Archive for the ‘Sally’s Healthy Living’ Category


“Being heard
is so close to being loved
that for the average person,
they are almost indistinguishable.”
― David Augsburger

“I never miss a good chance to shut up”
― James PattersonAlong Came a Spider

I am lucky, I live with a man who is an exceptional listener.  Really.  I knew this the first day I met him over ten years ago.  When he listens, I feel heard; I feel like I matter, I feel like I am with someone who cares.

I learned about the power of listening years ago when I took a communications course.  We learned how to “actively listen.”  That is, ask someone open-ended questions, shut your mouth and listen to and acknowledge their response without jumping in and giving your opinion.

I practiced  “active listening” on my boyfriend at that time. Later, I fell asleep on his couch. I woke up and he was standing over me, staring.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“What are you doing? You’re different, I like it.” He responded.

A few days later, he said,   “Maybe we should get married.”

While we never married, it was a very powerful lesson.  Listen, listen, and listen.

Don’t be like someone I know who, almost every time I see her, doesn’t even say hello but starts telling me all about her problems. I do not think she has ever even said “How are you Sally?”  This is not a judgment, believe me, I have been guilty of dumping my woes on others many times.

Listening is a labor of love. Listen to others and get out of your own head. It’s like taking a vacation from yourself.


Sit quietly for five minutes each day.  Review the past twenty-four hours.  Did you listen or were your compelled to talk about yourself?  Over the next two days, pick out one person and practice active listening.


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Have you ever noticed how easy it is to have better manners in public than at home or around the people we love?  We pick our friends and significant others, in part, because we can relax and be ourselves around them.What a great thing it is to relax and blossom around those who accept us but remember to sustain those relationships with basic good manners.  This article says it well.


Mindful Love Exercises Sunday and Monday

Sit quietly for five minutes each day and review your relationship manners.  Do you interrupt? Ask inappropriate questions?  Forget to say thank you? Good manners are a simple way to contribute to healthy relationships and love.

Have a wonderful and happy day.

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Courtesy Ed Ogle

Courtesy Ed Ogle


Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.

Elbert Hubbard

Everybody has a unique sense of humor.Like most couples, my significant other and I have our share of tense moments.  He is ten inches taller than  me.  When power struggles get too serious, I get on a stool and stand above him with my hands on my hips and declare “I am the queen!”  Of course, that makes him the king and makes us both laugh and not take anything too seriously. Anything you can do to add gentle fun, playfulness and humor to a situation opens the door to love.

Humor and playfulness can be the ejection seat from relationship conflict and power struggles. It helps:

  • Form a stronger bond to each other. Your health and happiness depend, to a large degree, on the quality of your relationships—and laughter binds people together.
  • Smooth over differences. Using gentle humor often helps you address even the most sensitive relationship issues, such as sex or in-laws.
  • Diffuse tension. A well-timed joke can ease a tense situation and help you resolve disagreements.
  • Overcome problems and setbacks. A sense of humor is the key to resilience. It helps you take hardships in stride, weather disappointment, and bounce back from adversity and loss.
  • Put things into perspective. Most situations are not as bleak as they appear to be when looked at from a playful and humorous point of view. Humor can help you reframe problems that might otherwise seem overwhelming and damage a relationship.
  • Be more creative. Humor and playfulness can loosen you up, energize your thinking, and inspire creative problem solving for any relationship issue.
  • Interrupt the power struggle, instantly easing tension and allowing you to reconnect and regain perspective.
  • Be more spontaneous. Shared laughter and play helps you break free from rigid ways of thinking and behaving, allowing you to see the problem in a new way and find a creative solution.
  • Be less defensive. In playful settings, we hear things differently and can tolerate learning things about ourselves that we otherwise might find unpleasant or even painful.
  • Let go of inhibitions. Laughter opens us up, freeing us to express what we truly feel and allowing our deep, genuine emotions to rise to the surface.1.

Be sensitive with your humor:

  • Do you feel calm, clear-headed, and connected to the other person?
  • Is your true intent to communicate positive feelings—or are you taking a dig, expressing anger, or laughing at the other person’s expense?
  • Are you sure that the joke will be understood and appreciated?
  • Are you aware of the emotional tone of the nonverbal messages you are sending? Are you giving off positive, warm signals or a negative or hostile tone?
  • Are you sensitive to the nonverbal signals the other person is sending? Do they seem open and receptive to your humor, or closed-off and offended?
  • Are you willing and able to back off if the other person responds negatively to the joke?
  • If you say or do something that offends, is it easy for you to immediately apologize?2

Here are some GREAT tips from Reader’s Digest. Try on tip today and tomorrow.

