Celebrating Earth Week

Time to celebrate! Time to get involved! Time to Restore and be Restored!
Friday, April 16th, kicked off Earth Week 2021, which runs through Earth Day on Thursday, April 22nd. This year’s official theme is “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth,” and activate change for good. In addition, National Parks Week runs from April 17 through April 25, with parks offering special programs, events and digital experiences focused on the natural world.

By having a weeklong celebration of the Earth allows students and all of us to spend more time learning about the environment and the challenges we face. It is a time to rethink how we do things, make adjustments and form decisions that will preserve, protect and positively impact our world. It is a global environmental coming together to activate change for good.

Earth Week allows companies, schools and individuals to celebrate and reaffirm their commitment to care for nature, plants, and the land. We rediscover that by doing so, we realize how integral that is for our own health and well being. Individual responsibility lies with each of us!  Whether it’s a healing walk through the woods, parks, beaches and canyons, picking up litter (while walking!), or buying more Earth-friendly products, we all can do our part to care for our planet and each other. 

Most years, Earth Day events range from river cleanups to removal of invasive plants. With social distancing still in place for many of us this April, Earth Day has gone digital with virtual events, environmental lectures and films. However we can still all go outside and enjoy nature, doing so responsibly. Nature is not canceled!
Check out your local listings for events and activities near you. To help get you started, here are 10 Earth Day activities and ideas from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

1. SUPPORT OUR POLLINATORS! 
Bring native bees and other pollinating creatures to your garden. Select plants that will attract them. Local nurseries can help you identify the right plants for your gardens. 

2. CLEAN UP PLASTIC IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD OR LOCAL PARK
One of the best ways to connect with the Earth is through cleanups! Go on a walk with a trash bag and help to clean up any plastic that you find. You’ll start to realize that plastic permeates every aspect of our lives. Think about ditching single use plastics and recycling those you do use. 

3. SWAP OUT YOUR KITCHEN AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS!
Think 100% recycled aluminum foil, chemical-free parchment paper for baking, compostable bags made with potato starch, and even vegetable-based inks for packaging.  Use cloth towels instead of throw away paper towels. Use reusable containers and covers instead of plastic wrap. Look for cooking and cleaning products that are biodegradable, without chemicals or plastic. It is great to see more companies offering these items.

4. PLANT A TREE!
Trees capture carbon, cool overheated places, benefit agriculture, support pollinators, reduce the risk of disease transmission, and boost local economies. Did you know that planting one oak tree brings in more insect and bird species than an entire yard of plants? Talk to your local government about planting more trees and native garden beds in public spaces or consider planting your own on your property! 

Another way to make a difference is to ditch printed catalogs. Contact the company and ask to be removed from their print list. Look to send digital greeting cards. And also, monitor what you print out. Is a hard copy really necessary? You will be surprised.

5. USE WILDFLOWERS AND NATIVE PLANTS
Wildflowers and indigenous species are not only beautiful but also attract native and beneficial insects that improve both pest control and pollination—meaning bigger flowers and bigger harvests. Try to simply add a couple of native plants to your garden each year, and you’ll be amazed at the difference—they’ll bring in pollinators as well as birds!

6. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE IN THE GARDEN
Caring about yourself and nature means being less wasteful and saving money, too. If you are a gardener, here are just a few ideas:
Buy in bulk when you know that you’ll need a lot of topsoil, mulch, compost, or other materials. This cuts down on plastic bags. Also check with your city recycling center or Department of Transportation—they might offer free compost, soil, sand, or other materials.
Reuse, recycle, or return old plastic pots and trays.

7. STOP PESTICIDES AND CHEMICALS IN THE GARDEN
Start growing without chemicals or pesticides—in a way that works and even saves money. Much of this is simply about focusing less on the plant and more on the health of the soil that supports the plant. If it’s nutrient-rich with organic matter, plants thrive. 
You don’t need chemicals to get rid of pesky garden pests: Companion planting, natural remedies, and attracting predators to your garden can save you money and also save your plants. Some bugs are good for the garden! Check with your local nursery for the right ones for you.
Use an organic plant fertilizer—made from just weeds and water. 
Gardening and farming methods such as not tilling the soil, growing cover crops during the off-season, and rotating crops (and grazing) help to retain organic materials in the soil.

