I hung up the phone from a coaching session with my own coach, and teacher, Kate Michels of Core Alignment Coaching, I realized something very profound. The topic of discussion was about being in the state of happiness. I realized that, in my past, I had been viewing happiness from an outside perspective, thinking that it was going to somehow jump into my body and glitter some fairy dust across my soul and I will be happy forever. I pictured it as this place where you visit and suddenly become happy.
It was important for me to grasp this concept…of happiness. So, I even took a course on the Pursuit of Happiness. Yes, there is really a structured course on this topic. From the beginning of time, philosophers, psychologists, neurologists, and scientists have studied, theorized and tested what happiness is and what it does for humans and animals.
This is what I know about happiness from a purely human experience:
When I am mindful of everything around me, I am in a state of awareness. This awareness is about taking note of each thing and asking where it came from, how it got there, what was the purpose of it, why do I keep it, what is it good for, who is it good for.
As I looked around the room a few days ago, I realized that each of the things I noted, and asked those questions, were a part of me. I chose the piles of papers on my desk, I purchased the multiple books lining the shelves of the bookcase that I also bought to house the books. Each book meant something to me, because I chose it for specific reasons.
I chose the Asian decor and lighting, and a Native American drum on the wall because these fill my spirit. Yes, these are all external things, here, but I chose them. The choice is what became so transparent to me in that single moment. I get to choose. And, in that same moment, I felt this warmth of being thankful for that gift of choice.
My life had not been easy with a failed marriage, being raped, losing a child, living in poverty, and raising children alone. It was the times, however, that I recognized that it was happiness that kept me moving towards the light – that life I wanted for myself and my children. Happiness was found in those minute moments of gratitude for someone’s generosity, or just seeing the smiles on my children’s faces when they were happy.
Choice is our gift toward thankfulness, peace, freedom, and happiness. It is there inside us at all times for the partaking. Whether we live in poverty or live in a castle, we possess the gift to choose how we will perceive each moment, how we will view our surroundings, and how we live in those surroundings.
When we celebrate our moments of abundance during this season, we will pause for one day to be thankful, it is our choice. Some gatherings will go around the table and ask what each person is grateful for, others will simply say grace, while even just a few will pause, not realizing the choice they have made to give thanks. It is in this moment we can choose to make this our day of change -to pause for thankfulness and happiness every single day of our future lives.
I wish you all a very Happy and Peaceful season of Thanks, and hope that you will make the choice to live in mindful gratitude each day.
Thank you for reading my blogs each month. I am humbly grateful that my thoughts through words on a page make a difference in people’s lives every day.
For this, I am happy.
Kat is a Professional Core Alignment Mentor who specializes in the art and science of NeuroLinguistic Programming and Emotional Wisdom Training. She is founder of Taproots for Life.
Kat has helped many people realize their own potential, improve parenting, build confidence, respond more wisely to stress, and more.
Kat’s practice spans the globe for English-speaking people. Her passion is helping people awaken the light of wisdom within themselves to live a life of joy.
With the recent occurrences in our world, I felt compelled to write about the attributes of a true leader in any situation, whether it be in our family, at school, at work, social networks and other places where leadership can elevate or sabotage an event or situation.
In my years of management, I experienced empowering mentors and ineffective mentors. While the empowering mentors helped me grow, the ineffective ones also taught me a lot about growth in a different manner.
I will share a couple stories that bring out the qualities that make someone ineffective as a leader in an organization, and share other stories that create a spark in the consciousness that make people come alive in a work setting.
I was already a single mom in my 20’s, a budding manager,and excited to help people succeed. I knew I had a lot to learn and looked up to my superiors to teach me the ropes. What I quickly learned was that not all managers were effective.
Maureen (not her real name) was an experienced nurse in her prime years of care for patients. She partnered with another nurse and created a successful hospice service to patients experiencing end of life.
Maureen shared with me that the only reason she became a nurse was that she was forced by her parents to choose a profession and that it was mandatory that she attend a prestigious college. Her decision was to become a nurse because it was the shortest path to gaining a degree that her parents desired for her. This was Maureen’s path.
I attended my interview Maureen and her partner, complete with suit, pumps, and pad and paper for notes. I answered their questions and shared my experience. I liked the diversity of the two personalities and enjoyed the short conversation. I walked away from the interview not knowing if I was hired. Two days later, I received the call: “You’re hired.”
In my five years with this organization, I created better communication, scheduling practices, and earned the owners’ trust in running the organization in their absence. But, then the abuse arrived at my door like a thief in the night.
