Let’s Visit Beth Cole, our “Aging Well” Professional Coach
Let’s welcome Beth Cole to “Brook N’ Dell Virtual Village.”
Each month Beth Cole Shares her thoughts on “Aging Well.” (Visit Beth’s Website & sign-up to receive your copy of her messages for the month)
Here are some of Beth’s Coaching Messages which provide all of us thoughts on having a “Fullfilling Life”
Month’s Thoughts: #4
An NPR reporter was interviewing one of the American men, (actually a naturalized American citizen, who had been born in Chile ) who was with the American company in charge of drilling the hole and inserting the device, which will bring the trapped miners to safety. Asked about a moment that would stand out in his mind with this incredible rescue, he related the following story:
He and his team were talking to the miners, who had been underground for weeks and one of the miners was complaining about the shampoo that was sent down. Confused, the American was trying to understand how they could worry about such a thing. Then looking at the video, he noticed that a bald miner had a full head of curly hair???? How did that happen? The miners were laughing, the American started to laugh – (no one knows how a wig ever got down there.) I, too, was laughing at the story on the radio as I’m sure were many others who were listening at the time.
What’s my point? Even under the most horrific conditions, a couple of men concocted some fun.
I love that!
I am also in awe.
I really don’t need to say another thing about fun, do I? Had some lately?
Month’s Thoughts: #3
Think Big, Do Big, Be Big. I often voiced that phrase when I was president/CEO of the Washington D.C. ,Women’s Business Center where we trained small business owners to start and grow their own enterprises. I still believe that thinking big is vitally important but while I used to think that thinking big was easy, I now need to amend that – thinking big isn’t so easy and I recognize that it can be downright scary. We want to think big – we may even think we are thinking big – but rarely do we think big enough. A strange thing happens on our way to thinking big — a little gremlin appears and convinces us that the mere idea (a THOUGHT) that we are about to contemplate is frightening – Just the IDEA. And what do we do? We adjust our thinking downward to fit a current reality. Since it’s frightening to think big, we just think smaller. When times were good and a new opportunity seemed to be at every corner, our imaginations seemed to soar. It’s as if our thoughts meet a hidden demand. Since we haven’t had a robust economy or great expectations for a few years now, I have noticed that many of us seem reluctant to have large dreams and mammoth ambitions. Yet this is the best time of all to be bold and ambitious – it is being required of us. A friend reminded me of a practice this week that I haven’t been doing for far too long. I offer it to you now as a way to break through to big thoughts. 1. Sit in stillness — Quiet your mind for a few seconds 2. Then go on a journey…visit new places in your mind. Conjure up wonderful vistas, strange communities even, large and expansive horizons – real or unreal 3. Meet people or other beings along the way 4. Have imaginary conversations if it feels good 5. Let go as much as possible and enjoy a few minutes of totally harmless and often inspiring visualization. As you do this practice, you can nudge yourself on if nothing is coming to you – for instance: What if I talked to a purple penguin? What is the terrain he is living in? Who is he talking to? What does he do with his day? What other species share his habitat? Our minds have the ability to transport us to new and wonderful vistas and when we come back to the present, we have new energy, new ideas, new solutions. We are refreshed. Circumstances may be enticing us to think small but we always have the ability to Think Big! We have no reason to be afraid of our own mental pictures.
