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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

True Leaders Inspire You to Become Your Best

Judith L Smith-Foote with Bill Clinton, 2012

'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.' John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States

Transitioning from 'You're NOT the Boss of me' to allowing others to bring out your best

I don't know about you, but I've been in the presence of greatness and it profoundly influenced my life. My entire adult life has been deeply influenced by one woman--Judith L Smith-Foote--the one shaking hands with former President Bill Clinton.

Now I know when you see her shaking hands with Clinton you already know she's someone special--but that's not what she was doing the day I met her so many years ago.

When we first met, Dr. Smith was a new Professor at UCLA and I was a new student intent on making my own way without people telling me what to do.

There I was--stumbling along in college--doing my best to avoid being tracked down by administrators who wanted to dictate the order I should take classes--in full-out 'you're not the boss of me' mode'--when I slipped into my first Human Anatomy class with Dr. Smith.

I was mesmerized  by her from the start--and didn't even notice the moment I effortlessly opened the 'you're-not-the-boss-of-me' door to allow her influence to take hold. Her greatness snuck up on me, and at first I didn't recognize her to be the person who was to become my greatest teacher, mentor and influencer. I just knew she was an exceptional teacher.

Finally, here was a teacher who commanded my attention, not because she told me to pay attention to her, but because she inspired me. Unlike so many other Professors who were clearly enamored with themselves, she was straightforward and unassuming. She was an extraordinary role model who had a way of presenting things in an upbeat, positive manner that captured my heart and imagination.

Through her own inquisitive, unselfconscious nature, she opened me up to my own excitement. As she lead the class, artfully keeping our focus on systems and structures, my own self-consciousness about other people's expectations fell away and was replaced with an internally-driven and expectant excitement about learning.  I would leave her class loving anatomy and marveling at the beauty of the human body.

The Moment I Chose to Follow

I still remember the moment in time when I decided this anatomy teacher was going to be my ultimate teacher and chosen leader. She flexed her elbow and said, "Your elbow joint enjoys a full range of motion." 

It sounds so silly to admit this was the turning point, but her simple statement had the most profound effect on me. I was fascinated by the idea my body enjoys moving and it gave me an incredible sense of freedom. It was in this moment I connected with this outwardly serious woman whose focus on the enjoyment of learning and living came through in everything she did.

The Key to Being a Leader who motivates

We are always listening for answers to our unspoken questions and quest for direction in life.  When I met Judith Smith-Foote it was one of those life-changing moments that helped to open me up to be the person I am.

In that critical time of self-consciousness, when I was questioning who I was and how to live up to my potential I met this woman who was a serious scientist on the outside yet a fun-loving, whimsical person on the inside. While I wasn't consciously aware of it at the time this was an inside out mirror of me--soft and silly on the outside, serious and thoughtful on the inside.  She was the right person to become my teacher, mentor, influencer--and friend.

Under her tutelage I learned to communicate in a positive way, and to facilitate other's learning to allow them to think for themselves.

By working with Judith, I discovered the key to being a leader who motivates: Get the focus off you--it isn't about what a brilliant teacher you are--it is about inspiring others to tap into their own abilities and excitement.

I watched as she artfully demonstrated over and over again how to open people up to learn for themselves; be their best selves; and bring their best. She set up the lessons, showed people where to look, and then got out of the way. She made room for students to excel and enjoy learning.

A Leader's Rise to the Top

At the beginning of this year, I had the honor of attending the celebration of Dr. Smith-Foote's 43 years at UCLA, serving as Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education in her final position.

Judith is an amazing woman who has dedicated her life to education and opening up opportunities for others. In her parting words and actions at her retirement dinner at the Chancellor's residence I saw exactly what I saw 40 years ago when I first encountered her in the anatomy class--perfect pitch for understanding human nature, leadership and communication. 
She was gracious and graceful as she took the spotlight off herself and put it back on the people in the room. The extraordinary person she is shone through her humble, understated manner.

When I asked her what's next on the horizon I knew her answer would contain the same element of joy and excitement I saw 40 years ago. She said:

'Retirement is the time you pay yourself to do things you absolutely love.'
Like all great leaders,  she didn't start out trying to be great. She simply lived her life with focus and passion--and along the way her actions inspired the rest of us to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.

