Can This Get Any Better? … Cue the Rainbow

September 4, 2017 | Posted in Living Hartfully | By

In order to feel refreshed and recharged; I need to travel and surround myself with new discoveries, recreation and experiences. I need a vacation to regroup and put things into perspective so I can come back renewed and able to give my all. How about you – what do you do to reconnect, re-create and reconvene better than when you started?

On a recent trip to Moorea, French Polynesia; I felt I was in heaven. Everything was just perfect. The over-water bungalows were just as they were shown in the travel mags. Just as beautiful and the water and view looked like a screen saver. I had sent some photos back home to friends and they demanded I send some photos with me in them to prove that I didn’t swipe them off some internet photo gallery. The staff could not have been any nicer and accommodating. I thought to myself, THIS is why I like travelling five stars. You get treated much better from people in places that sport more stars. You feel better about yourself, even. The room was fabulous with a glass-bottom floor where you could see the fish and eel swimming below. You could have your breakfast brought to your deck by outrigger canoe, and the atmosphere was one of tropical elegance and ease.

I thought it couldn’t get any better and just then a knock at the door and a chilled bottle of champagne and sweets were brought to the hut. As I relaxed on the deck with the water lapping beneath me sipping champagne and eating chocolate crumpets; I thought to myself, “This just can’t get any better, I’m at the point of exploding with joy, contentment and happiness.”

I was about to take another sip and there before my very eyes, a full rainbow appears over the lush, green mountains -big as life. There was no rain around the vicinity, but there must have been some droplets someplace. I captured that moment to share with you and to remind myself that things can always get better than you’d ever imagined. I remember Oprah saying that there is no way she could have dreamed as big a dream as she is living in this moment, but God had a bigger dream for her. She just needed to listen and follow her path, follow her inner guidance.

Look for things to get better, keep an open mind that things can and will get better. Be grateful for what has come to you as it was done for you and not to you, and always be open for more and better to come into your life. When you live with an open heart and open mind, all kinds of rainbows can come into your life. Watch for the signs, be on the lookout for what falls in your path and keep your eyes open for rainbows of all kinds to bless you. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better….cue the rainbow…or a double rainbow!

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Capybaras, White Alligators, and Jaguars, Oh My

July 4, 2017 | Posted in Living Hartfully | By

We were deep in the Amazon jungle. I had wanted to do a jungle tour ever since I first saw the movie The Jungle Book with Mogli and Balu the blue bear when my brother took me to see it when I was five or six years old.

As we usually do, my BFF and I charted a wild itinerary into the wilds and invited some other friends to join us. Vacation planning is our forte and I call her a travel savant. This was one trip that was near and dear to my heart and I knew that living fully and living Hartfully just had to include the Amazon forest.

Our thatched hut was so far into the rain forest that there were no roads. The only way to reach the compound was by motorized canoe. We had to walk the plank just to embark on the boat. Our guide told us we were not to ever walk alone around the camp. It was the buddy system for safety. The sign posted in our bathroom next to the whistle hanging on the door gave instructions on how to summon help if we encountered a wild animal and food in the huts was forbidden.

Being a vegetarian, I always travel with protein bars, trail mix and peanut butter crackers from past experience of going hungry for lack of appropriate food in unknown places and the middle of the jungle was one of those places. We took a nighttime canoe ride and saw a white alligator and a 60-pound rodent, a capybara which is related to the guinea pig.  Seriously, think of a 60-pound rat. It gave me the willies just thinking about how huge it was. It was the largest rodent I had ever seen – the size of a German Shepherd and they roam free. A sloth hung from the branches as we made our way back to our hut. It was like a steam bath and still hovering in the 100’s at night, so I decided to take a cold shower only to find a frog in the stall. I wondered what other creatures had made their way into our hut, which was had only a screen on three sides.

At 4:00 am the jungle starts coming alive. It was completely black outside and I heard it. The lowly rumble of the beginning of a roar. Frozen in my bed with anticipation of a jaguar jumping through the screened wall, I turned on the video camera on my phone. There is was again, only this time much louder and closer and more grumbling. I just knew the big cat was after my M&M laden trail mix I had locked in my suitcase. Could they really smell it inside baggies and a rollaboard? I recorded the sounds and kept recording until the sound faded away. Maybe it wasn’t that hungry. I peered out the window and only saw a baby Capybara and heard the birds. It was a symphony of sound as the wilderness cacophony grew louder as the sun rose. I’ve never heard so many different natural sounds in my life. It was deafening. The one sound that I was glad not to hear any more was the growl.

My BFF, Barb and I finally mustered the courage to exit our hut and go to breakfast using the buddy system and keeping our eyes peeled for jaguars. All we encountered were monkeys and birds. We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast of Brazil nuts, pastries and fried yucca. Next time I’m double-bagging my trail mix to throw the wild animals off the scent.

