The Holidays Are Here Again

December 8th, 2014 by Anne McCrady

For many of us, the holiday season has arrived!

For those of us who are Jewish or Christian or American or maybe even a Westerner, no pages on the calendar marks the passing of time like the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  For others, it is the season of celebrating light: Diwali and the Winter Solstice.

Whatever our traditions, we are likely to think, Another year has passed! or So much has happened this past year!  At this time, our days and nights are full of traditions to think about: religious celebrations, special meals, cards and letters, photographs, decorating our homes, shopping for gifts, holiday gatherings. Sometimes we feel like we don’t even have time to think at all, that our list of things-to-do is impossibly long. We know we should be having fun, but we may feel stressed or even inappropriately sad. Others of us are blessed by memories of past holiday seasons, as we remember the beloved people and places that have made those times special for us.

Whether or not you are ready to celebrate Hannukah or Christmas or the Solstice or New Year’s Eve–and despite your mood–the last few days of the year can be a blessing. In the hectic times and the quiet moments, try looking for the most important aspects of this solstice season. Set aside your to-do list and focus on three things that, once embraced, will be holiday gifts to yourself. I am suggesting peace, joy and love! In the Nativity story, the Wise Men might have done well to offer these three, since Jesus certainly embraced them — and the Hannukah story is full of them. Peace, Joy and Love. They are already in your life, waiting for you to find them amidst the bustling crowds, the wrapping paper and bows, the latkes and candy canes, the Yule fires and midnight noisemakers. Close you eyes and feel them — or open your eyes and see them. You will be blessed!

To help in your search, here’s a holiday poem as my gift to you. Happy Holidays!

 

Peace! Joy! Love!

In Candle Glow and Choir Song,

In Places You Know You Belong,

When Frantic Preparations Cease,

Oh, Friend, May You Find Peace!

In Laughter and in Life’s Embrace,

In Smiles that Light Up Every Face,

In the Hopes of Little Girls and Boys,

Oh, Friend, May You Find Joy!

As You Open Gifts and Give Them Too,

As the Season Brings Its Best to You,

Like the Sweet Descent of a Sacred Dove,

Oh, Friend, May You Find Love!

 

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Learn More about Anne McCrady and InSpiritry at www.InSpiritry.com

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The End of Summer

August 20th, 2014 by Anne McCrady

…and then all that ends and we begin again. 

For many families this week, everything suddenly feels different!

Summer is ending. School supplies aisles in stores are hectic. Morning kitchens are busy with eating breakfast and packing lunches. Youngsters are headed off to be with their friends all day. Six-year-olds are starting elementary school for the first time. Teachers are welcoming new classrooms of students. Teenagers-turned-young-adults are heading off to college. Bedrooms are empty. Dreams are coming true. Tears are welling up. Another school year is beginning, and life is making one of those transitions we never forget!

There are a few moments for each of us when the light bulb of recognition goes on, and we think, “This— change— is what life is all about!”  The end of summer with its Empty Nest Moments is one of those times. We realize that with the changing of the seasons of our lives, things are never going to be the same. We feel ourselves having to let go of the past. Our calendars tell us we are about to experience a new routine.

This month and any time you are facing change, as you feel alternatively terrified and exhilarated, it is a good time to pause and reflect. We need to honor our transitions. It is a good time to consider the past and the future, write in your journal, look call old friends, through old photos, remember other changes we have experienced, say what we have been meaning to say, remind our hearts of what matters, see the incredible story of our lives unfolding into the future. Life’s transitions are sacred ones to be kept precious!

InSpiritry always calls us to feel the poetry of each moment, to see our lives as inspirational stories and to use the awesome power of change. When life takes off at breakneck speed with you hurrying after it, celebrate the changes – nothing is more exciting than moving forward. And this week say a blessing for all transitioning families, for big kids leaving home and for new-school-year children and Empty Nest adults everywhere!

When We Celebrate Transitions, Life Can Be a Blessing!

For more of Anne McCrady‘s Ideas for InSpired Living, visit the InSpiritry web site and follow her posts on FaceBookTwitter and LinkedIn!

 



Your Life Can Be a Light – Shine!

July 31st, 2014 by Anne McCrady

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine! 

Many of us remember singing these joyful lyrics as children at church or camp or school, holding up one finger as a candle. Just remembering the sound of that happy chorus makes me smile even now!