And for those of us who have been touched by her we are grateful for the privilege of being able to sit alongside her and learn from her example.




After wandering across the night sky
The pale moon pauses 
Above the windswept sea 
To ponder the thin cover offered by 
Waning clouds and slips of canyon fog
And to wait for the
Rising sun’s glow and warmth 
Before making its descent
 Judith L. Smith-Foote
(Overlooking Malibu Bay October 20, 2013)

 
Choose a Leader

We all need role models to influence our lives. Who are yours? Who do you count as a voice of reason in your life--someone to emulate?

If you haven't already found that person you'd like to emulate--start with the end (of your life) in mind: What do you want your life to look like? How would you like people to remember you after you die? Look for a leader who has the characteristics you want to develop in yourself--then choose to learn from them.

Thank the People who make a Positive Impact on your Life

Make it a habit to go back and thank those who have made a positive impact on your life. It is good for them and good for you.

  • Who opened you up?
  • Who showed you what you could be?
  • Who prodded you to become the best you could be?
  • Who do you want to emulate?
  • Who showed you how to get out of your own way?
  • What was the moment in time you knew a person was going to play a significant role in guiding your life?


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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

 
If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Love, Faith and Compassion: Untangled Truth to keep you Doing Good



Untangled
"People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway."
Mother Teresa
Comfort Across the Airwaves
Thank you to TMR for posting this quote from Mother Teresa on Facebook. I've never seen it before--and it touched me in a moment of fatigue.
Why Untangled?
I named these words of wisdom from Mother Teresa 'Untangled'  because that's what it did for me this morning--untangled my thoughts when I was tired. I read them over and over again until I was able to let go of the entanglements I discovered lingering inside me.
It is so easy to get tangled up in faulty self-centered thinking after we work hard to achieve good things with the best of intentions--but we haven't yet taken enough time to recoup our energy.

"Tangled up thinking can lead us in a direction far away from our heart's desire to do good, be good and feel good."

What I found in Mother Teresa's wisdom is grounding truth for staying the course despite the daily difficulties--and the truth of how to be internally motivated and driven. It is simple unadorned truth for how to keep you doing good.
  • Where are your thoughts tangled up today?
  • Where do you have faulty self-centered thinking?
  • What part of Mother Teresa's Wisdom speaks to you today?

Share the Love--Lightarted Postcards, and Heart-felt Gifts
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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.
If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

3 Secrets to Happy, Long-Lasting Relationships




'A loving heart is the truest wisdom' Charles Dickens


What is the Secret to Enjoying a Long-lasting Relationship?
  • Are you in a relationship with it's ups and downs? Do you wonder if you have what it takes to make your relationship last?
  • How do you know if it's worth investing time in a new relationship or mending a long-standing one?
  • After facing difficult times in the relationship, how do you even know if you want to continue in the relationship?

What a Happy Relationship Isn't....Conflict-free

If you think a conflict-free relationship is the key to a long-lasting happy partnership you're barking up the wrong tree.

All happily married couples have a good amount of 'bark' in their relationship. It's what puts the heat, or bite, into the relationship.  Look at Lucy and Ricardo (I Love Lucy); Alice and Ralph Kramden (Honeymooners); and Bert and Ernie (Sesame Street). We love watching these comedic couples interact because we can relate to their conflicts and differences.

Truth is, we all have negative thoughts and feelings about our partners. It's natural. Over time our differences arise and the rose-colored glasses come off letting those petty annoyances surface. But there is something about happy, long-lasting relationships that makes them withstand the test of time and trouble.

Secret #1: Happily Married Couples Keep the Negative from Overwhelming the Positive

According to Dr. John M Gottman, author of 'The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work' and professor of psychology at the University of Washington and cofounder and director of the Gottman Institute, what can make a marriage or partnership work is surprisingly simple.


"In their day-to-day lives, happily married couples have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones."

People in healthy, long-lasting relationships deal with the same garden variety issues that people who break up do. The difference is those in healthy lasting relationships find a way to maintain an overall positive feeling to their relationships despite the negative thoughts and feelings that naturally arise over time.

This isn't to say you should always work through conflict and stay together at all costs. It provides a measuring stick for you to consider. How do you create a dynamic in your relationship to allow the positive to over-ride the negative?

