Six Word Stories

The delicate task of selection and arrangement of words on a page—writing—is as vital to a wordsmith as breathing.

Much like a surgeon’s unwavering use of a scalpel, writers carefully trim their work to achieve effectiveness through concision—the hallmark of good writing.

Perhaps the most famous example of brevity is the heartbreaking six word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In creating an assignment for my Life Harmony students—write your memoir in six words—I first had to craft my own. For those of you don’t know me well, I ran away from home when I was a sophomore in high school. My six word memoir:
“Left home walking, learned to soar.”

I took this photo titled “Untethered” in September of 2011 while driving across a small portion of the Mojave Desert. Click on photo to enlarge.

What is your six word memoir?

Laurie Buchanan

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

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Salt of the Earth

Considered “the spice of life” by many in the culinary world, salt has numerous uses both inside and outside the kitchen. Historically its value was so great that in some countries it was even used as currency. Today we refer to exceptionally kind, reliable, or honest people as the “salt of the earth.”

IMG_1132

“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”
          — Buddha

  • The glass — a small container we allow to hold our life.
  • The salt — difficulties that mask our joy.

When we allow ourselves to venture beyond self-made boundaries, difficulties don’t disappear, but seem to diminish and take a less active role in our life.

Do you prefer a glass or a lake?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

The Science of Happiness

Strategically placed among the recessed lighting in our living room ceiling, is an adjustable “fisheye” that rotates so we can highlight the stained glass in our front door. When people drive or walk down our street in the evening, they can’t help but look at it—to focus on it.

“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs

“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs

In our everyday lives, we have multiple opportunities to focus. We can shine our mind’s spotlight on the positive, or on the negative. Like the “fisheye” — it’s an adjustable choice.

Dr. Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at UW-Madison, scanned the brains of happy people and found they were unusually active in one area—the left prefrontal cortex. Now he and other researchers in the field are learning more about how we can take advantage of our brain’s “plasticity”—its ability to reshape itself—and rewire our own brains to be happier.

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” — Marianne Williamson

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” — Marianne Williamson

Last week I become part of a beta group that’s testing the science of happiness and positive psychology. I just completed part one of the first track. Each day I participate in brief, online “happiness skill builders” specifically designed to promote positive emotional qualities such as gratitude, kindness, mindfulness, and compassion.

Where do you place your focus?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

 

Housekeeping — The Kind that Matters

Last week, at her request, I called a potential new client. Questions in hand, I was ready to see if we would mesh in a coaching relationship. Within minutes I discovered that this woman has a short—very short—time to live. The coaching experience I offer is typically nine months in length, so where did I fit in?

Beyond humbling, she shared with me that knowing in advance her approximate date of death has been a tremendous blessing in that she’s completely prepared—except for one thing. Taped to a framed photograph on her nightstand is a clipping from a long-ago magazine article I wrote:

Like the path we walk, giving and receiving forgiveness is a fundamental part of life’s journey. Reminiscent of falling leaves, offenses may scatter the pathway of our heart—the seat of our outlook. This attitude determines the terrain of our path and forgiveness keeps the pathway clear.

It is my perspective that the place to start—the place to launch joy, hope, positive aspirations, and healing begins with forgiveness. Until that bit of housekeeping has been taken care of, everything else is futile.

Since that initial call we’ve had two more conversations. Neither one of us is charging a fee, but you can well imagine that I’m receiving much more than she is. I’m learning how to die.

Do you need to give or receive forgiveness, or are you all set?

Laurie Buchanan

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

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience— Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

What’s the Point?

Last week the weather in our neck of the woods dipped well below zero, and much like strutting peacocks who flaunt their dazzling feathers, the homes in our neighborhood boasted glistening icicles; the perfect visual for this week’s post, “What’s the point?”

As a transformational life coach, this—by far—is the question I get asked the most.

“The purpose of life is life of purpose.” — Robert Byrne

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the be all, end all. That said…

I believe that each of us has an individual and specific reason for being here. Being conscious of that reason provides us with the most basic and concrete thing we can know about ourself.

  • Many people believe that we find our purpose. I don’t.
  • It’s my perspective that we determine it.

By intent, I determined to be a mindful agent of heart-based change — body, mind, and spirit.

Have you determined your purpose?

Laurie Buchanan

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

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

There’s a Price for Extra Baggage

When I write an article or work on a manuscript, I back it up on a USB thumb drive — a tiny data storage device. The clear housing allows me to see the inner-workings. To me it looks like an aerial view of a micro-sized warehouse with a maze of corridors, each one leading to a compartment that holds data, music, pictures, video, or software.

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan

Some Things are Definitely Worth Remembering
The information I put on my thumb drive is important enough to me that I transport it on a lanyard, much like a referee wears a whistle. I carry it with me for safekeeping until I have the opportunity to make a positive contribution — submit it for publication.

