Revive your relationship this summer

I am enjoying “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath this summer and love so many of their tips for personally and professionally enhancing your life. One of their free resources tips for spicing up your marriage or relationship is a fun one, and I thought this summer might be a great time to take advantage of their advice.

Art Aron had couples engage in a date a week for ten weeks. One group did a standard date. For example a couple that habitually went to dinner and a movie would have dinner and a movie. Another group did something different than what they would normally do. If they normally see romantic comedies, they might take in a horror film or an action/adventure. If they normally ate Italian, they might try Vietnamese. The biggest increase in marital satisfaction was among the novelty group.

Any type of change will be good for your hearts and souls, and you don’t have to commit to ten weeks to feel the benefits. Whenever you “Break the script.” by trying something new, you increase the odds of creating a memorable moment.

  • Pitch a tent or picnic in the backyard under a tree. If you are sightseeing, trade-in your shorts and tops for a great summer dress and you may become his favorite site!
  • Plan to watch the sunrise or set as part of your travels or from a special vantage point where you live. Add in some finger foods and a bit of bubbly or ice cold beer and sit, sip and savor the moment together.
  • Enjoy a staycation and treat yourselves to a nearby B & B or hotel with room service.  One of my sisters is still talking about the surprise trip her husband planned a year ago just an hour from their home. She loved it, and when she describes the details she’s still smiling inside and out. She had so much fun, she got me smiling about the memories and I wasn’t even there! (Thank you, Deb!)
    • If your hubby or significant other isn’t a planner, surprise him or her with something they would love and instead of keeping score over who has done what for whom, sit back, watch and truly absorb the fun they have enjoying your surprise. (If their response isn’t as positive or thankful as you had hoped, don’t let it get you down. Focus on the fun you had planning it and know that not everyone shows their excitement or appreciation as easily as others.)

The goal is to get started thinking of new and different ways to bring joy and memorable moments to your lives, all of which can strengthen the bond between you. Your options are endless, the choices are yours, and a cool summer evening or breezy sunny day will make every memory just a bit sweeter.

 

Are you ready to create the life your really want? Start today! 

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“30 Days New” – Day 3

Day 3 of my “30 Day New”

Wednesday, June 25 was Day 1 of my “30 Days New” – for 30 days I am doing something new or something I used to do, but haven’t done in ages.  You can read why I got started here.

Today I painted in the backyard. I love painting, but I always feel that whatever I do isn’t good enough. I try now and then, but after a day or so I drop it. Pretty silly, I know, but the truth is, when it comes to art, I hold myself to some very silly standards!

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Today I reminded myself, once again that it is about the process not the outcome.

A critical voice in my sweet little head tried to lead me astray a number of times, but I simply took a deep breath or two and assured myself and the nagging voice that everything was going to be just fine, and continued painting. (We all need a bit of reassurance at times, don’t be afraid to face your fears and respond to those negative voices in your head in a kind and gentle manner. No need to beat up on yourself up, for beating up on yourself!)

Besides, I was having too much fun siting in the sun, straw hat tilted on my head, pretending to be a Monet protégé to let a few negative thoughts keep me from my goal.

 Day 3 Results: An hour of fun in the fresh air, with a sassy side of artistic day dreams, topped off with a hatful of confidence and courage knowing I was enjoying the life I really wanted – – less judgement and more creativity and fun!

I encourage you to start something new or return to something old; to gently calm any critical voices that may arise and to enjoy an hour or two, or even just a few minute, of courage and creativity.

PS I am excited about tomorrow, and I don’t even have a clue what will be new!

Are you ready to create the life your really want?

Start today with Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching! 

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“30 Days New” – Day 2

Yesterday was Day 1 of my “30 Days New” – for 30 days I am planning to do something new or something I used to do, but haven’t done in ages.

I started by making pasta, which turned out to be relaxing and fun. I have wanted to make it for years, but honestly didn’t have the confidence that it would turn out well, which is odd since I know I am a good cook and I’m a blue ribbon pie baker. I guess it simply took me a long time to stop listening to my own excuses! I am glad I did because I have other pasta recipes I am looking forward to making, and now, instead of worrying about the outcome, I’m focused on the fun of the process.

Day 1 Results: Surge of pride and confidence, not bad for so little effort. Delicious, too. Also great memories – my Mom often made noodles. I can still picture hundreds and hundreds of golden egg noodles drying in the sun on our dining room table. Wish I had her recipe now.

Day 2 – A risk in the direction of my dreams

Today’s “New” is really a yesterday leftover, which is completely acceptable according to my personal “30 Days New” rules, which you can check out here.

IMG_E1064My “New” for today was wonderful. I was part of a 6 person conference call regarding writing the second edition of a book that played an amazing role in my personal and professional life. Win or lose on this one, I took a risk in the direction of my dreams, and I am already enjoying the rewards of the experience.

Day 2 Results: Delight and excitement! Fun talking with such talented people.

Thank you for following along on my “30 Days New.”  To read more about it and how you can join the fun, click here. Stop back tomorrow to see what else is new!

Are you ready to create the life your really want?

Start today with Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching! 

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Summer pick-me-up

One of the easiest and quickest pick-me-ups is to remember the special people in your life. Numerous psychology studies have shown that reliving positive moments or time spent with the special people in our lives is a great way to recharge our hearts and souls.

Why not use the power of your imagination to spark a summer day dream about the folks you love or admire? A lazy summer afternoon or those peaceful moments while waking or falling to sleep are the perfect times to bring them to mind. 

  • Who has filled your heart with happiness?
  • Who has made you feel better about yourself or the world.
  • Who has shared special moments or helped you create special times in your life?
  • Who has made you laugh or jump with joy?
  • Who has stood by your side through think or thin?

