Reflection

Do Your Friends and Family Feel Valued?

On a recent walk, a new friend approached the subject of my book. She had recently read it and offered some great suggestions regarding what she thought was an untapped audience for me.

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Later that evening while texting her, I told her that I appreciated her input. She wrote back to me and simply said, “Thank you for always making me feel acknowledged and important.”

Dog comforting cat

There is a commercial on TV where people with psoriasis (a skin disease) simply say, “See me.” It occurred to me that the simple act of being in tune and paying attention to others is so important. It is not enough to simply hear and value what they say, but more importantly to tell them how much we appreciate their views and opinions.

hand-to-ear-listening

When you talk with your children or grandchildren, are you paying attention with half an ear? Are you listening to them while texting a friend? When you were a child, did the adults in your life give you their full attention? Or were they watching a TV show or peering over a newspaper while you spoke? When you meet a friend to see a movie or shop are you ALWAYS checking your phone?

There have been so many studies researching what children really need from their parents. As it turns out, children don’t need more games or toys, but quality time spent with mom and dad. I don’t believe this pertains solely to kids. At all ages we want the people we spend time with to be in the moment with us.

Dr. Phil mentioned on a TV episode that he recently had lunch with a friend who was constantly checking his phone during their time together. After a short period of time, in total frustration, Dr. Phil stood up to leave. He told his friend that clearly the person on the phone was more important than he was. He finished by saying; “When you want to spend time with me, let me know.” And then he left.

couple-texting

The next time you are at a friend’s house put your phone in your purse or jacket. The next time you spend the day with your children or grandchildren refrain from texting your friends and encourage them to do the same. Truly, is there anything more important than paying attention to the people in your presence who have chosen to spend their time with you?

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family.  #mindfulness, #appreciation, #gratitude, #kindness.

Why Is It So Hard?

We all have pet peeves. My biggest one is when I hear someone say they aren’t doing something that they really want to, because it is too hard. Why is hard the criteria for finishing school, changing careers, leaving a bad marriage, losing weight, exercising more and so on?

When my son was in the third grade and whined to me that math was too hard, I am pretty sure I encouraged him to study more. I know for a fact I didn’t say, “Hey no problem, just quit.” When my grandson first started playing basketball and found it difficult to run and dribble the ball at the same time, instead of quitting he made the choice to practice until he mastered it. Why? Because it was really important to him to play.

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Personally, if I used ‘this is too hard” as a gauge, I would be writing this blog by pen. It was NOT easy to learn how to use an IBM typewriter (look it up) in high school. I would also still be using a rotary phone, or at least a flip phone. Also, I know for a fact that I would still be adjusting the rabbit ears (Google it) on my TV instead of mastering several remote controls to navigate my DVR and stream channels.

The reality: Life is hard. We must work for most of the things we truly value. I am sure the first time you learned to ski; play tennis; bowl; ride a bike or drive, it was hard. Did that really stop you from moving forward?

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Perhaps we need to utilize a different criteria when deciding how to live our lives. Take the word “hard” out of the equation. Try saying, “This isn’t what I want.” Or, “This isn’t worth my time.” Or, “This isn’t something I value.” Chances are these sentiments do not define your feelings. We really do want to achieve the task. We just believe it to be too hard. Perhaps if we said, “Even though this is hard, I want it so I will work for it.” Or, “Even though this is hard, it is worth my time.” Or, “Even though this is hard, because I value it, I will work and study.”

Those who realize their dreams and goals are willing to put in the time. My sister-in-law spent a year working on a yoga pose called Crow or Wheel. She did the pose in class for the first time when I was visiting her. I was so happy to be there to see her smile as the entire class applauded her achievement. There is NO question, it was hard. Another friend made a choice to live a healthier lifestyle. She changed her diet and joined a gym. Easy? I doubt it. Worth it? You should see how great she looks and how good she feels.

crow-pose

Don’t see things that are hard as deal breakers. See seem as a challenge that you can overcome. Sometimes you will be successful, sometimes you won’t. Truly, how will you know if you don’t even try? After all, isn’t that what we tell our children?

