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WELCOME TO WEEK 2 OF SUMMER OF WELL-BEING!

I’m excited to continue our conversation about achieving increased well-being in our lives on small step at a time. Today, I continue to blog about Ariana Huffington’s new book, Thrive, and the magic of wonder in our lives. And, on Thursday, you’ll meet our next guest expert, Davis Mitchell! You won’t want to miss her vlog, so make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!


“We forget we’re mostly water till the rain falls and every atom in our body starts to go home.”

This thought provides me with a great way to begin today’s blog about Wonder, one of the ways Arianna Huffington suggests we can achieve the “Third Metric” of success in her new book, Thrive. Arianna believes that,

“Wonder is not just a product of what we see—of how beautiful or mysterious or singular or incomprehensible something may be. It’s just as much a product of our state of mind, our being, the perspective from which we are looking at the world.”

 

Singing in the Rain.

I am honored to be a part of a wonderful mastermind group, Smart Women Making Money, led by fellow speaker and coach, Mina Shahwho also will be one of our featured experts for our Summer of Well-Being. Last month, one of our assignments was to select a person in our lives who we wanted to spend more focused, purposeful time with. I chose my daughter, Nia, who is 9 years old, and not coincidentally, full of wonder!

I realize daily that spending more focused moments with her allows our bond to grow deeper, in a way that we are both seeking. One of the commitments I made to this goal was to say “yes” to her more, rather than hearing the words “not right now” float out of my mouth almost unconsciously. One of those moments in which I said “yes” was last weekend, when she wanted to ride bikes to the park. Instead of reading, or doing more work, which are both very easy for me, I said “yes” and off we were.

I enjoy these times together more and more. I notice how her confidence is building as she rides her bike, which takes me back to my childhood; riding my bike was one of my favorite past times! She rides with one hand instead of two, speeds up and brings her legs up onto the handle bars and says, “look at what I can do, Mom!” She feels strong, and I love that. We notice lots of little things we never would otherwise, like how all the lizards seems to jump out in front of us just as we are about to pass, a scary thought for Nia, since she never wants to harm another living thing. She sees and hears the birds and knows the name of each and every one. I’m supposed to teach her, I think to myself, but she is teaching me. Wonder is everywhere!

The best part of this ride, though, is what came next. We were at the park exercising and playing when it started sprinkling. Little by little all the people in the park disappeared into their cars and left. A downpour ensued and the only refuge we had was a small 3 x 4 space under the dinosaur slide. I don’t know how we fit under there, but we made it work! We took cover for a bit, until we realized the rain wasn’t stopping and our bikes were soaked anyway. Like excited little girls, giggling, we decided to go for it!

Out we ran to our bikes and off we were into the rain, heading back home. The water felt refreshing, and the giggling never ended! We rode through puddles, sang songs, and laughed at all the passerby’s feeling sorry for us. The best part was getting home and hearing Nia say, “Mom, we have to do this again!”

I wondered, “What if I hadn’t said yes?” Our experience was filled with wonder that I would not have had otherwise; an experience I wouldn’t change for the world.

This is just one example of how wonder can fill our moments and give more meaning to our lives. For many reasons, including the personal story I shared with you last week in The Accident that Woke me Up, I continue to redefine what success truly means for me, and create more and more moments to experience the wonder in my life.

The meaning of success also was addressed in this part of Thrive, when Arianna shares what one very expensive study showed about success.

            “And now we have the empirical data to back up what the songs and sacred texts have told us. As Professor George Vaillant, who oversaw the Harvard Grant Study, which followed the lives of 268 male Harvard undergraduates beginning in 1938, put it, ‘The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points, at least to me, to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love. Full stop.’ It is the same conclusion reached without spending seventy-five years and $20 million by the English poet Ted Hughes: ‘The only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.’”

This also reminds me of a video I saw on the Today Show, celebrating D-Day, where the then 18-year-old Coast Guard officer who led one of the ships full of “boys” to Omaha Beach emotionally shared, “There’s a fallacy that when men die they call for God. They don’t, they say Mamma.”

Wow. As a Mom, this was so powerful for me; making me crave more and more wondrous moments with my son and daughter.

Now, when thinking of success, I think no one says it better than Paulo Coelho:

“What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”

 

When vacation causes more stress!

In Thrive, Arianna shares a study by Fierce Inc., which states that 58% of workers feel absolutely no reduction in stress from their vacations, and 28% return even more stressed than they were before they left.”

Yikes! I can relate to this, can you? It just so happens that as this blog posts, I’ll be on a boat with my family—on our way to a week-long vacation. You can bet that on my mind will be WONDER and how I can be open to it and seek it actively while on vacation, ensuring I’m not one of the statistics, this time!

