Blog Thoughts

 
Linda Kreter

Holidays, Traditions, and Transitions – 29 Nov 2022

Holidays often bring out the best in people, or the worst, or something between, but the dynamics are often fascinating. One thing I find as time goes on is my desire to hover above the fray, and watching, but only engaging if I have something positive to add to the conversation. Active listening is a learned skill and one intriguing to practice.

I love, respect, and enjoy my family. As many of you, we are not always able to gather as one group, but often in subgroups, especially as new generations and extended family members join our collective larger family. The traditions of which cranberry sauce, which type of stuffing, which part of the turkey is the favorite — or if there’s a new tradition to create are all part of the conversation. I love the congenial gatherings, in whatever combination, and we don’t have to my knowledge, that “crazy one” who’s spoken about for years to come. Unless, of course, that’s me?!

We are fortunate that there are such diverse interests that seldom is anyone bogged down in a particular conversation. While not a huge family, there are enough people to find someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and to briefly catch up before the next conversation begins. It’s with enormous appreciation that the minor controversies that affect every family are beneath the surface, because especially Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude.

Holidays may be challenging for many, and I know quite a few. We exchange quiet texts, or a post-holiday call and those touchpoints mean much to each of us. Life is never challenge-free, and we learn how to address some topics, and which are best suited to a smaller discussion. Traditions are lovely to follow or to create, and with the loss of some family members, there is a transition period to allow memories to surface, to share the lovely times, and to acknowledge how much those people mattered to us and are carried in our hearts.

To all who had or missed traditions this season, know that a particular day is not “Thanksgiving”, that it’s those who gather on whatever day/date that mean the most, and that growth often shows itself with evolving to fit the newer circumstances. We have choices to make, and it’s easy to sink into memories rather than to appreciate them. I will always mourn not seeing my parents at the table, but I have incredible memories to hold close to my heart. I hope you have a lovely holiday season to come, and it’s such a kindness to remain in the present moment.

This year is hurtling to the end, and it’s been filled with ups and downs like most years; let’s savor the good moments, and recommit to being calm, actively listening, and contributing and exuding positive energy!

Linda Kreter

 
Linda Kreter

Thanksgiving 2022 – We are Thankful – 24 Nov 2022

Life is filled with tumult. The days seem to gallop by, often in the midst of seeming pandemonium. It’s challenging to remember what day of the week it is, what “relaxation” feels like, and we know all too well how valuable the gift of a restful night’s sleep can be.

Yet, we can be thankful. Intentionally seeking out the small acts of kindness, the beauty we see, the sounds we hear, the smiles we experience, and the blessing of climbing into bed each night is important. Appreciation lifts the spirits and it’s contagious.

Each Thanksgiving, the familial landscape changes, with seats left now empty, others filled anew, and babies growing into youth; it’s magical and filled with memories. Acknowledge the losses or absences, and you’ll often find others’ wanted to also speak of them; hearts heal and it’s a process even after decades for many.

Thanksgiving

Traditions, whether long-held, or new ones created are thankful moments. It’s never too late to start a tradition, revise an old one, and find blessings in the bonds. Take pictures – but also embed the moments in your brain, with the sound of laughter, the feel of hugs, and the richness of the experience to be lost, since a picture cannot capture all of those experiences. Stay where your feet are, to quote my last post.

I am thankful for the gifts of creativity, compassion, empathy, humor, wry self-awareness, and family and dear friends. Holidays may be very hard for some, and sitting with them may be all they need. Words need not fill every space; sometimes the presence is the greatest gift.

Wishing you all blessings this Thanksgiving, solo or surrounded,

Linda Kreter

 
Linda Kreter

Thanksgiving 2022 – We are Thankful – 24 Nov 2022

Life is filled with tumult. The days seem to gallop by, often in the midst of seeming pandemonium. It’s challenging to remember what day of the week it is, what “relaxation” feels like, and we know all too well how valuable the gift of a restful night’s sleep can be.

Yet, we can be thankful. Intentionally seeking out the small acts of kindness, the beauty we see, the sounds we hear, the smiles we experience, and the blessing of climbing into bed each night is important. Appreciation lifts the spirits and it’s contagious.

Each Thanksgiving, the familial landscape changes, with seats left now empty, others filled anew, and babies growing into youth; it’s magical and filled with memories. Acknowledge the losses or absences, and you’ll often find others’ wanted to also speak of them; hearts heal and it’s a process even after decades for many.

Thanksgiving

Traditions, whether long-held, or new ones created are thankful moments. It’s never too late to start a tradition, revise an old one, and find blessings in the bonds. Take pictures – but also embed the moments in your brain, with the sound of laughter, the feel of hugs, and the richness of the experience to be lost, since a picture cannot capture all of those experiences. Stay where your feet are, to quote my last post.

I am thankful for the gifts of creativity, compassion, empathy, humor, wry self-awareness, and family and dear friends. Holidays may be very hard for some, and sitting with them may be all they need. Words need not fill every space; sometimes the presence is the greatest gift.

Wishing you all blessings this Thanksgiving, solo or surrounded,

Linda Kreter

 
Linda Kreter

Stay Where Your Feet Are – a Tool for Overthinkers: 15 Nov 2022

Collecting pithy guidance is a habit of mine. People are so busy (all the time), that when thinking, or rather over-thinking takes over, they stumble. Ever ruminated about something in the past and you have challenges relegating it to the back of your mind? At 3am? Or do you overthink about the future: what might happen, if this occurs, then what? Repeatedly, the mind repeats this pattern and it can raise your anxiety level.

This statement: “Stay where your feet are” immediately helps me. It does absolutely no good to beat yourself over the past. It’s beneficial to ask yourself: “what did I learn from that?”, but negatively viewing what is probably a small lapse can drain you. Worrying about the future is even less valuable. Did you know that studies share we waste three hours per week worrying about thigs that never even happen?

Stay Where Your Feet Are. The immediate reaction is to look down at your feet. It seems rather silly, but the simple act of stating it stops all backward or forward overthinking. Yes!

squirrel

Have you ever been in a tranquil spot, breathing nature in and absorbing the views, the scent of the air, noticed the abundance of nature — and your mind leaps to … work. An unresolved problem. A troubling incident in the past. Or even something so simple as a rude person at the grocery store. Please don’t let these things steal your peace.

Stay Where Your Feet Are,

Linda Kreter

 
Linda Kreter

Respite from Challenge – Suggested Tools – 08 Nov 2022

Faced with times where there is relentless barrage of negativity (and we all have them), knowing what tools to use to calm your mind and body is vital. We’ve all experienced when the emotional blows keep coming, and unless you have a plan to mitigate the stress, confusion, and discouragement, your mind, body, and spirit will all take a toll.

My go-to foundation is my faith. I know that I’ve been through difficult times before and can rely on my core beliefs to sustain through the droughts (or tornados!). Staying true to your values of character, integrity, and value is powerful and can be illustrated in many ways. I find solace in nature, sunrises, sunsets, water in all forms (rain, waterfalls, oceans, and even a good shower), and grounding in the garden also restores my beliefs.

Once I’ve centered myself through mindful breathing, which is something I fought for many years. I used to tell myself, it’s just breathing, how in heaven’s name could holding my breath help? Well, after working with Navy SEALS, researching, and then succumbing to the simplest of breathing exercises, I realized it was indeed powerful and calming. Just four deep belly breaths in, take another breath and hold for a few seconds, then releasing from the mouth calms the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. That’s it. Four gulp breaths and I feel better. Costs nothing except reminding yourself!

Boundaries are important for peace of mind. There are people in my world who drain me, but who are also important. It simply means I need to limit my exposure to them if I feel the downward pull. Being an empath means I need to be extra careful in keeping my balance of giving and not giving too much. Receiving is a wonderful gift, but not a stable commodity, so finding ways to give back to yourself is a valuable skill. Be sure not to lose yourself; you are important to so many.

snow forest

Take a walk. Try a new challenge like cold therapy. I recently did this to quell angst – and it works! Shockingly cold water for brief times frankly is exhilarating and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Best thing I’ve challenged myself with in a long time. Call a friend. Pray, read something familiar that soothes. Pets – what would we do without our pets? Mine give unconditional love and want to be close which really helps if the world is suddenly “too much with us”.

Bottom line: break the pattern that’s bringing you negativity or dragging you down emotionally. Break up with destructive drain and seek light. This is difficult to do but having the determination to push through yet another obstacle gives purpose and meets a hurdle by overcoming it. Take satisfaction in knowing that not everything is huge. Accumulation of small problems adds up also.

Nab the pattern before it nabs you.

Challenges will continue to come. Revitalize your toolbox to acknowledge the tough days, plan the strategy to beat it or weather it, and keep breathing deeply. More often than not, tackling the priority problems will reduce stress and keep you even. It’s all a matter of perspective and strength. Life can be messy, but we are grateful for it.

Stay strong and durable,

Linda Kreter

 
Linda Kreter

Stability in an Uncertain and Divided World – 30 Sept 2022

The additional stressors following three years of a pandemic, including judgments on what is true, false, interpreted, or skewed has made communication with others far more challenging. As a Durable Person, you probably work at being forthright in your discussions, and also err on not displaying judgment.

There is a great deal of hurt, disappointment, and isolation involved with divisiveness. Some begin to withdraw from certain people or events, others associate only with those who believe as they do, and frustration with having to make these choices can wear you down. For example, if you hold a strongly held belief, if you know the other person holds polar-opposite beliefs, you will probably examine your boundaries to decide if persuasion in discussion is even worth it. It’s often a serious waste of energy; I have felt quite shocked at the vociferous way some people express themselves — and friendships lost through assumptions. In one case, a yard sign put up by a neighbor as a joke stopped a 20-year friendship. I concluded it must not have been a strong one… A shame.

