ENTHUSIASM

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I truly have always loved the word ENTHUSIASM. When you understand the greek term, you appreciate the word even more…en theos or “God within.”   What power that word possesses. If we could all live from such a place of enthusiasm, what a world we would live in.

Yesterday, I was driving through a breakfast burrito spot and ordered a simple, breakfast burrito. I made the exchange at the drive-up window & was then greeted by such an enthusiastic encounter. The guy at the window handed me my order & enthusiastically said, “I have only made 4 of those burritos in 2 years!! Keep the orders coming! I love shaking things up and making something different!” He beamed with enthusiasm. I drove away giggling with my daughter at how sweet that interaction was, to see a man working at a fast-food restaurant so happy to make something a little different. Variety was definitely his spice of life. It lit him up!

Are we not all like that? Don’t we need to shake things up, to add some variety into our lives.  Last weekend my family rented some paddle boards, which one of them was a huge 18 ft board that could fit multiple people. My daughter does not love trying new things, especially in front of other people, like my family. I wanted my daughter to TRY & I know she has the personality that you have to keep pushing and pushing until she finally does. We were having a serious conversation & she was digging in her heals pretty serious. She was not having any of the conversation & was not about to get on a paddle board. After a serious, stern moment, she finally gave in after I promised her it would just be our little family on the large board.  I only get stern if I know she will enjoy it & the situation was getting too serious. The conversation paid off. My daughter hesitantly got on the board, tried something new and loved it. The whole day would have been a different day if she would not have got on the board and spread her little wings and tried. She was filled with enthusiasm. She paddled cousins all around the lake, she started water fights with uncles, she found a little part of herself that needed to fly and be free from the constraints of the usual, the comfortable.

When we leave the comfort zone, we tap into a deeper part of ourselves that needs to grow. When we try new things, we light up. That ‘God within’ part or enthusiasm shines through and joy springs from us. It is a good place to be.

What can you do today to shake things up, to tap into that part of you that needs to feel enthusiasm?

“An enthusiastic heart finds opportunities everywhere.”  -Paulo Coelho

Take some time to do something you truly enjoy–maybe you feel you don’t have enough time in a day. Think about all the great minds throughout history, what they accomplished, and how they had the exact number of hours and days you have. How will you make today different? Begin with 15 minutes. That is all. Do something you enjoy for 15 minutes.

Avoid being the victim–my husband’s sister has been a functioning addict for over 30 years until recently. She fell into a pit and stayed there. We just removed her from her old world & threw her into an uncomfortable situation. She hit rock bottom–she could have been the victim, but instead she got moving. She began walking 5 miles a day and seeing herself through other lenses than the victim ones he had been wearing. She is moving in a forward direction for her life. It all begins with a choice. What do you want to focus on? What statements are you saying to yourself?

What lights you up? What is something you could spend hours doing? Maybe you enjoy walking museums for creative inspiration. Maybe you could go on a hike every day. Maybe you love to read or write. Maybe playing or listening to music. Maybe learning something new…ask yourself, ‘what lights me up?’

Take care of yourself–make sure you are doing what you can to have good energy, eating good foods, getting enough sleep, exercising, drinking water, etc. If you are not taking care of your body, how can the spirit part of you be influenced & feel good?

Evaluate the energy drains of your life–are there things you do that bring you down, that make you feel low. Are there people or friends that you don’t enjoy being around, you feel zapped from spending time with them. Are there things about your job that lower your energy. Look at different aspects of your life and evaluate what lights you up, what makes you feel lower energy and try to slowly limit those things that don’t light you up. You will begin to see the high and low energy effects of everything in your life.

Look at your body language and verbal language–what are you saying? Do you carry a positive body posture or do you walk hunched over. Are you saying positive things to others & yourself or do you find yourself being more negative than positive. Do you sit tall or slouch. Walk and talk as if you are feeling full of enthusiasm & what you will be telling your mind and body is that you are truly feeling it!

