Opportunities

Opportunities are all around us, we see them or don’t, we take advantage of them or let them slip by. They are there to grasp, but one has to have an open mind and open heart.

My widowed mother raised me in postwar Germany. Looking back, we had very little, although there was always food, clothing and a roof over our heads. I remember vividly that I sometimes took my doll and went to the tennis club. There was a bench outside the courts of the club, and I sat watching the people play. They were so beautiful in their white outfits, swinging their rackets and gliding over the clay courts. I sat there, watching and dreaming, and promised myself that one day I would play tennis like that as well. For a poor girl in post-war Germany, that was an outrageous dream. It was so far out that I never shared it with my mother. I didn’t want her to shatter my dream. I knew she meant well, but I always heard “be reasonable, that is not possible for people like us”, and so on. As an adult, I joined a club and played tennis on clay courts in a white skirt and top just like my dream. I saw an opportunity, took it, and made my dream come true.

I have always questioned and rejected the concept that there are limitations on what I can dream and achieve, although I had to conform when I was young. I would have loved to become a professional like a doctor or a lawyer, but it was out of reach. I had to compromise and take opportunities that were open to me, mostly for financial reasons, and I have no regrets. During my earlier years the pressure of postwar Germany, family, and the German class system made for a limited life, but I was always sustained by my dreams. The easiest way for many was to go to America, the land of opportunities, where anyone could succeed and live the life so much desired. America was a shining beacon of hope in those difficult times and a promise for a better life.

When I started studying metaphysics, I realized that I had choices, that in effect I had all the choices, and that I did not have to give my power away to tradition. The thought was intoxicating, and I felt my wings growing. I took my power back and opened my heart and my eyes to opportunities. I let many of them go by or saw them too late. It was up to me how I wanted to look at the missed opportunities: do I want to play the “if only game” and watch with regret some missed opportunities sail down the river, or do I turn my eyes upstream to see and accept new ones coming to me? This is a choice we all have to make more often than we realize, and sometimes we make this choice unconsciously based on old beliefs or imagined limitations. If you feel you don’t have opportunities, that you are an unfortunate and unlucky person stuck in a situation through no fault of yours, then now is a perfect time to reevaluate, regroup and develop new dreams. Watch your mind and clean out limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. Open your heart and mind to new opportunities. They are all around you, you are not excluded, and there are no exceptions.

It is your choice, and yours alone. Believe in your dreams and opportunities will appear, so that you will be able to live the life you are seeking.

Like many others, I immigrated to America after living in Belgium. My life unfolded, with obstacles sometimes barring my way. But I never gave up dreaming and believing in opportunities. I am still the young girl watching people play tennis and dreaming about my future. I will always dream, it is the beginning and the opening of the portal to opportunities. When the day comes that I no longer dream, it will be my time to say good bye.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

The Monsoon Is Back

There has never been a time when I was more looking forward to the monsoon bringing rain and more bearable temperatures than this year. We have lived in Tucson since 2002, and I do not remember the searing heat we have endured this year. I missed my walks and being able to spend time outdoors. But all this is now changing with the arrival of the Arizona monsoon, and I am rejoicing and happy. We have had only a few brief showers so far, but the monsoon has started and everything and everyone delights in it.

Although the monsoon in Arizona is not as strong and persistent as in other parts of the world, it shares the same characteristics. Wikipedia explains it like this: “There is a shift in wind patterns in summer which occurs as Mexico and the southwest U.S. warm under intense solar heating. As this happens, the flow reverses. The prevailing winds start to flow from moist ocean areas into dry land areas”.

Before moving to Tucson, I never appreciated the rain as I do now. It reminded me that when we have too much of something, we start losing our appreciation for it. Rain was never my thing because I had more than my share growing up in Germany and then living in Belgium. I couldn’t wait to vacation in a place with sunshine and no rain.

But we can change and learn to appreciate things we really didn’t care for. It all depends on how we look at it and if we keep an open mind and open heart. I love change, it allows me to grow and expand. If I would be younger, I would have danced in those first monsoon rains. I embraced the lightning and thunder and was all sad when the clouds moved on to bring life and moisture to another area.

There is so much to be grateful for and I count my blessings every day. The monsoon and rain are very much part of my appreciation right now. I look out of the window and imagine that the rain is washing away all worries, concerns and painful memories. I feel its gentle cleaning. I cannot wait for the next storm and rain and I know that I will enjoy it to the fullest. Nature is powerful and inspirational, and I am genuinely happy feeling I am part of it.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Father’s Day

We honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood on Father’s Day, not only for their status within the family but also their influence within society. It is an old tradition in Europe dating back to the Middle Ages where fathers were celebrated on March nineteenth – St. Joseph’s Day.ince then, most countries have adopted the US date which is the third Sunday in June.

Fathers are a special pillar of strength within the family unit giving balance so the feminine and masculine energy can become strongly bonded. Having grown up without any masculine influence, I know how difficult it was for me to understand and relate to the opposite sex. For a long time, I was looking for a father figure to fill the void within me. But despite never having a father, I strongly related to the relationships of my friends and my husband with their fathers. They played or are still playing an important part in their lives and the pain from losing this strong and supporting love is deep and distressing.

The love of a father is a gift and I include all fathers, biological, adoptive or just a kind soul who becomes that pillar in a child’s life. This brings me to a touching wildlife story. Last year a male quail and his tiny offsprings landed in our yard and one could clearly see the distress in this overwhelmed dad. He knew his role was to look out for danger by sitting on an elevated spot, but his partner wasn’t with them. Most likely she lost her life shortly after the eggs hatched. The little baby quail were very spooked and frightened and they ran wildly around the yard. The dad finally decided to come down from his observation post and he tried to put them all under his wings. It was quite difficult for him, but he managed. The chaos and distress of the situation was palpable, but the father quail took his responsibility seriously and ultimately made his babies feel safe, despite the painful loss to his family. I watched him playing daddy and mommy, and as nature does so beautifully, he managed successfully.

I would be amiss if I wouldn’t mention the loving and caring dads of our pets. Watching my husband with our little Romeo touches my heart deeply and I know he has a deep love for this endearing little boy.

When I grew up in Germany, fathers were the economic providers and the rest of the responsibilities fell to the mother. This was not only in Germany, but in most parts of the world. Over the years, this changed and now dads push a stroller as easily and comfortably as moms. They even change diapers! The role of a father has expanded in many parts of the world and most dads have taken to the change with enthusiasm and pride. Just looking into the face of a future daddy, one sees the joy and happiness he feels, then the awe and devotion when the baby is born and he cradles it for the first time in his arms. It brings tears into my eyes and I feel grateful and filled with awe. This love and bond is meant to lasts a life time, but sometimes circumstances play out differently. And when finally the circle closes and the now adult child starts his/her own family, he feels pride and looks forward to becoming a grandfather.

Yes, fathers deserve a special celebration, showing them how much they are loved, appreciated and respected. Fathers are a powerful presence and life without them is not complete.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Happy Father’s Day !

 

 

Quality of Life

Quality of life is hard to define or to describe, and I have never spent much time thinking about it.  My life has been interesting. I loved my work, traveled extensively, socialized, entertained and in a few words, did what I wanted to do, and what I thought would make me happy and bring me joy. Looking back, I can honestly say that I enjoyed a great quality of life when I was master of my ship.

But then, everything changed. It suddenly felt like I was living in a tumbling house of cards. My doctors talked to me about choosing between quality of life and length of life. I was in shock. I had the quality of life I wanted, but it was evaporating. What am I to do with my limited physical capabilities to create a new quality of life and what would that include? I was certain of one thing. It would have to be new and different, something I never thought would be the center of my daily life. Would it be possible or would I fall into a depression? I decided to find a new quality of life, and to never allow self-pity to hold me back.

So, after a lot of soul searching it all came together. I can still see my friends, just in different ways. Late-night and long dinners have been replaced by early bird dining and “happy hour” is becoming a favorite of mine. I have replaced my cherished dinner parties with invitations to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. I realized that I can still socialize, just in different ways.  Then we got an adorable Yorkie puppy, Romeo, a true lover and a sunbeam of love in my heart. I always loved to read and now I have the time to do it. Workouts at the gym are no longer possible, but I take delight in vigorous walks. And of course, I love to write, and I stay busy with my memoires, blog and other projects.

I realized that one’s quality of life is fluid and needs to be adaptable under any circumstances. But it requires an open heart and mind to do so. I know I will have to adapt again, but as long as I can fit some of the activities I enjoy into my daily life, I know I can tell my doctor, “Yes, I still have a good and acceptable quality of life”.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Romeo, Our Little Sweetie

Romeo, our adorable little Yorkie, is growing up into a wonderful, handsome young gentleman. He surprises us every day with his intelligence, love and curiosity. He is truly an example of how to live in the moment and how to enjoy every minute to the fullest. He is always happy and when we walk him he turns back every so often and gives us the biggest smile saying, “I am having so much fun”. We can only join him in his celebration of joy and happiness.

I learn so much from Romeo. He is always happy and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to put a shadow on his exuberance. When he brings me a toy and I am not ready to play with him, he looks at me, and then he brings me another one looking up with his precious, sweet face, “Perhaps you like this one better?” How can one resist? This teaches me not to allow outside circumstances to influence my happiness and wellbeing, and to find a different thought or a different activity to sustain my harmony. And if people in your life make you uncomfortable, well, maybe it is time to make some new friends.

We have lived with Romeo for a year now and having him in our lives is a true blessing. We are so grateful that his breeder, Charmaine, raised such a healthy, joyful and balanced little love package. He couldn’t have come into our lives at a better time, and it demonstrates that when our desire is strong and we have an open and accepting heart, good things can manifest.

By observing Romeo, I can learn unconditional love, patience, living in the moment, wanting to please, mindfulness and there are many more. Just looking at him fills my heart with love, and I am a better person because of him.

Every day with Romeo is a celebration of life. He makes me laugh and what better way is there to deal with life’s challenges?

I love being your Mommy, Little Sweetie!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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