Deliberate joy, daily from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Universe gave me a couple little nudges yesterday to pay attention to how I am spending my time. I always appreciate those reminders to stay on track with my intentions!

During my commute to work, I was listening to a public radio segment regarding habitual behaviors. The point was that many of us are on autopilot when we make choices about our finances and diet, for instance. I believe the same is often true about our leisure time choices – we drive home from work, prepare or pick up a “same old” dinner, turn on the TV or computer and a few hours later, head for bed.

The second reminder came from my LinkedIn news feed. An article by Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post Media Group, wrote about stress and how the holidays leave a lot of people feeling drained and stressed out. However, she goes on to say that “The philosophy behind Less Stress, More Living is based on two truths: that we all have within us a centered place of harmony and balance, and that we all veer away from that place again and again. . . If we understand these two truths and prioritize reducing the destructive effects of stress in our lives, 2013 can be the year we reconnect with our own creativity, wisdom, and joy.”

68 awake hours each week to do exactly as we chose! 

A comment from one of Arianna’s readers noted that an average of 50 out of 168 hours per week are spent working and commuting to work. (That’s conservative, based on my experience and observations!) Another 50 hours or so each week are spent sleeping. Assuming a standard Monday – Friday work schedule, that leaves about 6.5 waking hours per weekday and 17 hours on Saturday and Sunday to do anything we want to do.

Schedule quality fun time with important people

Schedule quality fun time with important people

Now those of you who have kids at home are in a completely different place than an empty-nester like me! You have a lot more to squeeze into those awake hours. Hence, it’s even more important to schedule your fun time — sometime including kids,  and some time without them.

All that said, the point is that many of us have finite hours to play and do the things we SAY are a priority, such as time with family and friends, actively pursuing hobbies, working out or even completing important tasks and errands. In the past, I’ve often scheduled those things on my calendar to make sure I do them. Live is too short to let the days slip by in a blur on autopilot! And what a great day to recommit to spending my time in enriching activities – the day that turned out to not be the end of the world after all!

I’m also going to continue focusing on harmony, possibilities and gratitude, so I’ll attract more blessings into my life. Focusing on stress and feeling like there is never enough time, money and resources will ensure there won’t be.

I’d love to hear your comments about:

  • Do you have any tips for how you ensure using your “free” time deliberately, rather than habitually?
  • What are some examples of how you’ve purposefully deflected stress and attracted blessings?
  • What are some of the things you are going to schedule to ensure you spend time the way you really want to in the coming week?

Kick the stress habit this holiday season and give yourself the gift of time for fun!

Love, Tomboy Tam

Around the world in . . . as long as it takes

At a court hearing on Friday, November 9, 2012, I legally changed my name to the one I originally inherited from my father. It had been 36 years, two marriages and two divorces since I’ve had that name. Two questions have been asked of me, related to my name change:

Tomboy Tam in court

Tomboy Tam awaits the judge who will approve her petition for name change.

Why now?

I started thinking about returning to my original name as a new sense of self-identity emerged in the years during and following my second divorce, six years ago. My journey of self-discovery included exploring who I am aside from being a wife, mother, daughter, sister and employee. I assumed some of those roles without much conscious examination of how to perform the roles in the context of me, the individual. For most of my life, I defined “me” by who I was to other people and what they expected of me.

Today, I select and create my relationships and roles based on how well they complement who I am today and how they will grow with me as I continue to evolve. So the short answer is – I want my name to reflect the independently strong, self-centered individual I am today. (Why has the term “self-centered” come to have a negative connotation?!) From a self-centered place, I can receive and give love, friendship and value with integrity and joy.

Have I come full circle?

Someone recently used the term “full circle” to describe my return to my maiden name. However, just as Phileas Fogg returned to London a changed man after the high adventure and life experience of traveling Around the World in Eighty Days, I am not the same person with the same dreams, perceptions and expectations as I was 36 years ago. Thank goodness – because I don’t want to star in my own rendition of the film Groundhog Day!

Changing my name is a symbolic and tangible acknowledgement of who I am today – the result of my own thoughts, intentions and purpose, and all the people and experiences that have helped me evolve to this point. I am grateful for each and every one of them, as each is a thread in the beautiful fabric of my being: soft and strong; adventurous and thoughtful; resilient and vulnerable; resourceful and humble; enterprising and inviting; generously giving and abundantly receiving.

Food for thought:

  • What movie or book title best describes your journey to a positively self-centered way of being? 
  • Have you acknowledged life journey milestones with symbolic or tangible ceremonies or acts? 

Have a great day!

Love, Tomboy Tam

One must be great before Two can be better

Early last week, I posted a blog entry titled Two are better than one – unless we’re talking about weeds!”  It included a gardening metaphor related to relationships. I promised to follow up with a “plain English” version of that metaphor, so today I’m delivering just that.

The following are some of my thoughts on relationship principles.  They are as applicable to my relationships with friends and family as they are to my romantic relationship.

  1. I can identify, love and fully accept my authentic self before I can successfully love and accept anyone else. My ability to be happy by myself is a prerequisite for being happy with someone else.
  2. When I choose to invest in a loving relationship and commitment to another, it is in full recognition that they are perfect – and perfectly deserving of my love – just the way they are and they way they are not. For instance, I wouldn’t commit to a relationship with an introvert and then expect them to be happy going to parties with me every weekend.
  3. Successful relationships aren’t necessarily the result of hard work. In my experience, it’s more important to  to communicate clearly, frequently and lovingly to ensure clarity about expectations and address conflicts (about things that really matter) before they become battles, which strung together become wars.
  4. Closely related to the above is the act of simply, truly and sincerely releasing the things that don’t really matter from influencing my interactions with my loved one.
  5. Aretha Franklin had it right all along – R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a key ingredient for relationships. Respecting, honoring and being grateful for those I care about is a powerful elixir for joyful relationships.

So what’s your answer – are two better than one? From my perspective, One and Two are not comparable, nor are they in competition with each other. One must be already great before Two can be better.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • What are a couple of your relationship principles?
  • When are Two better than One?

Thanks for reading!

Love, Tomboy Tam