Maureen lived in a world of fear, hatred, and self-doubt. She was used to getting what she wanted no matter how unrealistic or painful it was for others around her. She stomped her feat, screamed, and slammed doors. This was her management style. The company’s turnover hovered around 75%. But, I was not a quitter.
I soon became known by my peers as the “whipping post” for everything that went wrong, even though I was not technically overseeing anything, except those I oversaw in a closely controlled, loosely described supervisory role. I knew this would be the case, but I was just learning and at the bottom rungs of my career. I could take a little abuse (I had already been there, I thought, with an abusive husband).
One day, Maureen, came to me and openly reversed on a principle that she made known to everyone in the organization. She told me to do something morally wrong that served her purpose to appear “large” in the eyes of a client, who was well-known in the community.
Humbly, I repeated her principle back to her and she came unglued. Big mistake on my part. Her arms began flailing in the air, her eyes on fire, feet stomping, and her voice raged like the fury of a mother jaguar. She came at me, all five feet of scrambled wildness to my five foot nine. She wrinkled her face, lunged up at me, and screamed for over five minutes. After a minute, it was like hearing the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons: “wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.” Then…silence came. I drew in a deep breath and without a beat, calmly asked her if she was finished and said, ” Thank you, may I get back to work, now?”
Maureen spiraled around in a fit of flames, stomped to her office and flung the door shut, creating a jarring slam that I am convinced woke the dead. Nothing was resolved, and I was still sitting with a dilemma that could have lost us a very valuable account.
This was my first experience with a manager who had no respect for herself or others. She never took time to understand a person or situation before losing her true identity as a caring person (who was, sadly, lost). There is more to this story, but I digress and put this one on a shelf to tell you about an effective manager.
About ten years later, I was hired as a manager to an international organization that provided internal service to hospitals. I worked for seven years before making it to corporate management. Just prior to getting there, I was under the direction of a boss who looked out for people. He helped them become successful. He asked their opinions, offered engagement in processes. He valued the people who worked with him. He went by the name Garvey.
Garvey took time with me when I was frustrated that I could not get buy-in from the teams on some of my projects. He taught me about people and the importance of meeting them where they are. Further, he saw something in me that I knew, but never really took it to heart.
Garvey asked me, “Do you believe that leaders are created or born?” I truly believed that leaders could be both. I believed there were leaders who were ineffective – think Hitler – and those who empowered others -think Mother Teresa. Garvey and I got along quite well, and he became my professional mentor. He helped me learn how to take over his job. I came from the same school of thought – teach others to be at least as successful as me.
One day, I was called into Garvey’s conference room “office.” He traveled to multiple locations within the region. He said, “shut the door and lock it behind you, we are going to have a discussion.” Needless to say, I was very concerned. Very…
“Kat,” Garvey said, “I want you to know some things about your management style and what you do with your skills.” Now, I was seriously contemplating handing him a resignation. “You possess the skills of a leader that I have not seen in a long time.” As I wiped the sweat from my brow and shook my head, I felt myself looking around to see who he was talking to. I relaxed into the conversation.
Garvey was talking in a very serious manner. He had my attention. “You will be the next regional manager,” he said. I was speechless. The silence felt like hours. I gulped and responded, “But, Garvey, I have no formal degree, or any accounting background, or…”
“Stop,” he said. “Hear me out. You possess the qualities of a good leader. You’re not perfect, but you know it. You set a standard, hold people accountable, but teach them how to be successful. These are the signs of a true leader in my book.”
I nearly cried to hear these words, especially since I recalled the prior conversation when he informed me of his belief that leaders were born. He really believed that! So, I sucked up my “girliness” and choked back the tears. I began to feel my confidence rise with his words. I felt like I had real purpose in this huge company where employee’s ambitions easily became homogenized, for lack of solid managers to support them.
Later in the year, Garvey retired, and the next director called me into his office. He said the familiar words I learned about leadership, and I was promoted to the next regional manager -over thirteens states. My time with Garvey, and other effective mentors along the way, had been fruitful. I put in the work and it paid off.
Today, I have learned so many lessons: from others, and my own shortcomings, as well as the celebrated successes in life and business. I am now an empowered woman in her golden years, still leading with my love for people and helping them get to a place that brings empowerment to their own lives- a place of happiness and freedom. I am ever so grateful for the people like Maureen and Garvey who taught me so much about the person I’ve always wanted to be.
