Category Archives: Talents

Go for the Gold

Olympic blogNewsflash: All Americans agree on a topic!

What? That’s a big statement, especially during election year!

But it’s true. All Americans root for the USA Olympic teams. (I certainly hope so, I have not Googled “anti-Olympics” and don’t intend to.)

This was an Olympics where the United States achieved the third most medals ever won: 121; and 46 of those Gold. How proud this makes us!

This was 17 days where many of us found ourselves glued to the television, internet or social media cheering on our national teams. I have to say my favorites were “The Final Five,” the US women’s gymnastics team! Special mention to our track and swimming teams!

Through the wonders of technology, I even “virtually watched” some events along with a Bahamian friend of mine as we chatted via Messenger. I laughed at his exuberance as his country’s athletes triumphed! Another friend of mine laughed and told me today that he feels like he hasn’t gotten anything done these past two weeks. Good thing the Olympics happens in 4-year intervals!

Congratulations to my Team USA! Congratulations to all Olympians who competed – whether you went home with a medal or not, you are winners by virtue of being there. And a special shout-out to my Jamaican and Bahamian friends, for the individual and collective achievements of your teams! 🙂

There are three main lessons I believe we can learn from the Olympics: to strive for personal best, to learn to work together as a team and to practice the spirit of the Olympic games.

Watching the Olympics highlights tonight, it was just mind-boggling to see the personal, Olympic and world records that were broken! Phelps, Ledecky and Bolt especially come to mind. Ledecky is at the early stages of her Olympic career, while Phelps and Bolt are ending their careers in blazes of glory.

But it’s not all about winning. Not everyone will go home with a medal. Some came so close but missed by a fraction of a second or were disqualified. It is important to learn how to lose graciously, without enmity and resolve to keep trying and doing one’s best. Focusing on personal best is something we all need to do, whether we are an Olympic athlete or not.

Teamwork is also key in life. The Olympics should teach us something profound right there. Working together for a common goal.

I think of the track and field relay race and how important split-second timing is to this event. There is a science and strategy to how they place the runners, on which leg they place them. They are placed where their strengths can be used to the best. The runners need to be attuned to each other to complete the handoff without error. What better metaphor can we use to compare to how life should be lived?

North SotuhWhich leads me to my third point: practicing the spirit of the Olympics, by going not just for the gold, but for The Golden Rule. “Do to others as you would have done to you.” While in other parts of the planet people are killing each other, in Rio, countries put aside their political ideologies to compete in the purity of sports. They treat each other by The Golden Rule, living and working with one another in harmony. One golden moment reported during TV coverage was when two women athletes, one from North Korea and one from South Korea took a “selfie” together. How poignant! This is what Olympic spirit is all about.

There is so much that we can learn from the Olympics. Why can’t this be practiced 365 days a year? Every year, not just in 4-year intervals. There’s no reason why we can’t. It’s the personal decision of each human being on this planet.

Go for The Golden Rule. Incorporate these three goals into your life: reaching for personal best, practicing teamwork and living The Golden Rule. If we all do this, we all will win far much more than a medal.

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Step Outside Your Box

Power2ImprovI’m checking off another Bucket List item! This summer, I’m learning how to do improv theater! Trust me, I don’t aim to be at the level of Wayne Brady and his colleagues, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Those men are pure genius, but local level improv is something I’ve always wanted to do.

I found an improv theater in town that offers classes, but they were a bit too expensive for my taste. I put that Bucket List item on the back burner for a far off future date. Then by sheer luck, this spring I found a free class! Thumbs up! That’s more like it!

It’s an 8-week class meeting once a week, and at the end of the sessions we will perform a public show! By no means are we practicing routines as hard as what they do on the TV show, but the exercises and games are really forcing us to think outside the box. During some classes I’ve almost felt like my brain was turning inside out, which may have been the sensation of new neural synapses being built. Of course there are the times where a fellow student will do something that makes you laugh so hard that you have an uncontrollable giggle fit that brings tears to your eyes.

Performing in class is one thing, it’s the thought of the public showcase that does give me a little trepidation. I am very familiar with being on-stage and being a public speaker having been in Toastmasters International for so many years, and I have no fear of that, but that’s when I knew what I was going to say. Improv is totally spontaneous. I want a life-changing experience? Wait until that showcase! That will really push me outside my “box.” Of course when the curtain rises, I won’t have time to think about being nervous, I’ll just have to, “Do or do not,” as Yoda would say.

How often do you challenge yourself? How often do you challenge your brain or body to do something it’s never done before? How good at you at improvising when the unexpected happens?

