I Need Nature

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Transform Stress Into Success

Last week one of my challenges was to figure out the technology I wanted to use for my webinars. I wish that such things happen magically, but they don’t. After two days of research and testing a couple of applications, and trying to implement one that it turned out had flaws and bugs, and with my webinar (teleclass) scheduled for the next day, I was feeling quite stressed.

Maybe you didn’t think I get those moments also? I do! But I have trained myself to be aware of the stress when it comes so that I can quickly implement some of my transformational tools and not stay trapped in a stressed way of being.

One of the best things that works for me in those moments is giving myself permission to go out in nature. There are other ways of relieving stress and re-centering, but today I will write about nature. For additional ideas, please download my free, 36-page ebook, Transform Stress Into Success.

My enjoyable lakeBeing in nature has an amazing effect as it changes my mood immediately. As I engross myself in the trees, plants, animals, sky, water, a calm feeling starts taking over and as I connect to the beauty I find myself connecting to my center again. And what a relief that is.

There is a lot of research being done on the impact of nature on our well-being. And I am glad that I am not the only one thinking about this! As shown in research by Kuo and Coley at the Human Environment Research Lab and by researchers in Chicago, according to FMRI’s used to measure brain activity, when participants viewed nature scenes the part of the brain associated with empathy and love lit up.

Nature not only changes your mood, it also contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. You can read more here.

This lake near where I live has become my refuge and haven. When I go there I feel that I am able to find my self.

It’s your turn now, if you want to share: where will you go, or what will you do, when you want to re-create your best self?

Video blog: How to Keep Focused in a Distracted World

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The work life we lead in our modern world can feel like a minefield of distractions. How do we keep focused in this distracted world so that we stop being overwhelmed and can complete the projects that are of most value to us?

My video provides a few of the answers, on the way toward a work life that is focused, productive, and satisfying.

What have been your own preferred ways to keep focused? Please share on my Facebook page.

I’m feeling the connection

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I was reading about the sage in Mexico Valley, about how an entire field is actually a single plant and works together as a single plant. It appears that there are many bushes in the valley, yet hidden from the eye beneath the earth the roots are all connected. The experience of one part of this sage plant is shared to some degree by all the other parts of the plant.

Sage field
Sage field

The full sage plant has the power to change the acidity of the soil in a way that assures its survival, and in doing the sage provides us humans with some of the oxygen that we need for our survival.

I was struck by the fact that what I saw with my eyes at first glance missed an essential reality about the sage plant. When I grasped that, my mind quickly moved on to considering that all people on Earth are connected in a similar way. What we do in our lives has an effect and influence on others, even though we tend to believe that we are separate from one another with whatever we are experiencing.

At times I want to start worrying about everyday details of my life. Like all of us, there are plans to make, family to consider, and bills to pay. But then I remind myself that I am part of a bigger whole, the human community. My mind calms down when I remember that reality.

Just as the sage does, each of us has the power individually and collectively to change the world, and to find support in the world. Is there a need to choose worry and sadness? I don’t think so.

I feel both more empowered and more at peace when I see myself as part of the larger human community. I enjoy the reality that each of us is full of connection to and from others, although sometimes we need to choose which connections to emphasize in life so we receive enough support for our growth.

Let’s try thinking and acting with awareness of our connectedness. For me, such an awareness feels more fulfilled and less prone to anxiety than seeing myself as isolated, which is not even a reality.

What do you think?

My 35th Reunion: Time Passed, Time Present

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A few days ago, I attended in Turkey the two-day reunion of my middle school / high school class. It was an all-girls school when I attended. My classmates came for the reunion from Kuwait, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, and the United States, and of course from Turkey. Out of 105 graduates from my class of 35 years ago, 78 attended, a high rate; this was emblematic of how close we were as classmates.

35th Reunion of Tildet's Middle School / High SchoolThe organizers did an amazing job of providing a welcoming and engaging experience for all of us to get together, and one classmate offered her house on the beach for the second part of our reunion.

We were a special group, very close with each other during our seven years of school together, exceptional even among the other graduating class years. There was a lot of love among all of us during our time there as students, and the administration of the school was skilled and supportive in creating an atmosphere that brought out the best in each of us.

