2020! New decade, new you!

Happy New Year!

Let’s start at the very beginning! A very good place to start!

When Julie Andrews, as Maria, sang “Do-Re-Mi” to the children in movie “The Sound of Music”, she was encouraging them and making singing fun. Maria wanted to give them the confidence and courage they needed to enjoy a new aspect of life, and that is exactly what I want to do for you today.

I am sharing with you today two FREE resources to help you create the life you really want through positive reflection and insight, which will increase your confidence and your courage, and maybe even make you feel like you are on a mountain top singing! (The resources are great to do with kids and teens, as well.)

1. Wishful Thinking Works 2019 Year in Review “Ta Da” List

The first resource is the Wishful Thinking Works 2019 “Ta Da” List, the first version of which I developed in 2012 to help you live your best life by reflecting on and savoring the good already in your life. My “Ta Da” List has been so effective in reminding me of what was good in my life, that I no longer wait an entire year to use it to reinforce the goodness that has come my way or to review the positives I have achieved.

I complete my “Ta Da” List during the first week of the New Year and then again around the 4th of July, which is Independence Day in the U.S.A. My twice a year habit gives me both confidence and courage, and when I review and savor each entry, my brain is flooded with positive chemicals and hormones that can create the same level of joy and excitement the original event did. I love that it is like a two-for-one sale in my brain! And, who doesn’t love a good sale. especially at this time of year?

It is so much easier for us to focus on our sad times and our real and perceived losses than it is for us to savor the good ones, using your Wishful Thinking Works 2019 “Ta Da” List will help you redirect your energies, ramp-up your enthusiasm and reinforce your commitment to living your best life.

2. Wishful Thinking Works 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List

Using your Wishful Thinking Works 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List is a fun way to design your future. It can help you give a totally new direction to your life, or simply create new pathways for you to enjoy.

To use your 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List, simply list all the things you want to happen in 2020 – big or small – as if they already have happened and how having them or accomplishing them has made you feel.

EX: “I feel fantastic that I finished my degree. It was tough, but I am so proud of myself for keeping at it. I learned so much about myself and the world by pursuing this degree. I feel so happy about getting it.” Remember, you do not have to have the degree in 2020, only the desire to start or finish it – you are predicting your success.

Be bold. Be brave. Don’t censor yourself or your dreams. I have been predicting success for myself for more than a decade and so many of my dreams have become a reality – my Masters degree, serving 3 times in the Peace Corps, travel beyond my expectations, a loving relationship, warm supportive friendships, living my purpose daily and so much more.

Don’t be afraid of your future – predict and then picture it! The Wishful Thinking Works 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List is one page and will get you started, but I encourage you to transfer the categories to a notebook so you can fully explore and write about your new life throughout 2020.

 

Wishing you the happiest of New Year’s and the confidence and courage to believe in yourself and your potential and the possibilities that exist for you in the decade ahead. Wishful Thinking Works – go for it!

wtw-logo-patrice-koerper-life-coach-motivational-speaker 2019
Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity; what you do with it is up to you.” 
Patrice K. Robson

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Communication worth savoring

Me on trainI have been writing about savoring for years and have made it part of my daily life, because it is an amazing feeling and brings such insight and joy. But I never thought about savoring communication until I read this article, and checked out the research of University of Arizona researcher Maggie Pitts.

Pitts analyzed online responses after asking respondents whether or not they savored communication and if so, for a detailed example of an experience they had savored.

“Savoring is the process of (1) identifying a pleasant experience, (2) noticing that you are feeling pleasure about that experience, and then (3) feeling good about feeling pleasure” Maggie Pitts

From their responses Pitts identified seven different types of communication that people tend to savor:

1) Aesthetic communication. Survey respondents savored this type of communication because of some aspect of how it was presented—timing, delivery, choice of words or perhaps a surprise twist. An inspiring speech, good play on words or suspenseful announcement might fall in this category.

2) Communication presence. This category includes conversations in which participants reported being so deeply engaged and completely in the moment with another person that it felt as if no one else mattered. These types of exchanges often were described as “real” or “entirely honest.”

3) Nonverbal communication. From to physical contact to facial expressions, these exchanges emphasize nonverbal cues. A meaningful hug or smile might fall in this category.

4) Recognition and acknowledgement. This category encompasses communication in which participants were publicly acknowledged or offered appreciation, like an awards ceremony or a speech honoring an individual.

5) Relational communication. This category includes communication that establishes, confirms or gives insight into a relationship, such as a couple’s discussion about the future together or an intimate disclosure that brings two people closer.

6) Extraordinary communication. Many participants savored communication around special moments, such as a wedding, illness, birth of a child or other “landmark memories.”

