Living a LearningLife

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When I'm 64... I'm going to make some good inside moves

AndyGilatsNEW.bmpFrom Andrea Gilats, LearningLife director

I'm one of six kids, and would you believe? Half of us - and my dad to boot - were born in June. Two of us have wedding anniversaries in June, three of us "semi-retired" in June, and darned if all of us didn't graduate from high school in June! What's up?

June is a time of beginnings and endings and comings and goings - from graduations and weddings to retirements, relocations, and other ways of moving on. Whether we're on our way to a new life phase or to new work that has landed on our already-crowded desk (me!), I'm convinced that a few small inside moves can make larger moves easier. Try these five:

Take a breather. Who says you must have the next thing in place before the last thing is over? Give your mind and body and spirit some re-seeding space between chapters, even if your chapters are morning and afternoon of the same day.

Cut your caffeine in half. If you can't give up caffeine completely, half makes a huge difference. You'll be less stressed and more even-tempered, and your coffee will taste better. Or, how about some soothing green or white tea? If you're having tea with friends, definitely try Bigelow's Constant Comment.

Talk nice to yourself. Why should your inner dialogue be with the selves who aren't supportive, such as your inner critic or (even worse!) inner parent? The words you tell yourself about your worth, your talents and abilities, and your accomplishments will either limit or lift you. Allow your inside story to lift you up, especially as it enriches with time.

Laugh. Laughter is one of the most healing of all human reflexes. It lightens even the heaviest of hearts and chases fear away. Go to the Center for the Easily Amused, try to recall the last thing a parrot said to you, make up the world's shortest poem (try to beat Madam, I'm Adam by Ogden Nash), or if all those fail, laugh for no reason. Seriously.

Sleep on it. Everything looks better in the morning. It takes a full sleep cycle to shed stress or come to clarity about a decision or challenge. Rest renews our inner resources so that we're better able to cope, adapt, embrace new situations, and thrive through change.

Even when we don't get to choose the beginnings and endings and comings and goings we find ourselves in, we do get to choose our attitudes toward them. Life has taught me that the inside moves we make on our lives are at least as important as the outside ones. As we ripen, our finesse and timing only improve, so I'm counting on us to make some pretty good inside moves this June!

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