Taking this further, I ask myself, and I ask you, “What’s the point of reading all these blogs and books that will help us live better lives if we don’t take action?”

I believe in action in small bites. Try something new. Assess it. If it makes you feel good, try to make it a new habit. Otherwise, seek the next small bite. For my vacation this week, this is what will be my inspiration,

“No matter where you go, there you are.” –Buckaroo Banzai

 

Life’s Secret Door to Wonder

I love that Arianna discusses coincidences, and being open to them, as a way to seek wonder in our lives. She shares,

“We don’t have to know what coincidences mean, or arrive at some grand conclusion when we encounter them. But they serve as sporadic reminders to maintain our sense of wonder, to stop every now and again and allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment and open to life’s mystery. They’re a sort of forced reboot.”

Because I study strengths and personality traits, I know that some of us are better built for expecting wondrous things to happen. Many of us naturally wake up each morning and say to ourselves, “I can’t wait to see what life shows me today!” I don’t know about you, but that life view certainly will create more wondrous moments versus, “Oh no, not another day!”

What’s your perspective, and can shifting toward expecting wonder and coincidences reduce the daily stress you feel and lighten things up?

This week, I encourage you as a part of your path toward well-being to challenge yourself to seek the wonder…the coincidences and see how your overall energy changes and lifts. I’d love for you to share with me below what you notice and new meaningful moments of wonder you’ve created.

I also invite you to subscribe to our Summer of Well-Being if you haven’t done so already. On Thursday you’ll receive a vlog from our next expert, Davis Mitchell, who will share another great wellness tip with you to consider incorporating into your life. I know you’re just going to love her! She is beautiful inside and out.

Davis Mitchell

I’d love to read your comments below.

Namaste, my friends!

Monique

You Either Grow or Die!

July 10, 2013

You Either Grow or Die.

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A shocking statement, but true.
I choose to adopt this statement as a life principle because it reminds me that if I’m not always trying to learn or see all things in my life as opportunities to get better and expand, then I am choosing the opposite, which is contraction, diminishment, and eventual death. Yikes! Who wants that?
So how can we ensure that we’re always growing when life throws us so many curve balls?

Well, one way is to program ourselves to expect—daily—that these moments and situations to expand and learn will come. In fact think how differently we would feel if we actually looked forward to them instead of dreaded them.

When I think about this…expecting these growth situations, I envision myself as a ninja—a spiritual ninja! Not waiting for battle or impending disaster, but excitement to challenge myself in ways I never knew I could not only handle, but execute beyond my wildest imaginations.

Taking the responsibility to program how we choose to experience our lives…our successes and our challenges is our job and only our job. It’s no one else’s job to lead us if we cannot lead ourselves.

I read this quote recently which cements this concept for me. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you meet today’s challenges with your spiritual ninja.

“When life’s challenges stop coming at us, we sometimes assume it means we’re at a good place in our spiritual growth.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. When everything is copacetic, we are spiritually flat-lining because we are no longer growing, or learning.

The universe directs us through the disturbances in our life. This is not to say that we need to seek them out, but simply to open our eyes and engage.

Your potential is waiting for you in the challenges you will choose to face.”

Namaste,
Monique

The holiday season is special. It is a time for all of us to create a space for our children, family, friends (and us parents too!) to step outside of ourselves and our lives to tap into the wonder of the amazing lives we are leading. Truly…is it not a miracle in and of itself that we are on this earth breathing? Yes, take that deep breath!

In preparation for a joyous, sacred and stress-free holiday season, join me and two other AMAZING, women (see below) at The Nest in Coral Gables, on Saturday, November 3rd, 2:30 pm, to help you set the stage for a magical holiday season.

So, save the date now!

Listen to my dear friend, Lina Acosta, program director of The Nest, describe this very special event coming very soon.

On this day I will share with you how to:

  • “Friend” your energy so you can BE your ideal parent and professional
  • Understand your unique stress tendencies by looking at your face (and the faces of your children and relatives!) That’s right!!
  • Use a simple 3 step process to shift to a happy, stress-free state

I’m so lucky to share this time two talented practitioners, Michelle Alva and Alexis Edwards!

Integrative and Holistic Practitioner Michelle Alva, PT will present different ways to avoid low back and neck tension which are very common during the Holidays. She will also introduce a great way to de-stress and get fit called Awaken To U Yoga class which will be held on Thursdays at 7pm at The Nest.

Alexis Edwards, Acupuncture Physician will discuss the benefits of using laser instead of needles for children and discuss the benefits of using Chinese Herbs for various stress-related ailments.

We’re always present for others, especially during the holidays. Use this special occasion for some YOU time and get ready and psyched for one of the best times of the year.

Hope to see you there.

Monique