I wrote the last time that we are creature of habit. And, that we cherish our opinions. All of that is true, however, if we want to fully participate in our life, in order to allow what is next for us, we have to let go of the old. Letting go doesn’t mean denying our past. What it does mean, is to let it be what it is – the past. It’s part of what made us who we are. But, we can’t let it influence what is going on for us now.
There are chapters in all lives. At one point we are doing one thing and when that is finished we will be doing something else.
I think of my life –
1) Started out as a dancer, classically trained but injuries
2) Worked in theater
3) Designed clothing and accessories.
4) Worked on national tour of musical, “Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well and Living in Paris six months.
5) Studied jewelry making in Boston and Providence, RI and began making fine jewelry
6) Opened two boutiques
7) Got MA in Counseling/Coaching
8) Coached entrepreneurs
9) Developed: Pitch U, training entrepreneurs to pitch to investors
10) Developed What’s The Big Idea? Pitch event
11) Podcast, It’s your Business, 5 years.
12) Author several books
13) Currently, Transformations Podcast, Interviewing People Changing Our World
My reason for laying out the various things I’ve done, is not to say, look at me but to show you how life takes us from one thing to another. And, that this is true for all of us if we take the time to look over our life.
But, more importantly, I am issuing an invitation to you –
It’s spreading like wildfire! Suddenly people have caught on to the fact that climate change is very real and that humans play a big part in how it happened. The other part is Earth herself because she shifted on her axis. That we can do nothing about. However, we can focus on the things that we can change such as stop using plastic water bottles, plastic wrap, plastic bags, Styrofoam take out containers. Plastic has stopped being recycled because China stopped taking it and US companies are not interested in buying it. So, every piece of plastic that you use and discard ends up in the landfill. No exceptions. Think about it every time you use something like a plastic water bottle. Landfills have toxic water underneath them from all of the decaying material. That toxic water goes into the earth. We grow our food in that earth, our water travels through that earth. In other words, we are all eating and consuming plastic waste.
I interviewed a man in Australia, Ian Thomson founder of Ocean Crusaders. He goes around Australia and now Fiji, cleaning up plastic and taking it where it can be made into products. But, he said that now there is so much made from recycled plastics that the market is now saturated. So, we are right back to – we have to STOP using ALL plastics.
Did you know there are many alternatives out there? Things made of bamboo – tooth brushes, eating utensils, dishes, etc. You can buy a replacement for plastic wrap made out of silicon and other materials that will break down or can be recycled. You can use containers made out of paper for your take-out food. Even Target is selling things made from bamboo and silicon.
It’s up to you to let your favorite restaurants know that you will no long accept Styrofoam take-out boxes or have them put into a plastic bag. Let your grocery store know that you will not use plastic and they will have to have something else to put the food you buy into.
It might take some thinking about and it might take a bit of extra work on our part to make the transition to non-plastic things, but once we do it and get used to it, that will become our new normal.
So, we all have to answer the question. What do we want our planet to be? What do we want to pass on to future generations? How much more do we want to pollute our Earth, our air, our water? This is something that falls to every one of us. Not to the other person, but directly to us. It’s our choice. It’s our planet, our air, our water. Not one of us is exempt from making this choice. Every time you drink from a plastic bottle, every time you use a plastic bag, every time you accept Styrofoam for take-out, you, yes, YOU are polluting our planet. There is no getting around it. This might seem harsh but we are at that place where there is no more wiggle room.
Did you know that all fish now have plastic as part of their bodies? Eat fish, eat plastic. Now humans all have plastic in their bodies as well. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your children and grandchildren and for those you love. You don’t have to take my word. Read research from credible scientists. The date is out there. And, we have already seen the effects of climate change in increasingly drastic weather and in the icebergs melting at an very increased rate. The state of Rhode Island, called the Ocean State, had to redraw their coastline because of encroaching seas. Here in South Carolina, Folly Beach has had encroaching seas. They keep bringing in more sand, but the sea has the last word.
The good news is, that when we all pitch in, we can make a difference. But, all of us pitching in means that each individual has to participate. It’s no longer up to the “other person.” It’s too late for that.
