Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Learning To Be Positive

There are So Many books and articles about The Power of Positive Thinking. Probably one of the most well known was written by Norman Vincent Peale who wrote the book with that title.  Then there is Tony Robbins who is also very well known and wrote Personal Power II.   There are so many other good self improvement books.   There may be different approaches but I think most have the same thoughts and processes. No, I have not read all of these but I have read others and from having lived a long time, gone to college, worked for many years and attended scores of training classes I have been exposed to most of what has been written. Of course, I have also been on the internet reading more articles.

Right now, to be truthful, I am wondering if I really want to write about being positive.  That, in and of itself, is not very positive now is it ?  I think I am tired. I also am being drawn outside because it is a nice afternoon so I am going to go outside and walk around a bit. I will be right back.

Ok, that and a cup of coffee hopefully has helped.  At about 4 pm I can almost count on getting in a slight funk.  Normal, right ?  We all have our moments.  I remember writing in a paper for college about having a bad day and fixing it by taking my dog and going for a walk behind our house and how it always made me feel better.  All was right in my world again.

The point I am making is that it is not always easy to be positive. We have to make the effort and sometimes it is difficult. It does not take much to throw us off course.

I firmly believe that there are many things we can do to keep ourselves feeling positive about ourselves.  We have to be very proactive and we need to find ways/things that sooth us.  Seeking out something that comforts us will be different for everyone. 

So what can you do ?  I once knew someone who would do Yoga to be able to maintain a positive attitude. Take a nap ? Yes, if you are tired.  Read a book. Listen to music; I love that one.  Right now I really enjoy listening to Andrea Bocelli and his son, Matteo.  There is a truly beautiful video of them singing “Fall On Me”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChcR2gKt5WM.  I smile every single time. What a beautiful expression of love between father and son.

Find something that makes you feel happy. I strongly believe that will bring about a positive attitude more than anything else.

So we have to be intentional.  We need to do it each and every day.  I now have a habit of searching the internet for quotes. I love them and they help me be more positive and I use them in my blog posts and share them on Tweeter, Facebook and on Pinterest. 

What are you thankful for ?  When you are feeling negative you should think about what you have in your life that you are grateful for.  Do you have a good friend, a spouse, a child ?  Are you working and have a job you like ?  Are you able to think of something you like and get up and actually do it ?  It can be virtually anything that makes you feel happy. If you are able to do it you have something to be grateful for.

If you are in a negative relationship, or have a friend that is negative, I think it is important to either give up the friendship or actually vocalize to the other person how you feel and tell them that it makes you feel negative too.  Be proactive in that relationship in offering help to the other person.  Maybe they do not realize the affect they are having.  Maybe you can help; that is being a good friend and it is definitely something to feel thankful for.  If your efforts are not accepted then it is time to move on; you do not need the negativity in your life.  I lived with an extremely negative person for years. In some ways in the beginning I thought I could help them but realized over time that was not a reality.  The reality was it damaged me and it has taken years to move on from that relationship. Kick them out and then be thankful you were able to do it.

Doing positive things helps boost self confidence which in turn changes your whole attitude and will actually affect your appearance.  You will smile more often, stand up straighter, and walk differently with a stronger stride and better posture.  You will be more open to other people and become more relaxed in different situations.  Make doing those positive things your daily routine; make them your new habits.

An article I read had a wonderful suggestion for starting each day with a positive thought. This would be beneficial for yourself, and as she suggested, it would be a nice gift for a friend or family member.  What she did was cut up 365 pieces of paper and wrote little notes, memories, quotes, song lyrics, descriptive words about the person you are gifting, etc. and put them in a jar so that one could be pulled out each day. A positive, feel good, way to start each day.  The article was published in Alteristic-the Power of Positivity by Darcie Folsom

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day !

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Life Force

Esperanza Spalding

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique”. Martha Graham

When I was using my treadmill on Sunday I was using that time to think about my blog and what I had posted on Sunday and I was thinking about my family and I thought about life force.  That is the term that just popped into my head.  It isn’t a term I would normally think of so I decided to look up it’s meaning.

This has led me on a thoughtful journey. I found “Life Force” a difficult term, or idea, to define or comprehend. Perhaps because it would mean so many different things to different people.

From <https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/life-force> The definition is: the force that gives somebody/something their strength or energy.  And also: the force that keeps all life in existence

Synonyms for life force are: joie de vivre, life, spirit, vital force, vitality. Found at https:www.thesaurus.com/browsw/life%20force>

Practices such as Yoga or Tai Chi often refer to the Life Force. Looking for references into what theory they each may follow I found an article written by Elizabeth Palermo, Associate Editor  of LiveScience, In the article I found reference to Qigong and to Tai Chi. I had not heard of Qigong before. According to Peter Wayne, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the research director at Harvard’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine , Qigong is sometimes translated as “vital energy cultivation” or “mastery of your energy.” 

Also according to Mr. Wayne “The chi in the word ‘tai chi’ is a different character and has a different meaning [than the ‘qi’ in qigong]. But the practice of tai chi, in my opinion, is equivalent to a form of qigong. You’re training to have more awareness and control over your ‘life force’ — your physiology or energy,” Wayne told Live Science. “And some forms of qigong are almost indistinguishable from tai chi, he added.”

