The Ultimate Way to Choose Yourself, Is To Save Someone Else

The One Who Saved Me

The One Who Saved Me

Yesterday, on my way into the grocery store I saw a dog rescue group. Although we cannot adopt another animal now, I stopped to say hello to the dogs and their saviors, and drop a few dollars in for a donation. It was not much and I just explained that even though I could not take a dog home, I could support the ones who could.

I began talking to who I now know is the mother of the founder of this rescue group. I told her that I would like to adopt a therapy dog and a family member, for my coaching practice.  I was once saved by a dog, so this story is near and dear to my heart.

That is when I understood why I was there. Her daughter, a beautiful tall red-headed teenage girl was terminally ill with a heart condition. She had been angry and mad at the world as you might imagine. Her mother was homeschooling her, and could not get her motivated to do anything.

Then something changed. Her daughter wanted to adopt a dog, and not just any dog. A pit bull puppy that had the exact condition that she had. The dog had been given 2 months to live. She wanted to be that dogs light in the world for the little time it had. These are my words, not hers. She felt drawn to this dog, which was a seven hour drive away. I spoke with her mother who was glowing as she told the story when her daughter chose herself.

The daughter started Roman’s Rescue to continue this work, after the dog that had been given two months to live. Roman lived for ten months. Ten months of joy, love, and gratitude for being chosen. This animal needed to be chosen, but his guardian did not. Terminally ill as a teenager, she chose to do something with the time she has on this earth. She chose herself.

Shouldn’t we all do that?

I am reading James Altucher’s Book, Choose Yourself. The preceding story of Roman’s Rescue is a living example of Choosing Yourself.

This book is about Choosing Yourself in the new world of work and life. We are in the most exciting times in history. We can live how we want, where we want, choose our families, and choose ourselves.  The book is not a feel good story of fluff, rather a practical way to begin to rethink this jobless economy that is really a recipe for freedom.

Choose Yourself – if you want to savor every last moment you have been given.If you want to make an impact today, support Roman’s Rescue. Support savoring life.

Connecting To Your Parenting Inner Nature

Families Connecting to nature

Weeknight Fishing Trip

The movement of the dock beneath me, the sounds coming from the ducks and their bodies as they moved through the water. The laughter from the boys as they would cast their line. The sky as it changed from blue, to orange, to pink, to a beautiful deep dark blue. I noticed how the insects that were becoming more active were not bothering me. The most startling connection was as I sat, I could see the spiders coming out from under the layers of the walls of the dock. Beginning to repair their webs. I felt a connection watching their intentional work, as if it was choreographed. It was startling to me that I did not feel threatened or feel a need to move quickly from my observation spot.

This past week we took the boys fishing when my husband got home from work. We have always enjoyed being outdoors, but my “inner nature” project work has made it an intentional part of every day. One activity that had we omitted it, would make me feel as if we missed something that day.

I have been a little quiet on the blog, as I dove into new learning opportunities for myself and the boys. I am studying the practice of using nature connections as a part of a parenting and teaching tool box. It has created some wonderful experiences for all of us.

There is so much written today about disconnected family life, and the long-term negative effects on children. What has not been widely shared, is easily accessible activities that busy families can fit into their week. Our downsizing experiment has brought me a level of awareness about what is essential to our happy life, and our ability to opt out of a frantic life, and slowing down is a necessity.

Every day is not perfect, but every day has great moments of joy and lately more contentment for me. As parents today, we are all striving for the same thing. A happy, healthy child that feels loved. That can feel complicated in a life of longer school days, working, and a yearning for more time together.

I had a conversation with a husband and wife, successful business owners, and wonderful parents to their beautiful kids. The part that struck me was on two separated, isolated conversations they both mentioned, wishing they had more time with their kids. More connection time, beyond dinner, homework, and bedtime.

The husband was raised by a father who fished, camped, and hunted with his sons, and he now realized he had done none of those things with his own child. He wanted to, but honestly had no idea where and how to fit it into their life.

We all struggle with balance and lifestyle choices, and solutions are unique to each family. The parents giving up their dreams and livelihood would not help their children, but perhaps some easily accessible nature connected activities would serve both the father and the son. It might even create a momentum of more nature connections within the family.

We talked about the Texas State Parks program, Family Camp Out. It is a perfect way for a busy family to experience the great outdoors without changing their natural family rhythm. We talked about weeknight fishing trips, and where to do that in the area. Trading traditional dinner time, for a picnic and a fishing adventure. This father’s differences in raising his family  does not have to be right or wrong, but the key is to find ways to nurture everyone in their household.

As you get to know your own families inner nature, take some time this week to connect with Mother Nature. Here is a simple, easy way to get started.

