Cards can be the window to the soul

One of my favorite sweet treats is to send or give cards showing people how much I appreciate them.

To be honest, I really enjoy reading good cards.  It is fun for me to thumb through cards in a store and read the messages, thinking about friends that would appreciate the humor or the quote.  Sometimes I will buy cards that really speak to me and put them on my desk just for a little bit of self-care.

So it was a sweet-treat for me today to browse through the cards while I was waiting to meet a friend for lunch. 

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Beauty Parlor Friendships

When I was 15 years old, one of my friends from high school introduced me to her hairdresser. Any woman who has had a bad haircut or perm knows the value of a trusted hairdresser!  Even greater than having an awesome hairdresser is the ritual of going to the hairdresser with my friend.  We have shared lunches, laughter, tears, and plenty of style over in that salon. I have followed her to different locations and salons.

30 years later I still go to see the same women to do my hair.  So does my friend. We might have started going as teenagers but every time my friend is in town we still go to meet there to get our hair done. For me, true friendships have blossomed in the simple everyday habits of life. Even though our problems may be more complicated, the way we solve them is still the same, talking under the hairdryer.  These visits are so special because they give us time to connect in beautiful, girly and fun ways.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Young people can be so insightful

 Volunteering in my community has always been important to me.  It allows me to feel that I am giving back to organizations and communities that have helped to shape who I have become. As part of my volunteer work, I have got involved with my alumni association by helping the undergraduate admissions office interview high school seniors who are interested in attending my alma mater. 

During the month of January, I interview students that are applying to Northwestern.  It has been one of my favorite ways of giving back.  Over the years I have interviewed so many interesting and innovative young people.  It is amazing to see how they are using technology as part of their high school projects and volunteer activities. 

It is also inspiring, a great reminder that young people can have fresh ideas about how to revolutionize ways of thinking.  Looking at new ways to share information is always a sweet moment in my book.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Sharing meals with a friend during a silent retreat

Sharing a meal is one of my greatest pleasures.  Eating with someone else is always more fun than eating alone.  I seem to find many different ways to find share meals with people that I love.  Today I participated in a one-day silent retreat.  There was one hour for lunch but they recommended that we bring lunch so we could have time to reflect on the morning without going out into the busy world.

I contacted one of my good friends who was also attending the retreat to see if she wanted to share a meal.  I love meal sharing.  We each bring part of the meal and share.  It makes for twice as much yum and half the work.

I brought black beans and she brought salad greens and brown rice.  Each of us made one thing but all of a sudden we had a wonderful meal, with more than enough to share (which we did with other participants).  She even surprised me with fresh mango for dessert. Delish!

I recommend meal sharing for co-workers and friends.  It is a way to eat healthy and share new ideas about food.  It is really fun too!  Community makes healthy eating fun!

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Yoga is the way

This morning I got the most surprising text message from my brother:  he asked me about yoga! 

Growing up, my brother and I were always jocks.  We loved sports. We have always been involved with sports every season.  It was a shared interest and one of the ways we bonded.

18 years ago I started practicing yoga.  It has become one of my passions.  I love doing it for the physical challenge but I also love the spiritual grounding it gives me.  I have often joked with my brother about how yoga is essential for championship mentality and physical strength, citing the Chicago Bulls 3 peat (between 1991-1998).  The Chicago Bulls coach, Phil Jackson, required that the team practice yoga as part of their workout regime.

Anyway, my brother never seemed to show any interest in trying yoga himself.  But today I got a text saying that he went to a yoga class and he was asking questions about how yoga influences mental states like irritation.  He said he needed to do more yoga in the future. 

I was so happy!  I love sharing things that help me with the people I love.  Yoga has helped me to be more focused, calm and physically toned.  I never push things I love on people so it is always a gift when they come to it on their own. 

I know that just because he sent me one text doesn’t mean he will become a yogi like me but three years ago he wasn’t planning to become vegan either - and now he is!

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Champions come in all shapes and colors. It is their courage that earns them the title champion.

