Thursday, September 10, 2020

Notes from "Life Reimagined - Discovering Your New Life Possibilities"

This Summer, I heard Richard Leider speak on a webinar and was intrigued by his message. He mentioned that he is author, so I ordered some of his books from the library. I just finished reading Life Reimagined - Discovering Your New Life Possibilities that he wrote.

Below are some of the things that resonated with me and I want to refer back to:

- The old story: each of us starts off fresh and new, ready to learn and grow and discover our individual potential. We are upward as we go through our early years, and we continue to grow until about the time we hit middle age. At that point, we've reached the apex of our lives, the top of our parabola. After that, as we pass middle age, we begin the process of decline that takes us into retirement, then old age, and eventually death.
- The new story: arcs upward until it reaches a point at the top. But instead of falling back down along a symmetrical curve like the old image, this one dips a little and then goes back up. It continues to rise gently for an extended period, then levels off, and finally falls at the end.
- The journey of your life is like a series of twists and turns, choices, and challenges from birth to death. When you're on a flatter part of the spiral, your life is on a plateau. At those moments, things seem like they're under control. You have good work, good health, enough money, a solid base at home, a network of friends and colleagues with whom to share your life. At times like these, you may feel like you have this whole thing figured out. But then, inevitably, a trigger knocks you off the plateau.
- A trigger is a wake-up call - when the game changes and we have to adapt to the new game.
- A Life Reimagined mindset: you're exercising choice, demonstrating curiosity, and acting with courage.
- "Inner kill" - the condition of dying without knowing it. People with inner kill often feel that they either don't have enough or aren't good enough. They get stuck living in comparison with others or with some idealized, unattainable version of themselves.
- You have inner kill when you've stopped growing, when you've given up on yourself, or when you find yourself always taking the easy, safe way.
- Inner kill is the death of self-respect.
- Choice is not a choice. Choice is required. We are all challenged to choose, to reject victimhood, and to be choice makers.
- Curiosity is change. Curiosity is the way to open up life. It allows you to see the world differently - and to see yourself differently.

One of the sculptures at the Minnesota Goose Garden 
in Sandstone, Minnesota. I have wanted to 
go here for many years and finally went 
this past weekend with Olivia and Paige. 
It was a fascinating place that has 
hundreds of native flowers, trees, and shrubs; and 
informational signs about 
their significance in Ojibwe culture. 
There also are many sculptures throughout the 5-acre garden.

- Courage is a commitment. Courage commits you to doing something. It requires courageous conversation and bold action, whether large or small.
- Starting where you are, what would be the simplest first step you could take? Who is someone who could take the first step with you?
- The majority of people feel they can't talk about what really matters to them with those closest to them. You may bury your feelings, but they live on, eating away from the inside.
- In the process of reimagining your life, fear is the enemy. Fear of the past and fear of the future. Fear of losing what you've worked so hard to gain and fear of failing to gain new things.
- A Life Reimagined - six practices: reflect, connect, explore, choose, repack, and act.
- Reflect - pause before you start the journey and at various steps along the way. Look at what worked and what didn't work in your old story. See what you might want to pull forward into your new story in this new phase of life.

I've always enjoyed the connection 
between art and nature.
This is one sculpture that Olivia and I saw at 
Franconia Sculpture Park on September 6th.

- Connect - request feedback from trusted friends and guides.
- Explore - testing different possibilities.
- Choose - narrowing of options in which you focus on your priorities. Explore a smaller number of choices to see which fit your emerging sense of what's right for you.

Throughout the years, we have adopted pets 
from the humane society, taken in pets who have been abandoned, and 
adopted livestock/outdoor animals from neglect and abuse situations. 
I have especially enjoyed adopting older dogs, like Danny and Scooby,
who both came from a domestic abuse situation, and 
giving them an opportunity to live a more peaceful life. 

- Repack - deciding what's essential for the road ahead - what to let go of and what to keep.
- Act - taking action doesn't drain energy, it releases energy through the optimism that comes with choice, curiosity, and courage.
- Write in a journal throughout this process
- Someone who focuses on who they "used to be." They're not living in the present or the future; they're not living who they are now or creating who they could become. Simply replicating your past is a prescription for inner kill. Repetitive patterns deaden your curiosity. Reflection means resharpening your curiosity. It means exploring the future. It is when hindsight and foresight come together. It's blending the story of your past with the possibility of your future.
- Focus on fulfilling time, not just filling time.

