PERMA and Character Strengths

  1. Brief overview of PERMA
    1. Read a short article explaining the acronym.
    2. 5 minute video with brief explanation. The longer video is here. 
  2. Access your character strengths to maximize your well-being
  3. What are your character strengths.  Take the assessment. (You must register first)
    1. Short Survey
    2. Longer survey
    3. Description of character strengths and the virtue category they belong to. 
    4. Optional (but in reality, it is all optional) This looks like a good video on why operating in your character strengths improves your satisfaction in the areas of PERMA.
  4. Discussion
    1. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being non=existent and 5 being “the best it could be”
      1. Positive emotions (fun)
      2. Engagement (flow)
      3. Relationships
      4. Meaning (sense of purpose)
      5. Sense of Achievement
    2. Times in your life when you were scoring 4-5 in each of those areas.  Take a walk down memory lane and stir up some pleasant thoughts.
    3. What do you do now that gives you the highest levels of satisfaction in each area?
    4. What are some things that you are not doing, or could be doing to increase your level of satisfaction in each area?
    5. How could using your character strengths improve your satisfaction in your life?  Work? Home?  
    6. What’s getting in the way of your taking steps to increasing your sense of wellbeing?  E.g. fear, shame, physical limitations, time, money, etc. What are creative ways you can still operate in your character strengths and experience higher levels of satisfaction in the five areas of PERMA?
  5. I’m looking forward to hearing what you come up with. 

 

For Teachers: Change your Career and Your Life

I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum of teaching.

Image result for kids loved at home come to school to learn

At first, I hated it.  Was overwhelmed not only with the managing the logistics but my own fears of incompetency, fear of judgement, and loss of control of the classroom.  As it turned out, I relied on my child rearing models of crowd control.  Threats, manipulation, pleading, yelling, and shaming.  I did some damage, I hurt many a kid, and some responded with anger, others slinked away, and many grew to hate me and refused to learn. Not all of them.  The good students and I got along.  The challenging ones and I battled it out.

Fortunately, life has a way to teaching us what we need to learn.  About halfway through, I learned about Love and Logic. And then with time and more reading completely changed my beliefs, and then my practices, and then my habits.  I believe I ended on a high note. I learned to love the kids, even most of the challenging ones.  And even the hardest, I could hold space for them to be themselves, within healthy boundaries, and the lessons I learned myself, I passed on to the kids, like communication, appreciate, attitude, and so much more.

How different was it from the early to the later years?  Here is a clue.  In the earlier years, I never bought a year book.  I didn’t believe many students would have interest in leaving a sentiment, and fear several with markers to write hateful things.  In the last few years, not only did I buy year books, but students filled the pages with kind, fun and loving sentiments.

Must of what I learned can be summarized here and if it appeals to you, there is plenty of more information.

Brene Brown and “Daring Classrooms.” 

To really get into the info, explore her website with lots of resources for yourself and classroom.  https://brenebrown.com/daringclassrooms/  Great books too.

You owe it to yourself to have the greatest career, to give yourself a break, learn what is really important, and revolutionize your classroom  Your are in a powerful position  to do either great good, or psychic trauma.  I’ve feel like I’ve done both.  Create a classroom, no matter the subject matter that kids want to go to, where they feel accepted, and even cherished, and learning will become easier for them and easier for you to teach.

Are their other resources.  Yes.  I’ve integrated Growth Mindset, and concepts from other positive psychology experts.  But Brene Brown is in my opinion is the best.

 

 

 

 

Connect at the Heart Level First

Brene Brown talks a lot about courage, vulnerability, fear, resilience and leadership. But we soo too many people who may be discouraged or hopeless that any effort on their part will make a difference. “Why bother”, which is just another way of saying it won’t matter anyway. Nothing will change, I’ll still be the same old so and so, an I’ll still be alone, ultimately unloved and unlovable. 
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I know that feeling. I grew up questioning my worth. It appeared to me that I was just another mouth to feed, and that my existence added to the family’s hardship. I hustled for a way to make myself indispensable, and became quite the people pleaser, always ready to lend a hand, fix this, do that. To this day, at times, I struggle with the feeling that my value is what I do, not who I am. Old habits die hard.5a1c7f5bffbc430df856e25900f68b61
 
As a teacher, I learned late in my career the difference a caring teacher can make. “Love and Logic” introduced me to the idea that it is okay, even necessary to connect with the kids as human beings, as valuable in their own right, unique, talented, capable, lovable and worthy of the investment of our time as teachers. Love and Logic said “fall in love with your kids” and they will do work for you that they wouldn’t do for themselves.
 