What struck me, and many that I spoke with, was the fact that the love we felt for each other 35 years ago, reappeared this past week as if no time had passed. I have not seen these classmates in 35 years, and have had almost no contact with them due to the distance and the demands of raising a family and running a business (at times, two businesses).

Yet, when we met, the unconditional welcoming I received from my classmates brought back to me a sense of connection that I had forgotten. When it comes to the most important things in our lives, it seems that time hardly exists. In fact, not being involved in each others’ daily lives contributed to a more pure appreciation of each other. We saw each others’ essential selves, which are precious.

Tildet and three school friends, speaking to classmatesPerhaps it is human nature that when something is painful, we heal and gradually (if all goes well) we let go of the painful memories. That is important, as we all seem to have aspects of our past that are better let go of. On the other hand, that which is positive, such as real love for others, can remain powerful throughout our lives, as I saw during this reunion. The thirty-five years that passed seemed not to exist during those two days. And the love we shared during those two days felt healing to me. Some part of myself responded to the wonderful surrounding — my classmates.

Whether in family, at work, in friendship, or even in small daily exchanges, if we can create and share love in our lives, we are building a feedback that will also support us, sometimes immediately, and sometimes years later. I was so appreciative of the organizers of this reunion, and so glad to reconnect with my classmates.

May we all find ways to build those kinds of relationships, because they help us as well as others, in our present and in our future. As human beings, we need loving connections in order to find meaning and purpose in life. And we can create those connections in many areas of daily life. That is an opportunity for which I am thankful.

Dance with Yourself First

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When we go through the day – and through our lives – we can have the exhilarating experience of being ourselves, or alternatively, of wearing a mask, or sometimes several masks.

We might be afraid to be our true selves, especially in specific, challenging situations. If we are wearing a suit and going to work, we might believe we have to behave in a certain way. If we’re going into a meeting, we might believe that being our true self is not going to get the job done, so we put on a different persona.

Dancing alone and with others
Dancing alone and with others

But there is freedom in authenticity. We don’t have to remember which role we’re playing and when and where. In addition, who we truly are attracts the people with whom we need to be.

When we are not authentic, we are not attracting the people that are the right match for us. Ironically, we may end up rejected – which is the very fear that is often keeping us from being our true selves.

I’ve been there. I do understand. When I was growing up in Turkey, I was told I would always be alone because I was “too strong of a woman.” So for quite a few years, I played down my true self and became timid. I hid my strength.

But now I don’t do that anymore, most of the time. Over time, I allowed the true Tildet to emerge – and what  freedom and joy I feel!

In this age of instant gratification and instant adjustment, we might now start to think, “OK, then I’ll be authentic. What are the steps to do this? Let’s go!”

But it does not work that way.

You can not look at a rose, for example, and say, “Open now!” You can buy several roses from the same florist, and each one will open at its own pace. There is beauty in that reality, if we can accept it.

Dance with yourself first and practice the moves. Then take one step in a safe environment. See how are received, and see how you feel. Absorb it. Then do a little more. Once you try and you see that it’s OK, you’re able to take additional inspired steps from a place of increased authenticity.

Right now, I am studying the sixty move form of Tai Chi Chuan. I didn’t learn all the moves in one class. Instead, I practiced a little at a time, day by day. Before I knew it, I was able to do all the moves in their sequence, and now the practice feels natural to me. And I enjoy it.

Surrounding ourselves with authentic people also gives us permission to be more authentic, and encourages our growth. Choosing environments and close friendships that support your own growth is one more way we can enlarge our own dance, and become more fully ourselves.

The world needs your inspiration, which comes from being who you really are.

When was a time you felt like your true self? Tell me on my Facebook page. Really.

 

 

This Colorful, Connected Life

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On a recent morning, I went into the city for a very early client meeting. I rarely make a trip into Manhattan at rush hour, and it was so exciting to be among all the commuters. The crowds everywhere, people hurrying this way and that, the commotion: everything felt so alive (even the people who were sleeping on their way to work).

I absolutely loved it. I might feel different if I did it every day. I was looking at everything with a beginner’s mind, meaning that it all appeared fresh and new.

