By Jackie White
Isn't it funny how life can get in the way of living the life you want? Seems ironic, right? It’s important to step back once in a while and check-in with yourself. One of the best ways I have found to do this is to take a personal retreat. A personal retreat can give you a needed break and help you prioritize life’s demands.
What is a Personal Retreat? It is time you spend with yourself, away from distractions, focusing on your mind, body, and soul. The intention is to create time for you to just be. Be yourself, relax and check in with your goals and intentions. This time will help you to re-energize, refocus and recommit to your important priorities in life.
Why is a Personal Retreat So Important? Taking time for yourself to clear your mind of daily activities and to just catch up with yourself, as you might with an old friend. Enjoy your own company by doing things you like to do. Take time to be with your thoughts and process how things are going. What’s going well, what needs to be changed and how might you have fun in the process?
Three Steps to Create The Perfect Personal Retreat
Step One: Make Time
Make arrangements for you to have time for yourself. Time away, if possible. If need be, get a babysitter and make sure things at home are handled, so that you can be away without distraction.
How long should your retreat be? That’s really up to you. Any time with yourself is certainly better than no time. Here is one way to consider how much time you should spend.
Good: Your retreat can be an afternoon or a day.
Better: Your retreat can be a week-end
Best: Your retreat can be a week.
Remember, no matter the length of time, a retreat of any kind can be enough to shake off the stress and re-energize you.
Step Two: Location
There are so many ways to experience a personal retreat, some more extravagant than others.
Stay Home: this option is fine if you can find a place where you are not going to be bothered or distracted by people or things (like laundry or dishes!).
Going Away: this option can be any number of places. Just choose one where you will be comfortable and have time for yourself.
Step Three: The Retreat
Your personal retreat will require a little pre-work to be the most effective. First of all, make it as indulgent as you can. Pack comfy clothes, a journal or notebook to write in, have relaxing meditative calming music available to help set the mood, maybe a candle, pillow spray, or bath bombs. You get the picture.
What to Expect:
Your retreat should be a balance of restorative relaxing activities and meditations along with re-energizing plans of action for moving forward in life. Address your mind, body and soul with the activities you choose to take part in.
Opening the Retreat
Begin each day of the retreat in a restorative mode. You will set your intentions for the outcome of the retreat and/or that day by reciting and absorbing the following:
This personal retreat is for me to remember who I am and to look to who I want to be. I promise to be true to myself and not feel guilty or rushed in spending this time for myself.
Take the time to put on calm, quiet instrumental music, get comfortably seated, and try this meditation.
Close your eyes and breathe in and out three times. Put your intention on clearing your mind and listening to your soul. Continue breathing, focusing on your breath until you feel your body relax. Begin with a prayer or statement of gratitude for your retreat. Once you are calm and receptive, ask what might be the most important thing you will receive from this retreat. Write the answer in your journal. Continue to stay in this relaxed meditative state until you feel ready to begin. If you feel so inclined, continue to write anything that comes to you in your journal.
Assessing Your Life and Making a Plan
The next phase of the retreat is to re-energize and refocus by taking the time to assess what’s going on in your life across the following life balance areas. Rate your satisfaction on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being most satisfied and 1 being not at all satisfied.
The outcome of this quick quiz should help you to focus on what is working and what might need a little more attention. Brainstorm ideas for each of the areas and then prioritize what you’d like to focus on first, identify the steps and timelines to work towards.
Wrap It Up
Your goal of a personal retreat is to disrupt daily patterns through the care of yourself. Taking time to relax your mind, body, and soul is crucial. During the retreat, you will center and align yourself to what really is important in your life. By scheduling periodic retreats to recharge and reset you are making a claim that you are worthy of self-care, keeping true to yourself, and following your intentions.
Enjoy your retreat and Shine on!
By Jackie White
News Flash! Your family is central to your overall happiness and life satisfaction. Oh, you already knew that? Did you know that the number one indicator of life satisfaction is spending time with those who you love and who love you too? It’s number one, that’s important. So, how do we make sure we are doing that effectively? This is the question Bruce Feiler has asked (and answered) in his book The Secrets of Happy Families. In today’s blog, we delve into the 3 key strategies (plus one bonus strategy!) in his playbook for happy families.