When we empower ourselves, we have completed our own basic need for attention, the need to feel validated or heard. We begin to see ourselves in others’ eyes, seeing our own places of opportunity while being grateful to be in the presence of these teachers in our lives.
Kat is a Professional Core Alignment Mentor who specializes in the art and science of NeuroLinguistic Programming and Emotional Wisdom Training.
She has helped many people realize their own potential, improve parenting, build confidence, respond more wisely to stress, and more.
Kat’s practice spans the globe for English-speaking people. Her passion is helping people awaken the light of wisdom within themselves to live a life of joy.
On Thanksgiving, 2014, I recall that after some masterful cooking in the kitchen, we sat down to a meal. It had become my family tradition. After years of both sides of family arguing over whose turn it was that we come to their Thanksgiving, I finally had enough and drew the line in the sand to declare that my own family would be having dinner at our home.
By 1995, my children were at an age (17, 15 and 10) where it was even more important to gather the troops after shuffling around our schedules and continual running with soccer games, track meets, religion classes, music lessons/concerts, trips to the doctors while balancing all of this with my busy work schedule. My husband began to cherish and look forward to this time, as well, as he was the grounding force behind the scenes when things got chaotic. It was his time to relax and enjoy the moment of fun, kids, and food.
In 2014, Thanksgiving was, in my opinion, the perfect feast. [Every year, I seemed lay claim that this was my best culinary year ever. Family cooks, I’m sure you can relate!] Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauteed green beans, maple carrots, salad, and my traditional RTS (rosemary, sage & thyme) stuffing. Of course no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without wine and desserts: pumpkin and pecan pies
So! I’ve addressed the reason we celebrate with only my family, and, or course, the food – important on this day. From the kitchen on that blustery 2014 day outside, I beckoned the family from the games they were playing in our warm, cozy living room, shouting the infamous “It’s time to eat!” Imagine “kids” in their 30’s, running to the table, elbowing each other – now with grandchildren (16, 14, and 12) vying for their place at the table with the adults. A happy, and familiar, sight for an aging mother’s eyes!
We finally sat down to eat, gazed in amazement around at all the food on the table and, at that moment, I decided that we needed to say out loud what we were thankful for. I started. “I am thankful for these days when we are together, laughing, playing and enjoying each other.” We continued around the table and each person voiced gratitude for things in their life or the day.
Last, but certainly, not least ,was my oldest son, who usually had an entirely different outlook on life. He paused, swallowed, then said with deep thought, “I’m thankful for each day that I am able to draw a breath of life.” Silence seized the moment, frozen still in a sudden time-warp of mystic befuddlement.
Everyone heard the message, everyone seemed to want to embrace the message, but were grappling with their own egos to respond delicately to such a profound statement. My heart drew inward just that moment. I felt his painful journey to gratitude, yet this was such a precious moment of beauty for the souls sitting around the table.
These words might not have much bearing on the average family at a Thanksgiving table, but this was different. My son had accomplished living to be 34 years old, battling Cystic Fibrosis since he was born. His struggle to simply breathe had become a daily battle. Yes, his message was quite different. How does one find gratitude when faced with the struggles of multiple stomach surgeries, diabetes, pain, and now, just breathe, function, and live life every day?
His words created a very sudden immediate, humbling moment for those around the table. The family members who said they were grateful for material things like turkey dinner,the upcoming football game, or something humorous to skate from any emotion that may creep in while listening to everyone else’s heartfelt thanks, were now questioning their own sense of gratitude. My son was intense yet modest about his words of gratitude. My son, who was usually the one to issue humor or gregarious quotes. The moment of silence was peaceful, yet this hollow space yearned to be filled.
Then a gift broke the silence..quite humbly, each person at the table began to thank him for giving his heart to this momentous piece of time. I looked upon my family at this meal in a more loving light, as my heart beat with a great sense of joy and satisfaction. My children had become beautiful adults and I can be thankful for years to come that they will look out for each other and be grateful for different things in life.
I will always remember my son’s words that day. It made me think of how precious our lives are on this earth with such little time to create our mark of love and gratitude.
My son’s words made time stand still for just a small moment to allow everyone space to go inward for a self-check of why we exist: To love, be loved, and walk in gratitude every single day of our lives.
May you all find love and peace in your moment at Thanksgiving and wherever you celebrate gratitude around the world.
Kat helps people awaken the light within to live a life of joy. She believes that every person deserves to live their authenticity with conviction and a voice to be heard.
She is a Core Alignment Mentor, Professional Neuro Linguistic Programmer and Emotional Wisdom Trainer. Kat is also a writer, aromatherapist, and energy worker. Her work has helped many people overcome fear, anxiety, loss of confidence, memory loss and more. She conducts 95% of her mentoring over the phone.
Kat is currently taking new clients for December 2016. E-mail: email@example.com or call 314-359-2647
I look over to a glass globe, setting on my desk, that is home to a little fairy child. She is a porcelain figurine that holds a pearl in her uplifted hands, as if she were offering love to the world. For me, this pearl represents the light of my soul. The light that is in each one of us, unconditional love.
When the light is dull, we are not ourselves. We are not embracing our authenticity. The purest of love and compassion that lies within this light is always there, yet we miss out on it so often in our lives on earth.
With the recent events of an election, a surprise outcome occurred with the electoral votes winning out to a harsh, now president elect, which has left most of us questioning our faith in human kind. “Have we lost our minds?” many people say.
And yet, those who were proponents of the candidate even questioned they did the right thing. “It actually happened,” I hear them say. This group seemed stunned that their votes actually counted, and, actually proved that they could vote in anyone they put at the helm. It could have been Daffy Duck and it would have been a true vote, and interestingly, still bring people to the dumbfounded reality that their vote counted for what they believed to be the perfect president.
On inauguration day, it will be a day of mourning for most Americans, and perhaps people in other countries. There are chosen administration members whose character we question and test against integrity, honesty, and human kindness. What human experiences do they bring before us in order to lead us?
Have any of them truly lived in poverty? Do they know what it is like to get up every 2 hours of the night in a drowsy stupor to turn their loved one who lies in bed dying, suffering of cancer? And further, do they know what it is like to be broken when no one else stepped forward in outreach because “no one” had the means or integrity to do so? As a result, someone died without any outreach.
A woman was forced to abort her child because of the humiliation, no means to provide, and no sense of how to even raise a child. Where did we fail this woman, as human beings? Where will the souls of our leaders reach out?
A child was left behind because no one cared that he could not read or that his mother was being beaten by his father every hour of the day. Where is our human outreach?
My fellow souls, this, this place that we have allowed to become neglected is not our leader’s doing. At some point, we must create a collective response as souls to care for our fellow human brothers and sisters. While our vote may count, there’s an even greater response at stake. Our choice to create internal love and allow that light to illuminate from us to our human families, as we assist them in small ways to lift them up.
What has transpired with our souls is not a mistake. It is a deep belief that our souls yearn to use their advanced knowledge to move back to what is important: Pure love
Our souls view that this new place of evolution is not a place of modern technology or streamlined modern society. Our souls have tired of the antics of our human bodies and long to be pure. But with purity, comes an earthly price of coming to grips with our own mentality. The ego must succumb to it’s own intelligence, ingrained beliefs and lessons from practicing less than love.
When our egos are challenged, we build more resistance, animosity, hatred, anger, retaliation. This has become evident in the recent turn of events. Both sides of the presidential race oozed the ugly tar-ridden muck that comes from ego. What leadership was demonstrated? The excuses that “the other” ran a dirty campaign has only deeply reflected back in what they proclaim.
Now, the American people feel more broken, more divided, and more despaired than the anxiety that lead up to the election. Our leaders, the souls who we entrusted, have yielded to the entrapment of their earthly ego and have forgotten who they really are.
While our leaders may have forgotten the light in their souls, as it grows dimmer, let us not forget our own light that beams within us.
Recall why we stand for the rights for humans to live and die with dignity; the grave significance of being vigilant in holding dear our natural habitat and how it affects everything on this planet; the deep sense of respect and honor for each human to practice their spirituality in their own heart;and, the right to live in authenticity with conviction and a voice to be heard.
For these truths I hold dear for our souls and an open space for love in the heart of America, that the collective soul of our country remain intact and pure in love as we navigate through a challenging journey that could change our lives forever. United we stand, divided we fall.
Kat has an innate talent to guide people to awaken the light within to live a life of joy. She is a Professional Core Alignment Mentor who practices Neuro Linguistic Programming and Emotional Wisdom Training. Kat is the founder of Salt of the Earth Holistic Wellness, which has evolved to the new Taproots for Life.
Kat conducts workshops on the 7 Roots to Empowerment, Wheel of Life, Gratitude, Acceptance, The Power of Me, and more. In addition she offers private phone mentoring sessions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-359-2467