7) Implicitly shared communication. This category includes unspoken communication experiences that may be more difficult to articulate, such as feeling the excitement of a crowd around you, or looking at someone and instinctively knowing that you are sharing the same feeling.

I love that learning something new about savoring has brought even more joy to my life, and I quickly realized that I do savor many of the conversations I have had with people throughout my life and each of those still brings me joy. Here are some of the most memorable as this moment:
  • a conversation we had in my 10th grade social science class about how people approach living and their choices;
  • a talk with a friend who was dying of leukemia;
  • listening to my sons when they were little and discovering the world around them and much later when they were in college and just after, as they explored a much larger world;
  • a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer on the train to Skopje – the capital of Macedonia;
  • talks with friends of shared books and movies;
  • a presentation on music, art and math by Richard G. Brown, the father of Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown and a much honored math professor
  • the hundreds and hundreds of rich and wonderful conversations with my dearest friends at the happiest, most exciting, or the most trying times of my life,
  • and the deep, touching and heartfelt conversations I have with my husband almost daily.
I am now looking forward to reading the books Pitts edited on positive communication, which hopefully will create more conversations for me to savor. I already like the way she thinks, “Maggie takes a “bright side” approach to the study of human communication — asking questions like, “what is going right” here, and “how can we make good things even better?”
I hope you find lots of wonderful moments and communications to savor, today and all the days ahead for you.
As I was writing this post in the early morning hours, I took a moment to savor the water color view through the screen on my balcony on a softly unfolding morning in tropical Florida.
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Summer High

sunflower-1421011__340Ahh, the first day of summer, also known as the summer solstice is upon us. It’s the longest day of the year (and the shortest night), giving each of us an extra long day to celebrate and savor each and every wonderful thing in our lives. (Dig deep if you have to, but don’t miss the chance – folks have been celebrating this day for thousands of years. It’s probably good karma!)

I was trying to talk myself out of my walk this morning, but then decided it wasn’t everyday that I get to celebrate the simple act of the sun rising with folks all over the world. I hope you find a way today to try something new, do something you have been putting-off, or do something special for yourself or someone you care about – you’ll have a little extra time!

And, then, remember to pause along the way to notice the sun, watch it shine, feel its warmth and be glad it is there. Even if it is sweltering, think cold, dull winter day and it just might feel joyful! 🙂

Sunny regards,

Patrice

You can do it!

 Click here to make the Summer of 2017 your season of change with

Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching!

Create a new you or unearth the you, you used to be.

It’s effective and affordable, and you are worth it!

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

Monday Morning Ritual

It’s Monday morning. (But you probably already knew that.)

Could you use a quick boost of energy without another short-lived, crazy kick of caffeine? coffee-791045_960_720

If so, write down three things that made you happy this weekend.  They don’t have to be big things, but if they are – congratulations!

Maybe it was a great cup of cappuccino or tea, or a nice glass of wine or meal .  .  . Or, perhaps fun with family or friends .  .  . Getting the weeds pulled, the grass cut, flowers planted, the closets cleaned, or the wash done.

Did you have a great night out, or a quiet, relaxing day in? Special time with the kids or grand kids?

Whatever made you happy this weekend is worth noting and savoring – and you can do both in less than 3 minutes, maybe even 2!

1. Write down what made you happy. (Feel free to post them in comments.) Just a quick sentence, phrase or word or two can make a positive difference. Drawing or doodling them also works. (If you are really pressed for time, think about them on your way to work.)

2. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. (If driving, skip the closing the eyes part!)

3. Now, savor each memory: picture the people, the setting, your feelings.  Hold them for a few seconds, take another deep breath, hold them- add a few more details and then let the your thoughts fade as you open your eyes and relax your shoulders and stretch your neck a bit to the left and right.

That’s it. Doesn’t it feel nice? (If you didn’t try it, you cannot say “No”!)

This quick ritual (repeatedly regularly), can make all the difference in your day or week. To enrich and expand the feeling – follow-up by listening to your favorite tunes on the way to work, or after everyone heads out the door. (Dancing is entirely optional, but personally recommended.)

Or, if Monday mornings are particularly tough for you, simply sway to some laid-back,  soothing music. It’s comforting and may even release a bouquet of relaxing hormones and natural chemicals into your blood stream that will help you glide through your day – or at least the morning.

If you are thinking, “What is she nuts? . . . I don’t have time to breath, yet alone sway?”, please note that while you were thinking that, you had enough time to take a deep breath and at least picture what it would feel like if you did have the time to savor and sway, and even that would help – so maybe you should simply let go and try it!  🙂

monday-1236072__340Okay, so most of us will never love or look forward to Mondays, but truly the best way to face the week ahead, is to at least make friends with them.

