Words and stories that create magic

It is funny how words and stories come into our life. What is even more interesting to me is what makes them stick in our minds and become part of our stories and thoughts.

I recently attended a Christmas concert at a nearby church and one of the readings included the following essay from Robert Fulghum’s “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”. 

“I do know what I want someone to give me for Christmas. I’ve known since I was forty years old. Wind-up mechanical toys that make noises and go round and round and do funny things. No batteries. Toys that need me to help them out from time to time. The old fashioned painted tin ones I had when I was a child. That’s what I want. Nobody believes me. It’s what I want I tell you.

Well, okay, that’s close, but not quite exactly it. Its delight and simplicity that I want. Foolishness and fantasy and noise. Angels and miracles and wonder and innocence and magic. That’s closer to what I really want.

Its harder talk about, but what I really, really, really want for Christmas is just this:

I want to be 5 years old again for an hour. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I want to be picked or rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and carried up to bed just one more time. I know what I really want for Christmas: I want my childhood back.

Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but when is Christmas about sense, anyway? Its about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded, and terribly vulnerable to joy. A child who does not need or want or understand the gifts of socks or pot holders.”

― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

magical-1090663__340The readings were shared by the mayor of the town in which the church was situated. He was a youngish looking man in his early 60’s. Mid-reading, his voice cracked. He tried to continue, but as he stumbled verbally toward the sentence, “I want to be picked up or rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and be carried up to bed just one more time.” tears formed and rolled down his cheeks. He paused, looked out at the crowd of hundreds, and in this ultra-vulnerable moment, realized the crowd was with him. He smiled slightly and shrugged his shoulders and continued. This was a safe environment for flowing tears, memories and moments of tenderness.  

I’m sure many in the audience teared up. I did. For him, for myself, for all of us – for dreams unrealized and yet to come. In that moment, I believe that most of us became children again, and yearned, or at least understood the yearning for the magic of Christmas.

Fulghum’s words, and the feelings they elicited, have stuck with me and have become part of my Christmas magic, and now I share them with you. I share them as a reminder that Christmas is a time of magic. Magic we can create for the children inside ourselves and for the children around us – young and old.

Reach inside and out of yourself this holiday season to touch the hearts of those around you. You will fill your soul and create lifelong memories for those you touch. And, that, is the true magic of Christmas.

 

 

 

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Note to self

Service to others

Re-sharing a post I wrote in 2010 on this special day.

Today is Veteran’s Day, which originally began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1918.

Did you know that on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day in 1918 a temporary armistice was signed bringing an end to the hostilities of World War I?

President Woodrow Wilson designated Nov. 11 as “Armistice Day”, which led Congress in 1938 to pass legislation to declare it a national holiday, and in 1954 for President Eisenhower to change the name to Veteran’s Day.

Oddly enough, my first reflections on the sacrifice and service of veteran’s developed when I was 12 or 13 years old and read the book “All Quiet on the Western Front”, which was written by a German soldier about his experiences in WWI.

I had tears running down my cheeks as I read Erich Maria Remarque’s words, and it hit home that if a German soldier could feel this way, most likely any soldier could.  It was  the first time I really understood that war was not just about conflicts and countries, but about people and courage. Remarque became an American naturalized citizen in 1947.

I remember wanting to ask my Dad, my uncles and every other man their age, who served in WWII, what it was like.  But, that was something people didn’t seem to talk about then, so I didn’t either.

When I turned 16 in 1969, and was confronted daily with news of Vietnam. I forgot about the perspective of Veteran’s and focused more on how I felt about war.

It took me years to sort-out my feelings about service in the military.

No matter where you stand on our involvement in conflicts and wars then and now, today is a good day to pause and reflect on how others feel.  In particular, those who – for whatever reason – find themselves in situations that test every facet of their being in the service to others.

I truly think service to others is worth honoring, and I am glad that we have set aside a day to do just that.

There were almost 200,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in May of this year.  There are more than two million men and women enlisted in the armed forces and reserves. Most of us know someone or the family members of someone, who is currently serving or served in the past.

Find a way to let them know you are thinking of them today.

Wise words on following your heart

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“Your heart is a compass in a chaotic world. Follow it. Resist anything that looks reeeally good, but feels reeeally bad. Be brave enough to turn away from shiny objects, and toward the light that makes them shine.”  Martha Beck 

Spend quiet time finding out who you are and then follow the paths that delight you!

I promise you, you will never regret it!

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5 Second Mindfulness

Thousands and thousands of us from around the world are participating in Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s latest and, oh so relaxing, free 21-day meditation series.

This mini-meditation was included in the series and I thought it was too wonderful not to share. (The series began on Monday but if you join today, you can still experience all of the first five meditations.)