Something that is fulfilling for me is taking photos of nature and
sharing them with others. 
Are my photos the greatest? No. 
However, as in this case, they capture a time in my life 
when I was surrounded by beauty and 
was grateful and joyful for the life I have been given.

- Connecting creates a sense of well-being for all of us in every phase of life.
- Family get-togethers at holidays or special events help build a feeling of belonging and community.
- Workplaces bring people together.
- It's also ordinary for connections to fray as we move into this new phase of life.
- The reality in this new phase of life is that it's all too easy to end up with a wealth of casual acquaintances and poverty of real friends.
- People have fewer meaningful relationships.
- Social isolation can take up to seven years off of your life. Isolation contributes to heart disease and depression; it influences your immune system and leads to faster aging and advanced health problems. The antidote is community or connectedness.
- At this point in my life, what gives me energy and what drains me?

What gives me energy at this point is seeing wildlife at our farm.
There's a mother deer and her fawn who are visiting us 
rather regularly now. I put out apples, carrots,
a bit of shell corn, and seeds for them.
They - along with rabbits, squirrels, opossums, birds, and cats - 
all are visiting the feeder to eat. 

- A Sounding Board is made up of people who get you and care about you. Are you open to having courageous conversations with them? Are they committed listeners? You could even have a decreased person on your Sounding Board - like a late mother or father, whose wisdom you respect.
- A person who embodies Life Reimagined has a formula that they go by: G+P+V. Gifts+Passion+Values
- Gifts - where you should begin when you're exploring a choice, change, or possibility. What are your strengths? How can you explore using them?

One of my strengths is homeschooling and education. 
This is something that I've done since the early-2000s.
Here, Olivia is holding a Green Darner Dragonfly
that was in our backyard this past Summer.

- Passion - What do you care about? What needs doing in the world - or in my community? Consider putting your gifts to work on some area of need that you care about.
- Values - how you see yourself operating in the world. What lifestyles and work styles fit your style? Your temperament? Your values?  
- When the elements of the formula G+P+V are in alignment, you live your best life. YOu're using your gifts on something you believe in, and your environment supports your effort. 
- Pay attention to things that grab your attention. When the challenges arise, that's when we learn who we really are.
- Transitions - and the art of repacking - have to do with the gradual falling away of the old and the qually gradual emergence of the new.
- Stuf that we collect can be tangible items that decorate our homes. It also can be memories, dreams, regrets - experiences and emotions that decorate our inner lives. Stuff can be habits, beliefs, ways of communicating, ways of relating to others, or a self-image that we've carried with us for years. 
- The stuff we collect comes to represent who we are - or at least who we've been. It reminds us of the jobs we've had, the interests we've pursued, the people we've connected with on the journey of life up to now. 
- Family photo albums filled with old pictures of kids raised, vacations taken, holidays celebrated, validate the way they've spent their lives. 

We took a family trip to Alaska in April 2019 to
celebrate Sophia's upcoming graduation from
high school. It was a wonderful trip!

- Repacking it to look carefully at what we're carrying: what's absolutely essential for the journey and what's not. 
- To repack is to decide what to lose and what to take. It is an expression of choice, curiosity, and courage. It is a practice that challenges you to lighten your load. 
- What are the chapter titles you'd give your life story? Where would the story begin? How would you organize the episodes? 
- Don't confuse who you are with what you've done. Your story is not the sum total of the titles you've held or the positions you've earned. Build on your story, but don't be limited by it.
- If you have an idea, a dream,a  hope, an aspiration, and you never act on it, you'll never know what could have been.
- Take one small risk a day. Start with something easy. Start with something you usually do -or don't do- because it's too ordinary.

I tried my hand at paper-cutting after 
seeing the work of the artist who taught this class. 
It gave me new appreciation for the work involved in her pieces.

- For the next five days, take one risk each day - and then write about it in your journal.
- We need to live our lives with choice, curiosity, and courage at all ages.
- In a world of change, there are two constants: having your own purpose and being connected to others.
- We are each an experiment of one. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the new phase of life.
-The ultimate discovery each of us can make is self-discovery. 
- Don't go it alone. Isolation is fatal.