If you are interested in Yoga, Qigong or Tai Chi I recommend reading this article. It does go into greater detail about the mind body connection within these practices and also explores the internal, external healing benefits and the related field of biofield therapy including Healing Touch, Johrei, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch. 

All new to me but it is looked at as part of the Life Force. Reading what I have just written you may also be wondering just exactly what is Life Force. To me it is my connection with my family. My mother and father who brought me into this world along with my brothers and sisters. My sons who are an extension of me. Our lives are all connected. My life force was given to me by my parents and I in turn gave my life force to my sons. Now that life force has been given to my grandchildren.

All people are part of the Life Force as are all animals, plants, trees, plants, etc. All of these forms are also connected and in some form sustain each other. This conversation could go on and on and on. How we interact with people and virtually everything else affects our well being. What we do each day is impactful. Just consider Global Warming; what we do each day affects everything and everyone. We each, individually, have an impact on ourselves and each other and indeed the world around us.

What we do, how we interact, will affect our life force. I feel our life force is our physical being and it is also definitely our mental and/or spiritual being. We need to feed, fuel and protect all of these things. We need to be aware of how we feel and more in tune with ourselves. I think it is easy to ignore so many feelings and just push them away.

So how do we do that ? Basically, we need to adopt as many good habits as possible and they are virtually the same habits you should adopt for everything you can think of. First we need to fuel our bodies by eating well, eating all the foods that are good for our bodies. Easy right ? Sometimes, but it is a choice we make every day. Should I eat this or that ? There are so many choices when we go to the grocery store. I have become an avid reader of the ingredients on food packages. Fortunately I like and enjoy the foods that are good for me; my husband, not so much.

What do we do to become more aware of our mind, our thoughts and feelings ? Does meditation work ? Many people truly believe that it does. It helps us relax and relieves stress. Meditation will help us become more self aware. It makes it easier to sleep. According to an article I read from Psychology Today, it will help increase our brain matter. This was a great article written by Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today I have also listed a few other references below.

The only experience I have that is close to meditation is at the end of yoga class when every one relaxes, closes their eyes and tries to clear our minds for about 5 minutes. You can sit , but normally you would lay down and cover up with a blanket. There is soft music playing like the sound of water. It is very relaxing and it does help to clear the mind. I enjoy it so maybe I will start practicing meditation.

We should all be exercising and I know this can be a struggle but it is so beneficial for our health. I have a love/hate relationship with exercise and to be truthful it is mostly being lazy on my part. There are some really valid reasons for me to exercise, one in particular, my father and his sister both died of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise has been proven to help so why would I not want to do it ? Even with that I still find it difficult.

Learning. I have read so many articles about expanding your brain, actually making it healthier by learning a new skill. It can be anything, learning a new language, knitting/crochet, sewing, a new sport such as golf. Any new skill that you have to think about and any different ways of using your body will stimulate your brain. It is possible to grow new brain cells. There are several articles which can be found and I have included one here; https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/can-you-grow-new-brain-cells

Also important in maintaining a healthy Life Force are rest and relaxation. A good night’s sleep is crucial and sometimes very hard to come by. We live such busy lives and there is always something to do. Another habit we should strive to develop. going to bed at a set time each night, stopping certain activities, like social media, about an hour before we go to bed. When we lose sleep it is very difficult to truly make up for it and it has a negative affect on our well being, our life force.

You may wonder why I have the image of Esperanza Spalding at the top of this post. When I was researching I came across her name, the image, and a great article (interview) about her, “The Life Force of Esperanza Spalding”. To be truthful I had never heard of her but I had to read the article and I was impressed. She is a multi-Grammy award winner and she teaches at Harvard. She wants to activate your senses through Jazz. She has a new album called “12 Little Spells” which furthers this distinct methodology by exploring the art of bodily healing. Say What ? This is one smart lady and I am definitely going to be listening to 12 Little Spells; I have to check it out. I recommend reading this article because it is very interesting. You can find it here: http://officemagazine.net/life-force-esperanza-spalding

I hope I helped explore and introduce you to some interesting facts about our Life Force. As always, I would appreciate your comments.

References:

Some of the articles I read for gathering information and understanding of “Life Force” are included here: “Practices to Build Your Life Force” which can be found here: https://www.thetoolsbook.com/blog/life-force

The article I really enjoyed and feel could be beneficial was written by John Kehoe. “Life Force I” which you can find here: https://www.learnmindpower.com/article/life-force-part-i/ . It is a good read and the nice part is he continues his writing in Part 2. He is the founder of Mind Power and has written several books.

“Seven Ways Meditation Can Actually Change Your Brain” written by Alice G. Walton for Forbes.Com. You can find it here:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#2f0a28ca1465

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Compassion

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” The Dalai Lama

What is compassion ?

 The definition of compassion according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is

“The sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it”.

Many people confuse compassion with empathy.  Compassion has the added element of having a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another.  From <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/200804/what-is-compassion-and-how-can-it-improve-my-life

Empathy is “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”  Definition from the Oxford Dictionary. It does not include the desire to alleviate distress; to take steps to help the person in distress.

So are you compassionate ?  Before writing this if someone had asked me if I were compassionate I would have said yes.  After reading and researching I am not sure I truly am.  I think I have empathy and I do think I am compassionate but not as much as I could, or should, be.  Compassion indicates that you have to have the desire to alleviate another person’s distress.  I may have the desire but what does it take to really follow through and act on that desire.  I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but I think most people are similar to me.   We have empathy,  but we do not practice true compassion.

