New beginnings

Spring has sprung and summer is heading our way.

It is the perfect time for renewing your spirit and taking on new adventures.

Spring (2)

Today, I’m hosting my first Wishful Thinking Women’s Meetup group on Long Island! It’s all about positivity and creating the lives we really want. My Wishful Thinking Women’s Meetup group in the Fort Myers, Florida area has 900+ members and has been going strong for 6 years this month! Fun to be starting and sharing “up north”; I can’t wait to meet everyone.

What new and exciting experiences and adventures do you have planned for the next few months?  How could you stretch yourself personally or professionally? What could you do to repair your spirit? Your Mind? Your heart? Your soul?

Find the new you this summer, or unearth the you, you used to be! Many of us spend more time planting our gardens and planning vacations than we do our lives! Who do you want to be? To feel? To experience?

This is the season for growth and renewal. Why not get in sync with nature by taking time in the next few days or week to reflect on what you truly want to bring into your life, and then begin planting the seeds of change.

Begin by asking yourself these three simple questions. Take the time to write down your answers (at least three sentences for each answer) and draw a picture or two about them. Use your answers to begin daydreaming forward:

  1. What do you want to see through your kitchen window?
  2. When your were a kid what was your favorite thing to do in the summer, why?
  3. What were your favorite books as a kid and as an adult, and why?

Bonus questions – Answering them can bring more happiness into your life and begin planting and sowing the seeds of change this summer – that’s a real bonus!  Go with your first answers.

  • What one thing can you do this week to bring some of the joy your memories and answers brought back to you?
  • How could you create new joy in your life this week?
  • How could you create more joy in the life of someone you care about?

 

You can do it!

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Developing mindfulness

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking MindfulnessIncreasing your mindfulness is a great way to center, relax, and refresh yourself.

Becoming more mindful or more aware, will help you focus on what really matters to you and will allow you to live or define your purpose and to ignite your passion for living with purpose. It can provide you with new energy, enthusiasm, and motivation.

Like the words of a good friend or a caring, loving parent or mentor, mindfulness can pave the way or provide a sense of permission to help you erase any lingering doubts that you have the right to live with passion and purpose.

Mindfulness takes practice, but is a warm and kind way to treat yourself, to allow your dreams to surface and grow, and to give thanks and wings to who you really are or want to be.

Here’s how to develop daily mindfulness . . .

As you go through your day and doubts or recriminations enter your mind, stop what you are doing, take a deep, slow, breathe and gently tell yourself “As I follow my passion, the world becomes a better place.”

If that particular sentence doesn’t work for you, create one that does and use it throughout the day to build your confidence and to create space in your mind and heart for peace and tranquility and new pathways for positivity. The more meaningful the sentence you create is to you, the more likely you will be to remember and use it. Using it will create the space your need to grow more mindful by allowing you to control what you choose to focus on any moment.

Living with purpose can be as personal as wanting to be the best person, friend, staff member, mom, sister, aunt, dad, brother, or uncle you can be. It can be as global as righting social wrongs and inequalities and saving lives. It can be fueled by the fun of inspiring others to learn, sing, dance, paint, read or write or the creative satisfaction of doing those things yourself.

True passion is like slipping into your favorite jeans or pajamas. It’s not fueled by anger or resentment. It’s based on understanding, compassion and joy. Pursuing your passion, feels good – or at least worthwhile – even when challenges arise. True passion and purpose provide the energy and creativity to move forward or around obstacles and provide a soft place for you to fall at the end of each day. Living with purpose it not always easy, but it is rewarding.

You alone get to choose your purpose. And, as long as you choose, you can’t get it wrong, because if you choose it for yourself you are on the right path.

This post was inspired by mindful moments of peace and passion experienced while listening to 21 Days of Gratitude, for which I am very thankful! My favorite sentence thus far is –“With profound gratitude, I live my purpose.”

I Am Malala

Each year around Anne Frank’s birthday in June, I write about her honesty, her insight, her bravery, and the impact of her words.

MalalaI now have another young female hero, Malala Yousafzai. Please know that no matter what words I use to describe Malala, her actions, or the impact they have had on the world and my heart, my words will never fully portray how listening to her made me feel.

Malala’s quest for education for girls in Pakistan and her bravery in pursuing her quest against the actions of the Taliban culminated in her being brutally shot in the head and neck by a member of the Taliban while returning home on a school bus. She was 14. Two other girls were also seriously wounded in the attack.

Malala’s interview with Jon Stewart made me feel proud of humanity, embarrassed about the opportunities I have ignored throughout my life to speak up at all costs on issues I care about, and joyful that Malala is on this earth and remains so to inspire us. Again, my words are a poor substitute for how she made me feel.

I plan to read her book, “I Am Malala” and to listen to this and other interviews again and again. Her story is not just about the actions of the Taliban or living in Pakistan, but rather it is about any group, government, or individual who denies others the right to think for themselves or to be physically and intellectually free.

