Nancy Bishop's blog

Take Time to Savor Life

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~ Thornton Wilder


It won't be long before the winds begin howling from the northeast bringing blankets of snow to cover the landscape. Hibernating animals will soon nestle down for their long winter naps. They instinctively know when it is time to forage and when it is time to rest. Even the trees have shaken off their last vestiges of leaves and now stand naked in the landscape. Their stark beauty stares back at us.

When I'm driving down the road, I see things that I've never noticed before. The mountain in the distance looks like a woman lying on her back face up toward the sun. The green grass floating on the river bottom looks like long wavy hair blowing in the breeze. I see expressions and forms in trees. I drive past this one tree and I see a dancer. The limbs on the tree have grown in such a way that it looks like a dancer leaping in mid-air. Recently, I took a picture of an old gnarly tree. Upon closer inspection, I saw the expression of a man's face nestled within the wrinkled bark.

Early in the morning, I time my walk with the sunrise so that I can witness the new day as it dawns. It's times like these that I feel deep in my bones the miracle of being alive. When I am connected to this miracle, I am not worried about my finances, my career or my physical health. I feel grateful to all of my ancestors for making it possible for me to be here now to experience life.

Whatever is going on in your world, take a moment to step outside of yourself and connect with the wonder of all the miracles that have taken place so that you could be here to experience your life.  Savor everything about your life: the people, the place where you call home, the animals that you share your life with, and all of  the abundance that surrounds you.

When you change your point of view, your point of view will change you by revealing the wonders and treasures that have been waiting right there for you to notice.

 

Transitions

 

Change comes in many flavors. It can be a job loss, a new job, marriage, divorce, illness, sudden wealth, retirement or a birthday. Whatever the precipitating event, the process always remains the same. First, something happens that may initially be shocking and emotionally overwhelming. Typically most people are not embracing the change. Some are confused and may feel frustrated and angry that the world they knew now seems unfamiliar.

Transitions will often feel like the very ground is shifting beneath us. It is important during periods of transition to find ways to "ground" yourself. Taking good care of yourself during uncertain times could include listening to meditative music, walking in nature, reading poetry, connecting with friends, or learning something new. 

I am a strong advocate of journal writing and recommend this practice to my clients who are going through transition. Journaling has many benefits that include boosting immunity, reducing stress and connecting you with what you value. Becoming clear about your values is essential in making authentic choices. Your values are the compass that will keep you on track and guide you through any transition. Values are the key ingredients necessary for making your recipe for life complete.

During this time of transitioning into the new year, why not get into synch with the season and take some time in the next few days to reflect on what is most important to you in your life.Begin to prioritize how you are going to spend your time this year. What change can you make in your own life that you want to see in the world?

Transitions always have the capacity to teach us important lessons about ourselves and life. If we remain open, these times will lead us all to living more authentically.
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Freedom Not Fear

 

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, "He who hesitates before each step spends life on one leg." 

Have you ever tried standing on one leg?  After a few minutes, you'll start to sway, and eventually lose your balance.  In order to regain your balance you must put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.   

I'm sure that you have noticed by now that time doesn't stand still and it waits for no one.  When thinking about taking risks ask yourself:  

  • What's the worst thing that can happen, and can you live with that?
  • How will you feel if you don't take the risk? 
  • What are the chances that you will succeed?
  • How will you know if you don't try?

In Susan Jeffers book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,  she talks about the Five Truths of Fear. They are:

  1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
  2. The only way to get rid of fear of doing something is to go out and do it.
  3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out and do it.
  4. Not only am I going to experience the fear whenever I'm on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
  5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

There may be many obstacles on the path towards your goals and, there are also many ways around them, over them, or through them.  Don't give up!  Find others who will walk beside you that offer encouragement and support.

And, if you ever have moments when you think that there is nothing in life to count on then just let Nature remind you of a few of these things:

The seasons will always change.

The sun will rise and set each day.

The moon will complete it's cycle every month.

The stars will be in the sky shining brightly.


Day will follow night. 

Joy Full June

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.~ Rumi

Everything is so lush from all of the rain we've been having this spring. This kind of beauty stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away. I know without a doubt that we live in an abundant universe.

We all need to pause for beauty and remember that we are part of a grand creation. I remind myself of this when I am struggling or resisting things in my life. This usually happens when I'm thinking in scarcity mode and living a pinched narrow existence. I know this is when I need to step back for awhile and pause for beauty. How about you?

