I’d like to pose a question to you…do you feel free or feel a sense of freedom? Can you remember those times when you did? When I looked up the word free I found it can mean “without a charge”. Freedom can be a “lack of restrictions, free will, or looseness.” Most people I talk to have the opposite, a sense of being confined. And, that’s certainly a reasonable feeling as the hurricane of change and uncertainty still hovers around us. But, when we start to feel boxed in we can choose to slide into a more open and freeing state of mind. It can come in the most unexpected way.
My birthday was this week and I had such a sense of freedom and celebration during the day. What was unexpected and really contributed were the Happy Birthday songs. This was the year for the six musical happy birthdays that entertained me both live and in messages. One birthday rendition left me in a heap of laughter. It wasn’t that they sang poorly it was just fun and the joy they were having left me smiling inside and out. It was so freeing to hear them sing and just laugh in the moment and celebrate! The bubbles of that laughter keep me feeling free and that lovely feeling of openness permeated my day.
So very simply put, this July 4th celebrate your freedom. This weekend is a wonderful time to enjoy the moments of being able to do nothing, be with your family and friends or enjoy being with yourself. Celebrate what you have and laugh.
Happy July 4th weekend, feel free it’s all in the feeling, have fun and enjoy the present moment,
I am including a video that had me in tears. Laughing will give you the opportunity not to be bound up, worried or feel restricted. It’s only two minutes. I bet you won’t be able to keep a straight face! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HttF5HVYtlQ (copy and paste)
Have you ever felt the invisible energy of change like the strength of a full blown hurricane? This morning I woke up knowing I wanted to change my schedule in a way that would make me feel comforted and peaceful – this after hurricane force winds-of-change in my life last week. The winds of change may feel different to everyone but they all have a consistent theme – change. You may feel it in shake-ups in your work or in your family. Or you may feel it as a change of heart about what you want to do or not do anymore. In the last blog I wrote about making a small change in your routine to do things to bring more fun and lightness to your life. When you change your routine or do something just a bit differently, even if it’s a small change, it can give you a sense of grounding if you need it. Or space for creativity and finding a new solution. Or even a feeling of being okay. During change, it’s all about finding that place of peace inside and being able to see things from another perspective. Although, it may seem inconsequential in some ways, these last few weeks we all have been affected by something. For many reasons this year this force has had tremendous influence on us, whether we are aware of it and believe in it or not. I am referring to the Summer Solstice, or the longest day of the year. In ancient times the Summer Solstice started as a time of celebration marking the beginning of summer. You may be wondering how the longest day of the year (June 21st), which starts one of the most playful times of the year, is heralding change with the force of a full-blown hurricane. As I’m sure you can attest to, change has been around us in large doses these last few years. We see it in the news and we feel it in our personal lives. You may have felt it inside as a desire to live with less stress, let go of a relationship that’s not working, or being able to sleep instead of being kept awake by worry as many of my clients have been.
For me, the hurricane this week was finding out that the business I do contract work for is closing after three months of uncertainty. To make it worse, we had to sit and listen to a three hour board meeting which seemed like having surgery without anesthesia. But, the truth is everyone will be better off in another place. Next on the list, my daughter was side-swiped in her brand new SUV at a stop sign – thank goodness she is fine. Also my mother had surgery and unexpectedly the results indicated she has to have a second much more involved surgery. She is amazing and will move with grace through it. That is what she believes with her deep faith – and so it will be. Additionally, at the end of the week one of my three closest friends who had birthdays this week had one of the worst days of her life on her birthday but fortunately it turned around with unexpected gifts and fairy-like magic.
Yes, the “hurricane” is certainly in full force, the winds are blowing everything around. The energy of change has been making its presence known. In those trying and frightening moments it would have been easy (believe me, really easy) to miss the positive changes that were being born, brought about by the change. But they were there also. Haven’t you felt those moments when the world is falling down all around you and it feels like it’s all lost, when deep inside you know it’s not? One positive change that manifested this week was the often asked question about the expansion I have desired in my business. A wonderful confirmation showed itself to me in unexpected ways. The seeds had been planted and were growing from my intentions and desires without my conscious awareness. You’ll be hearing more about this in my ezines in the next month or two.
The gift I want to share with you is of thinking there may be more possibilities than the obvious one. What might seem “negative” or “bad” may not be that at all. It’s possible it’s a much needed change that will bring improvement. It could be something that makes you feel better despite the winds. Maybe it will be the answer you were looking for.
