“Monday 5 Things”™….. Shake It Up …..

Photo: D. Paul Graham, ‘Shake It Up’, Broughton Street circa 2022

“Monday 5 Things”™….. Shake It Up …..

For as long as I can remember I’ve had this thing about anthills. Whenever I come across one, I have this insatiable need to poke it, kick it, and mess with it. I continue to enjoy a child-like fascination of the structured chaos that ensues with the ants.  Many years ago, I learned an invaluable lesson from my first exposure to vindictive spiteful fire ants on a golf course in Florida.  Naively assuming these were simply snow-ants visiting from Ontario or Quebec, I ran my golf shoe back and forth through the massive Floridian ant-condo. Welted retribution for their ant-brethren ensued, but that’s another story.

While taking an early morning walk last Friday, I came across a seismic monitor on Broughton Street pictured here. Rebellious anthill instincts kicked in. No pun intended. Well ok. Pun intended.  I stopped and immediately pondered kicking the box to see what sort of chaos would ensue. Better judgement prevailed as I wanted to avoid retribution from the gaggle of coffee-sipping city workers as they started their workday standing on anthill like mounds of dug-up dirt in the middle of the street. However, the moment did lead to M5T thoughts of how shaking things up in our lives can be a positive mindset.

1. Pivoting

Shaking things up by pivoting where you are looking, shifting your scenery, and changing your location can be frighteningly refreshing. Pivoting can lead to fundamental changes and new beginnings amid chaotic circumstances. Change what you do in your spare time, alter the route you take to work. Clean your car. Cook something completely different. Read something that you normally wouldn’t read. Learn something new today. Check your attitude. Break up with someone. Commit to someone. Consider your job, your city, your country. Pivot as necessary.

2. Purging

I’m always fascinated by how a good purging can feel so good. Purging can be as simple as cleaning out a closet of unused clothing, throwing out stacks of magazines that clutter almost every part of my home and office, jars of mystery growths in the fridge, unused and expired things in the pantry, or anything that you think, ‘I’d better keep this just in case’ and that ‘case’ has not occurred in over a decade. Deeper, more profound purging is found by detoxing our lives of negative thoughts and noxious people that don’t build you up. Unearthing and purging hurts and traumas, insecurities and fears, and emotional and physical baggage takes time and commitment but make for a healthier balanced life in the long run.

3. Pardoning

Forgiving others is complicated. Forgiving ourselves is even more complex. It is a choice, a gift, and a perspective. Forgiveness allows us to let go of the bitterness of hurt and disappointment, and the resentment and anger of abuse. It replaces a need for vengeance with feelings of reconciliation and regained control in our lives. Pardoning ourselves, our past, and our actions allows for emotional growth and change, peace of mind, and the ability to take personal responsibility to allow for a fuller, richer life with deeper relationships.

4. Pausing

I’ve always said there is tremendous power in a pause. Pausing allows you to pay attention and listen to what others are saying and doing. Pausing makes others want to fill the void of silence. Learn from what they say during a pause. Pausing moves you to focus on what you are feeling, what your inner voice is saying, and to understand the direction you are heading. Pause every day to pray, to ponder, and to express your gratitude for everyone and everything in your life. Pause by taking a digital holiday, even if only for a few minutes; take inventory of where your life is at and where you want to be; recognize that as any activity lessens, order will most times increase.

5. Pushing

Shaking things up and pushing for change is not an easy thing to do at times. Sometimes, you just need to kick your own anthill to shake things up in life. Push yourself to give up control where necessary. Learn to hold onto things loosely; let go of what you can’t control; realize that you can’t control other people’s happiness, but you can contribute greatly, often in more ways than you realize. Push yourself to take control where necessary. Live out your core values and beliefs; believe in yourself and your vision; and take responsibility for your own actions. Push yourself to watch for and act on opportunities. Unpack your emotions. Pack one less bag on a trip. Talk to a stranger today and push yourself to listen to their story. Push to commit a random act of kindness every day for a month. Push yourself to dream, and then push to dream bigger.

Here’s to shaking things up this week, to kicking anthills, embracing structured chaos, and to being conscious of the seismic monitor in your own life.

© 2022 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

For over 10 years, D. Paul Graham has published “Monday 5 Things” ™, also known to readers as M5T ™.  Each Monday, Paul shares his observations, thoughts and passions on people, life, and culture.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can also be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com