Friday, November 30, 2012

No tomorrow

Just last weekend one of my cousins lost a young adult grandson to a car accident. What an absolutely heart-breaking and gut-wrenching experience! My heart just goes out to all the family, to all those who loved Ryan.

Every time something like this happens, it's yet another reminder to me that all I really have is this very moment. I am reminded to tell my loved ones often that I love them. I want to show them how much they mean to me. And I want to live each day to the fullest. Are there things I think are important that I have been putting off, thinking I'm just too busy to do them now? Yes, there surely are. Can I take a look at my to-do lists and re-prioritize? Yes.

Does my life and its activities truly reflect my beliefs and values? Or might I make different choices if I knew for sure that I only had days or weeks to live? How about you? Is there something in your life (or on your "bucket list") that really should get moved way up on your priority list?

Let's not wait. Let's take another look today and see whether we need to do some re-prioritizing. Maybe the words of Selena Gomez's song "Live Like There's No Tomorrow" can be our guide: "If there never was a night or day and memories could fade away, then there'd be nothing left but the dreams we made. Take a leap of faith and hope you fly; feel what it's like to be alive. Give it all that we've got and lay it all on the line...."

Live as though there's no tomorrow. All we really have is right now. Make it count!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

'The pause that refreshes'

I recently read that emotions such as anger, jealousy and hate have been shown to promote impaired immune responses and increased levels of stress hormones.

Of course, the reverse is also true: Love, compassion and gratitude are shown to lower blood pressure and increase our bodies' immune responses.

Even if putting good energy out into the world isn't reason in itself to focus on positive emotions and decrease our negativity, the impact on our health of both negative and positive responses should convince us.

I've said it in these blogs before, and I've heard it for years: What we focus on gets larger. If we focus on anger and jealousy, we'll see more of that in the world. If we focus on gratitude and love, we'll notice that far more than the negative aspects of life.

Of course, knowing the truth of that in our head and heart isn't the same as acting on it. When someone jumps in front of us in the grocery checkout line or cuts us off in traffic, we don't always hit the pause button and take a moment before reacting. It's good to do that, though.

Remember the ads that talked about "the pause that refreshes"? Well, this pause when something negative happens to us definitely refreshes—it refreshes our spirits and even our health. Next time, take that moment so you can respond rather than react to what's just happened to you. You'll be healthier. And happier.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Small and local equals joy

Last Friday was Black Friday. I don't go near a store on that day, though I have friends who do and they love it. It works for them. However, I do enjoy the following day—the day we're encouraged to "shop local, shop small" and help out smaller businesses.

So last Saturday I did just that. And what fun I had. Not only did I find unique and fun Christmas gifts for family and friends, but I had great conversations with shopkeepers and staff in the stores. And as a bonus, they offered to beautifully gift wrap (tags and all) each present. I don't get that kind of time and attention at the big-box stores. Mind you, I am all for saving money and use the big-box stores for many of my other needs.

Somehow, however, I just enjoyed my day so much Saturday. I told the shop owners that I was shopping local, shopping small; and they said they had heard that from other customers throughout the day and really appreciated it. I came home with lovely gifts, beautifully wrapped, and with a spirit so jazzed by good conversation and a feeling of helping small business owners keep their doors open just a bit longer. That made me quite happy.

As with so much of life, it isn't either/or (big-box stores vs. small businesses) but it's both/and. Each experience has its own rewards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'Thank you' still sweet to the ears

With the memory of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie still fresh in our minds (and maybe some still in our refrigerators), let's talk a bit more about gratitude.

Have you said "Thank you" lately to those who serve you in any way? And have you said how much you appreciate what they do for you? I know I sometimes am busy rushing here and there—and don't always think about telling people how much I appreciate them and value their role in my life. I'm guessing you are nodding your head, too.

I really appreciate my massage therapist and my chiropractor because they keep my back and neck moving, flexible and pain-free. I appreciate my hair stylist, whose magic touch always makes my hair look far better when I walk out of his shop than at any other time during the month. I appreciate the friendly staff who check me out regularly at the local stores at which I shop. The list goes on and on.

So many people are part of our daily, weekly or monthly lineup of friendly helpers. And I wonder how often they hear "Thank you" from most of us?

