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Seize the Day

Very often we only focus on bucket lists or introspective matters when we or someone we love is diagnosed with a serious disease.

Suddenly, in these crisis moments with the prospect of not having much time to live, time becomes more valuable and choices more mindfully guided.

However, as we know, none of us are promised tomorrow no matter what our health status may be.

Therefore, though this reality can be sobering fact to dwell upon, it is also a wakeup call to living fully now, and not wasting time on inconsequential endeavors.

Below is an excerpt from the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware, which reminds us to seize the day and avoid the pain of regrets!

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2.  I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But, as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. As a result, many developed illnesses related to the bitterness and resentment they carried.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, and choose honestly. Choose happiness.

 

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Consider Your Legacy

As I learned about Louise Hays passing yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of the special legacy she has left.

For those of you familiar with her work, you know she spoke extensively about positive affirmations, mirror work and loving one’s self.

Her books and teaching have helped millions of people, along with the authors she gathered together in her Hay House publishing company.

Her life will be remembered as one who spread positivity and helpful teachings that encouraged people to treat themselves with love and respect.

Though I never met Louise, I’ve been inspired by the principles she taught and her ability to turn a rough childhood into such an inspiring adult life.

Even though she is no longer with us, her inspirational work will live on and hopefully prompt us all to create a lasting legacy of contribution as well.

Who inspires you and how would you like to be remembered?

 

Try Something New

As we know, a routine is “a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.”

When is the last time you stepped outside of your daily routine and tried something new?

I have been doing a lot of that lately.

For instance, for the fall semester, I will be working at a local university as a teacher’s assistant for an undergraduate psychology class.

I will remain writing my blog and other coaching activities, but thought this would be a great opportunity to extend myself and be a part of helping a class on a subject that I enjoy.

With regards to college, usually I have been a student, so it will be enlightening to see the other side of the educational format.

Similarly, this is not my usual training venue that I’ve utilized in coaching, so it will be instructional for me from that perspective as well.

In order to hopefully stimulate some routine busting, I thought I would rerun a poem I shared some time ago. I would love to hear about new things you are doing or want to be doing in the near future.

Please share your thoughts below and let’s inspire and support each other.

My Comfort Zone

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail,
the same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before,
but stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.  

I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much,
I said I didn’t care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
but deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win,
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you’re in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true,
reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!

– Author Unknown

Be Assertive

Recently, I’ve had several conversations regarding the topic of assertiveness, and there does seem to be a lot of varied opinions or beliefs on the matter.

Often, many of us associate assertiveness with aggressiveness, but they are not the same thing.

Assertiveness is simply speaking up for ourselves without hostility or stomping over other people’s rights. It is not about trying to change people or being cruel or unkind, whereas, aggressiveness is controlling, hostile and repugnant.

Often those who struggle with expressing themselves were raised to be “good” girls and boys who were taught to avoid making relational waves or asking for what they needed.

Additionally, many were directly or indirectly instructed to believe that being a nice person meant doing whatever anyone asks of them, without taking themselves into account.

However, this kind of nice or self-sacrificing pattern of living keeps us from setting boundaries and leads to destructive people-pleasing behaviors such as saying ‘Yes’ when we mean ‘No.’

Ultimately, these types of dishonest responses will negatively impact our interpersonal relationships.

For instance, if we do everything for everyone all the time, they consciously or unconsciously begin to take advantage of us, which we taught them by continuing to carry their weight and ours too!

Therefore, people-pleasing is ultimately not very pleasing because submerging our genuineness often leads to resentment toward others!

These resentments can lead to passive-aggressive behavior which has been referred to as “sugar coated hostility” in the form of subtle or (not so subtle) snide remarks, silent treatment or withholding affection.

Having genuine relationships doesn’t mean that everyone will always get what they ask for, but at least all those involved would be honestly expressing what is true for them.

All in all, being a good friend to ourselves and those around us involves exercising our assertiveness muscles and sharing who we truly are, instead of betraying ourselves by trying to win the approval of everyone around us.

What does assertiveness mean to you and is it easy for you to kindly speak up?

 

 

Never Stop Learning

 A fun movie clip for those who sometimes miss the simplicity of earlier ways of communicating!

Currently I am taking another class toward a Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling, which keeps me learning on a daily basis. The content and volume of work assignments definitely stretches my mind.

Then there is learning beyond the classroom, where all kinds of life lessons are going on as well. We all get handed learning opportunities in all kinds of ways throughout our life.

I always enjoy uncovering the emotional patterns and resultant choices that get in the way of experiencing joy, in order to move beyond them.

After all, how many of us stifle ourselves from making certain choices or pursuing certain desires by believing the discouraging comments from others, or believing our own limited thinking as well.

Unfortunately, we can unwittingly sabotage our self-esteem or enjoyment by comparing ourselves to others, and somehow come up short.

One place that is ripe for comparison is found on social media where others can appear to have it all. Often, it’s a good lesson to not believe everything we read or see online.

Seeing shouldn’t automatically lead to believing!

What has been your favorite life lesson?

Take a Timeout

Taking a timeout is usually reserved for children after misbehaving, who often find themselves facing a wall in the corner of a room in order to regroup and think about what they did.

In that context it is a punishment, however, in this setting, it is a pleasurable retreat from busy activities we are usually engaged in.

In the dictionary it is referred to as a period of time when we stop what we are usually doing, and rest or do something else instead.

That is music to my ears, as I take a brief time out from writing papers in my graduate course, and regroup with you to say hello.

It is always important to take a break and give ourselves some breathing room. Ahhh….

That said, what have you been up to, and where is your favorite place to meditate or take a breather?

Just Show Up

On a Facebook post recently, I showed the above photograph of my husband and I on our wedding anniversary, while celebrating at a child’s birthday party at the same time.

Initially, we were going to spend the evening alone which is always wonderful, but this particular evening, we felt inspired to share in the birthday festivities too!

We generally tend to celebrate our special occasions for an entire week anyway, so we didn’t miss anything but GAINED everything.

Showing up for others has a surprising way of showing up for ourselves as well!

Not only does being present for others deepen our interpersonal connections and spread joyful feelings throughout our relationships, it also spreads a sense of well-being within our own internal emotional systems too!

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with declining invitations, and carving out our own special time for privately celebrating whichever way we choose.

However, in this particular instance and many others that occur, sometimes just showing up can produce the most unexpected results, and leave a positive ripple effect that one could never anticipate.

In what ways have you shown up and experienced positive outcomes?