Avoid the bad life stressors–my husband has recently been trying to take on a new role at work. The stress has been unbearable to watch. He comes home, his eyes are sunken in and he is exhausted, there is no possible energy of enthusiasm that can thrive on that! When you over stress, you over work, you become overwhelmed and your body is depleted. Nothing can grow or light up from the hard depths and dark energy of bad stress. This is when sleep, slowing down, and recharging is essential to begin again.

Learn something new–realistically, when you learn something new, you get lit up. Think of a time recently that you learned something new–what happened? Did you have a renewed energy? Did you want to learn more? When we challenge, we grow. When we grow, we light up.

Surround yourself with positives–listen to positive podcasts, put on music that makes you feel good, watch movies that stir your soul (feel good–not make you feel heavy), be around people who are happy & feel good, read and send positive quotes, read good books that will make you stretch and grow, do things that make you feel positive and fill your heart with enthusiasm.

 

May you light up. May you find enthusiasm. May it find you in all you do.

Peace and love to you today.  -H

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No Coincidences.

da929b61eae52f230f44395585967eeeI had a lost cat camping out on my porch for over a month. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to, so I posted ads looking for the owner, asked around my neighborhood, but no luck. Finally, after having this cat rub up against me, begging for attention, I knew I had to find it a good home. I am allergic & could barely touch it. I felt bad, but knew someone could give it the love it needed.

Then L walked into my life. She was just out of foster care, just turned 18 and was finally trying to make a life of her own. She responded to my ad for the lost cat & wanted to give it a good home. L has lots of love to give, so I thought the two would be a great match. Off they went together. At that point, I had no idea what a gift we would be for one another.

L kept reaching out & sending me pics. First she sent me one of her, the cat and a little old lady she helps take care of. L told me that she was trying to get her CNA and was currently helping elderly people at a facility & many of them missed their pets. L was going to use the cat to help the elderly. I LOVED that idea & when I saw the pic, my heart melted. L was doing good things and so was the kitty.

L and I have been corresponding back and forth via text for weeks now. Her story is one of abuse, heart ache, adoption, cruelty, self harm, detention and finally foster care. That last year helped turn her life around by taking her out of a dysfunctional place and giving her hope.

In our conversations I have seen her hope, her big heart, her love of animals and her good will to help people. I also saw her need for connection, her feelings of being alone with no family, her yearning to be loved. So, I invited her over for dinner.

She came over last night & brought her boyfriend. I was honestly not sure what to expect or if it would be awkward. It was a gift to all of us. Both of these young kids, coming from the same small town & having no relationships with their family because of past lives. We all sat around the dinner table talking, sharing stories, connecting and enjoying our differences. They needed love and connection—who doesn’t!! We went on a walk down our forested path, we talked about nature, animals, silly things that made us laugh. L and I heard how similar we are–our love for nature and animals, how we can be misunderstood for our sensitivity, our big hearts, our love for living things (even spiders). We now know we are true kindred spirits. I think we will always be connected in some way. I told L, “I believe there are no coincidences. Kitty brought us together for some reason.” We both just smiled at one another and knew it was true. Getting to know this young girl helped me to once again see how important it is to be in tune to what others may need. We are a gift to one another.

WE ARE A GIFT TO ONE ANOTHER. Is a story, an experience that continues to be told through each one of us. Look at those around you and don’t judge. Just open your hearts and hands to help give them help, understanding, love, kindness, part of yourself.

It is a gift to each and every one of us, if we reach out and grab hold of someone who may need us.

Have a beautiful day. Smile at a stranger. Talk to someone who may look different than you. Listen to a story. Share a moment. You will be better for it. I promise.

Peace to you today.  -H

What one single thing can YOU do?

WOW! It is truly humbling to see different projects, movements, videos, songs, people…making a difference. It is AMAZING!!

I LOVE thinking of doing one thing that could make a difference in someone’s world. ITS HUGE. Think about it!! Think about a time in your life when you did one small thing, but it made a big difference to someone else. YOU CAN! I CAN! WE CAN!! Even one small step at a time.