I posted a sign where I could see it, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Over time, I hope they will have the inner strength and history of success if  provided some impetus from a caring adult.
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I should have known. Left to my own devices as a teen and young adult, it was often a concerned friend, or my mom, though tired and struggling herself, saw in me something I couldn’t see. She encouraged me to do things, to try for something a little bigger or better. When I didn’t care, the fact that someone, my mom, a friend or caring adult, did care kept me going.
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You often see articles where classrooms adopt an animal, and even dogs. Kids love dogs. And dogs love kids. I wonder if we could get some kind loving grandmotherly and grandfatherly types to volunteer in classrooms to be that adult that helps when needed, but mostly just provides unconditional love and caring and a reminder that kids are worth the effort. It would help the old timers know that they still matter, but just as importantly, that the kids matter.

Drum Beat

rt n dd after kayaking June 2016Facebook is a funny thing. I suspect most of us are lurkers. I do my share of lurking when not in the mood to say anything. Yes, that does happen. Oftentimes though, I feel compelled to share something important. It might be:
  • a special photo with my grandchildren or Danielle Darter.
  • some general tidbit of fun, like hiking with a friend.
  • political
  • oriented towards personal growth.
Here is the observation. Cute pictures get lots of likes…so I know lots of folks see it. Fun tidbits may get 22+ likes. Political may get 8-12 likes. Personal growth. Hardly any.
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I’m not invested in getting likes but I think it is interesting. I wonder if when it comes to politics, fewer people like or comment. I wonder if people don’t want to be exposed, or fear confrontation, haven’t formed an opinion or is it just apathy?
hiking
As for the personal growth stuff? Very few if any at all likes or comments. Curious and curiouser. I wonder if my attempt to toss out a few seeds is beneficial to anyone. I don’t need it to be. I’m just satisfying my need to express and create, and think and ponder and put it down. If anyone benefits, great.
If no one else benefits, fine too. It does make me wonder. Maybe I’m in the minority of folks that consider personal growth valuable? As for others? Not interested? Is it apathy? Ain’t got time? Too big and scary to explore that stuff. Maybe it’s just too highfalutin. Maybe people are concerned might stir up something? Rock the proverbial boat inside your head or your relationships? Your life?
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I like exploring the thoughtful and sometimes radical side. I like rocking the boat with provocative ideas. That’s why the closest friends I have rock boats. They step away from normal and what is expected and do their own thing. They are willing to venture into the wilderness. Alone, so it seems. I consider it just a meet up of those that dance to the beat of different drums.
And yes, some say I think too much. I believe I think just the right about for me.I don’t work at it. it is just the way I am. And I like it.

Becoming

This started out as a facebook post but then edited it and put it here.

I’m contemplating this morning why so many people are so unhappy and their lives are so unproductive. Only as children are we victims of circumstances. I believe however with age, we have the choice and responsibility to put on our adult panties and take complete responsibility for who we become. Some will…some won’t. Some do so while young, for others it is a long tough life long struggle. Image result for lethargy

What I have read, and now believe is that one becomes what you focus on, think about, etc. Everything we expose ourselves to and participate in shapes us. Hang out with lowlifes, guess what. We begin to act like and even look like the people we hang out with. Hang out with haters, bullies, cheaters and con artists, that’s what one learns.

Hang out with creators, makers, movers and shakers, and you learn, and often get asked to ride along. It is more challenging. It is more risky. It requires some vulnerability, a willingness to fail. But it is oh so worth it.

I started reading and researching happiness when I was pretty miserable back in my 20’s. I learned “if it is to be, then it is up to me”. Read books. Listened to audio tapes…cassette tapes that is. Changed my beliefs. Changed my thoughts. Changed my habits of thinking and doing. Changed who I hung out with. As scary at times as it was, I tried new things, made new friends, some of which I am still friends with 40 years later. Tried lots of different jobs, some lasted a day or two, others for a few years. Moved from Cleveland to Kent, OH. Along the way, also visited and lived in multiple places like DC, Pittsburgh, Vermont, Maine. Eventually, moved to NC. Now TN.

To a certain degree, my choices were the safer ones. The life on the edge never appealed to me. I skipped the drugs, heavy partying, and risky behavior. A few disappointments along the way of course. Stayed in school. Then dropped out, then back when I knew what I wanted to study.

