By Michelle Porchia
Happy New Year!
I don't need to rehash 2020. We all know what has gone on all too well. I know many are glad it is behind us. Hindsight truly is 2020.
I know many people couldn't wait for 2020 to be over and they were looking forward to 2021 ushering in a different scenario. I encourage you to ease into 2021. Breathe and take it a step at a time. My wish is that 2021 brings you good health, joy, peace and abundance in all ways.
In the past I have suggested, rather than putting pressure on yourself to set resolutions, to instead set a word with the intention of living out its meaning.
I'm reminded of a song from "The Wiz" called "Ease on Down the Road."
Come on and
Ease on down, ease on down the road
Come on, ease on down
Ease on down the road
Don't you carry nothing
That might be a load
Come on, ease on down
Ease on down the road
Here are some overall skills that will help you enter 2021 in a good space or at least more calmly. First, INHALE/EXHALE. Secondly, be still. Third, reflect.
Breathing helps us to center our thoughts, our bodies, our minds. Breathing helps us to be still. You may say, "I've been home and still for 10 months." The stillness I am speaking of is centering yourself...mindfulness so-to-speak, calming your mind. Many have so much going on and they feel like they are being pulled in so many different directions at the same time.
You've seen me suggest many times to your thoughts, and once again I encourage you to journal. It helps you to be still and get your thoughts gathered and focused. It also helps to get some of the thoughts out of your head. Reflect on what 2020 meant to you. What will you take with you and what will you leave behind? What did you learn? Don't beat up on yourself. Simply listen as you reflect and assess and then decide "now what?"
The "good" I've heard people say they've learned and appreciated during 2020:
Family spending more time together
Family doing more fun things together
Learning new skills
Getting around to hobbies
Trying new recipes
Finally purging my home
Appreciating things I have taken for granted
Getting the pet I/we have wanted
My suggestions for 2021:
Set an intention. Normally people set resolutions for the New Year and what happens is we set ourselves up for stress and pressure to achieve the goals. The past two years I have switched to setting an intention. My intention in 2020 was ACCEPTANCE. My encouragement was the first line of the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." My song (which may seem like a strange choice) was The Climb by Miley Cyrus. How applicable. This year my word is FOCUS. I've just chosen it. It was difficult to choose a word this year. I haven't chosen my encouragement or my song yet.
Let go. Try not to bring things from 2020 that don't serve you. I've mentioned before about clearing clutter. Mental clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. Get help if necessary. Take care of your mental health. Take care of your physical health. During these times, people could use that coat, coffee maker, DVR that you haven't used in years. Donate them to the church store or other organizations. I'm part of a group on Facebook that is in my town where everything is free...no selling allowed. You post a picture of items you don't want; people ask to have it and then they come and pick it up from your porch. People can also post that they are looking for particular items. It has helped me purge items, especially when the donation centers were closed.
Bottom line, take it slow. Be kind to yourself and others. Look for the good.
I wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2021.
By Michelle Porchia
There are some topics that people are uncomfortable discussing. One of them is getting your “affairs” in order. People see it as talking about death or as a “dark” subject. Having gone through and still going through trying to handle the affairs of my parents, my hope is that this gentle urging will help you and/or your family members to have a less stressful journey if you ever have to deal with illness. If you are over 18, you need to have your papers in order. As you continue your journey in life, you will need to add or update your documents.
I have had many people respond, “I have a will.” That is good and everyone needs a will. Wills are for after the person passes on. I’m talking about making sure you are taken care of while you are alive and that your loved ones have an easier time.
Please understand, I am not a legal expert. Full disclosure: I am a daughter that has had to deal with illness of parents and having to handle their affairs. It was easy with my mother because she had everything in order. It has not been easy with my dad. I don’t want my daughters/granddaughters to have to stress or struggle if I become ill or incapacitated.
Documents You Will Need At Some Point in Your Life:
By Michelle Porchia
Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, visiting, stressing and overeating is over, what do you do with yourself?
Are you a person who makes New Year’s resolutions that rarely get fulfilled? Do you have angst over the fact that you overspent for the holidays and now you are facing the bills from all the gifts you bought? Are you already thinking about next Christmas (you know who you are)? Do you have high hopes for a better 2019?
Before we address some specific issues, let’s look at some overall skills that will help you enter 2019 in a good space. First, INHALE/EXHALE. Secondly, be still. Third, reflect.
