An even fuller, full circle

About 15 years ago, I began gently and patiently exploring how to create the life I really wanted. I slowed down, stepped back a bit from the life I was leading, began asking myself lots of questions and then, really listened to my answers. The process helped me decide how I wanted my life to look and feel, and I’ve been living my life that way ever since.

bitola-hills-looking-toward-pelister-1-1-079a.jpgMy journey has taken me many places. First stop was an honest look inside myself – the toughest journey of all. I hired a life coach to help me with that. I then used the support and insights I gained to help me create the life I really wanted, which led me to three exciting years as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Macedonia.

It was there that my journey came full circle, when I realized that when we change ourselves, we change the world. And, not necessarily by making major life changes, but by believing change is possible. When you accept that change is possible, others will too, and then all sorts of doors will open – for everyone. That’s how Wishful Thinking Works.

This blog, Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want, is part of my journey. I share what I’ve learned, what I enjoy, what I’m discovering and what lies ahead. I’m glad you have joined me. I also share great photos and information about my time in Macedonia (Search Macedonia for more.), the Republic of Georgia (Search Georgia for more.) and other volunteers’ experiences in the Peace Corps (Search Peace Corps for more.).

Since my first Peace Corps experience, I became a certified life coach, served two additional assignments as a United States Peace Corps Response Volunteer, spent a month volunteering at a Benedictine monastery, was the Director of Corporate Training and Continuing Education at a state college in Florida and married the man of my dreams in 2015 after enjoying the single life for 18 years! We now split our time living on two islands that vary greatly in size – Fort Myers Beach, Florida and Long Island.

And, today are I am thrilled to be back in Bitola, Macedonia as part of our month long honeymoon! Dan has enlarged the circle, making it even fuller – how fun to share the country I love with him. We will spend time in Macedonia visiting wonderful friends and enjoying its laid back and ancient beauty, then we are off to explore Venice, Italy, relax on a beach in Albania and go sightseeing in Greece, but we will return to Macedonia and dear friends after each side trip!

I hope to post lots of new photos, along the way!

среќен пат,

Happy journey!

Patrice Robson (Koerper)

WTW Dandelion

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Eat, Pray, Love – 10 year anniversary

I posted this week about  about making your life story the one you want it to be without realizing this week was the 10th anniversary of “Eat, Pray, Love” the best seller which helped many people rewrite their life stories.

Eat PRay Love Made me do it

I didn’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” until I was on my own journey of a lifetime, but for many folks it redefined their lives. Gilbert has captured the stories of some of her readers whose lives were changed by reading “Eat, Pray, Love” in her latest book, “Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do it.”  Gilbert explained on her recent interview on Good Morning America  that the central theme of both books is “. . . my life  doesn’t have to look like this anymore. . . We can make a change; we do not have to be stuck.” Yes! That is what Wishful Thinking Works is all about – creating the life you really want.

“Here, in this candid and captivating collection, nearly fifty of those readers—people as diverse in their experiences as they are in age and background—share their stories. The journeys they recount are transformative—sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always deeply inspiring.”

I plan to read her new book as I am traveling in May and June – I think that will be the perfect time to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it because I love learning how other folks changed their lives.

Did “Eat, Pray, Love”  change your life in anyway?  Did you love the book; hate it? Tell us your thoughts. We learn from each other!

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

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What lens will you use to view the world in 2016?

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How do you want to see the world in 2016?

How do you picture yourself?

Our view of the world, shapes how we react to it – and may shape how the world responds to us. This wonderful 3 minute video helps illustrates that.

How you picture yourself can influence almost every aspect of your life.

Visit Wishful Thinking Works often in the days and weeks ahead as we help you focus on creating the life you really want through articles and posts, free resources, workshops and much more.

 

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Christmas memories

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to warm-up your heart and enrich your holiday spirit is to relive your favorite Christmas memories?

snowflake-1823942_960_720Let a quick trip down memory lane relax and revive you.

If your holiday memories are not happy ones, do not despair. Use your personal memory lane to inspire you to find ways to light-up other folks’ lives, which can make you feel better, as well.  You have more power and so many more opportunities than you may realize to brighten someone’s day.

