It’s About the White Spaces

It’s about the white spaces between the paragraphs, which I think are more important than any of the text. It allows you to think about what’s just been said. Fred Rogers, American television personality and much, much more

As a Life Coach, I was trained to recognize and encourage the white spaces during coaching sessions. The times when a question is asked and there is a long pause. I learned to be still, let the responder think, and perhaps become uncomfortable with the silence. The same is true in writing. Without paragraphs or chapters breaks the magnitude of words would overwhelm us. It’s about the white space.

I’ve designed the affirmation and coaching questions in this blog to add white space. Say the affirmation aloud, sit with it a moment. Consider the coaching questions. Do they apply to you? Read them and be still to see what resonates. Being quiet is an important aspect of mental health and personal growth. Allow your body, soul, mind, and God to speak to you. Be still and listen.

Affirmation: I honor the stillness.

Coaching question/request: How do you view the white spaces in your life? Take a moment right now and be still. 

Just Say No

When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself. Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist and novelist. 

One of the important lessons I taught my clients when I was their Life Coach was how to say, “no.” So much of the stress, anger, and anguish of our lives comes from our inability, particularly as women, to say no to the requests made of us that we know will put us over the top or are requests to do something we don’t want to do. Having a list of no-phrases can be helpful. Here you go:

I’d love to but I’m just not able to right now—Thanks, but my schedule is full— I know you need help with that project but I just can’t fit it in right now—Maybe another time—Thanks for thinking of me.

If these lovely responses fail, and the assailant won’t give up, sometimes you just have to say, “Is there something you don’t understand about my answer?” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but hold your ground. Your sanity and the possibility of living a tranquil, or at least not insane, life depends on it. You’re worth it. 

Affirmation: I can say no.

Coaching questions: What is your response to a request to which you don’t want to comply? Is it working? If not, practice saying no then the next time you need to be strong you’ll be prepared. 



When Nothing Can Be Done About It

The Japanese phrase, Shikata ga nai, means “it cannot be helped”  or “nothing can be done about it,” a strategy for accepting an undesirable situation and the antidote to worry. It’s a reminder that when the something is beyond your control, you need to mentally move on.

Scientific studies agree that dwelling on negative events may cause depression and other physical symptoms. I know….it’s easier said than done but still an excellent lesson for living a healthier, happier life. 

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

Coaching questions: What situations/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?

Pen To Paper

What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters (cards). You can’t reread a phone call (email/text). Liz Carpenter, writer, reporter, feminist

I’m one of those old fashioned people who still sends cards that require stamps. Judy, my creative friend, makes and sells custom-made cards. I send her a list of names each quarter and she mails me the beautiful, cards like those in the photo below.

Like Ms. Carpenter, I do like to reread, and occasionally save, special cards. I appreciate the time it takes to buy, address, stamp, and mail a card. The gift is in the effort every bit as much as it is in the message. Sympathy cards seem most important. In the midst of grief, calls are often forgotten (although they are important too), but cards can be treasured months later when the fog has lifted.

Affirmation: I have time to lick (or peel) a stamp.

Coaching questions: Have you ever received a card that you’ve saved or remembered? What was significant about it? Is there someone you’d like to honor with a card or letter today? Do it!


Let’s Get Happy

I’ve been claiming happiness for a long time, dreaming big dreams and using the outcomes of those dreams to bring beauty into my own life and to serve others. Oprah

People want to be happy but when asked what makes them happy, some folks dither and aren’t sure. As Dr. Phil says, “You’ve gotta name it to claim it.” Like Oprah, making a difference in the lives of others has always brought me true joy. To me happiness is more of an “in the moment” sort of thing.

Puppies and babies make my daughter, Katie, happy. Watching the birds from her kitchen window makes my friend, Nanc, happy. Blooms on my mini gardenia, sparkling water on Barfield Bay as seen from my upstairs porch first thing in the morning, angel hair pasta with homemade marinara, spotting a baby burrowing owl, a really good book, a hearty laugh with precious friends…. all this and so much more causes me to feel happy. What about you??

Affirmation: I claim happiness.

Coaching questions: List five things that make you happy. If you’re not feeling happy, what can you do to change your mood? How important is it to you to be happy?