Posts Tagged ‘contentment’

Take off your shoes and pay attention

May 16th, 2018

Time to get away – and reflect


Doing Something for Myself—Enjoying a short break and remembering to take off my shoes at the end of the day and think

Sometimes we have to do something for ourselves, like going to the spa, eating chocolate ice cream, or sitting in the sun.

Self-care is rather individual, unique to each person.  Last weekend I went camping in a VW bus because of the looong Ascension weekend in Switzerland; it was a “we weekend” with my husband and some good “old” friends. I was really tired Sunday night when we returned, but the time, money and energy spent were well- spent on relationships and on fun!

I have my unique set of work and fun passions:  business start-ups and leadership, writing, teaching, meeting with people (“old” friends and gaining new ones) and learning new ideas and concepts.  What are yours?

Now I am taking another short break before a heavy season of correction and meetings, but not in Europe.

What is in it for me:

Friends and family- relationships are key, and we need to care for them. Also, a little “me” time  and downtime is involved, of course.

Taking of my shoes and reflecting on each day:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

from Aurora Leigh

Take time to reflect

Each day I try to allow myself the luxury of going “home” and relaxing, taking off my shoes and putting my feet up and reflecting on the day, on the things I’ve heard and seen, and the people I have met, and how all this might all change me and give me new perspectives.  Seeing, as in the poem, brings new perspectives.  I – we all – need to take that time to see.  In the movie I saw on the airplane yesterday (“Lady Bird”), it was said that love and paying attention are basically synonymous.  I can agreed.  Let’s love more.  Let’s pay attention more.  Let’s reflect.

It’s not that I will ever have finished reflecting on my life; in fact, I have much more thinking to do – every day.  But short times in the evenings are a way to begin that process which must continue into the future.

So, what about you?  What are you doing for yourself, to grow, to be encouraged, and when are you going to take off your shoes and reflect on your daily experiences?

Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle





Make some time for R&R

July 11th, 2017

holidays can help you with direction

Skipping your summer vacation?

I recently read an article about how someone was guilted by her boss into not taking her vacation time. In the end the stress from work took it’s toll and, no, people didn’t get burned-out. The company went under.

Stressed employees cannot produce as well as rested and relaxed employees. Everyone knows this fact, so why are so many bosses still expecting their workers to keep their phones on and return to work early from vacation? Companies suffer when people do not get holidays, as the company that closed down clearly shows.

The temptation is very high to keep on working, even if you have planned holidays

Many of us, whether pressured from the boss or not, are tempted to skip our summer holidays, or, at least check our work emails frequently while at the beach or in the hotel. Some bosses expect this and, after all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to.

But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being for us to completely shut down for a while, even if it’s just a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery. July is already upon us and August is just around the corner. Have you planned your vacation? Taken it already? Decided to skip it this summer? A quote below shows the importance, or lack thereof, of vacations in different countries:

“The online travel agency Expedia conducted a survey about vacation time in 2010, and according to their data the average American earned 18 vacation days—but only used 14 of them. Every European country included in the survey reported both more vacation days earned and used. France topped the list, with the average worker earning 37 vacation days and using all but two of them. And according to Expedia’s data, only 38 percent of Americans said they used all of their vacation time, compared to 63 percent of French respondents.”


Your and your employees’ physical and mental health depends on R&R; be like the French

Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work for our continued health, whatever that place and activity and might be. It is the “other”, the time doing something completely different that causes restoration and growth. For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and this is a very good thing for creativity and memory. This also allows our brain to rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains.

Not only that, but stress levels are reduced when you go away and shut down. Therefore, productivity increases with a break in work. Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity. Employees return to work relaxed and healthier after a vacation, they are then ready for to overcome more challenges.

You need to relax or you might find it difficult to do so later on

It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax. If you go on working, especially with high levels of stress at work, for too long, it becomes increasingly difficult to wind down. Eventually, you will be unable to “remember how to relax”, and then may be in danger of burnout. Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”. Also, for bosses, burnout and stressed employees actually cost the company a lot of money in lost working days (read “sick leave”) and in lowered productivity. Thus, holiday time is one of the keys to a productive and positive work environment.

