Self-awareness

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.

 boys-bedroom-bedroom-ideas-for-teenage-boys-kids-bedroom-ideas-for-teenage-guy

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.

baby-birds-1

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.

fairy-princess-dog-halloween-costume-1

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.

 

On Which Side Of Life Do You Look?

I tend to be that person who rolls out of bed in a good mood. I don’t just start walking slowly, I get up running full-throttle.   (Some of my friends find this obnoxious.) This morning however I felt anxious, overwhelmed and a bit blue.

When I got into the car to run errands, I found myself getting into a funk as I became increasingly impatient with the other drivers on the road. At the point where I came close to leaning on my car horn, I decided instead to turn on the car radio and surf channels. I chose to listen to a station that featured Broadway tunes.

Musical notes

One of the first songs that I heard was from the movie and play Monty Python. The song was Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.

My transformation from grumpy to happy was almost immediate. It was hard for me NOT to be affected by the upbeat rhythm and cheerful lyrics. I am not sure if I actually smiled or I simply felt that I smiled.

This got me thinking about how easily we can go from one mood to another. Depressing news. Negative talk radio. Witnessing an accident. Each of these experiences on their own can cause negative feelings. Weddings. Births. People laughing. Each of these on their own can cause positive feelings.

Yes life has its challenges, and for many it doesn’t work to just think happy therefore be happy. However, and this is a big however, it doesn’t hurt to think happy. Watch happy. Listen to happy.

Life will always be comprised of ups and downs. If we can find a way to maximize the ups we can train ourselves to look for and find the good; we can then choose not to dwell on the little things that can put us in a funk.

ups-and-downs

Each day find something that makes you happy. Take time to search look for a flower among the weeds. Instead of allowing noisy kids to annoy you, focus on their innocent faces. Determine if simply listening to classical or upbeat music lifts your spirits.

Enjoy the results of your new outlook on life!

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 teach you how to look on the bright side of life and 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.

 

Are You Enjoying The Ride You Are On?

When my son was barely four, I took him to a local carnival at the park. There were about ten rides for children his age. We waited in line for the first ride. His hands were up and moving in excitement and he had a big grin on his face in anticipation. As soon as the gate opened he ran to one of the small cars and climbed in. Just as this ride was beginning my kid pointed to a different ride. It was as if he couldn’t wait for the ride to end so he could go on another one. This went on for several rides. While on the train ride a bit later he was yelling that he wanted to go on the boat ride next. Without even thinking, I yelled, “Ryan, enjoy the ride you are on!”

When the train ride finished we took a break to get a drink and some fries. Although he was just a small kid, he was beginning to understand some concepts of reasoning. I wanted to make this a teachable moment. Actually, I wanted him to vividly remember the day.

carnival-rides

I asked him about the first ride he went on: Did he like it? What was the color of his car? Did it go straight or did it go up and down? He really couldn’t answer any of my questions. I assured him that he was going to go on all the rides before we left the park. I then asked just one thing from him: “Whatever ride you are on pay close attention to what you are doing.” I told him that at the end of the day I wanted him to tell me how one ride differed from another and why he liked one more than another.

I continued to remind him each time he came around the turns to have fun. His body slowed down to the point where he was beginning to live in the moment and enjoy the ride he was on.

I am guilty of having wished away a work week to get to the weekend. I have, on more than one occasion, counted the days until vacation. As a kid I would mark off my calendar in anticipation of summer vacation. My mother told me that I was wishing away my life by doing this. I realize now that I had spent too many years thinking of future events, not the life event I was experiencing at the time.

calendar-2

I remind myself often to enjoy the ride I am on. After all, life is comprised of little incidents, big occasions, forgettable moments and memorable times.

Sick days happen. Bad stuff happens. Disappointments happen. Life has its ups and downs. REALLY enjoying the good times will help balance the not-so-good times.

Life goes by so quickly. If you aren’t taking time to “smell the roses”, try doing it. Make each moment last. Don’t just walk through your life. Laugh harder. Smile bigger. Be silly. Have fun…not just from time to time, but each and every day that you can.

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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 teach you how to enjoy YOUR ride and 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.