A SWEET GIRL–I just met a young girl yesterday. I had posted an ad in my local paper looking for a home for a stray cat that had been left in my neighborhood & has been living on my back porch for over a month. After trying to find the owners & not able to give it the love it needs (I am allergic) I posted an ad. This young, probably 18 year old girl responded & when I met her she began sharing her story….she had just got out of the foster care program, had been abused, adopted for money, lots of dysfunction. But then she lit up telling me that her life had changed since she had been living with a couple who have helped over 600 girls in the past 30 years. Her gratitude towards them was intensely positive & she was so positive talking about her experience with them. They made a definite difference in her life.

We had a fun conversation & I am sure we will keep in contact. The thing that was so amazing to me—thinking about the great impact that one couple had on so many lives. It is humbling to think of one couple taking in, investing, nurturing and trying to better the world of so many girls lives. AMAZING.

I LOVE stories that inspire, and even more, people who inspire. Here are some other people who are making a difference one message, one story at a time.

Take this guy—Prince Ea…rapper poet to movement maker! I LOVE this video & look how many people he has touched. WOW!! over 6 million views.

His other statement–SORRY TO FUTURE GENERATIONS—SAVE THE TREES–is another video close to my heart & has made an even BIGGER statement with over 11 Million views. One voice. One action. One stand. He just began!! That says something.

I LOVE trying to spread anything GOOD. It all makes a positive difference.

USE your VOICE. SAY SOMETHING that needs to be said. DO SOMETHING that needs to be done. USE your life!! USE IT FOR GOOD!!

Here is another great story about one person making a movement–BECAUSE I SAID I WOULD 

Make sure you listen to the whole story. The reason he truly started the organization was a very powerful story. Not just his Dad, but someone else.

I hope these stories make your day a little brighter!! I hope it helps you think about something small you can to do make a difference in the world.

Peace and Love to you today  -H

Lessons learned from the movie Same Kind of Different as Me

Same-Kind-of-Different-as-Me-New-Poster

For starters, my little family was in tears. This movie will tug at the very depth of your emotions. It is a true story about very different people, the struggles that bring them together, the challenges that life can offer and the story of one incredible woman that brings it full circle. It has many beautiful and also heart wrenching moments. Even though there are some sad themes, you will finish watching with a full heart.

I am not going to give you too much of the storyline because I do not want to ruin it for you, but it was worth the emotional ride.

 

screen-shot-2016-08-17-at-9-50-10-amLEARN FROM CHALLENGE: Sometimes you learn how strong you are through the struggles you go through. Deb wanted to find a way to connect on a deeper level with her husband, so she took him to a soup kitchen. Oh, the lessons they learned together.

 

screen-shot-2017-10-23-at-10-35-28-amHAVE A HEART OF GOODNESS: Deborah had a way of looking beyond the exterior and finding the heart of goodness in anyone.  She brought out the good in people. She gave them a chance. She had a dream about a man…I had another dream.  It was about a poor wise man who changes the city.  …Can’t you just see it?!  Flower boxes…  A place where people know they matter just as much as people on the other side of that tunnel?!

IF we could all take that into our own life, the world would be a better place. If we could even just start with a smile to a stranger or think outside of ourselves for one day–that would be a good start. Maybe you could make cookies for a neighbor, hand out water bottles to homeless people on a corner, leave a nice comment for a cashier who checked you out at the grocery store. Begin small. One tiny act begins and then swells into more.

 

636373584980760478-SKGregBE TRUE TO THOSE AROUND YOU: I fell in love with the love and respect these two men shared. They were strangers, grew closer together through challenge & found a lasting friendship. Before I answer your question about being friends, something I wanna ask you.  Something about white people always bother me.  When white people go fishing, they do catch and release…  See where I growed up… when we finally caught something on the line, we’s real proud of what we got.  [We sure didn’t release it.]  …  If you is a white man that is fishing for a friend and you just wanna catch and release, then I got no desire to be your friend. -Denver

When you give a plate of food or $1 to a homeless man, what do you think you’re doing?  Helping?!  No.  A plate of food don’t change nothing.  You’re tell him you seehim.  He’s not invisible. -Denver

 

samekinddifferent12100WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING GOOD INSIDE US. No matter what, Bless him.  Your daddy got a good man inside of him. Sometimes you just gotta bless the hell out of people.  Your daddy had a lot of hell in him. -Denver

This is a genuine lesson on remembering that no matter what people go through, what addictions they pick up along the journey, what stories they tell themselves or those they love…no matter what has happened, we have to remember that there truly is a good person in there somewhere. They have just forgotten, have become numb, have lost that part of themselves & need to rebuild to find it.

