Tending your garden

Yesterday I spent some time in the garden.  The weather had warmed up and it was time to refresh some of the previous plantings.  Spending time in nature for me is very therapeutic.  I learn so much as I dig in the dirt, make holes for new plants, enrich the soil, cut off dead flowers and leaves and trim back some of the growth.  I see what has worked and not worked – and why.  Has the sun pattern changed? Did I underestimate or overestimate the growth potential of the plant?  Have the rabbits been savoring the flavor of the flowers?  Is there not enough nutrient rich soil around the roots instead of the clay based ground? I get to observe the bees, wasps and hummingbirds feast on several vines and succulents.  I feel joy!  I feel happiness!  I feel sweet pain afterwards from digging, bending, stooping, squatting and shoveling.  I forgot how much physical labor is involved..however I am thankful that I can still do it.  Of course, I call out to my husband for his muscle and help too!

I realize that while working in the garden helps the plants survive and thrive, it also nourishes me.  My soul, my heart, my Spirit. I showed the garden Love and in return I felt loved.

Whether your garden is large, small, a potted plant or an entire backyard; spend time  tending to your garden.  Watch what happens. See the impact that you have.

I am a very visual person.  I strive to surround myself with beauty, nature, calming and peaceful environments.  However it takes a commitment to continually update, refresh and maintain.  But if it is as important to you as it is to me, you find the time and make it happen.

First, identify what matters to you and devote yourself to it.  Be it gardening, cooking, cleaning, painting, writing, exercising, volunteering, assisting others. It is more important that you choose something that speaks to you and commit to it versus not choosing at all.

Attend your garden and watch how it grows!

With Light and Love,

Karen

 

Compliment Yourself

We all seek acceptance, approval, respect and appreciation.  Whether we are aware of it or not, we do.  However, to only look for it outside of ourselves, expecting others to always see it and acknowledge it, could set one up for disappointment and a feeling of less than.

So what is one to do?  Compliment yourself!  Take the time to acknowledge yourself every day for what you have accomplished, done well.  Pat yourself on the back for staying true to yourself, your beliefs, your dreams and ambitions.  Write it down.  Keep a journal.  And on those days when you are not feeling self confident or stuck, when no one is acknowledging what you have done, read through a few and be aware of how you feel. Are you smiling? Are you feeling more alive and proud? Are you standing taller? Is your self esteem improving? Give yourself the thumbs up! You deserve it.

You are your biggest fan and at times worst critic. You can’t fool yourself.  You know  the truth and can see behind the outer appearance. Also, do not expect to always receive compliments, acknowledgement or approval from others. Reality is that it does not always happen.  That doesn’t mean you do not deserve it.  

During my career, I often had to coach trainees on how to deal with criticism and lack of approval from management.  They thought they had done a good job, however management never said a word,  or saw what still needed to get done and sometimes bluntly told them so.  Handling silence or constructive criticism was not easy for them.  I had some run and hide, outright cry, and even say they were going to quit. We cannot control the behaviour of others.  We can control though, how we react to it.

I coached them on how to best deal with silence or criticism and to shield themselves against it.  They needed to learn the lesson, and then commend themselves for doing the best they could at that time.  The most important component was acknowledging themselves.  Building their own confidence.  Giving themselves the pep talk that we all need.

Have you complimented yourself today?

With Love and Light,

Karen.

 

 

 

 

Magic Moments

The other day my husband sent me this incredibly inspiring story.  A 103 year old woman ran the 50 and 100 meter dashes at the Albuquerque Senior games and won two gold medals. Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins of Baton Rouge, Louisiana set a new record for the 100 plus age division. Julia didn’t start running until she was 101 and prepares for her races by simply working in her yard. She took up cycling in her 80’s and when she became the only competitor in her division her children suggested she take up running. Now she is the oldest woman to ever compete on an American track. Julia said that as you get older you need new challenges to stay alive and alert. When she turned 101 she found a new adventure in running and it has brought her joy and helped her find the “magic moments.”

