How Are You?... Really?

Sunday, September 25, 2011 1:01 AM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 0 comments
The question "how are you?" Really... almost nobody cares about the answer you give them anyway. It's so bad that some people will ask "how are you" and when you're just about to answer they get distracted, start another conversation, or don't even wait for you to answer before talking about something else... wow. It's become a programed response. For people like me, I despise this question because I am stuck with the dilemma of how I'm going to answer. Being a person that values honesty, I want to answer it honestly, but when things aren't "awesome" not everyone wants to hear "well... actually I'm rather stressed, and I forgot to eat lunch, so now I have a headache." Now what do I do?... lie? "I'm great... YOU?" Nope, can't do it. So lately I've been sticking to phrases like "I'm OK" or "could be worse -smile-" Just honest enough, but not too honest (we've all experienced that when it was not expected...awkward). I have even heard of people answering on a Likert scale. "On a scale of 1-10 I'm about an 8." Now to be fair there are those, like myself, who only ask this question when we are prepared for an honest answer (i.e. not the 1st week I know you). I have even had times where I will given a programed answer like "fine" and they will again say "how are you" I find this refreshing because so many of us are used to small talk and "Midwest manners"- I can't wear makeup that thick, makes me feel like a birthday clown at a wedding- painfully out of place.
Now lets discuss the answer "busy... but good." I hear this one all the time so lets dissect this out a bit. We say we're "busy" but we're "good." What does that even mean? When was the last time you were really busy, and felt "good" about being that busy? Maybe it's code for "I'm really stressed with ___ and have a lot of ___ to do,  but there isn't much I can do about it because I can't quit my job/school, fire my boss, get rid of my wife/husband, or ignore my kids, so I'm just going to say I'm good and call it a day." (disclaimer- this sounds really sad and pessimistic of me but honestly that is what I hear every day from people I do consults with). Now obviously there isn't a cookie cutter answer for everyone here as to why we say this, but I think that if there was, it would lie in the western world paradigm that makes us see ourselves in terms of how much stuff we do in a day. Instead of how many people's lives we have touched, how many things we have experienced, or who we are with.
Maybe the real issue is that we are actually somewhere else when we should be present with people. We ask how someone is doing and we aren't focused on them, we fill our time with temporary things instead of those that are eternal. What do you value? And does your daily life reflect those values?

Saying No To Many Good Things.

12:29 AM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 0 comments
One quote that has stuck in my mind the last year is "Say no to many good things, so you can say yes to a few great things." I absolutely LOVE that quote because like so many people, I subconsciously think I'm invincible. I really do think I can do it all- I'll have time, I always get it done "or I will stay up until I do." OK so maybe your not like me, you enjoy your freedom, you have a few big responsibilities but you don't feel pulled in many different directions... I envy you. I do so much but sometimes I feel like it's not enough. What is it that drives that? I recently did the Strengths Finders test, and the first two of my top five were Achiever and Activator.... ha, go figure (I really recommend you do that by the way- free when you buy the book). Have you ever started something with this idea of how it was going to go, and then months later realize it's really not going where you thought it would? I find that when I say "yes" to so many different things in my life, I have this idea of how it's going go, how I'm going to be able to put time into it. Then, months later reality hits and I begin to experience this rude awakening that "no, you can't do everything." Lets be honest with ourselves here because who really WANTS to do everything? We may all think we do (achievers), but no one wants to be that busy all the time.
For many people I believe the problem is that there are so many good things we could be doing. You could volunteer as a youth leader or community organizer, start an activities group, or go to Bible study, cooking class, or take dance lessons. Maybe you want to workout 7 days a week or run a marathon all while being a doctorate student and work 50+ each week. There is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves, they're good, and when they can become a priority they are life giving and really fun. My question here is this... why do many things poorly, when you can do few things well? I struggle with this on a regular basis so I have to keep asking myself this very question. Maybe I need to say no to a lot of good things- the youth group, and the marathon, the Bible study and overtime at work.... for now. Maybe all I can do right now is what I know I have been called to do which is to be a good student while finishing my doctorate, and put in 37 hrs at work and no more. Doing them well, instead of doing a lot more and inevitably failing at all of them. Let me put this clearly, you can't have it all. A truly honest life will recognize that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. Maybe being a teacher means you're not going to be a millionaire by the time you're 30, or maybe going to school year round means you don't get to go on vacation, and you have to live in the same city for the next 3 years.  You also may have to give up your dream of being a model if you decide to watch daytime TV and eat fast food, or better yet do them at the same time. All good things (minus the daytime TV and fast food), but you get my point. Choice. I am glad I have a choice. I'm beginning to notice I am much happier when I say no to a lot of the extras. It can be hard for someone like me because I am up for anything and I love being around people and doing something new, but I'm a lot happier when I say no sometimes. In doing that, I get to say yes to the real important stuff, which is so much better than being busy with no direction.