I was raised to listen to varying viewpoints, to research thinking and theories, and to honor others’ opinions. It’s no secret that civil discussions are not easily held when views are dogmatic (right or left) and intractable. Many feel certain topics
should be “off the table,” but I don’t. I’m genuinely interested in others’ thoughts and why they think what they do. What truly frustrates me is when asking the “Why?” out of genuine curiosity (with zero judgment) and the answer comes back with the equivalent of a blunt “Because it’s true.”

Stalemate. Truth is fact, not opinion, not conjecture, not what-I-wish-it-were. It is extremely difficult to find the truth/fact about any topic these days and consulting multiple sources sometimes leaves you more confused. What to do? Stability is
making wiser decisions about where you spend your precious time. It’s the only commodity you will never, ever get back. Once passed, time is not past.

Recommendations for Durable People? Stay open to curiosity and discovery. Learn from your interactions; you’ll soon find out what phrases work to encourage conversation, and those that shut it down. Remember that it’s likely it’s not about you if the conversation abruptly takes a turn – people are quite angry these days and that colors our interactions. Hard to do but work hard at realizing what you’re responsible for and what others are carrying. Lots of baggage out there.

Also, consider your own emotional responses to tone, to certain words, to particular topics and the person you’re speaking with; Durable People are also accountable for their responses. Reactions come when others make assumptions, use labels (my loathing of labels is deep), and responses come when you’re prepared to address those things kindly. We adjust our circle of friends at various phases of life.

Discovery and curiosity keep you young at heart, but so does “guarding your heart”. It’s a wise person who learns their priorities, knows their own values, and stays true to them. The close we stay to our values in our words and actions, the likelier it is that others will respect and accept yours.

Durable People are ever-learning experts at constantly refining and knowing your
worth. Stay worthy and strong; you are valued!

Linda Kreter

 
Linda Kreter

Summer Blues – 16 August 2022

Living in a place with all four seasons, I’m sometimes surprised with the end-of-summer blues. Is it because we still emotionally think of summer as freedom, activities, friends, and fun? Could it be we associate the latter part of summer as getting back to routines — in a world where nothing at all is routine anymore? 😉

I wonder if it’s because there is so much controversy in the world and we use our precious energy to manage the ups and downs to seek balance? That’s exceptional core work, and it takes energy. If you’ve ever pulled a child in a wagon, on a sled through snow, or even through a grocery store while they’re lunging for the Twinkies, you know how much energy it takes. Restoring balance is a great idea, but not always easy to execute. Except that it matters. A lot.

Elephant

Another thought is that as adults, we need to “work” to keep our inner child alive, because we are bombarded with stimuli. Data. Decisions. Consequences. Sleep-interrupters (even the furry kind). We all know the adage all work and no play, but what if you’re in a season of needing to work more to balance the world’s recent events? What’s the prudent and adult thing to do? Chances are good that Durable People will push through. It may help to keep tabs on how often this happens.

For me, it means as the weekends approach, it’s usually time to digitally detox. Unplug for a while. Spend time in nature, near the water, and reflect quietly. That’s my plan. When such a plan comes to you, I urge you to follow your inner voice and let nothing get in the way of re-setting your equilibrium. Durability comes with thoughtful practices and executing on those necessary plans.

Wishing you times of introspection, planning, awareness, and valuing YOU.

Banish the blues by taking care of yourself and do it well.

Best to your consistency in appreciating all you do,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

“I Don’t Understand” – 26 July 2022

We are all different. I know, profound statement, yes? It’s a flaw I have that anticipates others have the same values, act with kindness as a default, and perhaps even have a bit of innate curiosity that sparks connection. As a flaw, I’ll take, even if I’m disappointed, or rather in most cases, bemused.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for decades and I had two incredibly important reasons why I stayed. Yet, once I left, I took a good portion of that time since to reprogram myself. No, not everything was my fault. Not all declarations (accusations) were fact. I was not perfect, yet I was very naïve. Looking back with a clearer perspective, I feel sorry for the other person, as someone very unhappy is usually the one making others feel unhappy, or in my case “worthless”.

As I became more self-aware, I only “own” what is my problem. I’m the first to jump in with assistance, support, and care – but the root cause of meanness, pettiness, or poor behavior is assessed with a rapid analysis: did I cause or exacerbate this problem? Most often the answer is No. I’m also the first to apologize, and I’ve even apologized for things the other person doesn’t remember! Guess I still have inner work to do on that responsibility-aholic part…

Here’s the most recent example of my understanding. A neighbor, who incidentally has been very ill with a terminal disease had family over to visit. An outdoor umbrella had been left open overnight, and had blown over their fence, sailing into the road in high winds. I tried to bring it down and into their yard, but it was too heavy. Unable to directly help, I called to alert them. After informing them, I then closed the call with my usual offer: I know you’re just back from the hospital, and if there’s anything I can do for you, please ask, and I’ll continue to offer…

Here’s the irony. She responded with: “Cut down your maple tree”. Huh? The tree is in my yard, part of a long hedge, healthy, and was trimmed/cut back just three months ago. You can only see it from one far corner of her yard (if you’re peering through her own dense foliage). It blocks no view; is innocuous in a hedge I keep vine-free through weekly effort she sees if she’s looking. It was the most surprising response. Since my offer was clearly related to supporting her in her illness, not providing arborist services for a tree not belonging to her, I was momentarily stumped.

Leaves

Recovering quickly, I responded calmly about the recent tree trimming and thought it would be dropped. I was wrong. With grace, I’ll say that if you have a disease and find a target, then okay. Another example of two adages: No good deed goes unpunished, and everyone is (clearly!) different.

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve been able to work through most conundrums like this quickly and with fewer lingering shakes of my head. In other words, “I don’t understand”, and it’s not my problem. See, if it were me with a serious illness, a tree in a neighbor’s yard would be one of the very last things I would be considering. My family, my thoughts, my stories, and being with those I love, living every moment of my life seeking peace, joy, and LIFE would be on my mind.

Yet, once again, we are not all the same. We have different priorities. Some people are angry all the time, and as my son says: “Illness brings out the best and the worst in people”. He’s wise, my son…

It’s okay that we’re not all alike. It would be a very boring world if it were, but I’ll keep being kind, a good neighbor, a good friend, a thoughtful person, and I’ll “scroll on by” negativity I didn’t create. Give grace when you can, realize many, many things are not about you, — and let your maple tree thrive.

Know what’s important and let kindness be your default,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Working as an Election Judge – 21 July 2022

We recently had a primary election in my state. We are one of four states where you must be a registered (affiliated) Democrat or Republican to vote. Those unaffiliated (Independent, Libertarian, Green Party or Other) cannot vote, as legislative change is needed to make that possible. We provided that information to people who asked.

It was fascinating to work at the election. First, know that we must follow stringent rules about what to say, when to say it, how to say it, and treat all voters exactly the same way. Seeing the inner workings and the long hours from the inside was eye opening.

The Election ran smoothly, and our vote tallies matched the ballot tallies (reports run each hour), which meant we could go home a little more than an hour after polls closed. Excellent news! With early voting, mail-in ballots are not tallied until three days after the election, so results are unknown quickly. Due to early voting, the voter turnout was quite light. I would bring a book to read the next time. As you’re probably aware, every Democrat Election Judge is paired for the day with a Republican Election Judge.

Vote

What was more intriguing to me was watching the interaction of people. Due to precinct changes in many areas, and because it wasn’t uniformly correct on the voting website, a good number of people came to vote at our location that needed to vote at another location. Most were very understanding, as in 2020 and the general election, our location was the central one, so it was a default. There were a few who were not, and the reactions were very strong. More than one person protested that we were “depriving them of their Constitutional right to vote!”, in which case, we offered them to vote Provisionally. However, since this was a primary election, the provisional ballots only held state-wide positions and not local ones, which are divided by party affiliation.

My conclusions are these: this is an interesting view from the inside. More voters chose the electronic machines versus hand-filling the ballots, (we set up far too many tables for hand-ballots as an aside), and the capacity to assist ADA needs was terrific. The state needs to increase outreach so voters are more familiar with their updated polling location and signage for the entrances needs to improve. If you move within a certain timeframe from the election day, please update your license and voter registration. Help by removing those from the rolls who are deceased or relocated. Many kinks are being worked out from the prior election following Covid needs, the precincts have changed in many states due to the census, and setting voter expectations is key.

Please exercise your constitutional opportunity to cast a vote for the candidates of your choice in November. The process is simple, and takes little time, even with higher turnout, and I’m glad to have had this experience, though the 430am rise-and-shine was challenging. See you in November!

Always learning, always growing,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Hearing the Word “Fine” Used a Lot Lately? – 11 July 2022

Durable People usually express themselves with creativity. We’re accustomed to hearing the word “fine” when you ask someone how they’re doing? After all, who wants to hear the litany of small or large trials, tribulations, errands, busyness, or even a plethora of good news? Most of the time, it seems (and perhaps it’s our tone of voice or facial subtitles) that indicate it takes less energy to simply reply “fine”.

But aren’t we missing out? Fine is one of those words where intonation makes a difference: to be told “you look fi-ine!” is a great feeling. A teenager grousing about doing the dishes gives a whole new meaning to the grumbled “fine!” If you want to say a single word to mean many, many different things, “fine” is a great choice!

Think about the facial expressions that accompany the single word. If you’re like me, your face says more about the meaning than even the tone of voice. As my mother used to tell my sister and me: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”, and that included our facial expressions.

Another word used a great deal recently is “interesting”. The news is Interesting. The dinner tastes Interesting. Your comment in a discussion is Interesting. We seem to skim over a lot of topics because it tires us, or we just lack the energy to engage? And that’s okay – fine, even. 😊 Let’s just be careful to not let it be a habit to disengage from more intriguing discussions, learning new material, and continually learning. Curiosity matters.

giraffes

Discovery and creativity keep us young at heart. In a discussion with young family members last week, we told stories; some made up, some memories. It was delightful as the topics were ALL over the place from the absurd to the sublime. I laughed with abandon and sometimes, the little ones laughed at me — it was such a time of summer freedom, albeit brief.