Since then, many people have reposted the story online. Today Marie Osmond referenced the article and how moved she was by it. She felt so inspired by Julia stepping out of her comfort zone to have a new adventure and challenge, which led to her finding and experiencing the “magic moments.” Marie said that “It’s up to us whether we stay safe in the harbor or challenge ourselves, no matter what our age in life, to get out on the water and find ourselves signing up to live life to the fullest!”

As a runner, I so related to Julia.  I am 65.5 years of age, and usually run 6 days a week totalling around 36 miles.  I then walk the other day.  I give thanks everyday that I am healthy and can continue doing what I love.  Not only does running fulfill my exercise requirements along with yoga, weights and stretching, it helps me destress, keep active, meditate and be in the moment. The benefits for me are beyond any other activity. I find so many “Magic Moments” during my runs – hearing and seeing the waves crashing on the shore, the seagulls and pelicans flying overhead, the joy in children’s faces as they dig in the sand, the rock sculptures that stand on edge maintaining perfect balance, seeing friends and fellow runners and waving hello, and being out on some of the runs with my husband.  Very special indeed. So many magical moments.

 I do though wonder sometimes how much longer I will be able to do this.  And many people have asked me what my secret is!  No secret at all.  I just desire to do it, I am disciplined to do it, I make the time to do it, and I alternate between 2 pair of good running shoes that I replace after about 230 miles each.  So quarterly, I buy 2 new pairs.  Without fail. That would be my secret.  And I do not push myself to be the fastest – I go at my pace and finish my race!

I look forward to many more years of activity through my running and walking.  I am shooting to run till I am atleast 105!!!!!

To your good health! And to your Magic Moments!

With Light and Love,

Karen

Gone Fishing

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world! Know that your love, support, guidance and encouragement has forever impacted others lives.

Parents  are role models for children to learn how to be and act. They help mold our thoughts and dreams, ambitions and desires.  Through their words and actions, we internalize and make decisions for our futures.  

My father loved to fish.  He would go out with his brother on the lake many times.  It was always interesting that when he returned, there were no fish!!!! When I asked where they were, he would say I tossed them back into the water.  I had a hard time understanding this practice.  It wasn’t until we went out together years later that I understood. Being out on the boat, on the water, was his “Happy Place.”  It was his “escape” from the world, from his business.  A time to truly be with himself.  The quiet, calmness, peacefulness of being one with nature was truly special.  It was his way of recharging his Spirit.  

I too find peace and comfort out in nature.  Now, I give thanks for living at the beach, enjoying running along the water’s edge, feeling the sand below, watching the seagulls, dolphins, surfers and others.  It is my “Happy Place.”  What is your “Happy Place?”

I give thanks to my Dad for showing me how important it is to take the time to refresh and recharge.  

With LIght and Love,

Karen

 

“Every wall is a door.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

In deciding what to write about today, I came across this quote.  I totally got it.  So often we put up walls and confine ourselves for whatever reason we make up.  We limit our exposure to endless possibilities and new opportunities. However I have always been one to recommend tearing down the wall, or creating a space for the door.  We get to choose.  We get to decide how to build our world.  Whether it is an imaginary door or a real one, it is important to have one.

A wall blocks the outside from coming in.  Wikipedia states that “A wall is a structure that defines an area, carries a load; provides security, shelter, or soundproofing; or is decorative. There are many kinds of walls, including: Walls in buildings that form a fundamental part of the superstructure or separate interior rooms, sometimes for fire safety.”

I believe a wall should have a door or at least a window – have an opening so I can freely come and go and see outside.  I do not want to be confined.  I do not want to feel trapped.  I can appreciate feeling safe, having shelter, and being protected.  However I want my spaces to incorporate inside and outside.  I want to freely access all areas.  I want to visualize a window or door being opened.  I want to explore what is beyond the wall. I want to experience, learn and grow by actively living in this world – not being confined.  

I realize that walls are sometimes necessary.  However, make sure that some of them have the window or door. Give yourself breathing room. Realize that you have the ability to go through the door to find new opportunities and experiences. You can expand your space by breaking through to the other side.

Look around at your walls.  Decide where your window or door will be. For there is opportunity outside waiting for you. There is a world of unlimited possibilities and experiences. 

