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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. ”

http://georgia.travel/culture/food/toasting/

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.

Happy Birthday!

 

Mine is tomorrow. I love birthdays. To celebrate I’m combining two of my favorite things. I’ll be exploring Wishful Thinking ways with a group of interesting women and enjoying fantastic cappuccino at a new French/Italian Bistro. Life is good.

Here are my birthday wishes for you:

Passion and fulfillment in your life.

Friends and family that encourage and support you.

Hours that simply flow by when you are doing what you love. 

Physical movement that brings a smile to your face. (You know, like skipping, hopping, jumping . . .)

And, at the end of the day a sense of gratitude and accomplishment for a life worth living.

Who could ask for anything more? Well, maybe just one more small cupcake, please . . . 

Have a great weekend.

The 3 F’s of Happiness

  

Would you like a formula for happiness? Here is my favorite, and it’s scientifically accepted.

   Fun  + Flow + Fulfillment =  Happiness

These are 3 “F” words worth repeating. They were gathered together by Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the father of positive psychology. Seligman is a world-renown psychologist, professor and author at the University of Pennsylvania. As president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, he encouraged researchers to focus their work on the field of positive psychology, which motivated thousands of scientists to research the following key questions:

  • What works?
  • How and why does it work?
  • How can we create more of it in our lives and organizations?

Of particular interest to positive psychologists is the topic of happiness, which brings us back to Seligman and the 3 F’s. Seligman’s work revealed that happiness is a result of the 3 F’s.

Fun, Flow and Fulfillment

1. Fun

This one is easy to describe. Fun is:

  • The stuff that makes us laugh and smile or jump for joy
  • The stuff we spent lots of time doing as kids, and considered to be a normal part of our day
  • The stuff we now watch our kids, and sometimes other folks enjoying

I think that physical fun, is an important part of the mix. Dancing like Elaine on “Seinfeld“, running like Phoebe on “Friends“, playing games or rough-housing with the kids or grand kids, hitting a ball over the net, across the field, or in the hole without caring too much about how it gets there are great ways to relax and to have fun. Sports are a great stress reliever, and can be fun, but if we approach them too seriously, they may end-up being not be as much fun. Make sure what you are calling fun, really is!

2. Flow

For this concept I need to give a shout out to Dr. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, (MEE-hy CHEEK-sent-mə-HY-ee). Mihály is a Hungarian psychology professor, researcher and author and is a leader in the field of completely focused motivation, i.e. flow. Flow is that suspension-of-time feeling we have when we are deeply, maybe even blissfully, engrossed in what we are doing. For flow to occur the following must be in place:

  1. A clear set of goals
  2. A good balance between the challenge and skill. We have to believe we can do it.
  3. Immediate feedback. Feedback can be external or internal (Ex: That voice in our head saying “Okay maybe if I move it a little more to the right, no, back to the left, okay that’s good.” ) 

My favorite flow experiences are writing, public speaking, reading non-fiction, cleaning closets, and cooking. Flow can be felt when you are completely focused on a major grant, working on a case, making a diagnosis, cleaning a drain, scrubbing the tub, washing the car, playing cards or golfing. It’s the stuff that makes us forget all the other stuff.

When I decide to cook or make something to eat, I have a clear goal – I ‘m going to cook or make something to eat! I know I can do it, since I’ve had lots of successful experience, and I enjoy the challenge of rooting through the refrigerator and cupboards to see what’s available and then figuring out how to transform it into something delicious. During the process, I give myself lots of feedback, “Oh, we don’t have this, but we do have that”, “I wonder if that will mix well with this or should I try something else?”  My favorite internal and external feedback when cooking is always, “Mmm, that tastes good.”

Although flow activities are personal; flow experiences are universal. People of all cultures experience flow and describe it in a similar way including: losing track of time, feeling in the zone, and thinking only about task at hand.

3. Fulfillment

This is the warm and fuzzy or deep, rich, job-well-done feeling we get when we’ve accomplished something we are proud of or that matters to us. The “something” varies from person to person, month to month and task to task, and may include getting a college degree or cleaning that tub – the 3 F’s are  in the heart and mind of the beholder.

So now that we understand what we need, all we have to do is find ways to bring all three – fun, flow and fulfillment – into our lives. Remember, having one or two of the 3 F’s can enrich our lives, but being happy is dependent on having all three. (Did you notice that none of the 3 F’s mentioned money, health, prestige? More on the myths of happiness in  future posts.)

In April we will explore happiness in depth. Until then, you can get started by looking at your life to see if the 3 F’s are present, and if so, jot down when, where and how they occur. Paying attention to your experiences will help you create a foundation for the future, and help you recognize what actually makes you happy. Many adults don’t know what makes their hearts sing or their brains light up.

Writing this blog is a flow experience for me. I also find it fulfilling and to top off those 2 F’s with some fun, I’m going to head out the door for a walk with a few hops, skips and jumps thrown in. 

What one thing are you willing to do today to bring more happiness into your life? Start with something fun – just for fun, and we’ll work on the rest later.