It is important that you breathe. Inhale peace and exhale stress. We tend to breathe shallow and breathing is life to our body. So take time to breathe fully and completely. You breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest. Let it in slowly. Let it out slowly. You need to be intentional about taking time to breathe daily. Really! If you want to know how important breathing is, ask someone who is asthmatic or has breathing issues what it feels like not to be able to take a full breath.
We are told to “be still.” You’ve heard me say this before. We’ve become human doers and we were created as human beings. We need to learn to simply BE. We need to remember to stop and to be still. Yet we feel living is about being in constant motion. Not so. Try this exercise: Turn out the lights, light a candle or use a battery-operated candle, and just be still. Focus on the flame. Listen to your inner voice – your inner spiritual voice. Try this for at least 5 minutes.
Reflect. Try journaling your thoughts. How was 2018 for you? What went well and what would you have liked to have done differently? Did you spend time with the people who are important to you – including YOU? Did you spend your time when and where you wanted? This is also where you can address the questions above. Don’t beat up on yourself. Simply listen as you reflect, access and then decide “now what?”
My suggestions for 2019:
Here’s to a happy, healthy and peaceful 2019!
Adapted from How To Move On After The Holidays (2012)
By Michelle Porchia
"l can't take time for myself until after I get everything else done."
This is a common statement when I ask people if they take time for themselves. Many people think that it is selfish to put yourself first. It actually will help you have more energy and be more productive when you take time to rest and rejuvenate and even do things you enjoy.
Nowadays everyone is so busy going and doing instead of being that everyone needs innergizing. Innergize Day is scheduled for the day after Autumn begins every year because that is when the earth goes to rest. I want you to rest.
According to Wikipedia, a "siesta" is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in some countries, particularly those where the weather is warm. The siesta is historically common throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. It is the traditional daytime sleep of Spain and, through Spanish influence, many Hispanic countries. The word siesta of the Spanish language derives originally from the Latin word hora sexta "sixth hour" (counting from dawn, hence "midday rest"). Siesta is also common in Southern Italy (there called riposo), where museums, churches and shops close during midday so that proprietors can go home for a long lunch and perhaps a snooze during the day's hottest hours. When I was in Italy, it was important to remember to get things done before 1 p.m. or after 3 p.m. because most of the shops and restaurants closed except those who chose to cater to Americans. I must admit, I totally enjoyed having that respite time.
Imagine if we incorporated a respite into our lives on a daily basis? It doesn't have to be 2 hours. We can start small and schedule15-30 minutes a week to do something for ourselves and then try to expand it to15-30 minutes a day.
Here are a few things you can implement immediately.
Take Your Breaks. There is a tendency to skip lunch and breaks while we work—or we eat while we work. It is important to take periodic breaks to rest your body and mind. When you rest your mind, you are more productive and creative. It is also important to eat properly (this does not mean eating at your desk and working through lunch).
Entrepreneurs: You Are Your Business. Investing in taking care of your mind, body and spirit is investing in the foundation of your business. If you are not able to work, your business may suffer. It is crucial to make health and happiness a priority while developing your business. If you work 24/7, you will burn out. You need to schedule time for you in the same way you do for your clients. You can't give 110% — you don't have it to give.
Celebrate. There were two very popular songs out, "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen and "Happy" from the movie Despicable Me 2 (2013). Both songs talk about being yourself and enjoying life. Celebrate life. Celebrate the little things as well as the big things. You don't have to celebrate elaborately. You can do simple things like put on music and dance like no one is watching...they aren't. Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On" (2006) talks about putting on music and letting your hair down. Treat yourself to a new book (and allow yourself time to read it), buy your favorite tea or latte and sit outside while you can and enjoy the good weather/people watch. Go to bed early, watch a movie in bed, etc.
Whatever you choose to do is fine, just do something that is solely for you.
“I just don’t have time to do the personal things I want or need to do for myself.”
Have you ever said that? Or something like that? If you have, Innergize Day is a day set aside for you. It is a time when you can devote some attention to your own personal endeavors—a “do anything you want to do for yourself” day!
Innergize Day is celebrated the day after autumn begins because we need to do as the Earth does: experience a time of hibernation to prepare for renewal. It is a forced day of rest, when observers relax, reflect, and rejuvenate. My goal is to get people to start with one day per year, progress to one day per month, then one day per week, and eventually an hour per day. It is a time of “self-celebration” to be incorporated into one’s daily lifestyle.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT MICHELLE PORCHIA:
By Michelle Porchia
I hope 2017 was all you wanted and more. It certainly was an "interesting" year. The weather has been breaking all kinds of records. Those of you in the path of the arctic blast, I hope you are keeping warm and safe. Please reach out and check on neighbors, friends and family, and also be on the lookout for homeless people and animals in this cold weather.