Remember, your family matters, and spending extended time with family builds relationship

Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working should be less important than your relationship with your loved ones. Take the time off to build your relationships with them, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing. For my family the place and activity could be going to be rock hunting in the Ticino or hanging out in Minnesota; for another family or couple it would be another place and pastime. But it is the time spent together in the end that matters, because this is what builds and maintains relationships.

Just do it. Take that vacation, even if it’s a short one!

So, take that time off; and limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails; do things with those people you love; and mostly, have some fun this summer! Remember to shut down for at least 48 hours, but why not more? There is only one Summer of 2017, after all, so enjoy it!

Explore to a new place.

Patricia Jehle


Joy, Hope and Beauty

June 5th, 2017

My life is full and busy with positive activities full of joy hope and beauty.

Wedding of an octogenarian widow

This past weekend my husband and I attended a wedding and it was really very special. The groom is a (80+ year old) friend of ours who lost his wife a few years back, and the bride is a long-time friend of the both the husband and (his deceased) wife. This wedding gives me, and many people, hope – such positive expectations for life, and a plan for a future together makes me so joyful!

celebrations, especially weddings, give me joy

Meetings meetings meetings, but good ones!

Not all meetings are bad and last Friday I attended a mid-term project meeting of some students that was quite positive. This week I have a few more meetings that I am really looking forward to, and soon I will be starting some brand new coaching sessions with new clients, too. This all gives me quite some energy!

Holidays, short and long (TI and Pentecost)

Switzerland celebrates the moveable feasts. Over Ascension a friend and I went to the Ticino where we enjoyed the weather, lovely architecture and people, the mountains and Lake Lugano. It was a relaxing time of fun. This weekend is Pentecost and we have Monday off, I hope for a day trip somewhere with another new friend.


Going with visitors to places that I enjoy has always been fun: castles, the Alsace, the Black Forest, the Ticino, and the Bremgarten WhitSun market are some that I have been to recently with visitors from abroad. Fun, beauty and good food rolled into a package of hanging out with great people.


I have been reading again. I have enjoyed quite a number of books late, but my reading list is as long as ever. Besides Henry Cloud’s Integrity, I am reading The Resilience Factor by Dr. Karen Reivich and Dr. Andrew Shatté and Ps. Ich Lebe Gern by Heinz and Ann Zindel – and some historical novels to keep me entertained… What are you reading?

What are you reading?

Art and Museums

One of my new friends and I have a tradition of attending art museums together. I enjoy the exhibits, and my friend is adept in modern art and can help me enjoy and understand it better. We will be attending a museum exhibit this week, and I am so looking forward to it! Another friend sells sculptures – and she has an open day on Saturday, and … Need I say more?


I continue to write and am considering finishing one of my rough drafts this summer and a second one in the fall. They are both almost done, but would take quite some refining. Besides that, I have found myself a new writers’ group that is closer than Geneva and am hoping for some support from them.

Coffee with friends

Finally, on Saturday after that lovely wedding we had coffee at an “old” friend’s place and a good talk. It is great to connect with people and to have important discussions with them. I look forward to one or two more of those discussions in the near future with some other friends.

What makes your life full and joyful? What have you been up to? I wish you a positive week full of joy, hope and beauty!

Patricia Jehle


A Long Way

April 3rd, 2017

You’ve come a long way, baby!

I have come a long way from a decade ago. I bet you have, too! We have come a long way, baby!

Twelve years ago my father-in-law was quite ill with liver cancer and we often visited him in Baden. He passed on in December of 2005. Today I walked past his house, now owned by someone else and being beautifully renovated at this very moment.


A walk of remembering

The walk brought back a flood of memories of – mostly – good times in that house. I’ve always thought it a wonderful house, full of good folk, great memories.


But this morning I was walking on this street to visit my OBGYN for my annual check-up. She has recently moved into a private practice down the street from my in-laws’ old place. Funny. Sad. Interesting. Coincidence? Maybe.


Eleven years ago we, my husbands’ siblings and their families, cleaned out and sold my in-laws’ house just as I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was when I got to know my most favorite OBGYN and favorite gynecological surgeon, still working as a team today. I got to see them both today and it felt good; it felt right to see them there today after walking by the house where my husband spent his teenage years, where my babies visited their grandparents.


Celebrating more than ten years!

Later I will celebrate over ten years of being cancer free, of coming a long way. I am very grateful!