Let’s open our doors and windows together and embrace all that Life offers. Happy exploring.

With Light and Love,

Karen

 

Me Time

Sometimes we just need to sleep!  Yesterday was that kind of day.  I guess I had been pushing it. My husband and I just returned from an incredible holiday in Japan,. To re-acclimate to our time zone, I jumped right back into running every day except Sundays which is a walk day.  However I ended up running 7 days in a row, in foggy weather somewhat cooler than I am used to.  So what happened? I got a bit chilled and starting sneezing.  My body was telling me to slow down and get some rest.  I tried to ignore it a bit, but by 7:30 last night I decided to go to bed.  I doubled up with comforters and socks and snuggled in.  It felt so good even though I was sneezing and congested at first.  Maybe it took a little longer to finally fall asleep, but sleep I did!

12 hours later I am refreshed and ready to take on a new day. My sinuses are clear and I am back to being me.

Lesson? Listen to your body.  Don’t get upset when you feel out of sorts.  Do what you need to do to recover and recharge.  Forget the guilt.  It is okay.  Take the time to replenish and nourish yourself.  It could be sleeping, reading, walking in nature, listening to music, hearing a motivational and inspirational speaker, painting, writing,  planting flowers, baking.  So many wonderful experiences to rejuvenate yourself. For it is only when we feel good that we can assist and give to others.

Happy healing!

With Light and Love,

Karen

Memorial Day

Today in the US, we honor and show our respect for those who have served our country to protect our freedom, our rights and our independence.

I give thanks.

However I am not a believer of war.  I believe in peace, harmony, collaboration, and calmness.  I realize though, that in order to achieve those states, it may be necessary to engage in unethical behavior.  Why?  Because everyone does not think and act like I do.  There are those that are wired differently.  They thrive on principles that are dangerous and create disharmony, unrest, and turbulence. They do not listen to reason.  They do not respect others views and thoughts.  So how else is one to overcome other than by force?

It is unfortunate. It is reality.  It is happening today.  It has happened in the past.  It will continue to happen in the future.  However, I pray that one day, we can rise above and truly “Live as One.” (John Lennon – Imagine)

So today, enjoy the day.  Be with family and friends. Do what makes you happy.  Take a walk, go for a run, enjoy being in nature.  Go surfing, swimming, cycling, horseback riding. Have a picnic (but don’t eat too much!). Go shopping. Go to the movies.  Listen to music. Plant some flowers. Be thankful and appreciate our freedoms. Do what you want to do and be thankful that you can. 

With Light and Love,

Karen

 

TRICK – It’s New Meaning

I just learned a great acronym for the word Trick.

  • T  Trust   
  • R  Respect
  • I   Independence
  • C  Collaboration
  • K  Kindness

I read about the meaning in an article about Esther Wojcick, longtime educator and matriach of the Silicon Valley family.((mother of Susan Wojcicki (the CEO of YouTube), Janet Wojcicki (a Fulbright winner), and Anne Wojcicki, cofounder of 23andMe)). She developed this clever and catchy acronym a while ago and includes it in her new book, How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results.  It is one of her secrets to cultivating effective and ethical leaders.The book offers essential lessons for raising, educating, and managing people to their highest potential.

I especially appreciate how she included kindness into the equation.  In the work environment too often this powerful trait is looked at as weak or not important.  However the opposite is really the truth – being kind to others in your word, tone, and manner, shows your compassion and empathy, which makes us more connected. That is incredibly powerful and so needed in the work place.

These abilities are key to a leaders success.  They help one build a true team that can accomplish anything set in front of them.  It allows for each member to shine,  to speak their truth, to make a contribution, to remain curious and ask questions, to experiment with processes and to find their path.

We all want to be heard.  We all want to feel appreciated.  We all want to be acknowledged.  Sure, we may make mistakes.  That is how we learn.  That is how we grow.  That is how we identify the best next step. So allow your team to flourish and be.  Monitor them, give constructive feedback, keep them on track, but most important, give them space. Allow them to think for themselves, stumble and fall, and get back up.  You will be pleasantly surprised and proud of what they will be able to accomplish!