The precipitous state we are in has now reach high fashion. Brands such as YSL, Vuitton, Givenchy, etc. have all begun to use sustainable materials in their products or are using refillable containers for their cosmetics. There is a company in London issuing the Butterfly Mark, which lets consumers know the company is green.
I want to end this with how powerful we each are. How we use our power matters. We each matter. This planet, this air, this water is for all of us. The joy of nature is for all of us. Well-being is for all of us. But, this time it takes all of working together. And, there is also great joy in knowing that you are making a difference. Your actions count. Your actions are benefiting all of mankind. That’s the kind of power you have. And, I want to thank all of you for taking that power. You have made a difference.
My best to you in a plastic-free world,
Dianne J. Shaver
Right now there is something going on almost every day that is upsetting if you are at all a thinking and feeling person. And, it continues. However, we get to choose how to deal with all of it. To deny it is foolish, but to stay embroiled in it all the time is also not only foolish but debilitating.
No matter what goes on in our government or in other countries, the sun still shines, birds still sing, the ocean and lakes and rivers are all still beautiful and refreshing. Those things are bigger than any person. Nature endures, it adjusts and thrives. We have that within us as well. We don’t have to agree with everything, but we still have our own integrity, knowledge and the ability to know what is right for us. People come and go. Governments rise and fall but humans still endure. Eventually, everything turns around and what is worthwhile remains.
For us humans, when we go through difficult times and handle them we grow and learn and become more than we were before. It is that very hardship that teaches us and stretches us and makes us wiser and better. I think it must be the same thing with countries. For decades and millennium countries go along the same way until they no longer work because of changing times and changing perception. Then the underbelly of things that have been hidden begins to show up. We then have a reaction to what is discovered. Seeing things that have been unseen for so long can be upsetting. We react strongly sometimes in fear, sometimes with energy to make the necessary changes. Then people become polarized until things get resolved and the new norm is established. We go on that way until the next time that things begin to fall apart. Just the same way we do as individuals.
We are in the things fall apart stage right now. It can be very unsettling. That’s why it’s important that we take breaks from dwelling on it or even working on things to make changes. There has to be joy in our life and that usually comes from very simple things. Being in nature, being with those close to us, focusing on our dreams and how to make them come true, going to a good movie, reading something uplifting, swimming, dancing, whatever works for you. That joy needs to be experienced every week not just once in a while. Take a day off, stay in bed longer, call friends, have an extra cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate. Do whatever floats your boat. Make it an active search to find your joy. Doing that will give you energy and hope and the ability to see possibilities that you missed before. And it will help you ride out any storm.
Go find your joy,
Best to you,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Recently, I came across a book by an Australian biologist, Jeremey Griffith, “Freedom, The End Of The Human Condition.”
He talks about how humans evolved from the instinctual creatures of early man to the time when our brains developed enough where we became thinkers and seekers after knowledge. That shift caused a split in our psyches and we then began to focus on acquiring to make ourselves feel better and more powerful. In theory, the more money, things, fame we had the better we would feel. However, we were mistaken. It has not worked out that way. And, that thinking and that choice has brought us to where we are right now.
It’s very clear we are at a cross-roads. We each have to decide how we want to proceed. Do we want to keep reaching for our fortune and the material goods associated with it or do we want to become more aware that we are part of humanity and that our actions affect others and the planet we live on?
I have been invited to work on an Ecco newsletter at Unity Church in N. Charleston and have been focused on what groups of people are doing to address the issues of pollution, primarily the overuse of plastics and the harm that causes wildlife and also human life as it adds to the rise in temperature on our planet. But it is exactly that crisis that is bringing people together. It is now clear that we belong to the human tribe, no matter the color of our skin, where we live, what we believe. The changes on our planet, mostly caused by our lack of understanding of the impact of our choices, are real and we are forced to address them. While individual choice is critical, it is when we see ourselves as 7.5 billion humans causing issues on the Earth, that we can have impact and make the changes we need to make.
By, the way, part of what is causing climate change is the fact that the Earth has shifted on its axis and it is wobbling somewhat. However, the issue of pollution is squarely on the shoulders of the humans who live on her.