The song offers a message worth making a part of our adult lives as well: Each of us can be a light in the world, and we don’t have to be famous or even unusual to do it.

The words to the song remind us that even our normal, everyday lives can be a beacon, an inspiration, an affirmation to others. As we do our work and care for others and overcome challenges and grow into better people year after year, we are writing an inspirational story of what it means to live a meaningful life. For those around us whose faith in themselves or the world or even God is wavering, that story can offer hope and encouragement. People all around you are watching, needing the lessons of your life! Not only that, but sharing the many chapters of your story in conversations can be an unexpected gift for someone whose heart needs to hear that they are not alone in their past experiences or their worries about the future.

Think about all you have been through, your joys and sorrows, your epiphanies and hard choices, your struggles and victories, your loves and losses. It is nothing less than miraculous that you are here, now, so wise, so blessed, so generous, so compassionate, so capable, so amazing. What an inspiration!

Celebrate Your Life – Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It Shine!

Find more of Anne McCrady’s Poetry, Stories and Ideas for InSpired Living at InSpiritry.com,

as well as on FaceBook and Twitter!



The Changing Landscape of Self

July 23rd, 2014 by Anne McCrady

 

As lifelong learners, the hardest lesson is the changing landscape of ourselves.

Dozens of TED talks, hundreds of business books and thousands of web sites offer advice about how to respond to our changing world–social change, economic change, technological change, political change, climate change. It’s impossible not to get the message that change is a never-ending part of our lives. The thing we often miss is that not all change is external. Each of us is changing inside too. Creatively responding to that kind of change in a positive way may be the most difficult task of all!

Think about the changes that have happened in your life. As the years have gone by, you have gradually — and sometimes not so gradually – evolved into who you are today. Sometimes that was in response to events like leaving home, marrying, taking a job, dealing with an illness or moving to a new place. Other times, your own intentional choices, both good and bad ones, led to the need for you to be someone new. You found you had different routines, preferences and acquaintances, as well as desires, plans, needs, even beliefs!

Wherever you are in life, it is good to occasionally check to see if you are keeping up in the lifelong class of Who You Are and Where You Are Going. So I suggest you do some homework:

  • Consider your present situation. Are old ways of behaving holding you hostage?
  • Take an honest look at your relationships. Is it time to be a better version of You?
  • Think about what you really want. Are outdated fears keeping you from a happy future?

You are an expert on yourself, and every expert knows how important it is to stay informed. Take some time to catch up on your studies. Keep abreast of the latest trends in your feelings and the changing truth about your one, amazing life. Put your expertise to work for You – and then watch what else changes!

When You are Your Best Self, You Can Be a Blessing!

For More of Anne McCrady’s Ideas for InSpired Living, visit the InSpiritry web site and follow her daily posts on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn!



Iva Fattorini – Healing Arts

July 16th, 2014 by Anne McCrady

Dr. Iva Fattorini

 The Arts bring the Spiritual back into Medicine

That is the message 2014 Aspen Ideas Fest Spotlight: Health audiences heard last month from physician Iva Fattorini, a proponent of treating disease as well as the whole person by inviting the arts into healthcare settings. Passionate about her work, Dr. Fattorini called on health professionals and public health organizations to rethink the traditional approach to the patient’s environment, especially in in-patient hospitals. Dr. Fattorini contends that healing is not just a physical or even psychological phenomenon; it is also a spiritual process that involves everything that impacts the heart and soul.

The idea of a holistic approach is not new. For many years, research has proven that there are many factors that contribute to the outcomes of illness and injury. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines holistic health as: “viewing man in his totality within a wide ecological spectrum, and … emphasizing the view that ill health or disease is brought about by an imbalance, or disequilibrium, of man in his total ecological system and not only by the causative agent and pathogenic evolution.”

Born in Croatia and trained as a dermatologist, Dr. Fattorini is opening minds to her ideas. As ‎Chair of the Global Arts and Medicine Institute – ‎Department at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Dr. Fattorini has scheduled live performances and participatory sessions of pianists, artists, poets, musicians, sculptors for in-patient families as a way to facilitate the healing process. What she finds is that when patients experience beauty, there are measurable improvements in their conditions. Not only do their illnesses improve, they are more optimistic about their recovery, are inspired to express themselves in creative ways, are distracted from unpleasant procedures and pain, and view their hospital stay as a positive life experience.