Adapt All The Time
If this lesson were to be distilled down into one word it would be “flexible”. Flexibility in family management is key to keeping stress down. It’s very easy to get stuck in thoughts of how a family should be run. From rules to roles, the scripts that may have come before may need to be thrown out and retooled to fit your family. Think of it as customizing your family experience! Get creative and, as a family, write new rules for your family. Work as a team, of course, guided by the parents, but show your children they are an important part of your family and give them a voice. This leads us to our next play in this book.
Example: My family structure is one where my husband travels frequently. That has defined the way our family works. We eat together when we can, Dad attends concerts and sporting events when he can, but Mom is always there. That doesn’t mean Dad loves the kids less, it just is a reality for our family. We adjust schedules when Dad is out of town and that is a norm for us.
Talk. A Lot
Clear and frequent communication is always key. There is the communication between the parents that can set the tone for the family unit. That needs to be managed and both parents must work in unison for proper leadership in the family. Secondly, allowing children to speak and be heard is important for the child to be able to feel good about themselves and grow into well-adjusted adults. Feiler explains most healthy families talk a lot. Talk during mealtimes to long car rides, from disputes between partners and among siblings, and/or talks about money, or activities. It is these kinds of conversations that happen daily that benefit from effective communication as that is the foundation of happy and successful families.
Example: I have teens and they are barely home, so to sit and talk with them is precious time. I make a point to set up lunch dates with them so we can get some face to face time. As well, I use the words of their generation and I text a lot when they aren’t present. It lets them know I am thinking of them and that I am interested in what they are doing.
Go Out and Play
This one is a big one that can get forgotten in all the management of shuffling kids to sports, activities, home cleaning, shopping, preparing meals, and managing the stuff. We all need play and fun. It’s what creates memories, traditions, and happiness. Involving the entire family in planning the play whether it be an afternoon outing, a vacation, or family fun nights can be a great way to practice all the steps of being flexible, communicating, and having fun together.
Example: Fun has always been a priority in our family, so this one can be found in most anything we do. We joke around together, play games and watch Tic Toks and laugh together. (Remember, you have to speak your kid’s language, so Tic Toks it is!).
If you want a happy family, these three strategies will help you to get there, but that’s just the beginning. Your end goal of a happy family begins with you choosing happiness. Once you make that decision the easiest path to happiness is to take action towards that through a positive mindset. Setting the example for your children that they have control over their own happiness can be the best gift you can give them. Providing them a happy childhood can be the next greatest gift you can give not only to them individually but to your entire family.
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Anyone else a fan of the Musical Hamilton? This is a favorite in the Prell household, particularly of 9 year-old-Liam. And, our f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e character is the king. In the number “What Comes Next?”, he asks newly liberated America what they are going to do now that they are free. What a simple but profound question. You've reached a goal, so, what comes next?
The end of March is quickly approaching. This coincides with a quarter of 2021 gone, poof, finished! Which leads us to wondering a few things, DreamChaser. What have you accomplished in the first 3 months of the year? Are you on track? If you hit some goals, what comes next? Or, have you derailed and are ready to start again?
No matter where you are in the process, this is a good time to take a quick assessment. Celebrate your wins and ask yourself, what worked? Be grateful for the struggles and failures and ask yourself, what can I learn? Look at your accomplishments and ask yourself, what comes next? How can I grow and stretch? Take this information and reset for the next quarter!
Your Inspiration Catalysts are here to guide you through making the most of this year. We have already touched on important concepts like mindset, core values, goals, and strategies to get you on the path to your best life. These topics are crucial pieces to learn to really knock this life out of the water, to get those goals and dreams, to live an inspired and purpose-driven life. And, we also realize these topics get deep and can be overwhelming; your Inspiration Catalysts have been at this personal growth thing a long time (and, we are still works in progress! That’s the beauty of personal growth and development!). Follow along each week as we break these topics down into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to grasp them and incorporate them, with tips and tricks learned from the trenches to help you succeed.
You see, it’s crucial to understand AND apply these topics into your life. Learning and understanding mean nothing if action isn’t taken. I hate to break it to you but there is no shortcut on this path of turning those dreams into reality. It takes tenacity, grit, determination, patience, and a willingness to try. It takes a “rubber butt” mentality...that you will most likely fall on your butt, so what? That’s part of the process. When you have a “rubber butt” mentality, you bounce back up and try again. We want to guide you through the process by showing you where to start and how to do it while supporting and encouraging you along the way.
What Comes Next?