As I mentioned above, 2017 was an "interesting" year. I noticed several situations that caused people to be annoyed, disturbed or downright angry. Some would say these situations were nothing to be so upset about. I think since so many are experiencing heightened emotions, going into a new year is a good time to reevaluate our interactions on a daily basis.
Let's revisit some areas we know, yet may have forgotten or gotten away from.
The Three C's:
As we leave 2017 and walk gently into 2018, let us take time to reflect.
Relax and ease into 2018. If you need help filling your tool belt, please let me know.
By Michelle Porchia
The time will come when you will become eligible for Medicare. Honestly, it wasn’t something I ever gave much thought to. I just completed the sign-up process for Medicare and various healthcare insurance coverages. I hope to share some information with you that may help you to have a smoother transition into the world of Medicare.
What is Medicare?
“Medicare is a federal health insurance program for those 65 and older…Before turning 65, most people get health insurance through group plans offered by their employer or their spouse’s employer. People who are self-employed or who don’t have health insurance through their job may buy individual policies on their own.”
“When you turn 65, however, you’ll likely be eligible for one of the largest group health plans in the world.”
Medicare consists of several plans or “parts.”
When you become eligible for Medicare, you will be able to choose between:
About 6-12 months before your 65th birthday, you will start receiving information about Medicare supplemental plans, prescription, dental and eye care plans. I was throwing them out. You may want to at least read through them. Many say the same thing; it is more about who has the best cost for a plan.
What I Learned:
Don’t wait until the last minute. I suggest you start researching at least 6 months before your 65th birthday. Mine was all in place by October 1. Even though I found some good premiums, it still blew my budget.
There was so much I didn’t know and discovered I was not alone, which is why I was asked to write this article. I wish you smooth navigation into Medicare.
By Michelle Porchia
Summer is upon us. The weather is still strange all over the world. The world is going into its next phase…new growth. We, too, are experiencing newness in many areas. Let’s be open for what is to come in the next chapter of our life…our next journey.
Recently I have gone through a few big, personal changes, and people have felt the need to start dispensing advice and suggestions without asking me what I have done, where I stand, if I want advice. I have found myself becoming annoyed at times. I have to remind myself that they mean well. And then I thought, in the past, have I done this to people?
I’m reposting below the article I wrote last year on giving feedback/advice because I feel it may help people during a time of change for any of us at any given time.
Nowadays, people have access to a lot of information and often like to share that information with others. Sometimes people think they know more than they do or even feel they are an expert at something because they have accessed that information. Some people feel they are experts because they simply feel they know what’s best. I believe that most people have other people’s best interests at heart. I also believe that people honestly want to help others. Sometimes people don’t want your help or are not ready to hear what you have to say.
When I am working with coaching clients, we have an agreement up front that I can give them feedback on what I am hearing. Even with the agreement, I still say, “Do you mind if I tell you what I am hearing?” Or, “May I give you some feedback about what I’m hearing?” I was meeting with a manager when I was in corporate America. She was sharing her concerns about a situation she was experiencing. I asked her if I could give her some feedback based on what I was hearing. She said, “No, I’m not ready to hear anything right now. I just need to vent.” I said, “Okay” and continued to listen. She came back later and asked me what I had to say.
Sometimes people start dispensing recommendations on what to do or how to handle a particular situation without even asking you what you have already done. This can be exasperating to the listener. It can also feel like they are not given credit for figuring out things on their own. “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” Robert Frost
When I am interacting with people who are not my clients, I’ll ask permission to ask a question or to give feedback. Often I’ll say, “May I ask you a question?”
Suggestions for Giving Advice:
Sometimes people just need to vent and need a good listener. Sometimes they need additional information. By listening and asking if they would like you to share some information with them, the situation can be beneficial for both parties.
“Before you give advice, that is to say advice which you have not been asked to give, it is well to put to yourself two questions—namely, what is your motive for giving it? And what is it likely to be worth? If these questions were always asked, and honestly answered, there would be less advice given.” John William Mackail, “On Giving Advice”
Michelle's Dog "Kita"
By Michelle Porchia
This past year has been interesting and divisive to say the least. With the holidays approaching, we need to keep in mind that the holidays can also be divisive. People sometimes feel the need to spend time with family that they otherwise would not. At the same time, many would like to spend time with family but can’t. Family members may live in different areas and may not be able to come together. Family member(s) may be serving in the military (thank you for your service) and are not able to come home for the holidays. And, sadly, some may have lost a family member or a close one and the holidays are going to be a lonely time.