The Plan- If you want uncommon results you have to do uncommon things.

Saturday, July 30, 2011 7:35 PM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 0 comments
Lately I have begun to realize that my life is a constant cycle of change. Literally everything seems to be changing. Career direction is the same but it is always a new challenge, new decisions to make, new classes, new clinic, new patients, new puzzles to solve. And now I have a new job, new clients, new goals to help them achieve, new programs, new learning curve. Even my friendships are changing...new friends and old friends, they are all around... but some get closer, while I lose touch with others and its all different... again.  The strange thing about this constant state of change is that I have unknowingly embraced it to the point where I didn't even realize it was happening. I am almost beginning to believe that I played a big role in its existence. Mostly I think it has happened out of necessity- I need to be constantly doing new things, meeting new people, learning new skills to become the best at this whole health and wellness thing. But then I began to wonder if I liked it this way... do I like being thrown into uncomfortable and challenging situations to see how I will come out on the other side? Maybe I just need a different form of adrenaline rush..."what am I capable of?" But at the moment it is all kinds of exhausting. I had three hours of sleep one night (so bad for my health) and then 12 the next (sleep debt paid). I have found my car keys in my bathroom sink and my phone in my closet drawer (need to take my fish oils for my starving brain). There are so many things I need to do... and next week is finals :).

So what now... I have a million, literally a million things to do and not enough brain power to hold it all in. My solution: A list, a plan, a filing cabinate and a label maker. Organization. I know for a fact my brain works differently from most people so this may seem like a foreign concept to most, but "if its not on a list, it doesn't exist." Now its not because I can't remember things (although it can seem that way :). It really comes down to how the bunch of random things I need to do will float around in my head until they are written down in a categorical way... then I can forget about it until I need to refer back. My list is.... freedom.  And my files are security; when I need it, it is there. If its written down it never bothers me, because I know I will get it done now I can go ride my bike, run, cook dinner, or read a book. For those who think organization is for people with a lot of stuff... I am a minimalist, so that can't be true. I want the least amount of stuff possible as long as its quality and it works well; I don't keep what I don't need, and if I need it, it has a place, and its organized. My brain is as cluttered as my desk, or my bedroom floor. I sound like a perfectionist but I'm definitely not. As long as it has a place, it can be out of its place for a period of time (like finals week) but it must go back sometime soon. 

The point of all this... you need a plan. It doesn't matter if your like me and NEED a list to be set free,  or if you have a photographic memory and think you have it all down in your head... write it down and memorize that.  Only 3% of people write down their goals. A list is like your set of daily goals. If you want uncommon results you have to do uncommon things. So write it down. Put the biggest priority at the top and work your way to the end. You don't have to do everything, but you do have to start somewhere. I find that if I buy a fancy hand held notebook I will use it more often, so pick your fave.

This has been one of the best habits I have formed that has kept me successful through 7 years of school going all year round taking 25+ credits while working. It will allow you to do more while still being able to walk away from it later and forget about it. A clear mind is more than productive, relaxing, or  healthy ... it's freedom. 

Silence is musical

Thursday, July 21, 2011 8:55 PM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 0 comments
I don't want much, I want simple things. I want the deepest most sacred relationship with my heavenly father. I want to be silent, and hear His voice. I don't need what they are selling, I don't even need all I have. Money doesn't mean much to me, its neither good nor bad... it just is. Give me a dirt floor, a pair of shoes, and a divine purpose... and I'm happy. As long as what I have is truth... I rest in Him. I don't want fear, I want freedom. Freedom is trust. Lack of trust is doubt. Doubt is fear. And because fear can be paralyzing, not trusting the lord is... paralyzing.  If He put me "here" to do "this" than I cannot fail. I am not alone, even when I feel I am. Worship is not just my song, but what I do with my hands, what I say with my mouth and where I walk with my feet. I want to be remembered, but even more I want to remember why I am here. I want to serve.

