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Archive for Change

Are You a Now Person?

Recently, a good friend of mine was involved in a severe car accident. When the other driver hit her head on, her entire world changed. She has a large garden. Fruit trees that need pruning. A thriving greenhouse right off her front entry, filled with soothing plants and spring growth that require loving care. A colorful garden in front of her cottage. A home that welcomes. You know the kind of place. Where you feel a warm hug and invitation to “sit and visit” for a moment, even as you step onto the property.

But after this misfortune, her life changed in an instant. Chores that were easy are a challenge. Where gardening was a major love, it is now a hit-and-miss activity as she regains her strength. That adds to her distress, for she thrives in the outdoors. Her home is not kept the way she wants it to be. She found a new car. But there is grief in releasing the other vehicle, with all its memories and treasures. She is a strong woman and will recover. But not without a struggle.

One thing struck me as we were having breakfast. She said, “I’ll never be the same.” And that brings tears to both of us. I am in tears now as I consider all she has had to give up. My friend wants to be in charge, and I respect her need for privacy and independence. So I do what I can. I look up websites and refer them her way. I send funny things via the internet. I mail cards. But it all seems so inadequate compared with what she has been through.

That incident prompted me to decide: I want to live in the Now. Along that line, another friend told me about the “5-second” rule from a book she read. She asks herself, “What can I do in the next 5 seconds . . . to reach a goal, to further myself?” and then follows through. After almost losing my friend, I thought: what a great idea!

I too have become a Now Person. I text, send people emails or call them when I think of them, for I only have Now. When my husband, Ken, was failing, another dear friend used this rule and called me as the day was closing. I was exhausted from what was going on. But a three-minute phone call beginning with, “How are you doing?” in Ann’s soft, gentle voice made all the difference. I could, and did, go on. A short call, but thoughtful and heartfelt.

As I walk through the door of my home, I use this little rule. What can I do in the next 5 seconds? Take the trash out? Pick up discarded items tossed about before I left for the day? (And put them away.) Check my body: do I need to sit for a moment and gather myself? Play with the Duff? Organize what needs doing the next day? All are possibilities with the 5-second rule.

Are you a Now Person? My friend’s accident showed me how precious life is. And it can change or be taken away in a heartbeat. Someone can be there. And then they’re not. We thought we had more time we say. We were planning to go on this excursion, to launch into this new adventure. But life has changed.

I say: become a Now Person. Do it Now. You have today, and then it’s gone. Make the most of it. That’s living unstuck.

I hope I have opened doors to the little things . . . on the Mountain.

Want to Change a Habit?

When a snowstorm rolls toward the White Mountains, the wind picks up. Powerfully. Strongly. Forcefully. At times, the gusts are over 50 miles an hour. The trees bend as this force of nature puts the towns in these parts on notice. The temperature drops and icy fingers of cold creep around doors and windows. A winter event is on its way. This condition goes on for two or three days.

The Duff and I walk in the early mornings. He hunkers down and moves along. But when the wind surge is strong, I have to almost bend over double to continue on my way. I marvel at the power of the weather at that time. When the storm reaches the Mountain, the wind ceases. Sometimes suddenly. Totally. And the snow begins to fall softly and gently to provide much-needed moisture.

To me, the wind before a storm is similar to gathering the energy to end an old pattern. When I realize something in my life is not working, I gear up. I become the power of the wind before the storm. Be it weight loss or exercise, over investing on a shopping spree or spending less time on the Internet, I stop. And figure out: where did this habit come from?

For me, and perhaps you too, bad habits are the result of stress or boredom. And all of these behavioral patterns are in my life for a reason. They serve a purpose and fill a need in some way. As a result, it’s difficult to simply eliminate them. “Just stop doing that” often brings up a lot of resistance, right?

How to get past that old way of doing and break that habit? Here are some tips:

  • Start with awareness. It’s easy to get caught up in my feelings about those pesky habits. But these thoughts take me away from what’s really happening. Instead, I focus on when the habit happens. How do I feel? Who am I with? Clarifying the activity will give me dozens of new ideas to stop it.
  • Choose a substitute for that bad habit. Just as the wind’s intensity before a storm, I make a plan and gather energy for something new. For me, it needs to be just as attractive as the old habit, or it’s a no go.
  • Shift as many triggers as possible. For the wind to introduce my storm (the U-turn,) I change my environment. I worked with a woman to quit smoking. Instead of sitting in her favorite chair to smoke, she took a walk instead. Result? She dropped 25 pounds and stopped The outcome was attractive to her.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding. When I geared up to start walking again after the recent Major Storm, I pictured myself stepping into my boots and walking out of the door. And the rest was easy.
  • Use the word “yet” to overcome negative self-talk. One thing about battling bad habits is it’s easy to judge myself. Every time I slip up, I’m oh-so-quick to tell myself I failed again. Instead, substitute the word “yet” and notice how it feels. “I haven’t cleaned up that corner…yet.” What a difference.
  • Plan for failure. Rather than beat myself up over a mistake, I plan for it. Sure, I can get off base. But I’ve noticed what separates top performers from the rest of us is: they get back on track very quickly. My favorite example? A football quarterback with an intercepted pass. He shakes it off and runs another play. Pays off in the long run.

Be the powerful wind before the storm and end old patterns. Get unstuck.

Change the Way You Look at Things

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

—Wayne W. Dyer

Duff photoDuff again. I was considering this thought the other day. When Mom grooms Me in the morning so I can be the Handsome Dude I am, I am content. But I have given this Ritual a New Twist. When She cleans out My Eyes from the night’s sleepers on my fur, I tuck into the Crook of her arm and look at her from Upside Down. I then Smile my Best Doggy Smile. Interesting to note: She always Smiles back. And gently coos Endearing Terms to me.

Or when I run fast and beat her to the Top of the Stairs? I Dance with Delight, for I know We will Play for a while. She Ruffles my ears. She tugs at My Tail, all the time chattering away in what I consider baby talk. You know, That Higher Pitched, Lilting Sound mothers make to babies. And I think I fit in that Category. What Fun we Have! We are living unstuck.

How about you? Do you change the Way you look at Things to make Life More Fun? Do You surprise Someone on Their Birthday? Or give a Sincere Compliment? Doesn’t take much. If you do and as you watch, the corners of their Mouths turn up and Their Eyes Sparkle with Laughter. You have changed the Way They experience Living. And That makes All the Difference. Live unstuck. #unstuckliving#change

Super Bowl: It’s Over

Fly, Eagles, Fly! The Super Bowl is over, and the playing field is level once again. It was a well-coached game between two top teams. Coaches gather trick plays from pro and college games over the years. Players practice these plays over and over again. The wait for the perfect time to use them is a test. But in the end, the old phrase “it all works out” proves true. These are the times that change the tide of a match. Both teams played their hearts out. And as in any competition, one team wins, and the other loses. After a period of rest, time to gear up for next year’s rivalries and challenges. To live unstuck.

Kareena Maxwell wrote in Friday’s 2/2/18 White Mountain Independent about Richard Blodgett, a man rebuilding his life. He, his girlfriend and his son live in Concho, and he is now living a peaceful, mindful life. It wasn’t always that way. He left a miserable childhood behind and had some problems with the law. But made a 180 degree turn when his son was born. Pioneering is in his blood, and he has dreams of a drone company in his future. Maxwell quoted him as saying: “I am grateful now for what I have.” He is living unstuck.

I have made those types of turns in my life. Stopped and assessed my life, then decided to take another path. To move in a different direction. To enjoy each day, challenges and all. To live unstuck.

How about you? Have you made that kind of change? Or are you in the middle of one now? I encourage you: live unstuck. #UnstuckLiving

Everyone is on an even course.

No one ahead. No one behind.

Everyone has hope.

—Anonymous

New Year? New You!

The New Year brings an avalanche of suggestions for resolutions, many of which will last three weeks . . . or less. There’s the tried and true: lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking. And there’s nothing wrong with those. I’m all for them. But to live unstuck this year, I want you to have some fun and be successful with your goal. And here’s one you’ll have a good time with: meet one new person each month. That’s right, just one person. Not someone you already know. Not someone with a similar background. But someone with different interests or other perspectives than yours. Of course, you’ll have to turn off your inner filter (the one that blocks new ideas) and pay attention to what the other is saying. Challenging? You bet! But think of the mind expanding possibilities and new worlds you’ll venture into. If you can step into that person’s life, if even for a short time, you can broaden your horizons and stretch your mind. And your brain will thank you.

Where to find these folks? Chat with someone at the grocery store. Or at the gas station. Here’s another one: if you have a friend with a new baby, there nothing more pleasurable than a new mom with her little one. You could take a class at Northland Pioneer College or visit the Arts Alliance of the White Mountains. People interested in rock hounding or the arts will bring a whole other point of view into your life. See someone climbing off a motorcycle? Stop and chat. Find out where they’re going and a little about the bike. Talk with small business owners. I have learned a lot from Suzy at her Consignment Store about antiques. And Bonnie at Crafter’s Mercantile about gifting and creating. A wealth of knowledge. Get curious! I’m certain extraordinary ideas will come to you too. Live unstuck.