Many of us operate with the belief that if we just try harder, do more, then we will succeed and be happy. When the truth is just the opposite. When we relax, let go and stop struggling things begin to unfold for us; opportunities seem to find us.

Have you noticed that some of your best ideas and most creative times come when you aren't trying so hard to make things happen? It seems when we shift our attention away from the struggle and, focus more on what brings us JOY, that things begin to happen effortlessly. But, we have to do our parts and become the gardener's of our attitudes.

Researchers in the field of positive emotions say we need five positive emotions to override one negative emotion. When we cultivate a positive attitude we are actually storing positive emotions that persist in spite of any adversity or challenge that comes our way.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: Am I flourishing? Does my life have meaning and purpose? Am I thriving? Am I growing or am I root bound and tangled up? How much fun am I having?

If the answers to these questions leave you feeling empty then its time to start cultivating your JOY. Let's make JOY our REAL jobs by paying attention to the people, places and things that make us feel great. Once you begin to recognize who or what gives you JOY then make it a priority to get large daily doses of JOY. Revel and relish in what brings you JOY. JOY is the main ingredient and absolutely necessary to create the flavor for vital health, success, happiness, wealth, and great relationships.

This June make it your JOB to be JOY FULL. Put yourself in situations and in the company of people who encourage, inspire and bring out the best in you. Most of all have FUN!!

It's time to get out of that tight clay pot, stretch your roots, relax and grow your JOY.

 

 

How to Catapult Out of A Rut and Get Your Creative Dreams Flowing Again.

Spring is the time of year that most New Englander's dream about all winter long. Winter coats and boots are gleefully stuffed into the backs of closets in exchange for summer shorts and sandals. I remember my mother telling us that we couldn't wear our shorts until after Memorial Day; we might catch cold. And, as for summer whites, never before Memorial Day. How things change and, still, some things remain the same.

Just a few miles south, the trees have begun their springtime show while daffodils stand clustered on roadside hills. Wild colors are bursting onto the landscape; red tulips, green grass, yellow forsythia.  Each morning promises the arrival of another species of bird, another blossom in the garden. 
All of this creativity in nature can be a stark reminder if you are feeling stuck in some area of your life whether it be a project, career, relationship, or financial issue. So how can you tap into your creativity and get unstuck?
First, remember that we all have creative energy pulsing through our veins. We have a choice in each moment to recreate our stories and our lives. Instead of focusing on judging your experience as good or bad, find ways to shift your focus from judgment to taking some action that will move you forward in the direction of your dreams.
Not knowing what you want can be an exciting place to be because that puts you in the role of the adventurer. Start noticing the things that grab your attention and interest. What magazines, books, topics, and activities are you drawn to? Instead of working so hard to figure "things" out, relax and have fun exploring.   
    

Don't forget the importance of getting support from others. Brainstorming with someone else can bring new insights and may jumpstart your creativity.  With a plan, support, encouragement and someone to hold you accountable, momentum is created that fuels the creative engine that will catapult you out of your rut.

Imagine what you want as though it were taking place right now. What does it look like, how do you feel, what are you thinking, what are you spending your time on?
The world is waiting for you to bring your creativity into full, colorful bloom. You have the power; it resides within you.

 

When You Believe It, You Will See It.

Someone once said that New England in October was like being dropped into a box of gumdrops. As far as the eye can see, we are surrounded by the brilliant colors: red, orange, yellow and green as the leaves on sugar maples burn brightly against the landscape.

Wherever you live on the planet nature provides incredible beauty. You only have to open your eyes to see it. Your vision can become blurry though if you are always in a rush and moving through your days at breakneck speeds.

DeWitt Jones, one of America's top professional photographers and, a photojournalist for National Geographic, said this,"The earth today is like a landscape of turbulent weather or a sky of 10,000 snow geese." Jones' vision was to celebrate "what's right with the world." His vision guided him to capture and photograph some of the most stunning places in the world. Celebrating "what's right with the world" is the vision that opened the door to possibility for DeWitt Jones. In order to see "what's right" he had to believe it first. 

So many of us today live in the world of, "I'll believe it when I see it."  What if we shifted our focus and operated from the premise that when I believe it, I'll see it?  What vision do you have for your life: your health, relationships, work, recreation, finances, community and the world? What are you choosing to believe in? 
 
When you have a clear vision for your life you'll begin to see all kinds of opportunities that have always been there waiting for you. Chances are good that you'll find passion and creativity right there, too.

 Believe that what's right in your world is already there. When you believe it, you will see it.

 

Love the One You Are.

