Life Tool Box: Anne Stock

Yesterday I wrote about my Life Tool Box.  I’m still thinking about the things in it, all the things that help me through life, that allow me to be me.

Some of the tools are real and physical like my Blackwing 602 pencils and plenty of paper to write on.  Some of them are physical like my copies of the Tao or “Think and Grow Rich”.  Others are books in electronic form that live inside my Kindle.  Some are the memories of people and the things they taught me.  Anne Stock was one of those people.

When I was a young teen, my parents would bring in Anne to babysit.  I was the oldest of the four (and later five) of us, but still a little too young to handle that many kids.  I was angry at first that they didn’t think I was grown up enough for the job, but that quickly changed to joy as I realized what having quiet time with Anne would mean to my life.  It was a blessing, a miracle, a treasure beyond belief.

After the other kids would go to bed, Anne and I would sit up and dream.  It started with the Sears Wish Book.  For those who don’t know what that was, the Sears mail order company put out a catalogue they called their Wish Book.  It was in full color and amazing.  Everything you could ever want was in there.  We’d thumb through page after page of items and imagine that we were buying them.  We didn’t stop at clothes, but included furniture, kitchen appliances, everything and anything in our wish list.

We didn’t just look at the pictures.  Anne taught me how to weave a narrative of what my future would be like.  Where and who I’d be.  What I’d be doing.  What I’d be wearing.  What my house looked like.

She taught me to visualize in great detail, and with emotion, what I wanted my life to be.  And it has become that.  Not in exact detail, of course.  I’m glad we’re still not wearing saddle shoes or white gloves and a hat when we leave the house.  But it came true in the spirit of my intentions.  Happiness mixed with occasional joy.  A comfortable house in a quiet, safe, pretty town.  Having fun with life.

What is remarkable is that I lived with a mentally ill mother who could be at times violent, always unpredictable, and inevitably denigrating.  I should have turned out to be a whimpering shell of a person, lacking self-esteem and being unable to trust or to love.

I turned out to be a confident woman, one who enjoys life, loves to laugh, loves to love, and who cares deeply for others.  So much of that comes from Anne Stock teaching me how to envision a better life than the one I was living.  I am so thankful that she was in my life when I needed her the most, during those teen years when I was trying to discover the adult me.

Who was your Anne Stock?

Pick Me Up – February 28

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

This is our entry into Becca’s, Nurturing Thursday.

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Life Tool Box?

We’re having fun kicking off our “It’s Never Too Late” class this week, getting to know each other.  In the course of responding to a comment, I wrote something about putting one of the techniques we’re learning into my Life Tool Box.  I didn’t realize I had a Life Tool Box until I typed those words, but my subconscious mind seems to have been collecting tools for quite a few years.

So now I’m challenging myself to think about what is in my tool box.

Books.  Lots and lots of books.

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill was one of the first philosophies I learned to live by as an adult.  I always have a copy of the original book in my book case.

Multiple copies of the Tao Te Ching, in many translations, including those by Ursula LeGuin and Stephen Mitchell.

Journalling, or doing Morning Pages if you’re familiar with Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”.  I journal every morning, and add more thoughts at the end of my day.  Been doing it for many years now.  I can always tell when there is something off in my world because I quit writing.  It’s a big warning sign that I’m out of alignment.

My favorite pencils, Palomino Blackwing 602s.  They are the best pencil in the world, and well worth the $2 each I pay for them.  Boldly stamped in gold on the side of each pencil are the words “Half the pressure, Twice the speed”.  They write smoothly, allowing you to ease off on your grip and write faster.

Absence of sad and depressing things.  Cee and I don’t watch the news.  We don’t watch TV shows that are downers, or deal with an apocalypse or nasty things like that.  Comedy that thinks it’s funny by denigrating others or relying on swear words to make a point.  We stay with uplifting ideas, heart-warming shows.  Yes, we’re sappy.  And proud of it.  Pollyanna?  Sure, why not?  I’d rather envision a happy world than anything else.  And for the most part, we live it.  Almost every day’s journal ends with “It’s been a great day.  Life is fun”

I live with so many powerful philosophical ideas that I’ve collected over the years.  It would be hard to list all of them.