  • A smile, a compliment, a card or a call are easy to do and are for the most part are cost free.
  • Giving-up a prime parking space to the car behind you,
  • paying for the order of the next person in line or their toll,
  • passing out extra big hugs to your spouse, significant other or kids are all ways to make someone’s holiday brighter.

There are thousands of other ways to celebrate the season, and each one can help you focus on what is most important to you this Christmas, and for all your Christmases to come.

Here are my top ten holiday memories. Reliving them made me feel warm and cozy, and I realized how many more I have to enjoy.

  1. Getting an Easy Bake oven one Christmas and going into Mom and Dad’s bedroom first thing the next morning with the teeny tiny muffins I baked and them “oohing and ahhing” over them.  Easy Bake
  2. Squinting at the Christmas tree in the living room so the lights would blur, which I truly thought was magical.
  3. Finding a way to buy Christmas gifts for my eight siblings, my Mom and Dad and the growing number of brother-in-laws and nieces and nephews. There was so much joy in those decisions and in the giving.
  4. Finding a sky-blue crocheted, short sleeved dress in my Mom’s bottom dresser drawer on our annual pre-Christmas present hunt, and hoping it was for me. My just older sister and I ended-up sharing that dress for years. I think I wore it to a 7th grade dance and loved it!
  5. My Mom and Dad always made Christmas morning seem gift-filled even though they were buying for nine kids on a very tight budget.santa-claus-1149928__340
  6. One year we arranged for my same older sister’s boyfriend to play Santa for our two youngest siblings. A few hours after they were tucked into their beds, we woke them up to see “Santa” opening his pack in the sparkling light of the Christmas tree, which was reflected in our living room picture window. I recall this scene clearly, and can still feel their sense of excitement of seeing “Santa”.
  7. I bought my Mom a burnt-orange polyester pantsuit with a jaunty striped, short scarf that tied off to the side like those fancy French ladies!  I purchased this fashion forward outfit – pantsuits and polyester were all the range that year – with my 30% discount from my job at Petries, a retail shop for teens and women.  Having enough money to do something special for my Mom felt so good.
  8. As our family grew with many of us starting families of our own, my Mom decided to change the date we gathered at my parents’ home for the holidays. We descended en masse on my Mom’s  birthday, December 26. I always thought it was amazingly kind of her to cook and clean for everyone on her birthday. Mom said it was worth it to have us all together. Turns out, she knew best. She kept us in touch with one another as we shared her wonderful food and the sides and cookies we brought. Forty years later, we are still finding ways to share our homes, our lives and delicious foods.christmas-655681__340
  9. The joy of seeing everyone’s gifts and what seemed like tons of wrapping paper strewn across our living room floor. It made the gifts seem more plentiful and so festive.
  10. Baking and eating so many sweet treats. My Mom’s cookies were the best, especially the Butter Balls!

Now, compile your list. Then enjoy reliving the moments. And, remember, if sad memories top your list, spend time this holiday season creating better ones for you and others.

Please share some of your favorite memories in the comments section below. Reading them will make us all happy!

Happy holidays to you!

Use the best of 2013 to create an even better 2014!

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful New Year 2014Be proud of what you’ve accomplished or created in 2013 – change, big or small, matters. Here’s how to capture the best of 2013 and use it to create a wonderful 2014.

  1. Take time to jot own the memorable moments of 2013 (or your life) – the moments that touched you, excited you, inspired you, delighted you or made you feel happy and proud.
  2. Write anything that comes to mind; don’t censor yourself.  (Using a Mind Map might help you get started. There are lots of other free resources here that might get you in the mood, as well.)
  3. Then write about what made them special to you. (This is the step most folks skip, don’t! It will make all the difference. Take all the time you need. If you feel like writing a page, do it.)
  4. Note how you felt, which may be even more important than what you did. You may not be able to recreate the events, but identifying and savoring how you felt can help you focus on what you want more of in your life.
  5. Add to your list or create new Mind Maps in the days and weeks ahead. Don’t worry that the year is already underway; there is always time for change.
  6. Be honest, don’t write what you think should have made you happy or proud, just what truly did.
  7. Use the moments you note and the emotions you felt to help you design the life you really want.
  8. How do you want to feel in 2014? What do you want your life to look and feel like?
  9. Use what you have discovered to guide you through the New Year.
  10. Start now!