8. CONSERVE WATER!
We waste a lot of water. Improve plants health by avoiding overwatering. Water your garden vegetables and plants at soil level, not overhead, which invites fungal disease. Consider setting up sprinklers on timers or convert from sprinklers to a drip system. Harvest your rainwater from a roof, gutters, and sky with a rain barrel.  If you have a low-lying area, consider planting a rain garden, which captures runoff, filters out pollutants, and provides food and shelter for butterflies, songbirds, and other wildlife. 

9. THINK ABOUT YOUR DIET!
About one-third of the food that we produce every year goes to waste annually! Usually, this happens after we buy the food. How do we avoid waste in our own lives (and save money)? How can we improve our diet so that it’s healthier for ourselves (and the planet)? One way is to care about your “foodprint,” which is the result of everything that it takes to get your food from the farm to your plate. Think local farmers markets, think plant based, think about buying what is fresh and in season.

10. GET KIDS INVOLVED!
Pass down a love of nature and plants to kids. There are so many ways to actively involve children. As the weather continues to warm up and we spend more time outdoors, it is the perfect opportunity to garden, enjoy the fresh air and nature, get your hands dirty, and watch the flowers and vegetables grow.

Here’s to Celebrating Earth Week!

With Light and Love and deep Appreciation and Respect for you and our Earth,
Karen

 

Afformations vs. Affirmations

Yesterday while on our beach run, my husband and I ran into two very special friends that we have not seen in awhile. We are always happy to see Monique and Norvell, as we share similar philosophies about Life, Love and Joy. We have a connection. As we talked about staying healthy and the importance of positively affirming it, Monique said she uses afformations versus affirmations. I had heard of the method, however was not that familiar with it. I have used affirmations consistently through the years and have benefitted from them. Being highly curious and inquisitive,  I am always open to making adjustments to enhance my life. What better way to research it than to write about it in my weekly post. Thank you Monique for sharing your wisdom!❤️

Let’s take a look at the two methods.
Positive affirmations are statements that can be used to overcome self-sabotaging behavior and negative thinking patterns. By repeating these phrases, and believing in them, positive changes will manifest in your life. Think of it as exercise for your brain: we do sit-ups or pushups regularly, to improve our body’s strength. When we repeat positive affirmations regularly, we train our brains to become stronger—more positive, and more resilient. Saying them aloud adds passion and strength. Some people love to affirm in front of a mirror. Consistent and frequency of affirming is a powerful tool. I usually say mine first thing in the morning, as I start my runs, and at night before drifting off into sleep. I became more focused and disciplined during my cancer recovery 16+ years ago. 

Do affirmations work?
Yes and No! There is a scientific reason why. Our brains have a Reticular Activating System (RAS). Its function is to fill our awareness with things that we think about. So if you think about red and then look around in your room, you’ll notice red all around. Similarly, when you tell yourself that your life is amazing, you’ll find more and more amazing experiences as your life unfolds.

But sometimes affirmations may not work. Why? Because they go against our beliefs. Affirmations must align with your beliefs. Suppose your affirmation says “I exude happiness all the time”. But if you are sad most of the time, even the most powerful affirmations will become useless. 

What should you do? Experiment with various affirming statements. You will notice how you feel as you say them. Go with what resonates with you. Just pick the ones that fill you with conviction. It’s that simple. A few examples:

  • I am love. I am healthy, happy and whole. I am at peace and remain calm.
  • I am successful, powerful and strong. I am thriving. I am thankful for all the opportunities presented to me.
  • I am in charge of how I feel today and I am happy. 
  • I am enough.
  • I let go of all that no longer serves me.
  • I deserve the best, and I accept the best now.
  • I remain positive and optimistic even during trying times.
  • I am kind, compassionate and treat others with respect.
  • I appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.
  • I embrace the rhythm of life and let it unfold.
  • I focus on taking the steps to create the life I want. 
  • I believe in my intuition.

Repeating positive affirmations can help you control feelings of frustration, anger or impatience; raise your confidence before an important meeting or presentation; overcome bad habits; improve your self-esteem and improve your productivity. And when you find yourself having negative thoughts or behaviors, refocus and repeat your affirmations.

Positive afformations, on the other hand, serve the same purpose as positive affirmations…but are based on the principal that the subconscious mind responds more effectively to questions rather than statements. An afformation is simply the question form of an affirmation: an afformation asks empowering questions that focus on affirming answers that manifest into your Life. Example:

  • Affirmation: I deserve the best. I accept the best now.
  • Afformation: Why do I deserve the best? How can I accept the best now?