Don't be afraid of conflict and run away at the first sign of it--look for ways to put conflict in perspective. Instead of viewing a 'fight' as an ending, use it to create a new beginning to better communication.


Secret #2: Turn Passion into Compassion  

In a happy union, love does make the world go round, but what love looks like over time changes. Family counselor, Gary Strait, noted that while relationships may initially be based on passion, if we are to continue to live with the differences and annoyances found in each other we must expand passion to have compassion for one another.

The longer we're in relationship together, the more acceptance, forgiveness, understanding--and perhaps a sense of humor about each others foibles--needs to play a central role in how we interact with ourselves as well as each other. 

Secret #3: Ask Yourself--Do You Want it to Work?

Before you tie the knot, and whenever you deal with upsets in the relationship along the way there is one question you can pose to yourself that cuts through all the layers between you and knowing what to do--'Do you want it to work out?'

You'll know the answer immediately. If you want the relationship to work out you must do whatever is needed to make it work. Your pride, anxiety, anger, or hurt feelings getting in the way will fall by the wayside once you know you want the relationship to work. It will bring you to the negotiation table faster.

When you are in the throes of a new relationship--accept your immediate gut response to the question 'do I want it to work'. Stop overwhelming yourself with added expectations and responsibilities for the relationship ('I think she's more into the relationship long term than I am'). You are simply trying to get clear about your desires and feelings today.

Are you in or getting into a relationship now? What's your answer for today? Do you want it to work?

If YES, get out there and create more fun and meaningful times with one another. Find a way to enjoy and make a constructive use of your differences. Move into that place of allowing the good times to roll....


'To get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.' Mark Twain
A Tribute to 30 Years of Making it Work 

Today's post is in honor of the love of my life, Mark Gibbons, who 30 years ago was brave enough to ask the question, 'Do I want it to work?' I made an excellent choice for a life partner. We're still working it!


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 For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

 If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.



















Friday, October 18, 2013

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Success--To laugh often and love much




'A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness there can be no true joy.'     Thomas Carlyle

 
Ralph Waldo Emerson on Success

"To laugh often and love much;

 To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

 To earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

 To appreciate beauty;

 To find the best in others;

 To give of one's self;

 To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

 To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;

 To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;

 This is to have succeeded
."

How do You Measure Your Daily Success?

Like Emerson I like to measure my daily success by how freely I laugh, love, and win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children.

I count my day a success when friends and family send me just the right stuff to make me smile. I love waking up to little gifts of perspective shared with me because someone knows I will enjoy it.

This morning I woke up to this cats stealing dog beds video sent to me by my son with the note:  'I know you'll like it.'  I did. I am an avid animal-lover--and he knows it. 

 This video of cats stealing dog beds put a smile on my face and made me feel 'successful' as I started my day. So I, in turn, am sharing this short video from tastefullyoffensive.com to lighten your day.

What can you do to contribute to other's success today by making them laugh, feel loved, and respected?

'You can tell by the kindness of a dog how a human should be.' Don Van Vliet

 
Share the Love--Lightarted Postcards, and Heart-felt Gifts

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let Go--Be Happy: Tension is who you think you should be; Relaxation is who you are

 
'Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.' Buddha

How do you react when things are going good in your life? When all the pieces are falling perfectly into place, do you take time to delight in the moment or do you begin to anticipate your next crisis?

Does This Sound Like You?

You've longed for a relationship with someone but when a person you like comes along and things are going well, suddenly you feel overwhelmed. Why, after you agree to take your relationship to the next step, do you worry you've moved too fast and want to back out?

You've thought long and hard about asking for a raise or promotion, but when you get it, you're overwhelmed. Why, after stepping out on a limb to ask for the better position and more money do you suddenly panic and feel overwhelmed when you get it?

You've looked forward to retirement and it is right around the corner. But suddenly you're filled with fear and self-doubt as the time draws near for you to choose the best option for your retirement annuity. Why are you so exhausted until the decision is made?

Second Guessing and Higher Expectations

If you find yourself paralyzed in fear, wondering if you made the right choice after getting something you wanted, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Those of us who live in cultures that believe in freedom of choice--and who have many choices for creating our lives--are the same ones who have the luxury to second guess our choices.

The world of many choices--while providing us a plethora of options--also puts the responsibility for making the best choices squarely on our shoulders--and this is where things can get confused in our thinking--especially when our decisions affect others as well as ourselves.

