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Casual or Causal?

"Casual, Causal, Casual, Causal…", said the voice that awakened me before the alarm even went off one morning last week.  I have mind chatter on an ongoing basis, so I presumed it was simply another “distinction” or message I might get to pay attention to that day for myself or one of my clients.  I like distinctions – they denote clarity.

I did my internal wonder and rationalization as I do when I need to get the “conversation” removed from my brain.  Sometimes I even jot some notes, as I did in the damn morning pages that day.  Causal means I get to be focused on getting something done.  Causal is the opposite of formal or maybe means a slower, relaxed pace.  I probably can’t be casual and causal at the same time because things would move too slowly for me, blah, blah, blah.   I let the idea drop, figuring it would show up when it needs to be a message.

Alas, the concept couldn’t leave me alone as it came back this week.  Mother Nature decided to teach the lesson. Never at a loss for a sense of humor, “Mom” evidently thought that the aesthetics of my property were somehow diminishing and she needed to do something.  The snow banks have finally been shrinking on both sides of my driveway from face-height to hip-height over the past week or so with our 50 degree heat waves and some rain.  We’ve only had about 80” of snow to shovel this season so far to create the nice tunnel effect that I get to drive through from the street into my garage.  So for good measure, Mom Nature decided to take matters in her own hands and dropped about 6” of the nice heavy March snow – you know, the stuff perfect for snowball fights and making snowmen?  As I was shoveling that no-longer-fluffy white stuff off the sidewalk and driveway in order to amp up the snow banks, the casual-causal idea showed up again - with story analogies this time.

About half way down the driveway as I was energetically, methodically getting my equivalent of a P90X warmup, the Hare and the Tortoise story came to mind.  Both the rabbit and the turtle were causal as they both had strong intentions to finish the race.  Yet, which one of the two, if any, was casual?  Based on my original thought last week, both probably couldn't happen simultaneously, right?  Certainly, the hare dashed multiple times to his next stop so he could hang out and rest.  He could be considered casual, even unconcerned in his arrogance, knowing he would certainly win a race against a slow reptile.  Arguably, the determined tortoise could have also been deemed to be casual as he plodded, albeit unwaveringly, toward the finish line.  That said, my original theory from last week is incorrect.  "What's the point of this....my fingers are getting cold!", I found myself muttering.

The point:  What value could inspired actions, whether dramatic or diligent, offer us if our approach to a desired end was both causal and casual?  Could we land at the finish line more sanely?  Would someone who is used to a faster pace be bored or anxious?  Not really…I was casually (although not slowly as it was 30 degrees) and causally uncovering pavement and it was lovely because the all-encompassing hyper-focus of get it done at warp speed was missing.  The combo of casual and causal allowed me to enjoy the weather, the quiet and uninterrupted thinking time.

The purposefulness of being causal is what gets us into action toward a goal dream or end result.  The ongoing forward movement affords a sense of accomplishment. Considering a casual action plan, whether using methodical consistent baby steps (think tortoise) or big leaps followed by resting or regrouping (think hare), doesn’t mean jobs can’t be done quickly or without focus.  Steven Covey’s “Sharpen the Saw” analogy is an excellent reminder of the need to be “on purpose”, yet make time for self-care and improvement along the way.  Getting all wrapped around the axle pushing ourselves to a frenzy or burnout point serves no one in the long run.  Working casually often can take the rigidity away from the need to have something “look a certain way” while still creating a desired end.  Given our often hectic lifestyles, could that offer you a different perspective?

I wonder if Michelangelo, while chipping away at the rock that contained “David”, thought his work had to be done a specific, formal, rigid or hurried way.  Or was he simply intent to artfully remove any parts of the stone that weren’t David?  If your inner artist (yes, we all have one) were to master something in your inspired life, causal intention is necessary.  Would you do it casually, too?

BE the inspiration YOU are!



Mirrored Wallpaper, Madness and You

Remember the popular wallpaper from back in the 70’s or maybe early 80’s that had the reflective mirror-like backing with some gaudy design overlaid on top of the mirror effect?  Yes, by the early to mid-1980’s many people wanted that stuff gone and chose to update their décor.  I hung (and stripped) a lot of wallpaper in a lot of houses back then, having homeowners much happier when the “mirror effect” went away.