Below is some of what happened on Wishful Thinking Works in 2013! Click on the photo or link below to find out more. Woo hoo!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Wishful Thinking Ways # 10 – sort-of

I’ve had a bit of a computer problem, and my back-up computer is out of reach because I’m on the road, so I thought I would take us on a different Wishful Thinking Ways journey today. Since we are ahead of my original Wishful Thinking Ways program, which was designed for 12 weeks, I’m taking advantage of this moment to share a bit about my personal Wishful Thinking Works journey. So put your feet up and relax while you read. (If you are just joining us, welcome and click here for the first Wishful Working Ways 2012.)

My personal Wishful Thinking Works journey began about 2003, when I decided my life needed . . . well, I didn’t really know what my life needed, but I knew I wasn’t as happy as I once was or could be. Instead of trying to figure it all out and come-up with an immediate solution, I decided to lay back and see what unfolded, which was a first for me. I’m a doer and was a Type-A personality with a capital “A”. Get it done, move forward, onward – now!

There is nothing wrong with being a “doer”, if “doing” makes your heart sing – but my heart was barely holding a tune at that time. I knew a change was needed.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away.” (Anonymous)

I made the decision to stop “doing” so much – to stop filling my days with this and that and to take more time to relax and reflect. This was a huge change for me in fact, it terrified me, but my personal and professional lives were overflowing with self-inflicted challenges and real-time commitments that were leaving me out of breath, rather than breathless. I had created a life I really didn’t want and it was beginning to cost my heart, my head and my health dearly.

Over the next two years, I stopped doing all the things I normally did to find out what I really wanted to do. I spent a lot of time alone, doing nothing – I puttered instead of planning. I read and walked without purpose and at a much slower pace. I turned down invitations – super tough for a social butterfly, and began to see solitude as a source of energy rather than a statement of popularity.  I also delegated more and more at work.

Once I became comfortable doing less – it took months – I began trying new ways of spending my free time – with fun and interesting results. I went on what I thought was a yoga retreat and discovered yoga nidra, which is still a rewarding part of my life. I spent a weekend at a Benedictine monastery, which I thought was going to be a silent retreat, but by the end I was praying for silence! I didn’t answer my home or cell home unless I felt like it (Remember home phones?). I drove slower; turned the radio off in the car and on at home. I stopped trying to do 100 things at once. I joined a laid back adventure club for women, which led me outdoors and to the fun of feeling 10 again with the added benefit of warm, wonderful and lasting friendships. At night when I laid my head on my pillow, instead of worrying about what needed to be done tomorrow or next week, thanks to Oprah’s influence, I began noting the moments in my life I was grateful for.

My experiments led me through lots of starts and stops, which I learned to accept as part of my personal scientific process. (I once believed I had to finish everything I started – even books I wasn’t crazy about became albatrosses for me.) Thankfully, I learned to trust my instincts more than ever before and stopped regretting not completing things that held no real interest for me. The additional downtime allowed lots of wonderful feelings and thoughts to rise to the surface, and I learned to spend time savoring them.

I must admit that in the beginning the good thoughts were almost always followed by stressful ones: “Who was I to think that I could . . . or had the right to . . . What would happen if I . . . Who would take care of . . . if I didn’t.” But, my growing resolve and belief in myself helped me realize that I was not the center of everyone’s world, and believe it or not, most people and projects could get along without me. That didn’t mean I didn’t have or add value to the process or their lives, but moving myself from center stage to the sidelines and observing rather than feeling I had to direct was a refreshing, eye-opening change for me,  and left lots more time for creating the life I really wanted, which in the end, made everyone happier!

“Life is a marathon not a sprint.” (Anonymous)

I learned to accept that change is an ongoing process. It’s inevitable, and that’s okay. I also realize that most of the things I thought needed to be done NOW, really don’t. These realizations along with my Wishful Thinking allowed me to expand and deepen my life in ways far beyond the expectations I had in 2003. My relationships with family and friends are more meaningful and better than ever, and stretch around the world. I’ve traveled to places I once only dreamt about  – and some I never knew existed, and I followed the career path of my dreams including serving twice in the United States Peace Corps.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher, 604 BC – 531 BC)

I know now that Wishful Thinking Works and I know believing that – for many of us – is a huge leap of faith. I get that and thank you for being here, because accepting that Wishful Thinking Works and has a place in our lives is a big step. It can be downright terrifying to accept that we can change, yet alone create the lives we really want. So, today I want to say thanks for being so brave, and to applaud you for being part of Wishful Thinking Ways.

Wherever you are along the path of change, please applaud yourself for being there. Even if you are only thinking about creating the life you really want, give yourself credit for the thoughts you are thinking! I encourage you to keep moving forward. Take as many baby steps as necessary, but don’t stop! Let the process be your guide – keep what resonates and feels “right” and find ways to let go of what doesn’t.

Blend courage with curiosity, experimentation with examination, and find time for quiet reflection.

Your assignment this week is to redo one of the earlier assignments, or complete one you skipped. The choice is up to you; I trust your judgment and know you will pick what is right for you.

WTW Dandelion

Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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Wishful Thinking Ways #3

Hi, welcome back. This is the third post in the Wishful Thinking Ways for 2012 series. We are meeting on Fridays to make 2012 exciting and rewarding in new and different ways. Each Friday I will share tips and exercises based on positive psychology and Appreciative Inquiry to help you create the life you really want.

Here’s the plan:

January – Setting the stage.
February – Discovering your dreams.
March – Making them happen.

It’s always good to start at the very beginning, so click to read Wishful Thinking Ways week one and week two.  January is our warm-up month for our heads and hearts. When your heart and mind are aligned amazing things can happen. Don’t miss a single step in the process! 

I have written about Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build theory a couple of times – here’s why: The more relaxed and open our brains are the more responsive and creative we become. There is a direct link between how we feel and how our brain works. Our brains are hard-wired to respond in different ways to pleasure and pain, happiness and stress.

Being stressed and always in “Flight or Fight” mode drains our energy and reduces are ability to creatively address what’s happening around us. There are thousands of articles on the Internet about dealing with stress, but instead of reading them, I would like you to identifying how your body reacts to stress to figure out your physiological Flight or Fight tells.

Discovering your physiological tells

When you are worried or angry does your chest or throat tighten, your stomach churn, your jaw clench? Do you feel the tension in your hands, arms, shoulders, or back? Do you hold your breath? I’m a center of the chest gal, and I hold my breath way more than I never knew. Not the kid-like dramatic, “I’m going to hold my breath”, but what the medical world refers to as “inhibitory breathing.” Millions of people do it and it can lead to high-blood pressure and heart problems!

One of the first steps I take with many of my clients is to help them discover their Flight or Fight tells. Getting in touch with how you are feeling when you are feeling it is as important in life as knowing your tells is in poker. And, as smart as we are, most of us no clue how our bodies react to stress.

Checking your pulse, so to speak

Start by writing and reading aloud this sentence: “I will figure out my Flight or Fight tells this week. I will learn how my body reacts when I’m stressed or angry.”

Then notice how your body reacts when you are tense or angry. When you find yourself rushing to work; heading into the boss’s office; yelling at your spouse or kids; listening to your spouse or children yelling; sitting in traffic; trying to meet a deadline, not saying to someone what you want to say or saying something that you know you will regret late, etc.  – stop for a split second, or immediately after, and ask yourself: “What’s happening to my body right now? “What am I feeling and where?” I guarantee, if you keep at it, by week’s end, if not sooner, you will know your Flight or Fight tells.

Let me know how it goes. Next Friday we will talk about how knowing your physiological tells can help you create the life you really want.   

 

Being happy and satisfied, doesn’t mean you stop dreaming, and being unhappy doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming. So, no matter where you are today, it is the perfect starting point for where you want to be next.      

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