 

Same-kind-620x400-1024x661WE ARE ALL THE SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT: She was different.  She saw me behind them bars and reached down and pulled me out with the key God gave her.

I used to spend a lot of time worrying I was different from other people.  Even homeless people.  …  But what I found out, we’re all different.  Same kind of different as me.

Miss Debbie, she a whole nother kind of different.  Miss Debbie dreamed of a better place for us homeless folks.  And I’m not talking about heaven.  I’m talking about right here.

Whether we’s rich or whether we’s poor, we’s all homeless, every last one of us.  Just working our way back home. -Denver

I LOVE this last thought. WE are ALL HOMELESS, just working our way back home. If you think about that, there is so much truth in that statement. We are all just working our way back, learning life lessons, learning about our human selves, trying to work together, finding and appreciating the spiritual sides of our existence, etc. We are all in a state of progression, trying to find our way on the path of life, on the journey back to our spiritual home.

 

same-kind-of-different-as-meEVERYTHING HOLDS A TREASURE, A GIFT TO SOMEONE: God’s in the recycling business, of turning trash into treasure. -Ron

I think life holds so many moments to find the hidden gems of lessons that need to be learned. Sometimes we become jaded to the homeless guy on the corner or begin to not care about the needs of others, sadly. Life is a path & the books we choose to read, the movies we watch, the conversations we have, the stories we hear about, the people we come across along the way…all become a part of our bigger story. We take little nuggets of wisdom, lessons learned, feelings felt & we thread them into the story of our own life.

I can vividly remember moments with complete strangers, conversations with homeless people, stories shared with me by cashiers I just met…I believe everything comes into our life or happens for a reason. It may simply be the need for connection, but what we take from it– that becomes our life treasures, the little gems that stay with us for our own journey.

 

12 10 _176.NEFI believe this movie was a genuine gift to my little family. It touched every single one of us on various levels. My daughter never cries during movies and rarely cries about anything, but was genuinely touched and became so emotional. It was a beautiful gift to see her emotion. My husband seemed to have a new outlook on possibly trying to find some avenue to help people in some way. I felt so much gratitude to be a family. It was a lovely gift to all of us.

I guarantee you will probably cry, maybe feel some sadness, will experience lows and highs, but you will also be moved by the beautiful message behind the true story.

 

Enjoy. Peace, love and kindness to you today.  -H

 

 

 

 

 

Life Passage

Easter Sunday to be exact we put my fifteen year old daughter behind the wheel of our Durango and her Dad gave her the first driving lesson of many. I videoed it & my daughter’s expressions were priceless. She was NOT having a good time.

After the lesson we drove over to harts gas station and my husband ran inside to buy celebratory treats. I looked at my daughter in the back seat and she became a little emotional. I asked her what she was feeling & it was so genuinely sweet. She said, “I didn’t like driving because it makes me feel like I am getting older. I don’t want to be a teenager.”  I told her that she would never be a typical teen because that is not who she is. I explained how driving is just a right of passage in a way. I explained how you have to grow in life. You have to do things that help you fly, that help you learn. I talked about how the butterfly has to go through hard things, to struggle, to break free from its ‘chrysalis’ to be able to fly. We talked about how it is not a bad thing to learn and grow. I reiterrated that she would never be a typical teen. It was a very sweet conversation.

Life is like that! You go from one growth challenge to another to another. Life should be a passage, a passage to better things that help us grow to become better people.

I LOVE that idea–a passage. The definition of ‘rites of passage’ points that mark transitional periods in a person’s life, such as birth, puberty, marriage, having children, and death. Rites of passage usually involve ritual activities and teachings designed to strip individuals of their original roles and prepare them for new roles. -dictionary.com

We all go through life changes and challenges. We go through tough things that make us feel uncomfortable, that challenge our current belief systems. Without those challenges how would we truly grow??

