Blog

Preparing For the Worst

There is always a part of my mind that is preparing for the worst, and another part of my mind that believes if I prepare enough for it, the worst won’t happen. Kay Redfield Jamison, American clinical psychologist and author

My husband, Ken, is in hurricane preparation mode. The season officially starts June first here in southwest Florida and after the horrific destruction last September from Hurricane Irma, we are preparing even more diligently this year. Three levels of outdoor furniture stored in the garage, sandbags placed in front of sliding doors (even those with shutters), outdoor pots  placed in the yard away from the house, etc. Just filling the sandbags is a big job!

Ken is taking on the house preparation but, in general, I too am a person who prepares for worst case scenario situations. I think it comes from the early loss of my mother. I learned very early that bad things, not only can, but do happen. I’ve always had what I call a “contingency plan.” Even as a little kid, my plan if something happened to my dad was to “run away”. I didn’t have the details nailed down but the fact I had a plan allowed me to move forward with my life. Now, I have end of life plans. Preparation brings me peace.

Affirmation: I plan ahead.

Coaching questions: What preparations do you need to make to give yourself peace of mind? What will it take for you to make these plans?

 

 

Walking Buddies

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. Helen Keller

Good friends from Illinois are visiting us this week. They both love to walk so we have been getting our exercise. Walking and talking with friends makes the exercise seem effortless. I forget about the little aches and pains as we engage in conversation about our surroundings or whatever pops into our heads.

Life with friends is so much more pleasurable and effortless than going it alone. In the Blue Zones Study (where they studied clusters of people around the world who have the greatest longevity), they have documented that socialization, friendships, is one of the key components to living a long, healthy, and joyful life. So, my advice is…walk, eat your beans and greens while laughing and talking with friends. Works for me!

Affirmation: Friends are important to me.

Coaching questions: What do friends mean to you? How can you nurture your friendships? What difference will it make in your life?

Getting Lost

She had the feeling that if she went home, she might never get away. She thought of birds caught in nets. There was something inside her, beating against her ribs, urging her to do things she might not otherwise attempt. She had the strongest desire to get lost. Alice Hoffman, Author of The Red Garden

I’ll be the first to admit it…I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. Unless the sun is immediately setting or rising, I have no idea which direction is north, south, east, or west. Dolphin Tiki Bar and Grill advertises, “Finding us is half the fun.” I haven’t been there yet. Unfortunately, I’ve passed this malady on to my daughter, Katie. My older daughter, Winnie, on the other hand, lives in Harlem, in the heart of New York and knows the city like the back of her hand. My son, Dan, found his way around Paris and took a train to Strasburg when he was 18…alone. Go figure!

My point?? Even if you are a human compass, sometimes you lose your way in life since, unfortunately, our brains are not wired to a “Life GPS” system. However, in getting “lost” we may do things we “might not otherwise attempt”, to quote Hoffman. I’ve certainly been lost on occasion in my life and, at the time, felt that I would never find my way. But I came out of the weeds changed with renewed confidence and an empathy that was found while I was lost.

Affirmation: It is ok to be lost from time to time.

Coaching question: When have you lost your way? What was the result? How did it change you?

Restorative Sleep

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker, actor

Sleep, such a boring topic, something we take for granted and yet, sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke….and we haven’t even started with the psychological implications. Are you one of the 79 percent of Americans getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night?

If you’re not getting enough sleep you may be experiencing weight gain, irritability, depression, impaired short term memory, decreased libido, poor judgment, decreased productivity, decrease in resistance to viral infections. Whew! I’m going back to bed!

Affirmation: I take care of myself with adequate sleep.

Coaching questions: If you are sleep deprived, what can you do about it? What habits can you change? Sleep is a treasure and you are worth having it!

 

Start Something Small

The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate. Seth Godin, American author and former dot com business executive

Another week, another school shooting in the U.S.A. We are averaging one a week so far this year. Whatever your politics, I’m sure you would agree that killing children at school (or any place else for that matter) is unacceptable; horrific actually. We react with shock, sadness, outrage. Sometimes we respond by posting our feelings on Facebook or face to face to friends. But what do we initiate? What new action do we take as individuals to bring about the change we want to see?

It’s difficult to initiate on any subject because we are often overwhelmed by the long term vision and the tasks involved to reach it. As a result, we decide it is better to not start at all. But when we break the vision and tasks down to tiny steps (becoming a mentor, writing an article or Letter to the Editor, making calls to get out the vote, educating ourselves and others about mental health or gun issues, etc.) making a change, one small step at a time, becomes possible.

On a personal level, what’s a tiny step you need to take to initiate the change you want to make in your life?

Affirmation: I initiate change.

Coaching question: What’s one thing you will do this week to initiate a change for the good in your life and world?

Royal Love

Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. Stevie Wonder, entertainer

How can I speak of anything but love on the day of the royal wedding? The presence of a young mother, Diana, who died too early, was certainly there. She would have been so proud of her son and the changes he is making to the culture. But the sadness of the past absolutely didn’t take away from the pure joy, the love and the unity this wedding embodied.  Americans and Britons alike were in need of some loveliness…something apart from sadness and anger and bad news in general. I just wish them well…a life of joy and service.

I hope the sadness of your past doesn’t take away the joy and love as your life unfolds.

Affirmation: I am a teacher of compassion.

Coaching question: Who was your greatest teacher? Who is your “sweet flower of love”?

 

 

 

Are We In a Fairy Tale?

The good mother’s death means a lot in fairy tales, not only for the child, but also for the woman. Helen Reis Mouraoin at http://www.cafecomjung.com

My friend, Kathleen, brought the fact of motherloss in fairy tales to my attention yesterday. It’s scary to think that after nearly 73 years I missed this profound connection.  Just think about it…Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel…and then there is Bambi, Koda, Po, Ariel, Annie, Peter Pan, Finding Nemo, Aladdin, Pocahontas, etc. What a story line…mother dies, wicked step mother appears…and in more modern day stories, strong father enters, or children are lost and parentless. Good grief…have we been living a “fairy tale” life and didn’t know it?

The whole literary use of motherloss is a fascinating psychological study, enough so that I’m going to write a chapter on it in my book. In the meantime, I’m going to explore a bunch of kids movies and literature and see what sticks in my own life experiences. Who knew we could learn about ourselves while watching movies with our kids or grandkids?

Affirmation: I a learning something new everyday.

Coaching questions: Is there a fairy tale or children’s movie with which you identify? Why? What did you learn about yourself from it?