Savoring 101

Savoring has changed my life, but here is what an expert has to say on the subject . . .

Fred B. Bryant, Ph.D., a highly regarded social scientist, has been studying the art of savoring for more than 20 years.  Savoring is the ability to be aware of and/or to recall with detailed pleasure positive experiences.

The research of Bryant and other scientists indicates that being able to savor the positives in life may be even more important than being able to overcome the negatives. And, that “the level of joy we get from positive experiences depends on how we think and act in response to them. We don’t automatically feel joy and happiness when good things happen to us.”

In his 2006 online article “The Art of Savoring” in Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living/Alternative Medicine/InnoVision Health Media, Dr. Bryant noted “the greater their skill at savoring, the greater the joy people feel in response to positive events. What’s more, the ability to savor highly predicts how happy people say they are.”

Savoring helps us enjoy joy!  I like that.

And, as we all know, but can sometimes forget,  joy can be found in a beautiful sunset, a quiet moment, a cool breeze, a kid’s smile, a great cup of coffee or a double-scoop ice cream cone on a summer’s day. (Or, any day for that matter!)

In his article, Dr. Bryant shared 10 insights for “intensifying and prolonging” the wonderful things that happen to and around us – no matter how big or how small they might be. I have included 5 here – and will share 5 more on Monday.

THE FIRST FIVE OF DR. BRYANT’S “10 ways to enhance savoring”

  1.  Share your good feelings with others.
    Whether you’re celebrating a birthday with close friends or hiking through a meadow with a loved one, tell the other person what you appreciate about the moment. Sharing is the strongest predictor of the level of enjoyment someone feels. In fact, studies of people’s reactions to positive life events have found that people who share their positive feelings with friends have higher levels of overall happiness than people who do not share their feelings. If you’re by yourself, no problem: The people with whom we share a positive experience need not be physically present while the event is happening. Research shows that merely thinking about sharing the memory of an ongoing positive experience later with other people works just as well, perhaps because, in part, the desire to share the memory later with friends can motivate us to notice pleasurable details we might otherwise miss. The 17th-century French playwright Jean Baptiste Molière crystallized the powerful role of friendship in savoring when he observed, “It is a wonderful seasoning of all enjoyments to think of those we love.”
  2. Take a mental photograph.
    You’re playing a rowdy game of Monopoly with your family. Pause for a moment and consciously take note of specific features you want to remember later: Aunt Mimi spewing milk at a joke, Grandma sneaking bits of food to the dog, and Cousin Leo getting sent to jail—without collecting $200. When building memories, people search for, notice, and highlight the things they find most enjoyable. In the process, people not only pinpoint pleasurable aspects of the situation and enhance the intensity of joy in the present, they also form clearer and more vivid memories they can more easily recall and share with others in the future. In one experiment, for example, students went for a 20-minute walk each day for a week. Those instructed to look for good things to remember during their walk reported higher levels of happiness at the end of the week than those instructed either to simply take a walk or to consciously look for bad things.
  3. Congratulate yourself.
    Your boss raves about your work in an important meeting—tell yourself how impressive this is, and remind yourself how long you waited for this to happen. This style of savoring involves “patting yourself on the back” mentally and exalting in the warm glow of pride associated with a positive outcome. Research shows that the more people mentally affirm themselves when they do well, the more they report enjoying the particular outcome. Self-congratulation promotes savoring by attributing responsibility for success to oneself. Indeed, the Latin root word for “congratulate” is congratulari, which literally means “to wish joy.” Wishing yourself joy for personal achievements and successes can make those experiences that much more rewarding.
  4. Sharpen your sensory perceptions.
    You take a bite of delicious cheesecake. Close your eyes to block out visual distractions and concentrate on the rich taste to intensify the flavor. Sometimes competing sights, sounds, or smells can interrupt the flow of positive feelings and dampen savoring. In these cases, blocking out distractions can enhance savoring by sharpening your focus of attention on the pleasure itself. In one study, college students instructed to attend to the physical sensations they experienced while eating chocolate reported greater pleasure, compared to students who performed a distracting task at the same time.
  5. Shout it from the rooftops.
    Maybe you’re sorting through your mail, and you unexpectedly receive a large refund check from the IRS. Don’t just smile inwardly and tuck it in your wallet—laugh out loud, jump up and down, and shout for joy. Outwardly expressing positive feelings can intensify them by providing our minds with physical evidence that we are, in fact, joyful. In several experiments, people instructed to express their feelings in observable ways while watching a humorous video reported more enjoyment than people instructed not to express their feelings. In other words, “putting on a happy face” may actually help you feel more positive.