Most of us prefer it when life goes by smoothly without major challenges, such as flat tires, traffic tickets or an unexpected injury. However, we can’t expect life to always be smooth. Even a conversation can have its twists. Imagine your significant other popping the Big Question, or your spouse asking for a divorce, or announcing: “We’re pregnant!” What happens when your boss or a client puts you on the spot?

It’s time to develop some improv style thinking!

The beauty of improv theater is that there is never a wrong answer. As long as you are confident and can sell your answer, you are correct.

That is not going to happen in real life – usually there is a right or wrong answer. How you react could make all the difference. This is why you need to develop your thinking skills.

There are some students in my class that I was puzzled upon meeting. They were so quiet and shy! What were they doing in an improv class? Obviously they desired to push themselves and step outside their comfort zones, and so should you.

Yes, I suggest you to Google if you have any improv classes in your local area, but if there are not, look for some venue where you can stretch your brain and think outside the box. For example, join a Toastmasters club!

I will miss my improv class so much, I may do the class over again! Hmm, maybe I should wait until after the showcase!

What’s on your Bucket List? Be brave, enlarge your comfort zone and step outside your box!

Choose Your Life – A Tribute to Wayne Dyer

9 30 15 It'sYourChoice DyerIt was a month ago today when many were shocked by the sudden passing of Dr. Wayne Dyer in his sleep the night before. I was especially stunned because I was looking forward to attending his keynote speech at a conference in three weeks. Three weeks! You’ve got to be kidding me!

I had heard his name, but never had read any of his books or material until the summer of 2014 when I watched the movie of his book, “The Shift.” This movie impressed me not only with its message, but also introduced me to this man who possessed such a calmness of spirit. More people need his gentle spirit.

I wondered who the replacement keynote speaker on Friday would be, and then had the thought: maybe they would turn the evening into a memorial tribute for him. And so it was.

The Hay House “I Can Do It” conference/retreat was a weekend of inspirational speakers, each bringing their own insights on personal development. Little did they know that they would be taking the stage individually on Friday evening to share their own experiences with Wayne Dyer and honor his life. It was a powerful evening – a celebration of life.

Dyer’s works were new to me, but there is nothing like seeing a grown man cry on stage to move me to tears as well. These associates were more than that – they were family. At the conclusion of the night, Wayne’s blood family took the stage with his daughter, Skye singing an emotional rendition of “The Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg. The evening was not all tears however! I learned that Wayne had a huge sense of humor, as we all laughed about the story of Jack and the monarch butterfly!

The fact that really made me gasp was when someone shared the story of how August 30 was a key date in Wayne’s life in more than one way. It was on August 30, 1974 that after years of searching, Wayne found his long-lost father, in a pauper’s grave in Louisiana. He had gone there with the intent of spewing years of hate, anger and frustration upon the grave of the father who had abandoned his children at a young age. Much to his surprise, it was at this graveside that Wayne experienced an epiphany, a shift, an awakening to a new purpose, as he found himself forgiving his father. Now free of all this anger, he walked away into a new life of inspiring others. His first New York Times bestseller was published two years later, and the rest is history.

Wayne Dyer made a choice that day. He chose to move towards light and love and away from hate. He spent the rest of his life trying to teach others that they too can make the choices that will create a more fulfilling life. His spiritual awakening was on August 30, 1974 and his spirit passed on August 30, 2015.

What choices do you have to make?

Are you stuck in patterns you can’t break? Do you make excuses for your life? Do you have resentment towards anyone? Do you feel separated from others or from the divine? Have you found the contentment of knowing your purpose?

It’s your choice to seek the answers or stay where you are. Choose the life you want to live.

Because of Wayne’s passing, Hay House has made available several of Dr. Dyer’s books for only $1.99 for the next few weeks. Hello my new Kindle! I purchased five ebooks, and am currently reading “Excuses Begone” and “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life” concurrently.

Thank you Wayne, for all that you contributed to the world community. I look forward to reading more of your writings and being inspired to continually make choices towards a richer, fulfilled life.

True Freedom

7 4 15 FireworksHappy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! As we celebrate the birth of our nation and our nation’s freedoms, after the burgers are eaten and the fireworks have lit up the sky – let’s think about our inner freedom.

How free do you feel? You might not be in a cell behind bars, but what prison bars have you created for your spirit?

Self-doubt
Low self-esteem
Fear
Bad habits
Unforgiveness
Hatred

It’s time to release those things that are not serving us. To choose to love, starting with ourselves.

The Bible says to love our neighbor as ourselves, but if we don’t love ourself how can we then love our neighbor?