Some Things are Best Forgotten
Many of us carry memories with us that don’t contribute to our wellbeing. In fact they’re debilitating. Unlike a tiny thumb drive, they take up a vast amount of space in containers known as baggage — emotional baggage. And while we can’t actually see them, we definitely feel their weight. And the longer we carry them, the heavier they get.

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan

Let go or be dragged.” — Zen proverb

Some people overpack for trips. Are you overpacked for life?

Laurie Buchanan

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

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Yoga – Gone to the Dogs!

Yoga invites us to drop beneath the surface of life into quieter, more introspective realms; at our house it’s a family affair.

First and foremost, it’s important to pay close attention — especially to one’s breathing.

Next, sink into stillness and get comfortable…

…really comfortable.

Our online instructor says, “Yoga straps help us stretch to the limit, increasing flexibility and muscular strength.” Willa’s look says, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

“Happy Baby” pose gently brings a greater awareness to the hip joints.

The “Butterfly” pose (also known as “Cobbler’s” pose) provides relief to muscle tension around the inner thigh area.

We use several props in our practice. Lexi will be the equivalent of 77 human years this August. She appreciates the comfortable support of an extra blanket throughout the session.

Legs-up-the-wall (or simply balanced in the air) is a posture that gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it.

Willa is doing an exaggerated “Downward Facing Dog” pose. This posture feels especially good after resting because it elongates and lengthens the back. And as a mild inversion, it’s great for increasing blood flow to the brain and eyes.

Certain yoga postures can strengthen the cervical curve in the back of the neck.

Commonly referred to as “Corpse” pose, we simply call it “Dead Dog” at our house.

After a balanced practice, the muscles in the entire body will have been stretched. “Shavasana” provides the body with a chance to regroup and reset itself.

Namaste

Namaste — hands held in prayer-like fashion in front of the heart, accompanied by a slight bow — represents the belief that there’s a divine spark within each of us. This gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one, by the soul in another.

nam means bow
as means I
te means you

Therefore, namaste literally means “bow I you” or “I bow to you.”

If you have animal companions at home, what do they enjoy doing with you?

Laurie Buchanan

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

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

A Glimpse in the Rearview Mirror

Willa loves to stick her head out the window when we drive. Looking back in the mirror, I see her gleefully catching some G-force!

In December we sold our commercial building in historic downtown Crystal Lake, Illinois. My last day in the structure was yesterday — December 31, 2012.

Just prior to that, one of my friends — artist, Donna Jill Witty — gifted me with a beautiful watercolor rendition of HolEssence so that I could always remember our building.

Another friend, Pat, asked, “Are you going to do any “hands on” energy-based therapy somewhere else?”

I shared with her that while the “hands on” aspect of things is now in the rearview mirror, looking forward my focus is on the “hearts on” aspect of things — the Life Harmony experience — something that I already do with clients all over the globe:

  • For people who use Mac’s, we enjoy one-on-one sessions via FaceTime
  • For people who use PC’s, we enjoy one-on-one sessions via Skype

In my experience, every year outdoes the previous one. If this trend continues,
I expect 2013 to top them all!

What’s in your rearview mirror?

Laurie Buchanan

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

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Harvesting Water, Harnessing Heat

During the week I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico it became clear that due to sheer lack, hygiene, and safety issues, two of the most basic needs—drinkable water and heat—are of tremendous concern.

With service above self as their motto, the local Rotary Club go to the people in dire need — not to gave a hand out, but a hand up — a fishing pole instead of a fish — educating people as they go.


The local Rotary Club has amazingly provided:

Water Cisterns
587 Cisterns built in 19 Communities
Benefiting 4000+ family members (+ other school & kinder children)
Cost per cistern – US $700

Ecological Stoves
Constructed 1,400 in 29 Communities
Benefiting 5,000 + family members
Cost per stove – US $48
For more information specific to the phenomenal benefits of the small economical stoves, please follow this link: StoveTeam International

To find out how your financial support can help to change lives, please contact:

John Doherty
jd98lv@hotmail.com
Rotary Club of San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, Mexico

Have you ever had to walk miles to reach drinkable water?
Did you know that smoke from open cooking fires kills twice as many people as malaria?

Laurie Buchanan

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

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

CASA—Center for the Adolescents of San Miguel de Allende

On Oct 31 I was privileged to speak at the First Annual Wellness and Spirituality Expo in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico—a benefit to raise funds and awareness toward the fight to stop violence against women and children.

This life-changing event was sponsored by Sibyl English of SIBYL Magazine and SIBELLA Poetry Magazine.

CASA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for Mexico’s most vulnerable communities through a wide brushstroke of educational programs. From childhood development to employment and other areas, including domestic violence prevention and support.

To learn more about how your financial support can help to change lives, simply follow this LINK.

Have you ever been paralyzed with fear—afraid for your life?

Laurie Buchanan

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

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved