What Does it Mean to Live Well?

What does it take to live well? First it takes an awareness that there is something flat and off key and you know it could be better. Maybe it is prioritizing an important relationship that you realize is stagnant. You could jump start that, you don’t have to wait for the other to make the first move. Or it could be that you finally ran out of excuses for not beginning that exercise program, and you know you have to start. And why not now? And you do. It might be time to take that first step to reconnecting with your spiritual life that you left behind when you left your parents’ home. You remember there was something essential and mysterious that touched you deeply and opened your heart. Maybe, a realization arises and you pick up the phone and make an appointment for a physical because you have been low on energy for far too long.

A flash of insight peaks through and you know that it is up to you to define and discover what it means to live well. Live well no matter what circumstances are present.

Deep bow of gratitude to the brave participants in the initial offering of a new program, Cultivate Health, Learn to Live Well with Cancer. A circle of people came together from the comfort of their homes to share in this webinar, to reflect, discuss and engage in thought provoking questions and exercises around what it means to each of them to live well.

Throughout the 6-week program each person was invited to engage in and reflect on several areas vital to living with more ease and wellbeing. These included stress management strategies that prioritized working with habits of thinking and ways to challenge the negativity bias. Taking stock of social connections in order to define relationships that empower and energize rather than drain vitality and create stress. The latest research on ways to improve quality of sleep were discussed, as well as unlocking the vividness of the sensory world; participants discovered what a valuable resource our senses are.

Expanding vocabulary for feelings is a way to be with them that puts them in their proper place. No need to get swept up by emotions. This happens less when all feelings are acknowledged and can be just what they are, here, felt and then gone. You learn that feelings are temporary. This changing nature of life naturally led us to talk about death.

We reflected on ways to plan for and talk about desires for the end of life. When you relax the heart to the inevitable reality of death, a flood of energy creates a renewed sense of urgency for living. Knowing what you value is the foundation for what matters most.

It was a deep dive into patterns, barriers, aspirations, and the always present yearning of each of our beautiful, beating hearts.

Don’t wait, the time to live well is in the present. Not someday when all things are mapped out, certain or perfect. All an illusion. Life awaits your attention. Life is calling you to Cultivate Health and Live Well NOW.

 

The Pain of Perfectionism

The Pain of Perfectionism

The drive and need to be perfect is an obsession, particularly in society where looks are everything, mistakes can’t be tolerated and the impulse to blame is paramount. This is highly stressful and takes enormous energy to maintain. No wonder exhaustion and burnout are on the rise.

When the primary focus is on accomplishments, the continual striving  leaves little room for joy, wonder, or connection. When what is valued is accomplishing things, striving for more takes on added significance, leading to pushing yourself beyond what is truly necessary. You have completely forgotten you are a human being not a human doing. It is draining to feel under the gun in this way, and yet the escape route remains elusive. There is disconnection from what is truly meaningful.

Use this mindful checklist to see if you might be suffering from the energy zapping trait of perfectionism. This will take honest self-reflection, a willingness to look at habits and a desire to release the grip this has on you.

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Mindful Checklist Friendship

Mindful Checklist Friendship

Friendship, communing with another human being, especially when you feel seen, heard and understood is one of life’s rich and affirming gifts. We literally need one another. Friendship puts the soft edges on rough corners and we are worn smooth by friendly connections and belonging together.

Social support, such as friendship, is powerful medicine. Research shows that those with challenging and life-threatening illness rank social support in the top 9 factors that contribute to healing and thriving.

Use this mindful checklist to take inventory of your friendships and connections to consciously acknowledge their meaning and impact in your life.

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Mindful Checklist for Listening

Mindful Checklist for Listening

Listening is an attention filled activity and often attention is scattered and fragmented by the pressures of life. Listening is a gift we give another person and ourselves for it connects us to another human being. Use these steps to practice actively listening and reap the benefits of connection.

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