What sustains you? (Even in the dark.)08-31-2011
SIMPLY CELEBRATE NEWSLETTER: JULY/AUGUST 2011
By Sherry Richert Belul
I am reading Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. One of the main points he makes, which truly resonates with me, is this: "Pay attention to specific moments that invigorate you."
This may seem really obvious. And it is. But sometimes we easily miss that which is most obvious.
Take a few minutes right now to close your eyes and think back on the last two or three days of your life. Which moments stand out as ones in which you felt happy, healthy, connected, and alive? Was it a moment of laughter you shared with your best friend while playing tennis? Was it yesterday morning when you were taking a walk and you let yourself pause long enough to hear the sounds of the birds and feel the sun on your face? Maybe it was the afternoon party you attended with friends when you let yourself reveal something you'd been hiding? Maybe it was when you presented a talk at work and you felt so confident and bold?
Since I've been reading this book, I've been listening to people I know and I can easily pick out their strong moments. Today, talking to a friend on the phone, I heard her say, "I've started paddleboarding again and I just love the way I feel afterward. I've just got to be in the ocean." Bingo. Strong moment. One sure sign of 'em is that we get this little buzz afterward. We find ourselves smiling when we think of something. We hear the enthusiasm in our own voices when we're talking about it.
Buckingham suggests that we pay close attention to these moments— "stong moments" — and that we chart them somehow. Once we become aware of the kinds of moments that make us feel most alive and joyful, we can begin to create more of them.
In the photo above, I'm playing with my son, Kayne, at my mom's house in Ohio. When Kayne and I are there, we are barefoot almost the whole time. We chase each other in the yard, have water balloon fights, climb in the treehouse, sit around the bonfire, and play badminton in the rain. These are moments for me that feel one hundred percent alive and full of vitality. I love them. And I'm conscious about creating more of them. See those foam noodles with which we're bonking one another? I saw them in the dollar store and immediately imagined how much fun Kayne and I would have with them. They cost $1 each and provided us with countless moments of laughter and glee.
I enocurage you to come up with a few examples for yourself of what strong moments look like in various aspects of your own life. Then set out to create more of them. If you need a little help, you can find some examples on the pages of the Simply Celebrate Extraordinary LIfe Centers. On each of the pages for Relationships, Health/Vitality, Spirituality, Creativity, and Livelihood/Passion you'll find five simple things you can do to create a memorable, or strong, moment.
Will you check in for yourself and see if you can note — or create — some strong moments for yourself this week? Please let me know how it goes. (Being connected to like-minded folks is always a strong moment for me!)
Author's note: I wrote this article in Mid-July, expecting to send out the newsletter soon thereafter. However, as often happens, life had a different idea. My grandmother passed away. My wonderful business partner got a job offer she couldn't refuse and was whisked away. My beau was hit with some scary health issues. My usually-happy kid fell into a state of anxiety about moving to a new school. And I was holding all of this, as well as the recent loss of a long-term writing gig, which I loved. And so, I got quiet and introspective — seeking some stability within during such a series of losses.
I went back and forth on whether to send this newsletter out. After all, it feels like "old news" to me. Like maybe there was a loss of integrity in sending out a newsletter that was written so long ago. However, when I re-read what I had written about "strog moments," I realized that this concept has been one of the practice tools I've been using to take care of myself during this difficult time. It's been a life saver in so many ways. Paying attention to what makes me feel strong and energized has helped me to bring those moments into my life, even when I'm feeling sad or scared. Perhaps, especially when I'm feeling sad or scared.
It feels important to share it with you because of the continued impact it has had on my life. What I want so much for myself, and all of us, is to find ways to celebrate who we are and all that we love — not just in good times, but also when it is the hardest.