Sleep a little later or get up earlier to stretch or exercise  .  .  .  Plan a special breakfast, lunch or low-cal snacks to enjoy throughout the day .  .  . Wear something you love or save something new on Mondays only .  .  . Embrace your break – color, call a friend or start that book you’ve been dying to read.

When you get home . . . Plan an early dinner, eat leftovers or make Mondays someone else’s night to cook.  Make Mondays a no TV or electronics night for you and the kids, read to them or simply turn off the lights, lay on your backs on a  blanket in the family room and talk about your day. Kids love both novelty and rituals – creating interesting moments together is a great stress buster for everyone.

The key is to be kind to yourself, to get creative and to customize your rituals for you – and the kids if you’ve got ’em – and then make sure you savor them each and every Monday, and, only on Mondays to make your “its” extra special.

It might take a few Mondays to get in the habit, but you and the peace you will feel, are worth it.

And, breathe . . .

You can do it!

 Click here to make the Summer of 2017 your season of change with

Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching!

Create a new you or unearth the you, you used to be.

It’s effective and affordable, and you are worth it!

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

National Coffee Day

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Today is national coffee day, and a great time to get in touch with the things you love.

A warm cup of cappuccino with any kind of delicate design gracing its surface is one of my most delectable delights, especially when enjoyed in a quiet cafe with Autumn colored walls and a painted cement floor.

Call me crazy, but cappuccino in a round, thick, ceramic cup lights up my day, relaxes my mind and fills my heart.  I love that it stimulates so many of my senses: sight, taste, touch – the warmth of the cup, and smell – that strong dusky scent. (Studies show that even sniffing coffee can awaken our senses and reduce stress!)

What treat, item, or setting, washes away the worries of the world, and makes even the greyest day shine for you?

Research shows that enjoying and savoring our personal pleasures is a great way to re-set and redirect our gloomy feelings and thoughts. The more descriptive and detailed your description of your pleasure the more likely you will be able to recreate its effect in your mind, long after you’ve enjoyed it.

I hope today you treat yourself to your favorite special moment or food, and then take time in the days ahead to replay the joy it brought you. I’m heading to a old-fashioned New York Italian bakery a perfect half-mile walk away for a steamy cup and and a crunchy, walnut, shortbread cookie, and I plan to savor the memory when I am back in Florida, 1200 miles my favorite cup of that delicious brew!

 

 

 

 

Gratitudes from abroad

 

“He stumbled upon the thing he had forgotten he was searching for and in that moment lost not his mind but his heart.”            From Mark Slouka’s collection of short stories, “Lost Lake”

My thoughts when I visit Macedonia. My heart is constantly being refreshed, and expands with each passing moment. The reasons vary minute to minute, scene to scene, encounter to encounter, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Here are a few of my favorite things thus far . . .

Being on hand to share a friend’s wedding; we met on Skype when working on a project after I returned to the States. (Have I mentioned how much I appreciate Skype?) Last fall when I visited, we  had dinner with one of my favorite people in the world, who introduced us. We spent an evening of laughter, grilled meats and salads with a current Peace Corps Volunteer. Time and distance has not affected the friendships. This year the wedding brought us together again for a fantastic evening of music, singing, dancing, and laughing. The evening and their friendships are very special to me.

The Happy Couple borrowed from their FB page!

 

Spending my days and nights with the dear friends, who have opened their home to me while I am here. We pass the time talking about life, family, work and clothes; eating the delicious foods she prepares between work and play;  and critiquing the movies we watch good and bad, and laughing our way through both.

 

And, yes, I ate them. They were grilled to perfection, with a side of tiny potato and red onion salad.

 

Walking here, there and everywhere. Feeling like a kid each time I step out a door and into the sun, not knowing what lies ahead, but knowing my heart will be affected by it all. (Many more photos to share, but here are a few.) 

One of Ohrid's beautiful streets

 

The view in Stenje, Macedonia, a village on Prepsa Lake, a few kilometers from Albania

 

Behind the glass at Villa Jovan in Ohrid

The colors and angles never cease to delight me.

 

Planning road trips with a group of friends; arguing over (discussing) destinations; and yet, knowing wherever we go, we will have fun. And, we do. Last year Struga, Vevchani, Makedonski Brod and beyond. This year, Luktraki and Edessa, Greece. Next time, who knows?

 

 

Gyros are pork or chicken, usually served with French fries with options for mustard and/or ketchup! A dab of tzatziki is there for the asking. I hate to admit it, but I prefer American.

 

The warm mountain waters of Loutraki, Greece our first destination that day

 

A natural pool at Loutraki, Greece, I call it "Watching the clock in paradise."