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection." - Buddha

 

 

When was the last time that you looked into the mirror and said something nice to the person you saw in the reflection?  I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if there were no handmade mirrors and, the only reflections we saw were in the eyes and faces of those we love and who love us. I bet that would stop us from looking for what is "wrong" with us; shifting our focus from what the eyes see to what the heart offers. 

 

Our life's journey takes us down many different roads often detouring us from ourselves. We sometimes forget that we are all human beings designed with imperfections. We may even be more supportive and encouraging to friends and relatives than to our precious selves. Our selves who long to hear those words of encouragement and support. Is it any wonder that we feel so bad when we have been so neglected?

 

I'm sure that we have all tried do the "right" things. You know, go to the right schools, meet the right people, get the right job, marry the right person. Society often seduces us into believing that if we do all of the "right" things then we will be happy and successful. Many of us at midlife have experienced that we can do all of the "right" things and still wake up each day unhappy with who and where we are in life. We understand in a very personal way that what makes one person happy and successful is not always right for us. 

 

To live an authentic life requires patience and quiet time for inner reflection. You must be willing to step off the treadmill you've been running on and set some time aside for yourself. It may only be 15 minutes each morning or before going to bed at night. The important thing is that you begin to make yourself a priority.

 

Enjoy how good it feels to be the most important person in your life. After all, without you there is nothing. 

 

In this quiet space you may even find a new path, one of your own making, and one that just might lead you back to yourself. 

 

Don't wait for someday. Begin now.

 

 

 

What's Right in Your World?

 "

 

Find the good. It's all around you. Find it, showcase it and you'll start believing in it." Jesse Owens

 

 
Wherever you live on the planet nature provides incredible beauty. You only have to open your eyes to see it. Your vision can become blurry though if you are always in a rush and moving through your days at break-neck speeds. 
 
DeWitt Jones, one of America's top professional photographers and, a photojournalist for National Geographic, said this,"The earth today is like a landscape of turbulent weather or a sky of 10,000 snow geese." Jones' vision was to celebrate "what's right with the world." His vision guided him to capture and photograph some of the most stunning places in the world. Celebrating "what's right with the world" is the vision that opened the door to possibility for DeWitt Jones. In order to see "what's right" he had to believe it first. 
 
So many of us today live in the world of I'll believe it when I see it.
What if we shifted our focus and operated from the premise that when I believe it I'll see it? What vision do you have for your life, health, relationships work, recreation, finances, community and the world? What are you choosing to believe in?
 
When you have a clear vision for your life you'll begin to see all kinds of opportunities that have always been there waiting for you. Chances are good that you'll find passion and creativity right there too.
 
Believe that what's right in your world is already there. When you believe it, you'll see it.

 

Sweet Spring Dreams are in the Air.

 

The days are getting longer now and the sun sits higher in the sky. The sugar maples stretch after a long cold winter. Soon their sweet sap will run and the fires will be lit at maple sugar houses for all night boiling vigils. The fires must be continually stoked, and watched. Dreams are cooking. You can see the evidence as white smoke billows out from the rooftops of maple sugar houses and sweet steam rises filling the air.

 The farmer's dream is to boil the sap collected from the maple tree into maple syrup in a span of 4 to 6 weeks. If you ever visit a sugar house during boiling season you will find a happy crew of farmers, neighbors and friends talking about the past winter and making predictions for this year's maple season. People support one another during the long boiling time while the dream is cooking. Making maple syrup is not a venture "to go alone" as the process is demanding. Temperatures have to be watched, the fires can't go out and every year the season depends on just the right weather conditions. The farmer's job is to be ready with lines tapped into the sugar maples, enough wood to keep the evaporator boiling the sap and good company with people who share their passion.  In the end, the farmer's dream of making maple syrup will come pouring down on our pancakes and waffles.

 We can learn a lot from the maple sugar farmer about cooking dreams. Like the farmer, if we are going to realize our dreams, we must make them a priority. We need to stay focused by keeping our attention on the end result; the maple syrup. Always share the boil time with other passionate dreamers. It makes the eventual obstacles and distractions easier to overcome and passion is contagious. Most of all be flexible; the weather isn't always predictable.

Just as the farmer has modernized the process of collecting and boiling sap to be more efficient, we may need to upgrade and look for additional tools and resources to make our dreams a reality.

Remember some dreams, like maple syrup, come with an expiration date. If we don't do something about them they will eventually evaporate in the bucket.

 

 

What actions will you take  this month to bring your dreams  to a simmering boil?

 

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