Techniques like Pivoting, Segment Intending, Baby Steps and others, that allow me to reframe my experience.  One of the first things Cee ever taught me was how to turn the bad into good, followed closely by baby stepping, breaking things down into small parts instead of trying to be Practically Perfect in Every Way, which we know is reserved for Mary Poppins.

I’m going to keep thinking about what is in my Life Tool Box.  It’s fun to appreciate all the wisdom I’ve collected over the years.

What’s in your Life Tool Box?

Chris

Pick Me Up – February 27

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Pick Me Up – February 26

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Everything is Figureoutable

I am a big fan of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul Conversations podcasts.  For those who might not know Oprah, she’s an American talk show host and interviewer, writer, philanthropist, actor and, well, almost anything else you can think of.  She’s retired from television now and is doing her SuperSoul podcasts that are “

Oprah invited Marie Forleo to do a presentation called “Everything is Figureoutable”.  I love the philosophy and have included it in my Life Tool Kit.  I hope you like the video because Marie is a funny and captivating speaker.

Pick Me Up – February 25

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Pick Me Up – February 24

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Pick Me Up – February 23

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

This is something new we’re doing this year as part of our new focus.  The first thing is our “It’s Never Too Late” course.  This will be our second addition, a daily “Pick Me Up”.  It’s our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Do you have trouble eating?

It’s been a serious week with some deep and revealing discussions, so I thought I would tell a funny story and give all of us a break.  It’s a true story, but the details have been changed to protect the innocent, as they say on television.

Some years back I was working with a group of academics researching childhood depression, especially after divorce.  We had a set number of questions to ask elementary school children.  I was working with a darling little girl, very dainty but sure of herself.  She sat up straight and reflected seriously on each question before she answered with complete candor and amazing composure.

I asked about school, friendships, then moved into the realm of physical sensations and health.  I asked carefully constructed questions about sleep patterns, night fears, all that fun stuff.  Answer after answer, my little darling was cool, calm, collected and seemingly very well adjusted.

“Do you have trouble eating?”

Vigorous head nodding indicated an affirmative answer.  It was the first passionate response she had given me.

I repeated the question.  “Do you have trouble eating?”

“Yeth”, she said.  “See!”

She pointed to the gap in her smile where her baby teeth used to be.

Trouble eating, indeed.

Have a lovely weekend filled with sunshine, joy and laughter.  And no trouble eating.

Chris

 

Pick Me Up – February 22

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

This is something new we’re doing this year as part of our new focus.  The first thing is our “It’s Never Too Late” course.  This will be our second addition, a daily “Pick Me Up”.  It’s our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

It’s Never Too Late On-Line Course

I have sent out invitations for those of you who are taking the “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” – Online Course.  If you didn’t not get your invitation, please fill out the contact form with your email.

Our official start date is on Monday, February 25, so please get logged in and read about the Introduction week.

Thanks.

 

Pick Me Up – February 21

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

This is my entry for Becca’s, Nurturing Thursday Challenge.

This is something new we’re doing this year as part of our new focus.  The first thing is our “It’s Never Too Late” course.  This will be our second addition, a daily “Pick Me Up”.  It’s our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

I feel fine, and thank you for asking

Yesterday’s post on self-talk drew some heartfelt comments.  I can tell it touched a chord.  I’d like to continue the discussion.

If you haven’t read Na’ama’s story about the little girl who stops to check in with her body before answering a question about how she’s feeling, please jump back a day and read it.  That little girl has a valuable lesson to teach us all.

I’d like to tie that story in with the comment that colonialist made about how we report on our health as a moral value (good vs bad) instead of just responding with how we are actually feeling, like the little girl in Na’ama’s story.