How about reconnecting with that woman you lost along the way?
How about dusting off those goals and dreams that are on your heart?
How about finding your why and purpose in life?
How about upgrading old habits to those that serve you better?
How about shedding the negativity and stepping into the positive and possible?
That’s what CAN come next...you just need to be bold enough to try, accept that faltering and failure is an anticipated part of the process, and join in the fun, inspired, intentional journey that is about to unfold! That’s what SoulShine Life Connections was created to do; connect you with your soul, or self, so you can shine. So, who’s ready to learn what it really means when we say, “Shine on!”?!?
P.S. Here’s last month’s recap, in case you are excited to start! Rather listen? The SoulShining blogcast (audio version of our twice weekly blogs) are available on Spotify and Apple podcasts!
Want to explore your why? Check this blog! → https://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/why-do-you-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning-why-asking-why-is-the-key-to-fulfillment
Ready to build your core value foundation? Click away! →
Want to shift that mindset around self love? Here’s your answer... →
Here’s a fun take on goals! Check this blog out! →
Want to learn about why we love bad habits? Click here! →
Ready to align your road to success? Here’s your answer! →
Want to learn about goal roadblocks? Here you go! →
Want to learn 4 behaviors that can sabotage your progress? Click here! →
Interested in how affirmations can work to help with goal progression? Here you go! →
By Erika Fehrenbach
Have you ever noticed that kids are the best life coaches? Seriously, if you have ever spent a few minutes of quality time with a kid, you probably have noticed not only their unfiltered joy in the simplest things in life, like the pull-up box that is 2 year-old Lucy’s favorite thing in the whole wide world, but also their spot on questioning and assessment of life. The latest great question, which in turn was the catalyst to spark a great idea, came from my 9 year-old and life coach, Liam.
I’m honestly not sure how we got on the topic of goals and resolutions, but there we were. Chatting about “grown-up” topics when Liam, cutting through the fluff like only a kid can, asked, “Why are resolutions only in January?”. The only answer I could come up with was the obvious, that New Year’s resolutions are for when you are starting over in a new year, a fresh start. Liam’s reply, “Well, I think you should have Spring Resolutions, too, since the season starts over.”
All I could say was, I agree, buddy, I agree. And, was thinking, dang! How smart!
Seriously, he’s onto something here, DreamChaser! The first day of spring is right around the corner, March 20. Now, whether or not spring weather will return to the Midwest and give winter the boot, that is to be determined! (Sorry, Jackie!) This means we are about a quarter of the way through 2021 already...the first quarter is almost over!
This is the perfect time to check in on your progress with a good ole’ honest assessment! Dust off those New Year’s resolutions and goals. Take a look at how you are doing, and, more importantly, where you went astray. Remember, it’s those failures that give us the best lessons and course corrections. For goals you have met, time to push further. For goals you have missed, what roadblocks did you hit? Then, use this information to formulate a new plan. And, with spring on the horizon, does this bring new goals to mind that you didn’t think of in December?
Next, write out your Spring Resolutions. Remember, until you write out your goal, it is merely an idea in your head. Be specific, vague goals will yield vague results, include the elements of how much and by when. An additional piece to making your goals specific is to make sure they are measurable so you know that you have achieved the goal. Roughly outline a plan of action, those steps to get you from where you are, your starting point, to where you want to be, your goal. Guess what’s next? The most important step...just begin. Messy, imperfect action is better than no action! Any plan will need to be revised so just start!
Protip! If you have a BIG goal like losing 50 pounds or writing a novel or launching your business, let’s chunk it down. What can you do towards that goal in 3 months? That’s the goal you write down and make an action plan for. Remember the Slight Edge idea? Those small actions everyday compound over time, which will get you to that BIG goal. Does it really matter how fast you get there? Nope. Smaller, more achievable goals get you the wins and confidence that you can take it to the end.
Spring Resolutions! Brilliant, Liam, brilliant. But, I’m going to take it one step further. Turns out, lol, every 3 months is the beginning of the next season, which correlates with the next quarter of the year. I’m challenging you to adopt Seasonal Resolutions as a way to keep you on track for getting after that life you dream of, bringing those dreams into reality one goal achieved at a time. Set an alarm in your phone for Summer Resolutions on 6/20 and Autumn Resolutions on 9/22. Let’s do this, DreamChaser!
