Staying Alive

A recent TED talk at (some of the best the Internet has to offer) was a presentation on what the most important factors are related to staying alive. As you examine the bar graph, take note on the elements you are controlling successfully and the ones you need to address in your life. What do you need to adopt to help you stay alive longer and in a more healthy manner?

Obviously, this list is not rocket science and pretty basic, but also extremely relevant to quality of life. If you are at risk for any of the items below, get help!!!!! Doctors, coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, addiction specialists may need to be consulted to coach you to help and become more accountable.

This is also a checklist of "opportunities" to begin to work on enhancing your health, life, relationships and social connection. The most important factors for you are probably very personal and long standing. Genetics, life style, habits all play a role in the challenges you face in living the most happy, fulfilling and health life you can. Making the most of your life, relationships and creating a formula to stay alive longer and enjoy your life to the fullest extent and time possible. If you need help, guidance, referrals, call us, we can help. The link below will take you to the talk. 

TED Talk on "The Secret to Living Longer."

What I wish my own mom and dad had done differently (regarding their divorce)?

In a recent conversation with dear friend and neighbor Gena Scurry, we were discussing the amazing success of her relationship with her ex-husband. In their very conscious and intentional agreements about how to co-parent since the divorce with her husband. Gayle and I were struck by the kind, loving and respectful manner they cooperate for the benefit of their children and their own sanity since their divorce. Often tragic, hostile, fear based, and painful emotions rule the aftermath of a divorce. No matter what the circumstances, children are essentially innocent bystanders of the divorce and resulting emotions and usually suffer as a result of the anger, depression, behavior problems, school difficulties, and confusion post divorce. Children suffer. Gena put together her thoughts on what rules are required to make co-parenting work and help ease the tragedy of divorce. With her permission, I am publishing her thoughts. Thank you Gena..........these are so needed.

What do I wish my mom and dad had done differently (regarding their divorce). I wish they would have HONORED each other in spite of their differences.

1) Honor each other.  Honor = Responsibility, Compassion, Respect with or without understanding.

I wish they could have each seen the gift the other was to me and my siblings.
I wish they could of seen we are a product of them both.
I wish they could have LEARNED to COMMUNICATE RESPONSIBLY and demonstrated that / modeled that for us.

2) Communicate Responsibly and do so openly in front of Children

I wish my dad, didn't feel so hurt and bitter towards my mom.
I wish my mom wouldn't had wondered into another unworkable relationship.
I wish she wouldn't have looked for comfort in another so quickly after/ before/ during the divorce.
I wish she would have given herself space to discover and love herself on her own. Then after that allowed someone to come into our lives, if it was appropriate.
I wish she would have completely HEALED.
I wish my dad hadn't taken so long to heal.
I wish he had discovered what a stand up citizen he is without another person to complete him (or continually looking for someone else to fill that void).
I wish during my parent’s marriage my dad didn't hide from his feelings through drinking.

3) Emote responsibly and do so openly in front of children

I wish my mom had learned to not be passive aggressive and shove her anger.
I wish my dad had generated more money and taken more of the load.
I wish my mom would have been around more and that we spent more one on one time without others (her friends or step-dad).
I wish we could have spent more time just our family (my mom and my siblings).

4) Work continually and respectfully help each other work on appropriate balance between self, work and kids.

I wished they loved and honored each other, even though the marriage failed.
I wish each would have taken responsibility for their part.
I wish it would have all been done standing in HONOR, intention to HEAL, LOVE- allowing and understanding the other is in pain.
COURAGE - to be and create the unknown. FORGIVE. FORGET. BE of SERVICE.
Continue to work as FULL PARTNERS.
I wish they would have stood for each other’s success.
I wish the time we spent together was special and when we were all together or apart there was a sense of PEACE, SAFETY, LOVE.

I wish each one of my parents were aware and acknowledged each others strengths and weakness and spoke / share them directly with us.
I wish blame was set aside and instead they spoke the language of I feel and I need. How do you feel and what do you need.
I wish they would have continued to grow individually and as my parents who have been entrusted to have me feel secure.
I wish they could of laughed together and enjoyed each others company even though they had decided to create separate lives.
I wish they were for each other.
I wish they would have had the wear with-all (sp?) to keep an OPEN ear and SHARE with each other.
I wish they would have allowed the other to speak into each others blind spots, support and allowed for the others support.
I wish they would have CULTIVATED TRUST.

5) Cultivate trust and openness.

(As a side note - most of all looking back on my parents divorce, it has always been clear to me, they didn't have the tools to communicate their disagreements or a manner to deal with their anger in a responsible productive way on an on-going basis. So they quit.)
Most of all I wish they would have acknowledged they didn't know how to communicate effectively their love, their disagreements, their anger, their sorrows. I wish they had  gone to work on being effective at that. And after that if they were still not fit to be married that they had created separate lives, yet honoring each other, loving each other knowing they did everything.

