R.I.P. PRINCE

Here in Minnesota, we are mourning the loss of one of our own.  Our PRINCE will be dearly missed!

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life." - PRINCE
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
– PRINCE

Hello 2015, Goodbye 2014

This morning as I awaken to a brand new year, I find myself humming the words to an old Beatles song, “Hello, Goodbye” – “You say goodbye and I say hello – hello, hello – I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello…”

I think The Beatles understood that in life, goodbyes are a gift.  When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold onto them or pray to keep them present in your life.  If they close you out, take it as a sign that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life.  It’s an indication that your personal growth requires something different or something more, and life is simply making room for it.  So embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive sets you up for an even better “hello.”

I Want To Install LOVE

Tech Support:  Yes, how can I help you?

Customer:  Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support:  Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer:  Well, I’m not very technical, but I think I’m ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support:  The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer:  Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support:  What programs are running?

Customer:  Let’s see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support:  No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer:  I don’t know how to. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support:  With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Customer:  Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?

Tech Support:  Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.

Customer:  Oops! I have an error message already. It says, “Error – Program not run on external components.” What should I do?

Tech Support:  Don’t worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.

Customer:  So, what should I do?

Tech Support:  Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files:  Forgive-Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge your Limitations.

Customer:  Okay, done.

Tech Support:  Now, copy them to the “My Heart” directory. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also, you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer:  Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?

Tech Support:  Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up.

Love is Freeware.

Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.

Customer:  Thank you!

Tech Support:  You’re welcome, anytime.

Aging Gracefully: Mind Over Matter

This morning, while visiting my Dad’s Facebook wall, I began reading through a list of his favorite quotations. One quote in particular caught my eye and resulted in the writing of this article. The quote reads “Age is a matter of mind; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” -Mark Twain.

 

Do you sometimes wonder who that older person is looking back at you in the mirror? Ever find yourself thinking, “How did I get all these wrinkles?” Feel like your body has become a science project gone awry?

In today’s youth-focused culture, aging is viewed as something to be fought off as long as possible. For many of us, growing old can feel like a threat to our self-worth, our confidence, and even our very identity; but it doesn’t have to be that way!

Growing older is an inevitable and—dare I say—beautiful fact of life. From our first breath to our last, we’re here to experience, to grow, and to learn. With the right mindset, aging can become an incredible gift—one that is full of wisdom, strength, purpose, adventure, and more and more fun.

It’s funny how as children, we can’t wait to grow up. We count the days to our birthdays, daydream about blowing out all those candles, and delight in all the presents. Yet, as we move through our 20s and 30s, and the dreaded 40s, many of us start to cling to the lower numbers and begin to dread each passing year. Unfortunately, this all too common mindset is a recipe for unhappiness, stress, and hopelessness. The more we long for the years gone by, the less we’re able to enjoy the present, which is where all of our power is.

I can still vividly remember the first time I looked in the mirror only to discover that two crevices had suddenly appeared around my mouth. At 32, I’d just started to feel like I’d come into my own and my life had more purpose than ever before. I was getting ready to meet a friend for coffee and going about my usual routine of getting ready. I went to the mirror to put on some makeup and discovered these two seemingly gigantic wrinkles that seemed to have appeared in the midst of only a few hours. Who was this person with these smile lines? What was going on?

I felt a bit stressed and somewhat worried about this new discovery. Of course, I knew that I wouldn’t have the glowing skin and firm booty of a twenty-something forever, but up to that point in my life, aging seemed like a distant thing. My initial stress and shock wasn’t so much about getting wrinkles as it was about facing the reality of my mortality. In that moment, it hit me–just like everyone else, I was going to get old and my body would eventually die.

We’ve all had moments like this. While difficult, they also empower us to grow and change our perceptions. Yes, our physical bodies are going to die, which is a difficult truth to accept. But, with this acceptance comes greater power and a stronger connection to the Divine.

When I look back on that moment, staring in the mirror, I can see that it was one of life’s mini wake-up calls. Once I embraced those two new lines and the fact that I was indeed getting older, I was finally able to make the shifts I needed and wanted to make in my life. I was able to clarify my purpose and finally had the courage to walk that path. Embracing aging has inspired me to cultivate a deeper connection with God and become more dedicated to living fully in the moment.

Now, well into my 40s, I celebrate each passing year—and each new smile line—with more enthusiasm than the last. I practice moderation and make it a point to consciously love and accept my body, flaws and all! I have wasted far too much time berating myself for my weight, gray hair, and wrinkles. I have learned that loving myself, with all my perfect imperfections is the key to aging gracefully.