According to Noah St. John, author of The Secret Code of Success and responsible for coining the afformation term, afformations work better because our minds appreciate questions and are eager to search for answers automatically. It challenges our mind to figure out a possible answer instead of repeating some statements that don’t seem convincing. When you allow your mind to gather evidence of a possible answer on its own instead of forcing it into believing certain things, the idea becomes less invasive and your mind is less tempted to fight against it. 

As with most things in Life, we have a choice. Therefore choose the approach that feels right for you – Affirmations or Afformations – or possibly both!. Start by taking your goals and create two things:
#1 Your personal, positive, emotionally charged statements (affirmations) that inspire you.
#2 Your brilliantly crafted set of great questions (afformations) that trigger the “auto search” function in your mind.

Use both or one of these powerful methods. You will know what is best for you. However, remember that training your brain to intuitively default to positivity won’t happen without consistency and commitment. But the power of positive thinking is real, and can transform your life.

With Light, Love, Affirmations and Afformations,
Karen

References: 
Teri Karjala, counselor, therapist and founder of the Creative Counseling Center 
Noah St. John,  author, coach,  keynote speaker famous for inventing Afformations

 

Life is a Lease Agreement

One morning this past week as my husband and I had our coffee, we were discussing one of our favorite topics – Life and Living. We talked about how nothing is permanent, we really never own something forever, and that change is the only constant.

My Aha thought was that Life is a Lease agreement with ourselves and we choose how long it will be for! We write the conditions, terms regarding rules, repairs and maintenance, conduct, health, safety, security, restrictions and limitations. We decide everything. How long do you want to live for? How do you want to feel? 

In an article by the American Philosophical Association, Jake Gray wrote that ancient philosophers like Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and Montaigne taught him that life is a lease contract. It is something we borrow and return, not an eternal gift, so we must make a concerted effort to use it wisely. Think about the brevity of life so as not to waste any of it.

So as you draft your lease agreement for your Life, be specific. Cover all the bases. Write it down. Sign it. Date it. Create a vision board of how you see your life unfolding. As with any agreement, to ensure compliance, reread and make sure you understand all the terms. All the consequences. All the domino effects. For every action has a reaction. 

As you go through your life you will find yourself making adjustments and creating amendments. That is perfectly fine. Things change. Circumstances change. What we wanted at one point in life, is no longer needed or necessary. Our needs, wants, ambitions, and desires change. Has anything stopped working completely or in need of repair? Are you abiding by the rules? Have you been making your payments in full and on time? Do you need an extension? Are you fueling your body with proper nutrition, rest, exercise, mental stimulation, right thinking, acting and being, and spirituality? They are all currency used on your lease. 

Take the time to assess where you are and how you are doing. Be honest. Dig deep. The only way to fine tune and improve oneself is to become aware and acknowledge your current state. Accept it. Then you can course correct.

With Light and Love and a Long, Healthy and Happy Lease Agreement,
Karen

 

 

Spring Forward…….

Let the celebrations continue…..
Last Saturday, March 20th marked the beginning of The Spring Equinox, a time of awakening and rebirth. The dark months are now over & we’re moving into the warmth of the light. Did you feel the energy? The vibration? The excitement? Change is upon us. We get to enjoy longer, brighter and sunnier days, kicked off by changing our clocks to daylight savings time earlier in March. Flowers are starting to grow buds and bloom, grass is becoming greener and grows more quickly. Birds are singing, doves are mating, and everyone and everything is coming out to play.

Today, Sunday March 28th marks the full “Worm” moon. The name likely refers to the earthworms that appear in the soil as the weather gets warmer, inviting hungry birds to feed on them.  For millennia, people across the world, including Native Americans in the eastern and central USA, named the months after nature’s cues. Other names for this month’s full moon include the crow, crust, sap, and sugar moon. 

Passover, which began at sunset on March 27th and continues till nightfall on April 4th, is a springtime Jewish festival celebrating the early Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. 

Next Sunday, April 4th, is Easter, a springtime Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and freedom from sin and death. It is preceded by a series of holidays commemorating Jesus’s path to the cross.

