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Archive for May, 2016

When was the last time you took some part of your day and simply played?  As adults we are taught to be serious, intellectual, formal, and only be bystanders as we watch our children play.  Or maybe we watch others play on TV from playing golf, to football, to hockey, to basketball, and soccer.  Once you hit 25 and get married the only game that you’re allowed to play is “golf” your parent’s game.  You might be able to play with your children once in a while if they fit into your schedule.

Just think about the last time that you played with joy, laughter, and passion.  When it consumed your entire mind, body, and spirit.  When it allowed you to soar to another dimension.  Can you remember the last time you actually played?  If not, how sad is that?  You’ve missed so many moments of joy.

Now I have Annie, my adorable rescue dog.  She wants to play! I’ve found myself running down the street with her chasing another dog or a duck laughing at how excited she is to see her new friend Moon Dance the beautiful black furry friend named after Van Morrison’s song. Sometimes I find myself laying down on the floor so we can be eye to eye and in the mystery of that moment we are one.  Her heart beat and mine merge, while her big brown eyes send a look of love into my spirit and soul.

I listen to Van Morrison sing his Moondance[1] song as I write this post and I feel the joy in his words as I picture them dancing in the moonlight playing in each other’s arms like two magicians creating magic. The magic does not have to just happen at “night” the magic of the moment can occur anytime and anyplace when we are open to it.  Open to playing, growing, expanding, and forgetting that we are “adults” and the labels that entails.

Let’s use the moments that we are given this week to play, dance, sing, smile, skip, run, and love as often as we can—regardless of the looks or the words we get from others. Even if they yell at you to “act your age.” When they admonish you let them know you are acting your age: eternally young! Take out those old Uno cards, roller blades, bicycle, or the chessboard, or the dominoes, and play!  Find some young kid with chalk and play hopscotch or some kid with a rope and skip rope with him or her.

Be in the moment with joy, happiness, and fun!  You can be serious after you die! Why waste this moment in madness, sadness, regret, and anger?  Laughdad, grandad, boy playingter is good for the mind, body and soul.  Playing will keep you young regardless of what your body or the calendar says! So let’s get going! Won’t you come out and play with me today!  Give me a call as soon as you can I’m waiting by the phone…

In gassho,

Shokai

[1] Moondance Van Morrison  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo3JznMhpWc

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The power of a smile is incredible.  When you see a little baby grin from ear to ear it sure does warm your heart.  When you see a group of people smiling and laughing it seems contagious–kind of like a yawn!  Take a moment and simply smile. Then focus on how it feels and what it does to you physically, emotionally, and mentally.  If it feels good you might think about smiling more often.

Have you ever known someone whose mouth actually was in the shape of a frown 24/7?

Here is a quote from an article in Psychology Today by Sarah Stevenson entitled “There’s Magic in Your Smile.”  Her article helps decipher the mystery of the smile.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress (3). Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well (4). This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.[1]

The endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever – 100% organically and without the potential negative side effects of synthetic concoctions (4). Finally, the serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant/mood lifter (5).[2]

My dad was one of the happiest people I ever knew.  He smiled and laughed and joked all the time.  Even the message my dad wrote for the answering machine was filled with fun.  Here is what you heard when you called my parents up and they were not at home.

It’s the top of the ninth with two outs and the Bishops at bat, the pitcher throws and the Bishops hit to the short stop, who throws to first and the Bishops are out!  But they will be back shortly so if you leave the time, your name and phone number, they will get back to you shortly.  Thanks for calling and have a happy day with a big smile. Wait for the beep!

You can see he was a great big fan of baseball as well as smiling, joking, and laughing.  How’s that going with you?  What announcement do you have on your voice mail?

In this moment if you want to be healthy and pain free in mind, body, and spirit how about a few more smiles today!  Let me know how that works out!

In gassho,

Mom, Dad, Kathy 2009 59th wedding anniversay

Dad and Mom and Shokai (2009 59th wedding anniversary party)

Three big smiles for sure!