So today I thank the energy of the solstice which is supporting us to ride the winds of change into something more joyful and peaceful in our inner worlds and on the planet. I thank myself for exercising, eating my breakfast and getting back into bed in my sunlit bedroom to write this blog where I feel comforted and at peace. Most importantly, my wish for you is to make a small change…something that will support you in seeing the winds of change differently. How can the winds of change move you in the direction of what you want? How can you find that place of less worry and more connection? Even though you may think it won’t work, change up your routine, find some time to nurture yourself! I promise it works every time, but don’t forget to look and feel what’s different afterwards. Follow the dots. They may lead somewhere really surprising and wonderful.
Happy Summer of change,
Is your life starting to feel like you’re always on automatic? If it is, don’t panic, being on automatic pilot isn’t always a bad thing. Doing things automatically and having routines allows us to get what we need to get accomplished more easily. It would be difficult if you had to stop and think about every little detail of what you had to do each day before your feet touched the floor in the morning. You would be exhausted (even more tired than you may already be). I just want to make sure you don’t fall into what I call “empty syndrome”. You know you have “empty syndrome” when you feel vacant from your life and almost everything you do is mechanical and routine. Or if your daily gratitudes become automatic and stale. Or if the things you used to enjoy have become mundane and now you think of them as just one more thing to put on you’re overloaded schedule. If you already have “empty syndrome”, I can help you get out! The good news is summer is a really wonderful time to break out of your usual routines or prevent having an overly full on-automatic-pilot life. During the summer there’s always a sense of freedom in the air. Your routine may change out of necessity as the kids are home from school. But why not use that as a chance to be creative with your time and theirs. Even without having to care for children, everyone seems a bit lighter during the summer, so take this opportunity to take back your life.
So how do you change your tried and true routines that almost run on their own? Pick something simple and do it a different way. Switch around the order of how you do things or choose an entirely new routine to accomplish the same outcome. If you always work out the same way, find something totally different to get the same good results. If you always watch TV during or after dinner, watch TV before. Maybe listen to music one night a week instead. Try squeezing your toothpaste from the opposite end of the tube. Drive a different route to the store or work. Buy some unusual foods or even a new brand. Visit a new ice cream parlor with the kids or just try an unusual flavor of ice cream! Yes, change can be strange for a little while but you are guaranteed to make wondrous discoveries with every alteration you make. The whole idea is to be more present in the moment, not on the automatic-no-thinking-mode, so you can get back into feeling your life! Happiness is right there for you. Sometimes you just have to get out of the familiar and grab it.
Choosing the feeling life,
My husband and I rode on a wave of fun and relaxation during Memorial Day weekend. We marveled at how great it was. I think it’s one of the first three-day weekends we relaxed being at home and not on vacation. We relaxed and had fun all three days. It was fantastic! So, I really wanted to share with you what we noticed afterward during our “work week”.
Although there was some irritability and anxiety in air at my two-day contract job, I noticed that it didn’t affect me as much. It was easier to stay light and unburdened in an uncertain working situation. Although I stay pretty balanced, the uncertainty of what’s going on can and does affect me at times. I also noticed it was easier for me to support others to observe, without judgment, and really look at where some of the unrest was stemming from. It was even easier to explain how to shift the focus to the appreciative side of things.
As you know, with change there can also be drama. Everyday there seemed to be something to set everyone off. You have to admit there are times we all feed on the “drama” of a situation. So to lighten things up a bit, I suggested we consider the idea that we’re playing a kid’s game of “gossip”. Yes, it was much easier and more fun when we looked at what was happening in that light! So we looked at the “rumors” as part of the game. The rumors weren’t the truth (which is the Truth). When we can relax into what is going on with our own stories and opinions or with other people’s stories and opinions, we’re not coloring our world into one of negativity. Life can then take on a more light and playful flavor. Playing the game of gossip took the pressure and the sting out of what will happen in the future…because we truly don’t know what will happen for awhile yet.
Each day we played “gossip” and asked each other what the latest game had for us today. We actually laughed! I felt lighter and not as tired at the end of the day. My co-workers seemed lighter also.
The tension bubble popped. And, letting go of the tension is what’s important for our bodies and our minds. The truth is we don’t live in the past or the future . We know we only have the present moment. (I know at times our minds struggle with the thought of staying in the present, being in the flow and at the same time open to the the cues that guide us to move forward.)
On the other front, my husband was noticeably lighter and more optimistic than before the weekend. He seemed more committed to certain things that had been eluding him in the past. And I heard him whistle – a sure sign that all is well in his world.
Research tells us the importance of play and taking daily time-out on our stress levels, health, and happiness. But, I strongly suggest you do your own research. The carryover effect is one you’ll be sure to notice. Relax into relaxing, it’s much more productive than you may think. !