So much to celebrate all around us and in us. I feel the excitement, the energy and the joy. Since we are all connected,  I am sure you do too. Even if you are not conscious of it, it is happening. We all share in the rebirth and energizing that is happening this time of year. As we come out of our winter hibernation, we feel more positive, enlivened and optimistic. We feel freer and happier. And yes, with advances in controlling the pandemic, we all feel relieved and encouraged. However, remain mindful, respectful and please follow health and safety guidelines for yourself and for others.

So however you enjoy this special time of year, celebrate it. Savor it. Relish it. Enjoy it. Be alive. Find your joy. Be happy.

Life is worth living. You deserve to live your best life. Focus on that. Affirm that. Be that. Wake your spirit up to new ideas, new dreams and new adventures. Feel the power of the season’s energy.
Feel alive and be inspired.

With Light and Love and a Big Step Forward,
Karen

 

 

Writing Things Down

I like to be organized and focused. I am determined and persistent to achieve what I set out to do. Sometimes though I need some help. So what do I do? I write it down!
Putting thoughts to paper, adding an event or appointment to my calendar,  or keying into my Notes app helps me focus and see things clearly. Whether it is a To Do list, a grocery list, a schedule of activities, or a Goals and Objectives Vision Board, it helps me to see it. Sometimes it’s on a sticky post it note, sometimes it’s on a column pad (remember those?) and sometimes it’s on both!

For example, Monday of this upcoming week is a busy one. It includes a monthly landscape committee walk in the community and the HOA Board of Directors Zoom call of which I am part of. The two appointments add 3 hours to my day (not including prep). So in order to accomplish everything I want to do and not become overwhelmed, I mapped out my day so that I could also have me time for running, strength training with weights, my yoga session, and coffee time with my husband. I felt relieved once I listed everything into its designated timeslot. Stress gone! I realized I can get it all done. Yes! 

Since retiring, I have a much more flexible and fluid schedule. And I love that. I realize not everyone is at the same stage in life and may not be able to do as I do,  however it was a written down goal to retire early and enjoy Life and Living more. And here we are!

I do still schedule and map out my days, with the greater emphasis on self care. When I feel good, I am better able to assist and be there for others. I like having a guideline and a map, and occasionally find the detours more exciting than the original path. 

I enjoy time to read, write, exercise, work on home projects, gardening, and trying out new recipes.  I love spending time with my husband running, hiking and having play dates. 

Some people find writing things down to be cumbersome, a waste of time, or not necessary.  We all have varying approaches and process information differently. However the end goal is the same. Accomplishment. Success. A check mark that it was done.  So if you can remember it all and do it all while remaining calm and not stressed, good for you. Do what works best for you. And if you need some encouragement on writing it down instead, here are 8 Powerful Benefits of writing things down from the coaching site Productive and Free:

  1. Helps you record and retain everything that has your attention 
  2. Clears your mind to allow for creativity and imagination
  3. Helps clarify your goals, priorities and intentions
  4. Keeps you motivated
  5. Helps you recognize and process your emotions
  6. Encourages daily progress
  7. Enables a higher level of thinking, resulting in more focused action
  8. Develops your sense of gratitude

You will also be in the company of highly productive and successful industry leaders who also write things down in one way or another:

  • Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group
  • David Allen, productivity consultant and author of Getting Things Done
  • Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and author of Awaken the Giant Within
  • Oprah, media giant and former talk show host of the Oprah Winfrey Show
  • JK Rowling, novelist and author of the Harry Potter series

So here’s to your continued success in achieving all you set out to do with the help of writing it down!

With Light and Love 
Karen
 

Spring Cleaning

Time to get out the cleaners, dusters, windex, garbage bags and more! Spring Cleaning time is upon us. Longer days inspire us to refresh and renew our surroundings. It is the start of new beginnings. It is the perfect time to clean out what no longer serves us. Usually that means cleaning out closets, cleaning windows, lightening up our decor from darker and heavier fabrics and tones, and spending time in the outdoors planting and gardening.

Let the fun begin! However do not stop there.

I invite you to also spend time clearing out your Mind. What? Yes. Clear your mind of old thoughts that are not productive, positive, encouraging, uplifting, or ones that do not support your goals, ambitions, desires and intentions.

I am sure over this past year all of us have allowed ourselves to either not look at or ignore the cobwebs that have grown within us and in the corners of our homes. We could be feeling confused, disoriented, lethargic, hesitant or just plain lazy. 