As each persons’ name is called you can see the pride on their face as they go up and get they medal.  Some are tall and thin others short and chubby.  Every color of the rainbow.  These are the 2016 champions of the Capital Area American Diabetes Associations calling their fundraisers and volunteers champions.  As I watched them getting recognized, they all looked like champions to me. 

I am a technically a champion too since I have been volunteering for the ADA for the last 4 years too.  The difference is that I don’t have diabetes.  Many of the champions are diabetics or their lives have been totally changed by the disease of diabetes. 

So as they are recognized for their contributions in raising money for diabetes research there is a pride that you can see in their faces and the way they carry themselves. It is a beautiful thing to witness.  They are finding ways to be part of the solution to a problem that has changed their life.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Falling off Balance is a Gift

One of the things that I look for in my yoga practice is an instructor that incorporates spiritual teachings as well as the asanas, physical poses, in their classes.  Today in class my instructor, Neva Ingalls, made a comment that I thought is so relevant to life.  As we were working on a pose in which we were standing on one leg.  She said, "the only way to maintain balance is to fall off balance sometimes"

I thought it was such a profound statement. We don’t truly learn how to be balanced in our life until we are knocked off balance and have to get balanced again.  This happens all the time.  Let me give you an example that has perhaps happened to you.  Have you ever successfully started a new dietary plan and then you hit an obstacle?  If you are able to get back onto your plan, then that means you have a balanced plan.  If you falter and cannot get back, then you were probably not balanced in your plan in the first place.

Not many people actually like to be off balance or fall down.  However, falling off balance is one of the best way to see if we have created a sound plan in the first place.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Laughing with Mom is the Best Medicine

One of my favorite things to do is laugh.  What a release!  Have you ever noticed that there are certain people that have great laughs?  Laughs that make you want to laugh with them.  My mom has one of those laughs.  When she laughs, when she really lets herself have her full laugh, her whole body gets involved and it is totally contagious!

Today, I had the chance to have one of those special laughing moments with my mom.  She and I were watching something on TV and it made us laugh.  It struck her as so funny and before long, I was laughing too.  We couldn’t stop! It was wonderful: so much fun and healing too.  Here is an article about the healing power of laughter.

When is the last time you had a belly-aching laugh attack?  Call one of your funniest friends and see if you can have another laugh like that.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Creating Understanding

Today I was working with a team of people that don’t have the same stake in a particular project that is really important to me.   It was a real challenge to convince them why this project is important not just to me but to our whole community. 

My sweet moment came when I realized that just because the importance of something seems 100% obvious to me, it doesn't mean that everyone else is going to see it the same way.  This made me clearer about my intention for what I want to share.  The clearer I can be with my message, the easier it will be to find people who will embrace it and help get it out into the world.

This is one of those sweet moments that doesn’t necessarily feel good but is really important to my personal growth.  I am grateful for it!

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

The clean slate for 2017

Today in church we were given a white (blank) stone. Our pastor told us we would know what to do with it by the end of the sermon.

Later she asked us this question, “what would your transformed life look like?”   She wanted us to think about all the characteristics we would need to truly have a sweet life.

Once we had our list she asked us to pick just one that sums up the essence of what we would need to be transformed.  This one word was then written on the white stone.  It was a powerful exercise to guide our decisions for 2017.

Not surprisingly my word was sweet!  Until I have mastered the sweet life, I am going to stick with that intention. One of the most important things I have learned is that persistence pays off.  Being persistent with my intention to really have a sweet life has brought me more and more joy over time.

What would your word be? Share it with me on Facebook or twitter.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Tweetable:  Until I have mastered the sweet life I am going to stick with that intention

To Find Beauty in Things....

My favorite weather is hot, hot, hot!! So you can image how I feel about a 20-degree day.  The saving grace of this day was the light fluffy snow that wafted down for a few hours on this cold Saturday afternoon.

There is a gift we give ourselves when we can see beauty in things that we are not generally fond of.  It was beautiful!  It was quiet! It was peaceful! It reminded me to relax and slow down during this first weekend of the year.  So I just turned up the heat, put another log on the fireplace (really, asked my honey to put another log on the fireplace!) and found a way to enjoy the cold weather and have a beautiful moment at the same time!

