Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

I park about 6 to 7 blocks from my work each day so that I get a little extra exercise.

 

Yesterday I was walking from my office to the car and I came upon a young woman in her 20’s who was singing at the top of her lungs.  It was a happy song she sang with her head tilted back not caring who could hear her.

 

It was a gift she was freely sharing.  I admired her confidence as she sang acapella.  I could hear her a half block away and I watched her free spirited body language as she walked with bold, long purposeful strides.

 

When she saw me about 10 feet from her, she did not skip a beat in her song.  I smiled and interrupted her and said, “Whatever you do in your life, don’t stop singing.  Thank you for sharing your song with the world.”

 

She smiled and stopped for a moment.  “I’m singing about California, I love California.  Have you ever been?” she asked.  “Well, yes, I have,” I responded.  “What part?” she said quickly as she cocked her head to one side.  “San Francisco,” I added.  “That’s where I am from,” as she walked away starting her song once again for the world to hear. Read More »

Posted on 9 February, 2010 in Happiness, Making the Day Count
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

My daily work is teaching me that change is the only constant in my life.

 

Things don’t go according to my calendar on many days, and today was one of them.  I’m learning that change gives me an opportunity to think, to pray, to be creative, and to listen.  If I’m open to learning these needed lessons, that is.

 

I thought I was going to start today with a staff meeting, send applications to potential students for our summer Clinical Pastoral Education Program, attend a committee meeting on Patient Satisfaction, and supervise one of my volunteers in her work in one of our ICU waiting rooms.

 

I’m learning that some days, one out of four is not so bad.

 

A call came into our office about an employee who died suddenly during the night, and the co-workers needed support.  I spent a few hours with caring, medical professionals who were in shock and grieving.

 

And yet they had to continue taking care of their patients and families as if today was the same as yesterday. But it was not the same.  A person they loved for decades was not at their side according to the schedule posted on the door.  Just yesterday, this co-worker was doing her job with expertise and compassion, teasing her colleagues, and going home to her husband and children.

 

But today was different.  Very different. Read More »

Posted on 4 February, 2010 in Balance, Making the Day Count
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Article by Dee DeWitt

 

Psychologists, scientists and philosophers agree: strong social ties are a key to happiness.  We need close, long-term relationships; we need to be able to confide in others; we need to belong; we need to get and give support.

 

Studies show that if you have five or more friends with whom to discuss an important matter you’re far more likely to describe yourself as “very happy.”  Not only does having strong relationships make it far more likely that we take joy in life, but studies show that it also lengthens life, boosts immunity, and cuts the risk of depression.

 

Many people don’t make new friends easily.  They feel intimidated, feel it’s too difficult.  So here are some strategies to try: Read More »

Posted on 13 January, 2010 in Happiness, Making the Day Count
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Article by Marie Monroe, Edit by Dee DeWitt

 

The Latin words humilis and humus have caught my attention in this season of introspection.  Low to the ground, of the ground, of the dirt …

 

I consider them in my meditations about what it means to be human, to be part of humanity and what type of human I want to be in this New Year of 2010 that fast approaches.

 

Old school exercises of finding root words echo around as I try on more words that fit:  humiliation, humble, humility …

 

Personal Revolution

I find myself reviewing recovery literature from 12 Step programs and growing in my understanding that true humility can not only be a saving grace, but a personal revolution.  True humility, I am reminded as I read, brings a sense of clarity about one’s self, deflating false pride and fantasy.  It brings us back home to who and what we truly are … and there we can celebrate our own humanity.

 

These are large and abstract ponderings, but important ones as I search for what growth I want to cultivate in this coming year. Read More »

Posted on 31 December, 2009 in Goals, Making the Day Count
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Article by Dee DeWitt

 

The holidays are a busy and stressful time for most people – with family visits, travel, work, gift shopping.  Not to mention all the many types of events – many of them “command performances” – that happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

 

And we try to stay sane.

 

So … what’s the secret to having a wonderful time during the holidays?  Well, I don’t pretend to have the answer.  If I did I would have bottled and sold it long ago.  

 

What I think may be one answer to having a great holiday and dealing with the additional stress is to stay in the moment as much as possible.  I have been trying to do this.  It’s a work in progress.  And it’s easy to forget when the stress is staring you in the face.

 

This is something I work on all the time, and it’s easy to forget.

 

I think it is also we can all do with a little practice. Try thinking of something that make you happy … makes you smile … makes you feel calm and relaxed.  When you feel yourself getting stressed or overwhelmed, remember the feeling.  Say something to yourself to help you remember that positive feeling.  This is your tool to pull out and use whenever you feel the need.

 

Now try the same thing with whatever you’re doing that adds to your stress during this holiday season – shopping for a gift for a loved one, a company Christmas party, your tenth school Christmas performance you need to attend tonight after work.  Whatever it is, while you’re there try to focus on that one thing to the exclusion of everything else.  Really be in the moment with that thing or that person.

 

Remember what’s most important to you during these holidays.  Family, friends, church, God.  Focus on that during these holidays, and remember that the rest is only noise.

 

“There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”
-Erma Bombeck

 

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Posted on 23 December, 2009 in Balance, Making the Day Count, Simplify
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