Time to do a clean sweep! It is uplifting to freshen up our world, inside and out. We have been through so much this past year that we need a refresh. The lessons we have learned and the adjustments we have all made have been life altering. We are realizing what is truly important:
Health
Self Care
Joy and Happiness
Love
Kindness
Compassion
The Right Attitude
Friends and Family
Doing good for ourself and for others
The simple and small things hold the most significance
The Beauty of Nature

One of my key focuses has been and will continue to be on Self Care. Many commercials and ads are now speaking to its importance. That is a good thing. For too long self care inferred selfishness, luxury, a frivolous pastime. However, the truth is one can only take care of others and help when we are at our best. We are 100% accountable and responsible for ourselves. No one else. 

Mental health has also been brought to the forefront. There are apps to help, toll free numbers to call and speak with someone, articles, books, podcasts, and more that can guide you and offer assistance. It is no longer a silent, hidden or shame related disease. Help is available. With resources and innovative solutions being imagined every day, we can all thrive, not just survive.

So during this time of renewal, clear out the old, bring in the new, embrace change, be flexible and adjustable, and take the time to clear out all the cobwebs in your house and in your mind.

With Light and Love and a Cleaner House, inside and out!
Karen

 

My 24 Hour Unplugging Experience

This weekend I participated in National Day of Unplugging. My husband decided to also share in the silence and we both disconnected from using our laptops, phone, iPad, TV. etc. The only device we agreed to keep on was the iPod which keeps music on throughout the house.

I would like to share with you our experience. We unplugged from Friday 5pm till Sat 5pm. Friday night we made sure our devices were turned off and out of sight. I had accumulated a few magazines and items I wanted to read, so I was prepared. My husband was geared up to select what called to him from our library. 

Being in the quiet, casually reading, was a very relaxing and thought provoking time. I sensed myself slowing down, really getting into the articles and hearing the words. I paused and really reflected on what was written. I always find insights that are meaningful to me from a variety of sources. My husband read a little and then was organizing and clearing out files in the office. Sometimes we would get an urge to “google” something that we read or found, however that would wait until after the unplugging.

As it approached 9pm, I was ready for a good night’s sleep. And indeed it was! Even though I consider myself a sound sleeper, this felt deeper. Before drifting off, I said my affirmations and gave thanks for the day. Upon awakening, I said my morning affirmations and set my intentions for the day. I woke around 7am.

My husband also felt refreshed from a great night’s sleep. He commented that he was so enjoying the quiet and the peace. No distractions or frustrations from news outlets, no social media engagement, no emails, no texts. Just being. 

After enjoying our morning coffee together, we went our separate ways for a while and organized files and cleared out paper. We decided to go out on our run and hike a little earlier than usual. We had time since we were not on our devices which could be for an hour or so in the morning. 

Around 10:30, we ventured out. Our outing took us by the beaches, along a hilltop park, up 100 steps and down a trail back to run on the sand. The tide was low and the beaches wide. It was perfect!

We were out about 2+ hours and felt great. Usually after our run, we have a snack and my husband would look at news and sports on his iPad. Not today! He read the local news flyer. After stretching and showering, we enjoyed our weekend coffee together. We talked. We listened. We shared some of our readings and insights. True, we usually do this anyway without unplugging, however we both felt more in tune, in sync and calm. We even chuckled about the Wow moment on the trail showing how in sync we felt. I was thinking about sending a note to someone and then he immediately said the same thing! 

Around 3pm, I decided to go through my closet and identify some clothes for donation. It is always amazing what I find. I love shopping in my closet! However I know there are still some business clothes that I will never wear again. Somethings are harder than others to let go of……. 
While I went through the closet, my husband took a short well deserved nap. Though he usually listens to music, he chose to just be in the silence.

Around 4:30, with a half hour to go, I prepped the yoga studio.( that is our den which serves many purposes throughout the day from den, to the reading and writing room, to the gym, to the yoga studio) I then prepped a few things for dinner before my class. 

5pm rolled around and I was so excited. I was very mindful that as I turned on my iPad and went to the website, I did not look to see how many emails were there, texts, or other things. I just went to my class. And I made sure after class, I closed my iPad. I have learned that to remain in the calm and peaceful state of mind after my yoga practice,  I do not look at emails, social media, the news or anything else. I wish to remain in the zone.

