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Patrice Koerper, American Corner, Bitola, Macedonia

That’s me. Happy and fulfilled because I was using my strengths and was very grateful to be where I was, doing what I was doing – talking about positive psychology at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia to a great group of people!

For my next project I am heading to the Republic of Georgia for three months as a Response Corps Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps. I love the Peace Corps; 2011 is their 50th anniversary. Who knew during the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps I would be a volunteer with them again! That’s the fun of creating the life you want, it is often a mystery – until it unfolds in front of you, like Macedonia and Georgia have done for me.

I will live in the capital of Tbilisi, and will work with the Ministry of Environment Protection writing a public relations plan for them. Before becoming a life coach, I worked in public relations for 25+ years, but could never have predicted I would someday be using those skills in Macedonia or in Georgia.

Georgia and Macedonia have a number of things in common, they have both been republics since 1991, and they are both beautiful mountainous countries with lots of vineyards; wonderful, warm people and rich histories. Their climates are similar, and much like Cleveland, Ohio were I was born and lived for 36 years.

I cannot wait to begin my assignment in Georgia, but it is just as difficult to say goodbye to Macedonia and my friends and “family” here, as it was to leave my family and friends in the States. Change and courage go hand in hand with each new adventure. We can never be certain where our journeys will take us, but I know that happiness is my constant traveling companion if I only remember to open my suitcase!

I hope wherever you are in the process of creating the life you want, you are experiencing fun, flow and fulfillment and are surrounded by friends and are finding ways to use your strengths, because as noted on the screen in the above photo those five things combined are the key to creating the life you want, PERMAnently.

Below is the next stop of my journey, where will yours take you? (Please remember, the internal places we travel and the friends we make are as important, and are usually more life changing and lasting, than the locations we visit.)

The Republic of Georgia

And, in true Georgian tradition, I will toast to you and your journey as soon as I can in my new location. You see, in Georgia . . .

“Toasts, however, are not simple declarations; they are expected to be speeches mixed with mirth, spoken verse and insight. Toasts are usually made with wine, toasting with beer is an insult to the one toasted. We are very generous with our wine, but since toasts are the only time you are supposed to drink your wine, we have many toasts (we have always been a practical people). In fact, we will use just about anything as an excuse to toast, a foreign guest happens to work quite well. So get used to your family, your country and friendship and your character being toasted. ”


And, since Georgians never toast without a table laden with delicious homemade food, I know I will be feeling at home very soon!

PS  This post is filled with interesting links and videos about Georgia and posts about Macedonia and Wishful Thinking Works. Please take a minute to scroll up and click to learn more about where I am heading next, where I have been and what I’ve been thinking about along the way.

Lights under bushels

Okay, for years I have been following the scientific process as defined by Hermann Helmholtz, and I didn’t even know it!

Hermann, who?

Helmholtz was a well-regarded German scientist in the 19th century (The century thing always throws me.  I have to stop and say in my head – 19th century, so that means 1800’s, right? I really think they could have come-up with an easier system. Am I the only one who finds it confusing?)  Anyway, Helmholtz used the following stages to describe his scientific discoveries:

Saturation: Research, reading, interviews

Incubation: Reflect on collected data/information ( I love that word – incubation, actually, I like the words incubation period even better –  sounds scientific and cozy all at the same time – I always picture warm lights and ideas popping around.)

Illumination: The light bulb goes off, the “ah ha” moment happens.

This is how I think!  For years I thought I was procrastinating, turns out I was being scientific.

I really did feel bad about using this approach. It bothered me that folks, including my Mom (nine children, always busy), thought I was being lazy when I read/researched/reflected.  I let their opinions overshadow mine.

I hid my style even deeper when I realized that most boys don’t like girls, who like research.

I am bringing it up now, because I am reading Dr. Ben Carson’s book “Think Big”.  Carson is an extremely gifted pediatric neurosurgeon, whose amazing childhood trials and adult triumphs are detailed in the book “Gifted Hands”, which was made into a movie of the same title.  (My friend Malinda highly recommends the movie.)

Carson’s book and mention of Helmholtz, reminded me I had hidden my talents in the past, and that maybe I am not the only person in the world, who has ignored his or her own strengths or style to meet the approval or avoid the disapproval of others.

Have you ever hid your light under a bushel?

If so, perhaps now is a good time to let your light shine, and to celebrate what makes you wonderful and unique.

Celebrating who you are can lead you where you want to go.  Besides, it’s fun, and can make the world a much nicer place to be.

If you aren’t sure what your special talents and strengths are – not to worry, stop by on Friday and I will share some tips from Carson and others to help you discover the best of you!

Gotta go – I am taking my laptop and a few good books outside for my style R&R – research and reflection.

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