Bryant also reminded us that we don’t have to do all the steps perfectly, even getting started on one of them can bring more joy into our lives.  He encourages us to pick what works for us.

So that is what I did . . . I just took a mental photograph (Insight # 2) of the beautiful view from the upstairs bedroom window of my sister’s house where I spent two glorious nights and am now writing this post.  When I began, it was dark outside and I am now reveling in the fact that I was so absorbed in writing (Insight #7 – but I am getting ahead of myself) that I did not even notice the change.  And, I am telling you about it (#1) and also taking a moment to congratulate myself (#3) for getting-up early enough to write this post  before heading back on the road again.

Wow, it is only 6:25 a.m. and I am already feeling great.  Savoring really does work!

Here’s to enjoying and savoring the weekend.


Communication worth savoring

Me on trainI have been writing about savoring for years and have made it part of my daily life, because it is an amazing feeling and brings such insight and joy. But I never thought about savoring communication until I read this article, and checked out the research of University of Arizona researcher Maggie Pitts.

Pitts analyzed online responses after asking respondents whether or not they savored communication and if so, for a detailed example of an experience they had savored.

“Savoring is the process of (1) identifying a pleasant experience, (2) noticing that you are feeling pleasure about that experience, and then (3) feeling good about feeling pleasure” Maggie Pitts

From their responses Pitts identified seven different types of communication that people tend to savor:

1) Aesthetic communication. Survey respondents savored this type of communication because of some aspect of how it was presented—timing, delivery, choice of words or perhaps a surprise twist. An inspiring speech, good play on words or suspenseful announcement might fall in this category.

2) Communication presence. This category includes conversations in which participants reported being so deeply engaged and completely in the moment with another person that it felt as if no one else mattered. These types of exchanges often were described as “real” or “entirely honest.”

3) Nonverbal communication. From to physical contact to facial expressions, these exchanges emphasize nonverbal cues. A meaningful hug or smile might fall in this category.

4) Recognition and acknowledgement. This category encompasses communication in which participants were publicly acknowledged or offered appreciation, like an awards ceremony or a speech honoring an individual.

5) Relational communication. This category includes communication that establishes, confirms or gives insight into a relationship, such as a couple’s discussion about the future together or an intimate disclosure that brings two people closer.

6) Extraordinary communication. Many participants savored communication around special moments, such as a wedding, illness, birth of a child or other “landmark memories.”

7) Implicitly shared communication. This category includes unspoken communication experiences that may be more difficult to articulate, such as feeling the excitement of a crowd around you, or looking at someone and instinctively knowing that you are sharing the same feeling.