Month’s Thoughts: #2
Moving Forward Making the best of any situation demands that we look ahead not backward. If your natural inclination is to always look forward (and it is for some), that is terrific. This is an aging-well prerequisite and I envy that natural-born tendency, of which I seem to occasionally be in short supply. It is all too easy to lock oneself into a groove and continue to relive a past or stressful situation over and over AND it is decidedly unhelpful to do that. What brought this thought to my mind was, yet again, one more report on the BP tragedy, in which the reporter was seeking to discuss and explain a point in such a way that we might as well have gone back to the moment when the horrible leak happened. We hear another nuance of the disaster and we want to blame the company (it’s natural) and/or the government (but, of course) and anyone standing near the problem. We can talk about this story endlessly with our friends but we know that we aren’t doing anything to correct the problem and we are just going nowhere with the discussion. This is just one example of how an unpleasant situation (even one that is not personal) can absorb our thinking and linger in our minds. I am certainly not making light of the spill — It’s the worst environmental crisis that has ever happened in the Gulf. That’s a fact. We can stay abreast of the developments if we want to, but ruminating on the problem is not removing oil from the ocean. It would be better if we all imagined the very best result that could be achieved from the dilemma and then we let it go at that. Bright minds must be focused on seeing a clean Gulf, beautiful beaches, and innovative solutions. It is never helpful for any of us to sink into stagnant thinking. Have you noticed that as a society we love to look back? We analyze. We love to “chew on the cud.” We know chapter and verse about the bad stuff. I understand the tendency. And while it is often helpful to figure out what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again, constantly bringing up a past event keeps us stuck, stuck, stuck. Be aware but don’t stay there. (It might even be written, “Be aware and don’t despair.” Paralysis by Analysis – some smart person has said. If we keep re-stimulating the emotions and thoughts that surround a problem or past situation by constantly thinking and talking about it, we continue to hold ourselves in a powerless position. This is more destructive than we know. We MUST find ways to move forward. Inch by inch is fine – just be sure that even if some unpleasant emotion is being expressed, you can take control of the next thought – switch gears go to another subject. Sometimes our efforts to change our thoughts to a more positive direction are clumsy – so be it! Train yourself. When you see yourself harboring a hurt or slight or worse, conjure up a new image – right then — in the moment. Shift your thinking. As you watch yourself go back to an unhappy place, put a picture of someone you love in your mind’s eye. If you experience a hurt feeling, be active in letting it go. I am not suggesting that you replace bitter anger or hurt with a happy face because that isn’t realistic. It is, however, possible when a problematic refrain keeps playing in your mind as if a needle was stuck on an old-fashioned turntable to notice something around you that distracts you. Or plan for such an occurrence by having a tool box of ideas handy with suggestions on what to do if you find yourself analyzing beyond what is helpful. Do what you can to make the next moment a little better. This is all about moving forward. It takes commitment. It takes practice.
Month’s Thoughts #1
I have noticed that a great many of the people that I meet casually will discuss situations that arouse a certain degree of fear in them. I have noticed that I don’t always understand the level of fear or the cause of it. So here goes with some of my observations…
- I have noticed that some of my acquaintances are afraid of eating eggs, spinach or perhaps another food that has recently raised an alarm. HOWEVER, these same people appear to me to be poisoning themselves with a variety of very unhealthy products such as high fructose corn syrup, pesticide-laden produce, chips and processed foods. Also, they may not buy the highest quality food available because it costs more. The odds are far greater that they are hurting themselves more than any of the recalled products could — Where is the logic in this behavior?
- I have noticed that many people that I know are aware of their cholesterol levels and a variety of medical tests but these same people don’t seem to be aware of their own habits and lifestyle issues, which contribute to their well-being – Where is the logic in this behavior?
- I have noticed that people like to break laws – whether it is letting their dogs off-leash in the park, or driving without their seatbelts on, or speeding on the highway. They endanger themselves often but they are terrified of what harm someone else might do to them – Where is the logic in this?
- I have noticed that people don’t mind taking a lot of pills – it is the fast, easy way to solve a problem even when we know that exercise, proper nutrition, lifestyle choices are often the cause of the problem for which we take the medicine – Where is the logic in this?
We must go back to a time when understanding personal responsibility and consequences for our decisions were better understood. It is our duty to take care of us. It is the first line of defense. It is good to be aware of when what we are doing is incongruent with what we wish to achieve.
Each of us can do better about living with greater intention for our own health and well-being.
Please do this for yourself. Nothing is more important than your vitality.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship” – Gautama Buddha