-facts-about-vagus-nerve

la-chapel-world-lillibridge

firenze-planet-lillibridge

ireland-planet-lillibridge

packard-plant-detroit-lillibridge

nyc-framed-planet-lillibridge

sd-farmhouse-planet-lillibridge

cape-code-shed-upside-down  nolo-world-lillibridge-dakota

florence-i-never-saw-lillibridge

nyc-planet-lillibridge

dominican-planet-lillibridge

new-orleans-cemetery-lillibridge

Here’s the key to the photos:

Los Angeles
Florence, Italy
Kenmare, Ireland
Packard Plant, Detroit, Michigan
NYC on the High Line
Burke, South Dakota
New Orleans, Louisiana
Cape Cod, Sandwich, Massachusetts
Florence, Italy
NYC near Grand Central Station
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
New Orleans in a cemetery near a famous restaurant I can’t remember the name of.