My only issue is that life is FULL of change and rites of passage, but I am going to go with LIFE ‘PASSAGE’ (instead of rites of passage) which is the action or process of passing from one place, condition or stage to another. I think this is more accurate in terms of life. The whole life. We don’t just have children and stop growing until we die. There is a huge portion of life within that realm. I think as adults we do more growing as we parent, as we age, as we continue to find our place as adults.

My question—as adults how can we find those specific ‘life passages’ that we personally need to challenge us to growth? We can easily become stagnate as adults, so how do we continually grow?? Here are my thoughts, research and findings….

life-begins-at-the-end-of-your-comfort-zone-quoteBREAK OUT OF YOUR ORDINARY MOLD: Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, Psychologist and author of “Better Than Perfect, says people who regularly seek out fresh experiences tend to be more creative and emotionally resilient than those who remain stuck in routine.

“Breaking your own mold can only make you stronger and more confident to reach higher levels in your professional and personal life,” she says.  

How to break out of the ordinary–Do everyday things differently–(unplug on a specific day or time. Brush your teeth standing on one leg. Try a new recipe. etc) Pick a big goal–(to write a book. to run a marathon. to climb a mountain. to read five books in a month. to start a business. etc) Do something physically challenging–(take a trapeze class. go ice skating. take a rock climbing class. certify as a yoga instructor. train for something. etc)

Benefits of breaking out–Optimal anxiety is that place where your mental productivity and performance reach their peak. Still, “increased performance” and “enhanced productivity” just sound like “do more stuff.” What do you really get when you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone? You’ll be more productive. You’ll have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected changes. You’ll find it easier to push your boundaries in the future. You’ll find it easier to brainstorm and harness your creativity. -lifehacker

 

1823516-Ginni-Rometty-Quote-I-learned-to-always-take-on-things-I-d-neverEMBRACE DISCOMFORT: That is how you truly grow. It is a catalyst for progress! “The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself.” -Mary Bean

This is an interesting idea: In an interview with Outside, Karnazes makes an important point that many of us have forgotten:

Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

That is a very interesting take from a serious Ultramarathon runner. BUT, we can look at this and equate it to our own lives. We strive to be comfortable, but I bet if any one person looked at their life to pinpoint their greatest times of personal growth, it would be in times of challenge and pain. We don’t grow in comfort. We are just comfortable. We may need to set some challenging or daunting personal goals.

 

1249822-Joe-Vitale-Quote-A-goal-should-scare-you-a-little-and-excite-you-aSET A BIG GOAL: “Don’t shrink from discomfort. Instead, let it guide you toward accomplishment.”  -Michael Hyatt

Goals make you ask a big question, “WHY?” If you can answer why you are doing something then you will see the vision behind your goal and the reason you feel compelled to move forward. Then you can ask, “How?” & begin on that part of the solution. Goals have a way of getting you in the right frame of mind to go beyond your current state.

“If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things–you don’t have enough goals.”  -Lou Holtz

Here are some great resources on creating goals: These should give you a good starting point for ideas. Make your own life list, 100 goals in 100 days, 100 goals in 10 years, it is your life–you make the plan!!

Jack Canfield has “101 Lifetime Goals” http://jackcanfield.com/blog/my-101-lifetime-goals-list-and-why-you-should-have-one-too/

Most important goals according to these ranks https://www.ranker.com/list/most-important-life-goals-list/samantha-dillinger

Another guy’s list of 100 Life Goals https://fullylived.com/100-life-goals-list/

There are MANY ideas from a variety of bloggers—google some ideas, take ideas you like and make your own list to help you live the life you want!

