Reunions

In the past few weeks, I have been very fortunate to re-connect with some people from my childhood. I received several beautiful notes and e-mails from teachers I had as a child and conversed with people who strongly influenced my life as I was growing up. What a joy it has been to hear from old friends!

My friend, Kate, had a similar experience. Last weekend she reunited with her college roommates – women she hadn’t seen for many years. On Monday she said that her face hurt from smiling and laughing so much. Listening to her stories of the reunion made me think even more about the power of connecting with old friends.

We are so busy with our day to day activities that we don’t make enough effort to stop and talk with people who are close to us. Making time to even have coffee or talk on the phone with a friend who lives nearby is difficult. If we have trouble reaching out to people who live down the street, how can we possibly think about reaching out to people we haven’t seen in years?

The moments Kate and I shared with these special people in the past few weeks, however, reminded me of the importance of making that effort. There is a comfort that comes from connecting with someone who knows your history. Recalling moments shared and laughing about old times gives us a sense of belonging. Those memories also contribute to the narrative of our lives. Our own story is told and anchored in the people we have met along our way.

Stop and think for a moment about someone you might like to connect with again. Perhaps it’s an old friend or a former teacher. Maybe it’s a coach or a neighbor you once knew. It might even be a relative you haven’t spoken with in a while. Whoever it is, I encourage you to find time this week to make that connection. Call. E-mail. Or send a personal note. The surprise and joy you will give that person will be surpassed only by your own.

Enjoy your week!
Love, Kelli

The Fun Theory

The Fun Theory
 

Volkswagen is sponsoring a contest called, The Fun Theory.  Their hypothesis is that people are more likely to do a task when it includes an element of fun.  They are asking for video submissions that demonstrate ideas which change people’s behavior by adding a bit of fun to a task.   The invention could be used to help individuals, the environment or anything, as long as the change is for the better.

One example is a Piano Staircase.  To encourage people to use the stairs instead of an escalator, a group made the steps into a working piano keyboard which plays music as people step on it.  In the video, you hear music echoing throughout the space as more and more people use the stairs.  I watched it with a smile, knowing that I would definitely be on there running up and down to make a song.  I’m sure many of you will feel the same.  Check out that video and others at their website – www.thefuntheory.com.

I agree with the idea that people are more likely to do something when it’s fun.  A great example is the way housework is done in my house.  In order to get my kids to willingly participate, we make it into a game.  We set a time limit to complete the work and then race to beat the clock.  The catch is that the job has to pass “Mom’s Inspection.”  But, if it does, and we finish before the time is up, we take turns picking out a song and then we do a “Victory Dance.”  Dancing around the house celebrating our accomplishment usually sends us into fits of laughter, and the kids actually look forward to cleaning the house!

Another great example is the TRX equipment that I use in the Studio.  TRX training builds total body strength, increases flexibility, develops core stability and improves balance.  Besides that, it’s a lot of fun.  My friend, Nancy, says it looks like “two luggage straps hanging from a pole.”  She’s right, but it also feels like a rope swinging over a creek – something that you might have done as a child.  As a result, there is a sense of playfulness when you use it.  Inevitably, it leads to more interest in exercising, better focus when people are training and, of course, a lot of laughter. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jenn Salvo doing push-ups on the TRX

With this idea in mind, spend a few minutes thinking about tasks that you don’t typically enjoy doing.  You might even make a list.  Then focus on one of them and spend a few more minutes being creative.  What could you do to make that task more playful?  Come up with a couple of ideas that would make it more fun, and then try them.  See if you can find a way to make it more enjoyable for yourself.  If you come up with a really great idea, videotape it.  Volkswagen is accepting submissions until November 15th!

Have a creative and playful week! 

Love, Kelli

Catalog of Dreams

Have you noticed that when October 1st comes around, the number of catalogs in the mailbox dramatically increases?  My kids, of course, love this.  In fact, the other day my daughters spent over an hour poring through catalogs and circling all the things they would like for Christmas. 

It amused me to watch them.  In their excitement, they were bright-eyed and giggling.  They compared pictures and talked about how fun it would be to play with each of the different toys.  In the end, the catalogs were dog-eared, and their interiors were covered in bright-colored circles. 

As I watched them, however, it struck me that their excitement wasn’t based on reality.  It was coming from a sense of anticipation and hope.  The very possibility that they might get something they wanted made them exuberant. 

At some point, we grow out of that child-like excitement.  We stop thinking about what we want for Christmas.  In an even bigger sense, we stop thinking about what we want in our lives.  Many of us spend our days doing what we need to do to get by.  We live our lives by tackling the chores in front of us, and we lose sight of any dreams we might have had.  We stop thinking about possibilities and, instead, think about what has to get done right now.

But what if we could change that?  What if we began to think more about possibilities and dreams?  What if we could become as clear in our desire as we were as young children looking through the Christmas catalog?  In fact, what if there was a catalog for us?  What if there was a catalog which showcased all of our dreams

If there was such a catalog, each page would contain pictures and short descriptions of things you really want in your life.  Take a moment to imagine that catalog.  What would be on your pages?  Would there be a picture of your dream house or the car you have always wanted to drive?  Perhaps you would include pictures of your dream vacation spot.  Or maybe it would contain more than material objects.  Maybe your Catalog of Dreams would include pictures of your children graduating, or of your family in the best of health.