Interesting that after dinner, I chose to stay partially disconnected, except to watch a short film on the book, “As a Man Thinketh,” by James Allen. I decided to wait until Sunday to totally reconnect and plug in!

In summary, my husband and I realized the calming benefits of unplugging: the peace and quiet, the disappearance of mind chatter.  We enjoyed it so much that we intend to do so the first weekend of each month. I invite you to try it for yourself. A good friend of my husbands also participated. Joe told me he refrained from checking emails and did not listen to the news. He did watch a few TV shows, read the newspaper and worked on one of his books as he is a well published author. That was how he chose to unplug. You can still benefit from a partial unplugging versus 100%. Choose what you feel comfortable with.

With Light and Love and a Calm Mind,
Karen

 

National Day of Unplugging

What a great idea! Sign me up!

On the first Friday in March, National Day of Unplugging kicks off a 24 hour period from sundown to sundown, to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media.

The Day of Unplugging was created by Reboot, a nonprofit Jewish community that was originally established in 2003. It is now under the leadership of the Unplug Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that supports educators, leaders and organizers who want to see their communities elevate human connection over digital engagement.

According to Pew Research, the typical American family contains approximately 5 connected devices. Media, friends, entertainment, education, work, and more are all at our fingertips. The amount of information available to us is at an all-time high and the amount of connectedness goes with us everywhere. And during this past year and into the first 2 months of 2021, we all have relied on technology so much more. Disconnecting or unplugging from our devices offers us an opportunity to reset. To destress. To simplify, renew and refresh ourselves. 

Can I really tune out for 24 hours? I say, yes you can! Yes, it is a scary thought for some. We rely so much on our devices. However, we all can benefit from detaching.

Allow me to share an experience I had when I was forced to unplug. It was March 6, 1992. I remember it all too well. The Michelangelo virus totally erased my work computer data upon booting up in the morning. The virus, named after the famous renaissance painter who shared the same March 6th birth date, was a pre-internet era, first ever public malware scare in history. This was before I had the opportunity to back up all my files. Everything was gone! I felt it was a sign. I went for some fresh air, thought about what happened, and felt I needed to resign from my position. I felt lost, disconnected, and I feared I would not recover. My chairman at the time, who remained calm, recommended that I take some time off, reconsider and advise him what I needed to rebuild everything. And that is exactly what I did. With a strategy and game plan and the people that could assist in rebuilding my world, we were able to recover. We also put in security Best Practices company wide to avoid any future issues. (For I later learned, my system was not the only one impacted)!

That experience profoundly impacted my relationship with technology. Yes, we depend on it. However we need to not become totally reliant 24/7. There is more to life and living.

Practicing self care and detaching is important for me, for you, for everyone. Therefore, I am marking my calendar to unplug from sundown on Friday, March 5 through Saturday, March 6th.

I will spend the time Friday evening practicing yoga, doing some reading and getting a great nights sleep. On Saturday, my husband and I will hike and run and enjoy the outdoors, especially time on our beloved beaches and trails.  Perhaps some gardening is in order too. The options are endless. Clean a closet, rearrange your cabinets, clean out what no longer serves you. Go hiking, cycling, have a picnic, walk the dog. Smile (through your mask) and make eye contact with those you encounter. Say hello.

So as you consider unplugging March 5-6, sundown to sundown, put it into perspective. It is only for a day. One day that will give you so much more.

Trust me.

With Light and Love and to an inspiring, enlivening and enriching Day of Unplugging!

Karen

 

Life is a WOW!

Every morning my husband and I share coffee and talk. We discuss what is on our mind, how we slept, any dreams, what is planned for the day, how we are feeling, and most importantily, what we are choosing.

As we reflect on the state of the world, everyday we conclude that we are in a state of momentous change and transformation. Every aspect of Life as we knew it is rearranging, revising, being renewed. We are adapting and adjusting, being flexible and flowing with what at times appears as chaos. It seems that for the past year, a day does not end without one of us or both of us saying, ( like my husband did this morning as he was walking up the stairs),  “Life is a WOW!”