Do Not Resent Growing Old...Many Are Denied the Privilege. Finding the Pot of Gold in the Golden Years
By Jackie White
I have to admit something. I am of Irish descent, yet I don’t know much about my Irish heritage. Upon the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to do a little investigation, and I found that if you are looking for a definition of how to live a well-lived life, you should look to the Irish. I looked to see if I could find some wisdom in some of their sayings and I was struck by one particular saying that I felt was quite profound:
Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.
Wow. That one hit me between the eyes. It is easy to get caught up in the complaining of getting older, isn’t it? I mean things are going south, wrinkles setting in, and busting a move takes on a whole different meaning! But, here’s the thing, getting older shouldn’t be such a negative
experience. Resenting our bodies and minds for failing us shouldn’t be as we actually are the privileged ones.
We are thankfully still here, and we get another day to take in all life has to offer. We get another day to laugh or make someone else smile. I know there are times when you acknowledge your fortune in still being here. We all have people in our lives who “died too young”, and it is in those times, we feel truly grateful to have creaky knees to carry us through another day.
They call getting older, the “golden years” and by God, I am looking for a pot of gold during these golden years! As it turns out the centenarian population in Ireland has grown by 20% over the past 5 years and is on track to increase ten-fold by 2050 and by the turn of the century 25 million worldwide will be 100 years or older. These folks are living not only longer, but also healthier and more meaningful lives, now if that isn’t a pot of gold, I don’t know what is!
This year, I turned double nickels, that’s 55 for those of you who may not have reached that milestone yet. I will still tell you I am 28, but that’s because I am old enough to choose however old it is I want to be! Now, there are a couple of advantages to hitting the speed limit of life and the first is you can now qualify for the “senior specials” at restaurants and many stores offer discounts to seniors. You can also become a member of AARP and get more discounts! Getting old means discounts, baby and hey, I am one for a deal, so I will take it!
But besides the discounts, I was still curious about how I get a piece of this aging gracefully thing? As it turns out there are a few things we can all do to continue living our best lives even as we age. Here are the three things (plus one bonus) that researchers have found that make all the difference in living longer, happier, and healthier.
Stay Connected: This is a critical thing we must all take to heart. We cannot allow ourselves to live in a state of loneliness. Loneliness is considered the “silent killer”. When people become disconnected they spiral down into depression. Let’s make a clear distinction here, too. We are talking about face-to-face live interactions with others. Ugh, Covid has prevented this from happening as it should and so we need to do what we can to stay connected. Zoom calls and social media are helpful, but in no way are an equal substitute for actual human interaction. Note that many teens who rely heavily on social media interaction are experiencing depression at alarming rates. Bottom line, do not let yourself become a hermit! Get out and see friends, family, or volunteer. Just don’t allow yourself to be lonely.
Hobbies, Goals, and Roles: If you have spent any time with us on SoulShine Life Connections, you will hear us preaching about finding your thing and following your dreams and goals. This stuff is important! It’s who you are and what you are meant to be doing. So, go ahead and get involved in that stuff that makes you happy! Bottom line: You need to go after those dreams and have plans to pursue life for all the years to come! It’s that important!
Resilience and Positivity: People who focus on the negative and complain are not doing themselves any favors. Negative focused energy will not only affect your mental health but also can affect you physically. Bottom line, you have to knock it off! When you catch yourself getting crabby, refocus on the positive. Also, when times get tough, know that you will get through. This is called resilience. Think about it, for these centenarians, they could not have lived to be 100 and been helpless through the hard times. Those people are resilient and you can be too!
Have Fun: I am adding the fun category as mandatory for life at any age. I had a mom who lived to be 86 years old, and she was funnier than hell. She cracked everyone up and laughed most days. I saw how living life with such lightness made a difference. Now that I am 55 and am following in my mother’s footsteps, I have to recommend that having fun and enjoying life are a must to grow old gracefully! And seriously, if you can laugh at getting older then that’s half the battle!
So, starting today, let’s take a tip from the Irish and not resent growing old. Instead, let’s be thankful for having the privilege of just being here. Think of it like this, you get to grace this world with your presence! How are you going to do that? With connection, following your dreams, doing what you love, staying resilient, positive, and having a damn good time while you are at it!
By Jackie White
When asked what the most important thing is in our lives, most people say “family”. We have no doubts about it, especially if we are parents. Our children are easily our most cherished thing on Earth, and we do our best to serve our children and family accordingly.
