How to Prepare for Death

Death is inevitable and some say so is taxes. The difference, to me, is that taxes can be delayed; but not death.

Last week my twin brother died due to diabetic complications. When EMT arrived at his home his blood sugar level was over 1,800. In spite of heroic effort, the EMT medics could not save him nor could they save me and my family from the post-trauma of his death.

Because his death was sudden we did not have time to prepare so I posed the question: How do you prepare for death?

Preparation Step 1: LIVE! Live every day with gratitude and gusto. Make every sunrise and sunset count. I am reminded of the poem The Dash written by Linda Ellis where she asks us to remember that the dash which separates your birth – and your death “that this special dash might only last a little while” encourages us to live a full and fulling life right now in the present.

Preparation Step 2: CELEBRATE! Don’t wait for a day marker on the calendar to celebrate with someone you love – stop the frenzy and do it now. Have the courage and forethought to say that you love and show that love today. Celebrate the fun, glamor, tenderness, and health that you have right now.

Preparation Step 3: LEGACY (have one)! You are on earth, we all are here, for a purpose and that purpose, whether we accept it or not, informs our legacy. We are more than a “meat suit” as said by James Arthur Ray of the movie The Secret. A part of a legacy is an identification of who you are, what contributions you have made as a human spirit, and the totality of the relationship you have had with life.

Make a legacy for yourself that transcends money. But, while we are on the subject of money – put your financial house in order. Make a will, establish a trust if you have sufficient financial assets, and outline your burial requests. Doing this as a part of your legacy is a comfort after death. However, when you take your breathing time here on earth as a gift of life you can build a goodwill legacy of service, kindness, empathy, rich care and agape faith that transcends the murmur of space and time.

Preparation Step 4: GRIEVE! There are four common stages of grief: shock and denial, pain, anger and eventual acceptance. Of course there are gradients of emotions in play that erupt in between these four stages but the primary grief responses allow you to prepare your life after the death of someone in your relationship circle – family, friend, colleague, or other. Make death, in your grieving process, a messenger of joy.

Grieve your way to life. Learn the lessons intended from the past relationship with the now deceased and pledge to continue their legacy while building  your own living legacy one that makes a mark on this earth for the good of humanity that you are alive.

My post-grief response, just one of them, is to pray for the progress of his soul each and every day and to perform acts of service in his behalf. Another active grief response for me is to become a local spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association and an advocate to talk about depression and having a life.  A last active step that I will share with you is to take care of my body and heath by treating it as a throne of my inner temple and urge those in close contact with me to do the same.

Preparing for death involves living, caring, and leaving a legacy.

May the time before and after the -dash- be long.

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12 Days of Joy

Let there be joy on earth and let it begin with me. Joy is an ever present emotion even though most adults have learned, all too well, to control, negate, or pace their joy so that it emerges a little peek at a time. Dr. T. Byram Karasu, in his book The Art of Serenity: The Path to a Joyful Life in the Best and Worst of Times, says that “in your quest for joyful serenity, there is no  single spot where you can start. Where you are right now is the best place to begin.”

JOY Day 1 – Be in-joy. Tap into your inner joy. Radiate happiness. Be you!  Accent your many positive traits and feel good about it. Smile and spread your inner joy. Soar in your soul.  Find peace and practice gratitude this day.  Make it a new earth by being a new, joyful you.  BOOK: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s PurposeEckhart Tolle

JOY Day 2 – Create something.  Shake it up a bit.  Decide to change an old pattern, even one that is working for you. Learn a new dance, listen to alternative music, cook or eat a dish using different spices, paint, knit, crochet. Stretch yourself, be creative.  You will love the discovery of something new. BOOK: The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

JOY Day 3 – Write worthy words. Sit down and compose; write something. Poetry, song, short-story, prose, debate, article – these are all ways to express yourself in words.  You may even discover that this writing exercise stimulates untapped joy. Write  your words with style, they are automatically worthy.    BOOK:  The Elements of Style – William Strunk and E. B. White

JOY Day 4 – Live Love. Joy is love and you are joy so live love. It is easy to live love, just remember who you are and the what experiences that run counter to feelings of joy will transmute into opportunities of design.   BOOK: The Spontaneous Fulfillment of DesireDeepak Chopra

JOY Day 5 – Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, the joy juice of physical exertion.  Yoga, tai chi, walking, dance, jogging, pumping iron, zumba, capoeira. Get up and move!  BOOK: A Morning Cup of Strengthening – Beth Pierpoint