Go for a walk and be intentional about your goal of connecting. As you walk by or into a natural area, pause and listen. If you have children on the walk with you, ask them what they hear. If it is a safe place, sit and listen. Now close your eyes, and silently thank the natural area for its beauty. It is like knocking on a door before entering someone else’s house. It helps you switch from your daily busy world of thoughts and to-do lists, to a more mindful state of just being.

If your children are with you, know that they already sense how to do this. Children are always willing to say hello to animals in nature, encourage them to do what comes naturally. You can extend that by saying thank you to the breeze, or the warmth of the sun. You don’t have to say this out loud, if you are concerned with people thinking you have lost it! Nature does not use verbal language, so it’s not like it could respond verbally anyhow.

Now look. What do you see? As my children and I were on a walk the other day, we noticed all of the different grasshoppers and insects living in the grasses. Which reminds me of all of the levels of life. Things are always happening, whether we see them or not.

We even found some cucumbers growing along the fence of a construction site. A former garden or farm not willing to give up just yet, or maybe seeds dropped by a bird. These are moments that you can understand nature’s resilience in the face of adversity and it becomes a metaphor for life. “Where there is a will there is a way.”

It becomes a way to interpret the world without “talking about it”, which is a gift to all of us.

Just taking a moment to pause, listen, and feel your surroundings will welcome in the most natural of stress relievers. This activity can be done with a potted plant, but outside time is best to be able to transform your awareness into nature.

Will you take the time to seek a connection to the environment that surrounds you this week? Although going to the wilderness is always a wonderful way to connect to ourselves and nature, why not try something just outside your front door?

How to Break Through Mental Clutter

How to Clear Mental Clutter

I believe every woman needs a cheerleader. Someone who gets who you are at your core, regardless of the season or stage of your life, and just sees you.

I am my generations cheerleader, and I take that as the honorable gift that it is. My first cheerleader, and the woman who taught me to write was my paternal grandmother Jeane. She was born in 1900, and was an Irish Catholic. She was devoted in a quiet, devoted way that I honor and respect. She was an entrepreneur. As an Irish Catholic, married woman with children in the 1930s, owning your own store was unusual, but she was anything but ordinary.

I only saw her once per year, as we lived thousands of miles apart, but her impact on my life was profound. It was her letters of encouragement and faith in me that kept me afloat in the toughest times in my life, even after her death. How she knew that I needed to hear words of encouragement, in an age void of cell phones, text messages, and emails is something I did not understand until recently. I remember the tone of the letters not the words, and when times get crazy, I think of what she would say to me. I take a walk in nature, clear my head and listen.

In my study of Life Coaching, I watched a video of an intervention by Tony Robbins with a woman who was struggling. She had lost sight of her own inner warrior and was so far away from a position of strength that she could not see herself as strong. In that intervention he talked her through some important steps. One was her posture as she was feeling weak (my words not his). As you struggle in your life with emotions and doubt, notice your physical responses. Slouched shoulders and stooped posture have an effect of your entire body and mind, your physiology. You have the power to change that, to be present and aware of your responses. My advice to you – pay attention.

The next thing he talked her through was a technique that I use today. When you are struggling through some mental clutter, consider your cheerleader, what would they say to you? What would they tell you in this moment? Do you have a cheerleader? If you don’t allow me to be yours. I would be honored to spur you on.

As women we have so many roles daughter, friend, sister, wife, mother, and one more warrior. I believe that you can have strength without tearing down others, without imposing your opinions on others, and by living a happy life that effects others in a positive way. The Mommy Wars are in our heads and our hearts and it is time for that to stop. We all need a cheerleader. Who is yours?

In order to find your inner warrior, you have to declutter your life. Physical clutter is one thing and mental clutter can take up much more valuable real estate.

Our lives today are filled with such noise. Cell phones, emails, Facebook, Pinterest, and the list goes on. We allow things into our lives that distract from our path to living a full life.

If you are struggling with how to juggle it all, might I suggest something bold? Minimize the noise in your life over the next 7 days. Pick a couple of things to remove. Is it Facebook or email after 7pm?

Take action today. Consider meditation. I have not mastered meditation, but I am working on it. Try it for yourself, with my favorite yoga teacher David Magone. If it is good enough for Marines, it is good enough for me.

Take just 7 days, and journal at the end of each day. Write to yourself. It doesn’t matter what it says just chronicle your day, write down dreams, disappointments, whatever. After you journal your thoughts – read them. What would your cheerleader say if she read that? I honor the time you spend reading my words, now let me give you something back.

You can do this – whatever this is. One day at a time. Remove one thing that does not enhance your life, and breathe. Jeane would want nothing but the best for you.