Thankfully I know there are many truly compassionate people and they are indeed special.

When you watch the nightly news or information on the internet, the feed on face book, what is your reaction ? I quite often cringe at people’s cruelty and the pain that people are going through.  I make the right sounds of anguish, say the right things but do I actually do anything.  I might make a contribution when I am able but do I actually take what would be considered true action ? No.  I think most people would also say no.

I also understand that to be compassionate it does not have to be a grand gesture or action.  Most of us do not have the ability to do so.  We do not have the financial means or the ability to go to a disaster area to help. 

How do we practice being compassionate ? How can we be compassionate toward others ?

I think we have to be open minded and try to understand what other people are going through on a day to day basis.  We do not know what their life is like or what their day has been like.  So do not be judgmental or too quick to jump to a conclusion.  The best and easiest way to be compassionate is to smile.  I love it when someone smiles at me.  How can you not smile back ?  So smile often, at many people, every chance you get.

“Compassion, tenderness, patience, responsibility, kindness, and honesty are actions that elicit similar responses from others.”  — Jane Smiley, Harper’s, June 2000

I believe that each aspect of the above quote are all part of compassion; have patience, show tenderness and kindness and be honest.

To show, or practice, compassion we need to not only be aware of others but ourselves as well.  If we are having a bad day, if we are over tired or stressed, then it will be difficult to be open and aware of other people and their problems. So be kind to yourself first and you will be better equipped to be kind to someone else.

Ironically, we tend to not always be aware of those we are closest to, in particular our families.  How easy is it to take them for granted or to be easily critical.  They love us right so they will understand. No, that is just wrong, but I know I do it.  I hope I am wrong but I think most people do it too.

So become aware of the interactions with your family and your friends and treat them with compassion.  Be Kind to them and also to your self and then do the same to everyone else as well.

A smile or kind gesture done each day should be a habit we each maintain.  It should be easy right ?  It should also be honest and sincere.  If you ask someone how they are and if there is anything you can do to help, mean it.  Don’t just ask the question and then not follow through.  If you know you can’t, or won’t, follow through then don’t offer the help.  A kind word and a smile will always be beneficial.

Can you imagine how much better the world would be if we were all more open minded and aware and that we all showed compassion toward each other ?

“There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy and a grace in forgiveness.”  Unknown

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Self Improvement

A New Day Brings a New Beginning

A New Day brings a New Beginning

I am currently under construction.  Thank you for your patience.

Under Construction, have you ever felt this way ?

Absolutely ! I bet you have and I know that I have. But when you think about it each of us is under construction; in one stage or another. We may not realize, or acknowledge it, but I believe it to be true.

Humans are sort of like that onion we have heard about where when you peel away a layer and sometimes we cry. We do build ourselves in layers, a little bit at a time.  Sometimes the layers we build may be defective or might not fit.

Life is always in flux.  We may have a perfect, or near perfect, life or we may have any variation of what would be called a not so perfect life.  Good or bad there will be ups and downs and there are always ways to improve ourselves and our lives.

If our lives are moving along smoothly with no major problems it is easy and normal to just accept, enjoy and go with the flow. But I think it is also in our DNA to strive to be better and to dream about more. The definition of “more” may be different for each one of us.

My definition of “more” has changed as I have moved along my path in life. Childhood into adulthood, single, working, marriage, children, divorce, then work again. Raising children as a single parent and working hard to move ahead at work, going to college while working, getting promotions. Striving to better myself and give my children a good life. Weaving in relationships, the ho-hum, the very bad and then finally the good.  A new marriage, moving and moving again. Retirement from working for a company. 

Relationships with my children through all this and, yes, they did survive, as did I.  Were they affected by everything that happened to me and how I handled it? Yes, they were. When we are in the moment of something, especially the negatives, we do not always think of how it is effecting our family, or our friends or our work. Everything can be affected; we just may not realize it at the time. That is not a good thing.

I am lucky and have wonderful children, now wonderful grandchildren and the joy they bring. I have a Wonderful Family. They sustain me.

What I am attempting to say is that life is a never changing event.  Sometimes there are negatives. There may be the unexpected events that happen like losing a job or a health problem. Sometimes there are positives, like getting that promotion or getting a good pay increase. Sometimes there are those wondrous events like the birth of your children and grandchildren; loving someone who loves you back.

None of these things are guaranteed and most take a good deal of effort.  So how do we make it all easier because sometimes it can be overwhelming.  There will be highs and there will be lows and sometimes the highs will be just as difficult to cope with as the lows.   Life can be an emotional roller coaster and we may not be prepared for all it gives us.

Hopefully when either a high or a low in our life happens we will have a supportive family and circle of friends.  Someone who will celebrate the highs and help us keep centered and who will also listen and be there to help us when there are lows. That unit of support is so important.  If you are religious then turning to your faith and talking to a member of the clergy/priest, minister, rabbi, etc. is also a good option.

I am going to reference an article I read that really brought one thing home to me. For some reason I had forgotten how this felt, finally.  The article was written by Anna Hlavsova and the article name is “Highs and Lows Are Part of Life”.  In the first paragraph she writes,

 “If you are like the majority of humans, then your coping strategies are likely to include avoiding the actual experience.  Distracting or rationalizing is a common way to stop feeling what you are feeling”. 