Wishing you to be fine, in fine fettle, of fine spirits, and stay interesting and fascinating. We have so much to learn if we recognize when our verve needs a boost!

Warmly,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Discussions with Respect & Understanding – 29 June 2022

Durable People Thrive™ when they are able and encouraged to discuss differing thoughts and directions. To do otherwise, is to stifle these creative, resourceful humans. The headlines are full of vitriol and extreme views, to the point many people are reluctant to engage in any discussion that may have varying perspectives. I find this very sad. So much can be learned when respectful discourse takes place, alternate viewpoints are shared — and labels are avoided.

Labeling is my least favorite form of Automatic Negative Thinking (ANT). It’s a sophomoric method to shut down conversation, either impugning someone’s opinion, or being such an offensive term as to immediately stop the discussion. We see evidence of this daily in the news, certainly on social media, and many of us (sometimes I’m included) decide not to waste energy on engagement if there’s no semblance of a healthy back-and-forth.

My opinion is that when we stopped having Debate Class in high school, that many were unaware of the power of persuasive speech, building points of trust, and taking position A on a topic, then switching places with their debate partner and taking position B. By discussing both sides of a topic, we learned the salient, logical points of both sides, and it immeasurably helped the civility, understanding, and knowledge of the overall issue. Without that amazing talent and skill, and with the advent and takeover of social media by extremes, we who intellectually wish to understand the views of another are of others are stifled.

minds

Stifling civil discourse polarizes. It’s common to either avoid particular topics, or to skim the surface only so no one is offended. And, offended is a very mild term for some reactions on the key topics available: borders, laws, institutions, money, relationships, family, end of life options, political beliefs, religion, and countless more. Yet, without discussion, understanding and respect, how are we to learn about others’ views, stay open to alternatives, and also to retain humanity in our communications? It frankly hurts my heart to see what is happening.

Do you find yourself self-censoring? Are you inundated with anger with an opinion? Do you feel yourself becoming “smaller” to avoid attention when with those with opposing views? I say opposing, because we are often so polarized on topics, that the middle ground seems lost. My hope is it is not. We are running on emotions more than logic. Fear instead of knowledge. What is the truth and how can you trust the fact-checkers when they themselves are biased? Sooo many questions, but vitally important to greater understanding of our fellow neighbors, students, clergy, acquaintances, and even strangers we meet.

Superficial conversations have their place, but substantive, cordial discussions help us connect on a deeper level. Let’s look for opportunities to do just that!

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

The Power of Gratitude, It’s Time to Unleash It… 21 June 2022

Deep beneath the fear, the uncertainty, and the angst, it’s my firm belief that gratitude still exists and is shown often daily. Perhaps you feel there’s little to be grateful for as the world seems to spin out of control? However, Durable People know that we see only a fraction of the emotions and lives of others; it’s like an iceberg. What we show the world is seldom how we present ourselves to friends, families, and especially to strangers.

Yes, I said strangers. In the need to connect with others, and with connection often challenging to find, those micro-connections with strangers can change a day from dreary to a brighter spot. It’s the “go before me” in the grocery story aisle, a comment to a person stuck in the grocery store, pondering the package shrinkage and pricing, and it’s the shared lament at the gas pump. It’s possible to never see these people again, but you never know how much your smile, your quip, your empathy, your words, your kindness, and your engagement may have meant to them.

I find I walk away from these smaller encounters with a larger-than-expected surge of optimism. Quality versus quantity. A joy-filled, or pleasant moment that was serendipitous, for both parties. One of life’s simple pleasures when we choose to see the good in people and they in us. There’s little risk and tons of upside.

ocean sunset

Gratitude is ever-present, but sometimes the last item in the folded laundry you haven’t put away. (Smiles…) Tuck it in your front pocket, your wallet, your car, your heart, and wear it on your sleeve — make it clear you are approachable, warm, confident, and grateful for the small, lovely, kind things in life. We need people and people need us.

What a wonderful world it can be.

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Differences are Intriguing – 07 June 2022

Perhaps it’s just me, but I think many of us are wanting to be around people with differing viewpoints, opinions, and the openness to express them, while also giving their rationale. This is a fairly recent phenomena in my experience. In the past, people were innately curious – “Why do you think that? Tell me more? I’m interested in your views”.

More recently, though, I feel as though differences are turning us into monochromatic buckets of paint. As a child, I loved to mix the paint to make new tones, and dyeing eggs was always a joy – no two were the same! Not so easy now, as the last several years have divvied us up into so many smaller buckets and it seems the variety is limited. Note: this is not a color discussion, but one of thinking, views, what’s important to each person, and how we live our days. Many are not happy, except in their own single-hued bucket.

paint

It’s not easy nor simple to have an honest conversation with differing viewpoints, as not everyone is intrigued or find this fascinating. I also see a diminishing of energy to engage with some people buying into the polarization of America. It’s exhausting to be around constantly angry or agitated people, there are many residual fears from the pandemic, so much news/noise roils people, and finding common ground or even the room to discuss is really, really challenging.

We find ourselves sticking to talking about the weather, about the foliage, about trips, and even discussions about family and children (let alone past traditions) are seen as possible tinder for a conflagration (fire, explosion, shunning…). As an INFJ personality type, I am able to do the superficial chatter when needed, but I yearn for deeper conversations. I appreciate deeper conversations and getting to know people at a more insightful level. Unless we share, it’s hard to relate well with others. I think human beings of all types are fascinating and I want to discover more to understand more. This is one sticky place to be, it seems!

Even within families, we may tiptoe. In this regard, sometimes we don’t really know if we need to be so alert to nuance, but other times, we’ve learned hard lessons, and wish to avoid unnecessary conflict. We love them and accept them, but is it always extended to us? Age and generation also lead to assumptions, but are they correct? How to know without engaging?

Stay curious. Remain brave. Be kind and respectful. Show curiosity and refrain from judgment; there’s plenty of that to go around the world ten times. I’m optimistic that over time, we will once again be watercolors that blend and vary in intensity. We live one precious life; live it in full and share your gifts.

At the very least, I’m glad to hear you!

With respect and love,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

“Credentialed Idiocracy” – 03 May 2022

Heavy sigh from me. Nearly daily, I’m confounded by the number of well-educated people who fail to demonstrate common sense, routine sound communication, or who swear by the status quo “because we’ve always done it that way”. I become quiet, observing and using time to give the benefit of the doubt to each person. Increasingly, I see people content to rely on the initials following their name rather than to engage in intriguing conversations to go deeper into topics and to follow-up with changes or growth.

This post is not to diminish those who pursue advanced degrees; it’s hard work and takes years. I know some using their degrees to better themselves and others. Some though, behave like they’ve made it to “the top” and they are now the Experts, not only in their field, but in many (and often unrelated) others.

(n)ever (s)top learning

Education has become part of the myth that initials after your name make you better than those without them. One of the smartest men I’ve ever known was self-taught, well-read, and did not attend college. He could circumnavigate the globe, discuss world events with balanced nuance and grasp of the facts, and yet was not always taken seriously in a room filled with some academics or so-called elites. Thinkers are rare, and so needed in today’s wacky, twisted world. I admire people of all positions who do their best; they are not willing to settle for less than their character demands.

Entrepreneurs are different, no doubt. We see those who find solutions, create possibilities where others don’t see them. Credentials are critical for some things, and we’d be foolish if we didn’t seek their expertise as needed. Trust your instincts about expert advice and scroll by those who pontificate on topics they have no real-life experience – value those around you for who they are.

Our variations make us interesting and be complete in who we are. You are not the initials (or no initials) after your name. You are your heart and soul, your integrity, character, kindness, intelligence, and your grit. Next time you’re confronted with the Credentialed Idiocracy, extend them some grace. They know not what they do often. Such an interesting world!

With respect and love,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Life can be Fragile, but Durable Too – 12 Apr 2022

In recent weeks, as an empath and becoming even more highly sensitive as I look within to see the root causes of emotions and behavior to further develop Durable People Thrive™, I’m finding so much to be grateful for each day. It’s not just paying closer attention, it’s seeing the humanness in people: so many live in fear, with anxiety, and a feeling of impending doom. We’re not here to “fix” them, but we are here to help understand and support them.

Fear is a thief. It takes your joy, your vision, your schedule, and even your facial expressions and makes them unpleasant. Take the time to name it, define it, find the subsets, and finally arrive at the source. Naming the emotions and the makeup of the smaller ones underneath the identified Fear is a good beginning.

Fear and the response to it makes perfect sense when you view the world from outside sources: it’s a hot mess and difficult to prophecy better days. However, looking at the acts of random kindness I see each day, watching people connect with perfect strangers, a smile or quip exchanged – it can change the air in a room or a parking lot. We often take the time to complain about customer service, but do we take the same time to praise and applaud someone for solid service? Yes, it’s their job, but someone appreciated will always do a better job.

plant

Life is very fragile and sometimes more fleeting than we realize. Just this week, there are personal losses, a loss close to someone I dearly love, outright fraud and untruths in my work environments, and situations I don’t understand in unkind or muddy communication. Which is why with the fragility of life, I try to separate the overt from the possible cause. Why is this person unkind? If I told them about the losses, I know they would most likely halt and apologize, changing their outlook entirely. But isn’t that the point? Everyone is going through something onerous, unbelievable, horrifying, disappointing, and we will not know! Shift even on bad days to be warm and kind.

Most know the saying to be aware of your words so you will not feel regret or remorse if you never saw them again. That doesn’t happen just by accident; it takes a real shift within to understand you and the way you come across to others. I have a wonderful friend who is sincerely unaware that their tone and approach may be causing the polar opposite outcome, though they had no such intention. I’m grateful to my mother who said (too often to me!), “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. Very true.

Life is precious and fragile and worth cherishing. It’s an interesting mind-shift to challenge internal beliefs or self-limiting behaviors. It’s a little like cleaning out a closet or cupboard: it’s quite messy until we’ve delved through the items, decided what to keep, what to give away, and what is removed forever. Only after that evaluation can the closet be “put back together” and the relief can be palpable.