It truly is. According to the dictionary, WOW is used to express strong feeling (such as pleasure or surprise). It can mean a striking success. It is used to excite one to enthusiastic admiration or approval. And although most of the time, WOW pertains to a positive, it can also reference something negative or shocking, like Covid 19, climate change, racial injustice, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The key here is realizing that every moment of being alive has the potential to be a WOW! A Life Lesson and Learning experience.
Consider some of the following WOW”S from recent news headlines as well as from daily Life observances:

  • As Texas emerges from a deadly deep freeze, some people are getting power bills as high as $7,000.
  • Tesla bitcoin gambit already made $1 billion, more than 2020 profit from car sales. (Note: at last check, a single bitcoin traded near a record at $54,827)!
  •  U.S. nears 500,000 Covid-19 deaths.
  • After an awe-inspiring landing, NASA’s newest Mars rover is checking out its forever home and beaming back stunning photos from the red planet.
  • Lancôme (the beauty brand) is now presenting a full-scale simulation of physical experiences as a part of its e-commerce. It will allow customers to interact with goods and customer service represen­tatives. They have been using ByondXR’s platform to create true-to-life immersive pop-up experiences for Lancôme consumers around the world.
  • 25% of US malls are projected to close within the next five years.
  • The doves are back in our garden, on our roof, signifying peace and love.
  • The recent high tides closed off some beach access like never before.
  • Our pink jasmine is abundantly blooming earlier than usual.
  • California housing market momentum continues in 2021.  Existing, single-family home sales totaled 484,730 in January on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate,  up 22.5 percent from January 2020.
  • Awards season arrived a little later this year, but with the upcoming Golden Globes, it’s officially in full swing. The show, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now set to take place live on Sunday, Feb. 28, with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
  • Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO and taking on the role of executive chairman of Amazon’s executive board. He intends to stay engaged while devoting more time to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post and other passion projects.

We all have WOW moments that are of significance to us. Take the time to see them, experience them, learn from them and appreciate them.

With Light and Love and WOW moments,
Karen

Not “If” but “When”

I recently read an interview with Michael Strahan, former NFL football player, current TV personality, journalist and successful businessman, where he spoke about the invaluable lesson he learned from his father. Replace the word “If” in your vocabulary to “When.”
Michael’s father would always set him straight whenever he used the word If while talking about his dreams. “If I get a scholarship. If I make the NFL.” ” No, son, not if. When,” Gene (the father) would say. That mantra was repeated so often during Michael’s formative years that it became hardwired. And it clearly impacted Michael’s fulfilling his dreams and continues on today.

WOW! What a lesson he learned and what an impact those 2 words can have on one’s achievements. By reframing his words he adjusted and fine-tuned his philosophy on life. He affirmed what was to be and chose to believe it would come about.

We all get to choose. We can bring about what we think about. We can create our world. Whether you believe that to be your truth, is truly up to you.
The self-talk we engage in matters. To some reading this, switching 2 words may appear as insignificant. I encourage you to try it out. Work with it. Interchange them. See what happens.

I am not a clairvoyant, however I know the power our daily conversations with ourselves have on our Life. On what our outcomes are. On what happens. How are you talking to yourself? Are you a pessimist? A realist? An optimist? A victim? An achiever? 

How are you transforming your life in today’s environment? Or are you paralyzed by what is happening and feel stuck?

You can change it! It all starts with your self-talk and self care. Build yourself up. Empower yourself. Encourage yourself to try, experiment and risk. Sure the journey will be crooked, some trials and errors, detours, and u-turns. However, with persistence, determination, and affirming your intention, you will manifest your dreams and goals.

For they will come about. Hold steady on the goal, be clear on what it is you truly want. By referring to “when”, not “If,” you will identify all the possibilities and all the solutions that you need.

Your self-talk is key. As you become more aware of positive self-talk, you will realize it is a powerful tool for increasing your self-confidence and curbing negative emotions. People who can master positive self-talk are usually more confident, motivated, and productive.

So choose your words carefully as they definitely influence how you see things.
If you say “When” something happens, you imply it definitely will happen, though you may not know the precise timing. That is affirming it.
If you use “If” you imply that it may or may not happen. That is uncertainty. 

If” carries a connotation like something MAY happen, but there is a chance that it may not.
“When” denotes that it WILL happen, it is just a matter of at what point in time the event will carry itself out. 

Technically, “when” presupposes that it will happen, while “if” merely assumes possibility. IF vacillates between yes and no. WHEN affirms it will come about.

Since our objective is to speak to ourselves in the affirmative, “When” becomes your go to word, replacing any and all “If’s.”

With Light and Love,
Karen