Updated from article written years ago and inspired from this season’s lessons in patience!

June 14: This is a photo of my “patience plant,” taken today, the same bush which was barren for many seasons, and tested my patience to endure the barren seasons.  Coincidentally, it’s perfect timing, today is the anniversary of my father’s passing, and beautifully demonstrates that faith, patience and careful tending of our desires, does manifest, although we may experience seasons of doubt.

stress reduction, patienceWatching things grow is good for our souls—reminding us of how nature unfolds in just the right way and time. We can’t rush the process, no matter what we do. Some things grow at the speed of time-lapse photography. Other times, it’s more like a waiting and wondering game as in, “Will those seeds ever sprout and grow? “Will that barren bush ever bloom?” I question my green thumb when things don’t grow according to plan, my plan and my timetable. Observing nature teaches me about things I need to take to heart, in all areas of my life, especially when I need to remember them most.

Years ago, I planted a hydrangea bush in memory of my father. It was in glorious full bloom that first spring. The following year I eagerly awaited the display of showy blossoms both for their beauty and for the symbol they represented.  Lush leaves emerged but not one bud. I tended that bush carefully, weeding, watering and fertilizing it. Next season, I waited again for the buds to appear. I was certain they would for I had invested time, energy and effort. Surely I would get the reward. Once again, that barren bush bushwacked my desires.

I asked the garden center what else I could do. “Have patience,” they said.” Sounds like you’re doing everything right.” If I was doing everything right, why wasn’t that darn bush blooming? And so it went. Season after season, year after year. Every spring hydrangeas were in full profusion everywhere, laden with so many flowers they drooped to the ground. Just not in my yard. I dubbed my flowerless hydrangea, my “patience plant.” It had gorgeous, glossy leaves but never a bud for a blossom to grow.

What was I doing wrong? Sure looked healthy and should bear beautiful blossoms. I didn’t give up for I believed that bush would have to eventually blossom. In fact, I was sure of it because I was giving it attention and begging it to bloom. I even talked to it and asked for a little divine intervention. After all, my dad was never long on patience, maybe this was a test!

Finally, all that time, energy and patience paid off—a miracle appeared this spring. Adorning the very top of my “patience plant,” was one regal purple blossom, the long-awaited, crown jewel of patience! To me, it symbolized the power of perseverance and doing what it takes to create manifestation of desire, even without success in sight.

In the garden of life, sometimes success does sprout right away. You make a sale. Get the date. Land the contract. Get the job. Other times when you’re not reaping any harvest from all your time and effort, you may wait and wonder. You may question your ability. You may doubt that what you desire will ever materialize. You might be tempted to give up. Read the rest of this entry »

weight loss, health & wellnessIt’s truly heartening to see the Mega Mouse empire of The Walt Disney Co. take a stand in support of healthier food choices for kids and do something about it. Not just lip service but a plan in place for throwing out junk food advertising and the millions of lost revenue that goes with that committment, to help kids make healthier choices.

It definitely takes more than a village to impact global health with all of its complexities and the growing incidence of childhood obesity.  With Michelle Obama in attendance who’s championing fighting chidhood obesity, Disney Chairman and CEO, Roger Iger, announced earlier this week that Disney would ban all junk-food advertising, including from their Disney cable network and Saturday morning shows on ABC, with plans to take effect in 2015, the delay due to contractual arrangements with advertisers.

“We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families and now, we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids,” commented Iger. The new plan will follow nutritional guidelines similar to federal standards promoting fruit and vegetable consumption, limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

We’re all ears, Disney, in hearing more about your committment for impacting healthier destinies. Hopefully, your leadership will inspire other companies to follow your lead with messaging that supports wellness for kids so they grow up making choices for delighting in a world of wellness and well-being. That is indeed the Magic Kingdom, when your world is filled with possibilities and you’ve got your health to make your dreams come true.

 

 

relationships, get alongSometimes people are cranky. Sometimes I am too, although as co-author of Get Along with Anyone, I do try to walk my talk and practice what I teach. Yet, I have my lessons in getting along, too. Indeed stressful days or situations can bring out the beast in all of us. Yet, creating positive and productive connections is critical for reducing stress and overall wellness and well-being.

We often don’t know when people are dealing with life issues that can impact positive connections with us. They’re frustrated, stressed out, and thorny behavior surfaces. Yet, others might exhibit more than occasional crankiness, what I term a Prickly personality.

When people get “prickly”, their thorny behavior can test us to the core. Our stamina. Our ability to maintain self-control. Our effectiveness in managing their difficult behavior. Our confusion about whether to confront an unpleasant interaction or just let it go. Our decision not to let their behavior control our own.

When you shift your focus, you enter interactions with a new perspective; this powerfully transforms difficult dynamics and makes a world of difference in how you respond and the experiences you create for yourself and others. It all depends on what you choose.

So I’m sharing “Shift Happens” as a reminder of changing some perspectives during difficult dynamics.

Shift Happens

Shift focus…

…To see those who are difficult to deal with, as those who may be dealing with many difficulties.

…To see those who do not smile, as those likely in need of one.

…To see those who are in your face, as those who really want to have your ear.

…To see those who have hurt you, as those who also hurt, often for reasons you cannot see.

…To see those whose ideas cause conflict, as those whose different perspectives may offer perfect solutions.

…To see those who upset you, as those who serve as the perfect teachers for opening your heart.

…To see those with a strong need to be right, as those who have a strong need to feel validated.

