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Remembering As We Serve

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate. Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 92 pilot, Jason Dahl

Today, in the United States and elsewhere in the world, we are remembering the 2,977 people who were killed during the 9/11 coordinated terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, deaths continue to mount. Since 9/11, 241 New York City policemen have died from 9/11 related illnesses. This is ten times more than were killed in the attack and the number continues to grow. Twenty-two NY firefighters have died since 9/11 from related causes, 345 were killed in the attack. Let’s not forget those who continue to fight for their lives. 

In addition to remembrance, this day is also dedicated to community service. President Obama said, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim the spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

Affirmation: I remember and honor 9/11 through my service to others.

Coaching questions: What is one small act of service or kindness you will provide to help reclaim the spirit of unity? How does your service/kindness enrich your life? 

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Photo by Ben Lei on Unsplash

What’s a Key to Successful Aging?

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou, author

As I speak with women of the Silent and Greatest Generations, I’m learning that attitude is a significant factor in their successful aging. Perhaps, attitude is even a greater influencer than what they eat or how much they exercise.

Maxine, a healthy centenarian with whom I spoke, gave the advice to “live one day at a time.” She embraced the shikata ga nai I wrote about in my last blog—accept what can’t be helped and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Another vibrant woman, age ninety-one, said, “Make it happen.” Her life continues to be built around recognizing  needs in her community then addressing the need. As a younger woman, she helped start a church, the local library, park district (including senior center and teen center), women’s club, artists’ association, historical society and museum. The day I interviewed her, she was preparing for an art show and sale. 

Affirmation: My attitude contributes to my successful aging. 

Coaching questions: What attitudes move you towards aging with grace? What attitudes do you need to tweak? 

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My vibrant friend, Maxine, on her birthday.

 

What’s the Hidden Cause of Your Fatigue?

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment. Dale Carnegie,   self-help writer and lecturer

In Japanese, shikata ga nai, means “it cannot be helped” or “nothing can be done about it.” It’s a phrase used to acknowledge an undesirable situation and a reminder that, when something is beyond our control, we need to mentally move on rather than let worry, frustration, and resentment wear us down. 

Scientific studies agree that dwelling on negative events may cause depression and other physical symptoms. Having recently experienced flooding in my condo, I know that mentally moving on is easier said than done. However, I’m striving to adopt shikata ga nai as a lesson in living a healthier, happier life. 

Affirmation: I mentally move on when a situation is beyond my control.

Coaching questions: Examine your fatigue. Consider it’s source. What situations or relationships beyond your control are causing you to obsess, worry, or lose sleep? What’s one step you can take to move towards adopting shikata ga nai?

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Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash

Self Compassion Paves the Way For Self Help

The only sustainable path to achievement and happiness is to cultivate self compassion. Nick Wignall, Clinical psychologist

In writing a self help book about mother loss, I’m asking readers to consider ten steps to help them move forward after loss. Pursuing self improvement by reading books, attending groups, or watching youtube is a noble pursuit.

However, as Wignall says, cultivating self compassion must go hand in hand with self improvement. In order to have lasting growth and change, we must learn to be gentle with ourselves, participate in positive self talk, and treat ourselves as we treat our friends.

Affirmation: I travel the road to self improvement by being gentle with myself.

Coaching questions: In what ways do you embrace yourself as you pursue change in your life? How can you improve your inner dialogue? 

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

The Value of Time Spent Alone

You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with. Wayne W. Dyer

I don’t totally agree with Mr. Dyer’s quote. I think we all feel lonely from time to time no matter what our relationship is with ourselves. I used the quote because I think there is genuine value in time spent alone. Growing up as an only child with one parent meant I had plenty of alone-time. Throughout my life, I’ve welcomed time spent with just me. I like the quiet, the time for reflection, creativity, and acceptance. Alone-time helps me understand myself and others. I’m happy being in my own company.

Frequently when people are afraid of being alone they pursue relationships to escape themselves. When you’re comfortable in your own company, you can be with others without using them as a means of escape. Your relationships will be stronger when you learn how to enjoy your own company. 

Affirmation: I enjoy my own company. 

Coaching questions: How do you feel when you’re alone? If you’re answer is, “I hate being alone,” what steps will you take to learn how to enjoy your own company? 

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Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

How To Stay Peaceful

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be. Wayne W. Dyer, self-help author and motivational speaker

Pipes in newer buildings shouldn’t burst in the middle of the night at the end of summer, hurricanes shouldn’t threaten people, homes, and livelihoods, people shouldn’t have to suffer with disease, daughters shouldn’t have to mourn their mothers, a critical natural resource shouldn’t be burning. But these things are happening to you, me, and others. 

I’m writing this from a Residence Inn while our condo is drying out after a flood. While here, I’m keeping an eye on the weather as a hurricane approaches the state where I live most of the year. This is the reality of my life at the moment. I’ve had worse days, to be sure, and I’ve had better. I’m not thinking, “why me?” because I know bad things happen to all of us. I don’t believe that I “should” have a smooth life. I’m grateful for the days when the sailing is smooth and I accept the facts as they present themselves. As Dyer says, peace comes when we process life as it is. I’m working on staying peaceful. 

Affirmation: I process life as it is.

Coaching question: If the “shoulds” are sabotaging your peace, what do you need to do to retrain your thinking to accept, or learn to peacefully live with, the inevitable difficulties of life? 

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash 

Remember–Super Heroes Are NOT Real People

The gradual losses experienced by caregivers can lead to sadness, depression, anger, guilt, sleeplessness and other physical and emotional problems. Family Caregiver Alliance Site

Caregivers are frequently referred to as heroes, even super-heroes. But, they aren’t. Caregivers are not super-human or intended to be heroes. They are simply human beings doing their best to take care of someone they love whose brain is not working properly. Perhaps they may wish they had super powers or mystical abilities but to stay sane they must acknowledge that they can’t fix all the challenges that accompany a dementia diagnosis.

The Family Caregiver Alliance recommends that a caregiver identify her losses, her feelings about the losses, and her corresponding grief. The Alliance also recommends keeping a journal, attending a support group, and doing relaxation exercises. If you’re a caregiver, my heart goes out to you as you deal with the challenges you face.

Affirmation: I take care of myself as I take care of another.

Coaching questions: Whether you are a caregiver or not, in what ways do you try to be a super-hero? How’s that working for you? If you are a caregiver, what do you do to take care of yourself? What else do you need to do to remain healthy?

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Photo by Paul Stickman on Unsplash