When you listen to Malala and hear the joy she carries with her – despite everything she has faced – please let her joy be a reminder that happiness is always a choice.

There are many articles about Malala on the Internet, the information below is from Wikipedia:

Malala Yousafzai (Pashto: ملاله یوسفزۍ‎ [mə ˈlaː lə . ju səf ˈzəj];[1] Urdu: ملالہ یوسف زئی‎ Malālah Yūsafzay, born 12 July 1997)[2] is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.
The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Malala may have become “the most famous teenager in the world.”[3] United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.[4] In the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, Yousafzai was featured on the magazine’s front cover and as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize (although Malala was widely tipped to win the prize,[5] it was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons). On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education, and in September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham.[6] Yousafzai is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai

The actions and words of thousands of brave individuals have changed our world for the better. I believe their stories can inspire us change our worlds and to create the life we really want. The key is to figure out what matters most to you and focus on that, which takes grit.

We’ll be talking more about grit in next week’s post. Until then, I hope you can find some time to listen to Malala.

That’s it for now, have a great week.

Never underestimate the power of happiness . . .

International lecturer, author of the “Happiness Advantage”, and former Harvard instructor Shawn Achor recently shared the following research at the Commonwealth Bank’s two-day “Wired for Wonder” conference in Sydney, Australia. The figures are staggering, the research is interesting, and the impact amazing.

MH900448318Happiness matters.

“Ninety percent of our long-term level of happiness is . . . not based on the external world, but how your brain processes the external world,” Achor said. “If we could change that lens some incredible things could happen.”

“If you take four-year-old children, prime them to become more positive and have them put blocks of shapes together, it turns out the children in the positive category will put blocks together significantly faster than children in a negative/neutral category.”

IQ doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.

“If I know everyone’s IQ here in the room and I’m trying to predict your job successes, cross-industry, over the next five-year period, it turns out that IQ and technical skills are only responsible [for] and only predict 25 % of your job successes,” Achor told the conference.

The pattern has been observed again and again: “Happiness and optimism can be much better predictors of productivity than IQ and technical skills,” Achor said. According to research undertaken in the late 1990s, doctors who had been primed to be more positive were 19% faster and more accurate with coming up with a correct diagnosis and were more “intellectually flexible” when presented with a misdiagnosis.

Success and Happiness

MH900401133“… if you raise your levels of happiness, it turns out every single business and educational outcome improves. Our success rates rise dramatically. Raising success does not raise levels of happiness but raising levels of happiness dramatically increases your success rates.”

Before Happiness

Achor’s second book, “Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success” is due out in September, I’ll be sharing more info from it with you as soon as it’s available.

Have a great weekend, and make it even better by asking yourself each morning, what one thing can I do today to bring more joy into my life. . . and then do it!

The perfect one-liner

Other Wishful Thinking Works posts you might enjoy . . .

Remembering friends real and otherwise

Where are you sitting on the tree of life?

Active, Constructive

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can enrich your life, click here.

My bags are unpacked . . .

 

We are all traveling, just on different paths.                     P. Koerper, 2008

I have settled back into Bitola, Macedonia where I spent three years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer from 2006-09. This is my second trip back to visit my friends and work on projects in this ever beautiful, ancient country.

Today I head to Greece to meet an American, who will be joining me here for two weeks. She heard me talk at a library in Florida about Macedonia, and decided to join me this year. Her adventure will be magnified as we try to cross the Greek border, which is closed due to strikes. I love that she sees this as all part of the fun. She travels well.

Speaking of adventures, here are a few photos from Bitola. I am having trouble loading photos, many more to follow.   To say I am glad to be back, doesn’t begin to capture the feelings I’m experiencing. There is a sweet sense of self that emerges each time I am here. I love walking foreign streets, and feeling like I am home.

View of Bitola from my friend Evi’s balcony where I am staying.

Bridal bread from a traditional village wedding.

Dancing the oro at traditional village wedding

 

Hope your journey is going well, and your path is bringing you much joy. And, as always, wish you were here.

A glutton for joy

On Friday, I asked a number of open-ended questions in my post. Including:

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing with your life now, what would you be doing? 

What did you want to be when you grew-up?

I hope you answered them, at least in your head. Knowing the answers may be a step in the direction of creating the life you want.

Here’s one more question that is good for a slow-starting or an already-overwhelming Monday morning.

What one thing could you do today to bring more joy into your life?

Okay, you thought of your answer, now please do it. (If your immediate response was “I don’t know”, please take a deep breath, smile and then ask yourself again.)

Me? I’m going to take a walk. And when I do, I am going to listen to the birds, notice the flowers and trees, and search for color all around me – instead of thinking about something I am working on.

Oops, that’s more than one thing. I guess I’m just a glutton for joy.

WTW Dandelion

PS For more Wishful Thinking Works posts on “joy”, please use it as a search term at the top of the page and select “this site”.

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