Day One…Year Two!

I started writing my blog in May 2019.  
Today is blog #53…the first blog of my second year!!  
Happy Birthday Bloom to Blossoms!! 

I stated in my first blog that I hope to create a community to share ideas and experiences about ways to live a healthy, evolving, and enriching life. Intellectual stimulation and community building continue to be two of my primary goals.  Reading, thinking, and writing about topics I care about moved me from being a passive consumer to an actively engaged consumer. Over the past year I feel like I progressed from questioning “am I a blogger” to believing “I am a blogger”.  

Sitting on the porch last week, I did some brainstorming with myself about my first year as a blogger and what I wanted to do next. Below are some key ideas and I am excited to share an additional aspect of Blooms to Blossoms that will begin on Friday.

  • Blogging is more time consuming than I had expected BUT it is time well spent.  Consistency in writing and publishing is important.
  • Finding a niche/brand/identity (my purpose) helps focus my writing.
  • Learning from trial and error is part of the process; trial and error is really a fundamental problem-solving process.  Trial and error is insightful learning.
  • Being “out there” (publicly sharing my writing) is a bit daunting and intimidating but fulfilling after publishing each blog.
  • Inspiration for topics come from everywhere.  Being open to influences from my surroundings and my day-to-day life is a creative process of writing.
  • Information overload happens so organization of ideas and materials continues to be important.
  • Reconnection with friends and making new friends is a benefit.  Making connections with others is the community building aspect I plan to continue developing.
  • Engagement in the blogging community provides support and resources.
  • Patience is a virtue 

The past 52 weeks topics of my blogs have been varied. Learning is a lifelong process integrating all aspects of the wellness (physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc).  

Feature images from Blooms to Blossoms Year One

On Friday I will launch Visual Blossoms.  The purpose of Visual Blossoms is to share my thoughts about the purpose of Blooms to Blossoms with readers through sketching.  The intent is not to repeat the blog in graphic form. Visual Blossoms will expand the purpose of Blooms to Blossoms…to tell the story in a distinct way.

Blogging provides me the opportunity to connect my personal and professional life and continue to learn something new every day.  I couldn’t have accomplished getting Blooms to Blossoms online without the encouragement and support of my family and friends.  I appreciate your input and feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. As I continue to increase my readership I appreciate you sharing my blog with your family, friends, and colleagues.

In addition, when I met Conor (my web guy), and he told me, “I love solving problems and telling authentic stories” I knew he would be a key contributor to my success. Conor listens to my ideas and then creates a custom identity and design for me to accomplish my goals.

The past year I have learned A LOT.  I have filled an intellectual/creative gap missing in my life.  The blog journey is off to an excellent start.  I am looking forward to the upcoming year to see where it takes us. 

Stay Calm, Connected, & Active: Stay Positive

Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better.  
Life will always be complicated.  
Learn to be happy right now.  
Otherwise, you’ll run out of time.  Unknown.

Last week in my blog I mentioned that I was “trying to keep my glass half full as I savor the moments of each day.”   As I continue on this path, I was thinking about how our perspective affects our attitude.  Jantz (2014) writes about 6 Ways to Become More Positive.  His main contention is “perspective is destiny”. With that in mind, I reviewed several articles in one of my “go to” sources for stories on diverse topics related to my blog purpose; Thrive Global.  I did a basic search on topics about staying positive.  I was interested to read how others, along with Jantz, discuss the impact of perspective on attitude.  

One article of particular interest, because of the Covid-19 life we have been living the last couple months, was Safarian (2020), 10 Things You Can Do to Stay Positive During COVID-19: Keeping Calm in the Time of Corona.

Below is a sketchnote outlining the key components of her article, followed by a summary in narrative form.  I want to share these ideas because COVID-19 or not, these elements are 10 things to help you stay positive in life.  As Jantz says, “perspective is destiny.”

Looking at life from a different perspective makes you realize that it’s not the deer that is crossing the road, rather it’s the road that is crossing the forest.  Muhammad Ali

The intent of positive thinking is not a pollyanna approach to life; bad things happen to all of us.  Having a positive attitude or finding the good in each day is an approach to enhance your overall wellness. There are physiological, psychological, and even physical benefits to positive thinking all contributing to living the healthiest life possible.  Consider Harry Truman’s quote as you reflect on the 10 factors introduced by Safarian. 