I also realized after writing this letter, it wasn't necessarily just the divorce that caused the pain but rather how the all adults not just my parents in my life pretended that this other very important person did not exist. It was as thought there was a silent vow not to talk about the other parent. From that day forward, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, family vacations, family dinners were never the same.

Side note 2: If you are committed to creating a powerful co-parenting relationship, you must educate your entire community and share your vision with your family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends old and new) and hold yourself and them accountable to living into this new paradigm of we are a family and we are not married. We are co-parents.

Relaxing Moments Matter: Learn Mindfulness

If your life feels overwhelming, stressful, too busy and relaxation escapes you, it is time to learn to living in "Mindfulness."

Recently, I was on a vacation to Colorado and paused on a bridge to experience the sounds, beauty, breeze, and vista provided by moment by the Snake River. Are you taking time to "just pause in your life" to look and listen to the current flowing for you? Take time to tune in. 

Life with calming moments, nature scenes, observations of the beauty around you provides you with appreciation, gratitude and stop the madness of life fury. In addition to this brief video of the Snake River, I have a link for 22 Mindfulness techniques you can use to practice being more connected to nature, self and relaxation.  This is brief, so just immerse yourself into the moment. For more on Mindfulness, click on this link:

22 Mindfulness Techniques

America, Can we talk about your drinking & pot use?

Yes, this article addresses the impact of alcohol on your life. Effectively, alcohol can take down every element of your life and destroy it. Why not take stock of the impact and use of alcohol and/or drugs on your life? Data show that there has been a steady increase in alcohol use since 2000. Especially alarming is the increase in the 50+ age groups. However, binge drinking in colleges has been rampant.

Pot smoking and use of other drugs has been on the rise also. Take a look at this USA Today report. Grades plummet with alcohol use and week. GPA's suffer drastically over time.

Some of the psychological consequences of smoking marijuana include:

  • Memory lapses
  • Concentration problem
  • Motivation decrease
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Anger
Physical reactions:
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased appetite 
  • Slowed reaction time
Is it worth it? How is your life compromised or changed as a result of your use? Relationship difficulties, legal problems, isolation, job issues, anger, depression, sleep problems, and avoidance of taking on new challenges. 

2018....Your Year of Possibilities

What adventures are you considering embarking upon? How about "do what you love?" If you are spending a great deal of time pleasing others, seeking approval, letting fear guide your decisions, it may be time to confront these demons and break free of worry, anxiety and fear. Fear of making a mistake, failure or avoidance all serve to strengthen fear and hold you back. 

In life, you get just about as many chances as you are willing to take. Unhappiness, regret, holding back, spending time with negative or even toxic people will diminish you in more ways than you can imagine. Do some house cleaning of people, possessions, jobs/careers that are either not leading your anywhere or even pulling you down. Your internal compass knows what is right for you, but you have to tune in and listen to your feelings. Overthinking can paralyze you, "going with your gut" help you be true to yourself. Believe in your abilities, intuition, standards, and own your limitations are examples of your inner GPS.

Once you accept and own your role in your unhappiness, you have a chance to break away. This is not easy for many reasons. Defensiveness, ego, negativity, and self-limiting thoughts and beliefs will shut you down. Close the door on antiquated ideas and beliefs and open the door to love and inspiring people and opportunities. Say "YES"to life. Put yourself out there by taking risks, challenges and promoting inner growth and change.

Ask for advice and/or guidance from people you trust, but be sure to take it graciously and use it. Lastly, risk not, grown not. 

Imposter it real?

"Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as "fraud". Imposter Syndrome Definition

What does it mean to "not internalize" accomplishments? Basically, not being able to integrate achievements and assign value to yourself. 

Feelings of self-doubt can plague all of us — and in some cases these harbored doubts threaten to derail our work lives. A place to begin an exploration of the origin of these negative thoughts is "Where do your doubts originate?"

Typically, these are cognitive distortions and negative thought patterns. Much of the time, "Imposters" feel lucky for their success, not necessarily competent or confident. In fact, There is an ever present fear of being found out and exposed as a fraud. These feeling  serve to drive anxiety, fear, and more doubt. Fear of failure, making a mistake or not knowing something makes this cycle of anxiety and sometimes depression worsen. If you would like to view an article about Imposter Syndrome, click on this link: NY Times Article.

Doubts and fears can arise due to the notion that if things come to easily, the tendency is to discount the value of the process which lowers self-esteem and increases the feeling of being an imposter.

One last observation, confidence is the ability and recognition that you can "do something." Self-esteem is how you "value" what you do or the attribution to it. Getting an award, promotion, or achieving some goal is essentially discounted with thoughts like, "I don't deserve it", "I could have done better", "Someone else is better than me." Correcting the Imposter Syndrome means confronting your fears, negative self-talk and the way you value yourself. Work on validating and affirming yourself and accomplishments. Learn to accept compliments and make yourself an MVP of your own life.