Then there are those closest to us: our loved ones. Aren't those often the ones we really forget to thank? And how much it means to them when we say how truly important they are in our lives!

Starting today, I plan to make it a daily practice to express my thanks and appreciation to someone in my life. How about you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Living fully

Oscar Wilde wrote, "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

Sister Joan Chittister says of that comment, "It's a sad thought but perhaps a true one. In a culture dedicated to work, to money, and to things, we are often too busy to enjoy the world in which we exist."

What do you think? Is there truth in Wilde's statement? In Chittister's response to it? What does it mean during this holiday season to really live? To "enjoy the world in which we exist"? How might it change the way you move through these next few weeks if you want to move from existing to really living?

I have seen the faces of people who appear to be sleepwalking through their lives. And I've spent too much time myself on auto-pilot, moving through my days and getting done what needed to be done without being fully aware of the world around me. I don't want to live like that. I want to be awake and aware, enjoying all the moments that are given to me. Open up all your senses. Take in as much as you can. Enjoy. And be grateful.

Some years ago Ralph S. Marston in his online blog "The Daily Motivator" wrote: "There is enormous power in this moment. The more fully you experience what is here right now, the more that power is available to you. ... There is great and wonderful power in this very moment, in who you are, in where you are right now. See it, be it, and let yourself live it fully."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Reduce holiday stress

Now that Thanksgiving is past, many of you will really get serious about holiday preparations.

Do you find this a stressful time of year? Would you like to reduce that stress and enjoy the season more? If so, make a list of things you can either cut from your schedule because they just add to the seasonal chaos—or things you can add that will help you be more focused and serene. Here is just a tiny sample of ideas:

• Consider giving the gift of time to some of those you love rather than spending more time in a crowded mall buying expensive gifts. When our sons were younger, we often gave them gifts such as coupons for cookies or pies of their choice, an hour of playing their favorite game or working on a puzzle, or something similar. And they gave us coupons for doing dishes (even on the night that they weren't assigned that duty) or polishing our shoes, etc. My sons have their own families now.  A few years ago one promised his family a vacation trip they'd all been wanting. That was the family Christmas gift—something they all enjoyed and still treasure to this day.

• Some of my friends and I decided that, rather than shop for gifts for each other, we would pool the money we would have spent and give to a charity. It became a lovely way to share our blessings, and it reduced the shopping list!

• Even though holiday parties can be fun, perhaps you may want to just choose one or two that will be most meaningful and let the rest go.

• Enlist everyone's help with the decorating and keep it simple. Same with holiday meals.

• Send post-holiday cards. You may have more time in January than in December to prepare them, and you can also answer the notes you received!

• Cut out any activity or work that isn't necessary and give yourself the gift of time, too! How about a massage or a pedicure/manicure to treat yourself? And remember to get as much sleep and eat as well as you can. That will help your stress level, too.

Although some activities might be must-dos, you do have some choices. Make this holiday the one where you take control and manage your stress—before it gets out of hand. And let us know what tips you have for doing so. We'd all love to hear in the comment box below.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. My wishes to you for a very happy one.

Today is a good day to reflect on all we have. It's great that a day has been set aside to acknowledge our many blessings.

Still, I try to keep in mind that gratitude is a way of life. It can be front and center for us every day of our lives. Somehow when I start the day thinking of even a handful of things for which I'm grateful that day, it makes such a difference in how my day unfolds. I'm setting the tone for the entire day.

I wish I could say I do this every day. It's my intention to do so. But it doesn't always happen. I celebrate if I even remember to take the time for it most days of the week. And I do have a Gratitude Journal where I can actually record those things for which I'm grateful. Perhaps now, just having admitted to you that I sometimes slack off, I'll be even more intentional and faithful to this practice, one which has been so helpful for me.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your heart ever be grateful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Traditions: More than food and practices

With Thanksgiving close at hand and Christmas coming, are you thinking about holiday traditions, too? That can mean rituals, times you gather, ways you conduct your gatherings, the way you decorate, foods you prepare and so much more. This, too, is about legacy.

Today I'm making my mother's recipe for cranberry relish so I can bring to the dinner hosted by our friend Sandra tomorrow. The recipe card contains Mom's handwriting and some cranberry stains from days gone by when she made this for our family. The card is precious to me because of her writing and the stains. The recipe is a great one, and I always enjoy eating the relish. But I have to confess that the greatest share of pleasure really comes from the tradition of doing something Mom did (and her mother before her) as well as seeing her writing once again.

