Reflections of life, loss and courage

Standing here, now in my 60s, I can see a theme of losses and grief ebbing and flowing through my life. Not sure whether I’ve more or less, that doesn’t matter.

What I have realised is that each loss gives us an opportunity for transformation. It’s an opportunity to take stock and decide how we wish to live now.

This takes courage and perseverance. It requires commitment to see the transformation through to the end.

January this year saw me starting a new chapter in my life. It is most welcome to be starting afresh as a person with some wisdom.

The previous four years has been a journey transversing grief on so many levels. Please, I really am not writing to gain sympathy. I am writing this to celebrate the courage, perseverance and commitment.

With the loss of my daughter, it was so clear that I had not only lost my soul mate, my best friend, also my future as I dreamed it and most mothers dream – mother of the bride, grandchildren, being there to guide the next generation. In a moment, all that had gone.

Then to complicate it all in the short term, I change country – another loss of different dimensions. Loss of the ways I had become accustomed to.

Even though, I wasn’t a native to the country I lived in for 30 years, I found coming back to the country of my birth hard. I found aspects of me that I prized as being Australian, weren’t. They were part of me.

This passage taught me that the way through to wholeness is not straight nor can it be. We need to stay awhile and rest along the way.

While resting though, settling is so seductive.

You look back on the progress and say well done. This is not the time to say, ‘I have arrived’ Yet, it is so seductive. Our egos want to reign supreme and do away with all that change bunkum.

Instead, listen to that deep voice urging you to take a step further, turning the corner and finding a beautiful vista that fills you with gratitude that perseverance paid off.

Even writing this today, I realise I am only at a vista and this too will be left as I continue with courage as my wonderful friend.

We are invincible providing we keep moving. Stop and we have to start all over again renewing our relationship from scratch, building confidence and remembering we travelled together so well.

This is about me, about my life and about life in general. It informs my approach in delivering coaching and training on Aging with Limits. Ageing is an inside job. Make yours as positive as you can.

Knowjng what you don’t want is only going give you that

Knowing what we don’t want

There’s nothing new with eating healthy, exercising daily, having people around you for love and support. What is new are the reasons why these things are very important. Research results over and over highlight the significance of taking action to live fully, live long, live well.

Our lifestyle choices, throughout our lives, have a huge impact on how we age, the wellness of our later years and, indeed, whether we reach those later years.

Remember our bodies are magnificent regenerative organisms. It regenerates regardless of the input. Remember the saying – garbage in, garbage out. Our bodies will do it’s best with the ingredients given.

Aging has such a bad reputation. Mostly, we see from those around us how NOT to do it.

We form a mental picture of how we don’t want to be. Sadly, this approach will only bring those thoughts toward us. We’ve all heard of the Law of Attraction – what we think, we manifest.

Today, let’s turn what we are thinking into a picture of how we want to look.

Imagine, you are looking in a mirror of you 30-40 years from now. Who do you see?
A happy person, eyes beaming, lips upturned into a slight smile. Your figure is still gorgeous, although different from now.

Imagine all the people in your life then and how you spend your time.
Are you the centre of a vibrant community where life is still very full and moments seized with the same zing you did in your twenties.

Imagine all the people you’ve helped over your lifetime.
Imagine the legacy you’ve created along the way.

Aging is inevitable. How we do it is up to the individual.

To help you, today, I release the Future You Journalling Meditation.

You can create a picture on who your future self already is and create steps today to meet her again. Use the form below

 

Feeling good with laughter

Feeling good with laughter

Laughter feels so good. It releases serotonin and endorphins which helps balance the stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine. Yet, when we are stressed or unhappy, it is one of the last responses we do.

Yet, laughter is essential for us to feel connected with people. It’s a way humans bond together. We are social animals and respond best in the company of others rather than living alone. This is not saying that we have to all be extroverts. The mix of social activity and alone time is according to each individual. I’ve noticed that the older I become the amount of time between social and alone has changed. Although, it is easy to become more alone leading to isolation.

How can we ensure we make the most of laughing?

1. Release all the unresolved loss and grief inside us.

Grieving puts us into a negative space and this is, perhaps, why it is avoided. If we don’t resolve all the losses in our life, they become ever so heavy burdens.

A simple way is to find a buddy who wants to share releasing the loss journey with you. For each loss, write a letter sharing all that you gained from the relationship plus the times you were annoyed and angry. Finish of the letter with ‘Goodbye’ and your name. Set up a time for your buddy to read aloud each others letters. There must be no judgement or discussion about the contents of the letters. Continue in this way until all the losses have been released.

When I mention losses, these can be so varied and include:

  • Friendships that finish abruptly
  • Lovers
  • Marriages
  • Jobs
  • Cars
  • House
  • Change in social status
  • Homelessness
  • Loss of health, even if temporary
  • Pets
  • Grandparents
  • Parents
  • Extended family
  • Partner
  • Child

Grieving releases all the negativity and gives you an opportunity to gain wisdom. You notice a lightness of heart.

2. Start a practice of gratitude or Gratitude Journal

This is complementary to releasing losses. You can become grateful for the losses for the lessons they gave you.

