What’s Your Word?

I do believe in starting the new year with new resolve, but instead of adopting a resolution, I choose a word of the year—a word that encapsulates my aspirations for the twelve months ahead. Melinda Gates, philanthropist 

For the last two years Melinda Gates has chosen the word “grace” and she thinks it is making a difference. She tells a story of the heart break she experiences when she visits children who are dying from preventable disease. Then she says, “A broken heart gives me urgency. A moment of grace gives me hope. That’s the power of a well-chosen word of the year. It makes the year better—and it helps me be better too.”

I think Gates is on to something. I’m choosing “impact” for my word of the year. I want to make an impact in the world—with my blog, my column, and, eventually, my book. I also want to impact others by caring about them, being a good friend, and fighting for policies to help our country thrive. 

Affirmation: I will make an impact this year.

Coaching questions: If you decided to choose a word, what would it be? Why? What difference can you envision it making? 

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A Sign of Hope

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Martin Luther King, American Baptist minister and leader in the civil right movement. 

Last night we went to an ecumenical Thanksgiving service. Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clergy led the service. It was held at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. Yesterday I blogged about hope, then I felt it at this service. People of diverse faiths worshipping together, enjoying each other’s company, like-minded in their love of God and country. In addition to songs of thanksgiving, we sang God Bless America. 

This assemblage was hope personified. Hope that we can embrace the different, come together to give thanks, and show love and appreciation for our country and the world-at-large. I’m thankful for this sign of hope! 

Affirmation: My hope is forever renewed.

Coaching questions: Where have you recently experienced hope? In what ways do you demonstrate hope to others? 

Grab A Life Preserver

By showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff. Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer.

When our world looks bleak and we feel like we’re drowning in grief, pain, regret, or anger, sometimes we must rely on hope to get us through. Tightly hugging hope to your chest is a way to stay on top of what has/is happening in your world. 

Like a life preserver works in the water, hope can keep your head above the surface as you tread or gradually swim towards the shore of recovery. Hope can come from friends, family, faith, or even your pet. 

Affirmation: I’m always hopeful.

Coaching questions: What do you need to be hopeful about? Where do you find hope?

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On Being Hopeful

By showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff. Anne Lamott, author, quote taken from National Geographic magazine, October 2018

With all that’s going on in the world and under my nose, it is harder than ever to be filled with hope. And yet, I remain hopeful most of the time—-I hope this is true for you also. I’ve interviewed over fifty daughters who have lost mothers as children, been abandoned, their mothers murdered or lost to Alzheimer’s, yet each one spoke to me with the hope that their tearful story will make a difference in the life of another. If they had not yet recovered from their trauma or grief, they were all hopeful that eventually they would be joy-filled again.

We remain hopeful because even though most of us have been through devastating times before, we know our friends, family, faith, and the healing properties of time helped us to move forward. And, as Lamott says, “By showing up with hope to help others, hope is present.” As we reach out, hope flows in. 

Affirmation: I am hopeful.

Coaching question: If you’re feeling hopeless, what’s one thing you can do to regain your hopefulness? (visit an elderly neighbor, volunteer at a school or hospital, help register voters, write a thank you note to someone who has been kind, walk in nature)

The Rock

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom, Dutch watchmaker who helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust and was imprisoned.

In a time of grief or despair, trusting in God can give us hope and a positive sense of expectancy. 

When my late husband died suddenly from a heart attack ten months after we were married, I affirmed out loud to a couple of hundred people that God was my rock and I would be ok…and I was/am. I didn’t feel ok at the time but faith isn’t based on how we feel. We have choices….hope or despair. 

If you’ve lost or given up on your faith, I encourage you to take another look. Inner peace follows the choice of hope and faith.

Affirmation: I have faith in God.

Coaching questions: What/who is the rock in your life? If this is a time of despair and hopelessness for you, what’s one step you can take to regain a sense of inner peace? 

Looking For Peace

What we focus on expands. The more were complain, the worse things get. It’s a universal law. OprahWinfrey

Remember the last time you considered buying a red sedan and everywhere you looked there were red sedans? The same is true of negative thinking, negative social media, negative cable news…more, more, more and the worse things seem to us.

Even in our personal lives, the more we focus on the negative and complain, the worse things seem to get. My step mother, Sylvia, used to say, “This too shall pass.” And sure enough it did/does. Yesterday some friends and I were remembering Hurricane Irma and how it brought out the best in so many people…the compassion, the caring. It renewed in us the sense that the world is mostly filled with good, caring people who want to take care of their friends, neighbors, and even total strangers. Focusing on the positive brought each one of us a sense of peace and hope for the world.

Affirmation: I choose the positive.

Coaching questions: What outside sources are feeding you? What have you done lately that shows your compassion to another? On what are you focusing?