Earlier this week a couple friends and I gathered for a lefse-making afternoon, too. If you aren't Norwegian, you may not know what lefse is. My best description is that it's a Norwegian version of a soft tortilla that gets spread with butter and generously sprinkled with sugar before being rolled up and devoured! What fun we had making the lefse as a team, talking as we worked. It brought to mind the multiple times my mother and father carried on this tradition, working together so all our family (including my grandchildren) could enjoy what we called "the food of the gods." As we prepared the lefse this week, we talked, too, about the ways women used to gather to cook and serve. It was a social time for them, a time when they caught up on each other's lives, even as together, they prepared food for those they loved.

What tickled me so much was when I told my middle son what we were doing, he said he didn't want the tradition to die and wants me to teach their six children how to make lefse. I don't have to have my arm twisted on that one. Sounds like a lot of fun—and a lot of good eating!

So much goes into our traditions, doesn't it? What are you doing to carry on family traditions? What does it mean to you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life and death: process & possibility

Remember I said yesterday that a friend responded to my request for blog topic ideas saying she's thinking about death lately?

What that means for my friend is that she's really living in the NOW. She's using her time with family and friends to the fullest. Enjoying life. Saying what she needs to say. She says that she's so much more aware these days of life being a process—and of everything in life being a process. How true. I'm not sure that's something I realized when I was far younger either.

My friend spoke of equating death with birth: "Labor pains are tough, sometimes downright mind-bending. But the actual process of the baby appearing is not painful. Possibly death is the same way. The process leading up to it may be downright scummy, but the moment of death I expect to be peaceful."

She is absorbing lots of life lessons these days. My friend is extremely good at doing the inner work required to really engage life as a process—and as possibility. She inspires me to be better about living in the moment. I don't want to lose the time I have (all we know for sure is that we have this moment right now!) to living in the past or trying to anticipate what the future holds. I want to be here now

Consider what poet Mary Oliver asks in her poem "The Summer Day": "What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's your legacy?

One friend responded to my request for help on blog topics saying she's thinking about death a lot these days. Not in a morbid sense but just in that realistic way that happens when you get to the stage of life where you're aware that you have far fewer years ahead of you than behind you.

Her idea brings to mind something on which I've been focused for the last few years. I've heard a lot about living legacies and have given lots of thought to the legacy I leave for my three sons and my nine grandchildren. I don't mean my estate, such as it is. I mean what I leave behind in terms of values and wisdom. What are they learning from me as I live my life now? What beliefs and attitudes am I sharing?

For my sister's birthday this year, I gave her one of those "For my grandchild" memory books that grandparents fill out and present to their grandchild. Cheryl has one grandchild, and she has been having the time of her life writing in that book about her own childhood and adulthood. While the book includes the facts of Cheryl's life, it asks open-ended questions that allow her to draw a picture of who she is and what's important to her. It's about the legacy Cheryl is passing on. She imagines what fun Savannah will have reading it when she's older (she's 3 now) and how this book will allow Savannah to know her grandmother in a deeper and more personal way. Cheryl also knows her son will likely enjoy reading the book, too.

While I've given thought to my living legacy and have deeply engaged in my grandchildren's lives, I still haven't written in the two grandmother books I was given, one when my first grandchild was born and another when my second arrived (they're 17 and 16 already!). Cheryl is inspiring me (though I think I'll do my own book rather than filling in nine separate books!) to act on the living legacy idea. And with her thoughts on death these days, my friend inspires me to be even more aware of how I'm living—for myself and for those I love and will someday leave behind.

What's your legacy?

Friday, November 16, 2012

I need your help

Two weeks ago I sent an email to several of my friends asking for blog topic ideas. More than anything, I want these daily blogs to be relevant for you. I write them to inspire. I write them to encourage and sometimes to prod you outside your comfort zone and into a new arena. I want to start a conversation. Several conversations!

I subscribe to the theory that I often hear clergy say to describe the purpose of their sermons: They are to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I know I need both of those when I am coached. I need them from friends. I want comfort, healing, encouragement, support. And I also want to be pushed outside my comfort zone so I can stretch myself into new possibilities. A comforting hug—and sometimes, a kick in the pants to get moving!

