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My Bucket List for 2013

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As Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Director of Alumni Relations, Dianne Travis-Teague facilitates collaborations between the Office of the Chancellor and the Alumni Association to extend and nurture the Pacifica experience in the world. News & Notes collects her posts to Pacifica’s growing family of alums.

My Bucket List for 2013

originally posted on 8 Jan 2013

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As we bask in the joys and memories of our Toast Heard ‘Round the World, I want to express my deep and abiding appreciation to all who supported our second annual Toast. Thank you!

A new year is now upon us, and if you’re not making resolutions, at the very least you’re hearing about all the resolutions being made around you. Instead of obsessing on resolutions, I am focusing on areas worth my attention. I see it as my bucket list for 2013, and as a starting point I am giving a nod to Ann Mehl’s five things worth daily investment:

  • Physical. Do something that improves your physical health. Instead of two hours parked in front of the TV or computer screen, can you turn it off and go for a 20-minute walk? Maybe you can walk to the store instead of driving? Climb the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator? I have even started taking some meetings while strolling in the park. We’re more apt to begin on time and finish on time, and we get a little exercise in the process.
  • Emotional. It’s vital that we spend our emotional energy wisely. The ways in which our emotional energy can be squandered are endless: the 24-hour bad news cycle, traffic, unreasonable deadlines, and toxic people. Try to surround yourself with people who will uplift and inspire you, not deplete and depress you. If that jerk on the radio makes your blood boil, then why are you listening to him? Spotting the negative influences may take some practice, as we seem to have become blind to many of them because they are so pervasive in our culture.
  • Mental. The mind is like a muscle and needs exercise, too. Can you learn one new thing every day? Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s somebody’s name or a piece of history that you’ve always wondered about. Maybe you can learn one new word from The New York Times most frequently looked-up words list? I read where author Philip Roth recently bought himself an iPhone: “Every morning I study a chapter in my ‘iPhone for Dummies,’” he said. “And now I’m proficient.” This from the man who won a Pulitzer Prize!
  • Spiritual. Try to get in touch with a “higher force,” whatever you perceive that to be. You don’t have to meditate for three hours a day, go to a mountaintop, pray to God, or even believe in a God. But try to connect with something bigger than yourself for a few moments each day. Even it’s just to stare in awe at nature or see your humanity reflected in another person. One of the best ways to do this is to practice gratitude daily. Pick out the things in your life that you are grateful for — especially those things you would normally take for granted. The most effective prayer in the world has two words: “Thank you.” When you do this, you will find yourself reconnected to the source.
  • Interpersonal. I call this the daily “reach out.” It might be someone who has been on my mind recently: an old college friend I owe an email to; someone I bumped into on an airplane once; an introduction I would like to make for someone. It costs us nothing to pick up the phone, write four lines or tweet 140 characters. But it says to somebody, “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” If you can add value, or give this person something, then so much the better. Nobody can do everything on their own. We need other people, just as other people need us. So try to practice one daily reach out. You may be surprised by the results.

With all the things happening in the world, at Pacifica, and with the Alumni Association, focusing on cultivating these areas can help us meet challenge and change with energy and hope. What more could we ask? Hold fast to your “toast for the New Year,” and may 2013 bring you peace and joy!

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