What Is Your Necessary Ending?

Yesterday, I had the chance to hear Dr. Henry Cloud speak about Necessary Endings. He urged us to eliminate the things that keep us from taking an extra step forward in our lives. Cloud wants us to let go of the things we do not value anymore. Sounds like minimalism, right? There’s an extra step we tend to forget; Cloud reminds us to embrace endings.

We are always excited about new beginnings, but we overlook the things that need to end. We’re so focused on creating that we forget about the things we have to let go. We fail to remember that a beginning cannot happen without an ending. We tend to think of endings as something sad instead of viewing them in a positive light.

With that in mind, Cloud asked us at the beginning of his speech, “What is present in your life today that’s not in line with what you want for your tomorrow?”

How would you answer that question?

Is there a friendship that needs to end?

Do you need to eliminate anything from your diet?

Are you in need of a different job?

Is there something in your schedule that needs to be removed?

Do you have an ugly shirt that just doesn’t belong in your wardrobe anymore?

What’s present in your life today that doesn’t align with what you want for your tomorrow?

You need to cut ties. You need to move on.

You need to let go of things that are keeping you from being the person you want to be.

What needs to end so you can have the life you want?

What is your necessary ending?

How To Smash Your Television

With a blog title of smash your t.v., I need to talk about smashing televisions.

I grew up watching an hour of television every afternoon after school (my favorite show were Power Rangers, Full House, and Married With Children). We had no cable, we ate meals together as a family around the table (the t.v. was off), and a busy extracurricular schedule filled up my time. I’m thankful my parents didn’t give in to the pressure to get cable and encouraged healthy television habits. In college, my roommate watched endless trashy television, which gave me many sleepless nights. T.V. turned me off. The idea of dumping my television was not difficult for me. It might be difficult for you, though.

I should cover the reasons for ditching your television(s), but other writers have done a great job at covering these reasons for you. It basically boils down to three points:

1. Better health. Television is a leading cause of restlessness at night. Without proper sleep, our bodies are not able to rest. Couch potatoes are less active and more obese.

2. A fuller wallet. Cut the cable and you cut your bills. Avoid television and you avoid advertisements. Avoiding advertisements means you are less likely to spend money on things you don’t need.

3. More time. Television takes up an astonishing amount of time away from you.

The average American watches 35 hours of television a week.

35 hours a week!? That’s two and a half months of television in a year.

You could vacation for two months. Or read a dozen books. Or be fully rested every day!

Aside from a few laughs and bits of news, T.V. doesn’t give us anything. And we don’t give anything back. If you’re one of the millions of people that watches countless hours of television a week, it might be time to re-evaluate your television habits. It’s time to get those hours back in your life. It’s time to truly relax. It’s time to devote yourself to activities that feed your soul.

Let’s get more out of your life.

Ready to smash your television? There are two ways to do it: mentally and physically.

Mentally

  • Read a book.
  • Make a meal from scratch.
  • Go for a run or long walk.
  • Do yoga.
  • Meditate.
  • Get out your bike and go for a bike ride.
  • Have sex. Preferably with your spouse.
  • Play a board game.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Play with your pets.
  • Participate in your favorite hobby.
  • Create something with your hands.
    • Knit a scarf.
    • Build a bookshelf.
    • Sculpt some pottery.
    • Paint a picture.
  • Get some extra sleep.
  • See a show on stage.
  • Learn to play an instrument.
  • Volunteer at your favorite organization.
  • Travel. Walk across town or fly across the country.
  • Write. A book, poems, journal entries, letters, postcards, or post-it notes.

Physically

  • Use a sledgehammer.
  • Throw it out the window.
  • Drop it off a building.
  • Run it over with a truck or military tank.
  • Drop a steel beam on it.
  • Throw large rocks at it.
  • Wii bowling with real bowling balls.
  • Pretend it’s a baseball and hit it with a bat.
  • Leave it on the curb for a garbage truck to crush it.
  • Blow it up.
  • Leave it in the possession of an angry gorilla.
  • Set it on fire.
  • Shoot it, Elvis-style.
  • Smash it, Office Space-style.

Oh, and you don’t have to throw your television out the window.

Just unplugging it and dropping it off at Goodwill is enough. If you do throw your television out the window, let me know how that goes. I’ve never done it, yet the thought of tossing it off the balcony and watching it smash into the lake below makes my heart race.

Next time you’re about to turn on the television, consider one of the options above, or something else you’d love to do. Go do that. See how long you can go without turning on a television. I challenge you to try this for a week.

When you smash your television, you are free.

How will you smash your television?

 

*Photo credit: João Paglione

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing.

The Italians have a saying: “il dolce far niente.”

Translated, it means, “the sweetness of doing nothing.”

The Italians have mastered this. We need to adopt it into our lives.

Most people (particularly Americans) work hard all week. During a 40-hour, sometimes 60-to-80-hour work week, they grab a fast food meal on their way home, plop down in front of the television, see a commercial advertising beer and fancy gadgets, go out and buy said beer and gadgets, go back home thinking they’re happy, plop down in front of the television with the beer, and before you know it, the week is over, the weekend isn’t much different, and the 40-hour work week starts all over again. We rush, work, rush, meet, rush, work, meet, and rush to do everything and consume everything because we are told by countless sources that material things and a busy schedule make us happy. We believe we need more to be happy.

The truth is far from that.

We need less. We might need nothing.

How often do you think to yourself, “man, I need a vacation”?

Well, give yourself that vacation! A mini-vacation, at least.

Wake up an extra twenty minutes tomorrow morning or set aside twenty minutes in your evening for yourself. Sunrise and sunset are good times. Go to the nearest park or sit on your patio (or chair by the window, or floor) and do nothing for those twenty minutes. Don’t glance at your phone. Ignore the computer. Leave the television untouched. Just sit. Breathe. Enjoy the fresh air. Relish the morning light. Watch the birds and squirrels. Value the silence. Do nothing.

Then come back later and tell me how you felt.

Do it tomorrow. And the next day. And so forth. Do it longer than twenty minutes if you want. You will find time, and you will feel refreshed.