WTW Dandelion

One Year Ago Today

 

I’m celebrating! 

One year and 111 posts ago, I began this blog. 

I started it as a result of being told I “had to” as part of a training commitment. I immediately responded with a serious and heartfelt “No way!”, and followed it up with a long and detailed list of excuses and explanations of why I was incapable of doing such a thing.

First Attempts, False Starts

I then began blogging. I used a different site, and blogged under a different title, diving head first into a world I knew nothing about. My lack of ability in all areas technical coupled with my content-writing phobia made me a nervous wreck. I spent way too much time asking myself questions such as: How will I ever figure this out? Why would anyone want to read anything I write? What have I got to add to the millions of blogs out there? Who am I to think that . . . ?

That lovely little line of questioning led me to a brand new set of worries about the “whole world” reading my blog and seeing all the typos and grammatical errors I was sure to make. Pretty funny, how I quickly went from worrying “Who would want to read it?” to worrying that everyone would read it.

My anxiety became so great, I began dreaming about typos – there were lots. My fears led me to blog less and less. I used the blog to meet the course requirements and then let it slide.

Lesson Learned

Then one day, I was reading someone else’s blog, and it inspired me to restart mine. (Well, sort-of. Actually, I think I was just jealous, and couldn’t stand myself anymore for whimping out on mine. Horrible to admit, but true. That’s still a form of inspiration, no?) 

The next day I started this blog.

Over time, worries about less than stellar posts, typos and grammatical errors receded as the joy of learning new things and challenging myself in new ways grew. It’s not that I no longer care about those things – I do, and I apologize for any and all errors or not so great posts, but the fun, flow and fulfilment of transferring ideas to words and getting your great feedback now exceeds any lingering worries or doubts.  

Blogging has allowed me to test my level of cosmic trust, specifically that I will come up with three topics a week that interest me and won’t totally bore or disgust my readers : -).

Writing the blog has also helped me get over myself and get out of my way. It’s helped me get out there, and explore the world out there, and best of all it has connected me with you.

Special thanks to my dear friends and first readers for not laughing hysterically at my early attempts, and for spurring me on instead. Thank you!

And, to all my new readers and subscribers, thank you. If writing is the heart of a blog, you are the soul. Thanks for reading from here or there – I love knowing folks beyond the States in wonderful and interesting places in Africa, Australia, France and Macedonia are reading along.

Mega thanks to all of you, who share your thoughts. Your comments help direct future posts, expand the conversation and broaden everyone’s perspective, especially mine. Thank you for being brave and kind.

Looking Ahead

Hope you like the new look. I love the color and the fresher, lighter layout. You should be able to find everything in more or less the same place. If not, let me know.

In honor of the blog’s one year anniversary, I am also starting a Wishful Thinking Works monthly newsletter. If you would like to receive it, you can opt in by sending me an email at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com with the word “newsletter” in the subject line and I will add you to the list. It will be filled with tales and tips about creating the life you want.

In March, I will start a series of weekly interviews with folks I call “Dream Weavers”. I’ve told you about a few Macedonian Dream Weavers in past posts, but I will now be including personal interviews with the interesting, creative and brave people I write about, and will expand the pool.

Blogging has reconfirmed the value of Taking Risks for me, which was the title of my first Wishful Thinking Works post on February 11, 2010. I like that. 

If you are thinking about taking risk or two, I highly encourage it. Make sure the risk is in the direction of your dreams, and then go for it! Need help? Check out my My Courage Diet, it has gotten me back on track many times.

Have a sweet weekend.

Patrice

PS Fran in Florida has won the copy of Jackie Kelm’s book “The Joy of Appreciative Living”, which I offered last Friday to anyone, who guessed why today was special for me. Fran didn’t guess the correct answer, but she took numerous risks trying to come-up with the correct answer, which makes her a winner. Congratulations, Fran.

PSS Oh, and if you find any typos, no need to let me know.

Word flow

Whew, I just made it.

I feel like I’ve been running for miles.

All month I was trying to work in a post about poetry.

April is National Poetry Month, and here it is the last day. I almost missed it.

Why all the fuss?

Well, even though I am not a die-hard poetry fan, I truly love some poems.

This is one of my favorites; I see the room, smell the cooking, and feel their emotions.

When I am listening to or reading a poem, I have that wonderful sense of flow.  You know, when everything else fades away.  And, for me, that is fun.

Fun and flow are 2/3 of the happiness formula: fun, flow and fulfillment, which I call the 3 F’s, but more about that another time.

For now, just pick a poem or a site and listen.

Listening, enjoying and savoring poetry is absolutely free.

Ahhhh, so glad we are talking poetry in April.  Hope you are too, because you are a Phenomenal Woman.  And, this is just the kind of thing phenomenal women do!

Perhaps today, tonight or this weekend you can take the road less traveled and be gloriously lazy for a bit.

Sip a cup of soothing tea, taste the richness of a delicious, dark cup of coffee, or relax with a nice round glass of red wine while listening to, reading or even writing a poem.

Are you feeling the flow?

Have a great weekend.

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