Set a side 10 minutes a day to write down ten things you are grateful for. There are so many things – seeing the sunrise, the sky, rain, a smile, appreciation of what people do for you, remembering the joy you give by doing things for other people, their appreciative acknowledgement of your impact in their lives. There’s gratitude in the bed you sleep, the food you eat, the body you have, the car you drive. This list is endless. Every moment of the day can have something to be grateful for.

Gratitude fills our inner reservoir. It lightens our mood and raises our vibration. I refer to this as our breath of life. As we breathe in Gratitude, the out breathe is that of generosity.

We can also be grateful for how we show up in the world; with what we do with that out breath. This may be acts of kindness, spending time with someone; giving your full attention to another person, giving wonderful hugs full of love. This list is endless too. There is no need to give money, although, in some circumstances, it may be appropriate.

We make the most impact as humans by how we leave people feeling. The easiest way is through love and time.

Now, we are light, full of love and positive energy, let’s start on the external activities

3. Stay/Get Connected

This is also intrinsically linked to Doing Something New and a really great way of increasing the opportunity for humour and laughter.

People who are socially connected laugh more.

This can be anything. Here are some pointers:

  • Starting a new hobby
  • Doing an art class
  • Doing an exercise class
  • Joining a new social group
  • Calling friends you haven’t been in touch with for ages and having a chat and/or arranging to meet up.
  • Take up a new sport whether it’s free or lots of money, it’s the activity, the social activity that’s important.

Start small and build momentum with little wins. Little things to give positive feedback and encourage you to repeat, repeat and repeat some more.

The big thing, here, is not to worry about what people think. Associate yourself with people who like having you around; who show you appreciation (rather than taking you for granted.)

With the inner work, all these outer activities will help you regain the frequency of laughter and maintain your positive vibe. You’ll be in demand. People gravitate to people that leave them feeling fabulous.

The bonus is you feel fabulous too. There’s no limit on how far this positive spiral can take you.

Take action today. A small step each day brings rewards. Faster than you think!

 

 

Why I love gratitude

There’s a lot around about gratitude and it is easy to nod and say, yes I am grateful for everything in my life. At an intellectual level, this may be true. The proof of gratitude is in our behaviour. It’s effects how we show up in our lives.

Think of gratitude as being our in-breath. Breathing in all the things we have, the people who support us, love us and we love, Nature. That we have the sunrise, sunset, clouds, rain, trees, flowers and animals.

There’s all the teachers and mentors we’ve had, the heart-ache, losses that have led to learning more about ourselves. There are the books we read. Not just that there are books. Also, that a person toiled for months over the words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters.

Take a moment to cast your mind over today and all the things you’ve experienced… electricity, hot water, air conditioning/heating, chair to sit on, table to eat from, radio/music, mobile phone, a tablet or computer.

Cast you mind even smaller, the fact we saw these things, felt the chair, used our limbs to get to the table and eat what we had prepared. How about our parents for helping and supporting us with these basic functions.

Even smaller, we can be grateful for our body, the digestive system, our brains for enabling us to feel, think, remember and make choices. We are also able to learn from our choices.

How wonderful life is. Even when things could be better, we have so many things to be grateful for.

Gratitude is our in-breath. Breathing in all that is positive in our world. It transforms how we feel.

Gratitude is the fuel of joy.

When we are joyful, we complete tasks with a hop, skip and a jump. We have our eyes open wider, we are more supportive of those around us. We smile more. We give more.

It’s in that giving where the clues of an attitude of gratitude show up.

In the out-breath, in our actions of generosity are the footprints of the in-breath.

Generosity shows up as a compliment, giving your appreciation to people in your life, even if they are there momentarily, such as the checkout operator.

Everyone wants to be seen, received and accepted. You can give this gift to everyone you meet by having eyes open to spot how you can genuinely give a compliment. Do a kind act. Show your appreciation, even it is just a smile and saying hello.

Yes, we can also be generous on grander scales. If we start small, the out-breath of generosity can effect every person we meet during the day.

What is even more delicious is the actions of the out-breath become food for the in-breath, gratitude. If you’re not quite sure….

I write in my gratitude journal:

I am grateful to helping the woman with her shopping.

This is like a thank you to me for taking the time to open my eyes and be of service to another person in the moment. It took a minute at most and yet, even though I gave. I also received.

Just as we breathe, we breathe in for our bodies to process and breathe out the processed air.

Let gratitude be your guide on what you are breathing in for processing into generosity on the out breath.

Gratitude works so much better when you write down what you are grateful for. Just thinking about them doesn’t activate our feelings. It’s the feeling of joy we want to activate. It’s best done through writing or speaking.

I find keeping a gratitude journal is like a diary, a record of what happened over the past 24 hours.

When things aren’t going so well, that’s when the power of gratitude journalling really kicks in. Of course, you have a choice, not to right anything and this will lead to a lowering of the amount of joy we experience.

Instead, we search for the positives from the lesser great day. We search for the learning, the act of forgiveness, the intention behind the act, seeing the situation in the best light.

This is where the in-breath becomes pure gold. We start showing up in the world differently – with joy, no matter what.

Start your gratitude practice and let me know what happens to you. Can only take a week… but, keep it up… a year later you will truly be different

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