Hi! Welcome to “What’s Your Story?”, the occasional Tuesday space here on “Living in a Body” where I invite YOU to participate in the writing. In order to participate, you will need to create a profile on Substack. It takes less than two minutes. Click the comment button below.Create your profile. Click “Sign in now” in the email that you will receive. Once you’ve signed in with your profile, you’ll be able to leave comments anywhere you go on Substack. Thank you for participating! I can’t wait read what you write. ❤️ Hal
Hi! Welcome to “What’s Your Story?”, the occasional Tuesday space here on “Living in a Body” where I invite YOU to participate in the writing.
In order to participate, you will need to create a profile on Substack. It takes less than two minutes.
Click the comment button below.
Create your profile.
Click “Sign in now” in the email that you will receive.
Once you’ve signed in with your profile, you’ll be able to leave comments anywhere you go on Substack.
Thank you for participating! I can’t wait read what you write. ❤️ Hal
Leave a comment
One of the highlights of my week is sending out my Substack every Saturday morning. I put a lot of work into each episode and I'm always happy to put it out into the world. I have to admit that on Saturday afternoons, I often experience a bit of a letdown. "My Substack is done and here I am... still lying in bed. What am I supposed to do now?"
On one particular Saturday afternoon, I was having one of these lulls when I read a post by Lyle McKeany. He mentioned that he had started an advice column and was accepting letters from his readers in a Google form. Within an hour, I was ready to launch my own advice column. It was gonna be called, "Hey Hal. Good Advice." Before three o’clock, I had created the logo and the google form and I was ready to announce “Hey Hal” on Instagram.
Fortunately, before I launched, I was willing to share this big idea with some friends. During those phone calls, I became painfully aware of a familiar pattern. When I get a little bit bored, I fill the void by creating a whole new project. As I came to my senses, I admitted that I don’t need a whole new project. I gracefully put “Hey Hal” on the shelf and decided to rekindle "What's Your Story” — and what better title for this week than “Your Good Advice.”
So... What's your story? What good advice can you share with us today? It can be on any subject. What good advice were you given as a young person? Don’t hold back. What good advice do you wish you would have gotten twenty years ago? Please tell us. What good advice do you give the world today? In 200 words or less. What's your good advice? Tell us your story!
Tip of the Week: Create a profile on Substack. It takes two minutes. Whenever you get inspired to leave a comment, you’ll be all signed in and ready to go.
Keep it 200 words or less! (Word Counter) Be honest. Have fun. Leave your contribution in the comments. I’ll go first.
Practice being content with "low dopamine activities."
Last week I posted a 30-second video on TikTok of me playing a variety of homemade Banakulas. (An African rhythm instrument) Within three days, this video had been viewed 8 million times. Every time I opened the app to check my notifications I was greeted with huge numbers -- like 1275 new comments, 2753 new followers and 8000 new likes. Opening my notifications on TikTok is an example of a "high dopamine activity." It's an activity that gives me a momentary boost of pleasure, a fleeting zap of fame and fortune.
Once I experience that shot of dopamine, I usually want more. I guess that's the way the social media giants have designed their products. That buzz keeps us coming back for more.
The advice that I'm giving myself these days is to practice being content with low dopamine activities. For me, these are activities like looking out the window and listening to the birds, talking with my mom on the front porch, flossing my teeth and writing my Substack. For me, low dopamine activities usually don't involve a screen and usually don't leave me craving more. Low dopamine activities give my brain the rest that it so badly needs. Enjoy.
For me it's as simple as "assume nothing". By that I mean something close to the carpenter's adage "measure twice, cut once". Before you lash out in anger or react to something, stop and take a breath. Think about what you've seen or heard. Dig deeper. Measure the problem. Ask why? Fully understand the issue. Then, act accordingly.
I have always been one to hang on to so much--memories, hurts, people, things, expectations. Then I learned to “release and gather.” When you release what you are holding onto so tightly, there is room to gather all the things God has for you in the now. We must constantly release those things we’ve collected that do not serve the current season of life--the physical, mental, and emotional--“soul clutter.” In short, it’s okay to let go.
Anymore I’ve decided that advice like “be kind,” “live with intention,” and “do something every day that scares you a little” go without saying. We all need to be reminded from time to time, but by and large they’re a given.
Instead, Im going to pivot. It’s summer, so it’s peak travel season. If you happen to be travel-whether playing tourist in your own town or crossing the globe- here are my 2 pieces of advice:
• Take the back roads whenever possible.
•Throw a large bulldog clip in your bag. You can use it if the curtains in your room don’t quite shut all the way.
It’s hard for me to be patient. I like things to happen as quick as thinking about them. That means there are a lot of things I don’t do, because they take time. Shopping, for instance. I’m not a good shopper. So I have figured out how to be super patient by not shopping at all. Just wait to see what shows up. Turns out, people give when they see a need. I don’t really need what I haven’t bought, but a friend might see my same old shirt, and decide to give me a pretty new one. My practice of patience has brought me more surprises than just nice stuff. I have gained gratitude and the peace of not grasping for things.
Something my mother said often and seems to be good advise: "Everything in moderation".
I’ll try to condense this to the basics. I was raised being taught to always worry about what others were thinking of me/my family, etc. and to people please. I was taught to concern myself more with the feelings of the adults around me than my own feelings even as a child. I used to apologize my existence a lot to others in different ways. I felt like people tolerated me basically and that I was too much or not enough.
A dear friend of mine died at 48 two years ago and I have been reminded since then that he said to me many years ago: “You are your own person. Who gives a $&@* what anyone thinks… Win, Baby!!!!” It was the most important thing he ever said and my advice to anyone else. It changed my life and it gave me express permission to grieve him in a big way. Also never hesitate to tell people how much they matter in your life and world and that you love them unconditionally because someday you may not be able to have that dialogue the way you can now.
Also pick a partner in life that will hold space for everything and just love you for you, even that much more. That one’s a little harder to order up as far as advice goes, but I can attest that it makes such a difference (and such a life) when you find them/they find you!
Ok, I'll go with some advice that I wish my parents had taught me growing up, because I now feel like I'm 2 decades behind my peers who grew up with loving families, and I'm struggling with letting go of my hurt & resentment of how bad they gaslight me as a kid:
Self-advocating is crucial to your well-being, do it often & without embarrassment!
When you need to ask questions, it's ok, do it! You're never an annoyance when you don't understand something. And yes, it's ok to ask more than once, maybe you didn't hear or just forgot what I said 2 seconds after I said it, lol.