Be grateful, positive, slow down, relax, exercise, leverage your community, breathe, find humor, know when to walk away, and have faith in yourself and others.

 “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”  

Reading: A Path to Wellness

“I read because one life isn’t enough,
and in the page of a book I can be anybody;
I read because the words that build the story
become mine, to build my life…”
Richard Peck (partial quote)  American Novelist (1934-2018)

I have always been an avid reader and I still am.  I typically have 2-3 books in progress at the same time (different genres/topics).  Over the last few weeks, with extra time at home, I have been reading even more.  There are many reasons why I like to read, and I give credit to mom and dad for instilling the love of reading in me.  We did not have a school reading list common to the current educational setting.  We had weekly trips to the library and there were always books in the house.  I remember enjoying the trips to the library with mom and dad.  We only had one rule…we had to select a variety of topics.  

I am sure we would all agree with the statement that “reading has a powerful effect on learning, development, and growth.”  The purpose of my blog is to share a perspective on striving toward a balanced life…training the body and the mind.  

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.   Addison

I believe reading and books are a key part of the path to wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development.

Pew Charitable Trust (2012) completed a two-part study on reading.  The Rise of E-Reading and Why People Like to Read.  The list below from the Pew research are reasons people like to read…my connection to wellness follows.

  • 26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.
  • 15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
  • 12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
  • 12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
  • 6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
  • 4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
  • 3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
  • 2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.

Wellness encompasses a balance of the multidimensional journey that each of us takes at one time or another. Each of our journeys is unique and different. We all strive to succeed as individuals who create our own paths in life.

  • Emotional Wellness….positive self-esteem, awareness and acceptance of thoughts and feelings
  • Intellectual Wellness…continual learning, creativity, curiosity, self-development
  • Physical Wellness….increase in life span
  • Social Wellness…ability to communicate with and connect with others, social network, 
  • Spiritual Wellness…adds to the meaning and purpose of life, open to others’ beliefs and values
Pew Charitable Trust image

What am I reading now?

Joy of Movement…I have always been a believer that there is more to exercise than just the physical act of moving.  This book expands on that idea and connects to concepts I have shared and plan to share in my blog.

Elm Creek Quilt series…I just started book #10 and there are at least 11 more to go.  I like to read series to follow a story from beginning to end.

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency…another series; I’m reading book #5 of 21

I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited AND of course have a library card so I can read magazines and books for “free” and listen to audiobooks.

Since starting my blog, I read about a variety of topics in journals through the library and online.

I read to be entertained, learn, image, explore, and relax.  
How about you???

Unlocking Your Potential in Solitude

Being alone is much different than being lonely; perspective is the key.  Quality time alone can be beneficial to well-being. Cherry (2020, para. 2) acknowledges that social connectivity and solitude are both virtues of a healthy life.  She discusses the benefits of findings things to do by yourself by stating, “Doing things by yourself allows you to enjoy activities you love at your own pace and in your own way. Through solitary pursuits, you learn more about yourself and reflect on your experiences.”  

Thrive Global is an online magazine launched by Arianna Huffington (2007).  The goal is to “create something real and tangible that would help individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential.” The magazine’s Stories section includes topics on Well-Being, Wisdom, Wonder, Purpose, Sleep, Special Sections, and Community.

Some of the topics included in the Special Sections are mental health, meditative stories, work-life balance, wellbeing, social change, and never stop learning. Freelance writers, myself included, publish articles to Thrive’s Community section.

As I mentioned last week, “I am actually someone who likes to stay at home however it has been a bit challenging when the decisions to stay at home is not solely my own.”  I initially found the solitude of social-distance/stay at home situation to be a bit challenging but have now embraced the opportunities provided by this time. Last week there were a couple Thrive articles I thought would be worth sharing.  These are timely based on the current social-distancing guidelines/stay in place policy and the isolation some may be feeling.  

Swantkoski’s (2020)  article, 4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Social Distancing: Adjusting my mindset has allowed me to stay optimistic during this time, discusses the following four key points.

**Now is a great time to think about priorities.
**We always say we don’t have time, but the truth is, we don’t make the time.
**You cannot control what happens, but you can control how you react to it.
**You won’t ever get this time back, so make the most of it – whatever that means to you.