So put your feet up and relax into relaxing,
P.S .What do you notice when you relax or take a time-out? What do you do to relax? Or how do you take some quiet time for yourself? How are you different afterward? Post any of the answers to any of the questions and share with our readers.
Is there a connection between play and murder? There really is one; you’ll find the answer as you finish reading this blog. After another training session in Matrix Energetics where everything is considered “play” – including playing while taking in consideration conditions such as cancer and other serious aliments many people suffer from – I understood even more clearly the power of play. (During a Matrix Session they didn’t take “the condition” lightly,but the session was structured in a light and playful manner yielding amazing results.) When your focus is light-hearted and even fun, your focus is shifted away from the problem and more “space” is created for healing. As I follow the path of how fun makes life easier, I want to share it with you. It’s a simple way to make a change in your life without having to “work” at it. My deepest desire is to support you in increasing your ability to have a life you would choose, to be happier, have life be less chaotic and more peaceful. And, play and fun is a great place to start. (Don’t forget you will be healthier and more productive when you play). Because my clients have really experienced how The Fun Factor plays into productivity, I have been led in a direction of finding more supporting evidence on the benefits of play and fun, which is what this week’s blog is all about.
My Fun – What’s Yours?
I have found one of the things I loved as a kid and many of you may might have loved too (I know I mentioned it before) was hula hooping. Here in Florida hula hooping seems to be an up and coming new sport. Even though it may take some effort, there are great benefits from playing with a hula hoop. Who thought whirling your hips in odd directions and sometimes looking incredibly silly could increase your memory, your mood, your biceps and your core? And, it’s fun! A bit of a workout, but fun!!! I always feel energized afterward. Why is this fun to me? I love my purple and gold adult hula hoop. It reminds me of the fun I had as a child. I was good at it then. It makes me happy. I laugh. Believe it or not, creative ideas pop into my head about all kinds of things during and after I hoop. I feel good about taking care of my body. I actually think it’s a joke on me. I’m exercising but it’s fun. An oxymoron for sure for me.
For those of you who may be a “type-A personality”, keep reading. Playing and or fooling around will activate creativity and passion, transferring literally to other aspects of your life including work, how you relate to your friends, family and your marriage. According to the American Medical Association, “When you take a vacation from work — even a four-day weekend — you are more inventive, productive and healthier (fewer sick days) when you return,” says Stuart Brown, MD, a researcher for The National Institute for Play. Yes, there really is one! A pioneer in research on play, Brown says, “Humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age”.
Dr. Stuart Brown’s research “shows play is not just joyful and energizing — it’s deeply involved with human development and intelligence.” I was thrilled to hear his suggestion to “explore backwards and go to the most clear, joyful image you have” in your life and remember playing, whether it’s an activity or toy, and feel the emotion. The next step is to think: how can you relate that emotion to your life now? Another aspect of what I wrote about in the F… Factor. The emotion is what you are looking for, that’s the link and the power of play.
Why, why, why play? Because it makes your life happier. You are more productive and more creative. You will find yourself with a pure and wonderful sense of wellbeing. Playing can lead you to your passions and the next step in your life. I know what you are thinking: play, sure, sure, sure. But, the bottom line is you’ll like your life more. Brown says the opposite of play is not work, it’s “depression.”
By the way, Stuart found after looking at murderers’ profiles that they were “play deprived.” More research is pointing to a child’s development being enhanced or curtailed by the opportunities to play or not.
Have a Fun Memorial Day Weekend!
Enjoy some guilt-free playing—you will enjoy your life more,
PS Join the fun and Post your favorite (legal) fun and play activities-the ones you enjoy yourself or the play activities you enjoy with your children or grandchildren. Explain the activity, how you felt and if you noticed any benefit from your playtime.
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The word that starts with an “F” isn’t that word. However I am talking about another word that may still seem like a “dirty word” to some people. Can you guess what it is? It came up twice in 24 hours for me in two completely different scenarios. Here’s how it started. Last weekend I had created some space and time and I thought…
“What can I do for…” Yes, you probably have guessed it now. I wondered what I could do for FUN! I know last year I bought some chalk and an artist’s pad. I dibbled a bit on it, but the delicious upwelling of really having fun didn’t happen. So after a while I put the art supplies away. But I still wanted to have some fun. So I thought to myself, “What else gives me an uplifting feeling?” For me, creating something is fun and two weeks ago I started contemplating how to make simple window treatments for my bedroom windows. That satisfied some of the fun factor for me. However, it wasn’t quite enough.