Dr. Fattorini’s passion for changing the healthcare paradigm is contagious. At her presentation in Aspen, dozens of inspired audience members shared their own enthusiasm for using the arts therapeutically, many with anecdotes of others in healthcare who are connecting art and artists with traditional medicine around the globe. Dr. Fattorini’s newest endeavor is called Artocene, an organization will bring to a global scale her work at the Cleveland Clinic as a paradigm that can be shared with other healthcare organizations.

As the world contends with the challenge of providing effective healthcare, it seems the best answers can often be found in taking care of one another in ways that are anything but pharmaceutical. It turns out that experiencing beauty may be one of the best medicines we have!

INSPIRITRY ACTION: How might you use the power of the arts for your own health and the health of those you love?!

Read more about Iva Fattorini, a great example of InSpiritry at work at Deepak Chopra’s blog about Dr. Fattorini on the Huffington Post web site and at Artocene.

When We Open Our Hearts and Minds, We Can InSpire Health!

Read More of Anne McCrady’s Ideas for InSpired Living

 



2014 Aspen Ideas Fest – Spotlight: Health

July 3rd, 2014 by Anne McCrady

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love, once you heard their story.”

“Great programs don’t change the world; great people do.”

“Girls are not property. They aren’t pure. They are real, and they are our future.”

“Be present and receive the gift of amazing stories.”

“Once you see what great design can do, you can’t unsee it. It becomes a part of what is possible.”

“People – whatever their circumstances – just want to live.”

“Ten years from now, we will have a powerful story to tell!”

These are just some of the inspiring comments I heard last week, when I had the joy and privilege of attending the 2014 Aspen Ideas Fest – Spotlight: Health at the Aspen Institute campus in beautiful Aspen, Colorado. What an amazing experience!

Each day was a feast of surprising, provocative conversations with world-changing people, all of it aimed at transforming global public health. From young architects building culturally relevant hospitals to robotic engineers creating exoskeletons, from international scientists to local activists, from courageous African men and women working to expand family planning to American politicians working to expand access to healthy food, from musicians who awaken dementia patients to physicians who are alert to new therapies and from young students to retired professors, everyone involved was united in a shared vision of making health, not just healthcare, a reality for all people.

I was reminded over and over that when creative change-makers come together to share ideas and listen to one another, miracles can happen. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of the inspiring stories I heard and some of the astounding people I met during my week in Aspen. For now, know that the world is full of heroes — and we are called to be heroes too!

Find more of Anne’s McCrady’s Ideas for InSpired Living at InSpiritry.com!

You can also connect with InSpiritry through Facebook and Twitter!

 

 



Leading Is Believing

May 7th, 2014 by Anne McCrady

Bookstore shelves are full of books on leadership, organizational effectiveness and change management. You may have a few on your bookshelf or bedside table!

Many of these motivational offerings are full of great advice. When you read them, its is interesting to notice one thing: as each author shares his or her perspective on what makes a great leader, a successful business or a meaningful life, we can see what they value most. Some focus on the importance of business savvy or personal vision. Others make decisiveness or patience or strength important. Still others emphasize spirituality or personal integrity. A few suggest surprising novel ways of looking at the world. These differences of opinion are easily explainable.

What we value — that is, what we believe in– determines what we think and write and say. Our beliefs become our mission. This applies not only to leaders, but followers as well! All of us are most motivated by our personal convictions. That means our first step in leading and influencing others, whether our audience is our children, our employees, our group members or even voters, is to share our values with those we want to influence. In other words, before we ask people to change course, we must convince them to believe the things we believe. To accomplish that in an authentic and effective way, we must first fully embrace those concepts ourselves. On a practical level, that means looking into our hearts and lives to assess our deepest convictions. Warning: beliefs are more than the things to which we give lip service; they are best evidenced by our we live!

What are your deep beliefs? What do you value? Most importantly, do your actions, conversations, calendar, budget, relationships and choices reflect that?

Anne McCrady has considered those same questions in setting InSpiritry’s mission: Putting Words to Work for a Better World. The result is what she calls the InSpiritry’s 7 C’s:

  • Comm-Unity – Connecting our Spiritual Lives, our Personal Lives, our Relationships & the Natural World
  • Compassion – Our Essential Role in the World to Care for Everyone
  • Creativity – New Perspectives, New Ideas, New Responses & New Possibilities
  • Collaboration – Diversity, Communication, Connections & Synergy
  • Consilience – Seeking All Knowledge as Wisdom
  • Courage – Humane, Just and Positive Actions
  • Celebration – Humility, Gratitude and Optimism

You are meant to be a transformative presence in your world, leading and influencing others. Just Remember:

Leading is Believing!