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. 

Is There Always a Silver Lining?

It wasn’t an easy decision. I love playing tennis and I love the gals I play with. Unfortunately tennis DOES NOT like my knee. I am waiting for results of an MRI to see if surgery could be a solution for me. For months I have played, iced, elevated and limped just to start the cycle again. This morning I came to the conclusion that I need to stop playing tennis. It isn’t easy to give up things we love.

tennis-girl

I have always been very active. Mostly I have engaged in sports. Throughout the years, the pounding on my body has caused me to modify my #lifestyle. I gave up skiing years ago. I now walk instead of run. I sold my bicycle and spend more time swimming. Because exercise and competitive sports are important to me, I always find something to fill the void.

When I am feeling down, I take a walk. On my walks I think about my life and come to terms with the changes that accompany the aging process. So when a bird decided to crap on my favorite sweatshirt this evening, I literally became unglued. After yelling obscenities at this flying toilet, I decided to put my situation into perspective. It is, after all, what I do. I am always looking for the silver lining.

silver-lining

While I was nurturing my pity party, I started to focus on how this could have been worse. This was not easy as I was a mile away from home with dozens of trees to navigate. My thoughts: I could have been wearing a short-sleeved shirt. The bird could have aimed toward my head, and so on.

bird-in-a-tree

Most of us will experience changes during our lifetime. Loss is a part of life. This pertains to the people and pets that we love, as well as the activities we enjoy. I have a friend who is losing her eyesight and no longer drives. I know someone else who recently had a stroke and now relies on the aid of a walker.

My days spent downhill skiing and participating in 10K runs will be lived through pictures I have and memories I have amassed. The ladies I met while playing tennis have become new friends even though we no longer meet on the court.

There is no question that if we live long enough we will need to adjust and accept certain #limitations, hopefully with #grace. It is most important that we continue to learn, grow and find new activities to enjoy with passion. Whether gardening, reading, leisurely walks, games with friends or catching a movie; I am certain that I will continue to explore new activities.

Think about your own life. Do you spend your time depressed over what you don’t have or have lost? Try accepting this: Change can be interesting and even enjoyable when you take a different path, even if that path wasn’t your intention.

walking-path

Go find the silver lining in your life. It is what I intend to do in mine!

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. #silverlining, #positivechanges, #healthychoices,#inspiration,

 

What is Really Important in our Lives?

I had arranged to have professional pictures taken of my son, daughter-in-law and grandson. We met at a local park that has rolling green grass and a white picket fence…a beautiful setting for this event.

park-and-white-fence

The four of us hammed it up as the camera continuously clicked. We mixed it up by taking turns as mother and son, grandson and grandma, and various other combinations. We laughed, played and just enjoyed the time together.

When I was growing up, pictures were processed at a studio where we would spend a fortune to get prints. In this generation, a small thumb drive containing all the pictures is inserted into a laptop for easy upload.

When we finished the 30 minute shoot, I took my laptop out of my car and laid it on the trunk. The external hard drive was attached to my computer by cable. After our photographer completed the upload and left us, my laptop began to slip off the car. While the laptop was saved, the hard drive went crashing to the ground. This relatively thin plastic device was no match for the asphalt parking lot.

crash-laptop

All four of us were now looking at three pieces that used to be one. The first words out of my mouth were, “Oh crap, my entire world was just lost!” (I am pretty sure I cleaned up my language since my grandson was present.) Without missing a beat my son said, “Mom, your entire world is still right here.” He was obviously referring to himself and the rest of our family.

It didn’t take me long to put this incident in perspective. Files can be retrieved. Pictures can be reproduced through I Cloud or whatever other devices on which we save important documents. Friends, family, our pets are what should be called our world as they cannot be replaced.

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We went on to have dinner, talk about our week and enjoy our time together. I went home pressed the hard drive parts together and used duct tape to keep it closed. This solution worked, and I was pleased. I then looked at the pictures we had taken which made me smile. The take away: Toys, objects and souvenirs are all replaceable. Keep life in perspective and don’t sweat the small stuff. This was a reminder to me to do just that!

