Happy New Decade!

When I contemplate the last decade, the decade of my 50s, I am scanning the roles that I played: mom, wife, Girl Scout leader, life coach, legal nurse consultant, teacher and student, among others. I saw my oldest son get married and then a daughter and another son move in with their favorite people. I watched my youngest child grow into a beautiful young lady. I said good-bye to my father, three aunts, an uncle, two cousins, a friend, a neighbor and a beloved brother-in-law and most recently, my dog Maggie. Yes, amidst the flow of life and learning, there were great losses. And there was a great push to be present for all of it, the good and the bad.


This past decade has been a journey of self love, something which does not come naturally to me. I still say “yes” to too many requests which causes my schedule to be overwhelming and me to experience unnecessary stress. I still do not easily discern the difference between the “yes” that comes from the beautiful yearning to serve others or the “yes” that beckons from the remnants of unworthiness that were planted early in life, that demands “yes” in order to stay lovable. I am slowly learning that “no” is a complete sentence and that justification is not needed when I am making myself a priority.

I have a daily practice of setting intentions. I mostly set the intention of kindness, of not taking things personally, of being true to my word, of relating to others from my heart instead of my head. Setting intentions are very different from setting goals. There isn’t a tangible achievement at the end of the day, like checking something off a to-do list. It is the sense of satisfaction that I showed up for life a certain way. Sometimes, my intentions are realized and sometimes they aren’t. Still, they serve as my internal navigation system, my GPS. They help me get back on track. I’m pondering my intentions for the decade in front of us. And then I realize that intentions are better set one day at a time, if not one hour at a time. Intentions are very present-moment focused. I can set goals for the decade and I have. I plan to travel. I am going to read A LOT. I will practice mindfulness and yoga and compassion. I am going to become a vegetarian, maybe. I will publish a book, oh yes, I will. These are my goals. I can see them manifesting. My intentions come from a different place. They will be determined daily, each morning as part of a prayer, a beckoning from some deep place to live my best life in this God-gifted day.

Putting aside intentions and goals, I have many wishes for you and me. For all of us, the new decade brings endless possibilities, even when reality looks grim. Just think, there will be three chances for a new President in this decade: 2020, 2024, 2028. That is something to celebrate! My wish for all of us is to CHOOSE happiness; yes, it is a choice. The exception is when you have an addiction or a mental illness that prevents you from accessing that choice. If that is the case, my wish for you is the courage to ask for help. You are worthy. There is no shame in your game. We all need help at some point. We are human and it is brave to embrace our humanity. I wish for a world that is more compassionate, that we do not close our eyes to suffering, that when we see others suffer, a deep longing stirs in us to end the suffering and take action. Let us all be filled with the wisdom and grace to make the world a better place. Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

Much love, Jeanette

Do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy?

Do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy?

(This is the first post in the series of “Things I want to tell my kids before I die”.)

As 2017 comes to an end, I have been doing some reflection. I am taking an inventory of my life: what is good, what no longer serves me, and what I can improve upon. I noticed during this holiday season how earnestly people want to be right when they express their viewpoint. I can relate. I was and at times can still be that person who HAS to be right. We have a country divided by differing viewpoints. The same thing happens in families. We suffer because other people are not agreeing with us. We suffer because others are not complying with our wishes. Some of us even lash out because of these differences. We make harsh judgments. We say things that are unkind. This creates tension and hurt feelings. What I love about New Year’s Day is the blank canvas it represents. What are we going to create in 2018? Do we truly want to be happy or do we want to be right? As we head into this year, here are three intentions I will carry with me to ensure it is a HAPPY one.

  1. CHOOSE KIND: This is indeed my biggest intention for the year. Last week I said good-bye to a beloved cousin who passed away before old age had a chance to set in. He was 63 years old. His sister spoke these words during his eulogy and I intend to keep these words with me always: “Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who make the journey with us. So… be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” This says it all!
  1. BEING IN A STATE OF ALLOWING: I intend to be in a state of allowing, allowing others to have their own opinions and to have their own journeys. I will allow others to carve their own path. When I disagree with someone, we can agree to disagree. We can accept each other’s differing viewpoints without diminishing either person. Allowing is the opposite of resistance and control. Allowing and accepting others as they are, creates ease and flow. It creates an atmosphere of freedom as opposed to restriction and limitation. I intend to allow myself to be free to be me. I intend to allow you to be free to be you.
  1. STAY IN ALIGNMENT WITH MY BEST SELF: We all have our moments that our best self shows up, moments of charitable acts, and compassion for others, kind words, selfless giving, and true bravery. We all also have our moments that we are not aligned with our best self, moments that we would rather forget. These are moments of judgment, anger, hatred and cowardice. I intend to have more moments where my best self shows up in 2018. How will I do that? By making myself a priority….by eating right, getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, meditating, exercising, and reflecting. Making oneself a priority is paramount to being aligned with our best self. Putting ourselves first should not be confused with self-centeredness. This is especially important for women to acknowledge since most of us are conditioned to place ourselves last on the list of priorities. It was my biggest hindrance for decades. But, no more! Today, I give myself permission to take care of myself first and KNOW that everyone is better off when I do just that.

I am keeping it simple here for 2018…only three intentions to frame my days with. Will I succeed? Sometimes I will. Sometimes I won’t. I am not a saint after all. When I fail, I will forgive myself and set the intention again. We always have an opportunity to begin anew. HAPPY New Year everyone! Wishing you all alignment with your best selves in this upcoming year. The world is counting on it!

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One Last Thing….if you enjoyed this post, sign up for monthly newsletters and join the community of people who want to make positive changes in the world starting with themselves. https://westchestercenterformindfulnessandwellbeing.com

Mindfulness in America

Mindfulness in America

I am still soaking in the wisdom of the conference I attended this week “Mindfulness in America”. I have studied mindfulness, I practice it daily and I teach it whenever I get a chance.  I couldn’t wait to hear from the experts in the field. I am thrilled that this powerful practice is becoming more commonplace in the western world. My concern about the “mindfulness movement” is the potential for it to be reduced to a sound bite for a t-shirt. It is so much more than a buzzword. Mindfulness, when not diluted, is about freedom from suffering, transmuting pain into resilience, and being fully present for our lives. As Anderson Cooper stated, “Mindfulness may not help me live longer, but it will help me live more fully in my life”. Mindfulness is about creating space for more possibilities, not being an expert but approaching everything as a beginner, even if you are a so-called expert. Mindfulness is about curiosity. Mindfulness is about connecting to the observer that is in all of us, the greater part of us. We are more than just our thoughts. There is that part of us that is the observer of our thoughts. Getting in touch with that Observer is like experiencing the depth of the ocean underneath the waves. That is where the peace can be found. If I don’t take time to connect with the deeper part of ME, I cannot be my best self.

The biggest obstacle to meditating for most people is the time it takes. Taking the time to meditate is a radical act of love. Do you have 15 minutes to sit and meditate? Our society places a huge emphasis on physical fitness. What about mental fitness? The biggest time thief for many of us is the time we spend lost on our devices. My intention is to start taking back my time that I spend in the wasteland of the internet. What if we shaved off 15 minutes of social media time to meditate.  And for those that find sitting on a cushion is unfathomable, I invite you to practice mindfulness walking, eating and doing almost any other task. If you would like more information on practicing mindfulness, go to my website and sign up for the monthly newsletters. There you will find free downloadable meditations and mindfulness practices. https://westchestercenterformindfulnessandwellbeing.com.

I loved playing truth or dare when I was younger. Today it still carries a thrill and a promise.  Here is the Truth of the day: We can change our future by changing our relationship to the present.  Here is the Dare: I dare you join the “Mindfulness Movement”and see for yourself the results of incorporating mindfulness in your own life.

Wishing you harmony in all areas of your life!