Suggestion: make your shifts routinely, but in smaller steps. A grandiose gesture becomes overwhelming to many. Celebrate the small wins. Relish when you no longer bristle at a tone of voice from someone. Delight when you can scroll by a post that previously would have brought on a rant. Smile when the refuse is on the corner and in time will be removed, never to be seen again. We have so much in our own hands if we’ll be use it.

Prioritize your choices. Refine your gratitude. Take an intentional pause. Start with a small drawer to declutter. Name those emotions and break them down into smaller ones. Find yourself and remind yourself you are valued and appreciated – and it starts with you.

Handle this precious, fragile-but-durable life with loving care,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Asininity – 18 Mar 2022

This is a cool word I had not seen before this week. It seems succinct, understandable, and very, very useful.

You see, I’ve been newly struck by the spate of commentary, narratives, “your truth/my truth” stories, especially in the last decade, and I’m so glad to find a word that describes my understanding of the state of the world. Full of asininity…

I have zero problem with those who espouse views different than my own; this is America, and we may say what we wish by virtue of our laws. Albeit this is becoming more difficult, and certainly we wish to get along without offense, but we are self-censoring at times. People may have their own opinions and voicing them, just as I do. Yet, where and why is there so much divisiveness? I am tired and confused.

goat

Is anyone else weary of the constant manipulation and outright lies? The twisting of the facts to fit whatever is the cause-du-jour? Most are walking away from the news outlets in droves because it’s nearly impossible to confirm fact over fiction these days due to news-blockers and shadow banning. We can each have opinions, but sometimes those pesky facts get in the way of reasonable discourse. Facts matter.

I want to believe people are mostly good.

I believe in Grace as it was given (unearned) to me.

I believe in God and my faith foundation and don’t ask others to embrace my beliefs, though I hope I am a good example to follow.

I am soul-weary of the petty polarizations, and of the huge 180-degree ones. I wish debate class was still taught in high school so we could stand in each other’s shoes respectively to learn persuasive speech, and to thoughtfully consider the stance of others.

Courtesy, civility, kindness, compassion, patience, intentionally avoiding a rash reaction are all characteristics I treasure. Like many, I respond poorly to accepting untruths and injustices. I lived with manipulation and gaslighting for over two decades – I recognize it easily.

Perhaps we can all try to avoid asininity as Spring comes to 2022? It is my fervent wish.

With respect and love,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

When You Can’t Find the Sun – 08 Mar 2022

Sometimes, despite all positive tools, strategies, practices, moral support, and even sufficient sleep, we find it difficult to muster positive energy. We may indeed express gratitude, and know our blessings, and still have demons to slay, or at least put in the closet on the highest shelf in a teeny-tiny box.

On those days, find what works for you. I need to be in nature, whether being blown to bits by the gale force winds, walking through pouring rain, slinging shovels full of snow, or in spring, mulch – whatever will get me out in the elements, to literally “ground” myself. Does it always work? Not entirely, but I do find it makes the bewildering, where-did-that-come-from angst diminish.

Breathing is something we do every day, at great peril if we stop! I learned a new mindful breathing technique this week, the extra gulp breath that stimulates both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to release tension. Some use box breathing, in for four counts, hold, out for four counts, hold. Several other deep breathing techniques using “horizontal” breathing can also release tension. Frankly, whatever works for you that you’ll actually do is the best.

dog

Are you taking breaks? Do you literally torture yourself to complete a task before taking a break that may give you creativity, insights, or just a breather (see how I did that)? Stretch, force a plank position, do five pushups (or more), tell someone else to “drop and give me five” (yes, I’ve worked with the military), and somehow, moving your body takes that mind/body connection and makes it turn upward. Lighter. Less stuck and more fluid.

Sound body and sound mind. It’s true, today has been one of those frustrating, tedious, repetitive, nonsensical days for me, and I’ve employed several tools (fancy word for skills) to break it up. Eventually, one of these or more leads to a brighter perspective, someone makes you laugh, your face tires of being stuck in one position (Mom always fussed it might freeze that way…), and we find ourselves in a better, or perhaps slightly better frame of mind.

Rest. Refresh. Laugh. Take a break. Breathe. Stretch. Give in to the absurdity of life, which is in abundant supply these days. And, when you’ve shifted, yes, there is the latent, but always present gratitude. Keep your heart and mind open, and the sunshine will get in. Plus, remember that without clouds, we might not appreciate the sunshine quite as much.

Grumpy, but not now,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

When the Fears of Others Affect You – 01 Mar 2022

Confusion. Hurt. Disappointment. Also, empathy and compassion. All these emotions roiled rapidly through my mind before I lifted the experience up — and let it go. There wasn’t another choice. Life sometimes self-prunes, and even when you’re not the target, but “collateral damage” the result is still the same. Loss.

A difference without a distinction. Upfront, please know this was not life-changing, but it was sobering and sad. It was also unexpected and avoidable.

A dear friend from teenage years called today. We’re in touch maybe twice yearly, usually on our birthdays, but with a friendship that always picks up without pause. There are many fond memories, long-ago shared experiences and friends, and that feeling of periodically touching base is treasured. These life-long friendships are unique, and as we all grow — we’ve shared humbling moments, times of sorrow and joy, with the constancy of connection. Speaking only for myself, I will always see others as we were then, with the patina of age and wisdom making it a richer friendship.

Without warning, and clearly due to circumstances that have absolutely nothing to do with me, this call was to say there would be no future contact. Ever. I asked why? The answer was “It’s better that way”. I was quiet for a moment, and then said “okay”, then goodbye. What else was there to say and what the heck just happened?

dog

Life awkwardly happened. In my mind, I quickly ran through myriad scenarios and found nothing suspicious, surreptitious, duplicitous, or wrong from either side. Reading between the lines, more was at play, none of which I’m party to, and bear no responsibility for. Yet, when situations like this play out, the former me would blame myself. The current me knows this was not about me. Not one thing. I’m grateful for the ability to now swiftly review the limited interactions and feel okay with myself. This was about the fears of another person. Or persons. Intellectually, I understand.

Why do I say fears? Because other times in my life I’ve realized that not everyone has clear communication skills and boundaries. Others loathe conflict more than anything, and still others are isolated deliberately by others’ fears. Many years ago, the latter deliberate isolation happened to me, and I failed to recognize it, until later, when it took major efforts to repair myself. It is healthy to have friends, and as such a peripheral friend, it seems that something potentially worse is unfolding. Isolation is a fearsome foe, and self-esteem and confidence diminish quietly and almost invisibly.

Today I’m one friend fewer. One past link severed — not due to actions, or illness, or death. This loss was due to fears, insecurity, and reasons I’ll never know. This person will always exist in yearbooks, photo albums, and my mind forever. Usually perplexed and bothered when I don’t know the “why?” of things, this time, I am glad not to have an explanation I’d likely not understand.

I’ll always associate this person as a significant part of my younger, joy-filled past, with gratitude for the memories, and with some sadness. Life-long friends are very rare. My sorrow for the choice they felt they had to make is genuine, and some Pyrrhic moment for anyone else involved. I sincerely hope that phone call made their life better, more whole, and calmer.

Blessings to my friend, and may they find peace and harmony in life,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Suppressing Emotions: Small Erosions of the Soul – 15 Feb 2022

Do you consider yourself strong? Do you move quickly, or methodically through the rough days, and then leave them behind? Do you also take the time to recognize your weakness or vulnerability that inevitably comes during challenges, and take the necessary time to process what just happened? Society expects rapid processing, even at times of great trial. The saying is correct: strong people seldom have peaceful, uneventful pasts.

I recently (and surprisingly) unearthed an incident I thought I had moved through, adapted to, and left in the past – but there were remnants. Body and soul memories were strongly evoked when something else grueling occurred. Hmmm… even with help, we sometimes need to return and gaze with self-compassion… again… at what surfaced in our minds, causing us to pause, reconsider, and re-evaluate. I know I did.

Another more recent event brought my mother’s memorial service experience back to me — and vividly. The small erosions of my soul had surfaced. Many, many years later.

Mine came last week with a memory of young adulthood when I lost my mother to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. Though an illness with a short timeframe (two years), her death was still shocking. Surreal. Painful. All too final. Like other pivotal events, there was a push by society to move on, move through, grieve quietly, and get back to living quickly. I had a newborn, three jobs, a traveling husband, and multiple relocations, including overseas. A lot. Still, I did the best I could at the time, and therapy for grieving didn’t exist in our community, even through pastoral care at church. I was numb and believe it may have helped.

beach

Okay, I said to myself. (I also sighed to be totally honest.) With the wisdom of maturity and experience, I knew my deep and lasting grief was still partially unprocessed and I had more work to do. What you fail to complete will still be there when you least expect it. If you fail to go within – you will go without. Erosion is a slow process, but I look for patterns in life, and I unwittingly found one in myself. Has this happened to you?

I’ve now taken the time to process what occurred that day, the following days, and the patterns embedded over time with similar experiences. The memories have been pulled out like seashells partially buried in the sand, washed off, cleansed — some kept and cherished, and others thrown back into the sea.

I know that my younger self did the best she could, and countless books have been written about the loss of innocence with the death of a parent. A seminal moment. In this I was not unique, though my personal internalization was.

With revitalizing and repurposing the erosion to instead fill the now-empty space with blessings self-forgiveness and to others, and a clearer understanding the patterns of suppressed grief emotions, I now know how to resolve the pattern disturbing me.

There is both gratitude and resilience here, and a firm belief that facing our lingering patterns is healthy. Voicing those words out loud to someone trusted, and to take power away the residual fears, sadness, and confusion is freeing. Expressing these feelings need not be loud, ugly, or exploding on others; this was a quiet sit-down with myself, because while looking back can be lovely, avoiding looking back (even if I didn’t realize I had), was causing new erosion.