"When we have the freedom to chose a life path instead of having one thrust on us, we feel the responsibility of our choices and it raises our expectations for the outcomes."


Suddenly, we're self-conscious about our choices. Is it the right one? Could I have chosen better? Is this one going to bite me down the road? What if I'm missing another opportunity because I'm committed to this one? What if my perfect mate comes along while I'm in this relationship and I fail to recognize it? What if I'm just leading this person on?

Facing the Moment Before and After You Choose Calmly

To be happy and open up to the possibilities of your good choices you must let go of over-thinking your decisions.

'Tension is who you think you should be; Relaxation is who you are.'


What does this mean? Indecision is exhausting--making the moments before you make a choice uncomfortable--while anticipating what will go wrong after you make a decision stressful. It is living in the 'world of should'  that creates the tension and discomfort throwing you into a mental fog and leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

Enough Already! Choose and Stop Thinking

When you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a stress response--wanting to 'fight or take flight', or 'argue or withdraw' as you transition into that good relationship, job, or retirement stop over-thinking it. In fact, stop thinking. Put it down and do something else.

Over-thinking what it all means makes you jittery. When you stop thinking, and focus on being in the moment instead, you'll stop your creeping expectations from turning into 'a big pile of should' and allow a bit of serendipity to show up.

Truth is we all want to be pleasantly surprised and caught off guard by random acts of kindness and moments of creativity, love and  fun in our daily life. We can lose that sense of being pleasantly surprised in little ways when we raise our expectations too high.

So lighten up! Stop putting so much importance on your every choice after you step into something good. Your choice is for now, not for all eternity. Let things unfold naturally. If you start to feel overwhelmed, get sleep and down time.



'You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.' Paulo Coelho


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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.


















Thursday, October 10, 2013

Project Helping Hands Needs Your Support

Kimonui Holgen "Be the change you want to see"
What is Project Helping Hands?

Project Helping Hands is a not-for-profit humanitarian medical organization serving the underprivileged around the world.


Call for Support

Long time friend and colleague, Kimonui Holgen is again going on a medical mission to southern Peru with Project Helping Hands to provide care in some of the neediest, impoverished areas of the world. If you would like to support this medical mission, please see Kimonui's letter below letting you know how your tax-deductible support can help this mission.

A little money goes a long way! Your contribution can make a real difference!

Letter from Kimonui Holgen requesting support for Helping Hands Mission in Peru

 Dear Sponsor,

 Once again I would like to share my excitement with you over my upcoming medical mission and ask for your support. This year I will be participating in a medical mission to southern Peru from November 9 to 22, 2013 with Project Helping Hands (PHH – www.project-helping-hands.org ). Our ongoing medical missions travel to some of the neediest impoverished areas of the world every year offering health and hope.
 
I will be working with a team of 28 health care professionals to provide medical and dental care, health education and improve the quality life for hundreds of people who otherwise have no access to sustainable health care. For many, this is the only medical care they receive. This team will stop in Lima and hold clinic at orphanages on the outskirts of the city and then fly to southern Peru and travel by 4-wheel drive, making multi-day treks where there are no roads to remote areas of the Colca Canyon to hold clinics. Some of the indigenous people walk for days to come to our clinics. The team is diverse and includes medical professionals and health educators from many disciplines to address medical, dental, and public health issues that would otherwise go uncared for. These trips are an incredible opportunity for me (and you - by extension) to “be the change that we wish to see in the world.”
 
In order to make this trip, I need to cover all my own costs and medical supplies for the trip which comes to $3,400.00 (includes extension trip to Colca Canyon). I have already received a grant from Providence Health Systems for $750.00, but need more support. No contribution is too small and every single dollar or item that is donated is used (and reused) as much as possible. We also extract the sickest to the nearest city where they can get advanced care (appendectomy surgery, etc) or other treatment that we are not able to deliver due to the rugged conditions on this trip. We support local economies as much as possible and the medical supplies that are left over are given to local clinics, hospitals, and orphanages.

 
$25 buys enough medication to treat intestinal worms for over 300 people.

 $10 buys enough antibiotics to treat nine people

 $40 pays for an appendectomy surgery.

 $100 pays the rental for a truck to carry five medical team members & supplies.