The complete article can be found here:   <https://thriveglobal.com/stories/highs-and-lows-are-part-of-life/>

It is so easy to try to avoid the pain of the actual experience.  We can look at it any which way, and believe me, you will, but that is the worst thing you can do.  It will fester, it will hurt and you are just expanding it’s control over you.  Do Not Let That Happen.

In reality, what hurts you the most may be your own fault and no one wants to accept that.  No, no, no, it was because of this or that, but somewhere along the way you made a decision. That decision probably lead to another and another that were not going to work out, were not going to help you, and somewhere inside you knew it, or should have, and but you did them anyway.

As fast as you can take a deep breath and start looking at what happened and dissect it.  It will not be easy and this is where you need that support group. Sit down and wrap their compassion around you like a blanket and talk and maybe cry and/or scream, but Get It Out.  If you do not it will be with you for years; trust me.   In some way, large or small, it will affect everything you do.  You will may feel incompetent, you definitely will lose some, or all, of the confidence you have worked so hard to achieve. You will question yourself over and over and you will lose a lot of sleep.  I cannot tell you how important this is. Seek Help. Your friends and family may not be enough so consider a professional. Wow, I did not start out intending to say, or share, all of that but as you might be able to tell I did go through this and it was not pleasant so it was worth sharing.

Read Anna Hlavsova’s article it is very good. From <https://thriveglobal.com/stories/highs-and-lows-are-part-of-life/

I think we all have a little voice inside that sometimes will whisper to us and we should listen. That is an opportune time to reflect and question before we totally commit to what we are doing.

So, we are under construction. When you build a house we look for a house plan we really like and then we hire a professional to build it for us.  We are putting in a good amount of effort to gives us the best outcome.  We should be doing the same thing with building the best us.

How do we do that ?  Well, we can make a good plan and we should look for the best information and/or people to help us.  Think about what happens at school or work.  We read and gain knowledge and we listen to instructors and take classes.  We learn and we expand our knowledge.  There is structure to all of this and there should be in our life as well.

We should have a plan and we should have a set of goals.  They should be your goals, not someone else’s.  Set a goal for what you want to do, what you really want in your life.  Then break that goal down into steps; those steps are what you will follow to get to that goal.   Each goal will require taking different steps. Start with the easiest step and then move on to the next.  The nice thing is as you accomplish one step you will gain some confidence and it will be easier to move on to the next step.

Realize that it will not happen as quickly as you would like.  It will take time and effort just like building a house. In the long run I believe we are all better off when we give ourselves time. Make a plan, do the first step and then give your self time to assimilate what you have just done and how it has positively affected you. Be sure to keep going though and take the next step.

Going back to your support group.  Talk to someone you value as a friend and let them know what you are doing and ask them to help you keep on track.  It will make you feel more committed to your plan.  If no one knows it is really easy to just stop.  If you have someone who you trust and admire at work ask them to be a mentor and to give you guidance.

Write it all down.  I do this all the time and it helps to be able to see it, read it and make adjustments if necessary.  It will help you stay focused.  It is also a way to make you responsible; you made the plan and you are the only one who can complete it.  Own It.

As you are working toward your goals be aware that there may be some ups and downs.    You may reach some obstacles or roadblocks; something that holds you back.  Be prepared for that and understand that it happens.  Be kind to your self and realize that you are not the only one this happens to.  Do some assessment of your habits and how you might improve those as well to make it easier. 

Make a schedule that you can follow and look at it everyday.  Schedule in time for each step of your plan.  It is too easy to say I know I have time to do that tomorrow, then tomorrow comes and you realize you really don’t.  Feeling rushed to complete something creates pressure and that leads to stress.  Your schedule should be realistic and it should always include personal time.  Be sure to include time to enjoy yourself.

As you progress you should also take time to step away and reward your self.  Buy something that you may have really wanted for a long time, go to a concert, go away for the weekend, or just plan a special day for your family or a friend. Listen to music, read a book. Give your self quiet time.  Congratulate yourself for Moving forward !

In all of my blog posts I try to bring a mixture of my thoughts and experiences and I also do research and read other people’s blogs and read articles.  In this post I looked at many and I like to give credit to those people.  My favorite for this post was by Anna Hlavsova and the article name is “Highs and Lows Are Part of Life” which I have already noted.  I also read  https://www.verywellmind.com/the-healthiest-approach-to-self-improvement-4172573 which I also enjoyed and felt was worthwhile reading.  Also http://briankim.net/articles/deal-highs-lows-life/ and https://thriveglobal.com/stories/highs-and-lows-are-part-of-life/

You will find there are common threads in each article but each brings a slightly different perspective.  We are all different so reading different articles is always a good idea. You may find something in one or all that is helpful.

It’s a New Day And A New Beginning. Go For It.

“Planning is important. But the doing is even more so. You can have the perfect plan, but if you never set it in motion it doesn’t matter how good of a plan you have. Rather take one step at a time, and you find yourself amazed.” John Pa

From <https://twitter.com/>

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Equipment For Life – Inspiration Friday

The Poem “It Couldn’t Be Done” By Edgar Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done 

      But he with a chuckle replied 

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one 

      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried. 

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin 

      On his face. If he worried he hid it. 

He started to sing as he tackled the thing 

      That couldn’t be done, and he did it! 

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that; 

      At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat 

      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it. 