Why is it so hard for me to create fun in my life? (I don’t have a problem if you suggest something fun. If you create it, I will go along for the ride.) I was talking to Mary, one of my wise friends and colleagues. We talked about creating our days and lives with ease and grace. You know I’m all about that. But, I often forget as I put my intentions out there to ask for fun. Why? As my friend Mary (delphicwave.com) said, some of us aren’t wired or programmed for having fun. We have other genetics but the fun strand of genes isn’t there. When they were calling for those who wanted fun in this life, I must have thought they said “run” and missed out. Nevertheless, all isn’t lost. Mary and I discussed thinking about the feeling of fun as a start to take us into our personal fun factor. We all can remember having fun and how it felt. It was easier for me when my children were little and when I saw children in my counseling practice. No wonder I loved thinking of things that were fun for the children – I was looking for fun!
Some of you may be thinking, “How can she be writing about fun in this uncertain, turbulent world?” Did you know that fun is a necessary ingredient to your health and happiness? It’s crucial during times of turbulence and change to combat the effects of stress. We don’t want to raise our children to only have fun electronically. Playing is a key ingredient to problem solving and creativity. Did you know there are businesses that have game rooms and devoted time to play? Did you know there are stories of people curing themselves of cancer by having fun and laughing while watching movies? It’s also a different way to live. A way to live that brings us closer to why we are on this planet. Living on purpose, being our true selves and enjoying our unique special gifts and passions are not supposed to be work! Wouldn’t it be nice to live each day with a bit more fun in life? I’m up for that! Are you? A first step may be to start your day adding to your intention to remember having fun. Then ask for more of that please…
If you have children or grandchildren, get on the floor and play! (No, not video games.) Go out and really have fun. Go to the zoo, blow bubbles, play ball – anything that feels like fun and brings a smile to your face.
To help those of us with the non dominant fun gene, why don’t you post your healthy, fun activities so we can get some fun ideas!
P.S. Almost every time my husband and I go on vacation, he gets a call from his assistant who says another “case” coming in (he does custody evaluations and reviews, so it like other businesses with ups in downs in the income stream), while he is having fun NOT working.
Who thought swans would be the refresher with a message? After going to the dentist, I decided I needed to recharge my batteries and enjoy a bit of nature before my next coaching session. I stopped by a nearby park with a lake and a lovely view. I found a towel in the car. (I had my husband’s car so I didn’t have my beach chair in the trunk.) It was one of the beautiful days of spring before the heat of our Florida summer. I thought it would be lovely to just sit and enjoy some peace and quiet.
As I headed to a familiar part of the park, I heard the laughing and playful voices of children, many children. I love the sounds of children’s voices but after hearing drilling at the dentist I just wanted quiet. I headed towards the other end of lake. As I sat down on my little towel, my attention was caught by the swans. At this lake you can rent swan boats and you usually see swans, but the swans I saw first were in pairs and they were black! I had never seen black swans before. Maybe I just live a sheltered life. Who knows? They were a beautiful sight.
I enjoyed the swans that, on this particular day, were traversing the water in pairs. Two pairs of black swans and next a pair of swans with black necks and white bodies both perfectly matched. Then finally I saw the white swans. It was lovely to watch them gracefully float on the water. I have never seen birds so gracefully catch and swallow fish. Although I only stayed a short while, I felt a welling up in my heart of joy, just watching the ease and loveliness of the swans.
As many of you know animals can be symbols and represent certain ideas. I thought about the traditional ugly duckling story that recognizes they are a beautiful swan. That is a wonderful metaphor for our ability to really recognize when we accept ourselves we become ‘beautiful” and graceful because we aren’t trying to be something we aren’t. Being yourself is much easier. I also wanted to know more so I looked up the animal message of swans. So here they are: “begin to realize your own true beauty”. Then I looked up black swan: “represents love, both self love and romantic love, happiness in yourself, the healing power of love and miracles”.
I think the message is obvious but maybe not. You choose – no one else does. Are you an ugly duckling or a swan? Be your authentic self without hesitation. Your journey will be easier and more graceful. Remember the healing power of love and look for miracles.
