"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

Standing Alone

Connecting with like-minded people heightens awareness of our inherent unity. When we’re warmly included—validated—it nurtures a warm sense of belonging; a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

There are many times in life when other people agree with our principles, beliefs, and/or choices we make. I suspect that to some degree this “sameness” strengthens our sense of validation.

However, there are times when we find ourself standing alone. Maybe we took a different stance while serving on jury duty, or in the workplace, at home or school, with family, or friends.

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“Be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.” — Mark Amend

When was the last time you stood alone?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Humanity’s Mortar

We’ve all heard the expression “shoots from the hip” used to describe someone who “says what they mean, and means what they say.” Their style of communication is decisive and strong.

In my perspective, communication is the mortar that holds humanity together; it’s the very currency of our society. Each of us dips our toes into four communication styles, but works from a primary stance:

  • Expresser — relies on feelings, tends to ask “Who?”
  • Relater — relies on relationships, tends to ask “What?”
  • Analyzer — relies on data, tends to ask “How?”
  • Driver — relies on cooperation, tends to ask “What?”


There are people in each category who are clear, concise, and articulate in their delivery style.

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Likewise, there are people in each category who are a bit fuzzy in getting their point across.

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What is your primary communication style?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Burned Out

A few weeks ago while out walking, we happened upon a burned out vehicle. There wasn’t any police tape indicating foul play; there was nothing about it in the newspaper or online, so we don’t have any idea how it happened.

Burned Out

The scene reminded me of a conversation I had with a person many years ago who opened the conversation with, “I’m burned out.” When I asked for details, she said:

 “My schedule is so over-committed that I don’t have any ‘me’ time. I don’t have time to exercise, and because of time constraints, meals have become a steady stream of fast food. I’m not sleeping well so I’m physically exhausted. I can’t seem to focus at work, and my relationship is falling apart. Frankly, I’m not enjoying life anymore.”

It all boiled down to her inability to say “no.” A people pleaser, she said “yes” to everything requested of her. Quite some time ago I learned how to effectively say no with finesse from my friend and personality expert Sheila Glazov: That does not work for me.

Is it difficult for you to say “no?”

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Elixir of Life

Author of several books, Dr. Masaru Emoto was an internationally renowned researcher who gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness. His message was simple, profound, and far-reaching — water reflects the intention of our thoughts and words. His landmark water study shows that words positively change the molecular structure and vibration of water and other substances.

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Consumed once a day, Len and I each place a glass of water on the kitchen window sill with personal words of intent written in indelible marker on each one.

My words are: Joy, Laughter, Health, Vitality, Forgiveness, Creativity, and Peace of Mind.
Len’s words are: Health, Strength, Wisdom, Abundance, Love, Clarity, and Gratitude.

What words would you write on your glass?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Fence Rats and Monkey Traps

The other side of the back property line where we live has what we lovingly refer to as a fence rat — a cute little dog who sticks his head under the fence and yaps every time I come or go. I tried to make friends by giving him dog biscuits. Len’s afraid his collar’s going to get caught on the bottom of the fence and he’ll be stuck there until someone comes to his rescue. “Greedy little bugger!” (referring to the dog), “See what you started?” (referring to me).

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The neighboring dog reminds me of the monkey traps described in Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where certain tribes leverage the monkeys’ greed to their advantage. They hollow out a gourd, leaving the opening just large enough for a monkey’s hand to go through to reach a sweet treat. When the monkey (unaware that the vine attached to the gourd is staked to the ground out of sight) reaches in to get the treat, the opening is too small for its now-clenched fist to pass back through. Escape is entirely possible if he’ll just let go, but he won’t because he chooses to hang on to the treat. At this point the tribespeople come along and it’s easy pickings…

What won’t you let go of?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Laughing Buddha

It’s still too early to plant flowers in the terra cotta pots by our front door, but we can tell that spring is just around the corner. Regardless of the weather, our year-round resident — Laughing Buddha — greets us with his buoyant body language and effervescent smile that never fails to trigger a chuckle.

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Anatomically speaking, we all know that the most important bone in our body is the Funny Bone. For full health benefits, it’s imperative to exercise it on a regular basis.

Scientific studies show that humor stimulates the brain’s reward center in the same ways as sex and chocolate. In turn, this reward center secretes two hormones into the brain:  dopamine and serotonin. Also known as “happiness molecules,” these anti-stress chemicals are associated with the feeling of happiness.

As we grow older, the production of these chemicals in the body decreases, so laughing becomes all the more important with increasing age.

When was the last time your funny bone got a workout?

© Laurie Buchanan

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A Twist on Impressionism

Avid walkers, Len, Willa, and I tend to rack up multiple miles per day and we never fail to see tracks of other various creatures who’ve been out-and-about enjoying nature too:

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During our walks I oftentimes think of the famous adage — Take nothing but memories; leave nothing but footprints. It reminds me to respect Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants.

Both tracks and memories leave impressions:

  • Tracks in the earth
  • Memories in the mind

What kind of impression have you made?

© Laurie Buchanan

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