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, 

      Without any doubting or quiddit, 

He started to sing as he tackled the thing 

      That couldn’t be done, and he did it. 

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, 

      There are thousands to prophesy failure, 

There are thousands to point out to you one by one, 

      The dangers that wait to assail you. 

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, 

      Just take off your coat and go to it; 

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing 

    That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Edgar Albert Guest (20 August 1881 in BirminghamEngland – 5 August 1959 in DetroitMichigan) was a prolific English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century and became known as the People’s Poet. His poems often had an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life.

How many times have you had an idea, a dream, and not followed through ? We should all listen to the wisdom of the words in this poem and take them to heart. Learn them, remember them and make them part of who we are. It is too easy to think, or believe, that we can’t do something when in reality if we just try we could and by trying we learn and become better, stronger, more confident human beings.

This is a trait we should adopt and share with other people and in particular our children. If we can instill this value in all the children then this would indeed be a better world.

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Self Improvement

The Fear of Doing Things Alone

From experiences I have had previously, mostly my work experience, there are things I know you have to do to ease trepidation. The most important is to be prepared.  When I had to do presentations, or speak in front of a large group, I would spend hours writing everything down and going over and over what I was going to say.  I did a lot of tweaking so it sounded better and then I would visualize and practice.  It helped a great deal. The initial stepping out in front of people was always a little frightening but because I was so well prepared once I started talking it was fine.  It also helps to smile; it will ease your mind and those around you.

I am going to be taking my first Tai Yoga class this week. I have taken Yoga classes before, although it has been several years, but I am still a little apprehensive about walking into the class for the first time.  How many people will be there, will I know anyone, how long have they been taking the class and will there be someone else there who is a newbie?  To ease my nervousness I have looked on their website, I have looked at their Facebook page and did a live chat to ask questions.  It is important to ask questions before hand so when you arrive you won’t have to take time away from the allotted class time, ie: do you have to sign a waiver, when do you have to have it done? do you have to have a yoga mat of your own? So I have done all that. I know it will be fine and I understand that I really have no reason to be nervous.

If you are not familiar with something then it really helps to do some research and look at examples of how something is done. Prepare before you start. I will use Tai Chi as an example. Go on the internet and use YouTube and look for examples of movements or stances. That way you will have some understanding of what to expect and it will not be totally unfamiliar to you.  Perhaps practice a little before you go to your first class.

YouTube is a great source for doing just about anything.  When I decided to make two quilts for gifts this past Christmas I turned to YouTube a few times to learn how to properly do techniques like a french binding and it was very beneficial. It is much easier for me to be able to see something being done as opposed to reading instructions.

Something else I want to do is learn how to use hand held weights.  In this case I could join a gym and have a personal trainer give me instructions and make sure I am doing it correctly. But, and many of you may relate to this, it would cost money to do that and I cannot afford it.  So I have been looking at free videos on line.  Great examples can be found. I recommend Shape.com and Health.com but there are many others. Pinterest is a great source as well.  I have a Fitness board and it is a great place to store examples of exercises you are interested in doing.        

 One perception I think quite a number of us have is thinking that people are watching and judging us.  For the most part this is just not true.      
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “spotlight effect,” our tendency to believe that all eyes are on us when, in reality, no one’s paying attention.                                      

This is explained in the article, A Psychologist Explains How to Conquer Your Fear of Trying New Things  By Cari Romm , found at:<https://www.thecut.com/2018/01/how-to-conquer-your-fear-of-trying-new-things.html

I recommend reading this article as well as the others I have referenced such as: Just One ?  A girl’s Guide to Going Solo by Jen Doll which you can read in the link below:

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/advice/a4596/doing-things-alone/

This article was written about being a single woman and doing things alone.  In my case I am questioning what it may be like if my husband were to die before me. We are both in our 70’s and retired and we do most everything together 24/7.  So there are times I wonder about dining alone or going to the movies/theater, etc. and so many other things I might want to do.

I consider myself to be pretty independent so I think I would be ok with it but I would be nervous and uneasy, especially the first time.  My viewpoint is also complicated by the fact my husband is a retired law enforcement officer and he always gives me instructions on how to be safe when I do on occasion go somewhere without him. I find it irritating and I do not want him to instill fear. He means well and I do pay attention to my surroundings which I think is important for everyone to do but I do not want to be scared about it either.

 Our situation is also complicated by the fact that we adopted a dog who has extreme separation anxiety. When we go grocery shopping I go into the store and my husband and the dog wait in the car.  Depending on what store we are going to my husband may be the one to do the shopping and I wait with the dog. So if I end up being by myself what would I do with the dog; hire a dog sitter or take him to doggy day care ? I will have to figure out a way to comfort him and also be independent myself.

I may be 70+ but I hope to live many more years and accomplish so much. It is my hope all of the things I am beginning to do now will guarantee I do live a longer, healthy and active live, mentally and physically.

There is a great quote in this article by social scientist and author Bella DePaulo , found in this link:
<https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/advice/a4596/doing-things-alone/>

“If you know that you can do things alone, that gives you a certain power ” 

I don’t know about you but I like that quote. Who would not want that ?

