Contentment How-To

One of the best realizations I’ve ever made is owning my contentment.  I’m content and it’s a peaceful awareness.  I savor it. Trying to capture contentment yourself? Maybe a few of my practices learned over time can help. 1- Slow down – Just stop. Take a deep breath. Give that anxiousness that can build up a chance to dissipate. Do it again and again till it sticks. Yeah, it feels weird for a while. 2- Make deliberate choices – When you know why you make decisions, there are fewer regrets to fuel discontent. It’s not about making perfect choices to get straight A’s on the report card of life. It’s about understanding yourself better. 3- Shed perfectionism – Strive for personal excellence, not perfectionism. You can be mellow on one topic and perfectionistic on another, so pay close attention. You might catch remnants you didn’t think much about...

Most Amazing Experience

My daughter and my son were rushed to the hospital with entirely unrelated life threatening emergencies six weeks apart and both survived. At age four, my daughter was lifeflighted across the state for an emergency middle of the night surgery of an intussusception (basically a telescoping intestine). Six weeks later, her five-month-old brother was rushed to our closest trauma hospital for an entirely unrelated series of ailments his doctor and his hospital team feared was bacterial meningitis. After a spinal tap, the most powerful medicine they could give him without killing him they told us, a hospital quarantine, and a CDC doctor interview thinking it might be H1N1 instead, they eventually figured out his 10 symptoms added up to – two viruses and two staph infections all at once – a fluke. What’s amazing? They are. Lucy is 13 and Liam is 9 now. They are healthy and happy...

Something I Wish I Could Still Do

I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE it from age 2 to about age 7 or 8 when my older brothers, sisters, and parents would walk on each side of me, grab my swinging hands saying 1, 2, 3, lift me in the air like a swing, set me down, and do it all over again…and again…and again… I’ve thought so many times since how I wish I could still do that. I would laugh so much. It was simple and such fun.

Meaning of Life in 5-4-3-2-1

Here’s an exercise I created for myself that has become a good way to hyper focus on what I value in any given scenario.  I made a list of the meaning of life to me – in five words, four words, three words, two words, and one word. It’s already been valuable awareness for me. What would yours be? 5 – Love others with your gifts 4 – Be useful to others  3 – Learn to give 2 – Care more 1 – Compassion More 5-4-3-2-1 countdown challenges ahead.

Can’t Ever Thank Mom Enough For…

Setting a remarkable example of profound resilience and admirable simplicity. My mom had six kids and has always had a bright cheery nature weathering plenty along the way – not the least of which was losing her own mother during The Depression – tremendously difficult in and of itself. Her mother tripped and fell down the stairs in the night holding an oil lamp (1930’s). My grandma, Mabel Marie Wood Walsh, was about 40 when she fell to the bottom of the stairs. The lamp ignited a carpet underneath her and she was terribly burned. My grandfather found her, rolled her body in the carpet, and took her to the hospital that way. My mother at eight-years-old and as one of eight children in her rural Illinois farm family – was told at the hospital she could kneel and say a prayer next to her mother shortly before she passed away. She did and next thing she knew her mom was...

Mortality In The Air

I was with my dad years ago getting mail at our small town post office. As we left, he caught a reflection in the long glass window to his left side and couldn’t look away. He was visibly taken aback for a couple seconds, but ultimately kept walking and I followed quietly. Once in the car, he told me he casually glanced at the reflection noting the man’s gait, silhouette, and how he held his head – certain he was looking at his maternal grandfather as an old man – a man who meant a lot to my dad and died decades before I was born. He realized he was actually looking at himself – looking like a much older man than how he viewed himself. Time does pass and he found himself facing that moment with me along for the ride. He was lost in thought a while when we got home. It was meaningful to see my dad’s thoughtfulness and sensitivity that day. What did I learn that day?...

A Few Things I Do For Pleasure

I answered the question recently:  What do you do merely for the pleasure of it? I thought about the fact for myself. I’ve been lucky to make much of my pleasure the work I do. I made the decision that would happen when I was in college. If I couldn’t do it for periods of time, that’d be ok.  But, in the long run – I knew what I needed to feel contentment in life. Writing – This blog is one writing about passion topics specifically resilience and reinvention because I love the art of writing, being useful to others, and creating meaningful beauty. Nature – When I’m contemplative, I sit and watch birds for hours in my backyard garden. I love the reminder there are worlds we often have to consciously choose to see. It’s also an excellent reminder when you feel alone… that you just aren’t. They are fine companions. Art – Pedicures that look like a...

Most Inspiring Moment

There are many. I think of this one often… Two years ago, my 6th grade daughter made her first new year’s resolution and said she was making it happen, “I want to get over my fear of being in front of people and having all of the attention on me. So, I’m trying out for the jr. high talent show.” It echoed in my ears as a cold sweat came over me. The JR….HIGH…TALENT…SHOW. Half of me was elated for her and the other half – mortified. Who doesn’t have at least one brutal jr. hi story? What if her fear only worsened? I got off the topic of ME in my head and said, “Lucy, that’s amazing. How can I help?” She said, “I want to sing a solo.” ….a solo. A SOLO. Did I mention this is the jr. high talent show? Not a lot of kids were taking on a solo, much less mine – a 6th grader in a sea of 6–8th graders and mine was NOT in choir. Add to this, the fact she’d had a fear of public...