 
Nothing is wasted. Monetary contributions direct to Project Helping Hands over $25 are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt from Project Helping Hands for the amount you give.
 
There are multiple ways you can make a donation toward this medical mission: a check sent to me, the PHH Web site, or a check sent directly to PHH, please see instructions below.
 
Part of PHH’s mission is providing sustainable health care services and new countries or regions are only added to their scope if PHH is able to support ongoing care.
 
Thank you for your participation in this trip by helping our human family. If you know of anyone else that would be interested in participating in this medical mission with a contribution (see below) please forward this letter to them or have them contact me. I am happy to answer any questions and/or follow up with a presentation report after the trip.
 
With deep gratitude,

 Kimonui Holgen, RN, BA, BSN, MPH

541-326-1245
Project Helping Hands 305 NE 6th St.#774, Grants Pass, OR 97526 Phone: (707) 951-2188 • www.project-helping-hands

Options for Monetary Contributions
 
Take a moment right now to send me a check. It must arrive before Nov 5, 2013.
 
My address is: Kimonui Holgen, 221 N. Central Ave #105, Medford, OR 97501
 
OR

 Send a check directly to Project Helping Hands. Be sure you place a note on the check (write in the memo portion of the check) stating that this donation is for Kimonui Holgen, Peru 2013. It must arrive before Nov 1, 2013
 
Mail your check to: Project Helping Hands 305 NE 6th St. #774, Grants Pass, OR 97526

OR

 Via the web: Go to the Project-Helping-Hands web site right now and make a secure donation. Have your Credit Card, or check routing / acct # ready and:

a.         Go to http://www.project-helping-hands.org/  

b.         Click on “Donate Now” tab.

c.         A new secure page will open that asks for:

·         Your personal and billing info. This is required to donate via the web and to send you a receipt. You can also opt to remain anonymous.

·         Your donation amount. Choose from the pre-assigned amounts or click “other” and a section will appear that allows you to indicate the amount.

·         Where it says “Please direct my donation to” click on the drop down menu arrow on the right and then click “OTHER–tell us how to use your donation”.

·         A new section will appear below it titled “Please describe how you'd like us to use your donation:” Fill in my name and the trip – Kimonui Holgen, Peru 2013.

d. Indicate the donation frequency

e. Choose your payment method and follow the prompts.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Miserable? Embrace Your Angst


"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Helen Keller

Why Do I Suffer a Lack of Confidence? Is Something Wrong with me?

Every person who has ever done anything great has suffered times of low self-confidence and self-doubt. You're no different.

In The Crystal Caves, author Mary Stewart captured the internal struggle we all deal with at one time or another in the character of Merlin the Magician. In Stewart's view, Merlin the great sorcerer had self-doubts despite his incredible supernatural abilities. He was always questioning if his abilities were real.

This image of a powerful sorcerer, who from the outside appears so skilled and powerful--yet is so filled with angst on the inside as he questions the truth of his abilities--provides a great representation for us to see what naturally occurs within us mere mortals.

Inside and Outside Viewpoints

So what's going on? Why, despite accomplishing sometimes great things, do we like Merlin still doubt ourselves? When it comes to taking the next step, getting the next job or love, or recovering from a breakup or loss why do we fall into self-doubt and a lack of confidence?

It has to do with our perspective--from the inside we see who we aren't and what isn't finished--i.e. everything we still want to accomplish, while from the outside people see who we are, what is finished and what we have accomplished.

"Others see our work for what it IS; we see our work for what it ISN'T."


"Others see us for who we are; we see ourselves for who we aren't."


There isn't anything wrong with you when you move into these times of internal angst. You are experiencing what it means to be human. Don't run away from your angst; embrace it; sit in it; experience it. Then, when you're ready, step out of your private shell and take a public step.

  • Put on the painter's pants, pick up the paint brush and paint your next masterpiece.
  • Put on your superhero's cloak, put your best foot forward, and work to save the next animal, organization or environment.
  • Put on your best face, be your best self, and go meet the person who may be your next great love.

Your private angst isn't as bad as it's cracked up to be. Somber times lead to enlightened times.


"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."  Helen Keller


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Memories of Loved Ones Are Like Songs in Our Soul



'Memories of loved ones are like songs in our soul.' 
Margaret Wakeley

Who or what has touched your life and made it better?