Most of us are finding ourselves having more free time than we’ve ever had and may ever have again. Time is the only thing we can never get back, and we should make the most of it. For some, this will be a season full of extra rest. Others may want to be productive either personally or professionally. Some will develop new hobbies and interests during this time. No matter how you choose to spend this time, do in your heart what’s best for you and don’t forget to make the most of it.

Friedrich (1822)  The framework of the window links proximity and distance and evokes a longing for the unknown.  The outward gaze, contemplating nature, also turns inwards towards the individual’s own spiritual center.

Leon’s (2020) article Why I’m Focusing on Seeing the Upside: The pandemic is making me take a step back and appreciate small moments of positivity, discusses the following five key points.

**Humor
**Change
**Technology
**Authenticity
**Connection

I’ve found that in my fifty years of life, optimism has never prevented me from hard times and heartache. But like with faith, it helps me rise up and find a way to live a life worth living after I’ve fallen. This crisis is huge and hard and sad, but I’m positive we will get through it together, laughing, changing, innovating, being real, and spreading cheer all the while.

Friedrich (1818) Standing in contemplation and self-reflection the wanderer considers moments about the unforeseen future. By placing his back toward the viewer he is not shutting them out – rather he enables them to see the world through his own eyes, to share and convey his personal experience.

Cherry (2020) concludes by stating, “Alone time is for focusing on you—for cultivating your passions, finding new inspirations, getting to know yourself better, or even engaging in some much-needed rest and relaxation.”

A Peek Into My World

Well, it’s been an interesting past week or so. I am actually someone who likes to stay at home however it has been a bit challenging when the decisions to stay at home is not solely my own. Friday I saw a CNN article published as part of the Wisdom Project by Allan titled, Inspirational Quotes to Get Us Through the Coronavirus Shutdown that I thought might be supportive.

Since I’ve been home (more than usual) the inspiration for my blog comes from taking a look around my office. I wanted to share a few items that surround my work space to encourage and motivate me.

My office is in the front of the house with a nice view of the yard.

A few books I keep:

Body and Soul: A novel about the development of a young musician

Grand Obsession: Chronicles one woman’s search for the perfect piano. 

Joy of Movement: How exercise helps us find happiness, hope, connection, and courage

Life as Sport: What top athletes can teach you about how to win in life

Music Matters: Perspectives on nature & significance of music teaching & learing

The Musician’s Way: A guide to practice, performance, and wellness

Reminder that all is well:

These angels have been in our family for over 75 years. They are now in my office surrounding the serenity prayer that used to be on my grandma’s dresser. If Granny had a motto this was it…sure is applicable today.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Various knick-knacks from my grandparents

Family knick-knacks:

The Snow White canister and Girls in the Rain music box belonged to my paternal grandma.

The two music boxes in the second picture belonged to my maternal grandma.

Both are with my baby cup and spoons.

Family heirlooms:

The bookcase belong to Buddy and Granny. I’ve had this bookcase for 35 years. The glass on the bottom left is cracked from a move. The movers offered to get the glass replaced. I said “no, I need the original glass because this bookcase is from my family.” I recently moved the bookcase into my office. The only items in it right now are the manger scene that was displayed at Buddy and Granny’s house that I keep out year-round. I also have my baby shoes and blanket…I guess these were my first running shoes!!

Fit for Life:

A few key reminders of my athletic life to keep me motivated. The trophy on the right is from my first road race after my college career ended. State cross country championship medal hanging on the runner’s foot. The award on the left is for a runner of the year award (back in my prime). I participated in a weekly bicycle time trial and won best senior women award. The frame picture is from my sister and brother-in-law after my bike accident (October 13, 1997)…it says “Watch out for cars”. They gave me this picture after they found out I was ok….the humor was appreciated.

Family rock project:

My sister and I went to a festival with my parents several years ago. One of the vendor sold rocks with names. I bought one for Eric and me. We had our first two cats at the time so I ordered their rocks from the vendor to add to the collection. I have been buying a rock for each cat…the plate is full…I guess Buddy will be our last cat!!

May the memory of our friends
remain with us forever.

Einstein and Reggie:

Einstein (10/21/01-10/9/14) and Reggie (10/21/01-2/1/19) are brother and sister pixie bob cats and were our first two cats.  