Back in the day, it was Zig Zigler, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Wayne Dyer, Steven Covey. All very very successful and seemingly happy. It wasn’t spiritual, but more formulaic. Formulas were safe. For the spiritual stuff, I turned to psychic and mystical authors, e.g., Ruth Montgomery, Jane Roberts, and others. I tried traditional religion and upon closer inspection, it couldn’t answer the logical questions and didn’t meet my spiritual needs.

Finally, about 10 years ago, someone recommended Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”. Her research brought together everything I knew from before and provided the basic most fundamental ingredient for finding the joy, joy, joy down in my heart, and the peace that passes understanding, and the strength to carry on, to do the scary stuff. Here it is. Self worth. My lack of it hindered me along the way. To the degree that I have understood it and embraced it, my life has flourished.

In retrospect, it certainly has been an adventure. Three colleges. Two college degrees. Taught in 12 different schools over the course of 27 years. Tried selling cars. Failed. Tried selling insurance. Failed. Tried working in a factory. Hated it. Tried selling satellite dishes, nutritional supplements, and air purifiers. Mostly failed. Waiting on tables and teaching seemed to be the best fit. Excellent waiter. Pretty good teacher. Teaching is a moving target and hard to know how effective one is. I did the best I could.

One can make excuses or one can get on with it. There is no shortage of information, i.e, suggestions on how to grow, excel and make a life. Information is more readily available than ever. It isn’t fast. It isn’t easy. It is a long slow forward moving journey. Good friends make it easier. Good luck. You are worth it.

My friend Stuart sent this to me as a comment on Facebook..thus, making it public and free to the world.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Emotion Hacks for Healthy Eating

My sister share an article the other day that relates to changing ones’ habits to increase health and well being (aka “diet”).  A little rough to follow but here is what I got out of it.

He says “Instead of putting our noses ever closer to the grindstone, he advocates relying on so-called social emotions—gratitude, compassion, and pride—to get things done. These emotions, he says, naturally encourage self-control and patience.” Willpower will fail by itself, and your rational thinking.  Mental fatigue kicks in, and the desire to feel good in the present throws the future out the window.

I’m all about understanding the emotions that contribute to unhealthy addictions.  I think there are so many principles from AA that come into play, and for us serious overeaters, it is an addiction, based in our emotions. For me, childhood emotions that used food to sooth the isolation and hopelessness. And when I feel a isolated now, I head for the cookie jar. One day at a time. Easy does it. Maybe you can suggest some more?

Consider this.  Maybe your beliefs and emotions are different than his cookie cutter approach.  But what if you could identify what really matters for you, and what your emotional strengths are, and then use those for changing your health habits.  TA DAA!!!  Here it is.  the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. helps you identify your greatest strengths.  If you can find a way to use your greatest strengths at the task at hand, i seems you will enjoy it more and be more successful.

My results show:

My Top Strengths:

  • Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith.
  • Humor and playfulness
  • Fairness, equity, and justice
  • Gratitude
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Curiosity and interest in the world
  • Creativity, ingenuity, and originality

My emotional hack?  Focus on how this health regimen journey has multiple purposes, physical, practical and spiritual.  Make it fun, practice gratitude for small accomplishments, go easy on myself, seek out new ways to go forward, and explore ways to make it work for me.

Finally, I’ve used this other personality test to identify strengths AND weakness (aka areas needing improvement) to understand what and how to do things to be more effective and enjoy it more too.  I’ll spare you my details but give it a shot.  Reading it is like having a friend tell you all the wonderful things about you…and those areas of needed improvement.

 

All for now.  Feedback is welcomed.

 

 

 

Thanks to a Broken Present

Dec. 29 A.M. Thoughts

father-son-argumentOn Facebook,  two of my friends were arguing back and forth about Trump. One friend is in his late 50s. The other friend is a former student, and is now  18 or 20 years old. One is extreme right wing, repeating the right wing talking points and childhood indoctrination. The other, a more independent, liberal and well-read. But the thing that struck me most was that the older gentleman said he had been a conservative Christian for 50 years of his life.  Something, maybe Trump, made him re-evaluate. But why did he wait 50 years to change his beliefs. 

I about how I came to the place of where I am and what I believe. I’ll admit, I’m “out there”. Reading and listening to a variety of viewpoints, I have pursued and chosen the beliefs I have.  They will continue to change with new information. 

My question to you is: Why do you believe what you believe?