My challenge for all of us this New Year is to meet someone new each month. And we’re not confined to only one. We can meet more. But at least one person with a different point of view. An unfamiliar frame of reference. We’ll celebrate living unstuck in 2018! #UnstuckLiving

The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.

—Pauline Phillips

All You Have Is Your Mind

“After your career ends, all you have is your mind.” Steve Smith Sr. played for both the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers. One of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers of the 21st century, Steve led the league in catches, touchdowns, and receptions during his playing days. And his comment about life after football is fitting. He decided to live unstuck and is now a TV announcer.

I thought about what it takes to be a professional football player: all the hours of practice, the coaching, the studying other teams’ strategies and the knowledge of physical care. And then they retire at a fairly early age. It dawned on me: we all go through this. We work at our chosen profession. Since the change in the economy, we may work in many different companies or even different fields. Or we may have had our own business with all that entails. And then it goes to the next owner. Or we raised our children. And then they leave home. But we give it our all while we’re actively involved. When we elect to retire or when life changes, Smith was right. All you have is your mind.

What will you do with your mind at that time? I encourage my clients to build a bridge of interests and opportunities from one chapter to the next. Ideally, this process begins before retirement. Or prior to a layoff. But it can start at any time.

Now, how are you going to do that? Let’s start with: What do you like to do? What tickles your interest? What do people come to you for? For me, people come to solve their problems and get past a stuck point in their lives. I am curious about others’ perspectives and motivations. And then I go from there to help them solve their issues. I’m living unstuck.

Are you bored? Start looking at what used to excite you. Hobbies? Interests? Or time to move in a new direction? Open new doors. Live unstuck. #Unstuck Living

Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back. Play for her.

—Mia Hamm

Letting Go

For me this year, autumn, with all its glory, came early. The bright sunshine of summer whisked by and the cooler mornings of fall entered the scene. The first hard frost brought the end of the small, colorful summer flowers. Leaves are falling and piling on the ground. Time to let go and move into a new season.

And with this change comes those particular feelings that fall brings and a reminder of the snow and colder weather to follow. Just what are these “fall feelings”? I want to share a few of the many “feelings” that fill my heart and memory banks during this season.

  • The bright beauty of changing leaves. Bright flashes of red and yellow heralded the season.The first hint of fall’s arrival that made my heart sing was the bright red color of the trees lining White Mountain Road. This festive color began to show at the very tops of the trees, then like slowly dripping paint, started to drop through the rest of the branches. As the days grew shorter, the leaves seemed to change more and more quickly until they were completely scarlet. The willowy aspens, with their lovely yellows and gold of fall apparel, brought a dancing movement to the scene as the wind rippled through the groves on the mountains. Strong winds quickly whisked that fall apparel into the horizon last week, leaving patchy, bare branches.
  • The soft fall of pine needles. As the winds picked up and got more brisk, a carpet of gold and brown pine needles scattered all over the Mountain. As I looked up into the Ponderosas, I saw where the older needles had already turned color, ready for their flight to the ground. There will be time to rake them up in the spring, but for now, they are a reminder of the cycle of shedding and regrowth. The oak trees also showed off their bronze leaves, and they cushion my boots as I hike along my favorite trail. It’s as if all outdoors was getting ready for the changes to come.
  • The scents and sounds of autumn. For me, there is a crisp quality to the air, a dryness to it. The pungent smoke from chimneys and campfires is a reminder of comfort and warmth after being outside, bringing with it the memory of friendships and the cozy sensation of autumn. As the leaves lost their moisture, there was a different sound, a gentle rustle when a gusty wind skipped them along the forest floor. The insistent honking of the flocks of migrating birds was a sure sign of cooler weather on the way.

This is also the time for me to do some “fall house cleaning.” I tend to cocoon in the winter, and it’s helpful to have a semi-clean slate to work from. On a physical level, I take a look at what’s around me, and sort through what I want to keep and what needs to go. If something doesn’t make me feel good, I will find another home for it and gift it along its way. On a mental level, I pay attention to my thoughts. Time to weed the mental garden of pesky negative thoughts and smoldering regrets. Next is the emotional level. This is the time of year for happiness and gratitude. Thanksgiving is coming soon. I can do my part to be grateful for all things large and small in my world. Sometimes I’m more successful than others, but I’m preparing for a bountiful harvest of positives.

Autumn is an opportunity for me to use all of my senses to savor the season: physically, mentally and emotionally. As I remember the magic of warmth with layers of zip up hoodies and lighter weight jackets, I welcome the changing season. You too? Autumn, here we come!

I’m curious: what are your feelings about the fall season? What are you ready to release? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below

I hope I have opened the door to enjoying the little things, both here on the Mountain and in your life.

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.