It’s that airline “put the oxygen mask on yourself first” principle. I had a hard time understanding that principle at first because I am such a giver! But I understand now.

Do you ever talk to yourself? What do you say?

Do you say, “Oh, I’m stupid! Why did I do that?” If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself!

What are your inner voices telling you? There is a good movie in theaters now for you to see, and take your children to! “Inside Out” is a story of the voices inside a young girl’s head: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. Great lessons to learn here!

Make sure you listen to your positive voices!

Be good to yourself. Start by scheduling 5-10 minutes in the day to pause, reflect, meditate, be thankful. Acknowledge a skill that you have and be thankful for it.

Look in the mirror and say, “I love you.” More than once. And mean it. It might be harder than you think!

Self-care is not selfish, it is vital to our physical health and wellbeing. When we love ourselves, work on our personal growth, and free ourselves from the fears and doubts that hold us back, then we will have even more love to give.

So this weekend, make a choice. Start setting yourself free from those things that hold you back. Love yourself enough to move forward.

Louise Hay’s favorite quote is, “Life loves you.”

Feel the love today and every day, and be free.

Cats, Dogs and Rabbits

4 5 2015 Honey BlogLions, tigers and bears! Oh my! Well, no, more like cats, dogs and rabbits!

Honey the dog (see photo left) decides to write today’s blog. Only kidding.

Actually it was yesterday when I was on my second visit to a friend’s place to feed and “litter” her three cats while she is away for two weeks when I realized … cats … tomorrow babysitting the dog … and oh, I made bunny pancakes today. Now there’s a title for a blog!

It seems an appropriate weekend to write about being of unselfish service to others.

On Easter weekend, Christians celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Members of the Jewish faith celebrate the exodus of the Hebrews to freedom. (If you’ve forgotten that story, the movie “The Ten Commandments” is on TV tonight.) Moses gave up the riches of being an Egyptian prince for the ultimate servant leadership to the Hebrew people.

Sacrifice and service. When was the last time you gave service to others?

Besides helping your friends with their pets when they go out of town, you can make a huge impact on your local community. Volunteering your service does more than help those who are served, it can give you a great sense of satisfaction. There are so many needs in society today, frankly I would have a hard time if I had to select just one cause to devote my time to. I’d like to fix it all!

If you don’t know where to begin, check out VolunteerMatch.org. There you can register and select the causes you are passionate about. You can search the website yourself or sign up to receive emails of volunteer opportunities at local events that match your areas of interest.

The tasks are simple and usually require no special skills, just your time and willing hands. Opportunities range from registrations at charity walks to tutoring children to stuffing envelopes and packing food bags. You pick when and where you want to serve.

Well-known organizations on the list include March of Dimes, Best Buddies, Habitat for Humanity and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

My life of volunteering began years ago when the company I worked for facilitated volunteer opportunities where employees could attend as a group and help the cause. In recent years, I’ve participated in a “bag-stuffing” competition at a local food bank with fellow employees. Another employer adopted a local elementary school and allowed employees to tutor on work time. After I left that company, I registered as a tutor on my own.

Once you start serving, it becomes addictive. The good feeling you get from helping others is better than any other “rush” that you can get elsewhere. Try it, you’ll like it!

I much prefer “Honey-sitting” to “kitty-care” but we won’t tell anyone!

By the way, in case you are wondering, this is what bunny pancakes are….

Easter Pancakes

The Seeds of Happy

IDOH March 20March has arrived like a lion, fast and furious, and all the people at Live Happy are hard at work promoting the United Nations International Day of Happiness on March 20. I took the Happy Acts challenge (go to Happy Acts.org) which is to perform at least one “Happy Act” per day and either post it, Tweet it or Pin it #HappyActs.

Wow, do we actually have to take an online challenge to ensure that we do something nice for someone every day? I would like to hope not. 

I am making the discovery that when I plant a “happy seed,” I get my own flowers blooming almost instantly. Or so it seems. I am a friendly and giving person anyway but I had started consciously looking for good deeds to do last week. It felt like a fun game.

Friday on my way to Whole Foods, I let a car into traffic on a busy road. Five minutes later after I had parked, I felt led to check my email before I went into the store. There was an email telling me I had a discount on something I needed at a certain store, but only available that weekend. My first thought was, “Oh darn, that store is in the opposite direction across town;” my second thought was, “Oh wait, there is a branch across the street from where I am now!” Convenient! I’m all for the two birds with one stone principle. I was happy!

This weekend a friend had invited me to join them on a little day trip excursion; they could have gone by themselves, but you know fun is always better when shared. I thought long and hard about this for several reasons, including the time that I needed to spend on other things, but opted to go on the fun excursion. Besides it was going to give us a chance to catch up on productive conversation.

Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day, the breeze was exhilarating and there were new, fun activities we found to do at this local attraction. We also discovered the fun things we could do with the panorama feature on our camera phones! We went a little panorama crazy! I know this sounds a little silly but, isn’t life about the simple pleasures? We got some really spectacular photos!

Last night I was tired, but very happy that I had taken the time to enjoy fun and sunshine with my friend. The irony was that on this morning’s session of Wake Up Happy the featured speaker talked about the emotional benefits of getting out into nature and stimulating environments and especially sharing them with other people. That was certainly a confirmation of a well-made decision on my part!

So far I have found that the “game” of Happy Acts is a win-win game. When you plant the seed of making someone else happy, it will make you happy and you will reap unexpected blessings in return. You reap what you sow. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples extend out further than we know.

Take the Happy Acts challenge and see what happens in your life. Then on March 20, don’t let the game end there. Let it continue the rest of the year and see what you reap. You can follow my Happy Acts this month at @gloriagrehl on Twitter. What will you do?

The Joy Jar and The Birth Day Present

12 31 14 NewYearNotesWhen 2014 began I heard about a practice to do during the course of the year. Every time there is a happy event in your life, write it on a slip of paper, date it and drop it into a large glass jar. Hopefully by the end of the year the jar will be filled to overflowing! On New Year’s Eve sit down and pull out the slips one by one; read and remember all those great moments. You’ll be surprised about how many happy moments you had! Then get your jar ready for the next year.

People love the time of the New Year because it gives them a specific point of reference in which to start over and create a new life. However, we have the power to make every day a New Year’s Day; we don’t have to wait for once a year to change our life.

I was talking this week with a friend who is a life coach and we were talking about my recent birthday. We came up with the concept that really every day is a “birth day.” Every day we are reborn to new possibilities and every day gives us a chance to meet our resolutions. Every day we can wake up with the excitement of a birthday!

I said to her, “Yes! Today is my birthday and I have presents!” Actually the truth is that the true present is the present moment. The day is a gift to create whatever we want with it. We have the power. There are 365 days in the coming year. 365 birth days. 365 sunrises and sunsets. A single decision made on any of these days can change the course of your future. It’s up to you to decide how you will approach these days.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” Bill Keane

Take time on New Year’s Day, set up your “joy jar” of memories and get ready to fill it with great things. Set some goals for yourself on what you want to achieve, but remember it’s also the journey as much as the destination.

Can’t wait to tip my jar tonight!

Happy New Year 2015!

Season of Light

12 22 14 SolsticeYesterday marked the December Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest, darkest night. It makes me think of the phrase, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures are getting lower. The winter nights become darker and longer, yet December points us towards a season of light, hope and renewal. The coming of a new year gives us incentive for recommitting to our goals.

When a year is ending, we focus on new hope, and our homes and cities become adorned with lights that celebrate this hope.

Since ancient times, this pivotal time in the heavens has been cause for celebration, even for the mere fact that daylight would become longer each day. Depending on your culture or faith, there are the celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and others.

But no matter what your culture or faith, we can all partake in a time of quiet and stillness to find the presence of our inner light. No matter how small or insignificant we may feel, we have the power to brighten the path for others whose experience of darkness may be even deeper than our own.

How can we shine our light this season to brighten the lives of others?

We can do so much more than we think. Just the simple act of a smile to a busy cashier (especially during the holiday!), letting that car into traffic, holding the door for another shopper, all these have ripple effects. That person is going to feel so much better for your kindness and will most likely pay that forward.

It doesn’t take money to express the spirit of the season. Respect, kindness and love are the best gifts.

It’s not all about the lights we hang on our tree, our house, our city streets and parks. It’s the light that we bring to others – now and into the New Year.

Let your light shine!

Start a New Tradition

Christmas 2013eWhat is your holiday tradition? This is a time of year  filled with personal tradition, no matter what aspect of the holiday season you celebrate.

Ever since I moved to Florida and experienced the spectacle of the Disney Candlelight Processional, attending that event became one of my holiday traditions. Of course it falls upon a poor Disney employee to get all their family and friends into the parks at holiday time!

I make it a special party by having one or two other friends tag along. After all, it is a birthday party, since December is my birth month! The lights are for me! So it is with great appreciation to my friend Ray, the Disney cast member, that I dedicate this blog.

