Hope is my watchword for December 2021.
As I did my research and meditations on Hope, a common theme stood out: our source of Hope lies within us and in our connectedness with others and in our connectedness with something bigger than ourselves.
This is a simple yet complex, and profound message, nicely summed up by one of my favorite meditation teachers on Insight Timer, Sarah Blondin. In her beautiful, mellifluous voice guiding us in the meditation, "Message of Hope," she says:
"I see you, I feel you, I love you, and I am here for you."
Say this out loud -- addressing yourself. Say this with the intention and Knowing that accessing Hope takes some work on your inner empire -- your thoughts and your emotions. This requires both awareness and acceptance of who we are and where we are, right now. Hope is always there inside of each one of us -- just like the sun is always shining, whether we...
I so look forward to writing on Gratitude in my Blog every November! Last year the reader response to The Heartset of Gratitude was so terrific, I thought it made sense to revisit and further explore its deep meaning.
I choose the word “heartset” with intention – because gratitude is an emotion and comes from the heart. “Heartset” changes the focus from the mind and the ego to our heart. More importantly, “heartset” also brings to the fore our passion for how we are living our life – how we are seeing our world – as we move forward on our own unique journey.
In my experience, gratitude practices typically evolve over time. That has certainly been my experience. Often, gratitude practices start with thinking about 3 things or people we are grateful for... and progresses from there to Gratitude Journals, Gratitude Letters, Gratitude Meditations, 10-day and 21-day...
I Am Breathing
I Am Breathing ---
This is my Keep It Super Simple, 7x 7x 7 Formula for engaging the Relaxation Response and escaping the Fight or Flight Response. As we know, the Fight or Flight Response is hard-wired and automatic in all of us -- it it triggered in our autonomic nervous system. More importantly, we have a choice -- we can use deep diaphragmatic breathing to take back control. We can train our mind-body to relax. The value in the 7x 7x 7 Formula is that we are training, in a very disciplined way, to know what it feels like to relax our muscles and clear our mind.
As crazy a ride as 2020 was, this summer of 2021 is an even wilder ride -- at least for me! I put some major lifestyle changes into motion and then other events with family, friends and pets added to my personal and professional challenges. WOW! I am practicing what I coach in my stress...
Good morning! How do you welcome each new day? I am going to share my Morning Ritual because I passionately believe how you start your day is vitally important to managing stress and improving your energy at the get-go, every day.
Recently, I was honored to give a presentation at Lakeside Chautauqua: “How to Manage Stress During a Pandemic.” The emotional contagion of stress is as important as the viral contagion of COVID-19, in my opinion. I reviewed the array of research and advice from experts of the top 5 or 10 or 17 things people could do to better manage stress during the pandemic and constantly changing landscape of advice.
I chose a different approach. In my opinion and experience, focus and consistency are paramount. The ONE most important thing to do is carve out the first 32 minutes of the day for a Morning Ritual.
I am sharing my Morning Ritual as an example to get started and...
First and most important, I am sending healing energy and deep gratitude for your service to everyone on the front-lines of this global COVID-19 pandemic – doctors, nurses, hospital staff, EMS, FEMA, people working, stocking and delivering to the grocery stores, and retailers, restaurants open for take-out meals, schools serving meals and teachers calling students, our nonprofits such as United Way, Salvation Army, volunteers at Food Pantries and Pay-It-Forward Cafe's, like our local Bistro 163, the public policy leaders of our cities and states, – and the list goes on and on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
My heart goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones to COVID-19 and to families that have suffered losses at this time of physical distancing and cannot feel the warmth of hugs and solace from friends, near and far. There are huge economic challenges -- unprecedented in my...
November 2, 2019
When we Stress Less – when we become more aware of our everyday stress, when we learn how to Respond rather than React, when we learn the Relaxation Response activated by taking deep diaphragmatic breaths – we change the way we see our world.
“If you change the way you see things, the things you see will change.”
-- Wayne Dyer
Stress Less – I did, and it changed my outlook on Life. I know you can do it too!
The physiology of Stress – the well-known Fight or Flight Response as well as the equally famous, Relaxation Response – is exactly the same for all of us. However, what stresses you out may be, and very likely is, quite different from what stresses me, your partner, your associate, your child, etc. Typological Stress varies according to our Personality Type, which is why we say stress comes from within – our innate hard-wired...
For the next several newsletters, I will be posing the question: What if?
What if… we gave up worrying about the future and the unknowable? What if… we gave up losing our perspective of the big picture and getting stuck in the details? What if… we gave up being outwardly critical and inflexible? What if … we gave up emotional outbursts and being hypersensitive to criticism?
What if…we could learn to be more aware of when we are stressed... and remind ourselves to take 7 deep diaphragmatic breaths and trigger our autonomic Relaxation Response? What if we knew the true source of stress was inside of us, rather than “out there” in the situation or the other person? What if … we could learn how to respond rather than react?
Of course, we know the answer… we CAN learn. We can learn to take control. It takes practice. We could use some tools. And, some...
Last week it was my honor and privilege to speak to a Leadership Group and assist them in discovering their unique 4-Letter Personality Type and learn the stress reduction practices we use in the From Stressed to Best™ Program. Thank you, Class of 2020 Leadership Ottawa County – you were engaged, open-minded – and very fun. You are already leaders.
You inspired me to go deeper. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s metaphor, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf,” applies to both our behaviors when we are stressed and the waves of emotions that can engulf us in times of stress.
Our focus in this newsletter is to add a new exercise -- awareness of negative emotions -- and how we can use our “Emotional Intelligence” to move to a better place.
For readers who may have joined recently, I am including links to the 9 Blogs posted over...
March 31, 2019
(Photo credit to: Mike Labrum on Unsplash)
Grief is an emotion we all experience -- at times intensely, at other times fleetingly, or sometimes intermittently. It is a complex emotion because it often calls up other emotions, such as fear or anger. May this Blog help you honor the experience of grief, discover new ways to work through grieving, find acceptance, peace and the energy to move on and to grow.
Grief is simply loss. The triggers for grief as we move through life are many, indeed. It could be loss of a loved one – husband, wife, partner, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, child, or pet. It might take shape as loss of health – either for yourself or a loved one. It might be a divorce or relationship breakup. The list goes on: loss of friendship; loss of your job; loss of financial stability; loss of a cherished dream or ambition; trauma; abuse.
February 5, 2019
As I was caught up in the challenges of the Polar Vortex that gripped much of the US last week, I kept repeating to myself: Just Breathe.
Watching my good friend and neighbor’s house and his darling cat, I found the water pipes had frozen – and he had only been gone for 4 hours! Just breathe. His plumber came immediately -- problem solved, and no damage. Hmm…if that could happen so quickly, I thought, “Better check a few bathrooms in my house.” The pipes under an upstairs guest bedroom had frozen. Just breathe. I trucked my space heater over to that room along with a fan and waited. Just breathe. My wonderful plumber was at the ready next morning, when, miracle of miracles, the water started to trickle. Lesson learned, I let all the faucets trickle for the next several days. Just breathe. Well cripes – I missed my deadline to write and post my bi-weekly Blog. Just Breathe.