After surgery and chemotherapy in 2006, I spent a few years recovering my stamina, getting my bearings and deciding what to do with this new view of my life. Having a serious illness often makes one reflect on their life and direction. In some ways, I am continuing in the same direction, in others, I am changing it, a little.


I still read and write, now more than ever- but with more intention, too. I have a Spiritual Direction certification and see my own spiritual director, something which I have wanted to do for a long time. Now I just do it; I make the time for it. I still teach and I really enjoy it, now adding my own specialties to what I teach in the classroom.


Namely, I add coaching, as I have become a certified business coach and presently am looking to upgrade to Master Coach and Supervisor soon. All those activities and choices have come out of the reflection on my life after being so ill.


Reflect on you life

And you, you don’t have to have such a dramatic reason to reflect. You can just take some time and think about you life, where you have been, where you are (your “red dot”), and where you want to go now. Or tonight, if now is not a good time.


Celebrating my – and your – “red dot”

Part of my celebration today will be a walk in the springy countryside where I live, sitting on a bench and enjoying my dog (acquired to keep me healthy), listening to the birds. I will take that time to continue to reflect on where I have been and be thankful for where I am now.


You can do that, too. In your home, on a walk, at a special place set aside for such reflecting and celebrating. Wherever you want. But you should take some time and reflect on your life and examine it, your “why”, so to speak. Then celebrate on how far you have come. It will do you a lot of good, I promise.


Have a great time doing it!


Patricia Jehle, Jehle Coaching or write me at

House renovation of my father-in-law’s place

Do You have FOMO?

December 5th, 2016

Do you have FOMO?

Fear of Missing Out– when you google FOMO you will fine a wiki definition: “Fear of missing out or FOMO is a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. This social angst is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”


I Warn you: WATCH OUT –this is for Business Leaders, too!

Let’s apply that to business: Missing out on a (or the) business opportunity. Do you have that fear, watch out! You can – and will be manipulated if you have this fear!


Negative effects

Susceptible to advertising

One of the most common “advertising” tricks is this: You may be missing out on your best opportunity. Lately I have seen it in German, “Achtung! Aufgepassed!” and almost every day something comes into my email in-box saying that I may be missing “the opportunity of my life”. Who says? Those people really want my time, my money, but they really don’t want me and who I am. Be careful not to accept this kind of play.


Pressured into quick/poor decisions

Often they add a phrase, “limited time offer”. This is a ploy to make you decide too quickly before you can reflect. It’s one principal of what Dr. Robert Cialdini calls the “6 principals of persuasion”: the principle of Scarcity. It calls people to action when there is, most likely, no need for it at the moment. Be careful and do not be pressured. The opportunity will probably come around again and be offered by the same firm or person. Take your time.


Frozen – overwhelmed by too many opportunities

Are you overwhelmed? Join the rest of the world in this and work on ways to filter. There is too much information and there are too many opportunities out there for any one human being. You just have to deal with your finiteness, find ways that help you to be yourself and not be pressured. Do not let the options rule you- you must choose and rule over your choices. Are you still stuck with FOMO, then read below for some advice.


How to avoid FOMO in life and business

Find your passion and choose your goals accordingly

This helps the most. If you have a passion for something(s) those other pressuring opportunities will seem shallow and a waste of your time. You will be able to see the right opportunities and delete the other ones immediately from your email. I love that delete button. A lot!


Make your goals SMART

Most of you know this- but if you have specific, measureable, agreed upon (by the group/team), reachable (or realistic), and with a Timeline, you have great goals and can reach them! This will allow you to see if those opportunities fit with your goals and trash all that don’t. Keep your GOALS SMART. Nebulous goals will lead to indecision and wishy-washy actions. It also makes you quite susceptible to FOMO.


Keep your focus on your goals, and intentionally filter out “all the junk”

Focus can really bring about success in a way that is almost unexplainable, rather miraculous. So, keep your focus on your goals and all else will wash away like dust on your windshield. You will be happier, healthier and much less stressed, as well as not as susceptible to FOMO.


Have a wonderful FOMO-free week! Should you want to visit my site: –Or join my group on LinkedIn:

Patricia Jehle


Anxious, Worried about THE VOTE? Tips to get by

November 5th, 2016


Anxious? Worried? Overthinking?