  • First, regain your smile. A smile and a laugh aren’t the same thing, but they do live in the same neighborhood. Be sure to smile at simple pleasures — the sight of kids playing, a loved one or friend approaching, the successful completion of a task, the witnessing of something amazing or humorous. Smiles indicate that stress and the weight of the world haven’t overcome you. If your day isn’t marked by at least a few dozen, then you need to explore whether you are depressed or overly stressed.
  • Treat yourself to a comedy festival. Rent movies like Meet the Parents; Young Frankenstein; Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; This Is Spinal Tap; Animal House; Blazing Saddles; Trading Places; Finding Nemo. Reward yourself frequently with the gift of laughter, Hollywood style.
  • Recall several of the most embarrassing moments in your life. Then find the humor in them. Now practice telling stories describing them in a humorous way. It might take a little exaggeration or dramatization, but that’s what good storytelling is all about. By revealing your vulnerable moments and being self-deprecating, you open yourself up much more to the humorous aspects of life.
  • Anytime something annoying and frustrating occurs, turn it on its head and find the humor. Sure, you can be angry at getting splashed with mud, stepping in dog poop, or inadvertently throwing a red towel in with the white laundry. In fact, that is probably the most normal response. But it doesn’t accomplish anything other than to put you in a sour mood. Better to find a way to laugh at life’s little annoyances. One way to do that: Think about it as if it happened to someone else, someone you like — or maybe someone you don’t. In fact, keep running through the Rolodex in your head until you find the best person you can think of to put in your current predicament. Laugh at him, then laugh at yourself!
  • Read the comics every day and cut out the ones that remind you of your life. Post them on a bulletin board or the refrigerator or anywhere else you can see them frequently.
  • Sort through family photographs and write funny captions or one-liners to go with your favorites. When you need a pick-me-up, pull out the album.
  • Every night at dinner, make family members share one funny or even embarrassing moment of their day.
  • When a person offends you or makes you angry, respond with humor rather than hostility. For instance, if someone is always late, say, “Well, I’m glad you’re not running an airline.” Life is too short to turn every personal affront into a battle. However, if you are constantly offended by someone in particular, yes, take it seriously and take appropriate action. But for occasional troubles, or if nothing you do can change the person or situation, take the humor response.
  • Check out the Top 10 list archive from David Letterman. You can find it at cbs.com.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day having a giggling session. Here’s how you do it: You and another person (partner, kid, friend, etc.) lie on the floor with your head on her stomach, and her head on another person’s stomach and so on (the more people the better). The first person says, “Ha.” The next person says, “Ha-ha.” The third person says, “Ha-ha-ha.” And so on. We guarantee you’ll be laughing in no time.
  • Read the activity listings page in the newspaper and choose some laugh-inducing events to attend. It could be the circus, a movie, a stand-up comic, or a funny play. Sometimes it takes a professional to get you to regain your sense of humor.
  • Add an item to your daily to-do list: Find something humorous. Don’t mark it off until you do it, suggests Jeanne Robertson, a humor expert and author of several books on the topic.
  • When you run into friends or coworkers, ask them to tell you one funny thing that has happened to them in the past couple of weeks. Become known as a person who wants to hear humorous true stories as opposed to an individual who prefers to hear gossip, suggests Robertson.
  • Find a humor buddy. This is someone you can call just to tell him something funny; someone who will also call you with funny stories of things he’s seen or experienced, says Robertson.
  • Download the free Jokes & Funny True Stories iPhone app.
  • Exaggerate and overstate problems. Making the situation bigger than life can help us to regain a humorous perspective, says Patty Wooten, R.N., an award-winning humorist and author of Compassionate Laughter: Jest for the Health of It. Cartoon caricatures, slapstick comedy, and clowning articles are all based on exaggeration, she notes.
  • Develop a silly routine to break a dark mood. It could be something as silly as speaking with a Swedish accent (unless you are Swedish, of course).
  • Create a humor environment. Have a ha-ha bulletin board where you only post funny sayings or signs, suggests Allen Klein, an award-winning professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. His favorite funny sign: “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”
  • Experiment with jokes. Learn one simple joke each week and spread it around. One of Klein’s favorites relates to his baldness: “What do you call a line of rabbits walking backward? A receding hare line.”
  • Focus humor on yourself. “Because of my lack of hair,” Klein says, “I tell people that I’m a former expert on how to cure baldness.”3

Friday and Saturday’s exercises:

Implement one tip from above each day. Write down your humor success just before you go to bed.