But getting back to Jeremey Griffith’s book. To oversimplify, he is saying that as humans we are torn between the instinctual loving self and the part of us that is focused on thinking and acquiring to make us feel better and replacing real connection and love. I began to look at life through that filter and can see that in each of us. The times when we are loving and kind and the times that we are withdrawn, judging and watching out for ourselves and against others, however subtle that may be. I see it in myself and I see it in everyone around me. What the book is saying is that to find peace we have to accept that split is in all of us, no exceptions, and then begin to choose to come from our loving self. It is that choice that will save us from ourselves and also keep our planet safe for habitation for all animals, including humans.
My best wishes for all of us to accept who we are and to choose wisely,
Dianne J. Shaver
One of the ways to learn about what opening the heart does is watch on Netflix, “The Kindness Diaries”, in which a man from England, living in LA, goes around the world with no money on his motorbike and has to rely on others for gas for his motorbike and also repairs on it, food, shelter, warm clothes in cold climates, everything. And, how he is taken care of. While he cannot spend any money on his journey, what he can do is with his team help others. For a man in India, they buy a Rickshaw so he can take care of his family; for a woman in Vietnam who has HIV living in a hut with no roof with her young son, they give her a house; for a doctor who for free treats thousands of people for cataracts so they can again see, he takes care of 100 patients; for a woman who runs a shelter for hundreds of abandoned dogs and cats he gives, dog beds, collars, toys, medicines, food, for the man who inspired his journey, who had nothing, but who helped everyone he could, they paid for him to go around the world with flights, hotels, food, and $1,000 to help change someone’s life.,all paid for to acknowledge him for his kind heart.
One of the people he ran into in Canada, said, “Don’t do unto others as they do unto you, just do it.” In other words, don’t do anything with the expectation that you will receive in kind. Do it because it is the right thing to do. And the side benefit is that it will bring you joy.
The show ends with this: “Everyday choose. And when you do, choose kindness.” It struck me that many times people don’t give because they don’t know that they have anything to give, not in the material sense but in the personal sense.
That is why I am interviewing people all over the world who are doing something to change the world. And, although they started out by themselves they have attracted others who want to help them achieve what they’ve set out to do. But, it is their dedication and passion that draws others to them and make them want to help. There is something infectious about commitment. It encourages others to dare to do what’s in their heart. Do you have that kind of courage? Do you know what’s in your own heart? Would you be willing to follow it? Even if it’s something that might be judged as futile or ridiculous? It’s when we dare that great things happen. Not only for us but for those whose lives we touch.
I will be interviewing Leon Logothetis, the host and subject of The Kindness Diaries. When I do and I post it my wish is that he inspires you and gives you the courage to follow your heart.
My best to you as always,
Dianne J. Shaver
There is a site, Earth911.org, which talks about recycling and other things we can do to stop polluting the Earth. Remarkable things are happening now, in case you haven’t heard – Target is now selling waxed paper zip lock bags to replace single use plastic zip lock bags. Many places are selling bamboo or metal straws to replace plastic straws. In 6 months, Charleston County is banning the use of Styrofoam containers for food and drink.
There is a dawning awareness that THIS is the time when we must do something. What this awareness does is put the power back into each person’s hands. The action of one person matters.
I think that, in some ways, it’s crisis that makes us act. I wish it were not so, but it seems to be.
If we didn’t have some political crisis people would not have become aware of what goes on in our politics. If we didn’t have crisis in our weather and the melting of the icebergs, we would all not be taking any action toward stopping the causes of it.
So, in some ways, the things that scare us and cause alarm are the very things that ultimately also save us.
In case you haven’t noticed, in order to make these changes, we have to band together. Crisis bring us together. Because while a single person makes a difference, it is each of us working with others that creates the momentum that changes everything.
The bottom line is that we need to work together. When we are more affluent we tend to be independent and keep more to ourselves, but in crisis we are forced to be together. What if we learned to work together without having to go through crisis? What if from the get go, we learned to help one another, caring for one another, supporting one another.
Being generous, helping others makes us vulnerable. We are a culture that doesn’t like to show who we really are. We cover up our kindness, gentleness and open heart with an attitude of competence and independence. We don’t like to show our heart. But it is in coming from our heart that we are happy because that is what connects everyone one of us to others. And, that connection is what brings us joy. Think about the times when you felt full, happy and at peace. Usually, there are others involved. And, when we can actually help someone our cup runneth over. It is in giving that we receive. It is in giving that we open our hearts so we can also receive.