Fast forward to today.  A few weeks ago I moved.  A new beginning of sorts since I moved to a different suburb after living in Eden Prairie, raising my family, doing my businesses and volunteering there for almost 24 years.  I’m in a home older than I’ve been accustomed to and guess what adorns my foyer?  Yup…wallpaper from hell.

When one of my nephews, then one of my son’s friends, who helped with my move saw the walls in my entryway for the first time, they marveled, “Wow!  This is SO cool!  I wish I had this in MY place!”  Keep in mind, these guys are 19-23 years old and have never seen the mirrored wallpaper phenomenon since most of it was (thankfully) gone prior to their births.

What does that have to do with you?  Let me explain. 

Note:  For those of you outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you can continue to read for an idea or two, yet the promotion might not be something you can take advantage of for logistical reasons....just sayin'.

As I was stripping wallpaper from what was the pretty Pepto-Bismol Pink bathroom this weekend (my adventure isn’t limited to the foyer walls), I had the best idea.

It occurred to me that there are 2 things that happen in early March that can help me expedite this house project dilemma.  Not high school sports tournaments.  Not Spring Breaks.  It’s that time of the year for both March Madness Sales and The Minneapolis Home and Garden Show. 

When I worked in someone else’s office years ago, I used to take a vacation day every year to go to the Mpls Convention Center on a weekday before the big weekend rush to visit the home improvement vendors and smell the flowers and dirt they brought in for displays.  A date I couldn’t deny myself when there were typically snowbanks everywhere on the way to all those blooms just waiting to show off downtown.  Loved it!  I like upgrading houses and I enjoy gardening, which is a bonus, since the place I moved to a couple of weeks ago has given me more than ample “opportunities” to do both.  Translate:  LOTS of work to do.  In EVERY room (literally).   Before gardening season starts.

As a gardener and artist, it’s one thing to be curious with anticipation and another thing to expect a major project.  I don’t know what’s under the 4’ of snow in my new backyard other than some evidence of a wire fence in the shape of a square doing its best to peek out for air.  “Grandma”, the lovely 90-year old lady that lived here for the past 35 years, promised there is a garden back there and listed a few surprises I may find if – I mean when – the snow melts.

Yesterday, as my best buddy, DIF, and I tackled layers of glue on the walls in anticipation of Spackle, Sandpaper and Blue Tape to do their duties next before the main event (paint!), the genius idea came to me:

Have a March “Stop-The-Madness” Sale!

I’m admittedly a bit creeped out about doing a sale this extreme, yet I really need to fund this house overhaul project this month – before I have my own madness AND before the fence in the backyard is uncovered.  If you feel inspired to get some clarity about your own “madness” (you know I’m not alone when it comes to that) and are willing to come into my “construction site” for the Deal of the Year, here are some things to consider if this Stop-The-Madness promotion is for you or someone you love and/or respect:

March indicates the end of the first quarter. 

  • Are you on track with your goals and aspirations for 2011?
  • Have you been one of the many to abandon the gym for the year (be honest) because your New Year’s Resolution was just SO long ago and that commitment has come and gone as quickly as a satellite in orbit?  You know what your "gym" is that you blew off already, so just fill that in the blank.
  • Do you have a nagging sense that you are “up to something”… and are having a heck of a time defining what “it” is – or what action you might take to execute “it”? 

I can inspire some insight.

FROM NOW THROUGH MARCH 10Almost all of my services* are ½ priceGulp.

  • 1-Hour Ideation/Effectiveness  Strategy sessions:  $75 (reg. $150)
  • 1-hour hand analysis reading:  $60 (reg. $120)
  • ½ hour hand analysis reading:  $35 (reg. $70)
  • $300 off 6-month Executive Coaching Program

This sale applies only to services purchased and started on or before 3/10/11.   Note that although I've recorded the readings I've done for the last 15+ years that I've been reading hands, at this madness price, they won’t be recorded unless you bring something along to record for yourself.  However, if we do any Ideation work in person, you can take my notes with you.  

*This promo does not apply to gift certificates, corporate events or appointments scheduled beyond 3/10/11.  It also does not include copywriting services provided by WordQueens, although you may want to check out that fun site if you need some irreverent, effective content writing for your marketing materials, website, etc.  www.wordqueens.com

Now it’s up to you.  Call or email me to see whatever time you and I can match our calendars and I’m yours!  Since we both have several things already on our agendas for the next week and a half, it would be important set this up sooner than later, because on March 11, my madness is technically over.  Ok, as soon as the paper is gone, it’s officially over.