The power of used stress

Sunday, May 1, 2011 1:46 AM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 1 comments
There is one quote that has been on my mind for the past year or so..."The space between who you are and who you want to be, is pain." As a student intern in a chiropractic clinic, I have begun to see this more and more with my patients. And obviously it's not just my patients who deal with this, but all of us. If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that we all know what we need to do, we just can't seem to rally enough emotional strength at the most opportune moment to win our internal battle. But when that visceral throbbing is greater by remaining idle, we can't help but change... it's innate... it's how we are wired.
There is a theory, the theory of used stress, which is just too incredible not to mention. It's the idea that our brains are designed to fill in the gap between our current circumstances and what we desire do to or have. For example... remember when you were 16. You just got your license, and while you were happy enough driving around in the families minivan something caught your eye... that car. The one that you might, just possibly, could maybe have, if only you had a little more money. So days and weeks go by and something crazy happens... everywhere you look you see that red striped Mini Cooper S convertible (ok so that was my favorite; now all I see are Kawasaki Ninja's). So what happened? Could it be that everyone started buying mini coopers and that is why you see them everywhere?... well no, obviously not, there was something much more complex going on in your brain. What happened is your brain has a built in system that automatically attempts to fill in the gap between your reality and your desire to own that car. It looks for that car everywhere. Where before the car came and went and your brain didn't take notice, it now takes every opportunity to remind you of your desires. The incredible thing about this built in ability your brain has for solving problems, is that you can use it to get yourself to do things you didn't think possible. How then, can we utilize the power of "used stress" to motivate ourselves? The stress is the "ahh I want that car, but I don't the money" feeling. Or, to use another example, it's the "I hate my job, but I don't know what I want to do" feeling.  What we do now is we take that stress, and USE it, just like we would uses power to turn on a light bulb or gasoline to fuel a car. If the stress is strong enough your brain is already engulfed in its desire to solve the problem, so with a little research, some motivation, and some time... the solution is found. You have utilized the stress to motivate your brain, already focused on problem solving to find a solution.
What happens way to often is people do what I call "the stuff."  Picture a small closet full of junk; and every so often someone comes with a big black garbage bag, opens the door as fast as they can, throws the bag inside and quickly slams the door as they push against it just to get it closed... and sometimes it just won't hold. "The stuff" is when someone takes the stresses of their unfulfilled dreams and desires, and shoves them into a closet... day after day more and more the stress builds; A father is fed up with his job, but doesn't want to tell his wife he wants to go back to school. A young girl, told by kids at school that she is fat and ugly. So often they ignore these inner nudges, instead of channeling the power that stress can have when accompanied by... a plan. Only 3% of people write down their goals. Basically that means only 3% of people have a PLAN... now that's sad. To live to our full potential we need to use our God given ability so solve problems, to recognize our goals and not continually ignore them because we are afraid of failure. To write them down, and come up with a PLAN to fill in the gap between what we want, and our present reality.
For me, by biggest "stress" came four years ago in my college dorm. I realized I didn't want to study what I was currently studying... which became my problem, my present reality. But what was the solution? I could have kept on going to school hoping that I would get over it and begin to like my degree, but then something happened. I couldn't sleep, my mind kept turning. It was followed by three days of calmly but relentlessly searching for my resolution...."what do I want to do?" I loved nutrition, I loved fitness, I loved teach people about health, but I kept feeling like I was meant to do something... big. I don't know where this feeling came from, it just crept up on me, like that feeling you get when you are slowly approaching a vacation, an adventure.... you get up early before the sunrise and you make it to the to of the cliff just as the sun peaks over the horizon. It was exciting. Now let me tell you that I loved where I was .... I was very comfortable at my job while going to school learning things that interested me... all my friends and family were there. I loved my life. But the stress of my current reality kept on pushing, and without stuffing my desires in a closet where they would inevitably become too heavy for the door, I finally let it all unfolded. The result at first I admit, sounded irresponsible to my own ears, "me... a doctor... yeaaahhhh..." I thought the idea of going to school for 4 years was asinine, how was I going to get through 7 or 8... and I'd have to take physics, pharmacology, and gross anatomy. Kind of high aspirations for a girl who couldn't get through the frog dissection in high school biology. But everywhere I turned, on the radio, on TV, in conversation... this idea was everywhere. It would not rest, and so neither did I. Three days later I was planning to move three states away to go to school.... where I knew no one. And ironically, this is where I finally had peace. My decision made, all I had left to do was plan. I believe it was this experience, followed by others like it where I realized we all want something more. We have been built with this internal essence that tells us we can do great things. At some point if you decide... to ignore these inner callings... they sadly, can fall silent, and too often they do. If the space between who we are, and who we want to be is pain... than our disregard for our dreams is like a bottle of Aspirin desperately trying to mask the symptoms of our unfulfilling lives. Recognize your stress, look for your solution... your brain is already searching for the answer to your dreams.