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.  **Anatole France

Eric and Me:

The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being.
His heart withers if it does not answer another heart.
His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no inspiration.
–Pearl S. Buck

The eagle on the right I found as I walked in the entrance of the building for my first full-time job (30+years ago). When I met Eric (20 years ago) he had an eagle in his house. The eagles have been together ever since.

17 Words That Will Never Fail You 
  
Prepare…Listen…Smile…Care…Choose…Focus…
Believe…Relax…Act…Forgive…Pray…Trust…
Change…Persist…Accept…Risk…Wait

Women’s History Month: Granny + Mom = Me

Last week I shared some stories about “Granny”…she was influential to my mom, my aunt, and me.  She embodied the ideals of Blooms to Blossoms.

Wellness…using a practical approach to living a balanced life 
Lifelong Learning…using a simple strategy to use resources available to you to better yourself
Personal Development…using a teachable moment to provide lessons learned

Granny was sharing the values she believed and lived by passing them on through her actions.   These beliefs and actions are the roots (support) to develop our family branches (my mom, aunt, others, and me).  Through the generational care and continuation of these beliefs Granny started the cultivation of the shoots and buds that would extend our family tree.

NOTE: Source for pic unknown

My mom is efficient, organized, and diligent.  She is loving, caring, supportive, and always focused on helping me become a better me.

Her motto when I was growing up was “I’m hard on you because I want better for you.”

Her motto now is “laugh and make memories.”

My accomplishments make her proud. I never doubted that I could achieve any of my goals with a good plan and some effort.

Corso (2020) writing about Women’s History Month

To be told we “do something like a girl” is a compliment. I would hope I am as brave as a girl, I hope I am as resilient as a girl, I hope I am as powerful as a girl, and I am proud to be a girl.

National Women’s History month is where we appreciate being told we “throw like a girl” and we “run like a girl.” If we are throwing like a girl, we are throwing as hard as we can, and if we are running like a girl, we are running as fast as we can.

Doing something like a girl is a compliment; being a girl or woman during March is especially superior because we have a month dedicated to our strength and our bravery.

I mentioned in a prior blog a memory book my sister and I created for our parents.  Below are some of the memories of mom.

Memories of Mom

Memories of Mom (some of the 70 memories from the book with current thought)

**Trick or treat for Unicef
(I did not fully understand the purpose at the time as much as I do now)

**Documenting my graduate school debt (loan) to assure complete payment
(I learned the value of money and the responsibility for paying a debt)

**Popcorn for Elaine’s trips home after a visit
(Mom always provided snacks when I drove home after visiting…I was also told to keep both hands on the wheel while driving!!   Hmmmm?!?!?!)

**Ironing our workout t-shirts until we graduated high school
(Needless to say, I do not iron my workout t-shirts now but I do appreciate her effort)

**New running shoes for every birthday and Christmas
(Best gift ever…still)

**Letting me have time to run before going out for the day
(Best gift ever…still)

**Making me take piano lessons so Granny would give the piano to mom
(Still playing…both of us)

**Never (well almost never) asking too many personal questions
(Mmmmmoooooommmm, really???)

**Constantly beating me a scrabble
(I cheat and still lose…but it’s fun)

**Taking care of Granny
(“One person caring about another represents life’s greatest value.” -Rohan)

Granny and Mom were & are key in making me who I am.

They have & do encourage me.
They have been & are there for me when it matters the most.
They have & do inspire me to make my own history.

Thanks to my Granny and my Mom my motto is:

I do the very best I know how.
The very best I can and
I mean to keep doing it until the end.

“Learn from the people who have walked before you.
Respect them, because someday, and
sooner than you could ever imagine,
you are going to be old too.”  Unknown

The Right Fit: A Community!

I recently bought the book Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal.  The premise of the book is about “how exercise helps us find happiness, hope, connection, and courage.” McGonigal (2019) writes in the introduction “Many of the classes I taught turned into communities that not only moved together but also supported and celebrated one another.  In these classes, I learned what collective joy feels like…”(p. 3). One of my prior blogs, Run for My Body, Run for My Soul expresses my belief about the joy of movement; movement enhances my social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual wellbeing.