Back in my 20s, I would listen to a guy named Brian Tracy and others on cassette tape. He had a list of “Ten  Beliefs of Peak Performing Men and Women”. It is so powerful, that I made it into a poster and put it in my classroom, and would often refer to it when talking with students. Number five was the hardest  to explain. It reads: “Your beliefs are a choice.”

Ask most middle school or high school kids what they believe and they will say “That’s just the way I was raised.”  But adults who have had time and ready access to information from all over the world?  Many will still say “Well I don’t know. I’ve always believed that way. I was raised that way.” And in my head I’m thinking really? You’ve got a God given brain and it’s never occurred to you to question the information that’s been rammed down your throat since you were a kid?”

If someone were to ask me one what I thought was one of the most important idea or principle,  I would say this. Your beliefs are choice. 

And how does one change your beliefs? We often hear “You become what you think about.” You train your thoughts and your beliefs through repetition through conscious effort. I gather information from multiple sources. I observe. Listen. Read. Feel.  One’s beliefs I’m told are nothing more than a thoughts one keeps having over and over. Choose carefully what you listen to, as the pattern will sink in.  I consciously listen to TED talks with uplifting positive messages, and sometimes information that challenges my beliefs.  If it is news, I’ll skim the more reputable news sites.  That excludes Fox and the Drudge Report. 

Why change?  I needed to.  I grew up thinking life sucks. I now think life is a precious gift. I used to think life was a zero-sum game, a win/loose proposition, a scarcity mentality perspective where there is only enough for some but not all. I now believe in in abundance. There’s enough for everyone (if distributed equitably). No need to hoard or stash away huge amounts of wealth.

choice of attitudeIf you choose what you read, listen to and watch, then you choose your beliefs. Your attitude, your mood, and your reactions to life’s challenges follows suit.  I think that when I practice gratitude consciously, like the last thing I do when I go to be, or think when I wake up,  it becomes a habit.

stockings

We were opening Christmas presents. Overflowing stockings were hung  on the fireplace mantel. The 10 year old desperately wanted to pass out stockings. The father said “be careful, don’t drop them.” I was cringing slightly because I knew in the bottom of one stocking was a coffee cup. Ceramic. And not well cushioned. The first stocking was distributed successfully. The second.  The third stocking holding the ceramic cup was dropped onto the marble hearth. It crashed. It broke. There was no question in my mind that this cup was irreparable.

For a brief moment, I cursed under my breath. I wanted to blame and judge, frustrated that the child had not been better supervised or instructed. And then, my practicedthought  took over. I said outloud “Everything is as it should be.”  Also, “ There are lots of valuable lessons to learn here.” The father commented that he should have explained how to hold the stockings so they wouldn’t be dropped. Good lesson. My lesson, if you’re going to put ceramic up into a stocking, cushion it more thoroughly and don’t put it on the bottom. 

broken cupIronically, molded into the side of the cup was a single word. Gratitude.  Thank heaven it wasn’t something more expensive that hit the marble. Thank heaven it didn’t land on the 10 year old’s foot. Thank heaven, it can be easily replaced. Thank heaven nothing else broke. And thank heaven for all these wonderful, generous people who gather on holidays to express appreciation and love for one another.

If you find yourself quick to judge,  quick to express a negative emotion, consider the idea that emotions and attitude are a direct result of your beliefs, and  your beliefs are a choice. Beliefs may not be easy to change but it is an option. what you choose to read and watch is yours to decide. And beliefs follow suit.

beliefs of peak

In case you want to make your own poser:

Beliefs Unique to All Peak Performing Men and Women

  1. Winners are not born. They are made.
  2. The dominant force in your existence is the way you think.
  3. You can create your own reality.
  4. There is some benefit to be had from every hardship.
  5. Each one of your beliefs is a choice.
  6. You are never defeated until you stop trying.
  7. The only limits are ones that you impose.
  8. You have the potential to excel in one key area of your life.
  9. There can be no great success without great commitment.
  10. You need the support of others to achieve your goals.

tracy

 

A. M. Thoughts on Thanksgiving Eve

Regrets.  Woulda, coulda shoulda.  I’m not the man I  could have been.

Today I read the article below. “Being gentle with ourselves every day means giving ourselves credit for what we’ve already accomplished, not getting stuck in the “woulda, coulda, shouldas,” and giving ourselves a path of hope for everything that is yet to come.” from https://therapychanges.com/blog/2017/05/gentle/

Why am I not the man I could have been.  Do you feel like you are all that you can be?

