Positive Quote for the Week:
"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." ~ Buddha
In order to stay healthy one must eat proper foods, exercise, and reduce stress. Additionally, it is important to fill your mind with positive thoughts and surround yourself with positive people. This is not easy when stress levels increase due to factors that are out of your control. This page is intended to feed you positive information that will support your efforts toward developing and sustaining a positive outlook. We are still in the process of gathering inspiring stories and welcome your experiences. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chemistry of Calm- Henry Emmons, M.D.
"Breaking the Cycle of Painful Emotions"- It is inevitable that we will experience emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, hurt, frustration, embarrassment, shame, guilt, and impatience. And they will occasionally be strong, even overpowering. If we lose our bearings during such a time, the suffering mind creates a state of emotional confusion. Then we are not only unable to find a way out of the situation but also at risk of making it worse....When the mind is highly reactive...this can quickly cascade into unhealthy beliefs such as I am unworthy and unlovable. This emotional reactivity is one of the primary causes of relapse of anxiety or depression. Having the courage to remain present in the face of such powerful emotions gives you leverage over them. - Henry Emmons, MD. The Chemistry of Calm.
Healing Grief through Art: Blanketing the World in Love
By Gabriella West
"You must make sense of the senseless. You must accept your unacceptable." - Page Hodel
In this culture, it is not uncommon for people in their 40s or 50s to lose their partners to cancer or to heart attacks—but there is typically not much space in our society for people to grieve or even to be comforted by community on a long-term basis when these tragedies happen.
Bay Area DJ Page Hodel became well-known in the gay community in the 1980s as a pioneering DJ. (It was uncommon to see women DJs back then.) Now Hodel is becoming better known for her art, specifically for the beautiful hearts that she has made and photographed since her lover, librarian Madalene Rodriguez, died of ovarian cancer in 2006, only four months after being diagnosed with the disease. The two were neighbors in Oakland and fell deeply in love—but tragically, they spent less than a year together before Madalene succumbed to her illness. During the relationship, Hodel had begun the romantic ritual of dropping off a “heart” on Madalene’s doorstep every Sunday night so that she would see it on Monday morning when she went to work. When Madalene was dying, Hodel promised her that she would continue making the hearts for the rest of HER life, in honor of their shared love and to help her work through her grief.
I don’t know what the early hearts were like, but the hearts that Hodel has continued to make and send out weekly as images to her email list are stunningly colorful and precise, made of organic materials like straw, wood, berries, chili peppers, grass, flowers, leaves… The hearts are designed with great care, but most of all they continue and preserve the legacy of love that Page and Madalene shared. You can view a gallery of hundreds of these intricate, vibrant hearts at http://www.mondayheartsformadalene.com. Use the contact form on the home page to receive a new digital heart in your email inbox every Monday morning. (A book and greeting cards are also available, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Oakland.)
We are encouraged in this culture to “move on” quickly after we experience grief and loss. Hodel has become a role model for keeping love alive in a positive way. As she says of herself and Madalene’s relationship, “Although we will not be spending the rest of our lives together here on this big blue ball, we will be spending our lives together blanketing the world in love.”
"Life Is Tough: Six Ways to Deal With It"
Shambhala Sun/ March 2013 - http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4015&Itemid=0
Six powerful techniques to transform life’s difficulties into awakening and benefit. Zen teacher NORMAN FISCHER guides us through them.
"While trying to avoid difficulty may be natural and understandable, it actually doesn’t work. We think it makes sense to protect ourselves from pain, but our self-protection ends up causing us deeper pain. We think we have to hold on to what we have, but our very holding on causes us to lose what we have. We’re attached to what we like and try to avoid what we don’t like, but we can’t keep the attractive object and we can’t avoid the unwanted object. So, counterintuitive though it may be, avoiding life’s difficulties is actually not the path of least resistance; it is a dangerous way to live. If you want to have a full and happy life, in good times and bad, you have to get used to the idea that facing misfortune squarely is better than trying to escape from it."
"Transforming bad circumstances into the path is associated with the practice of patience."
"Turn all mishaps into the path.
Drive all blames into one.
Be grateful to everyone.
See confusion as buddha and practice emptiness.
Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help.
Whatever you meet is the path."
Read more Shambhala Sun
10 TIPS TO OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS: POSITIVE THINKING MADE EASY
by Michelle Uy That’s Fit.ca
“Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become. I like the imagery of a small ball rolling along the ground, and as it rolls, it becomes bigger and faster.