I encourage you to notice patterns in your life. Mine was unresolved grief; others may be dealing with unresolved anger, self-sabotage, or injustice. Swallowed resentment, fears, anger, frustration or betrayals fester, and take up precious mind-space. Perhaps you want or need support from professional help — then seek it. We are all unique; no one way is correct. Are there memories or experiences in your life that would benefit from further evaluation or processing to let them float like seeds from a spent dandelion?

flower

Remember that the ocean has constant, endless, and timeless phases. Times to replenish the beaches, and times of erosion — often through storms. So too do we. Storms may cause abrupt destruction, but they also clear the way to options, paths, new ways. Durable People are not indestructible, but they know how to face the storms and come out the other side.

It may take years to realize the sand has washed away, the rock wears a worn groove, or we lack a small spark, but when it dawns on you, I wish you gentle strength, fresh perspective, forgiveness to yourself and to others, with a release of that which no longer serves you.

Replenishment is good for the soul.

With grace and love,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Behavior Drivers: Fear and Love – 01 Feb 2022

Looking at the world from 30,000 feet, it appears clear that people are affected by and make decisions based on their approach to life. Their mindset. Behaviors are ruled by a perspective of fear and scarcity, or by love and abundance. I’ve tried hard to see other explanations, researched it deeply, and still life boils down to two simple states.

The pandemic is a force-multiplier for these emotional drivers. We are weary of the uncertainty, the ups and downs, the truths and half-truths, the deceptions, and the ofttimes purposeful division-makers. Heading into Year 3, I like to believe we’re seeing some light, some optimism, some inner strength, and more hope.

Yet, altering mindsets from fear and perceived safety to love and vulnerability is difficult for many. It doesn’t occur overnight, and yet, the hope that caused us to peek out from the cave eons ago, the curiosity that gives fuel to venturing forth, and the discovery that our days could be brighter is a powerful concept. There is protection in hunkering down, but also limits. Little abundance potential.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with thousands of combat veterans and survivors of trauma. Many suffered greatly from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), complex PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and sexual trauma, and so did their families. It takes courage to say you need help, and even more to go through the work involved to mitigate the trauma. I liken it to cleaning out a closet: you have to pull things out, making more of a mess, before you glean through what you will keep and what you will purge. It’s not a pretty process, but it’s critical to stop swallowing the poison and allowing it to congeal, affecting everyone in the family.

So too is recovering from these years of lockdowns, quarantines, masks, information overload, decision paralysis, our own wellness, age, where we live, our financial profile, employment or loss, and how we coped. With time and often help, we will move slowly (or at your own pace) into a world that has changed — but is still turning. Be kind to yourself. Change is difficult under the best of circumstances, but particularly difficult after a prolonged period of ongoing stress and division.

This is one reason we created a e-course on Self-Care and Resilience. The better you realize what helps you remain strong, know your boundaries, and understand you are not alone; you’ll be able to manage with more confidence. I know many finding staying in a state of Fear preferable: it’s known, it has rules, and status quo is somewhat stable. Yet, the cavemen didn’t stay in caves forever, they stepped out and took risks, and the species continues because of it. So too will modern day people as they realize their innate, God-given gifts (or whatever you rely upon as your Creator). We were not made to cower, but instead to thrive.

Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart. Roy T Bennett

What is thriving? To me, it has elements of hope, faith, gratitude, sunshine, perspective, optimism, and curiosity. It means thriving where you’re planted, even if your world has become smaller, and your circle wiser. We are not solitary creatures, even if we live or work alone. We are stronger together.

To those who live in Fear, consider what stepping into the Light might feel like. To those who live in Love, be compassionate to those living in Fear. Different outlooks, views, and perspectives mean differences in opinions, and we can select our words with empathy and kindness. Consider your supports: are they strong, non-judgmental, wholesome (yes, that old-fashioned word), and are all still serving you well in this post-pandemic world? Perhaps you’ve changed significantly in the last three years, and you’ve realized some truths; a differing health outlook, new friend supports, altered faith practices, routine self-care rather than leaving yourself for last? Now is a great time to take that first step.

Love and Fear; it’s your choice and no one is judging. A thought to ponder…

With love and gratitude,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

The Small Powerful Habits – 18 Jan 2022

Often the smallest habits lead the way to other productive plans. I had a conversation with my eldest granddaughter recently about making her bed in the morning. As many are aware, Admiral McRaven, former Navy SEAL gave a graduation speech and devoted an entire book about success — beginning with “Make Your Bed”. His premise was that starting the day with a small, satisfying habit set the stage for a good day.

I was taught this as a young child, and it remains my habit today. I simply don’t walk away from the bed each day until it’s made, even though I’m not a thrashing, starfish sleeper and the bed looks barely disturbed! My sweet granddaughter recently told me “We were making our beds, but then we stopped the habit. I think you’re right and we’ll start that habit again.” Out of the mouths of babes! Even so young, she realized she didn’t need to wait; it was fine to re-start the good habit. Right away. Brava!

bed and pillows

There’s a philosophy called “The Slight Edge”, by Jeff Olson. It talks of the small tasks consistently made that forward your progress on the course or path you’re seeking. While they’re easy to do, like making a bed, they’re also easy not to do. To skip. To fall out of that small practice… Those that persist in small, good routines will usually achieve their larger goals, but those that skip them, or think them unimportant miss them. Consider those who self-sabotage: it’s not usually the epic failure to do something that fells them. Cutting corners on a pattern of small steps is easy to do, except it may have a profound effect when missed. Cutting corners is also a component of character, and even safety. Small sequential steps add up to larger leaps and serendipitous, creative thoughts.

There are other habits that successful and fulfilled people do: intentional pauses before angry words, random acts of kindness, outreach to friends who cross your mind, timely condolence notes, and responding to calls or emails readily (not necessarily immediately, but promptly). Checking your tone of voice at stressful times gives rise to a better outcome and being a person of integrity when there is risk involved is big. If we can well-manage the small acts, it leads us to manage the larger ones that much better.

My granddaughter has kept her pledge about making the bed. The tiny accountability checks help too, and the pleasure she gets out of saying she’s done it for so many days in a row is delightful. Does she slip? Of course, don’t we all? And, unlike most adults, she doesn’t wait until a Monday or a special date to start the habit again. What a fantastic philosophy that will serve her well.

Small, consistent, practiced, methodical, routine acts lead to strong reinforcement of taking small steps making a greater difference. Let’s note the lessons here: accomplishment leads to further good habits, leading to positive reinforcement, and an adulthood of leading by example. Brava, little one!

With joy,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Restraint or Let ‘er Rip? – 11 Jan 2022

We live in a world that often seems consumed by the “spirit of the moment”. The old admonition of saying only nice things or saying nothing at all is regrettably missing… Another admonition of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me” is also a faulty premise. Words are seriously important and can bruise badly. Being thoughtful, taking the intentional pause, and another important saying: The Golden Rule, would be helpful now, and frankly, always.

In another life, I worked with many combat veterans who suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and had organic and psychological reasons for living without verbal filters. It was not surprising to hear brutal truths, harsh candid comments, and yet, under these circumstances, the listener had understanding. It’s been my experience in recent years that not only do people not hear themselves speaking, they often fail to also consider what their words mean to the listener or with social media, the reader.

Restraint is a sign of maturity. It shows that purposeful consideration is made prior to blurting. I love the word, “blurting” because it sounds exactly like what it is: if it were a smoke color, it would be spewing dark and usually toxic. Without restraint, relationships, friendships, and even chance encounters may be blanketed in a fine film of negativity. Restraint is the intentional pause; accounting for three questions: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Restraint can distinguish between cordiality – or burning a bridge.

Let ‘er rip is a knee-jerk reaction rather than a restrained, thoughtful response. Small children are often lovely examples of truth serum and are seldom hurtful in their observations. Unfortunately, hurt adults or those reacting rather than responding carry tone, attitudes, and direct us toward outcomes we may have shied away from years ago. The pandemic has stripped away many nuances in communication, it seems. Some could go (pretension, hubris, virtue-signaling), but many are sorely missed (warmth, understanding, compassion, kindness, empathy, and intuition).

Perhaps this blog post asks you to challenge yourself to listening “between the words”. Listening to the perceived purpose behind others’ comments, and especially for giving Grace when confusion reigns. Fear and uncertainty are not the best supporters of good communication, are they?

Speaking for myself, I’ve made a vow to adopt a more restrained, calmer, intentional action of understanding in this new year. What is behind the rude comment? Why is the person “pushing your buttons”? Can you “scroll on by” since not everything requires a response? What are your goals this year? Can you reduce the unintended drama, surround yourselves with those who share your values (not necessarily your opinions as that might be boring!), but spend time with those whose opinions you value?

I’m as curious as ever about people and wish to communicate with clarity. Likewise, I wish a more harmonious year going forward, filled with interesting people, great conversations, and a continued love of learning. We need each other and can grow to great heights if we take care with our words, our tone, and our stance.

Wishing only good for each of you in this fresh New Year!

Warmly,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! – 31 Dec 2021

Whether you celebrate a particular holiday or not, year-end is often a time of reflection. My habit is to look back over the year and to select the positive experiences — the negative ones are there if you seek them, but I do not. One coping mechanism I use often is to process anything negative or “enriching” when it happens, then let it fly away; much like a dandelion in the wind.

Blog 12-27-2021

This past year was absolutely fascinating from a 30,000-foot level. The trials of 2020 taught us a great deal and not least of all, that in 2021, we continue to be strong, durable, persevering people. Yes, we lost a great deal with loved ones, our certainty was shaken, but we were still enduring and firm in our belief we are small, but mighty in this world. At times it felt overwhelming with information overload, but other skills took over. We began to self-prune.

Self-pruning is valuable. It cuts away that which is unimportant. It leaves behind the very essence of what matters to each of us. We have growing awareness of our priorities, and where we will expend our energy. For me, I found a growing patience in accepting the inevitable setbacks, and then forging ahead with renewed creativity and solutions.