 

2570853-Sugata-Mitra-Quote-Ask-BIG-questions-find-BIG-answers.jpgTAKE SOME TIME TO ASK SOME BIG QUESTIONS: Take a weekend getaway or a day while you are on vacation. Maybe you take just a day alone to sit with yourself and ask some life questions. Use the time to get a renewed perspective of where you are and where you want to be. Ask yourself, “What inspires me?” “What have I learned from past mistakes or failures–what life lessons have I learned” “What do I value?” “Am I truly grateful?” “What are three things I need to look closer at in my life & work on?” “What am I the most afraid of?” “If I had a magic wand, what would I wish for? (no limitations)”  “What do I need in my life to grow?” “How strong is my self-worth & do I truly care about my needs?” “Is there something I enjoy doing that I don’t take enough time to do it more often?” “When do I feel most vulnerable?” “What am I the most proud of in my life?” “What am I focusing the majority of my time on in my life?” “Do I feel passion?” “What do I need at this moment in my life?”

 

72066-Chuck-Palahniuk-Quote-This-is-the-biggest-mistake-I-could-thinkSHAKE IT UP! Your environment, the foods you eat, the same people you surround yourself with, your daily routines, all add to states of comfort and stagnation. Take some time to shake things up–look on Groupon or a local activity sites to see if there is something fun to do to shake up your routine. Try something new each week (a new meal, a new work outfit, surprise someone with a lunch picnic during your work break, find a new way to work, learn a new recipe, listen to a different style of music (Alexa has all kinds of play lists), a new workout, join a club that you are interested in, etc.

 

Quotes About Improving Your Life Robin S. Sharma Quote “Investing In Yourself Is The BestINVEST IN YOU! Are you doing something/anything for you? Take a class, learn a new skill or talent. Is there something you have always wanted to do or try?? Is there a book you have been wanting to read, but have not made the time. Is there an exercise class you have wanted to try? Is there something you can do/learn to boost your confidence? Is there a craft class you have been wondering about? Have you always wanted a monthly massage? Is there a workshop or seminar you have been interested in?Are you following & listening to your heart? Are you taking care of your health? Are you choosing things that make you feel happy?

Why is investing in yourself so powerful? Investing in yourself, sends a powerful message to yourself and the world. The message is:The value and potential that I possess, is important enough to me that I’m going to give it the energy, space and time to grow and create results.  -huffington post

When you are taking time to do something for yourself, everyone around you benefits. You feel more alive, awakened, challenged, rejuvenated…investing in you is a win. win.

 

738837-William-Shatner-Quote-I-am-curious-about-many-things-and-find-the.jpgFIND AWE: The feelings you get from standing in a grove of trees, looking up into a starry night sky, having a space or feeling that seems to transdend. This is one strong human emotion. Many studies showed that people who frequently experience awe tend to have lower levels of a substance that’s been linked to stress and poor health. As part of a recent two-part study at the University of California, Berkeley, students filled out a questionnaire describing their feelings over the past month and submitted samples of their saliva to test for a substance linked with stress in the body. The students who said they’d recently experienced feelings of awe were more likely than students who hadn’t to have lower levels of the stress-linked substance (called interleukin-6) in their spit. In fact, the more often a student said they’d experienced awe in the past month, the lower his or her levels of the substance tended to be (More on the details of the study and its findings here). -businessinsider article

Awe-inspiring moments take us to a deeper place and help us realize that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. How to look for daily experiences of awe: being moved by music, looking at the light of the world & seeing the shadows, repetitive patterns in nature, finding the sacred in quiet moments, noticing the colors changing, seeing someone have a giving heart.

Here is a great article that talks more in-depth about the emotion of awe.  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_do_we_feel_awe

 

Well, I hope this is a good start for your personal Life Passage. Life should be cherished.

-Peace and Love to you today.  -H

The Power of Music

Music has a feeling, a rhythm, a quality that takes us to varying degrees of consciousness. It has always fascinated me how a specific song can take you directly into a memory. I have songs that take me back to specific boyfriends or memories of my youth. My younger brother has always had a fascination, almost an obsession with music. He is the individual that has his record player, his albums, collects speakers, and in some sense almost lives in the past with his songs that take him back to ‘seemingly’ better times in his life.

I think we are all at some degree influenced by what pulses rhythmically around us. Music has been scientifically proven to be able to help depression. Other studies have shown that music helps reduce pain and anxiety, it relieves stress, helps with memory, physical ailments, improves mood, improves sleep quality, improves immune function, improves learning…

DEPRESSION: A 2011 study by researchers from McGill University in Canada found that listening to music increases the amount of dopamine produced in the brain – a mood-enhancing chemical, making it a feasible treatment for depression.