I write these blogs on topics that I hear from clients, friends and women around me ... and on topics I need to hear about myself. But I'd love to hear what you want. What is on your mind these days? What are the burning questions you face? And what are you hearing from the women in your circles?

I invite you to share in the Comment Box below (I don't collect emails there, and your email doesn't show up. You can select "Anonymous" for your profile when prompted, and you can sign your name in the comment or not—your choice). Or you mail email me at: and give me your topic ideas. This is your chance to have a voice. I want to hear it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Words, words, delightful words

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter "E." (If you ever watched Sesame Street with your children or grandchildren, you'll remember that comment!) Today we're going to talk about some "E" words.

Last week I wrote a blog about enchantment. I had read something about bringing "pleasure and enchantment to each relationship, event, and task of everyday life." That word and the images it evoked drew me in. So when I put a comment on my Way2Grow Facebook page about my intention to experience more enchantment in my life, one of my friends and Facebook followers suggested: "Start listing all the 'E' words ... Energy, Enrichment, Entertaining, Enlightenment, Envision, Etc. ... That's a few to Encourage your quest ... Enjoy!"

I was just delighted with that response. Actually, I was enchanted with it! Becky's comment focused me on each of those "E" words. Aren't they wonderful words? There is enough in her suggestion and in each word to give me quiet time reflection topics for several days.

What I love as much as the "E" words my friend suggested is just the synergy we women get when we share ideas with each other. One woman says something, another expands on it, and yet another puts a whole different spin on it ... and soon we're all jazzed by new thoughts and ideas. That's what I am so hoping will develop on my website and here on the blogs. Please add your ideas in the Comment box below, and let's start a conversation. What words are on your mind these days? (They don't have to be "E" words!!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life's lessons from loss

"It's what we lose that teaches us to suck all the juices out of every other moment in life," Joan Chittister wrote in her book Living Well.

As I look back on my own life, I can see the truth of that. It's in the losses that I've learned the most: losing my marriage, losing the opportunity to break another glass ceiling when I was highly qualified and expected by others to get the position, losing my job and losing friendships, to name a few.

Those experiences have taught me to make the most of what I do have, to cherish those who are in my life and to "suck all the juices" out of each day.

Do I remember that every minute of every day? Oh, how I wish! But as I often tell myself: It's not about perfection; it's about doing the best I can.

Think about your own life. What have you lost that has taught you to "suck all the juices" out of each moment?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude and grace

A grateful and a gracious attitude both are needed, we all agreed. Last weekend when my YaYa group gathered for food, wine and conversation, the subject of occasionally feeling sorry for ourselves came up. We admitted that we all do it at times.

It isn't too long ago that I wrote a blog about a Pity Party I was having that day. It's far too easy to look at someone else's life and envy it. Everything looks so perfect and smooth on the outside. And we know, from the inside, what our own life looks like. My wise friend Gayle often says, "Don't judge your insides by someone else's outsides." Yes, yes, yes. When all I know of someone's life is what I see on the outside, I really have no idea of what fears and anxieties that person carries on the inside. I have no idea of the relationship, career, financial or other problems she has.

So we YaYas agreed that it's far better for us to shift our focus from self-pity to gratitude. And it takes some real grace to do that. It takes a forbearing attitude—toward others and also toward ourselves. It takes forgiveness and an attitude of acceptance, compassion and care. It requires a stance of non-judgmentalism and detachment: not placing value judgments on everything and everyone we observe. We need to stay positive insofar as that is possible.

I really do want to experience as much serenity and inner joy as I can. Toward that end, I'm going to try focus even more on the two G's: gratitude and grace.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What's your 'deep gladness'?

Are you searching for your passion? Perhaps you've lost your job and think it's time to retool and do something else, something you'll absolutely love? Or you might be early in your career and wondering where to put your energies? Maybe you've retired and are looking for an area of service or a part-time encore career?

I like what writer and theologian Frederick Buechner says about this: Your place of service is "the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need." What is your "deep gladness"? What are your gifts? What makes you come alive? What is it that when you're doing that particular thing, you lose all track of time and become completely absorbed? And how might that meet the needs of the world around you?