I love that learning something new about savoring has brought even more joy to my life, and I quickly realized that I do savor many of the conversations I have had with people throughout my life and each of those still brings me joy. Here are some of the most memorable as this moment:
  • a conversation we had in my 10th grade social science class about how people approach living and their choices;
  • a talk with a friend who was dying of leukemia;
  • listening to my sons when they were little and discovering the world around them and much later when they were in college and just after, as they explored a much larger world;
  • a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer on the train to Skopje – the capital of Macedonia;
  • talks with friends of shared books and movies;
  • a presentation on music, art and math by Richard G. Brown, the father of Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown and a much honored math professor
  • the hundreds and hundreds of rich and wonderful conversations with my dearest friends at the happiest, most exciting, or the most trying times of my life,
  • and the deep, touching and heartfelt conversations I have with my husband almost daily.
I am now looking forward to reading the books Pitts edited on positive communication, which hopefully will create more conversations for me to savor. I already like the way she thinks, “Maggie takes a “bright side” approach to the study of human communication — asking questions like, “what is going right” here, and “how can we make good things even better?”
I hope you find lots of wonderful moments and communications to savor, today and all the days ahead for you.
As I was writing this post in the early morning hours, I took a moment to savor the water color view through the screen on my balcony on a softly unfolding morning in tropical Florida.

Savoring 102

On the road and savoring the minutes and miles with family and friends. Savoring is a simple way to ratchet-up your happiness levels.

In Friday’s post, I began sharing the thoughts of Dr. Fred B. Bryant from his May 2006 online article “The Art of Savoring” in Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living/Alternative Medicine/InnoVision Health Media. Bryant is a social scientist and an expert in the study of savoring.  In the article he lists 10 tips for savoring.  I shared the first 5 on Friday, here are the last 5.

Remember, you get to pick and choose which of the 10 you try and then you get to decide which ones work for you. Mix them-up, try them out, alter and adapt.  I believe even one moment of savoring is better than none – so have fun with it.

You can find lots more information about savoring in Dr. Bryant’s book: “Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience”.

5. Shout it from the rooftops.

Maybe you’re sorting through your mail, and you unexpectedly receive a large refund check from the IRS. Don’t just smile inwardly and tuck it in your wallet—laugh out loud, jump up and down, and shout for joy. Outwardly expressing positive feelings can intensify them by providing our minds with physical evidence that we are, in fact, joyful. In several experiments, people instructed to express their feelings in observable ways while watching a humorous video reported more enjoyment than people instructed not to express their feelings. In other words, “putting on a happy face” may actually help you feel more positive.

6. Compare the outcome to something worse.
If the outdoor dinner party you’ve been planning for weeks is blessed with perfect weather, remind yourself of how terrible the weather could have been and how it would have ruined your party. By comparing the good experience with a less pleasant one, you’ll have a frame of reference by which to judge the actual experience’s merits—and it will make that experience seem even better. Case in point, in several studies participants receiving grades or achievement scores were instructed to think about either how their scores could have been worse or how they could have been better. Imagining a worse outcome increased appreciation of success, while imagining a better one lowered appreciation.

7. Get absorbed in the moment.
While hiking through the woods, you come across a spectacular rainbow—try not to think, but rather just get totally immersed or engrossed in the view. Savoring through absorption involves deliberately avoiding mental reflection in favor of simply experiencing the ongoing positive event as it is unfolding. In line with a Buddhist viewpoint, being in the moment does not involve judging what you’re experiencing, but rather being mindfully aware of the feelings you’re experiencing at the moment. As Buddhist teacher Nyanaponika Thera described it, mindfulness is “the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception.”

Research on the psychology of optimal experience has found that people often report enjoying themselves most after “flow” experiences—those moments when they became totally absorbed in what they were doing and lost all sense of time and place. People most often experience flow when their skills perfectly match the demands of a particular activity.

8. Count your blessings and give thanks.
Whether you are waving a “thank you” to the car that let you pass into its lane, telling a buddy how lucky you are to have him as a friend, or saying grace over a meal, you can find more joy by reminding yourself of your good fortune and expressing gratitude for it. Don’t forget that this strategy has two parts. Counting blessings, the first part, involves pinpointing what you’re grateful for and why you appreciate it. In a weeklong experiment, students who counted blessings at the end of each day reported higher posttest levels of happiness than students who counted hassles or neutral events. However, just because you acknowledge a blessing to yourself doesn’t mean you necessarily express gratitude for it outwardly to someone else. That’s where the second step comes in. Some people express gratitude in prayers; others in speech, poetry, song, or artwork; still others never express the gratitude they feel. But research indicates that saying “thank you” can actually increase our joy by making us more consciously aware of our positive feelings. With effort over time, you can cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” that becomes a habit, giving you a grateful disposition. One trick: Each night in bed, try thinking of a new blessing for which you’ve never given thanks before.