Thank you for your contribution to yourself, your well-being, your success and the ripple effect you cause when you contribute to your inspired self when you get a handle on your own madness this March! 

Oh, and HUGE GRATITUDE for beautifying our world (no more mirrored paper!) by supporting my project.  You’ll have to stop by for tea in the summer once the surprise in the back yard unfolds. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

BE the Inspiration YOU are!





An adventure with fuses

In August, when my daughter and youngest child went off to college, I made a declaration:  This is “The Year of the Cindy”.   I got the idea from a lovely lady in my Artist’s Way class.  That course is normally set up to be 12 weeks in duration, and our class is brilliantly spread out over 12 months.  Each week, or in our case, each month, the intent is to “Recover a Sense of (something)”.  That (something) could be Identity, Possibility, Abundance, Compassion…whatever the “artist within” needs to find again.  The theme is different, and amazingly perfect, each month.  Despite that I’m not a fan of the damn morning pages that are part of the program; actually DOING them is what has the course work.  Who could have guessed that half way through My Year, I would decide to move?  I hate moving.

As adventures would have it, I moved out of the suburb that I raised my family in since 1987 to…yes, one suburb over AND a rival school district.  My children may think I’ve completely lost my mind, yet it’s going on Day 4 and they’re still talking to me.

The night my final boxes and furniture were dropped off somewhere under my new roof by my gracious, generous friends and family who suffered the logistics of this move, I went to pick up some groceries.  I  couldn’t stop smiling in the store…thinking back to “when the heck was the last time I shopped for food for just me, anyway?”  The light bulb came on in that instant.  Wow.  It was in college.  I really get to make this MY exciting, uplifting, confusing, freeing adventure.  What an identity shift from my “roles” as mom, etc. to this newfound identity.  Of course, declaring an adventure, the Universe decided to help.  

The next official full day of living in Boxland, on Day 1, I learned that a space heater and hair dryer are not compatible to be “on” at the same time with the same circuit.  I also learned that all the houses I’ve lived in have circuit breakers that need the switch flipped to turn on the power again.   The circuit box was much more colorful than a bunch of black switches…it contained little round fuses of all different colors, letters and numbers.  First initiation into my new town:  the young guys at the local hardware store are amazing, despite the school rivalry thing.

What IS it with THIS particular adventure?  I feel happier and more inspired with each passing day.  Declarations (i.e. standing for something to “be” in the face of no evidence) do that.   They have an energy of their own that can make hassles turn to minor details.  The power from the bathroom also affected the garage door, which I realized as the garbage truck slowed down wondering where the container was for pickup.  Good thing it’s stupid cold and nothing is going to get ripe before next week in that container like it would August.  Another blessing?  Yes. 

On Day 2, I found my silverware.  “Stuff” is beginning to migrate to the rooms where it/they will be living.  On Day 3, I now have a path through my kitchen!  What normally would be impatience in my world has a happy calmness, and despite sleep deprivation, this transition continues to be EASY – because I said so.

Where in your life have you “blown a fuse” only to find out that your known “remedy” is no longer an option?  Is it a source of aggravation?  Do you consider it a “learning moment”?  Could it be a fun way to explore wherever the solution resides with ease and interest?  Could you choose to wrap yourself in a “happiness blanket” despite your circumstances and see what other graces then come your way with that attitude? 

We’re only five short weeks into 2011.  How would it be for YOU to declare from now until next February, “The Year of [YOU]”?  Kindly let me know how it goes for you!  In the meantime, I get to anticipate Day 4 of whatever the “Move Adventure” has in store.  If you haven't started, make your adventure happen today, too!

BE the Inspiration YOU are...



They sell cookbooks at the bookstore?

Yesterday I met Dorothy.  I needed a change of venue so I decided to get out of the office, skip the coffee shop scene, and go to the local mall’s food court to catch up on some paperwork.  The mall in my town has a gigantic fireplace in the middle of the food court, so I was instantly drawn to the glow and the heat as I left my car in the falling snow outside.  A chair as big as Papa Bear’s welcomed me to warm my bones while I settled into my reading. 