I am learning, too about all of this. And, I can feel that this lesson is one of the most important of my life. I offer to you, to learn about opening your heart to others and see how it enriches your life.
Wishing you giving and receiving kindness from your open heart,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Coach to Entrepreneurs with Heart
Photo by Jakob Owens for Unsplash
Had the pleasure of lunch with a dear friend today always good, but the conversation focus was right up my alley. The last blog was about how we create our future with each thought and each action.
Today we talked about the “small voice” inside that lets us know when we’re going in the right direction and when we’re not. As we each discussed our own instances of this we both noticed, that even though the choice we made at the time went against whet we were feeling was the right thing to do, The Universe (whatever that is for you) still used that particular choice to get us to the place we would have been in had we paid attention to that inner voice.
In other words, you can’t go wrong. I guess if you worked diligently at it you could, but as we go along in our life even when we choice something that clearly in retrospect wasn’t the best choice it will be used to get us where we want and need to go.
Over and over we hear people say that what they thought was the worst time of their life actually brought them something good ultimately.
Even with all the horrendous things going on in our world, there is still even more good and these terrible things will serve a purpose which is hard to see when in the middle of them, but, nevertheless, it is still there.
Knowing that helps us to move forward with confidence in our life. Knowing that ultimately everything is for good helps us to keep going when things get tough. We are in this life and it’s up to each of us to make the best we can of it. To contribute what we can. To leave things a bit better than we found them. To inspire those we can. To support the young ones coming up in standing up for what they believe, that it is the right thing to do. Each of us has impact, whether we are aware of it or not. You are either showing people a positive or a negative view of life. But, make no mistake whichever it is people notice and you may influence someone in a way you may not have wished. (That last was something another friend demonstrated.)
Learn from everything, no matter what it is. Use every experience to make something better. Contribute the gifts that you brought with you into this life. And, that’s enough.
How will you change a negative experience into something good?
My best to you in doing that and the joy that will follow.
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Coach to Entrepreneurs With Heart, Building A New Model of Business.
We get caught in thinking that there are rules to life and how we are supposed to live. The truth is that with each thought we are creating our life, our future. Our intentions, our beliefs, what we focus on is what we experience. If you don’t think so, when you have made changes in your life, you have different experiences. When you focus on what’s not working and what feels bad, you create more of it. When you focus on what’s working and what you desire, even when it’s not already there, you will even see people respond differently to you and things seem to flow more smoothly.
So, it behooves each of us to think carefully about what we focus on, what we believe, how we behave. When you think the world is against you, you will be right. When you think the world is supporting you, you will be right.
We have more power in our life than we usually believe. That does not negate any religious or spiritual beliefs you hold. While there is something larger in our life, it still falls to us to act and choose for what is good in life. We are not meant to be passive and wait for something else to make things work for us. We have responsibility for our life and what happens within it.
How we respond to events has a significant effect on our experience. Over and over again there is proof of what we project out into the world has affect. Remember the experiments Dr. Emoto made with water crystals? Remember reading what happens to plants when they are spoken to harshly and when they are spoken to with love? Exactly what happened to Emoto’s water crystals. If we affect things that are not human significantly, imagine how what we think and how we speak to ourselves changes what goes on within us. So, there is plenty of documentation for what I’m saying.
Experiment. Spend a week deliberately focused on things that feel good to you and thoughts that support you. See how you feel and what your experiences are. Then spend just a couple of days focusing on things that do not feel good and see what your experiences are. But, to do this means that you have to really be vigilant and really honest with yourself and aware about what you’ve focused on.
Did you know that people can actually get addicted to focusing on the negative? And, blaming? It’s true. You can see it in the fact that news that is negative draws more listeners than good news. Seems to be a pattern we’ve developed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. However, you get to choose the kind of life you want to lead. It’s in your hands. Just think about it and try a few experiments. But no lying to yourself. This requires absolute honesty and integrity. The rewards are enormous- your happiness. Have fun with it!
My best to you for your best life,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs With Heart
Time to Assess
Every few years it’s good to assess the way your life is going. And, to ask these questions:
1) does what I’m doing fit who I am now?
