Soul searching

 

If you were to take a photograph of your soul, what would it look like?

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We often check-in with our hearts, and feel they are in the right place, but our souls may be a truer reflection of who we are.

What does yours look like?

Are you happy with what you see?  If so, savor the feeling, celebrate it.

If not, what can you do to get yourself back on track?

Your true path is always there.  Sometimes we stray, or ignore the signs. We may get confused or go in circles, but a happier, deeper path is waiting for you. You can redirect or start over any time. If you are breathing, it is not too late.

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For Wishful Thinking Works coaching that can change your life, click here.

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Don’t be afraid to feel this holiday season, and then breathe! This post is from the talented helobiae’s Word Press blog, click here for one of my posts to help you walk thru your feelings.

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That morning, after breakfast, Julia opened the box of magical words and took a card out. The card read:

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5 P’s for perfect holiday parties

Young Woman Holding Christmas Gifts

“Tis the season when holiday parties dot or engulf our calendars. While many are fun and festive, thinking about attending others may be adding to our holiday stress. 

Have you ever dreaded going to a family, office, or neighborhood holiday gathering?

Or, maybe you’ve worried that your own event might not turn out “right.”

You are not alone. Attending and hosting holiday gatherings is a big contributor to holiday stress; accepting and sending invitations can make us feel like jumping for joy or running to hide!  

Not to worry, my “5 P’s for Perfect Parties” can help you deal with any holiday happening woes.

“5 P’s for Perfect Parties”

1. PRIORITIZE

If you are dreading attending an event, not going may be a perfectly valid option. If your schedule is too full, and you need to prioritize time with family or you’re just not up to it, let the host or hostess know as far in advance as possible. Last minute cancellations, except for true emergencies, are a no-no and just add to everyone’s holiday stress.  If you can’t make it, after sending or calling with your regrets, send a short, but sweet email, FB message, note, or card as a follow-up, and then try to arrange to share time together after the holiday rush. The goal is to let them know you care, even though you can’t be there.

2. PREDICT BETTER

Thinking about a positive outcome – even for a few minutes, will make you happier than worrying about a negative outcome for weeks, days or hours in advance – predict success! Parties and life get better when we predict better. Take a minute or two and picture the party working out great. Picture yourself leaving the soiree thinking, “Wow, that wasn’t so bad. In fact, I had a great time.” or “OMG, that was wonderful.” Envision whatever works best for you; the more details you create, the better. If you’re hosting an event, and are nervous about how it will go, picture everyone complimenting your food, decorations, (or whatever you really want them to compliment) and telling you what a great time they are having.

3. PREPARE – CREATE PLAN B, C, D

If you fear the folks or the situation, giving yourself options in advance, will help you relax, and if you are creative with your “blanks”, may provide you with a few well-needed laughs. Come-up with what you will do if you do find yourself getting frustrated or bored. “When I start feeling ___________ (frustrated, angry, annoyed, impatient, bored, out-of-place, etc.) I will ___________ . Fill-in the blank with a series of workable options . . . Check on the kids; compliment someone; help with the food or dishes; play with the kids; walk the dog; ask about vacations or recipes; sneak a peek at presents; dance; sing; play the piano, or move to a new chair or room, making sure your exit is not too dramatic! Be sure to include some fun options that you would never or can’t do, but make you smile – standing on your head, releasing a protective shield, spinning like a top, floating above the guests –  get creative, have fun with it!

4. PAY ATTENTION

Shifting your attention from your worries to the eyes of others is a great way to focus on what really matters. When people are talking to you don’t worry about what you are going to say in response or look above their heads or around the room, simply notice their eyes. Take a second to really look into their eyes. This small, but meaningful gesture, will let them know you are really listening and will bring you fully into the moment, which can lift your mood and theirs. You’ll be amazed how relaxing and rewarding it will be. (Most of us think we are already doing this, but more often than not, our minds and our eyes are focused on something else.)

5. PUT OTHERS IN THE LIMELIGHT

Focusing on what you can learn about others can lead to rich conversations and connections. I use this strategy almost every time I attend a party where there will be lots of folks I don’t know or don’t know well. Although I’m an extrovert, I’m a closet introvert at parties. I’ve done PR and special events for years, and I’m completely comfortable in those realms, but for some reason small talk at social gatherings is often difficult for me.

