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Inspirational Jewelry, Gifts and Gab

Thursday, February 25, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number SIX

This is a continuation of "7 Ideas for the Greater Good." I got these ideas from a brochure that my husband brought home from an event he went to at UC Berkeley. The brochure had been buried on a bulletin board for over two years, and I was so glad to uncover it and reflect on the list again.

Savoring good experiences can heighten positive emotions.

Slowing down and being in the present moment is something I strive to do. It can be really hard in this fast paced life, but worth the effort. I like to go for a run (or walk) a few times a week, and I try to focus on my body and the world around me. It takes effort to train your brain, so I concentrate on feeling my feet hit the ground, my lungs fill with air and the quiet that surrounds me. It's bliss.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Martha Stewart Complex

I was just interviewed by Beth Levine, an author for Woman's Day Magazine. She interviewed me about an article that I wrote called "The Martha Stewart Complex." Very exciting!  Here it is. You can also check out my other articles at: Ezine.com

The Martha Stewart Complex, by Paula Mathias Fryer

The Martha Stewart Empire began around the same year I had my first baby, (at least that's when I became aware of Martha Stewart and her beautiful, meticulous world). This was unfortunate for me because it nearly ruined my first few years as a new mommy. Why? It set an unachievable standard for women who thought we could do it all.

I went from working girl in San Francisco with a career as an Events Planner with up-to-date clothes and money to burn - to - a stay at home mom in the burbs COVERED in spit up and sweat and scraping by on one income. Ouch!

I searched for a way to gain control of my life again and found it one day at the grocery store checkout. There it was, a glossy magazine with photos of beautiful Swedish furniture, an article on "Cleaning Toilets 101", and a photo shoot of the quaint nanny's quarters of a famous publisher. "I can do this," I thought to myself. "I can be the best wife, mother, maid, volunteer, and chef ever!" I purchased the Martha Stewart Living Magazine and quickly sent in my $19 check for a year's subscription. Big mistake.

I rapidly developed a bad case of the Martha Stewart Complex and I was exhausted, unhappy, chubby, and failing miserably at being perfect. The pressure was immense, the fun was infinitesimal. My lemon meringue pie was lumpy, my husband's shirts looked like they were ironed by a monkey, my knitted cap was crooked, and I could never make a hospital corner adequately. Worse of all, the fun and excitement had evaporated from life, just like the glaze l'orange sauce that I attempted to pour over my Poulet Parfait.

I had a beautiful daughter who did not care if her toys were arranged by theme, or her blanket was made of the finest cashmere. She wanted to explore, get dirty, look at books, play Polly Pockets and most of all, be with her mom and dad. It was time to get rid of Menacing Martha and have some fun again!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ideas for the Greater Good - Number FIVE

5. Help others
Altruistic individuals are healthier, happier, and they live longer. Did you know that helping others triggers the same brain activity as the gratification of personal desire?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ideas for the Greater Good - Number FOUR

4. Teach children how to be happy.

Really, I'm at a loss at what to write for this one. I think children are innately happy, and it's the grown-ups who teach them about pressure, hurrying and competition. Any comments? www.greatergoodparents.org

Saturday, February 20, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number THREE

I have loved the feedback from my continuing list of "7 Ideas for the Greater Good." Keep it coming! Idea number three is so significant in today's world of "it's all about me."

3. Practice Empathy. 
Trying to understand other people's emotions and experiences is vital to strong and healthy relationships.

In the last year, I have made an effort to practice empathy while driving. We tend to turn ugly and angry at someone who cuts us off, drives too slow, or seems to not be paying attention. It is frustrating, but I try to put myself in the driver's shoes. Of course, maybe they really are just a jerk, but probably it is a sleep-deprived mom with a screaming baby in the back (been there), or a trepidacious teenager learning to drive (been there too), or a nice grandma who is cautiously driving to the grocery store (will be there).

Friday, February 19, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number TWO

For people who know me, they know that I love to laugh, and do so often. Number two of the Greater Good Science Center's List of Goodness is:

2. Laugh 
When you do, your heart rate and blood pressure drop and your muscles relax. And because laughter is contagious, it might just calm the bodies and raise the spirits of those around you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number One

About two years ago, I received a brochure from The Greater Good Science Center located in UC Berkeley. I loved the message on the brochure and stuck it on my bulletin board. Over the years I layered photos and magazine clippings on top of it.  Recently, while cleaning off my board, I re-discovered  the understated brochure and read through it again. On one side of the brochure is a list named "7 Ideas For the Greater Good." I read them over and wanted to share them one by one.  Here's number One:

1. Give thanks. Keep lists of things you and your family are grateful for. Anything can go on the list, no matter how large or small - people, places toys, events, nature.

On a lazy summer day last July my kids and I were having a leisurely morning in bed when I asked them to tell me what they appreciate - what they are grateful for. I got out my journal and wrote down what they said. I love to go back and read their words. It reflects what kind of people they are and what kind of adults they will be.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Martha Beck's Words of Wisdom

Martha's Quote of the Day

"The ultimate lesson of regret, the one that will help guide you into a rich and satisfying future, is this: Every time life brings you to a crossroads, from the tiniest to the most immense, go toward love, not away from fear."

The Telephone Talker Multi-Tasker

When my daughter was a toddler, she would pretend to talk on the phone by walking around furiously, waving her arms and simulating a vibrant conversation. It dawned on me that she was mimicking me. Unconsciously, while talking on the phone, I was also unloading the dishwasher, making the beds, checking my email, even cleaning the toilets. I was a chronic Telephone Talker Multi-Tasker!

In the last six months, I have made a conscious effort to sit down, old school-like, and direct my attention to my telephone conversation. I pretend that there is a short windy cord connected to my phone that keeps me in place. It's amazing what you can hear and learn when you are actually focused on a conversation!