Educator and writer Parker Palmer elaborates: "Buechner's definition starts with the self and moves toward the needs of the world; it begins, wisely, where vocation begins—not in what the world needs (which is everything), but in the nature of the human self, in what brings the self joy, the deep joy of knowing that we are here on earth to be the gifts that God created."

It can be challenging to discover your gifts and passions, whether you're at the beginning of your career or at the end of it. Being proficient at something doesn't necessarily mean we love doing it. Think about things you loved to do as a child, things that completely absorb you now and what things really make your heart sing. And if you want to discover tools to find your passion, please contact me for a complimentary strategy session.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratitude amid life's challenges

Yesterday I talked about enchantment and delight. The more I think about that, the more I realize I might capture more of those feelings if I notice little things more. I have gotten so caught up in the busyness trap that seems to snare us these days. In doing so, I miss lots of little things. I forget to live in the moment—even though I want to do more of that. I want to feel grateful for small things, too.

I like what one mature gentleman is quoted as saying in Linda Douty's book How Did I Get to Be 70 When I'm 35 Inside? He says, "If I'm going to delight in the details, I must feed that part of me that experiences those feelings, like seeing with the eyes of my heart. Every night I try to fall asleep with good thoughts, replaying the day to remember four or five instances of simple joy."

What a great recipe for delighting in details—and what a great way to fall asleep each night! It doesn't mean denying that which challenges or hurts me. But it means changing my perspective. Douty quotes yet another person, "Then I made the distinction between being thankful in all things rather than for all things. It was possible to feel the pain of whatever was going on, to affirm that 'it is as it is,' then grab a grateful thought—maybe a tiny silver thread of hope—and affirm that also, even if it's saying, 'I'm grateful I made it through this dismal day.'"

Gratitude is possible even amid challenges and pain. Enchantment and delight can't be far behind!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Enchantment: A word we've forgotten?

"Bring pleasure and enchantment to each relationship, event, and task of everyday life," I read this morning during my quiet time inspirational reading.

The word "enchantment" jumped off the page for me. I don't often use the word. Do you? I'm not sure I'm even enchanted very often anymore. How about you? So I ask myself, "Why not?"

I've been sorting through photos of my grandchildren the past several days. What a fun journey back in time. Some of them are teenagers now, so I have several years of photos. Others are very young and still have the wonder of childhood. My youngest ones are still delighted to watch a small bug crawl along the sidewalk or up a blade of grass.

One photo that comes to mind when I think of enchantment is one I took of two of my granddaughters, now teenagers, but then just young girls who loved American Girl dolls. I took them and their dolls to tea at the huge American Girl store in downtown Chicago. Even the dolls got their own chairs with tea cups and plates! My granddaughters were enchanted with the whole scene. Actually, I was too! Seeing and experiencing the day through their eyes was pure delight.

When do we lose that ability to be enchanted and delighted? Is it only when we're around young children that we can be called back to that possibility? It's an attitude, isn't it? We had it once. I think we can have it again. I for one would love to regain that sense of wonder. Delight. Enchantment.

Let's start a conversation about it. What do you think? Do you have ways of keeping delight alive in your life? I'd love to hear them below in the Comment box.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-election questions

Whew! We got through election day somehow. It seemed a particularly nasty primary earlier in the year and a particularly divisive campaign season. Yet over the weekend I heard historians discuss how alive and well incivility was when our Founding Fathers laid out plans for our country, too. So perhaps there's really nothing new under the sun after all. Angry, negative rhetoric and incivility have been around forever.

All of this leads me to ask myself: What am I doing to bring more light and goodness into the world? Am I taking more light out of the world than I'm bringing to it on any given day? In other words, am I being negative, angry or resentful—and spreading that to those around me? Or am I doing my part to stay positive and loving even when the world around me is filled with loud and angry (campaign) voices? What vibes am I sending out?

I don't tend to be a Pollyanna, and I typically am not a process-skipper (jumping right over the hard work when problems land on my plate and moving right to the live-happily-ever-after stage). However, I also have spent too many hours in my past complaining, acting like a victim, resenting the way things are, and not engaging in "radical acceptance" (see my November 1 blog)—not realizing that I do have a choice about how I respond to things in my life. I want to use the personal power I do have, and I want to make choices that are positive for me as well as for those around me. I want to tell "river stories" and not "rut stories" (see my February 10 blog) from now on.