Find out More about Anne McCrady and InSpiritry at:

www.InSpiritry.com

www.FaceBook.com/InSpiritry

www.linkedin.com/in/AnneMcCrady



Five Reasons to Write

April 2nd, 2014 by Anne McCrady

“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” – Isaac Asimov

Whether you are a journaler, poet, a novelist, a blogger, a FaceBook/Twitter enthusiast or a thank you note advocate, seeing thoughts turned into words that hold meaning is a great joy and perhaps your saving grace! That said, some days, even with your love of  language, meaningful words seem locked away from expression. One way to invite your mind back to writing can be to remind yourself of how important writing is to your life, your happiness, your sense of purpose and your world.

When I face my own writer’s block, here are my five reasons to keep writing. I hope they speak to you!

1) When I write, I feel life more deeply.

2) When I write, I connect with other people in a meaningful way.

3) When I write, I surprise myself with thoughts I didn’t know I had.

4) When I write, the rest of my life makes sense.

5) When I write, I am giving the creative gift of my truest self to the world.

In addition, here are some other blog posts to encourage you!

The Write Practice – Seventeen Reasons to Write

The Write Practice – Why We Write

Squidoo – Top Ten Reasons to Write

And a book recommendation – 365 Reasons to Write

We don’t need to be published or awarded or even read widely to be writers. It is what we do to be alive. Keep writing — the world needs your words!

Every Moment is Poetic — And Every Life is an InSpirational Story!

For More InSpiration from Anne McCrady, Visit her InSpiritry Website

You can also find Anne’s Daily InSpiritries on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn!



The Blessing of a Break

February 21st, 2014 by Anne McCrady

“And, out of the blue, when I had about decided nothing more could be done, things changed…

and I knew I could make it.”

 

We are busy people!

We try to stay balanced, but inevitably we fall back into the trap of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time-or-energy-to-do-it. Between our work commitments, our social engagements, our family events, our spiritual needs and our personal routines, time seems to fly out from under us! Some days, the rush is overwhelming: one minute we are waking up in the morning and the next we are climbing into bed.

Isn’t it nice that sometimes Life offers you a reprieve, just when you need it most?!  A problem is solved. A person offers help. A deadline is cancelled. An idea comes to us. Love steps in.

You are doing so much Good in the World — it’s no wonder you often feel the strain of your amazing work.

Life does offer us reprieves – unexpected time for ourselves. Be mindful of that gift of grace when it comes. Before you dive back into your busy-ness, feel blessed!

 

Every Moment is Poetic — And Every Life is an InSpirational Story!

For More InSpiration from Anne McCrady, Visit her InSpiritry Website

You can also find Anne’s Daily InSpiritries on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn!



The Journey of Another Year

December 22nd, 2013 by Anne McCrady

Hanukkah has passed. Christmas is a few days away. Kwanzaa starts next week. New Year’s Day is after that, and the Solstice has turned us toward longer days. Yes, we are coming to the end of the journey of another year. Our travels for 2013 are almost done, and we are arriving home again to who we are, having adventured out into the world.

Now is a good time to consider where the year has taken you physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually:

  • How has life changed?
  • Who did you meet? Who did you lose?
  • What wisdom have you gained?
  • Where did you see Love? Feel Love?
  • How have you changed?

Here is a poem for your reminiscing:

 

Holiday Homecoming 

We have journeyed the distance of another year!

How comforting to find the lights of Christmas,

bright as a beacon, calling us home from our travels.

Older, wiser and full of stories to tell,

now we have the gift of time

to lean our backs against one another,

wrap our hands around cups of warmth,

look long into faces we have missed,

listen to adventures that somehow mirror our own.

Now we can open the lovely bundles of our hearts

letting tears and laughter spill out—

our assurance that no matter how far we go,

it is love, always love, that is our port, our shelter,

our humble, starlit stable.

 

During these final days of December, take some time to be thankful for the journey, to cherish the special moments of 2013, to tuck the stories you love most into your heart and let go of any darkness, so that your launch into 2014 will be a bright and beautiful beginning!

Every Moment is Poetic — And Every Life is an InSpirational Story!

For More InSpiration from Anne McCrady, Visit her InSpiritry Website