 

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile

[2] Abel E. and Kruger M. (2010) Smile Intensity in Photographs Predicts Longevity, Psychological Science, 21, 542–544.

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Yesterday was filled with unforgettable moments from sharing my knowledge on conflict resolution with coaches and kids–to giving a helping hand in setting up the St. Thomas University sports center for a half day of leadership for the youth of Miami Gardens High School. The event was sponsored by my friends at  The Global Team.

In each moment I was given the opportunity to praise and compliment the kids from three years old and up–to find the good in them, to listen to their ideas, dreams, hopes, and fears.  I looked for the best in them, I challenged them to work together in small groups and large with kindness and creativity.

In each one of those moments I was given the opportunity to use my own creativity and passion for teaching and training. As I waited in my classroom for the coaches to appear to share with them information about conflict resolution what I saw was a long line of young men, members of the football team, entering the room.  As Youseline Poteau, the founder and head of The Global Team, appeared she said, “Would you mind if the boys sat in here as the coaches you were to have taught did not show up yet.”

Wow!  That was a twist to my mind set for sure.  There in front of me were 20 young men from 14-18 staring back at me wondering what I would do, who I was, and if I would bore them to death!  So I took a deep breath and told Youseline, of course, I’ll be happy to help you out!  And so the game I had ready for the coaches I played with the boys and they were great!  One of them figured out the mystery of the puzzle and in no time led his team to a victory!

Every moment can give you an opportunity to give to the world in one way or another, in a big way or a small way. Every moment can give you an opportunity to grab onto a challenge and run with it. All the parents, teachers, speakers, and volunteers gave up a Saturday to help the youth develop skills that will last a life time. Who knows which one of those skills will be unearthed in a moment when the person needs it the most?  There will be many moments in his or her life when their ethics will be challenged. When adults give of their time and talents to help the youth in their community no one really knows how that can save a life.

Giving a moment of your life can make the difference in the life of another.   Thanks in advance for caring…thanks for sharing a moment of your life. It just might save a life someday—you never can tell and you may never know.  But that doesn’t matter, do it anyway! Give all you can and when you’ve done that—give some more.

In gassho,

ingassho

Shokai

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In this moment I’m sure that I leave not only a trail but a trace of myself almost everywhere I’ve been and with everything I’ve done or said.  There is some little bit of myself left behind, whether it is bread crumbs by the toaster, a friendly email to a long lost friend, or a painful heartache as we spoke of a loved one who passed in the Viet Nam war.  Not only do I leave physical things but I leave emotional things, thoughts, promises, and energy behind.

I leave a trace of me.

What trace have you left and where did you leave it?  Was the smell of your after shave or perfume left behind in a room?  Was it a plate of something that you cooked and left for an elderly neighbor, or cookies for the local school or church bake sale, or a bag full of clothes that you’ve outgrown left at the Goodwill or the homeless shelter?

I often wear clothes that I kept from both of my parents.  The trace of them is still there in the softness of the fabric, and the memory in my mind of the look on their faces when they wore them. Then there is the feel of the energy as I sleep in those softly worn flannel pajamas of my father or as I wear the red flannel robe of my mother on a chilly night.

When I look at the quilt that my grandmother made as it lies on my bed I can picture her farm worn hands clutching the needle and thread tightly as she sewed this special blanket for her granddaughter while saying her Methodist prayers and knowing that God was guiding her hands in every move.

They all have left a trace in this moment even though they may not have known that they would.   What trace are you leaving? One of peace, love, and compassion or fear, anger, and hate? Are you leaving a trace of bread crumbs and dirty dishes in the sink for someone else to clean up?  How about the trace of condemnation or anger in the hearts and minds of others?

Leave a trace
Fill the earth with love
Inspire the youth
Heal the sick with a prayer
Remember the poor
Leave a trace of love[1]

What trace are you leaving today?  Keep me posted.

In gassho,

ingassho

Shokai

 

[1] Inspired by the music of Michael Hoppe’s “Romances for Solo Piano.” Thank you Michael I am blessed by your love of music.

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