9. Remind yourself of how quickly time flies.
It’s your last day of vacation—the last day before you return to everyday life—and you really want to enjoy it. Think about how fleeting the time is, how much you wish it could last forever, and tell yourself to savor it now. Realizing how short-lived time is and wishing it could last forever can motivate you to seize the moment while it’s unfolding. If you think this strategy contradicts tip No. 7 (get absorbed in the moment), you’re right. You can’t think about the “fleeting nature of time” while simultaneously trying simply to absorb the experience without thinking about it at all. In other words, some ways of savoring are incompatible with each other. But each strategy offers a different tool—meant for different situations and different personality types—for finding more joy.

Time makes savoring a rich and complex process. Although savoring requires that you mindfully appreciate a positive experience in the immediate present, savoring can also connect you to the past or future. You can savor past good times by reminiscing and rekindling the joy from these memories in the present. And you can savor future good times before they occur by anticipating and imagining the joy you’ll feel when these positive outcomes actually happen. Don’t underestimate the power of those imaginings. In one recent experiment, people who used mental imagery to recall happy memories 20 minutes twice a day for a week reported greater posttest happiness than people who used memorabilia or souvenirs to reminisce or who thought about future concerns.

Another twist to the temporal aspect of savoring: You can enhance your enjoyment of the moment while it’s unfolding by looking forward or backward in time. With looking forward, you can savor the moment by imagining a time in the future when you will look back on the experience with fond memories (a process known as “anticipated recall”). For example, while in the middle of your first triathlon, you can look ahead to the end of the race and how proud you’ll feel thinking back on your accomplishment. The thought of that future pleasure will enhance the present moment. On the flipside, you can savor the moment by looking back on an earlier time when you had eagerly awaited its happening (a process known as “recalled anticipation”). For instance, while lying on a beach in Bermuda, you can reminiscence about the excitement and anticipation in the weeks preceding the trip. As Alexander Pope put it in 1730: “For he lives twice who can at once employ, the present well, and ev’n the past enjoy.”

10. Avoid killjoy thinking.
You’ve had a stressful day at work, and you decide to treat yourself to a relaxing beverage at a local coffee shop. Avoid the temptation to think about other places you should be and other continued from page 67
things you should be doing. When it comes to feeling joy in life, it’s just as important to avoid thinking negatively as it is to think positively. Research shows that the more killjoy thoughts people have in response to a personal achievement, the less they tend to enjoy it and the sooner their enjoyment fades. Across many studies, depression and low self-esteem make people more likely to engage in killjoy thinking. If you suspect an underlying condition like depression, seek treatment or counseling.

Finding joy means making time for it. But all too often savoring gets lost in the stress of everyday living. And thus beautiful views pass unnoticed, scrumptious desserts are swallowed untasted, and relationships with friends and family go underappreciated. Although we may have no shortage of positive experiences, attending to them and appreciating and enhancing them requires savoring. With this skill, we can enjoy life more fully, find greater happiness, and experience greater physical health to boot. Perhaps novelist Robert Louis Stevenson said it best in 1905, when he asserted, “There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy.”

My personal weekend savoring: Time with Peace Corps pals in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, where we met before heading overseas; row houses of many colors; bricks walls you want to touch; Turkish foods that remind us of Macedonia; wide-open windows in a city that doesn’t seem to sleep and the nighttime conversations waking-up can lead to; lots of laughter, shared memories and new directions in life.