Maybe you are anxious about the next few days (the vote) and then the results of the results. Maybe you have been one of those people who have googled jobs in Canada, or are thinking about moving to Ireland. No matter what your level of angst, I have a few tips for you to bridge the next few days so you can be a happier more productive person and avoid anxiety and overthinking.

If you have already voted

Then the rest of the results of the infamous 2016 US Presidential Election is out of your hands and you should follow the suggestions below in any way and order you want.

If you have not yet voted


Then you can follow the suggestions below in any order and way you want, but first remember to do your voting duty!

If you can’t vote

Most of my readers fall into this category, as I do live, write and work in Switzerland and most of us cannot vote in the US elections, here. In Switzerland we voted last month and have another upcoming vote, so vote then if you are qualified. Follow the suggestions at will.

After you have voted or if you can’t, here are some suggestions



Yes, go and find you old favorites and belt them out to high heaven. It will do you and your body AND your psyche very good. You have to focus on hitting the notes and getting the lyrics correct. In other words, you will be focused and not obsessing.



I am not going to my meditative dance group on Monday night and I will miss it. Of course, any dance will do, of course and it follows much like singing with similar benefits. If you are embarrassed about being seen, remember to close the window shades. I think it would be time for “I feel good” or “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”, but it’s your choice, just like the music.



I worship the Christian God, creator of the universe, but if you choose to worship something else, I won’t mind. The point is here that you focus on the big picture and remember that life will continue in one way or another no matter what on Wednesday. I have been doing another act of worship, too, it’s called prayer. Anne Lamott says all prayer goes under four categories: help, thanks, wow, and hallelujah anyway. I have and will be praying about and for the upcoming POTUS, hope you will too.

An act of worship might even be making a plan for Wednesday. I have a good one.


Paint or color– or knit and crochet- or woodwork; do something with your hands

Coloring is a bit of a craze at the moment, but creating something, just about anything, with your hands is a very positive activity. It focuses you (no overthinking is able to creep in while you are in creative mode) and you have something at the end that you may be proud of. In my case, I may also not be so proud, but that is a subject for another blog.


Cook and eat good meals with pleasant people who have promised not to talk about The Election. This has been my choice of activity since the time changed a week ago (it’s earlier in Switzerland than in the US). It is very calming to create a meal and start cooking it as the sun sets, knowing you can have congenial people around you to eat it with.


Go for a walk

The weather is still relatively nice here, some red and yellow and orange leaves still cling to the trees. And anyway, the dog has to get out and do her thing. A good walk is one of the best things to do on any day. Now you should make sure you focus your mind on things that are positive, like your upcoming meal with friends, or what you will do on Wednesday, no matter what.


Sleep late or go to bed early without looking at the news

No news, if at all possible. Now that it gets dark early and stays dark late, take the time to sleep more. It’s good for you and who knows, you might even lose some weight as an added bonus. No joke.


Avoid any websites or apps where you can see allegations and finger pointing

It might be time for an internet fast– just till Wednesday morning. I do know that in Geneva there’s at least one voting night party and a friend posted that there are tickets still available, should you want to ignore this suggestion.



The four-square breathing exercise may be very helpful at this time. If you find yourself either not breathing or hyperventilating, this is a good cure: breathe in to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4 hold for a count of 4. Repeat until you forget what you were stressing about.


Repeat ad infinitum

Looking forward to Wednesday and all the days after that,

Patricia Jehle


Waiting can be good for us…

June 21st, 2016



I am waiting. Waiting for summer to really arrive, in more ways than one. Waiting for (hopefully good) news on many fronts, including Brexit, too.


Having lived about half my life in a country where Memorial Day, is the “beginning of summer”. I have always felt that mid-July is way too late for summer vacation, for my, my husband’s and the kids’ holidays, to begin. Here in Switzerland, June is a school month.


After all, one should be able to experience the solstice today and not worry about school. But no, there are tests to take (and/or correct) and meetings to attend well past that wonderfully wistful date of the midnight sun. Here it’s around 10pm or so when the sun sets and we have these great new Adirondack chairs to sit in and watch it.


So I am waiting for summer holidays to begin, but it looks like a long four weeks for us Jehles.


Except for my middle child, who has finished taking his high school (gymnasium) final exams – a process of something like a month. Now he has two weeks to go as he is waiting for a different kind of beginning: The Swiss Military Recruit Training School. He is looking forward to about five months of no studying but instead learning all sorts of new skills that have little to do with academia.


