Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day four ...and so it begins

Happy,, joy! I made it through the first day. I've just returned from my first full class, the Comprehensive Project. The course is an independent study designed to culminate with each of us turning in the equivalent of a thesis project. It is known as the "Capstone" to our graduate degrees. We started at 6:00 and I am home at 8:30 pm; now for the real fun. I have much to read before morning.

The highlight of this evening was seeing several past classmates, people who started the graduate program with me. All are bright, young, interesting, and I've learned something from each of them over the past year. Unfortunately, tonight was our first and our last session as a group. I'll miss their contributions and interacting with them.

Our first assignment is due next week - an abstract of the final project. I was slightly overwhelmed when the professor passed out examples of past projects. Very impressive stuff. The end result of my semester's work will be a 40-60 page research paper suitable for submission to an academic journal. I hope to submit to the Journal of Broadcasting. Let's hope I am up to the task.

Just as with this blog effort, I worry that I may have bitten off more than I can chew in a single semester, but I am shelving that negative thought as I write it. Regardless of what comes, I am committed to doing the work I've signed up for, and doing it well. Tomorrow, two classes; my first and only elective meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for an hour and a half and is called, Promotion Management. This is my first chance to attend a class in the Business Building. I adore that I must walk there across the lush, peaceful MSU quad. Also, the professor is highly regarded on campus. The second class is a three-hour seminar on the History of US Journalism and Broadcasting. To my sincere joy, this one is led by my favorite professor, Dr. Lochte. It does carry a significant reading load but I am praying that my memory can stand the challenge. (I must admit the short-term memory at 50 is nowhere near what it was 30 years ago.)

On a completely different subject, I came across an excellent article today about the difference between habits and rituals. It got me thinking.

According to Shawn Phillips in, Strength for Life, people tend to talk in terms of "good habits" and "bad habits." The author thinks instead in terms of rituals and habits. Consider this. Whenever you hear someone say, "He has a habit of –" the thing that comes to your mind next is rarely a positive. The difference between rituals and habits is that you choose your rituals; you have a degree of awareness and intention. People tend to admire rituals.

That's so true.

So, how can we bring our greatest visions to life? How can we achieve the goals that will propel us toward our vision?

Simple: we can do it with the help of rituals.

I consider which rituals I need to create in order to achieve my goals. A daily study plan, time specifically for being know—the stuff that you KNOW you should be doing if you have any hope of being who you KNOW you should be? Today, I start to integrate them into my life.

Over the past three years, I have discovered a couple of transformative rituals. Most important are my morning practices. I awake and take a few minutes to visualize what I will accomplish this day, focusing on positive results. Once out of bed, I recite my personal prayer - aloud. I meditate on this for about 5 minutes. Next, move...I exercise for about 25 minutes in a routine which is part yoga, part weights and part crunches, then finish with a nice breakfast. EVERY DAY. This has given me more mojo than I can possibly communicate! Also, it's hard to have a bad day when you start off with clear intent and dedication to a ritual you cherish.

In closing tonight, I must say thanks to my wonderful friends who sent support and encouragement today. The fact that you remembered my first day of classes gives me strength - and tells me I should really count my blessings.

Reach for the stars, but savor the moments as each comes only once.

'Til tomorrow!


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