JOY Day 6 – Eat for Health. Consider portion size and the health value of what you consume. A lethargic body does not awaken joy, make your body the  throne of the inner temple. Eat slowly,  heighten the sense of each healthy enjoyable delectable bite. Eat well, savor the joy.  BOOK: A Course in Weight Loss Marianne Williamson

JOY Day 7 – Make Memories. Create a scrapbook, start a new tradition, organize your photos in an album – make new memories. Memories are your personal record of joy. Start today, make lasting memories. Share them for a memory made will never fade. BOOK: The Book of Myself: A Do-It-Yourself  Autobiography in 201 Questions – Carl Marshall and David Marshall

Joy Day 8 – Give Generously. Make some joy by giving. Time, money, kindness, service, empathy, listening. Let others experience your joyous generosity by the acts of caring that you do. Give until you feel great, then internalize the joy of giving. BOOK: The Generosity Factor Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy

Joy Day 9 – Simply Simplify. Make it easy to feel joy. Simple acts of kindness, cleanliness, simplicity give rest to the mind and soul.  Make it sweet and simple-live joy simply as you are.  BOOK: Life is Too Short to Wear Tight Shoes – Barbara Faison

Joy Day 10 – Anchor Ancestory. Find you and those who compose you. Look up your ancestors, you will find joy in learning about your history. Record your history, make an oral record of your past.When you know your ancestors-history you can tell a new story about your being. BOOK: The Official Guide to Ancestry.com – Matthew Rayback and George C. Morton or http://www.storycorps.org

Joy Day 11 – Laugh out Loud. Joy breeds happiness. Find humor, look for the funny and celebrate those moments that make you laugh. Lighten up, loosen your tie, take off the tightness in your life. Laugh, be joyous. BOOK: Finding the Funny – Al Wiseman

Joy Day 12 – Spread Joy. Brighten the corner where you are. Where these is pain, spread hope. Where there is despair, give hope. Where there is conflict, be an instrument of peace. Give your joy away multiple times each and every day and watch the return dividends fill your bank of inner joy. BOOK: The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More FunGretchen Rubin

Be in JOY!

Whether you decide to take each JOY day sequentially or make each JOY day a month long project, you have active steps and reading material to make JOY happen in your life.

I wish you JOY!

How Happiness Happens

Is it a plane? Is it a star? No, it’s happiness.

Questions surround the quest for happiness almost as much as people question what is up in the sky. The difference oftentimes is that the curious gazers will research and seek answers. How about you?

Are you curious about happiness?

I sure am curious about happiness (joy), especially since being happy and grateful is my daily quest. My inquiring mind wants to know – How Happiness Happens.

Researchers have found that you cannot compartmentalize happiness; meaning, I am happy at home but not a work. No, no, no. Findings suggest that Happiness Happens when you are congruent with your emotions both at home and at work or anytime there is synchronicity with your divine, true purpose.

Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith commissioned a study on happiness and reported their findings in the December 21, 2009 issue of Business Week. One validating point in the article is that “Those who were more satisfied with life outside of work were the respondents who reported spending more time on activities that produced both happiness and meaning.”

Here are some activities that stimulate happiness:
1. Exercise
2. Lovemaking
3. Challenges
4. Hobbies
5. Volunteering
6. Chores
7. Social or Religious Outings
8. Healthy Relationships
9. Travel

The list is not exhaustive, by any means. What may be a “happy” moment for you may be an experience that means little to others. The point is: doing something – either mentally, spiritually, or socially – produces happiness endorphins which stimulate joy.

You are tasked to find your happiness.

Start at Activity #1 – exercise. A moving body is a stimulated body. Fitness experts say that a mere 15 minutes of movement a day is enough to produce enough endorphins to be purposeful.

Activity #2 – lovemaking causes the coupling effect which activates a “rush” of high emotions and a rush of stimulating feelings of belonging, trust, sharing, harmony.

Moving on, solving challenges – Activity # 3 or Activity #7 – require you to engage mental, spiritual, and social muscle. This is good. Any activity that combines engagement zones is quite healthy for your body, mind, and spirit. The operative measure here is actively “doing” something.

Happiness Happens moment by moment when you are actively in a place of deliberate action, appreciation and intention. Spend time with those you love, get busy, watch less television, and find less to complain and criticize about.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Keonig

Be happy. Make happiness happen!