2) is what I’m doing making me happy?
3) if I died tomorrow have I fulfilled who I am?
4) am I a better person because of the choices I’m making?
5) have I benefited the world in some way with my life?
What fits for us changes over time. The answers in our twenties are very different from our answers in our fifties and beyond. Those answers are important. And asking them is the key to our happiness. Here’s a quote from Heath Leger, a sad harbinger:
“Everyone you meet asks if you have a career, are married or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks if you are happy.”
So, let me ask you, “Are you happy?” If not, what would you change or do so you could be happy? It is in our power to do so.
What stymies me sometimes is watching everyone being busier and busier and never questioning it. As if working harder, and ignoring the demands of your body and your psyche and soul was the way to a successful life.
Do you ever question whether the life you’re leading is the life you want? Or, does it just seem to be yours by default? We have the power to change our life if we don’t like it. We don’t have to put up with things that hurt us and deplete us or make us unhappy.
If you don’t know what to do about it, start with admitting to yourself what is true. In fact, always tell yourself the truth as you know it. Just doing that starts the process of constructive change. You don’t even have to know how to make the change. You just do what you can get ahold of right now, such as stop doing something that is making you feel terrible, whatever that is.
Another question that needs to be asked is, “How can I simplify my life?” “What can I let go of that is unnecessary, if I’m honest?”
There is a reason so many people commit suicide. There is a reason that happiness is not on most people’s list of important things. There is a reason that so many people are addicted to opioids as treatment for depression. The way we are living is not working for the majority of us. Even those who are billionaires fall into this category, by the way. They clearly do not have the corner on happiness or else they would not be consumed with greed. There will never be enough for them no matter how much they have. That is not a good place to be. Did you know that the happiest people were found in a small village in China and in Bhutan. By the measures we use to assess our culture, these people were poor. But by a deeper standard they were rich indeed, in happiness, in love, in community, in a sense of worthiness.
When I wrote about the loss of hope and how we need to find it in a different way, someone commented, that we are living in a great time – the stock market is at an all time high and the economy is strong. If that is your measure of a good life, maybe there’s something missing.
I realize my point of view isn’t for everyone. But before we lose many more people to suicide maybe we should look at our cultures’ values.
By the way, this is not a gloomy view. It’s a view of personal empowerment and the ability we have to change to living in such a way that the question, “Are you happy?” is the most important question we can ask someone and that we and they are able to answer, “Yes.”
Here’s to you living a life that brings you happiness
Dianne J. Shaver, Business Coach for entrepreneurs with heart
No, I did not get my dates mixed up. I know that we headed toward spring and away from winter in just a few weeks. But, I think Christmas movies are important, no matter what time of the year. The reason being that they are filled with hope, with joy and wonder. They remind us of what’s important and what’s real. I know Santa isn’t real, but the sense of excitement, of specialness, of possibility is very real. That’s always there but we forget. Those movies remind us.
We get so lost in “doing.” I heard, yet another program on NPR on burnout. It dealt with the fact that during the week we are so busy that we don’t get a chance to take care of things around the house. So, the weekend, which we badly need is used up, not in playing or resting, but in doing all the things we didn’t do during the week. So, now we have weekend burnout in addition to “job” burnout. By the way, working for yourself does not solve this. In fact, when you have your own business it means that you can work in the middle of the night or in the pre-dawn hours too.
When I am really stressed, I go find an old Christmas movie to watch. My current favorite is, “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” starring Henry Winkler, who always makes things feel cozy. It reminds me also that everything will be okay, no matter what the current situation. It restores balance and equilibrium to my world. I highly recommend it. When your world feels rocky and you feel lost, reach for a Christmas movie. In fact, you can develop your own list of Christmas movies to watch when you need a boost. Something ready to pop into your DVD player or find on Youtube to lift your spirits, give you hope, restore your faith in humanity and help you remember that it will all be okay. After which, you can go back to the same old situation with a more hopeful perspective. Sort of a mental health break. There is something very special about Christmas for many reasons and these wonderful movies allow us to go into that specialness for a while and remember.
Merry Christmas and happy almost spring,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A. Business Coach for Entrepreneurs with Heart