I also connected to new and different people to surround myself; new groups that were thinkers, entrepreneurs, grounded people who challenged my thought-processes, and to those I might also motivate. When you look within, you see that the way out of the stale norm is to make changes — and only you can do that. I found great strength in helping others, for in offering solutions to others, we also use what’s best within us.

Sincere connection took on new importance. If a special person crossed my mind, I took immediate action. A brief text, email, or call was unobtrusive, but in each case, the other person knew I was thinking of them. It occurred for me as well and was enormously appreciated. The most valuable skill I found this year was enhanced, bountiful gratitude. No matter the circumstances, there is always something to be grateful for. By grace, we are loved and supported.

Blog 12-27-2021 - 2

As the year winds to a close, focus on your accomplishments (each and every one no matter how small) and name them. I believe you’ll be amazed at how many there are, and how your consistency, inner strength, innate love, and marvelous mind gave you wings. You mostly floated on the wind currents, gliding and seldom plummeting, and alongside were precious friends, family, and of course, our priceless pets.

Wishing only good things ahead for you in 2022, and know that you are stronger, wiser, more durable, kinder, and of greater value to yourself and others daily. May you be blessed with love, abundance, warmth, generosity of spirit, and joy galore in the year ahead.

With gratitude for you,

Linda Kreter

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Linda Kreter

Stressed, Not Stuck? – 13 Dec 2021

Stress is so pervasive these days that unless you’re aware of how you react and respond to chronic hurdles, setbacks, or verbal volleys, the physical and psychological symptoms may go unnoticed. That is, until your body tells you loud and clear: this way of life must be changed. Now.

Being stressed can result in feeling stuck, but they are different. Most often stress comes in waves, from circumstances to situational occasions. However, in the last two years, the stress levels, intense or repeated many times over can take their physical and emotional toll. Stuck often means we’re committed to certain behaviors that over time fail to give us the outcomes we’re seeking. We’re tired. So tired. Change or modifications are needed.

Ask yourself: do I notice when I’m approaching overload? Do I become snappish or pull away from people? Do I “keep going” simply because I started something and feel a strong need to finish whatever “it” is? Pause. Ponder. Think. Is the stress put on you by outside deadlines, or is it self-imposed? We may often be our own worst enemies!

Blog 12-13-2021

Look within and when things become hairy, try turning yourself into an objective observer. “If I were told this story by a friend, what would I advise them?” It can be helpful to remove yourself intellectually from the equation and look at it dispassionately. Hmmm… are you being harder on yourself than you’d be talking with a friend? Are you compassionate about why you are nicer to others than to yourself? Strong, accomplished people often are extremely black and white about cutting themselves slack. Be aware, but take care not to speak negatively to yourself, berate your choices/words/actions, and instead step back and look at yourself and the situation as a friend.

Being a friend to yourself is significant. If we treat ourselves kindly, apologize when necessary to others, and we learn from each interaction, we will grow. Stuck implies you’ve ceased considering yourself, while stressed acknowledges you are not an island in this world. Not everyone can be your friend. Some need to put you down to help themselves. These are not your friends.

However, you are surrounded by those who love you, others that find you fascinating and appreciate you, and possibly by some who are acquaintances. Keep those close who appreciate you, be aware of stress and overload, and take care of yourself. People will not always be kind, but you can create the environment in which you thrive, even if your circle becomes smaller and more exclusive.

Stuck we can work with together, and you can help by being self-aware of stressors and tuning in. Also recall that some stress hones our focus, gives way to on-time deadlines, and makes accomplishments possible.

Not all stress is bad. Take the time to pause. Make time for your replenishment when depleted. And know that the strength within is made magical by learning more about yourself.

You. Are. Amazing.

Linda Kreter

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Where is Your Inner Child? – 09 Dec 2021

Our inner child still exists. Truly it does! All childhoods were different but consider a look at the inner child before life experiences and societal demands shaped (or tried to shape) our adulthoods. No one comes through life unscathed, or blissfully happy. Yet if we search for and hang on to the childlike characteristics that once defined our simpler lives, it often can make us smile. Note I’m talking about Childlike, not Childish attributes.

Women especially tend to lose that inner curiosity, vitality, and sense of wonder, or even adventure. Perhaps it’s the Should Monster telling us to be more mature. Perhaps we are often overwhelmed? It seems to me that men seem much better at retaining the simpler pleasure of enjoying the journey on the way. Your inner child is inquisitive, transparent and curious — wonderful attributes for being Durable. People who let you see this facet of themselves feel secure with you — and it’s often a deeper, more meaningful friendship. Laughing out loud feels good and a belly laugh from an otherwise reserved individual is contagious.

Blog 12-9-2021

Children have a flame of light that seeks to know more, to search for answers to unusual questions, and to become lighter and brighter. It’s why they learn so quickly and thoroughly; they ask great questions. As adults, we may stifle our questions out of privacy or not wanting to be intrusive, but questions and responses are the lifeblood of engaged communication.

Life and the many responsibilities and roles may try to extinguish that light, but work hard at recognizing your inner child. Feed that sweet soul. Shine your light; keep it burning and feed the flame when you feel it diminish. Too often, we see adulthood as serious, and not to be taken lightly. Yet, as you watch a garage band play, isn’t it easy to see the little boy inside the man? Watch a group of women athletes — they take joy in their team wins and it shows.

Age and experience humble, no doubt, but our inner child is there if we keep him or her close to our hearts. Shine your light for all to see! It keeps you young at heart and constantly learning. Thriving is a state of mind and childlike wonder is a characteristic of Durable People!

Linda Kreter

©WiseHealth, Inc 2021
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Linda Kreter

Thanksgiving in 2021 – 23 Nov 2021

Particular times of the year bring more reminiscing than usual for many people, including me. We consider the year before, occasions many years before, and there is often strong nostalgia for pockets of treasured times.

The holidays have always been a special time for me. Not because of the trappings, the meals, or the decorations, but because they evoke warm and loving memories of those who are not at the table or sitting beside the tree. I think back over the start of traditions, the ending of others, and the hope and awe of another year winding to an end.

For me, 2021 has seemed more challenging than any other year in memory, including 2020. Durable people have needed to be stronger than ever as a season of challenge turned into multiple seasons and counting. The most amazing thing, though, is that we may miss lifting appreciation for our many joys, smiles, and blessings because it’s easy to be influenced by the distractions: chaos, media distortion, family perspectives, and the world. It has been an arduous year!

Yet. Yet, as you live your traditions through the end of the year, consider adding a new tradition. Find some time to write, journal, or share the small wins with yourself: the unexpected smiles, the surprise connections, and the hope that always springs eternal if we seek it. This is a habit, and I’m forever surprised that though each year brings some loss, the hopes and joys of the small moments always outnumber and delight. We lost a dear family member in 2021, and the mourning, and the memories are bright – and count as a joy on that list. Those who enter are lives and leave an impression are so precious.

Note the memories. Acknowledge the losses. Celebrate the quiet, wonderful, sweet moments. Dance in the kitchen, sing out loud, and know you are appreciated for all the moments of your life that make you, well, YOU.

Blessings this Thanksgiving Eve,

Linda

©WiseHealth, Inc 2021
All Rights Reserved
 
 
Linda Kreter

On Those Stuck Days…- 08 Nov 2021

We all have them. Wake up, good intentions, start executing on the day’s plan and — life steps in. Maybe it’s a child who needs you, an employee who made a mistake you must help fix, or maybe you received a phone call or email with disturbing news. Suddenly, you’re off-track and finding your way back is, well, further off-track.

On those days, it can be helpful to recognize you’ve been here before. Too often to count? You’re now finding you can use the lessons learned in the past to strengthen your resolve to find the answer to this newest derailment. Those who look inward for past experiences, past successes, and learned from failures are stuck for increasingly shorter periods of time.

Look at your patterns. Is this a repeat? Again, if you don’t go within, you’ll repeat and repeat ad nauseum. (That’s a pleasant thought!) Once is a mistake, twice is an oversight, but three times is a pattern. I find it helpful to pretend I’m a client — what would I ask? How would I inquire into what might help best? Since I’m good at critiquing myself, I might first have negative self-talk, which is summarily unhelpful, but then I would analyze the situation.

Some days we are too tired to regroup. That’s okay; start again the next hour, meal, project. Other days we’re frankly sick of ourselves and need a walk in nature, a shower under pounding water, or time with a pet. I recently worked with a client who said they had no time; zero, not one minute. A simple challenge to take three minutes for themselves didn’t work. I then modified the thought to “spend seven focused minutes with your pet”; no notifications, no calls, no screens or other people. He found the time for the animal, if not himself, but both benefitted.

On the days we are simply grumpy/hangry/irritated, try to find the humor in the absurd. These are the times I post photos that make me smile, laugh out loud, or cause someone else to laugh, often at my self-deprecating thought. Laughing at yourself is a solid way to regroup and move on, as few things are deadly about an “off day”. Most of the time, this puts my often tiny problem into perspective: the power is out, the laundry is still in the washer for the third go-round, or the pets decide their favorite food is now inedible.

Summary: sleep when you need to, refresh outdoors, spend time in nature, with pets, and put your experience to work to keep finding new ways to prod yourself back to center.

Life is a journey — please, please enjoy it! Remember, I’m here to take you personally from Stuck to Strength™ when you’re ready. Linda@LindaKreter.com

Warmly,

Linda

©WiseHealth, Inc 2021
All Rights Reserved
 
 
Linda Kreter

Logic Can Hold You Back 11 Oct 2021

When you think of all the reasons why something seems challenging or uphill, does your mind quickly first go to all the reasons it’s not worth the effort, energy, and creativity? Are you focused on the outcome only, or do you consider the satisfaction of bringing a thought to fruition, a service that elevates others, and that anything worth doing is worth doing right? Neither is wrong, but one brings you closer to achieving dreams and accomplishments.