After a bit, a lovely, tender lady in a very fashionable hat, rolled a Sears shopping cart carrying only her purse over to the hearth and sat down right in front of me.  What a sophisticated hat on this petite, sparkling-eyed gem!  It wasn’t 30 seconds before she started,  “This is my home away from home.  I live 9/10ths miles from where I work at the high school in the lunch room and I really think the school should have underground parking because there is a lot of snow to clean off when I get out of work. I have the best job and make more money than ever in my life – 14 dollars minus a nickel per hour and I work 4 and ¼ hours except on Wednesdays when I work 4 and ¾ hours.” 

Her name is Dorothy.  I’m guessing at not even 5’ tall and 85 years old, the 40+ inches of snow so far this year is probably more of an inconvenience than a deterrent for sweet, feisty Dorothy.

For the ease of reading this, I added a few periods to avoid the world’s longest run-on sentence.  Dorothy doesn’t speak with punctuation.  When I asked about her hat, her response was something like,   

“Before the war (WWII) I used to be a Dayton’s girl and worked downtown, so I love hats.  Then my husband was in the marines and now I am widowed and I have 6 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  I like to come here because they have some underground parking.  At the bookstore I was watching a book with pictures of all the cities in the country for when it would go on sale.  It went on sale, then on sale again so I could buy it.  I’m watching another picture book now and have to wait until that goes on sale a couple more times so I can maybe get that one someday.  The fire is nice here.  I come here a lot.  I like to spend time at the bookstore.”

We had further discussion about how bookstores were fascinating and a place we’ve both spent lots of curious hours.  I confessed that it’s also the place that I uncovered one of my most ridiculous moments of ignorance (of the many that I’ve uncovered).  I told Dorothy that many years ago, I dated a gourmet cook.  Early in our relationship, he would call me around 4:30 in the afternoon and ask what I was making for dinner.  My reply, “Dinner? It’s 4:30 in the afternoon!  Why would I think about dinner now? I’m still working.  I’ll think about making dinner when it’s time to make dinner...it’ll likely be something from a can, jar, box... or frozen.”  Unlike so many people who consider food an “experience”, to me food is fuel.  My experience of a meal comes mostly from the people I'm with and sometimes the aesthetics.  He would host dinner parties and I would help him with kitchen prep wondering why anyone would be intrigued with the process of all that.  Making it look pretty was appealing to me; the cooking....not so much.  He eventually got to the point of answering the phone when I'd call with "Hey! Can, jar, box or frozen!  How are you today?"  Eventually he informed me that he didn't care for how easily that comment flowed across my lips.  Which brings me to the embarrassing, yet meaningful point to this story.

One day this man informed me that he needed to go to the bookstore to get a cookbook.  I was confused.  So confused that I must have looked at him like puppies do when they cock their heads and ears perk up when they hear the word “treat” or “ride”.  Did I hear him correctly?  “You want to go to the bookstore to get a cookbook?!  They sell cookbooks at a bookstore?”  He was horrified at my ignorance.  He knew how I loved to read and learn and we’ve even spent a fair amount of time there together.  “Where do you think you would buy a cookbook?” he said.  Who knows?  In my entire life, it has never occurred to me to buy a cookbook, except now that I think about it, I got one for a microwave a hundred years ago so I could didn’t make my broccoli mushy in a pot anymore.  Aren’t cookbooks kind of like pens with logos...they just show up?  Maybe from bridal showers or from aunts or church fundraisers...right?

Off we went to the bookstore and what did I see for the first time?  Barnes & Noble had TWO full isles of cookbooks!  Who knew?  Plus another full rack of diet books!  Wow.  Hmmm.  And I went to college.  Genius.

That got me thinking about what else I am blinded to when it’s simply not on my radar screen.  I remember when I was house hunting, I noticed virtually every real estate sign in a front yard.  For the years I wasn’t looking for a house, I hardly ever saw one.  I presume all the For Sale signs didn’t magically disappear, they simply were no longer in my conscious awareness.  They had no need to be “drawn” from the background to the foreground for me anymore.   

It’s common to get in sort of a hypnotic state and miss much of our surroundings.  Did you ever drive home from work and remember getting in the car when you started, then parking at home, only to wonder how "autopilot" somehow mysteriously got you from Point A to Point B with no recall of the trip?  If it was a new route or you were lost, how different would your awareness become?

At some level, all of us go through life like this.  Backgrounds of beauty are simply white noise unless we pay attention.  Signs or signals of love, invitations, sunsets, appreciation, connectedness are always available.  What about the shifting to your "online" life....where so much learning is being gleaned from something with a screen?  Is that going to supersede gardening, or hiking or white water rafting or holding hands?  Would you call yourself diverted, focused, oblivious, engaged?

Or would your eyes sparkle when relating to relationships, like Dorothy? 

As I was winding up my visit with her, my daughter who is now away at college, called and I asked her if she remembered sweet Dorothy from when she was in high school.  “The lunch lady!  She’s the sweetest, kindest lady with a face I’ll never forget and has the coolest jewelry.”  Dorothy smiled.  Of course she has the coolest jewelry...she reminded me she was a "Dayton’s girl" before “The War”.

Be the inspiration YOU are!



Just Do It

Just do it?    That sentence is incomplete.

Yes, those three short words are an effective marketing slogan for Nike, right along side of their internationally recognized swoosh symbol.  For practical purposes though, the sentence isn’t complete.  Before we get started, I’m disclosing that I have nothing against Nike, and own products of theirs.  That’s not the point of this commentary.

Here’s my point:  An ad may have an example of a decent athlete doing some activity, say jogging.  That must mean that if you buy a product with a swoosh, you would conceivably be able to “just do it” even though you haven’t put on a pair of running shoes in 10 years...or maybe ever, right? 

When it comes to a majority of us actually taking any action on whatever our “it” is that were supposedly able to “just do”, the fun little 3-word sentence really doesn’t work well or consistently . 

For years I’ve had a number of my clients finishing that sentence for themselves:  Just do it afraid.  Just do it alone.  Just do it because I can.  Just do it anyway.  Just do it because it’s the right thing to do, etc.

This website is a classic example.  This is the first post I’ve made in months.  I’ve owned my domain name for years.  If I would “Just Do It” and create a website by myself out of thin air, it’s reasonable to assume I wouldn’t have a crater-sized lapse in time since my last post and this one.  My problem was that I didn’t have MY correct ending to my “Just do it...” sentence. 

I fully grasp that I could be (and have been referred to) as a poster child for “technologically inept”, despite that I have interacted online quite a bit and also do website copywriting for WordQueens.  But html is a language I understand as well as Swahili and I didn’t find myself all that motivated to “just do it”.   

Once I was able to finally tell myself “just do it because it matters”, I had my inspired purpose and became interested and motivated to find solution to creating my website with a format that I didn’t break out from hives from doing AND would import all of my old WordPress blog postings.  Thank you squarespace!  Oh, and .... YAY!  I’m no longer “Under Construction”.

As the page turns to uncover YOUR very own 2011...the one involving you, your business, your friends and family, and our society at large, how are you proposing to accomplish your dreams, desires and goals for the upcoming 12 months?  What “purpose” will generate some inspired action?  First of all, think of something you would really, really like to DO.  Now write it down, because you’ll get further instructions in a minute.

(Side Note:  One way the sentence, “Just do it”, makes sense would be in response to a “should I ...” or “shouldn’t I....” scenario.   That’s not the thing you’ll be writing down as the thing you would really, really like to do (or it wouldn't be a "should" for you).  Your intuition already knows the correct response for you on any “should” question you could come up with...so that’s easy.  Do that another time if you’d like.)

Even more inspiring and motivating for both the initiation AND completion of your “thing to do” would require that you have a purpose.  Your purpose is a deep desire of yours for a compelling end result, even if that result means getting the monkey off your back. 

Now, look again at what you wrote down for the thing you would really, really like to DO and read it s-l-o-w-l-y out loud to yourself.  Ok, now keeping that thought in your mind, then answer this:   “How would I complete my ‘Just Do it________’ sentence in order to have that happen?”  Stop and close your eyes for about 20-30 seconds while you ponder that question.

See?  I bet your inner voice just whispered an answer to you, didn’t it?  Yes, the first thing that popped into your brain is a CLUE - a meaningful place to start your inspired action.  Congrats!  I’d love to hear your thoughts about what your inspired action is all about for your 2011!

Thank you for joining me here at cindydaniels.com.  I’ll be updating material, promos and more sources, you might find of value.  Love it if you would stop by again soon.

Keep inspiring!


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