What are your post-election questions of yourself? What will you do to make yourself and your world a better place?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Awake and aware

"What might change if you took a five-minute break sometime during the day to reflect on your food choices?" my Weight Watchers meeting leader asked last week. She urged each of us to find a time to stop and ask some questions about how and what we're doing—questions such as "Did I get at least 10 minutes of activity? How careful was I about portions and servings? How did my snacking choices work out?"

Some members said a morning break would help them plan better for eating choices the rest of the day. Others said afternoon was a better time because evening was when they made poorer selections. Still others said it would help at night to review the day so the following day would be better.

There wasn't a one-size-fits-all. Each one of us at that meeting has different food triggers and different times of the day that present more of a problem than another time. So our plans need to be different. Our leader knew that.

She also knew how important it can be to stop and reflect on the choices we make. It's all about awareness, isn't it? It's about being accountable—to ourselves and sometimes, to others. It's about making conscious choices.

And that's as true in the rest of life as it is for food choices. More and more, I want to live awake and aware. As always, it's not about perfection; it's about doing the best we can!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pain as competitive sport

During a phone call the other day, I learned sad news about a friend of the caller whose cancer prognosis had just worsened. We talked about how such news changes our perspective. Suddenly whatever problems we have seemed small.

However, we also talked about not dismissing our own pain and hurt. Years ago, a very wise woman told me, "Suffering isn't a competitive sport." This occurred as the two of us shared our life stories and discussed some of the painful things that had made us who we were. It was the perfect thing to say then. And it's still a good reminder.

I have never forgotten her wise words. Though a devastating event such as Hurricane Sandy has caused enormous pain and suffering for so many—and it's good to keep a broader perspective about our issues in the face of it—we should not dismiss our own hurts as insignificant. What happens to you, what happens to me, what happens to any one of us is important. And we need to take our problems seriously and make choices about how to face them.

It's a both/and kind of thing, isn't it? You can empathize with a cancer-ridden friend or with someone harmed by a hurricane and still feel the hurt of things in your own life that cause you pain. You can hold both those things at once and balance it out with a perspective that says, "It's not just one thing or another. It's both/and. And, after all, suffering isn't a competitive sport." It's all in our attitude.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Family: Upsides or down?

You've heard often about families and their dysfunction. Maybe you've experienced it either in your family of origin or nuclear family. Or in your partner's family.

But there are so many important sides to family relationships, too. I just read a health newsletter from the Mayo Clinic that made these points:

* "Kids who are close to their grandparents are less likely to feel depressed in their teen years and in early adulthood."

* "Playing with children helps older adults relax and feel less stressed."

* "Children who play with their adult family members are often more creative than those who don't."

* "For adults in their late 40s, 50s and 60s, relationships with family members of all ages become even more important."

* "Relationships with brothers and sisters help shape how you feel about yourself. They can also affect how you adjust to life as you get older."

What do you need to do today to insure your health and the health of those you love? See if there are ways you can improve family relationships if they're not what you want. And if they are, celebrate that and keep making time for family.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Radical acceptance

What's radical about acceptance, you might ask. I accept (and reject) things all the time. Nothing new about that.

Yesterday I talked about the two ways we can see ourselves. One is as a character or a role. So the plot changes (the situation changes in our lives) but we don't. We keep playing the same role. The other view is as a process, a work-in-progress. In that view, when things change—as they always do in life—we also have the possibility of change. We have choices about how to respond to the changes that come our way.

Radical acceptance is the term used when, in that second view, you are able to say: "It is what it is." Sometimes you might say that in a resigned way, as though you're surrendering to something; but, doggone it, you're not going to be happy about it. Radical acceptance means that you're not surrendering—you really have accepted the fact that the current situation is the new normal. So now your questions are: What will I choose to do about it? How will I change to live with these new changes in and around me?

The difference may sound slight in theory. But as you live it out in your daily life, it will make a huge difference. Radical acceptance puts you in a totally different frame of mind from the surrender. It means you are empowered to make the choices you think are right for you. It means you don't see yourself as the victim of change. You can roll with the punches and stay flexible. Tough to do sometimes, isn't it? But it leads to a more empowered and contented life. I'd love to hear your experiences with change and acceptance—and encourage you to leave a comment below. (Your email isn't seen and you don't even have to put your name on the comment if you don't wish.)