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Sweet Moment Tweetable:  There is a gift we give ourselves when we can see beauty in things that we are not generally fond of. 

Wrong direction, right scenery

Do you ever use the GPS system when you are driving around neighborhoods you know?  Do you ever get annoyed when it tries to take you a new way when you know your old way is better?  Why do we do that to ourselves?

Well, I turned on my GPS then started getting irritated when it wanted to take me a different way but something inside of me said either turn it off or go with it and try a different way! What a concept! I was not in a rush so I took the way the GPS showed me.  Guess what?! I liked that new way better.

It took me through the park  (that’s Rock Creek Park for people not from DC).  Of course I was only in the park for 2 minutes but it was two scenic minutes that I have been missing for months. 

 

So surrendering to a new way of doing things gave me extra joy and brought a truly sweet moment.  Sometimes instead of being annoyed and holding onto old ways, we should be willing to try a new direction.  It can really pay off.

And by the way, I got there 2 minutes faster.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

What A Rush! Getting back in the Work Saddle

work career.jpg

After being on break for about 4 weeks for the Christmas and New Year holiday, I’m back to work.  Today is the first time I gave a health lecture in a month and guess what?  I loved it!  It was so much fun!  I had the opportunity to speak in front of a small live audience and I was broadcast around the country to four other sites. 

I always get a rush out of speaking to people that are interested in what I am interested in.  It is so great to see people get excited about ideas they can implement to make their lives better. 

Vacation is awesome!  I will never turn one down.  But it is awesome to come back to work and be just as excited to do what I love!  To be excited about vacation and equally excited about work makes for a very sweet life.  What is it that you love?

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Tweetable:  It is beautiful to do something you love for the fun of it! Getting paid is just a bonus

I just called to say I love you

Last night I had to make a difficult decision to terminate the contract of a team member.  The decision had been weighing on me for a few weeks.  After a night of little sleep again I woke up to this decision.  Even though it is the right decision for my business I was saddened to stop working with a talented teammate.  So I was feeling sad. 

I sent a message to my business advisor to let them know and I started working on my daily schedule.  By 9:15 I received a call from my business advisor who opened with the conversation with, “I’m proud of you. Sometimes the right decision doesn’t feel good.”  It was the best thing I could have heard.

For me, the sweet moment was having a loving friend and advisor letting me know she was right with me in a difficult and grow time.  Right now the sweet moment might not feel good but it was still part of a sweet life.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Tweetable – the best friends are the ones in the moments you are feeling low and remind you who you are!

 

Our Moods are Like Clouds they can pass if we let them

This morning I woke up at 4:30 am and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  So when my alarm went off at 6:30 I was groggy and not wanting to leave wonderful warmth of the bed.  So I hit snooze causing me to be late for my meeting and I ended up missing the chance to grab breakfast.  I glanced at my calendar only to notice that my morning appointment was pushed to the afternoon reorganizing my entire day as I walked out to a rainy cold day.  All of this before 7am.

You can see how this day is going and my mood was not good.  I was frustrated, annoyed and tired and I was thinking this will not be a good day.

Then the most amazing thing happened.  I walked into my meditation group and everyone was smiling and coming over to hug me.  My mood instantly changed.  I took on a peace that was not there the moment before.

It reminded me of a saying my mom shares with me often, are emotions are like the clouds the can fly away and change moment to moment.  Our true selves are like the sky which is always there constantly day or night.

The sweet moment for the day is to remember that I have the power to change my emotion.  I just have to decide to change it.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

Creating A Bright Spot On a Cloudy Day

One of the best things to do on a cold winter day is to cuddle up and watch a movie.  What’s more fun than that?  Well, to watch it with one of your best girlfriends!

Watching movies has always been one of my favorite afternoon treats.  I used to watch them weekly as a form of relaxation. But since I have started my practice I am lucky if I see four or five movies a year.  I see the trailers and I think to myself - I am definitely going to see that next week - and the next time I think about it, it’s no longer in the theater.  Bottom line, I never seem to make time for them anymore.