After I got off of the Long Island Railroad, I had to take the subway. I ran down the subway stairs and saw an open train door, so I jumped in.

Suddenly, I had the feeling that I was on the wrong train.

“Is this the E?” I asked the people next to me. We were squished together so tightly that it was impossible for someone not to hear my question.

“No, this is the C,” a couple of them replied.

“Oh, no!” I said.

But then a few people chimed in: “I’ve been there. I’ve done that, myself.”

Before I knew it, we had started a real conversation inside this crowded subway train.

Deciding to just be myself, I said to them, “Now you’re all going to be my angels. You’re going to tell me how to get where I need to go.”

And they loved it! I mean, who talks about angels on a crowded subway train in the middle of morning rush hour?

They all chipped in and gave me directions, and we had a great conversation. One gentleman who was getting off at the same stop took me to the right platform and showed me which side was the correct one to wait for the E train.

When I got on the E train, I had a different experience. Instead of hearing angelic, helpful voices, I heard yelling. A man and a woman were screaming at each other, with her accusing him of touching her, and him accusing her of potentially being a pickpocket. Then another man joined in, telling the woman to be quiet, and she started arguing with him. The other people on the train were annoyed or trying not to pay attention.

Tulips on Park Avenue
Tulips on Park Avenue

As for me, I just observed the scene. When the train arrived at my stop, I noticed that the woman was getting off, too. I thought to myself, “Do I say something to her, or not?”

Then she and I saw one another. I looked into her eyes and said, “Just breathe, sweetie.”

Looking directly into my eyes, she replied quietly, “Yes, I know. I just need to breathe.”

I stepped outside, and it was raining and a bit dark. As I walked from the train station to Park Avenue I was struck with all its beautiful buildings and expansiveness — and the road dividers were covered in tulips, and the trees were blooming pink.

Even in the gloom, there is so much color. I was thrilled with the richness of life.

What’s colorful in your life today? Tell me on my Facebook page.

To Which Side of the Human Coin Are You Paying Attention?

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Much like two sides of the same coin, human beings have two sides of the self: the one with the little “s,” and the one with the big “S.”

The little “s” self is the ego.

The ego is looking out for our survival, protecting us. Even though it has a bad reputation, the ego has its benefits — if you use it for what it’s designed for. The ego helps us measure our environment and determine what we need: a certain amount of food, money and so forth.

On the other side is the Self with the big “S.”

This Self wants emotional growth and love, and it is always striving and searching for it.

We cannot live a full life with just one self or the other Self. We need them both, merged and working together.

If we just meditate, for example, and try to connect to the Self, when we open our eyes and haven’t taken any action at all on our own behalf, we won’t survive. But if we don’t connect with the Self and we live almost exclusively in the ego, we’ll get burned out. Life will have no meaning for us.

What do we do?

We need to understand that we are both the physical body and the embodiment of our spirit. When we understand this oneness — this merging of the small “s” self with the big “S” Self — we will also see that they are truly inseparable.

StarsWe’re looking at the universe through telescopes and microscopes, to the vastness and to the minuscule. We’re looking at an expanded version of ourselves, and also to a very deep place inside.

As we expand this awareness, we can change our thoughts, master our emotions and choose our beliefs. To close the gap between self and Self depends on our mastery of our inner world. As we unify within, we come to realize the oneness not just within ourselves, but also with everyone else.

To which are you paying more attention right now: the self or the Self? Or both? Tell me on my Facebook page.

What Does Personal Growth Have To Do with Lobsters?

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We all need a safe space in which to explore who we really are: a place free of judgments, a place to go deeper into ourselves and discover who we are so that we can continue to grow.

Believe it or not, we can learn a lot from lobsters.

When lobsters are born, they are mushy. Then, they build their shell.

But after a while, the shell constrains them. It gets uncomfortable, and they can’t grow anymore. So they have to break through that shell.

To do that, they go into a safe place, like under a rock or in a cave. They break the shell, and then they’re mushy again — and they begin to grow.

After a little while, another shell forms over their new and larger self, and they come back out into their ocean world. Lobsters do this about 25 times in their first five to seven years of life.