Why not give them a special seat in your mind?

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Take a minute this weekend to picture your special somebodies with you as you relive all of their kind and generous, hilarious and spontaneous or supportive and caring ways.

I promise you a few heartfelt minutes of revelry can fill your mind and body with warmth and positivity. (It is a neurological fact!) If your mind wanders, simply bring your thoughts back to who you want to share a chair with this summer and the wonderful role they play in your life. (This technique even works if you are remembering a extra helpful clerk or a thoughtful stranger.)

If you are short on people to share your chairs with, simply get yourself comfortable in a cozy spot and picture who you would like to see in your life. Spend a few minutes creating in your mind the memories that you would like to create with them. Be bold, be descriptive, be brave!  (Wishful Thinking Works – just picturing the moments you want to bring to your life can give you a flood of good feelings and, if repeated often, the confidence to move forward with those dreams.)

The best part of this sweet and relaxing practice is that the time you spend picturing positives automatically decreases the time you spend worrying about real or imaginary woes. We so often worry about the worst, why not simply spend a bit more time each day remembering or imagining the best?

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, pull up a chair in your mind, offer the others to those who have made a difference in your life and enjoy your time together!

Feel free to post about who will be sharing your chairs. The more ways you reinforce your thoughts the more positive the impact will be for you. (No need to limit your thoughts to four folks, simply add more chairs – the number, style and setting is your choice, as well.)

PS These lovely chairs and the amazing folks who own them, are an important part of my life and thinking about them always creates a flush of fabulousness for me!  Sharing this photo with you reinforces those feelings and has left me smiling and feeling happy and energized. Go for it. Daydream your way into a summer pick-me-up!

Are you ready to create the life your really want? Start today! 

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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.

Are you ready to create the life your really want? Start today! 

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Peacocks and happiness

Good Monday Morning!

Did you know that studies show that watching a nature video or film can increase your happiness, and expand positive emotions such as awe and amusement?

To get your morning off to a great start, I am sharing this beautiful 25 second video of my high school and FB friend’s majestic peacocks. Take a moment to watch and I guarantee you will feel a difference. (You can add a few deep breaths to enrich the impact.)

Being in nature is an even better easy, care-free way to elevate your mood and create joyful feelings. As the earth begins to thaw in the northern climates and the heat rises in southern ones, it is a great time to venture outdoors to see what Mother Nature is up to.

Don’t miss the chance this spring and summer to experience this free pick-me-up. And, do share photos of your natural memorable moments – we will all benefit from your discoveries just by viewing them.

Are you ready to create the life your really want? Start today! 

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Are you on Ego-matic pilot?

ego (2)At our Wishful Thinking Women gathering this weekend we were talking about “taming” our egos. Because of ego influence, I think many folks believe that change is often too hard to even attempt. We believe that we must live according to the whims of our egos and this ego-inspired belief is what keeps us stuck in a permanent state of ego-matic pilot making change seem difficult or overwhelming.

In a state of ego-matic pilot, we throw away or delay the possibility of love, our dreams, losing weight, going to college, getting a better job, being the kind of Mom, Dad, wife, husband, friend or colleague we want to be and so much more. We think it is all too hard for us to attain, or maybe worse, that we don’t deserve the fulfillment or happiness those changes may bring.  In ego-matic mode we create explanations and excuses to support our negative perspectives and then use them as justification for our personal pity parties or our failed prospects and attempts.

I don’t believe we need to tame our egos, they are just another part of us, but I do believe we can calm them and neutralize their perceptual stranglehold on our actions and emotions through awareness, acceptance and fulfillment.

Here is my Wishful Thinking Works plan for releasing yourself from ego-matic pilot:

  1. The first step is belief in the possibility that living a happy, fulfilled life is easier than we think. (Just like Dorothy discovered in the “Wizard of Oz”, perhaps you have always had the power!)
  2. The second step is an openness to new options and opinions. (Don’t be afraid to change, an evolutionary outlook and approach to life is not only energizing it can be deeply rewarding.)
  3. The third is awareness in the moment and of the world around us. (Time spent noticing our thoughts or paying attention to the beauty around us, rather than listening to the never-ending ego appraisal going on in our minds, is always time well spent.)

EX: The next time you start beating-up on yourself for eating too much or too little; saying too much or too little; doing too much or too little, etc., etc.  – STOP, take a deep breath and tell yourself “I love you, I love you for this choice and all the others you have made in your life. I will accept you as you are this very minute.” Take one more deep breath, exhaling slowly.

This simple, momentary change of thought and heart yields tremendous power. It not only pulls you out of your negative auto/ego-matic pilot, it signals the brain to release a more relaxing set of chemicals and hormones and offers you what we all need more of – love and support – thereby increasing the possibility you will be more open to seeing, feeling and sharing love and support with yourself and others in the future. Try it, and repeat it every time you slip back into any negative auto/ego-matic thinking!  (I know this will be a change for you, so please re-read Steps 1 & 2 and then repeat as necessary.)

Please note: If you were beating-up on yourself for having said or done something to someone that hurt them now is a good time to apologize, and if your ego-matic mind ramps-up to dissuade you, repeat Step 3, and then go for it. Here are some tips on apologizing to help you out. 

knot-252096_960_720Don’t tie yourself or your life up in knots thinking change or life is too hard. Don’t hide from hope, don’t turn your back on possibilities and please, no matter how many times life knocks you down, believe better is possible.

If you find yourself flat on your back, emotionally or physically, don’t worry about jumping right back up, simply take a deep breath, let a feeling of peace wash over you, repeat the words in quotes in Step 3 and then relax knowing better days are ahead.

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

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