The research result I liked the best can be found here:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/4-tips-to-conquer-your-fear-of-doing-things-alone-during-the-holidays_n_8692144

“4 Tips to Conquer Your Fear of Doing things Alone During the Holidays”  written by Rosemond Perdue Cranner, a blogger who writes about divorce, dating, life and love over 40 at RoundandRound Rosie

The advice given applies to any time of the year, not just the holidays.  The research she refers to in her blog was done by Dr. Rebecca Ratner, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The four points she made are:

  • We Underestimate How Much We’d Enjoy a Solo Activity and Overestimate Our Discomfort.
  • Calm Down. People Aren’t Judging You.
  • View Your Outing as Educational.
  • Just Do It.
  • Don’t Put Your Life on Hold Until You Have People To Do Things With.

You can find the article about Dr. Ratner’s research in The Washington Post.

What I found in my research about doing things alone are quite similar and can, for the most part, apply to anyone of any age, male or female.  Since starting my blog and my quest for Moving Forward in my life I have been doing a great deal of thinking about my life, my relationships and what is important to me.  I am searching for ways to make my life easier and to be more focused in everything I do.  It is so easy to procrastinate. I do it all the time and I know that is one of my biggest road blocks. When I have a deadline I accomplish so much more.

Just home from my First Tai-Yoga Class.  It was awesome and I feel so good.  What a great thing to do on the first day of spring.  So here is a fitting quote from B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of the style of modern yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga“:

“Change is not something we should fear.  Rather it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”

Happy Spring Everyone and Thank You For Reading My Blog !

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Pets Make Us Better Humans-The Pet Effect

Ever since I was a very small child I have been surrounded by animals.  There was always a dog or cat. When I was very little I remember my brother having mice and there were these tiny little babies. I remember watching them and holding them and looking back I am amazed that they were allowed to be “pets”. Were they pets ? Or did my brother hid their existence ?  I was young and I don’t remember how long they were even there. I just remember how tiny they were and they were fascinating to me.

There were also a long row of rabbits cages outside.  I know we ate a fair share of them and we sold them as well.  There were chickens and my mother took care of them; she was scared of the rooster because he was mean and would chase her.  We also had a cow.

So we had a combination of animals who were pets and farm animals who provided us with food.  Sometimes, as with most young children, the lines blurred between which were which.  It was a great experience for me and my siblings.

My oldest brother won a dog for a shooting contest he had entered.  I don’t remember much about the details; I just remember the dog and having puppies later.  I think we sold the puppies but I do remember the warm fuzzy feeling of playing with them in the yard.

My Dad had a fondest for dogs and I remember two dogs in particular that were special to him and helped create a stronger bond between us.  The dogs were both mixed breeds and both had great personalities.  I do not remember where we got the first dog but based on how we got the second dog, I am sure my Dad found him somewhere and just brought him home.

His name was Lucky and he was with us for several years.  He learned to chase cars when some neighborhood boys would ride up and down in front of our house with noise makers in the spokes of their bicycles.  That’s when it started and he moved on to cars.  He would not go into the street but would run on the sidewalk in front of our house. That was fine until our next door neighbor backed out of his driveway and hit Lucky. I saw it happen and I ran for my father.  Lucky was alive but he couldn’t get up.

 I learned a lot that day about my father when he tenderly picked up Lucky and carried him to the car and took him to the vets.  Lucky did not come home with my Dad.  His spine had been very badly injured and so my Dad made the decision to have him euthanized.  I was old enough at that time to realize how much it affected my Dad and the sadness he was experiencing. I will never forget the look on his face as he was carrying him.

 My Dad was a realtor and a year or two later he came home talking about some puppies he had seen at a house he was selling.  You could tell he was really wanting one of those puppies.  One Sunday when we came home from church my Dad looked at me and asked if I wanted to see those puppies.  My Mom who had just said she wanted to take a nap looked at my Dad and told him do NOT bring home any puppies.  Well we did.

His name was Dandy and he was a little Beagle mix.  He was a great little dog and he was my Dad’s companion.  My Dad like to hunt and he would go out after rabbits and pheasants.  Dandy always went with him until one day when Dandy was older he had run off after a rabbit and my Dad could not find him.  He came home distraught and then went back out searching.  This time he found him.  Dandy was getting a little old and sometimes my Dad would have to carry him out of the hunting fields so he couldn’t go with him any longer.  Then Dandy starting having episodes where he would shake and fall down or stumble around and then he was starting to have accidents in the house and my Mom was not happy.  Shortly after that my Dad took him to the vets and had him put down.  It was the only time I ever heard my Dad sobbing at night after everyone else had gone to bed.

I know many people can relate to this.  When you have a pet you develop caring relationships with them.  Some people will not relate at all.  Over the years I have had many deep, caring relationships with animals.  They can have a great impact on us and can help us in many ways.  In my case they helped me understand my father who was stern and not overly involved with his children. It was a different time then and raising us was pretty much left up to my Mom.

Today I can see the rewards of owning a pet for my husband.  We are older and his health has not been good.  We have always had pets in our time together but I was always the driving force for having them.  About a year and a half ago we got a new dog.  We had been looking for one for awhile and this time it was my husband who decided on this dog.  This dog is my husband’s best friend and he unabashedly will tell you he loves him.  He makes my husband happy and better able to cope with his illness.  I truly believe my husband will live longer because of this dog.  He relaxes him, comforts him and makes him laugh.

There have been many, many studies done and many articles written about the positive impact animals have with humans.

