Tracking Love.

Day 4 of The Orange Rhino’s Vacation…
If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am on a brief vacation and have collected several guest posts to share while I am taking a break. They are all from different parts of the world. Yes world. People are yelling less and loving more from Montana, United States to Ireland to Mexico to Australia and more. Pretty powerful if you ask me. We are ALL in this together. Have a fantastic week and if you ever feel alone, know that somewhere in the world, literally, there is an Orange Rhino awake working hard too. All my best for a great week…I’ll be back online around July 8th!

I am a visual person. Always have been, always will be. Drives my husband nuts! He’ll call me from work to talk numbers and I will be without pen and paper to write the finances down and I freak. Like really freak. “Just hold on! I can’t do the numbers in my head. I have to see them. Give me a few minutes to find pen and paper.” Well, it goes into all aspects of my life. It is a blessing and a curse. I measure progress visually. That is why I love Weight Watchers – I track what I ate and can SEE that I am on target, that I can do it. And that is why I made a visual time counter for my blog for The Orange Rhino Challenge. I needed to “see” the days go by; I needed to see that I could do it.  I’d like to say the fact that I am a visual person is why seeing progress in charts or numbers motivates me so much and keeps me going. But I am going to guess that it goes beyond my visual-neediness. I am going to guess that somewhere there is proof that tracking things visual is indeed a great way to stay on track.

That said…I encourage everyone to find a way to track his/her progress on his/her yelling less journey. Lisa from Australia wrote to me about how she is tracking her progress and I love it! It is beautiful and simple and reflects a great mentality…

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A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about the Orange Rhino challenge, and she told me about an idea she’d had to buy a stock of orange beads and get a really lovely container for them, the idea being to put one bead in the jar for each day that she manages not to yell. I loved the idea, and we both agreed that the beads should stay in the jar, no matter what happened the next day.

At the time, I was feeling somewhat demoralised because I would manage a day or two, then something would happen, I’d slip up and be back to zero. I felt a little like there was no point because I was never going to manage a week, much less a year. By going back to zero all the time, I felt like I was making no progress. For me, the idea of the jar was to have a visual reminder, even on the days where I’d slipped and gone back to zero, of the fact that I had made some progress. If I could get one bead in the jar, then I could get another. If I could get two beads in the jar in a row, then I could get two beads again. And I could fill that jar.

Then came the tricky part of actually finding the beads. We both have struggled to find anything appropriate (and affordable – I did find some lovely orange crystals, but at $10 for 4 of them, I simply couldn’t afford not to yell regularly). Finally, last weekend, I happened upon a bead shop – hundreds of thousands of beads of all sizes, types and colours. I bought myself a heap of small beads and set about thinking of an appropriate container. As I was considering where to go to buy a container (I had deliberately held off buying a container until I had the beads, since I didn’t know what size I would end up with or what style), I remembered a crystal perfume bottle that had been given to me many years ago as a gift and for which I’d had no use other than as an ornament. As it had a heart shaped stopper, I decided it would be the perfect container for my orange beads. The growing collection of beads would remind me of what I had achieved, the stopper would remind me why it’s worth the effort.

Today, I am again at zero after a particularly difficult morning where I lost my cool. But my love jar still has some orange beads in to remind me that I CAN go without yelling. It reminds me, as I look at it, of the particularly difficult days when I did manage to hold it together, did manage to survive my triggers and/or my son’s misbehaviour. And it reminds me that tomorrow is another day, and maybe tomorrow I will be able to add another bead to the jar.

~ Lisa, Australia

I love this idea so much that I am looking into buy orange glass beads in bulk for all of us to use! Other ideas for visual tracking: draw orange hearts on a calendar for good days, tie an orange ribbon around the fridge handle on good days, add an orange bead to a bracelet for good moments, or put orange stickers on a chart and reward yourself. Get creative! Thanks Lisa and Monica!