Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Reading Aloud; Blessing Life

In Speeches on July 31, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Amy-doing-a-reading-019, b&w

I sat on a stool, lovingly opened one of my favorite books and shared stories of blessings with my Toastmasters club this week. Rachel Remen’s book, My Grandfather’s Blessings, is a treasure trove filled with inspiration, reflection, and reminders that there’s more to life than what the popular culture tries to serve us every day. I was working from the advanced manual, Specialty Speeches and the project was #5, Read out Loud. So that’s what I did.

In the introduction of My Grandfather’s Blessings Rachel tells of learning that “life can spring from anything;” if we are faithful to it (we must apply ourselves!); her grandfather taught her that lesson with a cup of dirt, a seed and instructions to “give it a little water EVERY day.”

Indeed there is beauty and life all around us; we just need to pay attention and cultivate it.

In a story about blessings, Rachel describes a weekly blessing her grandfather bestowed upon her. He laid his hands on her head, proclaimed her goodness and blessed her aloud. She claims this weekly ritual as the only time during her week when she felt safe and truly loved. Rachel’s mother, years later, confessed to Rachel that she too had blessed her daughter every day but didn’t have the “wisdom to do it out loud.”

Ah, we should pay attention to this story. Are we sharing our appreciation and blessings generously enough with those we care about?

From a story about Hot Wheel cars we are reminded that the important things in life are not “things” but people and experiences. She cautions us to “not have more Hot Wheels” than we can love.

This is an important lesson in our world of “stuff.” I guess a global recession is a good time to re-assess all of the “stuff” we have. Is it necessary? Is it making us happy or is it holding us back?

And, in the final excerpt I shared, Rachel tells of a lesson she learned from her mother: Everyone around us knows something important that we don’t know. EVERYONE. Adults, children, those who look different from us, the sick, the homeless, the lonely – not just the successful people!

I urge you to look below the surface in your own life. The deeper meanings and messages life has to teach you can and will enhance your life in countless ways. Digging deeper can be the most satisfying thing you do.

Check out Rachel Remen’s books: My Grandfather’s Blessings and Kitchen Table Wisdom. She’s a master story teller, a pioneer in integrative medicine, and a faculty member in the UCSF College of Medicine.

Amy Sluss, RN, author, speaker


practice vs. PRACTICE

In Personal Growth on July 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Practice - BnW

There is a difference between practice… and PRACTICE

  • practice you do alone…
    • PRACTICE you do with a coach (or coaches)
  • practice you do occasionally…
    • PRACTICE you do regularly
  • practice you do only when you want to…
    • PRACTICE you do especially when you don’t want to
  • practice you do without a plan…
    • PRACTICE you do with specific goals in mind
  • practice you reach a point of completion…
    • PRACTICE you continue as long as you’re breathing
  • practice keeps you in your comfort zone…
    • PRACTICE pushes you to higher heights
  • practice discourages criticism…
    • PRACTICE welcomes feedback
  • practice gives you a false sense of accomplishment…
    • PRACTICE gives you quantifiable results
  • Practice drives you to competence…
    • PRACTICE drives you to Excellence

Which kind do you do?


Stephen V. Richardson