Try this simple exercise to connect to the here and now, from master of present-moment awareness, Eckhart Tolle.

Tolle says, “Ask yourself, ‘Am I still breathing?’ You suddenly feel the air flowing into your body and out of your body… At that moment, you’ve entered the state of presence. Even if it’s only five seconds.”

Meditation Eckhart Tolle

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FREE Group Meditation on the Beach

Earlier this month, I participated in the insightful and inspiring Mindfulness in America summit in New York City hosted by Anderson Cooper.

The benefits of meditation on our brains and our stress levels are well-documented in the scientific community. One of the seminar participants noted that even 8 minutes a day has immediate results, and over time will leave a positive, lasting impact on our brains.

One of the topics they discussed was the value of group meditation.  An organization called “The Big Quiet” is flourishing in New York City and their success motivated me to start a monthly Fort Myers Beach meditation for Wishful Thinking Works.  If you are in the area join us, if not check out this virtual meditation event!

We are gathering Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 9:30 am by Pincher’s Restaurant on Fort Myers Beach, FL.

How to participate:

• Bring a towel or blanket and an open heart and mind. If you prefer a chair and coffee, no problem, but still bring that open heart and mind! Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend or two.

• Head to Pincher’s Restaurant on Fort Myers Beach. There should be plenty of parking on a Sunday morning at this time of year.

• Then walk across the beautiful, soft sand to the water’s edge. I will be waiting for you.

• After a welcome and introductions, we will sit quietly together looking out at the sea for 20 minutes.  We will do 10 minutes of a guided meditation and 10 minutes on Individual.

• Afterwards, folks can share about the experience and talk a bit.

• If you like we can head to the restaurant for coffee or breakfast, or simply sit longer on the beach, or head home

Until then . . . here are some meditation links from “The Big Quiet” to get you started. This 5-minute mini-meditation is a gentle way to begin. 

Also, check out the Wishful Thinking Women FREE 21-day Virtual Meditation Meetup activity that begins October 30.

Join us to find a bit more peace in your heart and relaxation and happiness in your life.

 

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Change your life!

 

62 days until Christmas, and I have a plan

IMG_4405Call me crazy, but I am one of those people who don’t mind that Christmas decorations and gift ads are popping up in stores and online. In fact, I love it.

I believe that happy is happy, and if seeing winter decorations and thinking about gift ideas makes people happy, go for it.

Connecting people to positive feelings isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it is exactly what our brains need. Knowing that peppermint lattes will soon be available everywhere warms my heart, and I don’t even drink them. They are just another part of the cozy feeling I get as the thermometer drops and the days get shorter. But, the true benefit of these sweet thoughts is the powerful punch of positive chemicals they release in my brain.

I don’t believe the problem is that we are bombarded with holiday “trappings” earlier and earlier, to my way of thinking, if there is a problem at all, it is that we don’t realize that we can only feel “trapped,” if we let ourselves.

Early exposure to the holidays does not have to reduce the fun and holidays themselves don’t have to equal stress, nor do bad holiday memories have to predict similar ones in the future. Except in extreme situations, we get to decide how our holidays unfold.  I know this to be true first-hand. Letting go of past hurts and trying times can be difficult, but creating and then letting new experiences gain top-billing in your mind is worth the effort, and so much more rewarding.

On the flip side, for those who love the holidays, you can let yourselves feel the same joy that special treats and trimmings bring at any time of the year. The misty-eyed, fuzzy feelings the holidays evoke can be found in any moment we choose, all we have to do is zero in on the beauty or joy around us and there we are smack dab in the middle of wonderful – even without the Hallmark version of a snow-filled screen, china and crystal table settings or a not so surprising reconnection with the love of our lives!

You have 62 new and potentially wonderful days ahead to embrace or ignore the holiday season. The choice is yours; do what makes you feel good about yourself and the world around you.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. If you think it is too early for tinsel and lights, don’t let seeing them rile you. They are not worth the negative energy.
  • Yes, retailers want to get you in the mood to buy, but instead of focusing on their motives, and feeling trapped, think about the jobs that holiday sales sustain and create, and always remember no one but you makes the final purchasing decision. Not buying big or for as many people may be a change for you and your usual recipients, so let family and friends know ahead of time that you are cutting back, and then stick to your plan.

2. If you are all in, go for it. Enjoy and savor every special moment and feeling the holidays bring large and small.

3. To prevent any post-holiday blues, remember that those same rich and wonderful feelings can be felt throughout the year. Start now to connect to the joys of everyday life, focus on gratitude and learn to savor past and present moments that bring you good feelings to get in the habit of happiness.

Here’s to your best holiday season ever, however you choose to celebrate it.

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