 

Looking down the falls in Edessa, Greece

Now, looking up in Edessa, Greece

 

Chestnuts, roadside in Greece

 

Coffee – lots of coffee – with friends at outdoor cafés watching the world go by, and in backyards and balconies enjoying the fresh air and sun. 

 

Cappuccino, enough said.

 

Music is everywhere. Concert violins on opening night of a classical music festival; American rock-and-roll blaring from cafés and being sung by a talented bride at her wedding; Pavarotti and Joe Cocker on a road trip; traditional Macedonian in the villages, mountains, cities and towns –  when and wherever Macedonians gather.

 

 

Music in the mountains from my Peace Corps days.

 

Food – salty, sweet; mild and hot;  fresh, slow-cooked; tangy, tasty and all of it made with love and attention to presentation. Here are a few of the Fall’s freshest.  

 

Kiwi, almost ready.

  

Pomegranates - red, ripe and delicious in just a few weeks

 

Hope wherever you are, you take a moment to savor what you love and time to explore the rest.  And, to consider the possibility as Mark Slouka notes that:

“living appropriately sometimes requires a drawing back, a slow renunciation of  much that mattered once.”

 

 

 

 

 

The 30 second difference

Feeling this good is easier than you think, and can take only 30 seconds.

I truly belive there is no better way to improve your outlook and your life than to learn to capture the feelings of the varied moments of your life. I believe this applies to both the “good” and the “bad” moments.

We spend so much time doing, many of us forget or immediately push past our feelings, afraid that if we – even for a moment – stop and reflect, acknowledge or savor them we will miss something else, become complacent or conceited, delve into despair, embarrass ourselves, spiral out of control or break some unwritten societal behavioral rule. Most of us have devised all sorts of mental gymnastics to avoid being in the moment.

The truth is, it is healthy to acknowledge and label how we are feeling. It is okay to face and embrace the fact that we are happy, glad, sad or mad, and doing so is more beneficial than pushing the feelings aside or rushing to minimize them.

If you are sad, be sad. Note to yourself: “I’m sad.” If you are angry, it is more effective to say to yourself, “I’m angry,” and then to ask yourself a series of follow-up questions such as the ones listed below, than to hide or disguise your feelings under tons of angry or whiny words, reactive or retaliatory actions (including smoking, drinking, or eating everything in sight), or to shut down and slip into situational depression.

  • “Why am I sad/angry/nervous/tense?”
  • “Have I felt this way before?”
  • “If so, when?”
  • “Am I afraid of something?”
  • If so, “What?”
  • “Is it likely the thing I am afraid of will really happen?”
  • If so, “What could I do about it?”
  • Keep coming up with simple, yet, open-ended questions until you get to an “aha” moment or run out of steam, which usually happens sooner than we think it will.
  • And, remember to label each new feeling that arises along the way.

Asking yourself questions can help you get a grip on what is really happening, and then you can let yourself feel and face those feelings, which is much more productive and relaxing than ignoring them.

If you are happy, feel it in every bone of your body – SAVOR it. Allow the experience to seep into your physical being. Hold any pleasant thoughts and pleasurable images, allowing them time to imprint in your brain and release a little dopamine (more on the “powers” of this interesting little neurotransmitter in future posts) and to set the stage for easy recall in the future.

Saying to yourself, “Oooh, this moment feels so good or is so special to me, I want to remember it,” only takes a second or two. Taking the time to close your eyes, breathe deeply and relive the moment in detail, uses-up another 30 seconds that I am sure you can spare! (When you get really good at savoring, you won’t have to close your eyes, instead you can use them to quickly scan all the details of the situation, sort-of like those cool camera shots in movies when a super hero zeroes in on and records every single detail of what is happening around him or her.)

The key is to capture the moment in your mind, storing it for future reference. Think of yourself as the librarian or archivist of all the pleasant moments of your life. We tend to do this automatically when we are on vacation or enjoying other big moments of our lives, but we overlook saving the day-to-day or little stuff that makes us happy or our makes our hearts sing.

Gather all the good stuff. Get in the habit of noticing and recording the perfect cup of coffee – the way it looks, smells and tastes or the sunbeam slipping through the curtains, or the amazing scent of fresh-cut grass. It’s all there for the taking. Storing it can enhance your life. Pulling it back off the bookshelf of your mind to relive, will improve your mood and maybe even your outlook on life.

To learn more about the wonderful art of savoring, check out these past Wishful Thinking Works posts.

Take time to notice when you are happy, glad, sad or mad. Begin feeling, savoring and storing the moments of your life. It’s easy to fill-up the bookshelves of your brain with “best-selling” moments.

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