Logic is wonderful. It can guide us through traps we’ve been caught in before, provide new direction, and justify your action — or inaction. Where logic holds you back is in the conscious mind — “it’s just so… complicated.” Yet, if it were easy, everyone would have done the action, created the service, and the outcome would be in the rear-view mirror. Where we make the most progress is in our unconscious made conscious. Not thinking the way you’ve always done. Habitually. Rote.

Thinking is based on our beliefs. What do you believe you can do? What do you believe is holding you back? Are your fears real or perceived? Thinking is complex and thinking in new ways intentionally requires diligence, purpose, and deliberately.

Ahhh, thinking. Were you taught to think or taught what to think? Is your thinking rewarded, or is creativity stifled with logic or society telling you that thinking is “hard”, and you can get by with doing things by habit? Those who insist they multitask well — have you considered your split thinking is diminishing each task for lack of priority focus? For those with a stubborn creative streak and desire to break out of their boxes, (like most entrepreneur and free thinkers), habits can be numbing. Energy vampires. Flow stoppers.

The more self-awareness you have about what you do every day, the more you’ll find opportunity to alter that behavior, try something new, and create new logic that fits you better. Doing tasks, the same way for eons is great in manufacturing for quality control, but in thinking, it may mean you’re in a rut. Consider a “day in the life” for you; is it routinized, dull, boring, or just by rote? If this is intentional, so be it. But, if you’re looking for fresh avenues, a growth mindset, and books only go so far — then try looking inward to see what small, intentional acts may bring you.

It’s contagious! One small act of awareness, unconscious becoming conscious will inspire you to do more and be more. Logic has its place, but you get one glorious life in this world. Live it to the fullest!

Warmly,

Linda

©Linda Kreter, 2021
 
 
Linda Kreter

Boundaries are Essential – 28 Sep 2021

In a typical neighborhood, disputes occur, rumors fly, some true, but mostly untrue. What’s your response? Do you react? Plot revenge? Some combination of aggressive actions, and salty language?

OR do you contemplate WHY people are behaving the way they are? Because when you look at what someone does, also look at why they do it? Is it to gain a vivid reaction? Is it to elicit drama? Some people have too much time on their hands and seek mayhem. Others are super comfortable in their chaos and want to draw you in to their performance – but do you have to buy the ticket or attend the show?

Sometimes, actual physical boundaries are needed: fences, hedges, rock walls, boulders, or timbers. When this occurs, communication must occur or at least be attempted before action is taken. Escalating situations is seldom advised!

Consider your plan of action carefully. How would you wish to be approached? How do you look for a win/win scenario? And, when you create one, how do you begin your communication? I’m a big believer in clear, direct communication and surprises are seldom well accepted. Ponder, plan, strategize, then communicate your approach with the best possible potential to succeed.

I’ve found that most people avoid conflict, thinking that the issue will just go away if ignored. Like the proverbial ostrich in the sand, that often makes you blind and nothing is accomplished with your head in the ground. If it were me, (and it was), I took a direct approach. I called the neighbor’s cell phone; no answer, so on the second try, I left a message to call me about a specific issue. I also left a handwritten note in the paper box addressed to both parties in the home. No answer for a week.

I then wrote another letter, and emailed it, but I also included photos of the handwritten note and mentioned the voicemail. Still no response. Finally, two days later (two weeks have gone by), I put a hand-delivered copy of that email (that contained my detailed plan) in the paper box. Now that it was clear I would not disappear, I was approached. We calmly talked about the narrow green hedge I would plant between our properties to stop massive erosion coming from their property. No accusations, just fact. It took a LOT of personal energy, pent-up anxiety from their prior passive-aggressive acts, but those were not mentioned. I was looking for a win/win, and I earned it.

Direct communication is clear communication. It doesn’t come as a surprise, and it’s written with little emotion. Fact-based and indisputable makes for less drama, and a higher chance for success. KNOW that Durable People think before they act, and they do it with a positive outcome in mind.

Moving from Stuck to Strength™ – Linda Kreter

©Linda Kreter, 2021
 
 
Linda Kreter

Let’s go from Stuck to Strength™! – 11 Oct 2021

You are unique. One of a kind. Yet, it’s all too easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day tasks, the external chaos, and the general relentless barrage of distractions in our days. We become increasingly tired, resigned, and eventually accept the dull, stale days. The weekend is coming, right?

Creating a life you need not escape from is possible. It’s a matter of recognizing your personal worthiness, your personal values, and recognizing happiness; a change from inside you to not accept subpar living. We are not given a limitless number of days, but we are each given 24 hours to live our lives. No more, no less. (Okay, there’s Leap Year…)

Often, the cause of exhaustion and uninspired thinking comes from our need to please others – and in the process lose ourselves. Think about it – when you put yourself last in all things, fail to sustain yourself with vital coping tools and skills, your days and life become lackluster. It need not be that way!

Why work with me? I’ve been battered and betrayed too: personally, professionally, and spiritually. Each time, though not quickly at first, I rose again, and never lost my sense of wonder and curiosity. Resilience and durability are now second nature and I’m renewed faster each time. I’d love to share these skills with you. While opportunity is external, your capabilities and potential are all within you; coaching and training assist you in realizing your giftedness – and stepping forward to thrive.

Do you feel you’re making a difference, at home, office, or in organizations? What’s your daily purpose? What are your self-limiting beliefs? Are external pressures causing you to shift or abandon any of your beliefs? Living outside your values is exhausting, and though choices may be limited right now for you, I can help you subtly shift to clearer communication, effective boundaries, managing toxic people, and realize your value daily. We may be too close to ourselves to see the patterns, but they exist.

I would love to help you make your life one of intentional choices that uplift, not deplete you. Adaptability and taking small steps to redirect add up to confidence, clarity, creativity, growth, and joy. It all starts with you. Unique, wonderful you. Click here to email me: Linda@LindaKreter.com to get started.

With gratitude,

Linda Kreter

©Linda Kreter, 2021
 
 

Trauma Responses You Thought Were Gone… – 21 Jul 2021

Yesterday I had a very negative experience. You may have also? In thinking through my process to wholeness emotionally, we are all a work in progress and here’s a quick summary to consider.

Most of us have experienced trauma — even if you don’t name it. It’s not uncommon for those who’ve undergone challenging circumstances, chronic toxic exchanges, and “baked in” responses to occasionally feel the same way again, long after you’ve mastered the practice of internal responses and external actions. You’ve heard of muscle memory, and emotional memory can remain potent, even when you mostly have mastered smarter responses. As this happened, perspective and experience gave me insights into how to move forward, and to keep myself whole. It’s a gift!

You’ll see I avoided the word “triggered”, as that implies someone has caused me to respond in a particular way. I disagree with that, since it’s up to me to either allow, dismiss, or process the response now that I have adequate tools and routines to walk me through it. One thing I’ve learned to avoid is ruminating or dwelling on what has occurred and beating myself up over my (genuinely earned) response learned through experience. Negatively talking to yourself is not healthy, and it also ingrains negative neural pathways that may become entrenched. Overthinking ingrains the negative. Be kind to yourself.

elephant

There’s good news. You learned from your life experiences in the past. You now know (or want to learn to know) how to best manage incidents like these in a more positive and smooth manner. (Contact me for coaching or training: lkreter@lindakreter.com.) Adversity is a key learning space, and if we build upon the experiences learned, we help ourselves and those around us immeasurably. Heal thyself — because if you don’t, you may waste precious time and energy, berating yourself, and wounding others because you are still healing. We are all a work in progress.

Often the most interesting people have complicated pasts. Taking steps to become a newer, more empowered version of yourself keeps you moving forward. After all, if you keep carrying the same bricks repeatedly, the new house you’ll build will look (and feel) the same as the old one. Or, as I like to put it: I want to make new mistakes, not repeat old ones. And, when you have awareness of an old experience and feel yourself defaulting to past habits, fresh awareness will help you manage differently — and leave it behind. Put your muddy bricks down, and stride forward. It’s not only possible, but essential.

Moving from Stuck to Strength – Linda Kreter

 

Durable People Give and Receive – 07 Jul 2021

The Bible (and conventional wisdom) tells us that it’s better to give than to receive; that generosity is the best way when given a choice. Most of us are very comfortable with this concept, and I still remember my mother, then me, giving my children or friends the best … cupcake, hug, bunch of grapes – virtually anything. It’s what parents and dear friends often do.

My parents did that frequently. Yet – in the effort to give, give, give, we were not also taught that receiving from others allows them to practice the giving act. And the more we have to share, the less likely we are to allow or permit someone else to share. But doesn’t that take away the joy of giving to the other person? Does it allow them to feel good about sharing what they choose as well?

Yes, it does.

One-sided giving and receiving is difficult. We don’t always feel comfortable receiving a gift (whether food, tickets, a ride, or anything else) when we know we can provide it more easily than the other person. We may believe it’s a sacrifice for the other person. But, if it is, isn’t it that much more meaningful to be gifted? Depriving others who want to support or give or share is missing an opportunity for their gifts. Being gracious to them and appreciative is a lovely way to grow a relationship.

Often, we don’t wish to receive because we are not the one in control. Ahhh, control! So many feel this is the most organized, structured, and predictable way to be. Yet if you’re always controlling, how do you then learn to gracefully receive? Please note the root word “grace” in both gracious, graceful – and ultimately grateful. This is a challenging lesson to learn, but it’s very important for others’ self-worth. Once realized, we are now aware of the beauty in building a relationship with real value and maximizing our gifts. We feel good when we help others’ feel good.

meditate

Another example is when one person predominantly pays the bill when socializing. It’s also acceptable to split the bill, or to switch off on paying the bill so it feels more of an equal friendship, even if the general financial situation may be a larger sacrifice by the other person. It may mean going to that person’s home instead of out to an expensive restaurant to share a meal or social hour. Self-sufficiency and independence are individual, and we can help by appreciating the contribution of others instead of assuming you are the only one to provide. Durable people have often lived on both sides of this divide and being aware of sharing our giving and our receiving grows us as individuals.