I am often amazed that some of the greatest people and greatest memories I have connect either directly or indirectly to my active engagement in sports, fitness, and wellness.  While being self-motivated for a lifetime of health and wellness I tend to be a “gym-hopper”; one who moves from gym to gym in search of the “right fit”.  After reading just the introduction of McGonigal’s book the connection to my current gym became clear. I am applying an athletic perspective on the person-environment fit model. 

“Person-environment (PE) fit refers to the degree of match between individuals & some aspect of their work environment. The concept of PE fit is firmly rooted in the tradition of Kurt Lewin’s maxim that B = /(PE);behavior is a function of both person & environment,” Grimsley (n.d.).

My behavior, active engagement, and satisfaction results from the match between my goals and the attributes of a chosen environment. How well are my interests, preferences, knowledge, skills, abilities, personality traits, values, and goals obtainable through membership at a gym?  I joined F45 a few months ago and have found a great gym/workout that meets my needs. The surprise was the sense of community and a connection to wellness aspects beyond just the physical. 

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, and spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life”   Unknown

Personal reasons for going to a gym differ with everyone; it is a bonus when you find the “right fit”. Four elements for a sense of community include membership, influence, reinforcement, and a shared emotional connection (McMillan and Chavis, 1996). For me, the “right fit” found at F45 include:

**A sense of belonging
**A connection and camaraderie with friends
**An atmosphere of healthy competition
**A holistic wellness aspect

“One of the best things I love about our F45 studios are the
friendships that have been made!!
Accountability is key when it comes to fitness and
having someone to sweat it out with you not only helps
push you to reach that fitness goal
but is just so much more fun!!!”  
Coach Jon

The quality of program cannot rise above the caliber of its personnel. The heart as much as the head provides an atmosphere for success.  Attributes such as caring, listening, seeking to understand and affirm participants individuality are part of what makes F45 the right fit for me.  These dual characteristics enable trainers to encourage participants to use their abilities to improve physical fitness and support their overall wellbeing. The F45 trainers ability to inspire others fuels their desire to serve. 

Most gyms believe a sense of community matters.
The key is to find the right fit for you.
Keep in mind that movement can do more
then enhance your physical fitness.
Movement will enhance social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual wellbeing.

A portion of McGonigal’s Final Thoughts (p. 212) supports my idea that there is more to a “workout” location than just a place for physical movement.

In a 2017 essay, Norwegian ethicist Sigmund Loland posed the question: If it becomes possible, should we replace exercise with a pill?  Scientists are already trying to manufacture medicines that mimic the health benefits of exercise. What if they succeed?  “Considering exercise takes time and energy and usually financial resources in addition to implying a risk for injury, the only reason for not replacing exercise with a pill must be related to values in the very activity of exercising in itself,” Loland writes.  “Does exercise have such values, and if so, what are they?”

Based on what I’ve learned from science and stories that fill this book and from my own direct experience, I would say the answer is a resounding yes.  Movement offers us pleasure, identity, belonging, and hope.  It puts us in places that are good for us.

Anyone have any comments to share related to their sense of community and/or enhancement of personal wellbeing?

Feeling Good About Giving

Over the past few weeks I reviewed information about how charitable behavior is associated to wellness (Marsh & Suttie, 2015, Moffett, 2019, Ramsey, n.d, Robertson, 2015, and Sanders & Tamma, 2015).  The concept of “feeling good about giving” is a frequent topic across the financial spectrum, nonprofit organizations, education literature, and wellness organizations.  The “feel good” aspect of giving is not far-reaching or revolutionary.  The contribution to personal wellness however does extend to psychological, spiritual, and emotional well-being.

Giving enhances sense of well-being in many ways, some of which are:

  • Helping others can lead to a sense of purpose
  • Taking actions in line with your beliefs can lead to inner peace
  • Donating can activate the pleasure centers of the brain
  • Contributing to a cause can promote generosity among others
  • Giving to a worthy cause can improve life satisfaction
  • Aiding a community program can promote social well-being at a local level

A 2009 study by Harvard Business School doctoral candidate Lalin Anik, Professor Michael I. Norton, and coauthors titled “Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior,” explores the ways in which charitable behavior can lead to benefits for the giver.  Their preliminary research suggests that advertising the emotional benefits of prosocial behavior may leave these benefits intact and might even encourage individuals to give more.