I am also waiting for the rain to stop. Perhaps you know of the flooding going on in greater Europe. Well, it’s raining here, too.


But I guess what I am really waiting for is for life to calm down and the summer heat to overwhelm us all so we become incredibly lazy, drink iced tea and eat ice cream, but maybe not in that order.


We have our new Adirondack chairs — and my husband is expecting for us to spend evenings in them, drinking cool drinks and listening to the crickets. I love crickets, and there’s one nearby. I hear it when I walk the dog, who also seems to be waiting for summer to arrive.


As a child growing up in the US, I remember endless days of iced tea, books and sitting in the shade. Of fishing and swimming lessons, and then going swimming again in the afternoon, even if we’d had lessons. I am waiting once again for that kind of day where the to-do list is non-existent and all I need to do is remember to eat. And get dressed: A real vacation.


But now I wait, at least another four weeks and then we will see what (the rest of the) summer brings.


I think I heard this somewhere and I believe it: Waiting is actually good for us humans; it gives us something to hope for, to look forward to. A famous man wrote that hope does not disappoint us. I think he was right. Hope and planning causes us almost as much joy as the actual activity, anyway. Hmmm. So waiting can be very positive.


What are you waiting for? What are you hoping for? How are you waiting, perhaps proactively?


Patricia Jehle

Regional Director at the Alpha Group, Switzerland and Coach



When it rains on your parade, put up an umbrella

February 10th, 2016

Is it raining? Are there Jealousy and Tantrums?IMG_0690


Sometimes other people rain on our parade, have you ever noticed that? They also rain on other people’s parades, too. Recently I have been noticing this in my life, in my “neighbors’ ” lives, and even in the international news. This kind of raining has become prevalent. I think we should put a stop to it, at least as much as we have power over it.


I want to look at the whys for such negativity, and then suggest a way to put up your umbrella in protection, and finally encourage you not to rain on others’ parades.


Why? Jealousy


Maybe you are doing well, maybe you are even doing really great- other people who are not doing as well may want to rain on your parade. Why? -maybe because of jealousy. Or perhaps they are feeling so bad that any sort of positive movement or attention given to others makes them angry. This kind of negative activity, whether it is talking about you behind your back, trolling, writing about you in the local newspaper, or whining about you to the international press, is really bad behavior on their part and truly has nothing to do with you or your success. It is about those people and their attitudes and behaviors.


What to do? Put up an umbrella!


How do I put up and use my umbrella to protect me? The “rule” Brene Brown uses is two-fold: only people actually getting out there and trying get ahead with you are allowed to tell you anything, and of those people, only the (very) few you can trust should be taken seriously. You alone get to make that list of people and the others “don’t count” so you don’t have to listen to them. You can even, like Brene, write down that list and put it in your pocket, briefcase or handbag. So, think about those who you are going to put on your list, write it down, and ignore all others. If you have to, go off-line. Don’t read the local newspaper. Do whatever you have to do to put up that umbrella and use it.


Finally, make sure you are not raining on others’ parades. Instead, celebrate with them!


It is important to recognize and celebrate success. We need to do that for ourselves and friends and family, but why not spread the wealth and celebrate other people’s success, too? You will find yourself celebrating very often, and that is good. It is a bit like being grateful for what you have. It puts a positive spin on life. Why don’t you try doing it today? Write a note of congratulations on LinkedIn or facebook. Call a friend. Give somebody an “ataboy”! Let’s move into the future with a more positive outlook for ourselves, for your neighbors, and for the communities we live in. Celebrate you success. Celebrate the success of others.


Patricia Jehle

Happy Gratefulness Week!

November 23rd, 2015


Thankfulness and Gratefulness:

This week is the USA’s biggest weekend celebration: Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season to be thankful, to be grateful. But did you realize it would be good for your health and well-being to really take time and count your blessings?


According to many studies, this is true. Even the New York Times says so:

Even though your (and my) life is sometimes hard, it is important to make that shift from pity party to thankful thinking. Sometimes this is hard, so I have taken a Mashable (American Greeting) blog and put my own twist to it:

Five things to do to be more grateful:

1-Visit someone that has made a positive influence in your life and specifically thank them. I was thinking I might try one a week before Christmas—tea is always good at these times, which reminds me of “A Cup of Christmas Tea”, a wonderful book/poem about relationships: – the gratefulness journal and jar I have already talked about in previous blogs, so I won’t go there.