I’ve learned to take a few minutes before going to a party to think of at least three things I have enjoyed learning about folks in the past. I love finding out what people like to do in their spare time, what they enjoy about their professions, where they grew-up, or where they like to go on vacation. Another favorite topic, especially with extended family members, is to ask about their favorite Christmas or how they celebrated the holidays as children. I always learn something new and interesting. Before you head to the party, remind yourself that if you feel nervous or self-conscious, you can always ask about  ________, __________, ___________. With those thoughts in mind, it will be easier to shine the light on others and to keep it shining as you ask follow-up questions about what they’ve shared. When we put others in the limelight, we are giving them a precious gift – listening. It’s a priceless gift, something everyone wants, and we can deliver it anywhere.

Each of the “5 P’s for Perfect Parties” is cost and calorie-free, and will enhance any event. The “5 P’s” work so well, because they put the emphasis on people not the party, which is a warm and wonderful way to celebrate the holidays.

P.S. This is an updated post from 2010. Since holiday happenings, happen each year, I thought I’d make this column an annual event, as well. Do you have tips that have worked well for you? If so please share them! We’d love to hear about your best holiday party experiences. 

Bad news, good news

My computer died.  Cause of death as yet unknown.

I’m one of those people who spends 8 hours a day, five days a week with her laptop in her lap.

I started to panic.

My business, my blog, the deadlines I had already missed . . .

Then I remembered what I did for a living and took a deep breath.

I think it helped that I had just started a chapter in the book “Awakening Joy: 10 steps that will put you on the road to real happiness”. I was beginning Step 4 “Finding Joy in Difficult Times”.

Now, I’m not suggesting that a non-functioning, non-backed-up computer is the end of the world, but years ago it would have sent me reeling and whining.

Instead, I decided to read “Step 4” in my book, go to bed and in true Scarlett O’Hara fashion, “think about that tomorrow”.

This morning, I got up early and went for a walk and was on the steamy streets of a sleepy Florida town by 6:36 a.m.

I walked to the ATM and took care of some banking, headed to my favorite Italian store (I knew it wasn’t opened but wanted to soak up some laid-back Italian atmosphere, the building itself is adorable.) and then found an open coffee shop.

I stopped for a cup of coffee and discovered the shop had cases of books for the taking.  I started a mystery; eavesdropped a bit on the other early risers sweating outside with me; enjoyed my new book and dark roasted coffee for 30 minutes or so, and then walked the almost mile back home.

So no matter what the fate of my computer (I’m on a friend’s at the moment), I will think of this as a good day: I was outside, exercised and had a bit of an adventure.

The rest will work itself out.

The important part is not the ending, it’s the process – I saved myself a lot of stress.

I like that.

Wishing you a day filled with computers that run, low-cost solutions and happy endings.

In the meantime, breath deeply: it is a great way to start.

“The Happiness Project”

I read “The Happiness Project” earlier this month, and loved it.

And, now, I have a confession to make.

When my friend Marci first told me about the book a few months ago, and I checked out Gretchen Rubin’s blog; I was jealous!

Big-time jealous.

The green-eyed-monster-was-alive-and-well-in-my-soul jealous.

My psyche ached from my immature response, but none-the-less, I was jealous.

My mind was a cauldron of negative thoughts:

Geez, I’ve been working on my own “happiness project” for 10 years – why didn’t I think of making it a year-long project and writing a book about it?

“Why her, not me?”

“It’s not fair.  I’m a good person.”

(I know my responses were ridiculous, and sound so, so small, but I am hoping my honesty offers at least a thin buffer for my behavior.)

I ruminated a bit more, and that’s when I realized I was scrapping the bottom of my psychic barrel, and knew it was time to get my act together.

So I did.

I ordered her book from the library.

And, as I mentioned; I loved it.

I added it to my list of Books I Recommend, and will be sharing bits of it with you throughout the month of May, because May is my birthday month and I believe birthdays and good books are worth celebrating – all month long!

And, yes, I do know that the best cure for jealousy is to create and live the life I really want.  Thanks for being kind enough not to bring it up or hold it against me for forgetting that.

You really are quite classy!  Have a great day.

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