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments. #cherishyourlovedones, #keepliveinperspective, #don’tsweatthesmallstuff.

How Important Is It To Face Our Fears?

This past weekend, at a tournament, I was given the opportunity to talk in front of 50 women about my book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick.

public-speaking

One of the chapters in my book is entitled Don’t Make Decisions Based on Fear. One of my top fears is public speaking. Knowing that I would be nervous, have cottonmouth and sweaty palms, I spent a week writing and rewriting what I would say. I started with a large pad of paper and then worked my way down to 36 3X5 cards.

Throughout the week I chopped away at my 36 cards until I had the main points I wanted to make down to 19 cards. A friend encouraged me to reduce it further to 8 cards and just put a few words on each to help me stay on point. When all was said and done I had 12 cards in my hand.

I practiced in the mirror. I practiced by talking into my phone and listening to my voice. I practiced in front of my two dogs. They didn’t exactly look impressed with what I had to say.

beagle-pups

The night before the event, several friends gave me advice: Take water so your mouth isn’t dry. Don’t read from your notes, speak from your heart. Find a friendly face in the crowd. My personal favorite, relax and be yourself. The reason this is my favorite is because I am not a relaxed person, and in these kinds of situations I tend to look for the exit sign.

About 15 minutes before I was to be introduced to these lovely ladies, Sally (one of the women I was assisting at the tournament) bought my book. She told me that throughout the morning she had found me easy to talk with and confidant, so she was therefore interested in reading my book. I thanked her and confided to her that I was nervous. She simply said, “You will be fine.”

With two minutes left before I was to speak, Sally asked me how many books I wanted to sell. I told her I thought 10% of the total amount of people there would be a reasonable expectation.

I started my talk by admitting that one of the chapters in my book was facing fears.   I then went on to say that one of my fears was talking in front of a large group. I looked around the room as I said; “I am choosing to push past it by talking to you today about my book 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick.” 

I saw many in the audience with encouraging smiles. The next few minutes flew by as I relaxed my body, and spoke from the heart.

I am grateful to everyone who gave me the encouragement to face this fear.   I am a firm believer that there are many kind and unselfish people in this world. I am most grateful to Sally, who had been a virtual stranger only hours before, for once again confirming this to me. And yes, she got me a little over 10% in book sales that day.

Although I will be nervous next week when I speak in front of a group at a Yoga Studio, I know I will be fine. I had proven to myself that this is something I can do even with sweaty palms and cottonmouth.

Women practicing yoga in a class

Women practicing yoga in a class

What about you? Do you allow your fears to prevent you from doing something you truly want to do? If so, check out my book 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick. Through awareness of how and why we react the way we do you will make healthier changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve interpersonal relationships. There is much to gain and little to lose.

You can buy the printed or e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

 

Is The Third Chapter Of My Life As Important As The First Two?

A good friend of mine has been telling me for months to watch a movie that was released in 1996. It is called Mother starring Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds. I finally got around to watching it on Netflix yesterday.

For those of you who weren’t born yet, or are too old to remember, the premise of the movie is this:

Two grown sons have a rather unhealthy relationship with their mother.  The older son (Brooks) is an author of several books who has unhealthy relationships with women in general. He blames his mother for this and, consequently, is at odds with her. Determined to learn why he and ‘mom’ are always fighting, he moves back home, recreates his teenage bedroom and spends all of his time with her to get to know his mother better.

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More than halfway through the movie he finds several boxes of short stories that his mother had written in her youth. He sits on his bed and begins to read them. When she comes home and sees him reading her personal works, she becomes very angry with him. He can’t understand why she is so upset, and she can’t understand why he is even interested in reading something from so long ago.