Recently, I ran across something that made me stop and wonder why in the world we all aren’t doing something like this. Brene’ Brown, the author of Daring Greatly has published what she called “The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto”. It sounds a little daunting and official but in truth, it lays out parenting guideposts and promises for her children. It is a beautiful and thoughtful tribute to her children and to herself.
You see, the beauty of this manifesto is that Brene and her husband have expressed not only in word but in deed as to what their children can expect from them not only as parents but also as people. Their actions demonstrate authenticity and stability for their children. Their children learn through the words and actions of the manifesto that they are accepted for who they are. They are told they are worthy and through all their imperfections they are always loved.
Can you imagine if all children had such a manifesto and dedication from their parents? It blows my mind to think of how different the world might be. The fact is, we might not be able to affect the whole world, but we can affect our personal world and the world of our children and, in doing so, we could be creating ripples that reach out to others.
The Benefits of a Parenting Manifesto
It has often been said that there should be a class required for anyone to become a parent. The job is one of the most important jobs in the world. We tend to fumble around at times and other times we are rocking this thing called parenthood. Developing a parenting manifesto will help you not only be a better parent but also a better person. Taking the time to think through the kind of person and parent you want to be and articulating that in a manifesto provides guidelines and reminders for you. Pulling all the good stuff together in one place and posting that in your home is pledging a promise to yourself and your family that you are in this together with love and support.
Let’s Do This Thing
To put a parenting manifesto in place in your home, begin with yourself. With your partner, individually brainstorm all the things you would want to be included in a parenting manifesto. Note that Brene’ Brown covered feelings like you are loved no matter what, compassion, courage, play, joy, gratitude, fear, and grief. Brown has a parenting emotion wheel that may be helpful to identify feelings you may want to include in your manifesto. Another helpful resource identifying your own core values aligning those to your parenting. You can find a core value list on FindYourSoulShine.com. Thinking through what will make your family experience good, great, and aspirationally awesome is another perspective to think through as you develop your own manifesto. There is no rule that says you can’t use what Brene’ Brown’s manifesto says if it speaks to your parenting goals.
Sharing the Manifesto with Your Kids
Sharing the manifesto with your child really will depend on their age. The manifesto is to be lived and demonstrated and that is the most important part. Show your kids the person you want to be, impart the things in life you feel are important, and demonstrate your unconditional love and support daily through words and actions. That’s the best gift you can give to your child and yourself.
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
I’ll do it tomorrow...
I’ll get started when…
I’ll be ready to do this when…
Any of these thoughts sound familiar? Good old procrastination...the ultimate in halting your dream chasing, goal getting, live your best life journey! Who hasn’t fallen into the comfortable, safe spell of procrastination? Today, it’s time to break that spell and wake up! Knowing what you are dealing with is the start of the battle! Here are 5 insights on what procrastination is...and isn’t! (They might surprise you!)
#1: Procrastination ISN’T being lazy!
Did that one surprise you? This is a common misconception about procrastination! Procrastination is an active process - you are choosing to do something else instead of the task ahead. Think about it! An example would be to tidy your desk or reorganize your files instead of working on the current project.
#2: Procrastination IS an attempt to protect yourself.
It’s a bad attempt, lol. Procrastination is triggered when what you need to do isn't what you want to do. It might not be fun or it might be pushing you out of your comfort zone. Procrastination redirects you to something that is more fun or already comfortable over what really needs to be done. It's a bandaid approach to life happiness.
#3: Procrastination ISN’T one-size fits all.
There are many reasons that procrastination is triggered. It could be from a place of self-doubt or “not enoughing” yourself, where you feel you aren’t experienced enough, good enough, in shape enough, tall enough, outgoing enough...you get the picture, right? It could come from wanting to do what is more fun or easy. It could come from fear of failure or even fear of success. The root of procrastination is the same, avoiding something potentially negative and choosing something more positive in the moment. Knowing your personal triggers for procrastination are important to course correct.
#4: Procrastination IS related to perfectionism.
This one often shocks people! Perfectionists are often the worst procrastinators, which doesn’t seem to go together, right? Wrong! The essence of perfectionism is that everything is going to be perfect before they get started. If the perfectionist feels the time isn’t right or they aren’t prepared or the perfect plan isn’t devised or Mercury is in retrograde, they simply won’t start. Since perfect isn’t attainable, there is always some excuse to be made, a perfectionist may simply never take the leap.