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In Search of Natural Wonders, Focused Intention, and a Roommate Reunion

April 19, 2017 | Posted in Living Hartfully | By

It’s been my dream for a few decades to experience the Aurora Borealis, but like chasing rainbows there is no guarantee Mother Nature will comply with your travel plans. After many failed attempts to see the Northern Lights show in Canada and Alaska; I was determined that it was finally my turn. As luck (fate?) would have it; my college roommate was in town and we had dinner, not having seen each other for a few years. I mentioned that I wanted to visit Iceland and she said it was also on her To Do list. Fast-forward a year and here we were reunited on a flight to Reykjavik 35 years after living together in college off on our great Icelandic adventure.

As I discussed my intentions with what seemed like everybody who crossed my path for several weeks leading up to the trip; I learned that five other friends had either just returned, were planning on going the same month or the same week when Jennifer and I would be there. All of them who had just returned, came back without having seen the Lights.

We took another flight to the northern tip of Iceland because I wanted to make sure there was no light pollution to dilute the experience. We had registered our room at the front desk so they could call us if/when the lights materialized, and then we went upstairs to relax. We set out our clothing like firemen so we could easily get dressed for 20-degree weather in case the show started. I was sitting in a chair near the window with my eyes trained on the night sky and then I saw the clouds move only to realize it was the Northern Lights. I started yelling “the Lights, the Lights” and it was a scene reminiscent of the Keystone Cops as we tried to get dressed as fast as possible to catch a glimpse. We ran through the lobby announcing the lights and they didn’t disappoint as they danced across the sky. It was EXHILERATTING and it seemed all the guests were in the parking lot snapping photos.

After returning to bed; we received a call at 3:30am for yet another show of the Lights as we fumbled and bumbled our way to get dressed as fast as possible. Still breathtaking the second time around.

The next night I decided to experience the natural thermal baths and Mother Nature once again didn’t disappoint. It was a surreal experience to bask in the hot water outside, watching a full’ish moon, 15 degrees and watching the lights stream across the horizon. There’s something about natural wonders that move me beyond imagination. A dream come true.

The next morning, we capped off our northern tour by watching the crew set up on top of the frozen lake for the filming of the movie The Fate of the Furious– due out this month. A weird clash of the natural and the unnatural. I guess I’ll need to see the movie to bring that adventure to closure. Maybe I’ll call up Jennifer and we’ll meet someplace between our two cities to watch the movie together for yet another reunion.

Never give up on your dreams. If you really want something, speak it out loud, tell others, visualize, write it down, look at photos, hold the idea in your mind and figure out ways to get you there. Be still and ask how you can make it happen, the answers will come to you if you ask the right questions. Never would I have guessed during our college days when I first learned of the magnificence of the Aurora Borealis, that I would be traveling with my roommate three and a half decades later to make that dream come true.

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Adventures, Misadventures & Executive Decisions

June 7, 2010 | Posted in Leading Hartfully, Living Hartfully | By

So maybe you’ve made some decisions that didn’t turn out like you had anticipated. Maybe you’ve gained your life experience from some ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ decisions. Make an executive decision to use the lesson, not lose the lesson of your experiences.

As a speaker and author, I tend to chalk it up to another adventure… or misadventure which gives me lots of material for my programs and articles. Re-framing any incident, whether it be a moment or monumental, can make the situation a little easier to endure. We have the power to make that executive decision on our perceptions. I tend to think of life as a grand adventure made up of many smaller adventures and new experiences.

Just like a pearl necklace; your life is a strand of many moments strung together. It’s our decision to create those moments that make up the grand strand. Who wants a boring life anyway?  Why not take some risks – no risk, no reward.

Because adventures make good stories, and good stories are made up of overcoming conflict or adversity, then coming out victorious;  I’ve made an executive decision to view my experiences as fodder for my work.

It seems to me that the measurement of a good story stemming from a misadventure is directly proportional to the length of time that has passed since that episode. 🙂  It takes more time to pass for some adventures before they can become ‘a good story’ without the sting pf their rawness.

Yes, even being stranded in the Sea of Cortez for a couple hours alone with my SCUBA guide, running out of air, abandoned by our dive boat (with all my belongings – ID, money, clothing), being swept out to open ocean by the current, verging on the realm of  hypothermia, the sun setting, nobody to be seen for miles around, and my ship departing in the very near future.

That little misadventure not only took several of my 9 lives, it took several years before I could re-frame it without a visceral reaction to the memory. How are you seeing your challenges? I contend we can choose how long it takes before we re-frame something. You know they say we will look back and laugh about some of our bad decisions and misadventures. We can also choose to laugh sooner rather than later. It’s all about what we DECIDE to do. There’s no magic formula.

How do you see your life? Are you living your own adventure? What types of life experiences are you creating? How are you re-framing your misadventures so you can make better decisions next time.  As one of my mentors says, “You can’t hit a home run if you don’t swing”. I choose to take a swing at life and chalk it up to an adventure.

As entrepreneurs, execs and enlightened employees, we make umpteen decisions daily. Isn’t running your own business a grand adventure? We may never know how just one tiny decision can change the course of our life. It’s up to us to course-correct if needed, or remain on that path. I’m making an executive decision to live an adventure.  I’m choosing to see my life experiences and ‘bad decisions’ as stepping stones on my way to success, how about you? If you need a guide to lead you through some of your executive decisions and plot your entrepreneurial adventure, give me a call.

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