Discovering the Heart of Change

Conversation is the currency of change. Margaret Wheatley, American author

In a time when there is great division in our country and around the world, conversation is paramount. Change happens when “the other” has a name, a face, and is willing to honestly share his or her views. You may still have differing opinions. However, when there is conversation, there is the possibility of relationship, understanding, and change.

It’s comforting to gather with like-minded friends and colleagues. It’s a growth opportunity to expose oneself to diverse ideas, cultures, ages, life-styles. 

Affirmation: I want to be in conversation.

Coaching questions: In the past, what conversations have helped you change and grow? What conversation do you need to have today?

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Remember Pearl Harbor, never again. The Pearl Harbor motto.

On the morning of  December 7, 1941 there was a surprise military attack on Pearl Harbor, a U.S. naval base in Hawaii. The battle was the tipping factor that convinced the United States to enter into World War II.

As we come together in remembrance, we celebrate the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. However, no matter the result, war is always brutal and ugly. My dad,(shown here,  hated all war. Besides WWII, he also served in the Korean conflict and spent his civilian career working in a Veterans’ Hospital. He witnessed the human devastation of war first hand. I pray that as we honor those who have lost their lives defending our freedom, we learn from our past. If only the motto were true—never again.

Affirmation: I remember.

Coaching questions: How do you connect to this day in history? What contribution can you make to “never again?”


Consider Going On a Media Diet

It turns out what you watch, read, listen to and play can affect your mood, temper, and even how generous and kind you are to others afterwards. Elaine Shpungin Ph.D., founder of Conflict 180 

If you are coping with significant change in your life, you may want to consider going on a media diet. Maybe you’re a fan of violent or dramatic games or shows. During a time of transition—the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss—when your emotions are close to the surface, you might opt for comedy instead. 

According to research by the Mayo Clinic, laughter calms the stress response and releases endorphins. Also consider your social media exposure. Although you may receive support from your friends via social media, managing your own feelings can be difficult enough without comparing yourself to others.

Affirmation: I take note of my media habits.

Coaching questions: How is your media consumption affecting your actions or mood? If changes are needed, what steps will you take this week?


Is It a Wonderful Time of Year?

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” the song says. But that’s not true for everyone. For some, it’s the most difficult time of the year. Too much loneliness, too little money, too much stress, too little love. Maybe this is true for you. If it truly is a wonderful time of the year for you, what can you do to make it better for someone else? 

Sometimes a visit, a listening ear, a bright smile can make a difference to someone who is feeling low. Be mindful of those around you.

Affirmation: I can make a difference.

Coaching questions: What’s something you can do make the holidays better for someone who is having a difficult time? What can you do for yourself if you are in need? How can you ask for help?


It’s All About Ability

The human spirit is one of ability, perseverance, and courage that no disability can steal away. 

Yesterday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A day to promote understanding and to support the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. I like the positive terms, differently-able or mobility challenged. 

My best friend is wheel-chair bound and is one of the most joyful, fulfilled people I know. She is eighty-three, lives alone in the country, is involved in her church and community, and has a long-list of family and friends who love being around her. Her mobility is challenged but her life is all about ability—-sociability, lovability, faith ability. She is my inspiration.

Affirmation: I am not defined by what I can’t do.

Coaching questions: How do you perceive those who are mentally or physically challenged? What can you do to promote understanding and support for people who are differently-able? 


Telling the Hard Truths

Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. Carl Sagan, American astronomer

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a honest, straight forward, 60-something daughter whose mother has dementia.  She said her mother is belligerent, sharp-tongued, even mean at times. I asked her if this behavior is the result of the dementia. “No,” she replied, “she’s always been like that.”

Not all mothers, dead or alive, were/are sweet, loving, caring people. It is just fantasy, as Sagan says, to believe so. Sometimes when people die they become “saints” in our memories. Hiding or denying real experiences and feelings slows recovery and keeps us from being our authentic selves.

Affirmation: I am a gentle truth teller.

Coaching questions: Is there some truth telling you need to do about someone in your life?  How can you move towards being truthful with yourself?

Tears Are As Precious As Pearls

Think of all the incredible things we didn’t get to hear because someone was scared we would see them cry. Jennifer Palmieri, author

In her book Dear Madam President, Jennifer Palmieri writes an open letter to future women leaders. Her advise is, don’t try to immolate men, be who you are. Jennifer writes, “Think of all the times you have heard someone say they passed on sharing something that was particularly moving because they didn’t think they could get it out without crying. That’s a shame.” 

I know I’m holding back a part of myself that might be valuable to others when I don’t share my tears. Some of our most important communications are through our tears.

Affirmation: My tears are a special part of me.

Coaching questions: What have you held back because you were afraid of displaying tears? What difference might you make if you are willing to be vulnerable?