STRESS: Just like listening to slow music to calm the body, music can also have a relaxing effect on the mind. Researchers at Stanford University found that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Since music is so widely available and inexpensive, it’s an easy stress reduction option. -science of people article

BRAIN: Scientific studies – ranging from investigations of the brain at a cellular level, to psychiatric assessments of schizophrenics, to linguistic scores in stroke patients – are all leading to the same conclusion: music isn’t just a form of entertainment, it is evolutionarily significant. And the more we learn about the impact of music on the brain, the more we understand how it can be employed as a therapeutic intervention. -sciencefocus

“One of the things that makes music so interesting is that it’s pleasant but at the same time cognitively demanding,” says Särkämö. “This is one of the few therapeutic interventions we have that is both soothing as well as challenging.” -sciencefocus

HEALTH: Another study from Massachusetts General Hospital found that listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients by lowering stress hormone levels, but the music also decreased blood levels of interleukin-6—a protein that has been implicated in higher mortality rates, diabetes, and heart problems. -greatergood article

LEARNING: Music enjoyment elicits dopamine release, and dopamine release has been tied to motivation, which in turn is implicated in learning and memory. In a study published last year, adult students studying Hungarian were asked to speak, or speak in a rhythmic fashion, or sing phrases in the unfamiliar language. Afterwards, when asked to recall the foreign phrases, the singing group fared significantly better than the other two groups in recall accuracy. -greatergood

EXERCISE: Researchers in the United Kingdom recruitedthirty participants to listen to motivational synchronized music, non-motivational synchronized music, or no music while they walked on a treadmill until they reached exhaustion levels. Measurements showed that both music conditions increased the length of time participants worked out (though motivational music increased it significantly more) when compared to controls. The participants who listened to motivational music also said they felt better during their work out than those in the other two conditions. -greatergood

Music literally accesses every part of your brain. It is so good for you. It lights you up, it calms, it stirs action, movement, eases pain, heals illness, it truly is a miracle drug on many levels. We need to take high, daily doses of this good stuff. Listen to the music that seems to stirs your soul, that inspires, that seems to take you to levels of good health and happiness.

Here are a few ‘feel good’ songs from my music list:

To CALM

 

To FEEL PEACE

 

To FEEL HAPPY

Some of my other favorites (that I usually ask Alexa to play) include: Lights and Motion or Hammock to calm or play while working on projects. I do however smile and dance every time I play “Work this Body” by Walk the Moon. It is just FUN!

Hope you feel even better today.

Peace and Love to you.  -H

Strangers can INSPIRE

6861961190_50a84fb868I have always loved and enjoyed the strangers that have come into my life and when I look back I smile with genuine connection. For some reason my quick conversations, the strangers that I meet and never see again leave an impression on me.

I think back about the homeless man singing on the side of the road and the sweet conversation we had as my young daughter handed him a sandwich. He looked at my daughter and it took him to a place that made him think about his daughter that was out in the world some where. I could genuinely see and hear the regret he had that alcohol had snatched that relationship away.

I remember the two, young homeless teens with their dogs that I invited into my car after I had just moved home from Bend, Oregon. There was some familiarity of Bend when I saw their dreaded hair, the piercings, the tattoos and I knew I needed to stop and ask them about their story. I knew people from ‘around here’ would not stop and would most likely just stare. We had a great conversation about their travels, their dogs and I ended up taking them to my parents home and them having showers and a meal. My parents just smiled and immediately wondered if they had lice, where they came from…..I just smiled and told them I felt it was the right thing to do.

I just read a journal note from a recent trip we went on to Washington D.C. My little family had never been there, so it was especially special. My favorite part? The uber drivers! These are just a couple we enjoyed! So many great conversations.