…To see those who hold grudges, as those who are choosing to invest their energy in hanging on rather than letting go; closed hearts cannot give or receive their intended gifts.

…To see the desire for connection, even when the possibility appears remote.

…To see how a hostile situation plagued with disconnection might be transformed into an opportunity for coming together.

…To see eye-to-eye, rather than an eye for an eye.

…When not seeing eye-to-eye, to seeing heart-to-heart.

…To see that you either choose to connect or choose something else; your actions either result in connection, or something else. Read the rest of this entry »

In my work as a Lifestyle and Wellness coach, I ask my clients and participants in my wellness workshops about their wellness wishes–how they want to look and feel. The most frequent wellness wishes topping the list are to have more energy, to lose weight, and to simply feel better. They’re sick and tired of not experiencing the quality of life that they long for, and it’s affecting their happiness and well-being.

So there’s the gap–the difference between their current reality of where they are, and where they wish they were on a higher rung of the wellness scale. Closing the gap means taking action to transform a wellness wish into reality and knowing why you want or need to do that. Sometimes it’s because their doctor has recommended some changes, but often it comes from within, of not wanting to continue life without the vitality, the gusto, that comes with improved wellness.

This means changing a pattern that’s obviously not creating their desired results. That takes commitment of an intention to take action in closing the gap to experience a better state of wellness, that they’ve determined they want. And so it goes for all of us who desire a different reality to enjoy vibrant energy, vitality and a healthy weight.

The degree of your commitment to what you want, usually makes all the difference in achieving those goals. So does your belief.  Your beliefs are powerful and largely influence your success–if you can envision a different state of wellness and believe you can achieve it (even with periodic doubt), your positive belief will reinforce your desires. Same is true when people don’t believe they can transform their current circumstances–they’re likely to derail their success, because they’re putting more power into failure, likely based on a pattern that’s hounded them. Read the rest of this entry »

goals, attitudeWhile my daughter, Stephanie, was living at home, we’d often bond over YouTube videos, sometimes laughing hysterically at animal and people antics, others would light up our hearts with inspiration. Now, living coasts apart, we connect often sharing links. She knows I love stories about how wonderful things happen “out of the blue” and the amazing transformations that result, and grateful for receiving them.

So when she sent me one recently about Caine’s Cardboard Arcade, the subject line in her email read, “Mom, you’ll love this! Take 10 minutes to watch.” She was right. Indeed moments that demonstrate how winning attitudes and creativity are recognized and rewarded, seemingly out of the blue, is time well spent, reminding me of the magic of life and how wonderful things can unfold. When you mix together a brilliant young boy’s creative talent, indomitable spirit and a winning smile with the power of social media, it’s bound to go viral which it has.  http://vimeo.com/40000072

Caine simply put his gifts to work for the sheer joy of creating. He brought forth his brilliance in his father’s used auto parts shop, merely for entertainment. All that creativity could have gone unnoticed had it not been for another creative spirit, Nirvan Mullick, a man who stumbled upon the shop andwas instantly impressed by Caine’s talent. Wanting to share with others, he fired up the social media which not only made Caine’s day, but inspired massive action and changed Caine’s destiny: http://laist.com/2012/04/16/caines_arcade_check.php

Caine’s story is layered with lessons:

  • Putting your gifts into expression has both inner rewards as well as the potential of recognition that opens doors of possibilities.
  • Life can usher in just the right circumstances with the potential to change a life and sometimes many lives.
  • People rally to support others with dreams in their heart and talent.
  • Out of the blue, magical things can happen.
  • Remain optimistic in spite of current circumstances when wishes haven’t yet turned to reality.

What possibilities would you like to attract? Are you putting your gifts to work? Out of the blue magical things can happen whenever we put our talents to work and a desire to share with others.

caregivers, AlzheimersChances are, you know someone or quite likely many now, who have been stricken with the debilitating and life-changing impact of dementia. It produces a wide range of stresses and strains upon their caregivers, often family members unprepared for the the anguish it produces.

The disease is escalating, claiming a new victim every 68 seconds. Until you experience a loved one whose brain no longer works the same affecting memory, personality, grooming, independence, and exhibiting behaviors that are so unlike your loved one, it’s hard to imagine the countless ways the quality of life diminishes for them and the toll of the stresses and strains upon the caregiver.

A few startling statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association 2012 Facts and Figures report:

  • One in eight Americans age 65+ has Alzheimer’s.
  • By age 85, nearly half will have the disease.
  • Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and over 15 million family members and friends provide their unpaid care.
  • By 2050, as many as 16 million will have the disease and the number of unpaid family caregivers will soar to 45 million.

I have many friends who are currently in the throes of caring for parents or spouses with dementia, and dealing with the drains and stresses from all of its challenges. I know it well, too.  Years ago, I was the caregiver for both my mother and husband whose brains were both ravaged by deterioration. It’s a constant battle of facing a continuing series of unexpected events that often require you to handle ultimately alone, and even with a support network, the extra burden become your responsibility.

Through caregiving, you’re provided daily lessons of patience, compassion, and acceptance, along with coping with the potential for sheer exhaustion. Most importantly, your own reservoir of self-care must be replenished or you’re at risk of developing burn-out or illness and that has a domino effect, and vital that you support your own well-being. Fortunately, the Alzheimer’s Assn. has launched a social networking community, ALZConnected, for anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. It provides a safe place for people to connect with others in similar situations to communicate, pose questions and offer solutions to dementia-related challenges, and create public and private groups organized around a dedicated topic.

If you are facing this challenge, get support and join the conversation at alzconnected.org.

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