#5: Procrastination ISN’T successful at preventing negative feelings.
The driving force behind procrastination is to avoid negative feelings like failure or disappointment or not having fun or being uncomfortable. To avoid these potential feelings, procrastination drives you towards sources of enjoyment and positivity. Since the task at hand that needs to be done is still left undone, the feelings of positivity are fleeting and quickly replaced by guilt, shame, and stress.
Weren’t some of those surprising? To summarize, procrastination is an active attempt to prevent negative events from happening, however, in the process, more negativity is actually brought into your life. While some of these may seem similar, each one stems from a slightly different internal struggle. Procrastination left unchecked can develop into a habit, which is the last thing any of us want. Here are some tips to help you combat procrastination:
The first step is realizing you are procrastinating...you can’t stop something you aren’t aware is happening! Two signs of procrastination are putting things off indefinitely and changing your focus to avoid doing something.
2. Uncover the Why
To really stop procrastination, you need to know why you are doing it. Are you bored? Is the task unpleasant or not fun? Are you unorganized? Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you afraid to fail? Are you paralyzed by indecision? Are you a perfectionist? Fix the why and you take away procrastination’s driving force.
3. Break the Habit Cycle
Like many other repetitive behaviors, procrastination can become a habit...a very non-serving habit. Recognize what triggers procrastination but upgrade it with taking action, rather than procrastinating. This will take time, so be patient, but will be worth it.
4. Devise a Strategy
Depending on why and what you are procrastinating on, the strategy will be different. Start this process by giving yourself grace as you move through this process and forgive yourself for past behaviors. Work on your mindset, focusing on doing rather than avoiding. Reward yourself for taking action rather than procrastinating. Act before procrastination has a chance to set in. Practice positive self-talk, replace phrases like “need to” or “have to” or “should do” with “get to” and “choose to”. Set yourself up for success by minimizing distractions during tasks that you normally avoid.
5. Take Brian Tracy’s Advice
And...eat that frog! Huh?!? Brian Tracy is the author of the book, Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. He explains that if you knew you had to eat a big, fat, ugly frog by the end of the day, isn’t it better to get it over with right away rather than have it hanging over your head all day? This is just one strategy he suggests to get over procrastination...I highly recommend this book for procrastinators or anyone that wants to get more out of their day!
If you want to live a fun, inspired, intentional life, the life of your dreams, the life that you deserve, you need to give procrastination the boot. Upgrading un-serving habits takes time but this will be time well spent, DreamChaser! You are more capable than you give yourself credit for...you got this!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Have you ever noticed that really profound lessons can come from really simple places? Well, if you stop a second in the hustle and bustle to notice them, that is. I want to share one that happened to me right in the middle of the chaos of Christmas. It all started with an ironic exchange of gifts that snowballed into the big lesson.
Ethan, our technology-loving-12 year old, really wanted a smartwatch that synced with his cellphone. In true 12 year old fashion, he had researched the specific one he wanted, then incessantly reported all the bells and whistles of this particular model. So, his big gift was a pretty easy choice...lol. I also thought that my husband may also enjoy the same gift...score! Here’s the funny twist, Ethan went shopping with Adam for my gift and got me the same watch. In case you didn’t follow that...Adam gave me a smartwatch, I gave Adam the same watch, and we gave Ethan that same watch as well. V-e-r-y creative gift giving in the Prell household, folks. So, the three of us synced up our smartwatches and started daily step competitions.
Here’s where the plot thickens, so to say. Not to be left out, Liam went searching and found his long forgotten Vivofit so we could be part of the step-counting festivities. The 4 of us had our steps counting, comparing our outcomes throughout the day and seeing who was beating whom. In the process of finding his Vivofit, another step counter was also found. Two year-old Lucy came up to me with this step counter, handed it to me and pointed to her wrist. Using her very effective charades, she communicated that she wanted to be part of whatever we were doing. I put the counter on her little wrist, tightening to the very last hole, and she was part of the crew. She didn’t know what she was counting or participating in but, when we look at our wrists, so does she.
What’s the point? So glad you asked! Kids are always watching and learning from us, even when we have no idea they are paying attention. Let that sink in a minute...
The goal of these gifts was not to start our family on a togetherness step counting journey, although, that is a fun bonus. This was a simple but profound demonstration that kids start out a blank slate and learn from not only our words but also our behaviors and actions. The next leap in thinking is, what are you teaching?