Eddae who was a pool shark and told us about his “brown parents” and how he has not talked to them in years because they were not proud of him or his passion for pool. My heart sank for him & luckily I had just watched a Mysteries at the Museum that had a great story about Willie Mosconi who was one of the greatest pool players in history. It was fun to be able to share the story about how Willie’s father owned a pool hall, but forbid his son to play. Willie as a young boy wanted to so badly. He would get up really early without his father knowing and use potatoes and a broom to practice. He secretly got really good. In time a good friend of the family was at the pool hall and Willie desperately wanted to play and so a friendly wager was made about Willie winning and being able to play. Willie was confident and showed his Dad how good he really was. His father had to let him play. It was a great story and so fun to share with our new friend whose father had shunned him because of the game of pool. We encouraged “Eddie” to keep playing if he had such a passion for it. It was a great car ride.

Then there was Marcus. He was the sweetest, Christian man who seemed to light up the DC area. He was proud to share that he had grown up in DC and as we drove he shared memory after memory about the area. At one point he was talking about his two daughters—17 & 6 from a previous marriage. He admitted he was young & dumb & worked harder at making money than working on his marriage. He also mentioned finding Christ & how that helped his whole life. He said it really is true if you dont go through the pain, then You truly won’t gain. He said he had gone through a lot of pain, but gained so much from it. We were in traffic for awhile, so at one point I asked him if he was close with his mom. The energy literally changed/dipped. He was a little choked up & mentioned that he had been in the hospital with her this week because she just had a massive stroke & things did not look good. He has 7 siblings & most are in the area, so they are praying to see if she comes out of it, but it is not looking good. I told him we would pray for her. He humbly said, “Wow, I was not expecting this in my day.” You could feel his genuine light & love.
We continued talking for a little bit & he learned we were leaving the next day. He said, “Can I say a prayer for all you?” We happily agreed. He started praying in his sweet, big voice. He prayed for our safe travels home & ended with such love & conviction in Jesus name. Sweetest experience ever!!

Love & light is everywhere if you take the time to look.

One more stranger…I will always have a special place forever in my heart for my friend Marianne. She was working at my local Walmart about 10 years ago. I started talking to her and she told me she had just moved here from Turkey with her daughter. She had told me that it was not a good situation with her husband so they had to flee the country. My heart felt for her.

Later that day I had a very big impression to stop back by Walmart and ask her what she needed for her daughter. It was the holidays, so it seemed like a pretty simple idea. I walked in and found Marianne at the cash wrap. I asked her when she was going to get off work & I told her I would meet her then. She looked at me completely puzzled. When she was done I asked her, “So what would your daughter like for Christmas?” She looked even more confused, “What do you mean,” she asked. I told her I felt I was suppose to help her in some way, so I figured with the holidays coming up she may need some toys for her young daughter. She hesitantly picked out a couple of things. I kept pushing her about what her daughter likes, enjoys doing, etc. Marianne was so genuinely grateful and did not want to do too much. She was sincerely appreciative of anything. I left there that day with the beginning of a friendship that has lasted about ten years. She has moved out of state, been married and divorced and through it all we have still stayed connected. She even wished me to be her daughter’s guardian if anything happened to her. We are family. Always will be.

ONE LAST INSPIRING STRANGER story

I JUST READ THIS story this morning and LOVED it. We enjoy the tv show Survivor at our house, so we were truly cheering on Stephanie in this season. She just got voted off sadly, but we pulled up her bio and this great “stranger story” was inspiring. Enjoy. I pulled this off of CBS. Who or what is your inspiration in life? Bob Scott. 87 years old. He is my angel. I met him the week of my divorce and two weeks after his wife passed away. I like to think his angel wife brought us together. He taught me to swim shortly after we met because he wanted me to be a “happy and fit mom” for my boys. He helped me learn to ride a triathlon bike. He introduced me to the world of triathlon, which changed my world. He competed alongside me at my first half Ironman and full Ironman and still competes to this day. Bob taught me the sport is about fun, fitness, and friends and that to do this for life and be just like him, I had to keep this mentality. We still train together each week as well as compete alongside each other.

You never know what will come from a sincere meeting with a stranger. Look for guidance, be a light and you will always be inspired by others.

-Peace and love to you today. H