Overall, I feel very lucky.  It seems the right people came into my lives at the right time to give me a boost of sorts.  There have been enough challenges to force me to deal with just enough unpleasantness to want to make a change.  In high school, when I was heavy, and finding a dance partner was a challenge, so I lost weight.  When only a B student in college the first go around, I got serious the second time.  I learned how to study and memorize things more quickly, and disciplined my self to do the work.  Almost straight A’s from then on.

angst-clipart-6In high school,  I shied away from some things, like group sports in high school or group anything, like chorus, band, parties, etc.  I spent more time alone than a lot of kids then, or with one friend at a time, someone I felt safer with than a group, who i feared would see my imperfections, my unimportance, and see through my charade.  The battle inside, the time consuming decision making process of should I or shouldn’t I was often there.  Even when something or someone looked attractive, I struggled with the what if’s inside my head.  I spent far more time considering the downside of those what ifs than the upsides, and consequently missed a lot of fun and opportunities. I coulda been an actor, an athlete, an artist, a writer.  If not for the fear of exposure.  Contemplating asking someone out on a date was excruciating most of the time.

good old meA small caveat.  Some probably did not see me as emotionally constrained.  I fashioned a pretty good facade.  Good looks helped. I had older siblings whose stories and mannerisms I copied.  It worked for them after all. Sometimes I shined, when I let the creative juices flowed, and a few victories were won.

At 65, it is easy to look back.  Knowing what I know now, if I could go back, what would I do different.  You might see this as an exercise in futility.  I don’t think so.  It may help another if they read this.  The very same advice I would give to my 20 year old self, I give to my 65 year old self as well.

Never hesitate to be kind and generous.  I’ve missed out on a lot of relationships but there are lots more to have. But it isn’t just about how I could benefit.  It’s also how they could benefit from knowing me? My top most sorrow about my dad these days, who died when I was a junior in high school, and he was 47 is two fold.  I didn’t get to know or enjoy him. But the flip side is, he didn’t get to know me, and oh, how cool that could have been. richard and dad on the beach

schooner with bill and ellaDon’t worry about what other people think of you.  As they say in Alanon, what other people think of me is none of my business.  And there is nothing so gratifying of pursuing my own dream and finding success.  Whether they are critical or encouraging, it is minor compared to my own evaluation. My brothers will attest to the fact, that I don’t take advice much.  But taking some of those risks worked out for me.  A job in Maine on a sailboat for 8 months, diversifying my studies in college, resulting is a B.A. and an M.A. in “jack of all trades, master of none.” Perfect for teaching middle school shop.

Pace yourself.  Doing too much of one thing isn’t good for the body or mind, as it leads to mental, emotional or physical exhaustion. Take time to do things that charge your batteries.  One day at a time, or as Johnny Cash said, “One piece at a time.”  Moderation is key.  Whether it comes to food, exercise, alcohol, and commitments.  I don’t think there is a workaholic that I’d trade places with.

Now, more than ever, I think less and feel more.  How will I feel if I do this or that? I know I have the luxury of being retired so maybe it won’t work for everyone, especially if you are struggling to make ends meet, and take care of others.  I work part time, making my own hours for the most part, doing things that re fairly enjoyable.  With my relaxed schedule, and relative lack of concern of what others want from me or think of my, I get to ponder.  What would be fun?  What would give me a sense of achievement today.  What gives me joy. Who shall I call and talk to.  Where should I go, or invite myself, and look for opportunities for fun and friendship? It’s working for me.

As for the original point of regrets, and woulda coulda shoulda.  Sure it could have been different, maybe better.  I’ll have to accept that my journey was a little hit and miss, a little jerky perhaps.  I will hold the sentiment that I hold for everyone.  I did about the best I could under the circumstances.  However, knowing what I know now, I expect the next chapter of my life to be pretty interesting, fun and rewarding.