It is when he says, “Mother, I never knew you liked to write. I never knew you had this creative side”, that the movie becomes really interesting to me. This is mostly because I spend so much time thinking about what makes us ‘tick’. In other words, why do we act the way we do and make the choices we do. The biggest impact on me was when the mother said to her son, “I had a life before you; I had dreams of what I wanted to be.” This prompted me to think about the goals and dreams many of us put aside to raise a family and handle all of life’s demands.

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The son begins to realize that his mother has built up resentments toward him because he lived his dream and she didn’t live hers. In a very emotional and heartwarming way, he holds her hand and expresses his discovery to her. She then gives him a loving look and says, “You are right, dear.” Big Hug for them; lots of tissues for me.

Mother and Son Hugging

In the last scene:

He packs up his belongings and goes back to his life feeling satisfied that he has a better understanding of his mother, their relationship and himself. We see him get into his car, and we see the mother sit down at the word processor (remember this was 1996), with a smile on her face as she once again begins to write.

The take-away: The third chapter of your life is as important as the first two. Don’t just walk through it. You were someone before you became a parent, and you are someone after your children have leave the nest. Live each day with purpose, passion and joy! No matter what your age, you have much to live, experience and learn!

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do. This in turn helps us make healthier changes that will ultimately give us the perspective needed to improve interpersonal relationships. There is much to gain and little to lose.

You can buy the printed or e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Take Time To Enjoy The Game!

I have been attending my grandson’s basketball games for almost seven years now. I go to support him. I go because I love to watch the game. I go because it inspires me to see kids grow from the experience of team sports. But I mainly I go to watch these youngsters truly enjoy themselves.

Basketball

The thing that impresses me most about many of the kids is their commitment to playing each point as if the championship was on the line. Often, with minutes left to play and their team losing by more points than they could possible make up, the kids continue to give 100 percent. It amazes me how intently they concentrate on each play.

I believe we can learn a lot from these children.    Take a look at your own life. Whether it is your job, your relationship or an activity, what percent do you give? Parents often tell their children that they can achieve anything they want if they simply apply themselves. It has taken me six decades to believe these words.

Against all odds, I wrote a book and it has been published. When I started the journey, my main commitment was that I would give 100 percent of myself. And I did. Whether I sell 100 copies or a million (I do like that number) I know that I did my best work and that is good enough.

Don’t let anyone discourage you from fulfilling your passion and living your dream. When it comes to the important things in your life, remember to treat them as if the championship was on the line. You won’t regret it!

BASKETBALL-IN-VS-DUKE

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments

What Kind Of Person Do You Want To Be?

Do these words ever come out of your mouth? “He made me do that”? Or, “She made me feel guilty”? Or, “I was forced to say what I said because of someone else?”

bergen vent.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, do you ever feel that another person is the reason that you react the way you do? Do you excuse your own behavior by placing the blame on anyone and anything except yourself?

I believe most of us have the ability to control two things with regard to our own behavior. What goes in and what comes out of our mouths.

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For the past several years I have been in a situation where I have needed to deal with someone who does not share many of my values nor my way of handling challenges and commitments. Because of this I have, on more occasions than I would care to admit, found myself saying things that I normally just wouldn’t say.

It doesn’t matter the circumstances. It doesn’t matter what my frustrations and disappointments are. What does matter is that I allowed another person to affect who I am. And that is NOT okay with me.

I want to share my thought processes as to how I have chosen to work through what has become a battle that I would never have entered into previously. The first thing I did was play many different scenarios in my head. I then wrote a potential blog that I did not filter. I read and reread it many times. I then shared it with a couple of close friends.

My writing was emotional. My writing was angry. My writing wasn’t who I am, although it was how I was feeling. After I finished reading my words several times, I shredded the page. What did I gained from this exercise…I can now look at this situation with more clarity and less emotion.

Do not change who you are to accommodate others. Don’t allow a bad experience to alter how you handle sticky situations.

This bears repeating: Do not give your power to someone else. At the end of the day, we all need to look in the mirror and feel good about who we are, how we handle our behavior and who we strive to be.

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My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

You can buy the e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

or get a printed copy mid-summer when it is released.