Taking in the Good

I wanted to share a quick and easy way to bring more joy into your life. Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist, who has written a number of books on the technique, which he calls “Taking in the Good.” Other folks describe a similar method, known as savoring. No matter the name, it is a simple, fast way to refresh your outlook or your state of mind.

Begin by selecting a positive moment from your life – past, present or something you would like to create in the future, and then close your eyes and create an image of the moment in your mind. Stay with the image for 30-60 seconds.

Let your mind wander and daydream a bit about your moment – fill in as many details as you can. Relive, notice, or create lots of sensory relationships in your mind to your image – sights, smells, sounds, etc. and think about how good you felt/feel/or will feel about your joy-filled memory or moment.

Keep going until you actually feel a difference in your body. You might find yourself smiling, or your shoulders relaxing or wiggling a bit. You may feel sensations flowing through your entire body or you might get goose bumps! When you feel like you are there your brain will react accordingly and release a bouquet of goodness.

Your moments to not have to be momentous, although they will work, as well. I savor each and every lattè or cappuccino I drink, and I always feel as though I have been on a mini-vacation! It is so relaxing.

If you savor your personal positives 6 times a day – for a total of only 5-10 minutes – you will not only change your brain chemistry while you are savoring it, over time you will rewire your brain to think and feel more positively.

Set an alarm on your phone or with Alexa to remind you throughout the day to pause and savor. Or get in the habit of “Taking in the Good” each time you get a cup of coffee, brush your teeth, wake-up, go to sleep – anything you do on a regular basis can be a great reminder for you.

Don’t worry about doing the process 6 times a day when you begin, simply start! If you remember to develop and embellish your thought – you will feel the effects immediately as your brain releases happy chemicals and hormones that help your brain cells connect. It’s science, and it works.

Go for it, “Take in the Good,” or savor a moment right now!

Give yourself some space

I am a big fan of Rick Hanson, Ph.D.’s work. I have read his book,  Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence and I have taken his six day “Positive Neuroplasticity Training“.

I liked what Rick wrote in a recent blog post and wanted to share part of it with you now . . .

“For one or more of the items just below, imagine what it would feel like for you to have the freedom not to:

  • Press your point home
  • Struggle to get someone to change his or her mind . . .
  • Worry what other people think about you
  • React to what is swirling around you
  • Act on an impulse
  • Get into an argument
  • Be swept along by anger
  • Identify with a mood or point of view passing through awareness
  • Take something personally
  • Take responsibility for the experiences of other people . . .

. . . Faced with things that grab you in daily life, play with phrases like these in your mind: I’m free not to . . . I’m free not to __________ . . . I’m free . . . there is choice . . . Slow things down, pause, buy yourself some time, that space of freedom between stimulus and response. If others are getting intense, try gently talking to yourself, reminding yourself: You are free . . . you can choose your response . . . they are over there and you are over here . . . there is a freedom . . .

Notice what it’s like to feel freer. Enjoy it. Let this experience sink in.”

Giving yourself space is an amazing gift.  The sense of freedom and joy it brings is deep and rewarding. It is not always easy, but with time and practice, you can learn to take a moment, or a breath before getting caught up into something you may later regret.

Prime Your Brain

hansonBegin by replaying a moment of freedom or heartfelt joy in your mind. Remember how good it felt to you; envision the circumstances and then savor the feelings you have that arise with the memory. Let them sink in so you can truly feel how good freedom and joy feel. By allowing yourself to fully experience the moment, you are priming your brain to be able recreate the feelings at a moment’s notice.

Keep it up and you will eventually develop a form of positive instant recall, which will signal your brain to release calming hormones and chemicals that can help you quickly relax, while increasing your creativity and resilience.

Most of us are can respond with anger or sadness at the drop of a hat, but calmer more resilient, folks are equally – if not more so – efficient, at giving themselves space and at instantaneously bringing up happy and/or peaceful reactions.