Some things to ponder...
-Are you demonstrating a positive or negative mindset?
-What is your reaction to failure...life lesson or life devastation?
-Do you share the goals you are working on?
-Do you have an attitude of gratitude?
-Do you demonstrate healthy habits?
-Do your actions line up with your words?
I could go on and on. Important reminder before anyone starts beating themselves up, we are all works in progress. It’s never too late for any of us to work on growing ourselves…personal growth and development, especially when it comes to mindset, is an ongoing process! Keeping in mind that my kids are literally soaking up everything I put out keeps me motivated to stay on a path of growth, positive and possible.
And, when I want to give up...when that goal seems too far away or too hard...when the negative mindset or self-limiting beliefs or the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee is getting the best of me, I am going to remember this silly little step counting life lesson and say to myself...remember who is watching. The realization that I want to demonstrate the important lessons to keep going, keep trying, fail and get better to my kids, and anyone else that is watching my journey, helps me pick myself up and try again.
I thought about giving up, then, I remembered who was watching…
Let’s work together to give them a great show! We’ve got this together, DreamChaser! Shine on!
By Jackie White
Forgiveness is one of those loaded concepts that many people brush off because they don’t understand that forgiveness is for themselves. To forgive allows you a feeling of peace. The problem with forgiveness as a concept is that it conjures up a mess of emotions which makes it difficult to process. However, you have a secret weapon in your back pocket that you might not realize is your ticket to forgiveness, and that my friend, is gratitude.
Gratitude is a way of being. Some think it to be a virtue. It is not a difficult thing, it just requires us to practice it so that it becomes a normal activity we take part in on most days. Fred Luskin from The Greater Good Science Center explains that at the heart of forgiveness is gratitude (and compassion). He further explains many are deficient in those areas. We become so “me” focused that we don’t engage in gratitude or practice compassion regularly. That easily allows us to accept the idea that forgiveness isn’t necessary. Yes, I am saying forgiveness is necessary. I didn’t like that summation either when I first heard it. We like to dig our heels in and defy forgiving others because we think that gives them power or a pass on their actions. This is where forgiveness gets a bad rap. Let’s take a look at what forgiveness really is and does for us.
The Anatomy of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is often misunderstood. To begin, it’s easier to explain what it is not. Forgiveness is not saying or allowing the offense that was committed against you to be condoned or forgotten. It also is not letting anyone off the hook for doing you wrong. Instead, it’s saying you are going to release the energy and emotion you have invested in the offense and the person who committed the offense. You are going to do that because by doing so, you are giving yourself the gift of freedom and peace. By setting yourself free from the wrongdoings you can step forward in life without being tethered to the past. This releases you from the power it has held over you.
The Path of Gratitude
hen you take the path of gratitude, you in effect are taking the high road. The high road works in your favor in many ways. A gratitude practice itself can bring about many positive changes in your life. According to Robert A. Emmons in the book Gratitude Works!, “Gratitude has one of the strongest links to mental health and satisfaction with life of any personality trait.” Now as great as that sounds, genuinely grateful emotions, and attitudes are not as prevalent as you might think. Much of the reason why is because it takes effort to re-train your negative thought patterns to one of positivity and gratitude.
The Gratitude Guarantee
I am so sold on the importance of gratitude that I am going to offer up a guarantee to you.
The Gratitude Guarantee:
It is far easier than you think it is.
It has far more impact than you think it does
It may very well be the most important practice you have implemented in your life.
It will result in improved life satisfaction.
It will promote positive mental health.
It can lower your blood pressure.
It will give you a greater sense of purpose and resilience.
It will help you move on from painful past transgressions.
It will open the door to forgiveness.
The Gratitude Guarantee offers all of the above and so much more for the price of a few moments of your day.
How to Do Gratitude
Doing gratitude is easy. The hardest thing about it is to remember to do it. Begin each day with writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for. It is also helpful to write down why you are grateful for those things. By adding the why allows you to feel the importance or the emotion behind the thing you are grateful for. Vary your things you are grateful for even if the thing you write down seems “not important”. For example, some mornings I am very grateful for my coffee. Does that rank as important as my gratitude for my children? No, but it’s not a competition. It’s up to you to choose what you are grateful for, period.
Wishing you peace, gratitude, and forgiveness.
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.