That’s what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge, speeding ball of ugliness. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect blossoming into a beautiful outcome...”
Here are 10 things I did to help overcome my negative thoughts that you can also try:
1. Meditate or do yoga.
One of the first things I did was head to a yoga class. It took my focus away from my thoughts and brought my attention to my breath. Yoga is also very relaxing which helped ease my mind. Yoga helped me stay present to my experience so instead of jumping to what could happen, it brought me back to the now—the only moment, the most important moment.
I didn’t do much of this during the weekend so I literally had to bring myself in front of a mirror and force myself to smile. It really does help change your mood and relieve stress. I also felt lighter because it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
I called a friend who I knew could give me constructive, yet loving feedback. When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking.
For example, instead of thinking We are going to have a hard time adjusting to our living situation, replace that with We will face some challenges in our living situation, but we will come up with solutions that we will both be happy with.
The way I was thinking and acting, you would think I was stuck. Even if our living situation becomes unbearable, there is always a way out. I will always have the choice to make change happen, if need be.
Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person. I decided to make a tray of food and donate it to the Salvation Army. It took my mind off of things and I felt better for helping someone else.
It’s easy to dwell on your mistakes. I felt terrible that I acted this way and that I wasted our weekend. The only thing I can do now is learn from my mistakes and move forward. I definitely don’t want to have a weekend like that again.
Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Happy positive thinking!
Michelle Uy is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Owner of LoveActionYoga.
Creating New Beginnings Through Volunteer Work
Profile: Dee Caliman
By Bonnie Lawrence
Richmond Resident, Dee Caliman's life took a truly unexpected turn when she decided to help out in a unique preschool program...and found a new career in retirement.
Dee grew up in Philadelphia. Her first job was as a flight attendant, and she spent 22 years making people safe and comfortable 40,000 feet in the air. Thirty years ago, her love of California brought her to her new home, San Francisco.
Dee's career direction changed, too. She gravitated to the world of finance, as a client services specialist at Goldman Sachs in Silicon Valley. Her finely-honed hospitality skills were put to good use, she says, as she was working with clients whose high-flying accounts has upwards of $25 million. After a stint of doing meeting planning at a smaller finance firm in San Mateo, she moved to the corporate corridors of McKesson, where she worked in marketing. Eventually, she opted for early retirement.
But she found she didn't like staying home. "I wanted something completely different," she said. "So about two years ago I discovered a website called Coming of Age:Bay Area, and I saw a volunteer listing for a preschool program called Jumpstart. I applied, and was chosen on the spot-- my timing was just right!"
She says she started a little tentatively at the school, located in the Excelsior. "I had never set foot in a child development center. I never had children of my own. I had never even been to the neighborhood, but what I found was a state-of-the-art center. Children were taken care of in a stellar way. The staff and teachers were very caring. The kids were great -well behaved, smart, enthusiastic. I had all these preconceived ideas in my head about what the center might be like--and the reality was so much better. And I fell in love with the little ones."
She was so inspired by her volunteer work that when she learned that City College had an Early Childhood Education Program, she enrolled, and continued working with children at the Jumpstart center located at the college. She is now a certified teacher, but remains in classes working towards an administrative licensing certificate. She also received an AmeriCorps award recognizing her outstanding work.
And then, a new surprise: She applied and got a job at Bright Horizons, another preschool program. But this time, she gets a salary. She was hired as a substitute teacher. "I was worried they wouldn't be interested in a 64-year-old," she said, "but they were!"
"I went to Jumpstart with an open heart because I wanted to give back. I wanted to stay in the world. Although it wasn’t my original intention, volunteer work can be the best way to get a foot in the door for paid work. I felt like this opportunity just fell out of the sky.”She’s grateful to have discovered programs like Coming of Age, which helped her find Jumpstart and which offers volunteer and paid opportunities for people 50-plus. “It’s just a great resource for people my age,”Dee said.
According to Coming of Age Program Manager Noreen McKeon, “It’s people like Dee who are redefining aging and retirement. We boomers are moving into new adventures, we’re giving back to the community, even beginning new careers. Sometimes, we know the direction we want to take. Sometimes lucky accidents push us forward. But however it happens, everyone benefits.”
Jumpstart serves preschool children in low-income neighborhoods, helping them develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late. Visit www.jstart.org.
About Coming of Age:Bay Area
Coming of Age seeks to harness the talents, skills and energy of people age 50+ as a powerful force for good. Their “Explore Your Future” workshop begins September 13 in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.ComingofAge.org/BayArea.