During this season of Thanksgiving, we each have the opportunity to count our blessings, and to cultivate gratitude.
There is much that I could write about the health benefits of gratitude, but I will save that for another day.
Have you noticed that many of us are sensitive when it comes to growing older? Some of us don't talk about how old we are, and we use politically-correct language when referring to those of us who have more life experience. We hear words like "old" or "elderly" less frequently — and opt for language that is less stigmatizing. One of my favorites is "seasoned"!
This sensitivity most likely boils down to fear. Most of us don't like the thought of aging. It's not that we don't want to grow older chronologically — who doesn't aspire to living to a ripe, old age?
It's that time of year. Spring is all around and Life seems to be unfolding at an accelerated pace.Those of us who are students and who have students in our lives are reflecting on what we have been learning and how we have grown.
And really - when you think about it - aren't we ALL students in the University of Life?Below are some of my favorite quotes about the journey of self-discovery. May they inspire us all to continue on our unique paths towards the best version of ourselves!
It's the end of the January. The energy of the holidays are long over, and the heady optimism of a new year may be fading. So now is a great time to check in with yourself. Are you still on track?
Whatever dream you envisioned when the calendar page turned - yes, THAT one - does it still seem vivid and possible?
Ever since my recent health challenge (aka "Perfect Storm/Paradigm Shift") and my challenging encounters with the healthcare system, I've been thinking a lot about personal power and how to help myself and others to hang on to it.
It is really easy to forget sometimes that we are the stewards of our own lives. We know ourselves better than anyone else on earth. We are the ones that are responsible for getting what we need so that we can live according to our purpose. We are also the only ones who are response-able for our lives — that is, able to respond to life challenges in ways that align with our vision and values (as opposed to reacting out of fear, anger, shame or other strong emotions).
I felt another nudge to share with you, so I made a video to honor that.
The video that I made is unscripted and long - so not everyone will have time for it in one sitting. I trust that it will reach whoever will find value in it.
"You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." ~ Brené Brown
This is one of Brené Brown's most popular quotes. Ever since her first TED talk went viral, it became evident that her research was capturing a key human experience - the belief that we are not enough.
The most successful film series yet made, Star Wars, began over thirty years ago with the story of Luke Skywalker, a young man in a faraway galaxy who was destined to play a critical role in the story of his people. If you recall the film, you know that Luke had to face a number of challenges, not the least of which was coming to terms with his own self.
Luke trains hard to develop the skills and awareness necessary for his task. When the stakes are high, he must trust that he knows what he needs to know to complete his mission. He must listen to the guidance of the wise voice within himself.
If you're old enough to remember the mid-1980s, you might recall a popular film from that era called "The Karate Kid". It is a coming of age story in which a young man, Daniel, is tutored in karate by a wise mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Some of Miyagi's educational techniques seem unconventional to Daniel and he must cultivate a lot of patience and self-control during the process to learn the inner art of karate. Of course, these attributes serve him well in the end.
These days, our fast-paced world is wired more for reinforcing immediate gratification than patience. As we go through our days, we encounter urges that we would like to gratify - to get what we want, or to have things go our way. When things don't go as we hope, we may react in ways that aren't helpful or healthy. The reactions that stem from impatience can be significant sources of suffering.
One of the most popular TV sit-coms in the 1970s was "All in the Family" and it featured Archie Bunker, an opinionated New Yorker, who shared his perspective in a straightforward and often hilarious way. Regardless of whether you agreed with his viewpoints, there was something comical about the way he shared them — and his unswerving commitment to his judgements often highlighted their absurdity.
No doubt Archie Bunker appealed to so many people because his judgmental stances were so blatant and so human. The truth is, we all make judgements all the time. It is just part of being human. Even when we try to be "nonjudgmental" we wind up judging our own judgement! The trouble is not that we make judgements. The trouble comes when we adopt a judgmental stance - investing emotionally in our judgements and holding them as TRUTH.
Some of the most popular videos shared on social media are of babies. What is it about these young beings that make them so endearing to us? There are many characteristics about them that we find appealing, but one of the most touching, perhaps, is their sense of wonder. They live in the present moment, often delighted and astonished by their unfolding experience. Isn't that something that we wish we all could do?
The good news is that we can actually cultivate this experience of open-hearted wonder. In mindfulness, this quality is known as "beginner's mind" and it is considered to be a core attitude of mindful awareness. Beginner's mind is the ability to observe our experience with fresh eyes, uncluttered by preconceived notions.
There is a popular quote by John Maxwell that states "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." People who are engaged in building greater well-being know that personal growth and development are integral parts of that process. But even if they value that growth, it isn't always easy!
Many of the people that I work with confront similar barriers as they develop self-care mastery. As they grow towards their best version of themselves, they must confront limiting beliefs that keep undesirable habits in place. This phenomenon is so common, that coaches give it a name — the inner critic.
Do you ever feel guilty about not getting enough exercise? By now we've all heard the benefits of exercise and the risks of being sedentary. It's clear that moving and exercising our bodies is a healthy habit.
The trouble with healthy habits is that sometimes we don't relate to them in powerful ways. Sometimes they become "shoulds". Before we know it, our inner two-year-olds kick in and we start to resist those habits that our wiser selves would like us to embrace. Let's face it: No one likes to be told what to do!
At one time or another, most of us have had to deal with a feeling of being stuck. We have a sense that "this isn't it", but we may or may not know what we want or how to move towards it.
Let's face it. Even if we know what we want, and we know how to get it, we often still don't do what we need to do to reach our goals!
We live in an age where boundaries between work and personal life are easily blurred or ignored. Technology allows many of us to work anywhere, anytime — and while that flexibility can be freeing, it can also entrap us. Because we CAN, we have begun to feel that perhaps we SHOULD — and before we know it, we are overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed.
It's no wonder that we fall into a reactive mode, when some of us scarcely make time to pause, reflect, or take a few deep breaths. Have you ever stopped to wonder — just where is it that we are all rushing to?
My first car was a green 1968 Plymouth Fury. Her name was Priscilla.
Priscilla had a lot of personality because she belonged to my grandmother before she died, and had already been on plenty of adventures (some of which I had also enjoyed) before I bought her from my grandmother's estate during my sophomore year of college.
There is often a certain mystique that surrounds the concept of mastery. We speak in awe of famous masters — people who attained a superior command of a field or subject, and who advanced human understanding of what is possible in that domain because they redefined or transformed it in some important way. We have respect for these individuals because their contributions made an impact on human civilization. They made a difference.
So, why is self-care mastery important? Surely it is not as significant as mastering noble fields like art, music, or science! What difference does it make to master ourselves?
Every day, my dog Princess and I take a walk together — differently. Having been her walking partner for the last six years, I can tell you that she and I don't experience our expeditions together in the same way. Her body, temperament, and sensory organs give her access to things that I can't imagine. It boggles my mind to think of the stimuli that her nose alone provides!
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