Who do you think of with fondness that is no longer part of your life? Perhaps it is a beloved pet or person who has passed, or perhaps its someone who passed through your life for a brief moment and moved on?

For me, my mother who died shortly after Mother's Day  years ago tops my list. Mother's Day has become a time for me to sit in happy memories of my time with her and contemplate how deeply she touched my life. Remembering her bright spirit and kind heart always brings a smile to my face.

Memories of my mother are etched in my soul--a day doesn't go by I don't think about a bit of her homespun wisdom. This lighthearted and fun-loving woman loved life, animals and people--and passed that love of life on to me--leaving me with a daily song in my soul--and a belief in the basic goodness of humans.

My dog, Ginger, a golden-beagle, was my constant companion and confidant for almost 18 years. As most dogs are, she was a wonderful listener who was also comfortable sitting alongside me in silence.  She would cock her head and look at me as if to say, "And what else? What else is happening?" And like my mother, memories of my time with Ginger are like songs in my soul.

Songs in Our Soul

The word 'memorie' first appeared in the mid-13th century meaning 'mindful remembering'. As Margaret Wakeley said mindful remembering--or memories of loved ones are like songs in our soul.

It is through our mindful remembering  we create and maintain a sense of connectedness with people and animals present and past who have touched our hearts and we have the strength to get through the difficult times.

We are uplifted by sharing the stories of the companions we hold dear--relaying and replaying how they touched us and influenced our lives. Through the mindful remembering of the stories we tell we give more shared meaning and strength to our own lives as we move forward.

A few years ago I attended a celebration of life for a well-loved colleague who passed through this life too early. It was a day filled with friends and joy. One of the gifts I took away from the gathering was the Chico Gospel--a great song to share with those you love. I offer it to you to share with others. 


Don't wait for those you cherish to pass  on before you share memories. Contact those still in your life to share memories of how they've touched your life. Take time to acknowledge who you are grateful to have in your life. Reach out and lend a hand to someone who needs one.

Mamuse-Chico Gospel
Chico Gospel Lyrics by Karisha Longaker
 

There was a time I believed

Life was over for me
There was time I believed
My life was over
I feel strong today
Thanks to your help
I'll find my way and
I too will lend you a hand
when you need one
Chorus
Sometimes I get so down
I feel like
This is the end
Like there's no way in hell
I can get over this mountain
The sun has come out
Beyond the shadow of my doubt
I am walking on this earth
Stronger than ever


'The holiest of all holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart: The secret anniversaries of the heart.' Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.



If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Seek Meaningful Experiences to Be Authentically Happy





Jennifer Aaker--What Makes Us Happy?


Get Meaning, Be Happy

According to Jennifer Aaker, author of The Dragonfly Effect, happiness isn't an elusive or superficial goal found by acting happy. It is a state of mind more easily attained by seeking meaningful experiences rather than trying to be happy.

In an interesting study performed by researchers at Stanford University, study participants were asked to either 'go create meaningfulness' or 'go create happiness' in the next 24 hours. Upon returning to the lab the following day they were asked 'Are you happy?'

The people tasked with creating happiness reported feeling less happy than those who sought to create meaning. Interestingly, the two groups didn't do that much differently but the people who went out to create meaning reported feeling more connectedness to the people and world around them.



Be Authentic--Be Real

False Fronts. With all the chatter about 'happiness' today, we can lose sight of the importance of being authentically happy. Happiness as viewed from the outside can simply be a false front leaving you feeling empty inside. And seeking happiness instead of seeking meaning in your day is the fast-path to feeling lost.

Shared Difficulties Create Meaning. Surprisingly, when we make a true connection with someone who shares a difficult experience with us or when we share our own with others we create a solid sense of peace and contentment inside.

It is the meaningful experience and feeling of connectedness that makes the difference. The connectedness deepens our life experience and makes us feel a part of the greater whole. Don't be afraid of the tough part of life. Learn to embrace the difficulties by letting them connect you to others and helping you find greater meaning in your life.

Get real.  Seek to fill your days with meaningful experiences that connect you to the people, animals and world around you. Start to notice how making a true connection in a single experience elevates your mood and graces you with a deeper contentment.



Sign Up for Free E-mail updates

 For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

 If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.