An article written by Steven Feldman, Executive Director, The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) called the interaction between us and a pet that helps us to relieve stress caused by our everyday activities the PET EFFECT.  I totally agree. You can read it here:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/blog/better-mental-health-experience-pet-effect

Another article I read is: “The Benefits of Pets for Human Health”  written by Dana Casciotti, PhD, and Diana Zuckerman, PhD. National Center for Health Research. http://www.center4research.org/benefits-pets-human-health/

Pets can help lower blood pressure and ease anxiety. Because we have to provide care for any pet we will enjoy the benefit of more physical activity and fresh air and even the potential for more human interaction depending on where we live.  Although I complain sometimes when the weather is nasty about going outside to walk the dog it is overall one of my most enjoyable activities. If I take him to the park then we also get to interact with other people and their pets so it is enjoyable and beneficial for both of us.

Personally I think that having a pet is a stress reliever.  If I am feeling irritated or stressed in any way I quite often will “talk” to my pets or pick them up and carry them around.  I can actually feel the difference.  It calms me down and I am then able to go on with my day and feel better about myself.  It also helps me to “talk” to myself about whatever it was I might have been feeling at the time.

Another article is https://chopra.com/articles/7-health-benefits-of-owning-a-pet  

I like No. 7 – Keeps Us Present.  I had not looked at it in this way before.  Animals simply live in the here and now.  How wonderful is that ?  They do not look backward and worry about something that happened in the past.  Just think about how much time you have wasted in your life time thinking about something you said or did. A prior relationship, something that happened at work, and how you said something you wish you had not.  Our pets help us stay in the moment too and we need to focus on that so much more than we do.  Ever watch a dog with his head hanging out the window with its ears flapping and its tongue hanging out.  What joy !

I think the best part of having a pet is the feeling of well being they bring with them.  They make us better humans.

Here is a link to a wonderful blog by Linda Ford. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-ford/the-privilege-of-living-w_b_9606338.html

She sums it all up.

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Creating a Personal Mission Statement

Years ago when I was a branch manager I worked with my staff to create a mission statement for our branch.  It was an interesting process.  First introducing the concept and then many discussions of what was important to all of us as individuals, what was appropriate and what all of us could understand, accept and be willing to embrace each day.

It was an excellent team building experience and helped to develop each employee and myself as well. Making a mission statement gave us focus as a unit and it was there as a measurement that we could look at often to gauge how we were doing.  This was a way for us to set our goals for our individual branch within the framework of the whole bank. It set us apart and helped build confidence.  It made each of us more aware of our work, it’s quality and how our interaction as a team was important to the institution we worked for as well as to each of us as individuals.

So in working on improving my blog and understanding better how it works and looking for ways to improve it I have been doing some research and reading on the internet. I was searching for terms that would work as Category names and what I have written so far and it really made me think more about what I want to say and how I want to improve every aspect of my life.

What better way than to make my own personal Mission Statement.  So that is what I am going to do.  I know this is going to take awhile and I will probably tweak it a lot as I go. Which is something that should be done; as we grow and learn new things we change and so should our mission statement; it may need tweaking.

As I have been researching most of what I have seen so far is geared to business but certainly can be used for developing a personal mission statement.

An excellent article I read is “13 Ways You Can Craft A Strong Personal Mission Statement” from Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/11/07/13-ways-you-can-craft-a-strong-personal-mission-statement/#2685c3972dee    It has suggestions from the Forbes Coaches Council and they are all worth reading.

One interesting suggestion was made by  Leanne WongMC Partners . Write Your Own Obituary.  “At the end of your life, how do you want to be remembered, and what do you want your life to have meant? ” 

I have see a similar suggestion years ago and yes, it does make a lot of sense and I do not think it is something we think about, but we should.  Have you ever thought about what someone else would say if they wrote your obituary ?  Have you become the person you would want to be remembered as.  I have not.  We can always be better as a person.

So going forward what would I want to make a part of my personal mission statement? 

Steven Covey (in his book First Things First) refers to developing a mission statement as “connecting with your own unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes from fulfilling it.”

From <https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/creating-personal-mission-statements>

Reading through all of these and trying to absorb it and put it all into my personal perspective is kind of mind numbing at the moment because so much of it is in reference to someone who is employed and working for a company and they want to focus on improving themselves and moving forward at their company.

So now I have to take some time, take a deep breath, relax, and go from there.  I realize that it really is not too different.  I do not have a business and I am not employed but I have a life to live and I want it to be the best it can be.  So instead of just existing I want to be better, I want to constantly be learning, I want to be the best I can be both physically and mentally. So those are some of my goals and they are all reasons I have for writing this blog.  The blog is my motivation. I need to move forward and writing some of my thoughts about what I am experiencing is all part of it.

I did find one article that was geared more toward Personal Mission Statements written by Dave Ramsey. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/mission-statement-101.   

This article has some personal mission statements from individuals, like Oprah Winfrey.  The one I really liked was, “To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.” — Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.  I like that one a lot.

When I started my blog I created the name  “Adjusting My Time Frame” and  I created the tagline, “As I age I am looking back at my life, taking stock, and looking forward to all I still have ahead of me.”

So how do I take that and incorporate it into a Mission Statement ?

Stay tuned.