Whatever you imagine, once you had your catalog, wouldn’t you enjoy looking through it and thinking about the possibilities housed inside?  It might even be possible to feel the same exuberance as my children did this week as they anticipated their Christmas toys.

Although my children won’t get all of the items they circled, there is a good chance that the ones they TRULY want will show up under the Christmas tree.  I believe the same could be said of our dreams.  Although we don’t get EVERYTHING we wish for, when we focus on something we really WANT, it has a funny way of showing up. 

This week, I encourage you to create your own list of possibilities.  Spend some time dreaming.  Spend some time writing down what you want.  If you want to be even more creative, cut out pictures that represent those desires.  Then place that list in a place where you can see it often.  The more you focus on it, the closer you will be to getting those things. Just remember – dreams really do come true!

Have a magical week!
Love, Kelli

Sunlight On Your Nose

A friend shared a story with me the other day about her 93 year old neighbor.  She told me how this woman, although elderly by anyone’s standards, was still very young at heart.  She described the twinkle in her eye, and the way she kept up on all the latest music and trends.  She also told me how well the woman looked after her husband when he became ill. 

She explained that this man’s wish was to spend his last days at home.  Arrangements were made to have a hospital bed placed in the living room, and this woman helped the nurses to care for her husband in the comfort of their own home.  One day, the woman walked to the window and spread the curtains open wide to allow some sunlight into the dark room.  When she turned around to smile at her husband, the light glanced across her nose.  She turned to her husband, smiling, and said, “Look.  The sun is kissing my nose.”

The sweetness of that moment stayed with me this week.  The image of this elderly woman, surrounded by the smells of sickness and the fear of losing the one she loves, taking the moment to appreciate sunlight dancing on her nose, was simple, yet profound.

 I am sure I am not alone when I say that I enjoy hearing stories about elderly people who are young at heart.  Perhaps it is because there is a universal sense that we are younger inside than we may look or feel on the outside.  I have often said that I feel like I am in my 20’s even though I am two decades past that mark in calendar years.   Perhaps the fact that people retain their youth despite their age offers some kind of hope that we can be the same. 

As you go through this week, you might feel aches and pains, or even tired and drained.  However, even as your body absorbs the stresses of its age, at some point during the week, I hope you take a moment to recognize the sun as it kisses your nose.  

With love,  Kelli

Applecrisp and Rain

This week it rained. If any of you have spent time in the northeast during October or November, you understand the kind of rain I am talking about. This rain is not like the soft showers of summer which fall gently to the ground. This rain is gray and cold. It falls steadily, and it brings a dampness that permeates everything. Although the temperature on the thermometer wasn’t terribly low, the rain this week made everything feel very cold.

Throughout the week, people complained about it. I heard muttering comments and statements of discontent that were layered with frustration. Everywhere, it seemed that people were struggling to cope with the miserable weather.

Mid-week, I heard a teacher at school speaking to her colleague. The first teacher was complaining that the weather was terrible. Eventually, the other teacher interrupted her and simply said, “I know it’s bad, but just think, it could be snowing.”

Although they were both in agreement that snow would be much worse, my thought was that I wished it was snowing. I really enjoy the winter, and personally, I would prefer a beautiful snowy day to the cold, gray rain.

That observation made me think about how each of us perceives the world around us. My perception of snow is that it is beautiful, and it’s fun to play in. However, many people perceive it to be just the opposite. To many, snow is cold, slippery and dangerous and causes more headaches than joy.

Why is it that we can take the same event and interpret it so differently? It all comes down to perception.

Our perception is based on a combination of the sensory input that we receive coupled with the interpretation that we make of that information. Our interpretation will be based on what we have learned through our experience. Perception is subjective because our experiences are so different. As a result, each of us interprets the information in very different ways. It’s important to realize, however, that the way we perceive an event will have a direct impact on how we respond to it.

If we perceive the weather to be miserable, our negative complaint will continue to spread. Our moods depress. Our frustration rises. If we have a more positive perception, we might find that the changing barometer barely affects us at all.

The good thing is that we don’t have to be locked into negativity. It is possible to change our perceptions. As a result, we have the ability to change negative reactions into positive ones. If the reaction you are having doesn’t feel good, then change the way you’re thinking about the situation. Changing your thought process will result in a change in your perception.

This week pay more attention to your reactions. If you find yourself incessantly complaining about something, stop and think for a moment. What perception is causing you to have that reaction? And what thought can you change to make it more positive? The more positive your thoughts, the more positive your perceptions will be. And the more positive your perceptions, the better you will feel.

I am going to do the same. In fact, I will start by re-thinking my perception about the weather. Instead of dwelling on the cold rain, I am going to think about all the great things it has brought to me. This week, the damp weather made me long for warm, home-cooked meals. It also brought apple season which is one of my favorite times of year. The result is that my house has been filled with the cozy scents of comfort foods – hot soups, apples and cinnamon. The warm food allowed for some wonderful dinner conversations with my kids.

Even in those few short sentences, I already feel better. You can do the same. Spend some time re-thinking your negatives because focusing on positives makes a difference!

Have a wonderful week!
Love, Kelli