The Word of the Week….ALIVE

The WORD of the WEEK is…..

ALIVE

Alive, in its simplest form, means living, not dead.

If you are reading these words, you are most definitely living!  But are you ALIVE?

The way I see it, there is a distinction between living and really being alive.

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Are you surviving?  Or are you alive and thriving?

Are you living life by simply going through the motions?  Or are you alive, present to the moments in your day, that combine together to make up your life?

Does your life seem mundane, repetitive, ordinary?  Or are you alive, designing a life that excites and fulfills you?

Are you living your life on a moving sidewalk, standing motionless, watching the world pass you by?  The moving sidewalk may be a stable and predictable journey, allowing you to travel at a steady pace towards a predetermined destination.  But it’s a passive existence.

Living a life where you are ALIVE means living with intention.  It requires you to be mentally aware and engaged  in your life.  You must choose to be an active participant and not an idle bystander.  It means being “all in”, taking ownership of the life you choose to live.

Here are 5 simple tips to help you be ALIVE in your life, and not simply survive your life.

Be ALIVE….It’s a choice!

1.  PAUSE & BREATH

2.  CONNECT WITH YOUR 5 SENSES

3.  SMILE

4.  CHOOSE SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF

5.  BE GRATEFUL

with Joy & Gratitude,

Do You Live Easy?

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We think we want EASY.  We are told to seek out the EASY.

The world around us is screaming go EASY….

Take it easy….

It’s quick and easy….

Easy street….

The easy way out….

But what does easy really accomplish?

Easy is boring.  It’s the path of least resistance.  Easy is achieved without much effort.   It prevents you from reaching your potential.  Easy keeps you in the same place.

Think about it.  Do you REALLY want easy?

I thought I did….

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The Whole Life Challenge started on Saturday.  Given that I’ve played this health and fitness game once before, I assumed it would be easy the second time around.  My original intention for accepting this challenge again was to support my friends who wanted to play.  But as the game kick off day was approaching, I noticed that easy wasn’t very motivating.

What I didn’t yet know was that the Whole Life Challenge had tweaked some of their game rules.  Unlike my first game, this time our alcohol consumption was severely limited.  The beginner level permits one glass of a wine per day, the intermediate level allows one glass of wine per week and the advanced level does not include any wine (or any alcohol) at all.

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With the change of one minor rule, this game went from easy to incredibly challenging!  I’m not an alcoholic.  But the ugly truth is I do LOVE my red wine, and the ritual that surrounds it.  I love choosing the bottle I will open.  I love cutting the foil seal.  I love uncorking the bottle.  I love the sound of the wine pouring through the aerator.  I love swirling the wine around the glass.  I love holding the base of the glass in my hand.  I love that first sip.  I love the second, third and fourth sip too!

What I love most is the meaning I’ve attached to my evening wine ritual.  It signifies that my work day has come to an end.  It means I no longer have to juggle multiple roles, I can just be a mom and wife.  It’s the cue that the family will soon come together to share a meal and enjoy the end of the day.  It means I can stop thinking and doing…..and can just relax and be.

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It is my reward for a day well lived.

Quite honestly, my first inclination was to rebel and simply not follow this new rule.  But if I’m not going to play by the rules, why play at all.  Giving up my evening ritual and all that my wine means to me will not be easy! I don’t know what my life will look like in 8 weeks as this challenge comes to an end.  But I do know something awesome will result from my willingness to play the hard, challenging and uncomfortable game….from not taking the easy way out!

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We tend to live a life that is comfortable, predictable and easy!  But life really begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Only you can choose.  Will you take the easy road?  Or do you want fun, exciting, and challenging?

Remember, there is no easy button for the things you really want in life.

with Joy & Gratitude,

Cherishing a Friend for a Lifetime

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There are distinct differences between a ‘lifelong friend’ and a ‘friend for a lifetime’.  A lifelong friend is a person you’ve known for a long time, for your lifetime.  The emphasis in this label is placed on time (longevity), not on type or depth of the friendship.  A friend for a lifetime is a friend first and foremost, the kind of friend that can endure the ups and downs of a lifetime together.  Someone that once they enter your life, they will never leave.

The length of time that a friendship has existed certainly has an impact, for over time we have a multitude of experiences together, which build upon themselves to create a shared history.  But the qualities that really makes a friendship last a lifetime include mutual respect, lack of judgement, open communication, and unconditional love.

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I met one of my “for a lifetime” friends 23 years ago in Washington, DC.   I didn’t realize the difference she would make in my life when I first laid eyes on her.  How could I?  I had already decided I didn’t like her the moment I met her.  I was a co-manager at a national clothing store, working my way towards a promotion to store manager.  Sue relocated from Georgia where she had already earned the position of store manager for this same chain.  I felt threatened by her and was angry at her for messing up my career track since her experience would bump her ahead of me in line for the next store manager position.

Thankfully, she made it impossible for me to not fall madly in friendship with her!  Her energy, positive attitude and sense of humor made her irresistible.  While my head was telling me one thing (she’s a threat), my heart knew we were supposed to be friends.

The first few years of our friendship were easy since we lived near each other and worked for the same company.  After 3 years, I relocated about 200 miles away, but it felt like I had moved across country.  Even with the distance, we were both able to periodically make the 3-4 hour drive to get some girl time together.

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Ten years later, Sue did move across country, from Virginia to Kansas.  I knew the geographic separation was far enough that maintaining our friendship would be challenging, but not impossible.

We continued to share in each other’s lifetime milestones, but the distance began to chip away at the part of a friendship that is solidified from sharing the mundane, silly and trivial parts of every day life.  We had a choice to make.  We could let the friendship slowly dissolve due to circumstances, or we could be intentional about our relationship in order to maintain a “friendship for a lifetime”.

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So we did the only thing we could think of given our situation, we started scheduling a monthly phone call – a girlfriend appointment.  Our conversations last upwards of 2 hours (ok – maybe a little longer), and even then, we aren’t really done talking.  We just force ourselves to bring the conversation to an end so as not to neglect the other responsibilities in our day.  I know with certainty that our consistent communication with each other has been the glue that has kept our friendship strong.

As fate would have it, Sue lives less than an hour away from where Silpada holds their national conference, which kicks off later this week.  I’m catching a plane to Kansas tomorrow and I don’t have to limit my next conversation with Sue to just 2 hours.  We get 24 hours together, and chances are, we’ll still have things to talk about when our time runs out!

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A friendship for a lifetime is a gift!

When people enter our lives, we have no idea how long they will stay, or what impact they will make on us.  Each of us are only one half of a relationship.  We can’t force a friendship to be one that lasts a lifetime.  But when we find ourselves fortunate enough to be in a relationship with the potential to last a lifetime, we have to nurture it.

Do your friends know how important they are to you?  Communication doesn’t have to be a 2 hour phone call.  It can be a text, an email, a facebook message or a hand written note.  The act of staying in communication can be the difference between a life long friend and a friend for a lifetime!

with Joy & Gratitude,