Category Archives: Power Words
Last night my dear friend Danielle and I trekked out to Pasadena to the new KPCC building. We went to hear readings and musings on the book Mom, the latest StoryCorps book introduced by Dave Isay. The lovely Crawford Family Forum was the perfect venue to appreciate the stories told and recorded by StoryCorps. It was so wonderful to listen, with no obligations, or expectations; nothing required. It was a privilege to meet Rueben Martinez of Libreria Martinez Books & Art Gallery-a literacy advocate and MacArthur Fellow, who was selling the books for signing. In fact, Dave Isay is also a MacArthur Fellow-which put us, as, as Bill Davis president of Southern California Public Radio said: “In the company of two geniuses.”
It was an honor to shake the hands and in the case of Rueben, to get a big hug, by three men so intent on preserving oral histories and the stories of common people, who in reality are not always so common. What a fantastic project StoryCorps is. To give people the opportunity to listen to the story of a relative or close friend and have it recorded for posterity. The story-teller has the opportunity to be heard, to have someone they care about, truly listen to their story, without judgment, in the privacy of the recording booth. We all deserve to be heard and we all must take the time to listen to others, face to face. It is through listening that we learn, we appreciate and we grow.
Listening is a common thread in my life lately. Having gone through the Council training of the Ojai Foundation, and practicing listening with the children in my kindergarten, I find myself slowing down and feeling the calm of uninterrupted listening, of making eye contact, of not formulating an answer immediately, but letting the words sink in. The words reside in a spiral in my mind and I can close my eyes, patiently letting the words into my soul, the stories melding and becoming a part of me.
I believe my kindergarten children need the chance to do their own StoryCorps project. They are often not given credit for their ability to come up with insightful questions and their own curiosity leads them to question things we might otherwise miss. These children are our future, and we must give them the opportunity to have the kind of special contact a true, intimate interview can provide.
How often do we take a risk? Not a dangerous risk, but the kind of risk that feels slightly uncomfortable yet might result in a positive change. It is easy to go along with the things as they are and taking a risk can produce uneasy feelings of anxiety but the results can also be a new path leading to a better future.
People stay in relationships, jobs, friendships and locals because keeping things the same takes a lot less effort than the effort it takes to leap into the unknown. Yet, often that leap is what we look back on as a changing point in our lives that made all the difference.
I am ready to take a risk-to change my mindset and begin to experience abundance. I have lived too long in the state of worry and “not enough” and am making a conscious choice to let myself feel “enough.” I am taking the risk of letting go of previously held thoughts, and to allow my mind to be free of preconceived notions and ideas, habits and traits. I am practicing meditation and visualization.
This risk, for me, is worth it. I am ready to move forward.
Change can be empowering, frightening, enlightening, depressing, difficult or exciting. Often change is all of these emotions at the same time, which is possibly why so many of us are hesitant to voluntarily take change on. Usually change happens “to” us, or we are forced to change against our will.
I have always been emotional during life-stage changes such as children growing up and entering new phases of their lives, weddings, births, deaths, and moving on, either to a new home, new job, new place in my life. Change does not come easily because it places us in an uncomfortable unknown place and we crave the familiar.
At some point though, we begin to crave change. We look in the mirror and say “enough!” Or we see an opportunity to grow intellectually, spiritually or to improve our health or our surroundings and we say “yes.” We initiate the change, and that is a huge step to insuring its success. Change embraced is change most likely to be effective.
I am embracing change. I have three areas that I will focus on: health, spirituality, and responsibility. I will change my health habits to protect my body and to assure my health by exercising daily walking, with yoga, strength training, pilates and Qigong (my new-found exercise area of interest.
I will focus on spirituality through meditation (One Moment Meditation), connecting with people I care about, and those I want to help and self-reflection.
I will focus on responsibility by taking responsibility to educate myself about the things I need to take care of myself and live the life I want to live. Those include financial responsibility, staying connected to those I care about, performing my best at my job, challenging my intellect and being there, emotionally and physically, for my friends and family.
Change is not something that comes easily to me, it is an area that I chose to work on. My life is not stagnant and my self-initiated changes are more likely to have a positive impact on my life.
Over the years I have been fascinated with learning. I love to learn new things about myself, about the world, and topics relating to improving oneself and striving for a balanced life. I am also dedicated to improving my health which has been a project for more years than I’d like to remember. When I was a member of Weight Watchers, our group leader gave us these 17 words, Power Words. I have mine in a small frame on my bathroom sink when I can see them first thing in the morning. I select one word to focus on each day, but I thought it would be interesting to focus on one word each day right here in my blog.
The words are: prepare, care, believe, forgive, change, risk, listen, choose, relax, pray, persist, wait, smile, focus, act, trust and accept.
Today I will start with “prepare.” This word is especially appropriate for me today because after a relatively easy bone density scan, I received the unhappy news that I have Osteoporosis. The causes are not known yet but will be revealed after the 7 test tubes of blood are examined. Osteoporosis can be caused by many things, such as age, low vitamin D levels, low calcium absorbtion, or it can be hereditary. That is my suspicion since my mother also had Osteoporosis. So, I actually have it, it is not just a precursor to the condition. I have to prepare and establish new routines to prevent further degeneration and also build up strength and balance to prevent future injuries.
I have a plan of attack. I will take my vitamin supplements religiously, resume my yoga practice, walk my one hour daily, and eat lots of dark, green leafy veggies. I will prepare and strengthen my body to hopefully thwart future degeneration.
Preparation is a life skill that must be taught. The skill of being able to take a peak into the future and predict what might happen in order to prepare ahead of time is something I hope to teach my own daughters. I hope to spare them the news I received today by encouraging them to be proactive, establish healthy habits now and to realize that the things you think will happen way off in the future arrive sooner than you thought they would. After all, I still feel 19 inside and am constantly shocked to find out that I’m not.