Are you like me? Do you have a fun hobby that you have given up?  Something you used to love but somehow can never make time for anymore?

We all need to find time to do something we really enjoy.  It is even better if you can do it with friends.  Are you ready to make a date to take back one of your favorite hobbies?  When will you put it back into your schedule?

I did it today, watching two movies with my girlfriend on a cold rainy afternoon. It was beautiful. We cried and laughed out loud like two teenage girls. It was perfect because high school is where we met. Such a sweet moment and so much fun.

Set up yours in the next week.  You will be glad you did.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

 

Sweet moments – a walk in the VA national park

 

Today is the first day of the year and I am on vacation!  I wake up in a beautiful bed and breakfast, and my honey and I are greeted by the sounds and smells of fresh homemade ginger and molasses scones.  Today is an easy day to have a sweet life, I am relaxed, at peace and I have no agenda for the day.

 

These scones are some of the best pastries  I have ever had!  I could choose this as my sweet moment and finish the post right here  - but I won’t.

The sweet moment I choose came later in the day.

We are traveling back to DC and driving past a national park when we make a spontaneous decision to take a short hike because the weather is beautiful.  It is 15 degrees warmer than the day before so it feels almost balmy, around 60 degrees, even with the cool wind that blows gently from time to time.  We decide to take advantage of this beautiful day and walk up to a scenic point on the top of the hill.

I have to admit the steep incline makes me short of breath and I have the fleeting thought: will I make it up this hill?  Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all!  I quickly let that thought go because it feels so good to be moving my body as we climb the hill.

We get to the top and just sit quietly for ten minutes, looking out to the vast horizon.  As we sat on the bench looking out over the valley I took a moment to realize that there was a time when I would never have taken a hike on winter day, not because I was worried about my physical strength (I’ve always been an athlete) but because I was afraid of being cold or uncomfortable.  I have learned to love moving my body more than being afraid of the cold.  Putting on an extra layer of clothes, taking my winter coat and hat even when everyone else isn’t wearing one, solves my cold problem and my body thanks me for it.

My thoughts return to the present. I’m back on the hillside smiling at my accomplishment and the beauty that I  see just because I was willing to get out on a winter day.  A kind man sees me struggling to take a selfie and comes to the rescue to take a picture of this moment for us to remember.  We walk back down feeling so happy for our beautiful walk in nature and the cool air. 

It was a sweet moment for so many reasons: I moved, I shared the moment with someone loved, I was out in nature, I took deep, delicious breaths of fresh air.  I felt so relaxed and had done something beautiful and nourishing.  I started out the year doing things that I love.

To Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae

 

How do you live your one sweet life?

During my time on this wondrous thing called planet earth, I have learned that a sweet life is made of sweet moments; moments where we savor the goodness, happiness, the joy and gifts that life has to offer us.  The more that we can find these sweet moments in our everyday lives the sweeter our lives becomes. 

Jean Paul Sartre, philosopher, writer and Nobel peace prize winner said, "Everything has been figured out except how to live."

 For me, to live a sweet life is to commit to looking for and finding those sweet moments in each and every day no matter what is happening around me.

Here is what I know is true:  having a sweet life is easy on the great days; holidays, birthdays and days when things are running smoothly, you know, the days when the sun is shining and you find a five-dollar bill in your back pocket. The Sweet life is not so easy on the tough days when it feels like the world is overwhelmingly hard and unrelenting, when it seems that failure is the only thing you are good at.  These are the days when finding those sweet moments is hard but they are precisely the days when finding the sweet moments is so crucial.

I am dedicating this year (and every year hereafter) to figuring out the secrets of finding our one sweet life. Come along with me on my journey to find the sweet moments in every day.  Discover your own sweet moments and your own sweet life along the way. 

I guarantee you it will be an adventure that will be more fulfilling than you can ever imagine.

Join me on the journey to reveal Your One Sweet Life,

Dr. Dae