Posted in Motivation, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

How To Deal With Your Baggage

Baggage

“Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.” Unknown Author

We all have baggage, but are we lucky enough to have someone in our lives who will help you unpack that baggage ?  It could be a spouse, your best friend or group of friends, a teacher, a counselor, or a stranger. Yes, a stranger.  Sometimes we may lose it at the most inopportune times. Like standing in line waiting for coffee and someone notices. Then you start talking and sit down with them, drink you coffee and talk and they help.  (sounds like a movie, doesn’t it ?) They let you unpack some of your baggage and sometimes that is just enough for you to gain insight into how you truly feel and then take the necessary steps to truly unpack and move on.  You are not so worried about the reaction of someone you do not know so you are more open. 

It is kind of like going to have a haircut and you are more open with the hairdresser than you are with a spouse or a family member.  It’s weird; like they suck it right out of you when you had no intention of doing so. They ask how you are and you actually tell them. Can you imagine the stories they hear ? Oh My ! We realize they can do nothing to help us but we just want, or need, to let it out. Doesn’t solve our problem but it feels good at that moment; a very brief moment.

If you have someone in your life that is always there for you be thankful and let them know how much you appreciate them.  Keep them close to you and in your life.  One of the problems I think we have today is the lack of interpersonal connection.  We do not connect with people, even our friends, as much as we used to; especially face to face.  It is easy to let our friends slip away. 

With our cell phones, we may be close by, or even right next to one another, and we text them instead of looking at one another and using our voices.  Isn’t that silly ?  We use our phones instead of getting together.  We use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and we have people that follow us, we want followers, and some are our friends but we also want to connect with people who we do not know. We may feel like we are connecting but are we ?  Do we want to be anonymous ?

Here I am writing a blog and so are more and more people.  Why ?  My reasons?   I have become stagnant and want to open myself up to learning and experiencing things I have stopped doing as I age.  I want to be active and do things which hopefully will keep my mind active. It is certainly a way of expressing myself and in some ways it is a way to unpack my baggage. I have lost contact with my friends and not made new close friends.  My husband and I spend all our time together and have become very dependent on one another, yet I realize that when one of us is gone the surviving spouse will have a very difficult time coping.  Who will we use to unpack our baggage and there will be some. It seems that there is always baggage and we make it very difficult to unpack it. Nature of the beast and part of being human I suppose ?

So I am not against Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and I am not against writing a blog.  All of them can be good for opening up our minds, exposing ourselves to new things.  I do think for some people it may make it easier to escape from the real world and to lose our interpersonal skills.  If we have to unpack our baggage can we do it through Social Media ?  I really do not think so.  I think it takes a up close and personal interaction with someone you trust, someone that cares about you and your well being. So keep your loved ones close and work to find that someone who will want to help you unpack your baggage.

If you go it on your own and do not talk about your baggage it may take years to unload and finally work through it and it might not ever happen.  If you have baggage hopefully you will find someone to help you unpack it.

My rambling thoughts.  What do you think ? 

Posted in Motivation, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Kintsugi – The Beauty of Flaws

In Japan, Broken Objects are Often Repaired With Gold. The Flaw is Seen As A Unique Piece of the Object’s History, which Adds To its Beauty.  This is called Kintsugi, or golden joinery, also known as Kintsukuroi, or golden repair. It is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.  As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Consider this when you feel Broken.  Sometimes we may feel broken; especially in spirit and it will affect everything we do.  Everyone is flawed in some way; no one is perfect. So like the Japanese and the art of Kintsugi see your flaws as a unique piece of your personal history and something that adds to your beauty.

How do we accomplish that ? It will be different for each of us and it may not be easy or quick. It will certainly depend on the flaw; is it big or little ?  For most people, I think it will be a slow process and probably it is better that way.  Live in your blemish, or flaw, and feel it, feel how it affects you. Understand it as much as you can and accept it and then let it go. Be done with it and move on.  Patch, or fix, yourself and add to your beauty.  Use it, be stronger and feel confident in you abilities.  Dust yourself with the glitter of gold; shimmer.

Visualize how you feel and accept that something bad has happened in your life.  It could be something that happened a long time ago and was very negative or it could be something smaller that happens on a continual basis, maybe every day.  Big or small, if we choose to let it affect us it will not go away by itself.  It will stay and fester.  It may be better at times based on what else we may be doing that makes us feel better, but it is still there affecting us. 

Write it down.  Get out paper and write about it. Start slow and let it flow. Put it down and walk away and then come back the next day. Feel it and let it ooze.  You may be surprised what comes out. 

When you have a better understanding of what is truly affecting you then think about what you can do to change.  Accept that it happened and then kick it out.  Be positive and accept that it happened and also accept that you learned from it and you are a better person for it; a stronger person.

Forgive yourself and also forgive anyone who was a part of the flaw.  Everyone is human and therefore not perfect.  Have an open discussion with those who are affecting you in a negative way. They may not be aware of how you feel and it may have been a negative experience for them too. They may surprise you and will be very willing, and thankful, to make changes in their life; that’s a win-win for you both. If they are not willing to change and are a continual negative in your life, kick them out too.

Decide to be positive and look for positive things to do.  Read a book, do meditation, take a walk.  Relax. Take a class and learn about something that has always interested you.  Move. Get a new job or work toward a promotion or a transfer to a different area of your company that has always interested you.  Smile.  Say Hi. Volunteer. Be Positive and Do Positive Things.

Move Forward. You are flawed, your are repaired and you are beautiful.  Just like a beautiful repaired piece of Japanese porcelain.