If you are a leader in the workplace, reflect on whether you exemplify TRICK.  If you do, congratulations. If not, then I would encourage you to find out more and experiment with it.

Outside of the work environment, can TRICK also be helpful.  Absolutely! It applies to all relationships – professional, personal, private and public, crossing all boundaries and walls. With your children, parents, spouses and partners, siblings and friends. Everyone. We all deserve to be treated and to treat others using the TRICK technique.

With Love and Light,

Karen

 

 

 

Inspired by Melinda Gates

Over the last few days, I have been inspired by articles and interviews about Melinda Gates.  With the launch of her book, The Moment of Lift, the press coverage has been incredible.  And for good reason.

She is a powerful, compassionate, successful and influential woman who has done remarkable work on behalf of women, children, health, education and so much more.

Alongside her husband, they have committed their life to helping others and to improve the lives of everyone.  Their foundation has made substantial investments into so many good causes that are positively impacting the world. What better way to spend the fortune they have created?

What strikes me is Melinda’s genuine concern for others.  She is determined to get to the truth and truly understand the issues.  She listens.  Really listens.  Through listening and learning, we are able to better determine the best next steps to resolve the challenges.  And we uncover other potential problems as well that need our attention.

Melinda is a great storyteller!  She is honest and relatable.  She is not hesitant to tell us of her conflicts, frustrations, and how she dealt with them.

She stands up for her rights and is the voice for others that may not be able to speak out as freely.  

I so respect her drive, enthusiasm, and determination.  I will next read her book and after digesting it, I will look at how I can better serve others.

In my own way, what can I do to Lift up others.  For we all can.  In our own way, we make a difference.  

I had a professor once that said as long as he reached one student – it was all worthwhile.

What difference will you make?

Here’s to your Moment of Lift!

With Love and Light,

Karen 

 

Persistence

In the morning during our coffee time together, my husband and I talk about what is on our mind, what revelations have we had, how we feel, the outline of the day, and so much more.  My husband’s thought today was the power of Persistence.

Why is persistence important? Can we succeed without it?  Does it really help us or hinder us?

I have always attributed my accomplishments and successes to my persistence!  Once I set my mind to something, develop the strategy and set the objectives, I usually stay focused and determined to see it through. I added that dedication and commitment are 2 traits that also strengthen the ability to remain persistent.

Sometimes it is not easy.  There are twists and turns, U turns and detours. Uphills to climb and downhills to slide.  Doors open and close.  The weather changes.  I experience all kinds of feelings – joy, happiness, frustration, upset, defeat, self doubt, criticism, always though, keeping my determination. The way I handle these feelings is to say a mantra, like “:I can do this.”

All achievements take persistence.  Before, during, and after.  Too often we may think that once we achieve our objective, we can then go onto the next.  True, however we cannot forget to continue doing the work on all our intentions. Persistence gives us the strength to do what is necessary to continue obtaining the results we desire.

  • In riding a bicycle, you need to continue pedaling. And sometimes you get a flat tire. Sometimes you fall off.  However you get back up.
  • In planting flowers, you need to water, fertilize, weed and nourish. Some plants flourish, some get diseased. You learn what works and make adjustments.
  • Running a race, you need to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Positive self talk strengthens and motivates you. As does deep breathing and mantras.
  • When creating – be it writing, painting, sculpting, building, baking…… you want to bring to the world your inspirations. Sometimes you get stuck and have to start again gaining a new perspective. Sometimes you want to just quit.  But that little voice within knows you can do it.
  • When you want to lose weight, you set a goal, adjust your diet and change your lifestyle to include exercise.  You are doing great, then you decide to stop and revert to your former habits.  What happens?  The weight comes back. You stopped being persistent in achieving your goals.  

Sound familiar?  We have all been there, done that.  What is important is that we learn the lessons.  In order to keep the achievement alive, we use our persistence to maintain it.  We develop the right habits and routines that nourish us and sustain us.

We stay dedicated, determined and commit to success!

Here’s to your Persistence!

With Light and Love,

Karen