A few years ago, my husband and I decided we would like to make a monthly donation to organizations that align with our personal values and areas of interest.  Our primary motivation was not for a tax break or public recognition.  We are fortunate to be able to help proven organizations making an impact. We feel that our giving is an expression of gratitude to those who are working on behalf of the betterment of others.  Some of the organizations we support are:

The organizations above have all shared stories of their work with us. One example of the impact these organizations make on the lives of others is the story of Louis Torres. He started with Instruments of Change in 5th grade; excelled in middle and high school and is now at University of South Florida on a music scholarship. 

In many ways it is better to give than receive.  Giving is good…time, money, possessions…it is empowering to know that you are helping others.  Giving can also be beneficial to your emotional, social, psychological, and yes, financial wellbeing.  We find that giving to our selected nonprofit organizations (partial list above) is rewarding as we support those in need AND we support the work of those running the organizations.

McCoy (n.d.) acknowledges the multiple benefits of giving.

“Whether you’re interested in the tax benefits or have altruistic motives – or a little of both – you can end up getting back a lot more than you give when you donate valuable items, cold hard cash, or even your time to your favorite causes. In fact, the emotional, social, psychological, and financial benefits of charitable giving often outweigh the satisfaction of splurging on yourself or your family.”

Have you experienced the benefits of charitable giving in your own life?

Stuff Happens: Time to Retune

It is a challenge to objectively evaluate how life is progressing. I often make sports analogies in my writing however I find that “evaluating” life is hard to quantify or score. My first blog this year, Intentions Rather Than Resolutions, outlined plans for the year and I made the distinction between intentions and resolutions. 

To me, New Year’s resolutions are goals we think we “should” achieve while intentions are goals, we want to achieve.  Intentions set the direction for the upcoming year.  My intentions create my plan and the desired result I wish to achieve is my goal.

One expected outcome of setting your direction (goals) for the year is to have a happy life.  Lyubomirsky’s (2010) description of happiness aligns directly with Blooms to Blossoms purpose when she says that happiness is a state positive well-being combined with a sense of a meaningful and worthwhile life.

I have found that identifying a purpose is a guide to happiness and satisfaction.  This purpose leads to relationship building and gratefulness.

Purpose (Meaning) + Relationships (Linkage) +Gratefulness (Thankful) = Happiness

Kahneman & Deaton (2010) research on happiness supports the idea that objectively measuring how “life is going” is not easy.  They reviewed Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (GHWBI) data, which include measures of subjective well-being, from 450,000 US residents collected by the Gallup Organization.  Two aspects of subjective well-being are emotional wellness and life evaluation.

“Emotional well-being refers to the emotional quality of an individual’s everyday experience—the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection that make one’s life pleasant or unpleasant. Life evaluation refers to the thoughts that people have about their life when they think about it.”

The plans we make at the new year serve as a guide as we move through each month, week, and day.  At times, a “bump in the road” will result in an unexpected ending…sometimes better, sometimes not so much.  

Last week I was thinking about a couple “intentions” I have that have not progressed as I had hoped. During this time, my husband was upstairs practicing guitar (one of his primary hobbies).  When he begins his practice the first task is to tune his guitar.  There are four types of alternate tunings (open, instrumental, regular, and special).

“Open” tuning is the most simple and common tuning to “special” tunings which are a grouping of miscellaneous tunings created in recent years.  Anyone who plays guitar knows that it is a general rule to tune your guitar every day and that the tuning is determined by the piece of music selected.

There are several reasons a guitar goes out of tune; a couple examples are:

**Old strings can keep you from that perfect tuning. As they wear, they lost their capability to hold tension, making them feel brittle and less able to hit the fret. That will make some notes to sound sharp.

**Strings are affected by extreme changes in temperature, as they will expand when it’s warm (making it sound flat) and contract when cold (resulting in a sharper sound).

Listening to my husband tune his guitar made me realize that in life we need to retune or reset…lack of progress, a bump in the road, a crossroad leading to a change does not mean the intended purpose will not be achieved…the intended purpose may merely change. Confidence in the original plan may be high but the needed change may be a blessing in disguise.  

Fader (2014) published an article on Psychology Today using “tune your guitar” as an analogy to reach happiness. 