We are so conditioned to come up with the right answer, aren’t we?

How are you?

What’s the right answer?  Do I play it safe and just say “okay” like I’m supposed to?  Do I speak my truth and alienate everyone around me who is having a good day?  What if I say the wrong thing and people give me that pitying look, or that bored look, or that “whatever” look? Why is this is so complicated? I want people to like me.   I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer.  I don’t want them to think I’m a whiner.  But if I don’t tell them the truth then I have to move and act like I have energy that I don’t have.  Why should I pretend to be happy just to make them feel comfortable?  No matter what I say they’re never going to understand anyway.  

Have you ever held a conversation like that in your head?  We are so programmed to have the right answer.  All of our advertising tells us how we should look and feel.  We can’t even answer a simple, “Hi, how are you doing?” without going through mental gyrations.  We have forgotten how to be simple and innocent, taking the question at face value, checking in with our bodies and answering with the facts.  At this moment, right now in this place, I feel (fill in your own blank).  It’s not an equation seeking to identify the statistical mean of every moment of our lives.  Right here, right now, in this moment, how do you feel?  No moral “good vs bad” judgment.  Just find a simple answer to a simple question.

I feel fine, and thank you for asking.

Love, peace, hugs and good health to all of you.

Chris

Pick Me Up – February 20

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

This is something new we’re doing this year as part of our new focus.  The first thing is our “It’s Never Too Late” book club.  This will be our second addition, a daily “Pick Me Up”.  It’s our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

Cee and I have done a lot of our own grief work over the years. We’ve gone from grieving, to surviving, to thriving. It’s a wonderful feeling. But for all of that, we found ourselves stuck in a funny kind of way. We were stuck in what I will call the Habit of Grief. When we do or think or say anything for too long, for too many times, our brains become hardwired, becoming what  we call our reality.

With Cee, we were always looking over our shoulders, waiting for another round of near-death struggles. (You can read her story here.) Even when we were as sure as we could be that she was beyond that, every time she coughed too much (Lymes had a lung component to it) or was too tired (as chronically ill people tend to be), we’d get ready for disaster. But disaster didn’t come.

We’d heave a big sigh and get on with things, all the while still subconsciously looking for the warning signs. Life was a constant repetition of breath holding followed by a big sigh then more breath holding. It’s not a fun way to live.

Now she’s healthy and we don’t need to do that. But how do we get out of the habit? By pivoting and practicing something new until it becomes old and “normal”.

Here’s a practical example. When someone would ask Cee how she was feeling, she’d say, “Not bad”.  Not bad. That implies not really good, either. Isn’t it at least one notch below “good”? Yet when I asked her what was wrong, she couldn’t find anything.

Me: “So, that means you’re good, right?”

Cee: (Reluctantly) “I guess so.”

Me: “So why not say that? Why not say you’re good?”

Cee: (Mumbling) “I don’t know.”

The reason she wasn’t able to say she was good was because she was used to saying she was bad. She was just used to it. It had become a mindset, a hard-wired-in-her-brain mindset. It had become her reality and she wasn’t even aware of it.

We’ve made it a practice to change those two little negative words, “not bad”, to a positive life-affirming word, “good”. It’s made a huge amount of difference in how she views her world.  Now she’s proud to announce with a big smile, “I’m healthy.”

Hugs and peace,

Chris

 

Pick Me Up – February 19

Feel free to add your own contribution to “Pick Me Up” by sharing a link to a similar post on your blog.

This is something new we’re doing this year as part of our new focus.  The first thing is our “It’s Never Too Late” book club.  This will be our second addition, a daily “Pick Me Up”.  It’s our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

email: cee@cee-chris.com

“It’s Never Too Late” – Class full


Our new class, “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again”, is full.  

Does anyone else see the irony in that?  It turns out it is too late, at least to get in on this session.

We’re putting names on the wait list for the next class.  Click here to fill in the form and we’ll contact you when the next class is ready to kick off.

Thank you for your interest!