Practice Brings Peace

The next time you let something or someone kindle a knee jerk reaction in you, pause and practice the phrases Rick mentions above – or use similar phrases that sound right to you – to redirect your attention and to remind yourself you always have the option to proceed down a more positive, peaceful, and relaxing path.

If you do give in to a negative response, don’t beat up on yourself, simply focus on something that makes you feel marvelous and tell yourself you will do better next time. A little self-compassion goes a long way, especially when blended with practice and patience.

I promise you, if you don’t give up, you will be giving yourself one of the best gifts you have ever received – peace of mind and more time to enjoy it.

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Smiles for the summer of 2026

Make the summer of 2018 one of the most memorable of your life.  

Get started by reading the following post, which I wrote and shared eight years ago.  I’ve made a habit of rereading it every year to keep me on track and smiling inside and out. I thought you might enjoy it, as well.

sunset-681749__180Writing and reading it helped me conquer a number of personal fears; experience adventures near and far and to enjoy colorful sunsets, majestic sunrises and quiet afternoons watching leaves dance in the wind. But, best of all, it reminds me to relive and to savor the most touching and heartfelt moments of my life.

I hope it inspires you to explore your dreams and become aware of all the things that make your heart sing. After you give it a read, let me know your thoughts and any plans you have for this summer. (Sharing them in a public way increases the odds that you will actually do them!) My goal is to give you something special to smile about in 2026 when you realize the summer of 2018 was filled with inspiration and joy.  

“Thinking ahead . . .” published on Wishful Thinking Works, May 28, 2010

I never read the obituaries, well practically never, but I have a sister who does, and one morning after I had a wonderful visit with her, I flipped though The Fort Myers News Press and discovered the life of Vera Jane Clapper-Richter.

I don’t know Jane, nor do I know anyone who does, but I liked her immediately.  She is the kind of person I would want as a friend, and the kind Katherine Hepburn would play in a movie.

Jane died at 85 after a struggle with Alzheimer’s, but what struck me is not her death, but how she lived, which I quote, except for the links I added:

She was born July 6, 1924 to Maurice and Elizabeth Stover Teasdale in Brownsville, PA. Jane will be remembered for her feistiness tempered by cheery good humor. She was always up for adventure.

In 1960s, Jane, her mother and her daughter could be found at 2 a.m. hanging off the “wooden bridge” angling for snook with cane poles. Few snook were caught, but much beer was drunk.

Janie married “the boy next door,” Bob Clapper, in 1941 in Arlington, VA. They made it through the war years and, like everyone else, started a family. By 1951, they were ready for sunshine and fishing. After a brief stay in the Koreshan trailer park in Esterothey settled in Fort Myers.

Bob worked as a surveyor and civil engineer for Carl Johnson in Fort Myers and Cap Prewitt in Clewiston and Jane dived into community activities. She taught local Red Cross first aid classes, was Lee County Chairman of the Gray Ladies and worked with Veronica Shoemaker in the first Head Start program in Dunbar. Her pride and joy was her Girl Scout Troop 29, which she led from Brownies in 1954 until the girls graduated from Fort Myers Senior High School in 1965. She taught them outdoors skills and wilderness survival. Protective of her girls, she once used a flashlight to fight off a wild hog that tried to take over their Fisheating Creek campsite. The hog fled squealing back into the woods.

After Bob’s death, she pursued her dream of investing in real estate, buying and managing several rental properties, then married Clarence Richter, a retired federal air traffic controller, in 1983. She and “Ric” were active in the local chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and Save Estero. Ric died in 2005.

She was a friend of Bill W. for more than 30 years and will be remembered by the old timers at YANA. She’ll also be remembered by her pals on Memory Lane at Park Club assisted living, her home for the last few months, for her sweet helpfulness, lovely singing voice and fashion flair. On her, even at 85, a paper sack looked like Prada . . . Jane was predeceased by her two sisters.  She is survived by her daughter, grandson and granddaughter, both of whom helped care for her in her later years.