What can we learn from the lobster?


When we start to feel uncomfortable, when the pressures and stress of life begin to weigh on us, we have a desire to break free. In those moments, it’s time to find a safe place to go and break the shell, to see what’s underneath and allow ourselves room to grow.

WaterfallWhen we’re ready, we can put the shell back on and go out into the world again, as someone who has broken free from self- or culturally-imposed limitations. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a parent at home caring for a family or the CEO of a corporation. You can come out into the world as the best of who you are, not who you think you ought to be.

There’s a life we live in, and there’s also a life within us. To close the gap between the two, to live the life that we innately desire, depends on our mastery of our inner world. Just like the lobster, we need to give ourselves the time and space to grow.



But what happens to the lobster when he gets thrown into boiling water?

If the lobster has lived a full and meaningful life, then when he’s in that boiling water he will be so content, he won’t even realize that the water is boiling.

That’s where we all want to be when we reach the rocking-chair stage of life: at peace with the life we have lived.

Do you have a safe place to take off your shell and grow? Tell me on my Facebook page.

 

Success is a Shared Endeavor

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In the past, I never asked for help or support. I thought I was so strong, and I believed I could do everything myself – that I needed to do everything myself.
But life pushed me out of my comfort Lavenderzone. I didn’t like it. I felt shameful that I had to ask other people for help.

Then I learned to ask … and I received.

When I saw that people could support me in ways I never knew were possible, another door opened for me. I saw that I wasn’t alone.

I recently attended an event in California where the leader was offering another program that required a $1,000 deposit. The leader asked if anyone had any questions about it.

A woman in the audience raised her hand and was invited to go up on stage, where she said, “You’ve already taken my money for this program, and I don’t have the money for the next one. I am a single mom, and now you want more money from me, and I don’t have it.”

The leader said, “Can you create it?”

And the woman said, “No. I’m already working two jobs.”

The leader asked her, “Who can you ask for help?”

“No one,” she answered. “I have to do this all on my own. I can’t ask for help. I will never ask for help.”

At that moment, another woman in the audience of 400 women stood up and said, “Why don’t you ask for help from us?”

Before I knew it, everyone got up from their seats and gave her cash on the spot, until there was $4,000 on the stage. Four hundred strangers were blessing her and helping her.

This woman’s life changed forever, all because she raised her hand. She will never be the same.

And after witnessing this, I will never be the same, either.

It is amazing what’s out there that we never ask for.

What would you want to ask for? Tell me on my Facebook page.

An Essential Step: Define “Success” for Yourself

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How do you define “success”?

You might look to what your parents, peers, friends and neighbors consider “success.” You may see symbols of wealth and believe that that’s what defines “success.” Or you may have a fantasy of what being “successful” is.

Look honestly at where you are now, and do so with gratitude.

It can be painful to look at where you are if you’re comparing yourself to a fantasy. But in a state of gratitude, your heart will open to the truth: that you are enough, and that you have enough.gifts

Once we become grateful for who we are and what we have right now, we become more present. When we become more present, we’re freer to take a step toward something new that we want to create for ourselves. The fantasy starts to dissolve.

Gratitude in your heart will allow you to accept what is, because your mind will not. Your mind will bring out the inner critic: “But you don’t have this or that! You didn’t do this, and you didn’t do that!”

How do you stop that voice from interfering and get more in touch with what your heart knows is “success”?

One way is to begin keeping a success journal.

For example, perhaps deeper connections with other people are part of what you see as “success.” What connections do you have right now? Record them in your journal.

Maybe you want a nicer home. But what can you be grateful for with your current home? Write about what your home means to you.

Perhaps you desire more freedom in your life. What freedoms do you have in this moment?

Here are some more questions you can answer in your success journal:

  • What went right today?
  • What did I do that I’m proud of?
  • What did I do that made a difference to someone today?
  • How can I celebrate myself?
  • What lessons did I learn today?
  • What could I do differently tomorrow so that I can take another step toward my own definition of success

Remember that success is a journey. You’re already on that journey, no matter where you find yourself today.

How might you define “success”? Please share your thoughts on my Facebook page.

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