nov 2019

I’ve had enough

  • Have you had enough? Me too. I’ve had enough of so called representatives of the people who protect a president, well known before he was elected to be a womanizer, an accused alleged predator, a lousy businessman, a liar, and an adulterer. Image result for president trump with jeffrey
  • I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of 8 years of nothing but opposition/obstruction  to anything Obama tried to do, no matter how worthwhile. You obstructed, because you couldn’t stand the thought of him succeeding.
  •  I’ve had enough whining and moaning while our brave public servants testify UNDER OATH of the truth of the events, while the GOP obstructs, whines and refuses to comply with legitimate subpoenas. In prior years, refusing to comply meant arrest and jail time.
  •  I’ve had enough of your bragging about all the jobs and growth of the stock market, when in fact income inequality is greater than ever since the census has been in effect. And the party of fiscal responsibility is mum about the record high deficit.
  •  I’ve had enough of bragging about low taxes in this state of TN while poverty levels and lack of affordable health care and education achievement is some of the worst in the country and affordable housing is so difficult to find.  
  •  I’ve had enough our our schools barely getting by, and teachers subjecting themselves to pay much lower than their professional peers for the benefit of children, and your governor takes even more money away from public schools for charter schools.
  • I’ve had enough of money in politics, where representatives have to worry about pleasing their corporate donors more than doing what is right for the people. 
  • I’ve had enough of a pay to play system where people are unqualified for the position they are given after giving a million dollar donation to the presidents inaugural fund.  
  • I’ve had enough of politicians that sit on their hands and look the other way in silent complicity while thousands of children are separated from their parents in violation of international law. 
  • I’ve had enough of politicians putting their heads in the sand refusing to look at the facts about the climate crisis and do nothing except whine that it is not 100% conclusive.  Image result for climate crisis
  • I’ve had enough of the obstruction in the Senate where McConnell refuses to bring a vote to over 200 measures that were passed in the house.  
  • I’ve had enough of tax breaks for the rich and little or nothing for the people that need it. 

I could go on and on. 

1fhe8gyrful11In summary, I’VE HAD ENOUGH of whining GOP representatives that refuse to be transparent, that prefer to twist the facts, ignore those in need, pass legislation that benefits the rich while the poor and the middle class try to make do on less. I’ve had enough of elected officials treating us like mushrooms, keeping us in the dark, and feeding us BS. 

In November, hopefully, you will see we have had enough of you as well.

Our older selves can speak to us.

I was sent a link to an article that talks about the five things needed to do to be happy.  Yeah, right.  Haven’t I read them all by now?  Out of respect and appreciation to the person that sent it, I opened it and read it.  One of the five ideas to me is  huge…a paradigm shift.

paradigm-shift-0318

I’ve been sorting and sifting through my Catholic upbringing, a short stint in Jesus Freakism and then in my 20’s started to explore parapsychology and mysticism.  The crowd I run with for now resonate with native American motifs, seven generations, and spirituality and the other talks about archetypes, corners, and Robert Bly, inner child, and healing.

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The paradigm I’m comfortable with these days, and imperfect to be sure is one that says we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.  Call it God, love, source, “all that is”is part of us, and we are part of it.  Same track maybe, or parallel tracks that sometimes split and we get a little lost along the way, only to find our way back to a place that honors all things and the spirit that resides in them.

I have looked to others for wisdom in the words they speak and still there is sifting and sorting and trying to make sense out of their words.   It is never quite complete or perfect.

do-not-follow-the-ideas-of-others-but-learn-to-listen-to-the-voice-within-yourself-your-body-and-mind-will-become-clear-and-you-will-realize-the-unity-of-allThe concept in the article resonates inside me. Speak to, or at least listen to your older self.  For me that means me, in my mid 80’s, who sees me, knows me, and despite the good, bad and ugly, mistakes and all, loves me.  That old man has wisdom for me, custom made, and perfectly suited to my situation.

He is also a reminder  of my mortality.  He says, make the years count.  There is no destination but the process is what counts.  Therefore, make each day count.  Never miss a moment to show kindness and appreciation.  If you feel the urge, call someone, and by doing so, you may cheer up both you and the other. If there is an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time, go for it.  It may be theatre again, as it was last year. Or it might be a new job. A new club.  Hanging out and making new friends at the senior center. Volunteering for a worthy cause. It may be with family scattered around the east coast. It may be dancing, or singing, or a festival or a holiday celebration.  Show up. Make it count.

article-2643858-1E55436500000578-585_634x366My older wiser self also tells me not to get complacent.  There are enough good years left and you don’t want to squander those years with bad health.  If you are going to dance, travel and play, to fully appreciate those things, you need a certain level of health?

Older self says “Check in with me next time you have the temptation for that donut, cookie, sugar sweet drink.  I won’t tell you what to do, but let’s have a conversation about it.  We’ll talk ever so briefly about your goals, what you hope to accomplish, and how to best share your many gifts with the world.images Because if you are not healthy enough to participate fully, it won’t be as rich and good as it could be. It’s your choice.  You can settle for some temporary pleasure, but look around you.  Who lives life to the fullest?  Who has given up and just taking up space?  The choice is yours.”