I hope this is not too morbid for you, but I think Jane’s obituary reflects a well-lived life, and whoever wrote it obviously loved and admired her.  Reading it got me thinking – ahead.

I decided that I am going to live my life for my obituary.  I wish I had thought of starting at the end and working backwards sooner, I would have been nicer, more courageous and much more interesting, and would not now be faced with having to cram so much stuff into so little time.  🙂

The reason I am bringing this up now, is summer is on our doorstep.  I know it doesn’t officially begin for almost a month, but when I was growing-up Memorial Day signaled the beginning of summer, and I think summer is a great time to begin fully living the life I want.

This summer I will watch the moon rise and set from a mountain or a rooftop without interruption, or at least from my backyard with a really good friend.  I will also watch the sun rise and set at least two days in a row, and I will run through a sprinkler.

I will sleep on a front porch or a patio, in a tent or on a beach, and with the windows open more often.  (Yes, I know, it will be hot and sticky, and maybe I will sweat and the bugs may bite – but who cares, I will have more stories to tell and the teeny-tiny scars to prove them.)

I will spread more blankets out in the grass, and spend more time looking up at the trees, day dreaming and listening to the thoughts and wisdom of people under the age of 10.

I will ponder theories large and small – relativity, the chicken or the egg – without worrying about the answers.

I will be kinder and gentler; listen more and speak less; give more hugs, and send more hand-written notes.  I will give people what they want, not what I think they need.

I will read more books, light more candles, and sing out-loud more often.

If you are in the mood to join me, please do.  Summer is a great time to be a bit more courageous about being us.

This weekend find your sleeping bag, your bike, your racquet or your glove, your paint brushes and easel, the book you have been meaning to read or paper and pencil to begin the one you have been meaning to write.

Open an ice-cold beer or bottle of Coke, pour yourself a tall glass of sangria or lemonade, sip it slowly or with gusto, and then get started on the rest of your life.

Do what you think Jane might do.  Or better yet, what you would do, if no one was watching, or if they were and you didn’t mind – not one little bit, which come to think of it, might be exactly how Vera Jane Clapper-Richter lived.

The rest is all up to you, go for it.

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Grab a cup of tea or coffee, relax and read on

alarm-clock-2132264__340I was writing a post for my Meditation Facebook group this morning when I came across this photograph, which led me to slow down a bit and allow myself to spend some time wallowing in the wonderful memories tea and Fall have brought to my life.

I think my reverie was made easier, because there is a chill in the air this Autumn Monday morning in Florida.  Temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s are as cold as we get even in the middle of winter, so today’s weather was a welcome surprise for me.

With a cup of tea by my side I let my mind wander through some of the scenes and memories that a relaxing cup of tea and Fall weather have given me over the years. I spent time in my mind at kitchen tables around the world sipping tea and savoring the feelings those moments evoked.

My mental journey began with my sister in Avon, Ohio’; I love her kitchen and the view through her sliding glass doors – I never tire of visiting her. Her tea is loose leaf and deliciously flavored. I then traveled back in time to my Mom’s kitchen in the parkway house they lived in after moving from the home in which we grew-up. I remember feeling so happy that they were happy, while sipping her honey and milk laced tea.  After revisitng Mom, I stopped by my former mother-in-law’s – she kept Constant Comment in her cupboard for me  – she was a coffee lover her entire life. Next, I fast-forwared to time spent with my amazing host family in a small village in Macedonia 11 years ago, where I enjoyed fresh-dried and fragrant mountain tea and personal cross-cultural exchanges.

During another time living abroad, I sipped tea and cooked-up a storm with my Georgian host family in their tiny kitchen that was always cozy and warm and overflowing with family and friends. I completed my morning’s sojourn enjoying another special memory with my dearest friend in Florida, who I was able to share daily tea and conversation about our lives and the world around us for months at a time before she passed away last year. We odten laughed about the fact that she barely dipped her tea bag into the steaming water in her cup, while I often let mine steep as I sipped.