1,2. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq7_playful_communication.htm


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Photo courtesy Ed Ogle


by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s

longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream,

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if

you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know

if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of

your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you

can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence. I

want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and

shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief

and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn’t interest me who you know

or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else

falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.


Monday and Tuesday’s Exercise:  Sit quietly for five minutes each and meditate on the meaning of this beautiful poem

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In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that someone else will solve their problems. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged. H.H. Dali Lama

 “As well as our close relationships, we all have wider connections with people across the different circles of our lives – at work, in our communities or through our social activities. Although these relationships are less deep, these are also important for happiness and wellbeing.

Having diverse social connections predicts how long we live and even impacts how resistant we are to catching colds! Our broader social networks provide a sense of belonging and influence how safe and secure we feel. Building connections in our local community contributes to our own happiness and that of those around us, enabling our communities to flourish.

Remarkable new research shows that happiness is contagious across social networks. Our happiness depends not only on the happiness of those in our direct social network, but on the happiness of the people they know too. In other words, happiness ripples out through groups of people, like a pebble thrown into a pond.

We can help to build happier communities by doing what we can to boost our own happiness and also being conscious of the impact our behavior on others. Even seemingly, small, incidental interactions, such as a friendly smile or act of kindness can make a difference – to ourselves, the people we interact with and the people they affect too.”1

My mother was a non-religious, PhD, liberal. Her children, long spread all over the world, she craved companionship and her friend, blind Billy, wasn’t cutting mustard anymore.  Then, she discovered The Breakfast Club, an eclectic group of lawyers, waitresses, plumbers, housekeepers, writers, religious, non-religious liberal and conservative locals who met daily at the local coffee shop, Russ’s Breakfast and Lunch. They talked about local issues, tried to save the world, and kept each other company in the Falls and Winters of their lives.  For at least fifteen years, she walked the half-mile pilgrimage to Russ’s.

As her Alzheimers’ progressed, neighbors stepped in, made sure she was eating, taking her medications and getting to the Dr. as needed.  Then, she had to move. The attorney stepped in, helped her sell the house, and took almost no commission. The Breakfast Club made her a memento book with stories and photos and sent it to her new home in Denver.

The Breakfast Club members had one thing in common.  They wanted community to navigate the seasons of their lives.

Saturday and Sunday’s exercise

Sit quietly for five minutes; ignore the cacophony of your mind. Imagine you are a flower, your petals about to bloom wide open and receive the sun. You provide pollen for the bees, compost for the garden and smiles for your audience.

What do you want to attract from and give to the community around you?  Identify one thing you can do to improve your relationships in your neighborhood.

 1 http://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living/connect-with-people/details

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“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing 
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” 
― Rumi

Work and domestic power struggles are very common. 

I live with an engineer. He wanted the dishwasher loaded just so, efficient and so the water flow would perfectly clean every dish.  I wanted every dish put away in a specific place so it would be easy to find.   I didn’t load the dishwasher the way he wanted and he didn’t put the dishes where I wanted. Doing dishes became a source of conflict and a power struggle.

One day he simply said, “Why don’t I take over loading the dishwasher and you unload it.”  Brilliant.  Our power struggle was, for a while, so strong, we couldn’t see an obvious solution. The kitchen is now a peaceful place.

Drop the rights and wrongs so you open up to see solutions to annoying problems.

Thursday and Friday’s exercise: Sit quietly for five minutes.  Identify an area where you are having a power struggle with someone. Imagine neither one of you is right or wrong.  What does it feel like to be without the concept of right or wrong?  Can you come up with a solution to the situation?


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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 When we practice empathy, we lower our expectations for others and consequently, we become less frustrated. The muscles in our face relax, thoughts of anger and disappointment subtly leave the apartment they are occupying in our brain and we transition to think of nicer things.

I worked as an RN most of my life.  One time, I was transferred up to a new floor.  All the daytime nurses complained about this one RN who worked the night shift. They said she was always in a bad mood, nasty, didn’t get along with any one etc. They wouldn’t engage here in any conversations, ignored her and talked to her only if necessary. When I first met her in the medication room, I panicked.  Would she be mean to me? But then, I said hello and asked how she was. For some reason, this nurse decided to open up to me.  She told me about all these tragic events that recently happened in her life. She was suffering from depression as a result. I listened as she spoke, hopefully  without judgment.  Every time I went back to that floor, she was very nice to me.

Sometimes listening and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is the best way to develop empathy and maybe a new friend.

Here are two great videos on empathy. I guarantee they will both make you smile:



 Sunday and Monday’s Exercise

Sit quietly for five minutes. Identify someone who is irritating you. Write down what it would be like to live with their challenges. Do this each of the two days.


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