OK, you might be thinking, “But Anne, I just can’t get over the flaws I see in the mirror.” Or, “There’s no way I can embrace my age with all my health problems.” Or, “I’ve made so many mistakes and have so many regrets, happiness and adventure at my age is impossible.”

The truth of the matter is:  We are all getting older; it’s just a matter of whether we decide to do so with passion and purpose or to do so kicking and screaming!

When you refuse to accept your age or continually loathe yourself upon glancing in the mirror, you end up stuck in a place where there’s no learning or growing because you’re so focused on the past. (To remind you again, there is no power in the past or future—only the present.) Obsession with the past only prevents you from experiencing joy in the present, and planning something better in the future. It just keeps you unhappy and stuck in your mind. The more you dwell, the more time gets away from you; before you know it, you’re sleepwalking through each day, losing the valuable time you do have while you’re fixating on the time gone by.

Ultimately, when you choose to embrace the process of aging, you tap into the incredible power of the present to co-create the purposeful and authentic life you desire. Moreover, with that positive change in mindset, you’re bound to look and feel better, happier, and possibly even a bit younger.

Attitude…A Matter Of Choice

Do you ever feel like you’re losing it?  I mean honest to goodness, out of your mind, back in five minutes losing it?  Well, I’m happy to tell you that you’re not alone.  We all reach the end of our ropes at one time or another. But the good news is that even though we may not have any control over the circumstances we are experiencing, we do have control over how we choose to respond to them.

Every so often, when I feel like I’m nearing the end of my rope and in need of an immediate “Attitude Adjustment”, I reflect on PJ McClure’s personal story “How to Lose it and Never Miss a Beat”.  It helps me to reframe my mindset and remember that I alone choose my attitude toward any given set of circumstances.

How to Lose it and Never Miss a Beat – By PJ McClure

“We have a fire!”

Slowly waking from my Nyquil induced sleep, I struggled to understand what my wife was saying. “We’ve got what?”

“We have a fire,” she said with enough emotion to bring me to consciousness.

I stumbled out of the bedroom and toward some unusual noises in the garage. When I opened the door, the heat from 50 holiday ovens hit me in the face and smoke filled the garage with an ominous, orange pulse.

Slamming the door, I ran back toward the bedroom. “Grab the kids and call 911!”

My wife grabbed our three year-old daughter and I got our six year-old son. When we hit the door, our neighbor, in his bathrobe, was running toward the front door with his cell phone. He had already dialed emergency services and was giving them all of the details they needed to dispatch the fire department.

We made our way over to his house and made sure everyone was ok. I went back out to wait for the fire department and started to assess the situation. Within a couple of minutes, plumes of flame popped up through the roof in different areas. The fire was in the attic and all over the house. A massive blaze consumed the garage and any serious hope of recovering anything faded.

By the time the sun rose, our lives and pajamas were what remained.

My family and I began doing…well, what we do! We figured out our immediate needs, what our next steps were, and took action to get things moving. In a matter of days, we had life back to normal, relatively speaking, and kept moving our lives forward.

The most unusual and serendipitous part of the experience was how people responded to us. Not the outpouring of kindness and generosity, though that was pretty amazing. What caught me off guard was how people reacted when they realized that we weren’t distraught and immobilized by what was going on.

In some cases, I would be willing to say that they were even…a little disappointed.

“How can you be so calm and motivated right now?”

“You act like nothing happened!” And my favorite…

“Doesn’t it bother you that you lost everything? You must just be in shock.”

I actually laughed out loud when I heard the last one. In shock? Really? When you stand in your neighbor’s yard for four hours and watch all of your material possessions evaporate, reality is very palpable, and any shock floats away with the smoke.

What I began explaining to people is what I want to share with you, via this long introduction. Events in life are constant and impartial. Not unfair, impartial. It is up to us to give the events meaning and decide how we will carry on once they’ve occurred.

My mindset, then and now, is designed to focus on possibility and productivity. When events like the fire hit, my mindset takes all of the data and acts as a filter. Not as a way to turn a blind-eye toward the hardship, but to give me the kind of information I need to further my purposes.

This filtering process makes me more efficient and successful than I could be otherwise. It allows me to go through any event and stay on pace and productive, because I’ve decided that’s how I want to be.

Yes, we still cried, cussed, and missed things we had always taken for granted. A well-crafted mindset makes you resilient, not inhuman. Nevertheless, the point is, the event didn’t dictate to us how we would behave. That was under our control. This was only possible because of mindset.

