Something To Look Forward To

We all need something to look forward to, something special waiting for us in the future. As children, we had many things to look forward to – birthdays, vacations, ball games, excursions, visits from grandparents, new toys, just to name a few. We went from one eagerly anticipated event to the next and life was filled with expectations and lots of fun. Of course, there were dreams of things which never came true and gave rise to disappointment, but it didn’t last very long because there was always something new waiting for us to look forward to.

And then we grew up and forgot along the way that feeling of anticipation and excitement of our childhood. Our careers and the demands of daily life took over, and we ignored our inner voice telling us that we need to make some time for things to look forward to and to nourish our child within. A long overdue get together with dear friends? A vacation with loved ones? An uplifting and interesting book or movie? These make life interesting, take us out of our routine, and allow our minds and bodies to rejuvenate.

For me travel was always a great highlight in my life. I liked to visit different parts of the world and immerse myself in various cultures. I also loved to attend spiritual retreats and seminars. There were always stars waiting for me, and they made my life interesting and balanced. I always felt that I became a better and more complete person when I returned home. I fondly remember the time spent with my little Yorkie Sunny who attended all my seminars and traveled with me extensively. I believe she enjoyed it as much as I did, and everyone was in love with her … well, maybe not the ping pong players since Sunny assisted them in retrieving their balls, and they got them back with little teeth marks and holes.

I still have stars waiting for me to look forward to, and the next one is a trip to Sedona, one of my favorite places in Arizona. It will be a wonderful break, and I cannot wait to see the red rocks and feel the spiritual energy of this enchanted place. It is never too late to reach for the stars and just dreaming about them is a worthwhile experience in itself. Maybe you would like to explore whether you have maintained some of your childhood anticipation and feel the excitement and a high like the one described by John Denver in his song “Rocky Mountain High”. Steve and I met John Denver once on top of a mountain beside a glacier lake in Colorado, and I always wondered if that was the place that inspired his lyrics and the song. We exchanged a few words and then, when we were alone, we meditated in this pristine and spiritual surrounding, and I could hear his music in my heart. Find those highs within you and stay with it for a while. It will bring you joy and peace.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Worrying

We have all experienced thoughts creeping into our minds which make us feel insecure and uncomfortable. How often do we ask ourselves, “what if” and then worry about things which will never happen?

Worrying is planning for what we don’t want by giving energy to a reality we don’t desire and will not enjoy.  It can even become a habit nourished by our insecurities. A much better way to a more enjoyable life is to let go of regrets and guilt from the past, enjoy the present, and have faith in the future. We can neither control the future nor the behavior of other people, and all the worrying in the world will not make things better or change people. However, maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude, can pave the road to a happier and more fulfilling life.

Replacing worrisome thoughts with feelings of gratitude for past and present experiences, and visualizing the future unfolding in beautiful colors will bring joy and happiness.

Having grown up in Post War Germany, in an environment filled with worry and fear, I know that a lot of life’s beauty and peace of mind were lost because worries overshadowed everything. My mother was consumed by her personal worry: Will there be enough food? Can my children live a happier life? How will I manage on my own without the support of a spouse? Am I doing the right things? and so on. If I could set back the clock, I would assure my mother that all would be well and that her worries couldn’t change anything in my life. Her constant worry stemmed from living through World War I as a child and World War II as an adult, spouse and mother. She never was able to completely disburse her worry clouds and to become a truly happy person. Ultimately she died prematurely and I am convinced that all her worries and the stress they caused shortened her life.

When I realized that worrying equates to planning for what I don’t want, I started replacing my worries with thoughts of love, compassion, empathy and having faith in the future. It doesn’t always turn out as I imagined and troublesome thoughts still play around in my mind from time to time. But my faith helps me to be in peace and with time I always realize that unwanted happenings were a lesson to be learned and an experience to be lived.

Not worrying doesn’t mean being passive. On the contrary, faith and self-confidence allow us to visualize a bright future. With less worry, there is a much greater probability of reaching the desired outcome. Let’s all keep the worry at bay, and fill our minds with thoughts of love and joy.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Excitement

Life without excitement is like champagne without bubbles, it has lost its appeal and attraction. Would we drink flat champagne? Of course not! So why do we think that sometimes we have to live a life without excitement?

In the various stages of our life we are attracted and enthralled by different things, and our excitement changes as well. The simple things, which are so exciting for a young child, become bolder and usually more costly with increasing age. But one fact remains the same: we feel that we can conquer the world, and that there are no limitations. Everything seems possible; we are riding the waves of life feeling the wind in our hair and the energy flowing through us. It is like a drug and we want more. Do you remember your first date? The excitement of getting ready, your beating heart and you couldn’t think of anything else? Yes, at that moment you drank bubbly champagne and enjoyed every moment of it.

There is never a reason to drink flat champagne, we are always worth a good bubbly. And if you find yourself asking the question why the world became so bland or why you became so blasé, then it is time to lighten up and bring some spice into your life.  Do something you have never done but always wanted to do. A cruise? Riding a horse? Buying a sports car? Taking dance lessons to become the dancer you always wanted to be? Let your imagination fly, feel the excitement, and soar like an eagle. Excitement is what keeps us young and going strong.

Excitement can be laced with fear and doubts, but the thrill of being excited is worth the trepidations. Excitement is contagious, we like to be around people ready to embrace life’s many opportunities and challenges, and just listening to them gives birth to our own excitement. I fondly remember a recent get together with friends during which they enthusiastically talked about the safari they had planned. My love and passion for Africa started stirring, and I found myself googling safari possibilities, imagining myself in Africa and it was like taking a short mini trip. Yes, reality had to set in a little later, but the excitement of those moments cannot be replaced and I still cherish them.

So, what are you waiting for? Pop the cork and enjoy your bubbly! Live and enjoy the moment and some excitement regularly.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Founder and Author of NotJustCooking.com

 

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

 

Life Is Full of Surprises

We make plans, and then something happens and we must regroup and realign. Does this sound familiar? How do we react to these unexpected changes? Do we allow them to throw us out of balance or do we look at them with an open mind?

My health challenges have taught me to be ready for change and to accept them with open arms, so to speak. How often have I been looking forward to seeing a friend, to go to an event or just to go shopping, and in the last minute I had to change my plans because of my health. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but then I realized that there was a great lesson to be learned, and that I didn’t have to feel guilty about my friends or within myself.

How often do we send ourselves on guilt trips about letting people down and not living up to expectations? And the question to ask is: whose expectations? Ours or someone else’s? Good friends will understand that life is full of surprises and that we are not always in control. The answer is: our own expectations are causing us to feel guilty.

And have you ever felt compelled to make up excuses because you thought the truth would not be acceptable? I had to work on this since I didn’t want to tell people I was sick for quite a long time. I felt that they would pity me, or not want to be part of my diminished life any longer. How wrong can one be?

We cannot change that life will bring wanted and unwanted surprises. But we can take control of how we look at it. Do we embrace these challenges or do we resist and fight them? I have learned rapidly since I fell ill that resisting change certainly doesn’t make things better. There are so many ways to look at things. When I have to cancel a visit with a friend, for example, I feel sad, but I try not to dwell on it. I am grateful that my friend understands, and then I’ll take a book and spend some quiet time in a comfortable chair until I feel better. I still feel the loss of not seeing my friend, but I look at it with peace in my heart knowing that it was just a rain check.

My life has taught me to embrace surprises. Sometimes it takes a little more effort than others. The key is to keep on trying and to remember that avoiding guilt and self judgement makes us stronger.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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