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

What Can I Say That Will Help a Friend Deal With Loss?

I just received a heart-wrenching email from a friend of several decades. She asked me to give her any words of wisdom that could help her cope with the impending death of her beloved husband of 35 years.

I have had the privilege of watching the two of them work through challenges, raise children, and build a wonderful life together. After they retired, they traveled and they basked in the love of several beautiful grandchildren. They accomplished these things as a couple.   My friend has shared a bed and a home with this man for more than three quarters of her life. And now it is unimaginable for her that he will no longer be here and that she will be alone.

Lonely Lady

Words of wisdom? There aren’t any. I do however feel somewhat guilty that I am envious of her. She is suffering and she is scared. What could I possibly be envious of, you ask?

To have this level of loss means that she has experienced a level of love that most of us can only dream about. To experience a great love is a gift. Most of us can only hope that we find the one person who will laugh at the same silly things, cry together when facing sadness, and have each other’s back when the world seems like a scary place. Not for a day. Not for a week. But for a lifetime.

There are no words of wisdom. No one can say anything magical to lessen the pain. No one can do anything to make the loneliness go away. All we can do for each other is be a loving, supportive, soft place to land.

gray tabby kitten cat rubbing up against a golden retriever puppy dog in grass in a garden scene with pink flowers behind them.

During our lifetime, if we are truly blessed and extremely lucky, we will find that one special person who is the love of our life.

My dear friend has found this. And now she must find a way to say goodbye. She needs to find the strength to live her life without Larry. And she will. Life will be much sadder for a while. Life will be much lonelier for a while. The truth is, she will never totally heal from the pain she is now feeling.

Hopefully within time her children her grandchildren her friends and the memories that she and her husband have shared will bring her joy and comfort.

I am sure if you were to ask both of my friends what they would advise other people to do, it would be to laugh and play more. Let go of the small stuff. Keep an open heart. In other words be happy.

Cheerful senior couple blowing bubbles in park

We are given a very short time on this earth. Make the most of it while you can. Let go of grudges. Be less angry. Be kinder. It doesn’t matter what the next guy does. Hold yourself up to a higher standard.

We don’t get to choose how and when we die. We do however get to choose how we live and how we love!

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

You can buy the e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

or get a printed copy mid-summer when it is released.

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Why Is It Important to Take Inventory Of Our Lives?

There probably isn’t one person walking the face of the earth that hasn’t experienced sadness, disappointment or hardship. It comes with the territory of living. Conversely, I am confident these same people have experienced great joy and blessings.

A few months ago my son and daughter-in-law received a text from their 12 years-old that no parent ever wants to get. It read, “My school is on lock-down, we are on the floor with the lights off. I am so scared. I love you.” Thank God this ended well as the threat to the school was a prank.

A very close friend lost a nephew due to a drug over-dose. Another has a brother who is in and out of the hospital with one emergency or another. And if that isn’t enough, another close friend experienced a fall that is causing her much distress and discomfort.

My purpose isn’t to be depressing. It is to illustrate that we all have people in our lives that are going through trying times.

On the upside, my family and friends recently joined together to celebrate my grandson’s Bar Mitzvah when he turned 13. This summer I will be attending several weddings and meeting a close friend’s granddaughter for the first time. I am also in the process of achieving several goals that I set for myself several years ago.

Why is it important to take inventory of the good, the bad and the ugly? To get perspective. There are many sayings and poems that attest to this. A few that come to mind are “You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain”, “Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful” and “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.

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It is very easy to let life bring us down, but it isn’t always easy to find the courage and fortitude to keep going when bad things happen to us our family and friends.

I handle life’s struggles this way: When I hear that someone has died, I wish him or her a safe journey. I then think about the birth of a baby. This helps me cope with the cycles of life.

cute-sleeping-baby

Next time life throws bad things your way; remember that life also provides stunning sunsets, awesome mountains, children laughing and beautiful moments.

sunsets

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

You can buy the e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Or get a printed copy mid-summer when it is released.

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.