I hear you out there…”That’s great, but what does that mean for me?” It means everything! Our mindsets are active and filtering the world for us every day, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

So how do we get conscious and take control?

  • Take 100% responsibility for your life. At the end of the day, it doesn’t  matter whose fault it is. What are you going to do about it? Abdicating responsibility doesn’t get you off the hook for making something happen. Instead, it renders you powerless and a victim.
  • Get clear about what you want. Just like ancient mariners used the compass to maintain direction during storms, your clearly defined objectives point the way forward when all hell breaks loose. You can steer yourself to clear waters instead of getting dashed against the rocks.
  • Purposely look for opportunities. To build your unshakable mindset, you’ll need a little practice. When you are clear about what you want, consciously look for ways to get closer. Soon enough, you’ll retrain your brain to show you the best path through.
  • Pay attention to your dominant emotions. When life strikes, are you drawn to finding blame or to correcting your course? I don’t mean for anyone to ignore the emotions that pull us back, but don’t give them all of your power. Grieve, mourn, get angry…but then bring your emotional awareness back to possibility.

An alternative to taking conscious control of your mindset is to allow the world at-large to shape it for you. Any takers? Ok then, make the decision now, that you are in control of your life and events will no longer kick the chair out from under you.

Soon, your mind will begin to do the sifting and sorting for you, leaving you free to act on the new opportunities that you never knew were there before.

The Power of Attitude

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts.

It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our pasts, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and this is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you – we are in charge of our attitudes.”

~ Charles Swindoll

Apple: The Case Of The Missing Logout Button

Yesterday I was visiting Apple’s online store and upon leaving the website realized that it shared something in common with the Hotel California. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

After ten minutes of playing “Where’s Waldo?” in search of the logout button, I sought out the “Geek Squad” a.k.a. my husband, the “IT Professional”. “Honey,” I asked, “where is the logout button on the Apple store website?” He immediately shot me a look as if to say you have got to be kidding! “I’m not kidding,” I said. “I can’t find it anywhere.”

Fully anticipating that he would be able to resolve this issue in a jiffy, he confidently took hold of my wireless mouse and began scrolling through the page. “Hmmm…..that’s odd. I don’t see it either” he said. On that note I did the unthinkable…Yes, I called Apple’s technical support number.

As the phone began ringing I kept trying to think of a way I could ask the technical consultant the whereabouts of their website logout button without sounding as if I was “intellectually challenged”. “Hi, my name is Anne Fellegy, and I am going to ask you the dumbest question that you will be asked all day. Where is the logout button on your website?” There was a long pause and what sounded like crickets chirping in the background. “Excuse me, but did you ask me where the logout button is?” I swallowed hard and responded by saying “yes, I am requesting your technical expertise with locating the logout button for your website.”

After being placed on hold for what seemed like an eternity, it occurred to me that maybe I hadn’t asked such a dumb question after all. While I waited, I started to search the Internet to see if anyone else was experiencing the same problem. I found out in a hurry that I was most certainly not alone!

“Ms. Fellegy, are you still there?” “Yes, I’m here.” “After checking with my colleagues we have concluded that there is no logout button on our website. I completely understand why this would make you uneasy, being that your credit card information is stored and I assure you that the matter will be looked into…”

Wow! How does a successful company like Apple forget to include a logout button on their website? If I have learned anything from this experience, it is this…There really is no such thing as a dumb question!

The Time Is Now!

We spend a tremendous amount of time waiting.  We wait for traffic lights, return phone calls, the “right” opportunity or a “better” time.  We wait until we have the time, energy or discipline to do what it is we claim to want.  We wait until the kids are grown, the seasons change, for someone else to make the first move, and sometimes we wait until it’s too late.

Right now, this very moment, is really the only time we have.  We can plan for tomorrow, but we must act in the present.  What distinguishes the person who simply makes the plan from the one who actually implements it?  The distinguishing characteristic is action.  One person does something now; the other chooses to wait.

There will never be a better moment than the one you have right now.  So what are you waiting for?  Do you want to improve your health?  Don’t wait until you get sick to do something about it. Writing a book?  Don’t wait until you’ve thought through every page before you write down the first word.  Planning a vacation?  Don’t wait until every penny is in the bank to contemplate where you want to go.

Each one of us can do something right now, today, to further our dreams, goals and aspirations. The key is to do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  Don’t wait for a better time, nicer weather, a better job, or for someone else to take the lead. If you want to make something happen in your life, now is the time to begin.

If not now, when?

“The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like.  But we cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt