Tuesday, March 3, 2020

All Lanes Open

Damn! You missed the offramp.
Ugh, another detour ahead?
Road Hazard, use other lane.
Construction zone, please go around.
All Night Diner...closed for remodeling.

If you are like me, you've seen these types of signs, or road blocks, and many more. At any given time during the day or week, there are obstacles, blockades, closures or things that may give us pause and cause us to change our plan or intention. Be it inconvenient, or not, it is how we deal with these obstacles that mark our path.

It doesn't matter if you are an educator, business person, student, athlete, musician, or other profession, hobby or work. But, when something blocks, derails, or stumps us and causes disruption to what may be mainstream, we DO have a choice: Do we shutdown, or find an Open Lane!

Shutting down, stopping, exploding and quitting can be commonplace for some, but unthinkable for many others. Why is that?
Is it a person's Grit, perseverance, resilience and mindset? Or, is it the fact that many people are so overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and busy, that they don't see the possible Lane that is Open?

Today, in our world, unemployment is low, but our future is uncertain and rocky. We have new health scares, tumultuous financial markets, and so many other things beyond our control, happening all day. There are people that are very capable of handling these stressors with ease, smoothness, and without missing a step. But for many others, finding an open lane, another path, a different iteration can be quite difficult.

If you are like me, a podcast listener, a mindfulness practitioner, an exerciser, and one who strives to constantly reflect, grow and improve, then the reality is: it just isn't easy. Sure, we may have budgets to meet, time constraints to follow, overhead to watch, bosses breathing down our necks, needy students clamoring for love and help, and so many other forces pulling us each and every direction. So, what do we do?

There are answers. I don't know them all, but I am learning about new ones each day. Even when the chips are low and we are feeling down and nothing seems to work, we can find help and solutions. There IS an open lane. There IS another path. An untried route may be what you need. You may have read about, heard, and seen many of these examples and more, but here is a reminder of a few things that really DO work to find that Open Lane: 

Pause - Literally, stop what you are doing, find a place to let your mind go and close your eyes, even if only for a moment.
Ask - When we ask for help, we build our own wealth of tools and empower our strength of vulnerability.
List -  Instead of focusing on the 432 new emails, make a list of the 3-5 most imperative things, needs, people that need addressing. Many of the others you can put off, or delegate.
Breathe - 3 Deep and slow breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth.
Move - Don't hesitate. Walk, run, swim, cycle, jump. Do something. There are many apps out there for 5 minute movements, check them out.
Faith is stronger than Fear - Have faith in YOU. Know that you are not your last failure or dead end, but that you ARE worthy and capable. Fear will rob you of everything you have.
Read - Find a book, blog, article or magazine to clear your mind.
Learn - Take a class, a lesson, a refresher, or instruction in something new.
Laugh - Finally, the old saying isn't just a saying. It is proven that "Laughter is the best medicine". Watch Funny videos, read a comic, search for a funny movie, or look up some silly jokes. Laughter can release endorphins, burn calories, boost our immune system and relax the entire body.

All in all, this is nothing new, but please, I beg you - Don't give up. We all thrive in our own way and your way is definitely best.

I'm here to help, as God knows I ask for guidance and help quite often.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Let's Make 2020 the year of kindness!

My latest Blog - now on the Edumatch Website: Let's Make 2020 the year of kindness!

It’s another New Year. Which means for many; time for resolutions, reflections, #OneWord focuses, improvements, goals and new beginnings. For me, it is going to be simple: Bring kindness to as many people as possible. Since May 2019, when my first book came out, “One Drop of Kindness”, I’ve been sharing many of the amazing lessons, ideas, random acts, and other kindness surprises that have been intentional and life-changing moments. Why can’t we make this a part of our daily practice? Is kindness really that difficult to embrace and spread?As we read the news, watch Youtube, look at social media posts and listen to the radio, one thing is apparent; life is not full of joy and happiness for many. Volcanoes, Countries on fire, Violence and famine, hatred and is not full of joy and happiness for many. Volcanoes, Countries on fire, Violence and famine, hatred and mistrust, homelessness and much more. I see it. You see it, or even maybe live it. I can’t say I understand,but I do empathize and hope.
    My hope is for better conditions, more opportunities, less violence, more
compassion, and an intentional understanding of those in other groups, ethnicities, races, religions, and ways of life.When we aren’t experiencing joy, spreading kindness is very difficult. Often times, our first reactions are impulsive, rash and can be full of hatred. Those who are hurt, many times will immediately hurt back instinctively. This type of reaction has become habitual, and a way of life, but as many of us see; it needs to end.Education is one answer to help end the unconscionable misery and despair. If we are mindful and intentional in our approach, we can easily spread kindness to ourselves and others. Beginning with our youngest, let’s teach them to use words that lift, not destroy. Let’s get them to think, not just react. We can implore them to help others, not ignore and walk away. When these actions become natural, the ripples of kindness will spread.Not as wildfire at first, but in small waves, soothing us to want more.
    The Great Kindness Challenge is upon us soon; from January 27-31, 2020. This challenge began in 2006,
as something small and local, but has blossomed into a worldwide event. Why not jump in with your family,school, business, or group and try some of the activities? There are as many ways to spread kindness as there are ways to spread hatred and violence. Let’s share them, use them, initiate them and embrace them.
    Random acts, domino effect, ripple effect, chain reactions. These are often used in terms associated with spreading kindness. While this won’t be easy, it is possible. From the time we wake to the time we settle in for the night, we control our thoughts and mindset. It just takes a pause, a quiet moment to reflect and a quick recall of how it feels.Kindness feels good. It feels good to give, it feels wonderful to receive. If you can’t remember, just Google “random acts of kindness”, or “ kindness in the news”. It is there my friends, we just have to look.So, I ask you to please join me in making 2020, The Year of Kindness. Smile, use kind words, pick up something you found and return it to the owner, clean up a park, share a sandwich with someone down and out, listen to one who needs you, donate blankets, laugh with a friend, put your phone down and justwatch. Be the person that begins the ripple effect in your house, and then spread it at work or school.
It begins with us and will end with us, too. How do you want to live? In a world of smiles, laughter, sharing,and goodwill? Or not? We don’t have to like each other, but we can choose whether or not we treat one another with love or not.In the words of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” -

“There is just one moon 
And one golden sun
And a smile means Friendship to ev'ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all”

Be kind. Choose kindness. Spread Kindness, One Drop at a time.
Educator and author in Northern California. I’ve had my share of poor choices, and not being kind, but have intentionally sought to be a light for those who have only seen darkness. I’m a father, son, husband, brother,coach and advocate for those whose voices are not yet strong enough.Let’s support All Kids, and All People.  
You can find me on Twitter: @jeffreykubiakMy website: https://www.jeffkubiak.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GusTheKindnessKid/Instagram: aquakubeMy book, One Drop of Kindness, the story of an abandoned boy, Gus, who’s journey from despair to kindness with the help of a whisper in his heart, can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and in Independent Bookstores.