Remember the message of the swans,
My husband and I were riding in the car talking about why making a change is sometimes so difficult, especially if we have been working on making a shift and it hasn’t happened the way we think it should have. And how easy it is to move into thinking how it can’t happen because it didn’t happen before. Sound familiar? I started to say something launching into my favorite subject faith, trust, and Quantum Physics and my husband said I was obsessed. . . How could he say that? Then, I stopped for a moment and thought he was so right. (One of those times our partners or children have us pegged.) But then I realized, I can think of worse things. At least I’m not obsessed with overeating or overdrinking. I’m not obsessed with jumping out of airplanes or collecting hundreds of tiny objects for display (not that there’s anything wrong with either of these passions, they are just not for me!) I am obsessed with faith, trust, and dwelling on what I can do in my unique way to transform my own life and the life of others to be healthier, happier and more meaningful. I am obsessed with taking time to be still or to take walks so I can “hear” my intuitive voice and be open to inspired actions to move toward my goals. I am fascinated and “obsessed” with Positive Psychology and the research on how gratitude increases your physical health and productivity and how using your strengths and just being your best self makes life easier.
I am passionate and obsessed with sharing that with you.
So having said that, it makes it easy for me to share with you my latest find. A new book called Creating your Best Life; The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP and Dr. Michael B. Frisch. I’ll tell you the truth, I haven’t finished reading it but I liked it so much I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Caroline is a Positive Psychology graduate and Dr. Frisch is the creator of “Life Lists”. Dr. Frisch wrote a paper he delivered at an Oxford conference that points to having meaning in life comes form achieving goals in 16 key areas; this was the beginning of his Quality Life Therapy. The program is based on his 20 years of research as a professor, positive psychology coach, and clinical psychologist. Frisch found life improves when you accomplish goals in the areas of “love, work and spiritual pursuits”. In this book not only do these authors talk about creating a Life List, but how to take this “list” into action and to break down the patterns that keep us from achieving them. They have great research to back up why and what they are saying really works.
On my inspiration board, (although it is a board it has a circle and a tetrahedron, and in the center the radiating petals of a lily – for the meaning of the lily, visit janetconner.wordpress.com) some of my ultimate Life List intentions are displayed. Displaying your Life Lists in writing or visually is a part of the “Life List process” (and that of many processes). Now, I know it’s easy to put off doing a Life List with the practical things in your life that crowd out the other seemingly less “important” things, but I strongly encourage you to do it anyway. Don’t wait until you have time or until kids are older or until . . . You never know when there may not be time, for whatever reason. Start making your “Life List” now. You’ll find you feel better, you have more energy, and life won’t feel so overwhelming. It’s an easy way to create more balance and release stress and change your focus. The byproducts of doing this are better health, peace of mind, the connection back to yourself and, of course, in the end you are happier and carry with you a pretty unshakeable sense of wellbeing.
I know my daughter would think my list is quite tame since she actually does jump out of airplanes and walk hand-in-hand with sloths in Costa Rica for fun (or ride with two bikes). But that’s what makes your Life List so empowering, uplifting and gives meaning to your life — because it’s yours!!! So I wanted to share a few of the items on my Life List so I could put them out there and declare them. So here it goes: I want to walk the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France with my husband, go to Machu Picchu with one of my best friends, travel to Egypt with our friend whose husband is Egyptian, travel to Germany and Italy with another one of our friends and kids, go on a Mediterranean cruise, and finish writing and publish adult and children’s fairytales to leave a legacy for my children’s future grandchildren. I want to leave this legacy to help make the planet a better place with each child (and adult) feeling empowered and happy being their unique selves and sharing that in the world.
What are some items on your Life List and what are your positive obsessions? Post and let us know.
Here’s to living your Life’s List,
Last week during the business, I have to admit that I re-read last weeks blog Staying Out of the Cracks, to remind myself to fill up on what’s working.
I have to be honest one of the cracks for me is writing this blog and having no one post a response. I get email responses but few comments. I finally decided that it didn’t matter, what mattered was my sharing my experiences and things I know uplift others. For example, a woman emailed me after last week’s blog and said she shifted her to do list for her mini vacation from the “shoulds” which made her fall in the cracks. Yay, out of the cracks!!! (I know it can also feel like a dark hole believe me.)
I think each of has a gift to share. It may be just listening to someone that will keep them out of the cracks or it may be that small thoughtful thing you do that keeps them from falling deeper in the cracks. You may not even know how something you did fills someone else up. The message I want to share is when you are up looking at the Sun and filled up share it. During these this time, we are meant to connect, support and be supported. The journey is easier. Celebrate those sunshine moments. If you look up and fill up you’ll find you aren’t alone. There is always someone or something to guide you away from the cracks.
I want to thank those who posted that filled me up as I read the comments from the last blog. Thank you as I am reading your comments and writing, the dark clouds lifted and the sun started to shine outside. For each of you who wrote a comment. I want to thank each of you for shining your light and sharing. You never know who else you may lift out of the cracks!
Looking up at the sun and filling up,