I am a Toastmaster

You may not esteem the value of my title declaration, I am a Toastmaster, unless

  1. you are either a member or previous member of Toastmasters International,
  2. know a Toastmaster or
  3. have a phobia about speaking in front of audience

I am a Toastmaster. More specifically, I am a proud member of Dawn-Breakers Toastmasters Club (www.dawnbreakerstm.com) in Decatur, GA. This Club hosted its Sweet 16th Annual Awards Banquet this past Saturday and it was stupendously spectacular.

The featured speaker was Mark L. Brown, World Champion Speaker 1995. He was introduced by Dwayne G. Smith, World Champion Speaker 2002 (a member of Dawn-Breakers) and the emcee for the Banquet was Theresa Spralling, immediate past District 14 Governor. Roy Ganga, current District 14 (Georgia) Governor attended and awarded three DTM ribbons and plaques to the newly installed DTM’s of the Club. Now Dawn-Breakers Toastmasters has 14 DTM members. Awesome!

Mark L. Brown told us all to be a star – one who Starts, has Tenacity, carries a positive, unstoppable Attitude, who Reaches up to stretch to achieve more and reaches down to pull up someone below. He spoke with such eloquence and excellence as he delivered a spirit-filled powerful inspiring message of new starts and change that was just what the audience needed.   Mark Brown is a star!

Al Wiseman, DTM gave a hilarious roast of member Les Young during the banquet. Al is the author of Finding the Funny (www.alfredwiseman.com). You will soon see video clips of Al Wiseman’s clean, family humor online. In fact, I will attend this next speech event at Northlake Toastmasters Club on Wednesday, 15 December at 6PM.  Find your funny and laugh out loud!

Toastmasters is about speaking yes. But you also learn how to listen and lead.

Join Toastmasters this year to fast-forward your achievement table in 2011, be a part of self-change.

New Year, New Achievement

How do you end a calendar marker such as 31 December and ready for the New Year? There are as many traditions, resolutions, or starts as there are people who pledge to makes changes in their lives starting when…you know the famous last word “tomorrow.”

Whatever you decide to change in the New Year, make your achievement intention realistic. Once you have decided what change(s) you intend to achieve, firm up your resolve.  Claude Bristol in The Magic of Believing this point of view “You are the product of your own thought. What you believe yourself to be, you are.”  Make your resolve believable then it is achievable.

One such timeless resolution, which I have stated and carried with me for the past four years, is to lose weight. Even though I did achieve most of the other resolution plans I had made in the past four years, weight loss has eluded me. I have written the books, earned more money, shed weighty relationships, and completed the Peachtree Road Race for seven years straight. That’s great, but weight loss is tougher for me because in my mind i still carry the “weight” of past misery and poor self image. The purpose for losing weight is not as primary as completing the Peachtree Road Race which I do in memory of my deceased brother who ran the Race for sixteen years. Weight loss obviously is not a powerful as writing books for I have published six books now, including Climb Every Obstacle: Eliminate Your Limits!

Still my weight gain over the years proved to be a regression. So, this year instead of making weight my resolution issue, I have decided to attract support in this area by applying to be a candidate on the television show What Not to Wear which will canonize a more palatable real need and that is to feel good about myself. The weight is a symptom of a combination of issues that I first needed to acknowledge and now resolve using a positive, embracing plan. I have also enlisted a paid support partner to hold me accountable and I have devoured The South Beach Diet and Geneen Roth’s book, Women, Food and God plus I have just received from Amazon a copy of A Course in Weight Loss by my favorite author, Marianne Williamson.

In addition to my reading stockpile on weight loss and self belief, I have purchased an annual gym membership at Bally Fitness. It appears that it will take this much effort on my part to inculcate new beliefs and new resolve for the New Year.

The other intention that I have for this year is to continue my Law of Attraction MeetUp group. This is an ancillary support session that augments this overall express of feeling good to manifest exactly what I want.

You too can manifest/achieve ANYTHING you want to do with a clear focus, laser intention, and positive affirmations of the change(s) that benefit you and ultimately humanity. One tip is to: create a vision board, take a snapshot of it and use it as your screen saver or create an online vision board at Oprah.com.

A healed and healthy you changes the universe.

We are more than a universe of one. Others, like me, need you to show up and achieve your BEST life now!

Tell me what your achievement resolutions are?

Send me a note by January 4th and I will send you a gift.

Happy New Year. My motto: I am noble healthy and fit woman.

Who are you?