Re-create Yourself

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw

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The New Year motivates us to reflect, aspire, and re-create ourselves. We’re given another chance to evaluate our lives and determine things that either harm or help us. Like a new path on a road trip, we can keep going down the same route or we can choose to travel to a place we’ve never been before.

At times, I can be a creature of habit seeking comfort with what’s familiar and safe. When I dare to break away and try new adventures, my confidence soars from having courage to try something new or face my fears. Once on a beach – despite a fear of heights – I climbed to the highest point on a large rock.  Sitting there with crashing waves below gave me a feeling of exhilaration.

This year  pursue things which excite, challenge, and make you a better person. Follow your passion and enjoy new adventures!

United for Change

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”   -Margaret Mead

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I caught the cold being passed around. Thinking about it, I’m not surprised so many of us are sick or feeling under the weather. The election inflamed everyone, but the results particularly hit those of us who are stunned a candidate with such abusive, discriminatory beliefs and demeanor will be running our country. Like most of my friends, I grieved for days depressed and worried about the future.  I’m sure it wore down our defenses and immunity. 

In a war-torn world, we need leaders who unite people rather than divide or discard them, a government which upholds principles of ethics, equality, and justice, one which protects our rights as well as our environment.  Our Declaration of Independence gave power to the people for defending our rights.

In Franklin Roosevelt’s speech on The Four Freedoms he said, “As Americans, if we say we love our county then it is OUR JOB to stand and speak up for those whose rights are being taken away. It is OUR JOB to stand and fight for them in the same way that people have fought and died for the freedom we have been blessed to experience today. Our ultimate goal and purpose, no matter what party you represent, race, background, poor, or rich should be: to aid the common needs of the common people of the United States of America!”

Now many of us are asking what we can do to voice our concerns and take action.  It’s time to unite and support one another to feel safe, empowered, and help make a difference.  As I recuperate physically and mentally, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of resources to keep us peaceful, united, and engaged.  I hope these suggestions encourage us to work together creating change for a better world for us, future generations, and our planet.

Coping Tips:
Happiness and Inner Peace during Turbulent Times:
How to help our children:
Twelve steps we can take:

Unplug and Recharge

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes … including you.”   -Anne Lamott

It’s important to allow yourself to slow down, take a break from hectic schedules, unplug from devices and distractions.  Some people power nap or meditate.  Mindfulness is another option for enjoying peace in the present moment.  In this space, there are no worries about the past or future.  It’s an opportunity to observe and become immersed in your sensations and surroundings.  It can be as simple as sitting quietly and feeling your breath, noticing how thoughts dissipate when you’re still, experiencing the beauty of nature.  Yesterday, I sat near the ocean appreciating every aspect of the moment:

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  • Mesmerized by sunlight sparkling on the ocean
  • Watching every beat of a butterfly’s wings
  • Noticing drops of water shimmer on rose petals
  • Feeling the lulling effect of waves rolling into shore
  • Catching a random rainbow in a bevel of glass
  • Admiring Birds of Paradise pointing to the sea

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I heard a loud flapping sound and turned to see a Seagull perched on top of a lounge chair next to me.  He eyed the sandwich waiting for me as I wrote.  Then gave me a look as if to say are you going to eat thatIf not I will. I quickly grabbed the sandwich and he flew away.  The relaxing afternoon was just what I needed to recharge. I packed up my things to head home.  I found the seagull floating in the pool.  Guess he was having his moment to “chill.”

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Fall – A time for feeling Nostalgic

 

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“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” – Joe L. Wheeler

As seasons change, they color our mood and perspective on life. With winter’s chill and short days of light, we retreat in our homes seeking comfort within.  Springtime spurts new life in nature and opportunities for us.  Summer is packed with vacations and celebrations from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  But ahhh … Autumn’s sunset colored leaves scattered everywhere shifts us from warm Indian Summers with pink strewn cloudy skies to crisp mornings and cozy nights, sipping hot apple cider, and kicking off the Holiday season.

Fall’s intensity ignites all of our senses. Nostalgia lingers in the air bringing a need to gather with family, connect with traditions, and reminisce about the past.  That’s exactly what inspired a trip in September to visit my sister and family in England.  Renting a home on a lake in the lovely countryside of the Cotswolds, preparing meals together, hiking through long fields surrounded by water and wildlife, sharing memories and special moments became the first heart touching stop on my nostalgic journey.

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Two weeks later, I returned to my roots in New Jersey to visit family and friends. Instead of the usual whirlwind tour of seeing everyone, I made a point of spending quality time with each person.  We dined and danced, wandered around town, ran in the rain, laughed about old times, all while making new memories.

Nostalgia helps us maintain a sense of who we are and where we’ve been. Reflecting on the past plays an important role in revealing where we want to be in the future.  Fall is a time to slow down and savor sensations of the season.

 

Reflections

“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature.  It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”                          – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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Reflections intrigue and inspire me. Sometimes you only see something by its reflection. Like when I notice movement in light on the kitchen counter and realize it’s a bird flying in the backyard. Interestingly, images often appear more brilliant in its reflection as seen in the sunset clouds above. Reflection photography adds an artistic element to photos. Viewing objects from a different perspective creates another dimension. There are some incredible shots on this website: http://www.boredpanda.com/reflection-photography/

Likewise, another meaning of reflection: “to give serious thought or consideration” can be powerful in altering our own perception of how we see ourselves. Here are a couple of inspiring examples:

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Reflection is an important process for knowing who we are and where we want to be. Contemplating on moments, experiences and pivotal points helps us understand our feelings, values, goals, and purpose. It’s a compass to determine our path in life.

 

Summertime

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Walking at the park watching little girls do cartwheels on the lawn reminds me of my childhood and why summertime always brings fond memories.

Freedom from school, fireworks on Fourth of July and my birthday made it a favorite time of year. Eating juicy Jersey tomatoes, husking corn on the back steps, splashing in the pool, playing Wiffleball with our neighborhood friends, savoring Mr. Softee’s sundaes, watching fireflies light up the night, visiting our grandparents at the shore, marching in the Memorial day parade and shopping until midnight during “Moonlight Madness.” A time of simple pleasures left a deep imprint on my heart.

In our last month of summer, I hope you enjoy many memorable moments during this sizzling season.

Acts of Kindness

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s hard not to get overwhelmed feeling a sense of despair by what’s going on in the world. Our hearts are broken every day hearing about violence.

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What brings us peace is the abundant flow of kind acts to bring comfort, encouraging more kindness. It’s like the power of paying it forward. The tragic loss of forty-nine lives in Orlando moved people to spread love and hope.  One 65-year man, Greg Zanis built 49 crosses by himself, then drove 1,200 miles to place them in front of the Orlando Health Medical Center to honor those who died.  His message is: “love your brother, love your neighbor.  Don’t judge them.”

Orlando residents handed out food and water to police, 5,300 people donated blood, Christian West Howard who owns several rental properties in the area offered the victim’s families a free place to stay, Go Fund Me websites were created and donated to. The list goes on.

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When we join together, we become a powerful link. I recently saw a video of a dog being rescued from rushing waters in a reservoir.  One man slid down a wall to get the dog.  Then he and his friends formed a human chain to bring the dog to safety.  Amazing proof of the power of kindness and joining together!

Here’s the video:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DvOhBVATlk4