Even though we all don't celebrate the same holiday, be it Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, we also need to be aware that any holiday is not always happy for everyone due to different circumstances.
As we enter this holiday season, I encourage you to keep the following in mind.
It would be nice if everyone could be jolly during this season but that is unfortunately unrealistic. Enjoy the holidays but also sseek ways to help those who may struggle during this time.
If you or someone you know will struggle during the upcoming days, try some of the suggestions above and keep the phone numbers below convenient to share if necessary.
Depression: Call 1-800-488-4673
Suicide: Call 1-800- 273-8255
Love, peace, and virtual hugs,
By Michelle Porchia
The autumn season has mixed associations. On one hand, the fall is traditionally harvest time, indicating a sense that one is finally reaping the benefits of prior efforts. On the other hand, it is associated with a winding down of energies before the barrenness of winter, as in the expression "the autumn of one's life."
This is a time that we need to start winding down from the hustle and bustle and craziness of this summer. We need to prepare ourselves for the change in weather and change in season. This could be the “season” our path gets redirected, a window closes and a door opens. Are we prepared to reap the benefits of our seed sowing based on our blessings?
How often are we silent? How often do we touch the presence or come into the presence of our God within? How often do we long for and/or search for and find that perfect peace? We have gotten away from being silent and still. When are we still enough to listen for answers to our questions? To hear our own inner voice/inner spirit?
Sunday used to be a day of rest. We have stopped resting on Sunday. Sunday used to be a day of family dinners and family outings, a time to sit in front of the TV and fall asleep; now we are too busy to be still and rest. Granted, life is very different now than it was 30-40 years ago. Yet we are still human beings and we don’t know how to just be. Be silent. Be still. Be with ourselves. We need to get away from the crowd and be still.
Let’s look at it from another level. When was the last time you sat and gazed into the eyes of your significant other? When was the last time you watched a sunset? When was the last time you just stopped and watched your animal roll around and it gave you a good laugh? When was the last time you sat still? In silence we reconnect with our inner being. We get centered. We get answers. If you are constantly running, working, DOING, it makes it difficult to hear and receive.
We have been blessed with talents and gifts. Are we using them to touch others? We are to use our gifts and we’ve also been told to be still and to be thankful.
So let’s take this to the here and now – to enjoy everyday life. Let’s wind down our energies and reap the benefits in the “autumns of our lives.”
September 23, 2016 was annual Innergize Day, a time to do something wonderful for yourself. You can still do something for yourself. Need help? Contact me. Michelle@innerdimensionsllc.com
By Michelle Porchia
I've written several articles and taught many workshops on the power of words. I've said words paint pictures and we need to think about what picture we are painting in our own mind and the minds of others.
At work we need to set clear expectations and make sure that people understand what is expected of them. Clarity of understanding, expectations, and meaning is key to positive conversation and productivity. Clear expectations are not just about work but also about home and school. People usually want to know: What am I to do? What is expected of me? What will be the consequences? And most importantly, people want to feel acknowledged and appreciated.
Recently I watched a segment on "What Would You Do?" An employee with Down syndrome is bagging and the scenario is a man and then a woman (both actors) are complaining about him being slow (speed wise) but then they start calling him slow (mentally), retarded, "these people", etc. Words hurt. Many words have taken on negative and hurtful meanings. There are debates on what words meant in the past and what those words mean now. People in the store stood up for the employee and called the "actors" out about what they were saying about the employee.
Bottom line: We need to look at the content of our speech, the intent of our message, know our audience, and the delivery of message. My mother used to say, "It's not just what you say, it's how you say it." And I will add, "What is your body saying?" If I have a screaming face, though my words may be appropriate, my face may be adding emphasis to what I'm saying.
There is a huge discussion on the use of certain words in the press right now (I won't go into detail as it is political and I would need a lot more space to cover it). The point is, the use or not use of certain words and phrases has set off a major firestorm, has hurt many people, and has caused polarization, losing the true issue.
I think the quote below by Gerry Spence encourages us to remember that we are all people, individuals. We have feelings. We get hurt. We love. We have goals. We often are products of our environments. Yet, we are people. I think this point has gotten lost in so many areas...in our streets, communities, businesses, places of worship, and the media.
"We are not our profession, our bank accounts, our status in life. We are people first." Gerry Spence
People first. Words are powerful. They can lift up or tear down. They can help or hurt. They can encourage or discourage. You have a choice. Choose wisely!
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