Purpose (Meaning) + Relationships (Linkage) +Gratefulness (Thankful) = Happiness

“Over time, a guitar inevitably comes out of tune—not because it’s a bad guitar, but because that’s the nature of guitars. In fact, the key to maintaining a guitar is to notice when it’s not in tune and continually re-tune it…”

“Keeping a guitar well-calibrated involves a series of small tunings and re-tunings. It should be the same way with happiness: your happiness may fluctuate, it may even bottom out, but this doesn’t mean you should envision a huge insurmountable pyramid in which you need to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization for true happiness. It just means you need to adapt to your new equilibrium, to re-tune your inner guitar. That’s what happiness is—our ability to make the small but meaningful adaptations to whatever life throws at you.”

Just like guitar strings there are many reasons plans/goals go out of tune…some we can control and some we cannot.  Stuff happens.  It is time to retune and reengage.

Spending time on yourself to further your personal development is a great way to value your well-being, happiness, and success.  McGinley (2017)

Second Chances

We can all relate…we have all had a need for a second chance to try again.  It would be hard to image life without second chances.  Mistakes happen, no one is perfect.  Second chances are important. A second chance is a gift that allows a person to do better. Growth and change can occur with opportunities to learn from mistakes. Giving and receiving a second chance is the gift that contributes to personal development and wellbeing for all involved and beyond. 

People sometimes make poor choices based on circumstances or stress. Since it is impossible to know exactly what someone else is thinking when they make poor choices, it is generous and kind to keep an open mind. Often a second chance is a magnanimous gesture that is a wise and mature choice. -Unknown-

Approaching a second chance should be with gratitude and excitement.  Recognizing and appreciating a new chance, a chance for a do-over/re-do, speaks to the premise of Blooms to Blossoms.  The giver AND receiver of a second chance benefit emotionally, morally, and spiritually as the shared experience enhances learning and development.  Life IS about second chances.  Giving someone a second chance is not wrong if as the person is willing to acknowledge the mistake and demonstrate change.

Fiallo (2017) shares personal experience in his Medium article Remember This When You Get A Second Chance, “A mistake can be a small thing. Or it can be a devastating thing. One that can change your life in an instant.  I experienced the consequence of a 4-year prison sentence, and at the end, was pulled out of the abyss to be given a second chance.”

He describes 5 aspects about life-saving second chances that could apply to all of us. 

*Second Chances are a Precious Blessing… treat a second chance like you would a precious and rare opportunity 

*Don’t Squander Second Chances…take every advantage to use the spirit with which it was given

*Run with Your Second Chance…be ready and execute

*One Second Chance Breeds Another… Be prepared for additional opportunities that WILL come your way

*Never Forget Your “Original” Sin… Dwelling on the past is not healthy. What’s done is done. Time to move on. But ignoring and not learning from it is equally if not more unhealthy.

My grandfather, Buddy, gave a second chance to a convict (C. W.).  During C.W.’s time in prison he enhanced his knowledge, skills, and abilities through productive use of time (lifelong learning). Through his acceptance of the consequences for his actions and the ability to cope and manage to improve himself (personal development) during this time Buddy felt he earned a second chance. 

1958 news article

When C.W. was released from prison, Buddy hired him to re-stain the woodwork in our house and to paint a picture for my grandma.  Buddy said C.W. made a mistake when he was young.  As far as I know, C.W. continued to do odd jobs, use his creative talents and later opened an office supply store. I believe he also married and had one child.

C.W. painting for my grandma…(currently in my parents home).
I hope to have this hanging in my home one day

Can you imagine what we would all miss if we did not give people a second chance?

Can you imagine where you would be and what you would be doing if not for second chances?

I have had my share of second chances in the past AND I hope that if needed in the future I would be gifted a second chance by a caring soul…like Buddy!! Below are a few quotes I hope will inspire you to be a giver and/or a gracious receiver of a second chance.

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.  
Carl Bard

I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.  
Maya Angelou

Sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two! Not always, but sometimes. It’s what you do with those second chances that counts.     
Dave Wilson

A second chance doesn’t mean anything if you didn’t learn from your first.
Anurag Prakash Ray

Let tomorrow be your second chance to prove that you are better than today and yesterday.  
Ritu Ghatourey