2-But do remember to smile– your body will feel happier, but the Mashable article and the NYT say so- and I tried it our, myself and think it works. So smile. The world may just smile with you, and even if they don’t, you will feel better.

3-Set a gratefulness alarm. My nephew-in-law takes a photo every day at 3pm and it’s become a kind of portfolio of his various projects. He posts the pics on Facebook—and I am pleased to see them. We, too, could do this: take a photo every day at a certain time of something that we are grateful for. The dog, the warm sofa, the cookies on the table.

4-Keep track of how many times you grip in a day/in a week, and for every complaint, think of two positives that have happened. Keep everything in a positive balance. It is very easy to get into the negative thinking habit and this little exercise might help to keep you thinking more positively.

5-Thank the postal carrier, the garbage collector, or whoever else you may feel is overlooked, but essential to our lives. I think I will thank that bus driver for opening the door and waiting for the elderly woman who was slightly late … I like this one a lot!

Of course, it is also a good idea to take time this weekend, even if you don’t live in the USA, and think of all the things that you are thankful for and give thanks. Really thank God for those blessings, great and small. To end this, I would like to quote a poem I have read a few times and I find it appropriate for the season, it’s Manley Hopkins’s “Pied Beauty”:


Glory be to God for dappled things —

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.


Besides the NYT, here is the Mashable article:

Should you be interested in reading more about me, you can find me at



We are learning beings

November 19th, 2015

What I have learned in the past two weeks:

I have been home to say the final goodbye to my mom this past week. It has been hard and good at the same time, as often these kinds of turning points in life are. We need to take them as they come, walk through them and learn from them. I have learned a lot from this past month or so. Here are some of the things I have learned:

Being there is more important than getting it done

I didn’t do much while I was home. I am a list person, a doing person, and the list was rather small for the weekend of my mom’s funeral: get photographs copied, let my nieces put them up on poster-board, and shop for cookies and flowers with the family. But the fact that I was there and a part of the conversation, of the process was really important- for my siblings, for my nieces and nephews, and especially for me. I was just there, being me. And it was really important.

Often we are more interested in what we can contribute to an activity or event, but we don’t realize that our presence is present enough. For relationships, that is usually what is needed. Our authentic presence is key.


Express your appreciation as often as possible

I can never say thank you enough. Saying thank you shows your genuine acknowledgement of a person’s kind actions, sentiments and words. That is exactly what I experienced this past week: so many emails, cards, hugs, kind words, gifts of work, gifts of time… the list could go on and on.

My husband and I teach; he in a gymnasium (read Preparatory High School in American English) and I at a Business College in a University. Both of us received condolences, not only from colleagues and the administration, but also from our classes. That was very unexpected and heartwarming. It means a lot to hear this, and to hear concern (and appreciation) in these messages. I will thank them as soon as I see them, even though I thanked them by email, as I was getting ready to leave. I have thanked so many people for their kind words and deeds in the past month, and I mean every sentiment.

A smile and hug are often the best present

Having said that, the most simple of actions can mean a whole lot. A hug. Research shows that a human being needs five hugs a day to survive and even more to thrive. So I must have really thrived over the past to weeks- especially since going back for my mom’s goodbye service. Remember as the holiday season comes upon us to give – and receive hugs. The minimum is five a day. And you will be gifting people with the gift of a warm human touch.

Poignant words at the appropriate time can have lasting impact

I have a good friend who has remained relatively close since college days. She is very good with words, and is very wise for our age. She reminded me over hot apple cider that I am also an orphan now, as she (and my husband) is. My coaching instructor reminded me that my roots have been affected, as is always the case when a parent dies. My words also affect people, and I should use them wisely, too.

Laughter is really a great medicine

In the remembering sessions our family had before, during and after the memorial service, laughter was a key ingredient of the process. We all have funny stories about my mom, sometimes my mom was a privy to them, sometimes just a part, and sometimes the instigator. It was a very healing experience to sit and remember and laugh about so many good times together. I think mom would have been pleased to be remembered in this way and to see her family not only mourning, but laughing together.

This is what I have been learning. We all learn. So, what have you been learning lately?DSCN8921

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