It’s not always easy to step back and accept help. But it’s a gift from the other person to you, there is no keeping score, and you are grateful and appreciative, it’s a true gift altogether! Incidentally, if people are “keeping score”, then this may be a person you wish to limit your time with, as a “winner” means someone else is the “loser”. Hopefully, our friends and family wish only the best for us and we for them. Winners all…

Durable people live and learn daily. Receiving is an important skill to learn, refine, and appreciate — just as much as giving.

#WeKeepGoing,

Linda Kreter

 

When Ignorance and Incivility Abounds – 04 May 2021

It’s May 2021, and the world is emerging slowing from a collective trauma. For some, things are feeling discernibly better. For others, fear is the overwhelming emotion. For most everyone, there is a disconnect as we approach “re-entry”.

One of the hardest things for me to understand is the unusual unawareness of communications. Words are weaponized, fear seldom brings out the best in others, and as we all know – words can pierce. Perhaps it’s the very, very different experiences we’ve all had during a common pandemic experience? And, perhaps, if self-awareness is a gift you hold, you realize that some may not possess your coping skills, or even your intentional outlook.

Those of the Durable Mindset will recognize another (oh yay…) opportunity to muster resilience, kind words, and a forgiving perspective. And, for those who think it is easy or a habit we have, please recognize it takes all our skills to muster those thoughts of fortitude and to keep going. Experience tells us that so far, we have a 100% record of managing hard times. It isn’t often pretty, we may wish to avoid the reality, but ignoring hard things doesn’t make them disappear.

meditate

Digging deep means what to you? For me, it means putting the current episode into a larger picture. Does this person know that instigating negativity in others is wrong? Does this person lash out because they themselves are hurting? If so, have you set a firm but kind boundary to protect yourself from being drawn into the chaos? And, if there is nothing you can do to remedy the situation, how do you breathe, and intentionally process the emotions and chalk it up to experience? This — this is wisdom.

When ignorance and incivility abound, it is all the more important that we keep our heads steady, and our words kind. Considering actions that uplift, or at least don’t make the situation worse is important. Sometimes, only listening and not feeding the drama is the only possible action. Even fireworks eventually fizzle out, and it’s avoiding the burns that leaves you to carry on.

The world is a strange place today. Vicarious pandemic trauma, absences, losses, changes in daily life, the uncovering of priority in our lives all factor into the whole. Notice I said “priority”, not priorities. It is a rather recent semantic shift, since not everything can be a priority. As you engage with others, walk calmly, choose your words intentionally, adjust and adapt your personal boundaries to thrive, and know that taking the high road is the best way. Finally, process then let go of unnecessary drama; send it into the atmosphere!

Moving from Stuck to Strength – Linda Kreter

 

2020 Required Durability from Everyone – 05 Jan 2021

In 2020, no matter how resilient you were, times were uncertain, we were facing information overload (or deficit), and we had choices to make. On a scale of 1–5, how did you manage?

No single way fit everyone. Many took the time to reconnect with family (initially) and flourished if fortunate to work from home. Others had little change, because they were deemed “essential” and had to report to work or had a position that required to be in the workplace. As we all now know, what started as 14 or 30 days was extended, and extended. Whinging between family members *may* have ensued, and others painfully isolated. Living with uncertainty can be unsettling. Loss of family and friends to illness, isolation, and life changes may bring a chronic level of grief.

Durability was hard to muster. As we learned more about the virus, we gained knowledge. From my background in clinical studies, I knew that immunity could be boosted, good habits build routines and structure, and when life feels slippery, we do better with a faith or spiritual foundation. We had choices to make – renew healthy habits, or fall back to or invent poor ones. Many did both. Looking back, I know that daily exercise (online, indoors), outdoor walks when possible, eating right, striving to sleep more (that’s always a tough one), and bringing back enjoyable habits (gardening, knitting, and written notes to friends) helped me immensely. Pets — pets were invaluable!

cat

How did you manage? Durable people take self-check-ins seriously. When I felt myself slipping, I stepped up the areas of need. I firmly confirmed that people matter, and even a walk-by in a mask with a kind word helped versus no contact. Gratitude flowed high, since I had choices that others may not have, and I tried to support groups I belong to with outreach (which helped me most of all!) And, fear is unhelpful, reducing immunity and confidence…

The more challenging aspects of durability like the discipline of structure, the many daily choices took intention. Yet, the intentional pause, the knowledge that some of the daily options were in our own hands gave me hope. And hope is sometimes the most powerful impetus to keep going! I once had a wooden angel with a quote on it. In a darker time of my life, I’d covered it over. During the Spring of COVID, I uncovered it. Ha! The joke was on me — the quote stated this: “Never Lose Hope”!

never lose hope

Seeking to keep going is often hard, but well worth it. I’d love to hear what or who supported you in that challenging year? Plus, just surviving this year is a magnificent accomplishment! Well done!

Linda Kreter

 

Leadership Skills Growth – August 2021

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell talks about leadership as a continuous learning process, and one where success means growing other leaders. In other words, leadership is influence. If you don’t influence others, you’re not leading a group, you’re walking alone.

What if you’re a strong leader already? It’s probable you are still constantly and intentionally learning more about yourself, and about your abilities to communicate and engage. Most leaders find camaraderie in sharing ideas with others, receiving feedback, and debating the finer points of a difference of opinion. Leaders are inquisitive, questioning, and often seeking. Personally I love to read books, and listen to podcasts and videos about communication, including varied viewpoints on persuasion, techniques on asking questions, and the way we can encourage others to safely tell their stories – because everyone has a story.

Engagement has a different meaning in a world gone largely virtual. Your words and phrases matter, along with your tone, your body language, and your demeanor. The best outcome of a discussion with anyone, is rapport, a greater understanding of the other person’s viewpoint, a possible shift based on learning what the other person finds important, and most of all, valuing the other person. If you manage staff, speaking to someone with their position and perspective in mind is vitally important. Plus, improving your communication skills (tone, presence, body language, preparation and more) acting a leader rather than someone to be reckoned with is an advantage. This is leadership skills and mindset growth.

Leadership

You cannot always change the situation around you, but you can change your response to it. The confidence with becoming a more assured leader will help you in every aspect of your life. There is enormous value in being able to express yourself well and to show in subtle ways you are resourceful, knowledgeable and worth listening to in your role. Intentionally, taking even 10 minutes each day to read, listen, journal, discuss, mentor, or learn will make you a stronger, more empathetic leader, able to surmount challenges with grace. Leadership skills are always evolving; enjoy the process!

 

Gnarly is the Most Interesting 10 Oct 2021

Do you have a fondness for driftwood like I do? I’ve dragged an interesting piece for miles and then let it dry out for three months if it was sufficiently unique!

Fascinating driftwood is often the tumbled root section of a tree. I spent time this weekend thinking about roots. Roots of our families. Roots of our friendships. Roots from our past that make us who we are today.

Our roots begin within our families, and if we’re fortunate, any dysfunction is manageable and safe. Roots continue to grow and spread as we learn and grow older, putting out tender shoots that grow stronger as we discern our path. Through experience and hard-earned wisdom, we learn how to prune the roots that are unhealthy, and how to nurture the ones we need to be stronger. But sometimes, even with help, we cannot self-prune or self-nurture our roots and we must learn to live with a discrepancy in our lives. And, we do it well!

Have you ever seen the root of a great tree that at one time ran into an obstacle and was forced to change direction to stay alive? It’s not predictable or “regular”. That tree, like you, is determined to keep growing. The root of a tree that has circumvented an obstacle and kept on, lifting branches to the sky is often the most remarkable. For example, consider the roots that grew around an underground pipe, pressed up through the concrete, or burrow out of the side of a mountain. They kept growing. I contend that some of the most interesting driftwood pieces – and durable people are those experienced a challenged root system.

Wood

Consider yourself in a new light. Think of a stunning piece of driftwood art in the garden, a driftwood piece like you – unwavering, gnarly but tenacious, with some knotholes and scars, and learn to admire that driftwood all the more for the progress it made along the way.

May you be grateful for gnarly, intriguing roots in your life for your demonstration of durability. Challenges met – durability rises again!

 

The Magic of Durability – 22 Sep 2021

Ahh, superpowers and magic! Durability is usually a plain word that describes buckets and boots, but the magic of durability is – you can always enhance and strengthen it. It’s never too late. Durability is a time-honored description for those who wake each day with purpose, walk with courage despite obstacles, and serve others at home, at the office, and in life.

Durable people have met personal challenges, faced the options, and chosen intentionally to carry on, especially when the options are bad, poor, and worse. We are not merely weary troupers, we have perseverance, a flame inside that won’t go out, and if it flickers, we rest, quiet ourselves and others, and seek strength to continue. Not all people are naturally durable, yet durability is also resilience, and resilience skills may be taught, emphasized, and maintained.

A durable person has a personal awareness and a knowing they have weathered hard circumstances before – and prevailed. That experience gives a hard-earned wisdom, and also a supportive timber to take the first step. Again. Wisdom comes with age and experience, yet it’s an advantage to learn and apply these skills earlier in life. We model durable behavior for our peers at work, and for our children at home. Application of self-awareness, strong communication, wellhoned boundaries, and compassion with strength is a powerful combination.

Many cast empathy and compassion into the “soft skills” arena, implying these are not as functional or practical as other skill sets easier to quantify. Yet, the best communicators in life understand that caring, applying the right words to the right situation, and following other principles taught in kindergarten are vital to influencing others positively. Durable people use these skills (innate or fostered) in all communications to create a relationship, rapport, and harmony.

The magic of durability endures and sustains. Durability is a superpower! Augment your natural resilience, fortitude, persistence, strength, grit, character, courage, and endurability and achieve your personal best. Contact me at linda@lindakreter.com and schedule your free 15-minute consultation. Durable people thrive in all aspects of their lives!

Linda Kreter

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