30 Days of Minimalism

Thursday, April 28, 2011 7:48 PM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 2 comments
Lately I have been inspired by individuals I know who live their lives on almost nothing. While "meager living" is more difficult to find in this materialistic culture we live in, there are some that either by choice or by the need for survival live much more simply. My sister for example lived on 50 dollars a month while on tour for 2 years, and after visiting her recently I noticed her closet which was probably a 4th the size of my own.  I began to wonder as I watch other people live... why do we need so much? Even the amount of food we eat is disgusting. In fact, Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day, that's roughly 200 billion more than needed and is enough to feed 80 million people.  It is estimated that we throw away half of the food we produce in America. Obviously the fattest nation in the world (although Australia is close behind), we are also ranked 2nd to last in overall health. We are actually eating ourselves into an early grave.
And on the spending front, it is no secret we don't live within our means as the average household has $14,500 in credit card debt. And when we use a credit card to purchase something we spend 30% more, in addition it typically ends up costing us 112% more than if we were to use cash. And even with all this spending we are still ranked 7th in highest rates of suicides compared to other countries, so obviously we are not happy. How is it that underdeveloped nations have lower suicide rates and report higher levels of happiness? 
So how can a busy 24 year old college student do about all of this? I have always been excited about the idea of living a more simple life. Buying quality and not quantity, using cash to pay for almost everything, eating quality healthy food in smaller portions. Turning off the TV and reading a book. Spending more time with people I love. Getting rid of things I don't use, not throwing them all away away but donating them, or giving them to those in need. A minimalist lifestyle, to me, is more than just living simply, its living happily, sustainably, healthy,  and squeezing absolutely every ounce of life I can out of my time. 
So for 30 days I will be diving into the radical, and see how I come out on the other side. For 30 days, from today through May 28th, I will be living different areas of a minimalist lifestyle from how I spend my money, what and how I eat, my use of resources, and my use of time. 
Money: I will not spend anything during the day that wasn't already planned, whether that be lunch because I forgot to pack it, or a stick of gum... no exceptions. I will also be buying everything with cash, with the exception of gas and sometimes groceries where I use my card to build credit. 
Diet: I will be doing a 30 day intensive detox, which cuts out all breads, grains and simple carbs along with all sugar (a few varieties of fruit allowed). And adds all kids of good proteins, fats, and vegetables, along with special supplements for detoxing. 
Exercise: How better to exercise with a minimalist perspective than by running barefoot. I will be doing burst training, strength training and incorporating barefoot running 5 days a week. I will record my progress daily. 
Resources: I will, over the course of 30 days try on every item of clothing I have and get rid of what I don't wear. I will also be going through all my books (which is a rather ridiculous amount) and selling them online, and going through everything else I own to determine if I really need it. 
Time: Time is a resource all of its own. So many of us (myself included) sit idly by and watch life happen while we watch TV, waist valuable time on facebook and doing other activities that count for nothing in the end. I will not be watching any TV unless it is an activity I am doing with friends, or be spending more than 5 minutes on facebook at any given time. I will be spending my time working on my future business, making extra money, spending time with friends and planning some community activities that teach people how to live healthier lives. Overall a much better use of my time. 
Feel free to comment on ways you have learned to live minimally

The beginning

3:15 PM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 1 comments
I decided to start this blog one night while I was laying there in bed, desperately trying to fall asleep. It is at this time of day that my brain decides to remind me of my dreams, goals, and failures, or less dramatically the list of things I need to do the very next day. I originally thought this phenomenon of late night brain activity was unique to women, but I have begun to realize I may not be the only one who is tempted to grab a notepad at 11 o'clock at night and write down whatever my frontal lobe is threatening to throw away if I don't record it. For those who have also experienced this you probably share the opinion that this "system" of thinking is extremely annoying. And as I have heard, this annoyance is also shared by your spouses as they attempt to sleep while you're just "now" remembering things you can not forget to mention.
Lately, rather than a list of "to do's" for the next day I have been reminded of goals that had not been met or ideas I haven't taken action on. So in an effort to get some more zzzzz I am scribbling these thoughts into actions so they no longer torment me.