I hope you find time today, this week, or in the month ahead to sit and savor some of your favorite Fall memories and any present or future moments you create this year with the special people in your life.

Take time to take in the good, and both your body and your brain will be relaxed and refreshed.  I guarantee it will be time well spent.


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Woo hoo! It’s Monday

It’s the beginning of a whole new week!  All sorts of possibilities lie ahead for you. Wonderful moments you never expected are waiting  – sweet moments with your children, your friends, your family. Productive moments with colleagues or clients. Proud moments as you tackle and accomplish projects new and old.

Take a new turn this week and start paying more attention to the positive, amazing moments in your past and present, rather than anything else that happens.  Learn how to wallow in the wonderful as you create new inroads for yourself.

away-494355_960_720If you find your yourself merging onto the highway of negativity, instead of mindlessly yielding, why not tap your brakes and

  • ask yourself, “Is this truly how I want to spend my time?”
  • Then take a deep breath, exhale and smile through the crazy.
  • Next,  savor some of the special and/or awe-inspiring moments you have experienced in the past or that are waiting to be enjoyed in the present or in the future.

Psychologist and best-selling author, Richard Hanson, Ph.D.’s notes that rerouting your thoughts and “taking in the good” immediately relaxes you and opens new pathways in your brain.  Daily travel on these positive paths will map out stronger, more direct access to Sunday-drive type routes which, over time, will leave a lasting impression on your brain and in your heart and can help you navigate life from a lighter, gentler perspective.

Please note: I am not asking you to deny the stress, frustration or sadness in your life – I encourage you to identify and admit that you are feeling those feelings, and then to simply take a much-needed detour around the mental pile-ups you create when you place too much emphasis on the bumps and potholes in life. We all do it, but I promise you, taking in the good is a better way to go!

Try it, reset your mental GPS this Monday morning, and see where the new ride takes you.

Summer High

sunflower-1421011__340Ahh, the first day of summer, also known as the summer solstice is upon us. It’s the longest day of the year (and the shortest night), giving each of us an extra long day to celebrate and savor each and every wonderful thing in our lives. (Dig deep if you have to, but don’t miss the chance – folks have been celebrating this day for thousands of years. It’s probably good karma!)

I was trying to talk myself out of my walk this morning, but then decided it wasn’t everyday that I get to celebrate the simple act of the sun rising with folks all over the world. I hope you find a way today to try something new, do something you have been putting-off, or do something special for yourself or someone you care about – you’ll have a little extra time!

And, then, remember to pause along the way to notice the sun, watch it shine, feel its warmth and be glad it is there. Even if it is sweltering, think cold, dull winter day and it just might feel joyful! 🙂

Sunny regards,


You can do it!

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Reach Out Monday

Helping Patrice Koerper Life Coach Motivational Speaker

Photo Courtesy of Luann Koerper

I first posted about Reaching Out in 2011 after seeing this sweet photo of two of my grand sons reaching out to each other in this simple way – brother to brother as they faced a slippery path.  The photo immediately struck me as a simple guideline for life – reach out.

Each of us has at least one relationship that needs a little nurturing, a bit of care or perhaps even a new start.  Make today, the day you do that. (Or, at least this week!)

Here’s how:

Be a bit more understanding, open and patient.

Reach out to someone you might not normally reach out to, or not often enough, or not as willingly, or with such kindness.  Let gentleness rule your day.

Make a call, sit with them or stay longer by their side.

Listen. Really listen to what they are saying, focus on what they care about, not what you have to do next. Simply listen.

Find a way to be a part of what they care about. And, let them know you care.

Sit closer, lean in, hold their hand, touch their shoulder or look into their eyes. Connect.

Reaching out will leave you both smiling!

J & D Spring 2011

Photo Courtesy of Luann Koerper

And, before you go to bed relive the moments you created. They are worth savoring.

You can do it!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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