Each year the excursion is different depending on when we get there and what we do; we may catch a theme park ride, see the early Processional, go to the Disney Studios to see the millions of Osborne lights on display and maybe catch the Illuminations fireworks on the way back. Simply throw ourselves into the ambience of the season surrounded by lights, decorations and Christmas fireworks. Sometimes the Christmas spirit gets an assist from a cold front visiting Florida, as was the case this weekend!

After the early Processional was over, Ray, my friend Jerome and I decided to catch the 6 PM show at American Adventure. There is usually either a store or restaurant at the exit of every Disney show, in this case it was a restaurant and we were hungry. After the gentleman treated me to a birthday dinner, it just so happened that the second Processional was ending. We got to hear the Hallelujah Chorus for a second time! Amazing!

We hopped into the boat to go see the Osborne Lights, but to our dismay, (mostly my friend Jerome’s), the boat driver announced that the park would be closed by the time we got there, so no light display! (No worries, I have Osborne light photos from past years to share with you, on this page and the home page.) Instead of viewing the lights, we enjoyed a leisurely, one-hour boat cruise through Disney property. I love boat cruises, so I was happy!

That got us back in time to hear the third Hallelujah chorus of the evening and see fireworks. A Hallelujah trifecta, hat trick, triple play? Simply unheard of! Certainly it is an omen of good things to come in 2015! My night was perfectly topped off with a Starbucks Chestnut Praline latte. Hallelujah!

What is your holiday tradition? Just like the saying, “batteries not included,” you could say, “family is not required.” You can create a tradition unique to yourself, by yourself. It’s your choice. Whether it is a Christmas Eve adventure, visiting a festive winter display or special holiday spot, watching a Christmas movie, create something that is “your own.” Here is a hint: it doesn’t even have to be about “you.”

I have always wanted to visit a retirement home at the holidays and give them some holiday cheer. This year marked the first time that my friend Jerome and I led a karaoke Christmas sing-along at a retirement home. Now, that is the spirit of the holidays! I hope we can do that every year from now on, and even visit more than one home. I want to visit the same home on Christmas Day. There may be residents who have no family or visitors on the holiday – what better gift is there to give but the present of “presence?”

You have ten days left to create some Christmas magic. Start a new tradition in your life by finding a new way to bring joy to your world and the lives of others.

Speaking of traditions, one thing I do know, it’s two weeks after Thanksgiving, and it is time to make the traditional turkey soup!

Trick or Treat your Talents

10 27 14 IndiansI’ve always loved autumn. To me there was something different in the air. There was a scent associated with the season, the crispness of the temperature as it began to dip at night, the smell of fallen leaves as they were raked and played in, the wispy smoke of bonfires, of hay, of apples and of pumpkins.

Halloween was always my second favorite season of the year (after Christmas), probably because I got to dress up in costume. And could do it legitimately. I used to dress up around the house and play act the rest of the year too. It’s a wonder that my mom didn’t send me to drama school. I wish she had!

In my younger years I was obsessed with playing cowgirl, which eventually switched over to playing Indian. My mom indulged me by sewing a fringed Indian outfit for one Halloween. I still have the photo. Ironically, years later I sewed an adult Indian costume for myself. I wish my mom could have seen it, she would have been proud.

Adults are not exempt from dressing in character. Party stores and online websites are full of adult-sized costumes of every kind imaginable. There are adult costume parties and contests – we don’t leave all the fun for the children.

What type of costume character do you choose? Is it something that maybe deep down inside you want to be? Do you want to be a superhero? A Hollywood actor? A doctor or nurse? Or the YouTube sensation of the moment?

Have you ever thought about what motivates you to choose your costume? Inevitably it is something you are comfortable with, and I think it can be a reflection of your inner mood. Costume parties allow you to tap into that inner desire.

It doesn’t have to be just a fun game that happens once a year on Halloween. You can be a superhero. Donate blood and save a life. Be that actor. Join a community theater or take part in an open mic night and let your inner actor out. Be that one who helps the less fortunate. Volunteer at a hospital or assisted living facility. Visit the sick or elderly who have no visitors.

Have a talent that you want to share with the world? Don’t hide your talents. Your gifts were given to you for a reason. Step out and take a chance. You don’t have to become famous, just share your gifts and talents with those around you.

It’s no trick. Treat yourself to the joy of letting your imagination really take shape. Find those roles in society where you can “be” that champion.

Harry Potter and his friends faced down danger and changed their world. Have you ever worked in grassroots politics or campaigned for the causes you believe in? We are in early voting week. Get out and vote. Make a difference in the world.

We didn’t stop being heroes when we became adults. That’s the treat. We actually became even more powerful.

As for me, The Black Cat will be out Friday night. You can knock me down but I’ll get up again; because black cats have nine lives.

10 27 14 Cat