Building Your Legacy Through Reminiscence

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“You have a four-fold life to live: a body, a brain, a heart and a soul . . . these are your living tools. To use and develop them is not a task. . . . It is a golden opportunity.”

~ William H. Danforth,  I Dare You!

Day to day, I try to focus on balancing a four-fold life by acknowledging the physical, mental, social and spiritual impacts and benefits of life experiences.  In many instances of Reminiscence Therapy research I am finding the benefits of the recollection of stories, life lessons, feelings, smells etc. in all four of these areas. Most of the articles recommend this therapy for patients who have dementia or Alzheimer’s  but I think it is important for all ages and variations of mental health.

Today I found an organization, by luck of the search, called LifeBio. They provide a service to help family members get to know each other in a way they didn’t realize they could.

Now, I haven’t used this service or done much more research on the organization, but I think the idea is wonderful. I found the post below in the LifeBio blog:

http://www.lifebio.org/about-us/blog/storytelling-for-health-and-wellbeing/

Storytelling is powerful and it is natural.  Why should it be encouraged?  Because it is also good for people’s health and sense of wellbeing.

Here is how LifeBio sees reminiscence touching ALL dimensions of wellness, and why it cannot be ignored as a tool to use with seniors at home, in senior living, assisted living, nursing homes, or with those who have memory challenges.  Besides unlocking a fascinating story, it leads to an amazing opportunity for engagement.

  • Physical – Activate the hippocampus area of brain where memories are stored.  “Autobiography for older adults is like chocolate for the brain,” said Dr. Gene Cohen in a conversation with Beth Sanders, Founder of LifeBio.
  • Spiritual – Deeply touch people as they share beliefs, values, life lessons, etc.
  • Occupational – This gives people an important job to do.  Creating a LEGACY.
  • Emotional – Joys and challenges are recorded and shared.  LifeBio has been found to increase happiness and satisfaction with life.  “Get it off your chest.”
  • Environmental – Life stories build a strong sense of community.
  • Intellectual – Life stories help people learn about themselves and about other people.  Fascinating new knowledge and people learn to listen.
  • Social – People form new bonds with their neighbors and become friends through the power of story.

And there they are, the four-fold and more. The one I found of particular interest is the occupational dimension. “Creating a LEGACY.” 

This is what Downright Ultimate is all about. A legacy is an important part of reaching ultimacy.  We strive to do things that we will be remembered by while we are becoming ultimate.

So let’s do this! If we remember the books that made us think, the toys that made us giggle, the songs that made us dance, the jokes that made us laugh, then we can share these things with others in hopes they will go on to share them too.

Legacy is being created before your eyes. Reminiscence and storytelling give us the opportunity to relive the best moments to pass on the joy and the worst moments to pass on the wisdom.

Think about filmmaking.  We watch many of the movies and television shows that we do because we feel like we’ve connected to the story. Filmmakers do this on purpose. They take memories of their own and add a taste of humor, a lovable best friend, an unexpected twist and we’re hooked. It makes us think, feel and relate.

Okay, you’re right, we won’t all become the next Speilberg, but we should tell our stories. And more importantly, we must listen to other people’s stories. When Grandpa says, “Back in my day …” don’t look away, Grandpa is about to drop some wisdom.

It may seem small, but the sharing of that one lesson or song or joke or quote can make a huge difference.

So now, I encourage you all to recall a time or an object in your life. Look for a time of peace, happiness, humor, adventure, surprise; Or if it’s an object, look for a special memento, an old record, an old photo, a game you used to play, a song you like to sing. Now go tell someone about it. Tell ME about it! Or better yet, blog about it! Tell a story that reminds you that you are a living, breathing, feeling being. Connect with yourself and your family or friends or readers.

Reminisce and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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four-fold life Inspiration

Thought Exercise: What Makes you Angry About the World?

*My apologies for the ramble below, but that’s what thought exercises are for!*

What makes me angry? Well, I am not usually an angry person, especially in face-to-face situations. I like to keep it civil and avoid confrontation but I’d be lying if I said I was happy with everything in the WORLD.

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I think we can all agree on the following as common triggers of anger towards the world…

Discrimination against race, gender, etc., world hunger, bullies, hate crime, war, people who force their beliefs on others, hypocrites, politics, litterers, the guy who cut you off, the rude catcaller, the violator, the cheater, the gossiper, the liar, the disrupter, the gum popper, the seat kicker, the loud phone talker, the bad car parker, the inappropriate gesturer…

And why? Because most of these are people. People make people angry. People make me angry! I love humans but I hate people.

But more so it makes me angry how angry we get at each other and at ourselves.

We’re all in this together. We live on this amazing planet and we created a way of life that is kind of incredible. The intricate work of our governments and the functionality of our cities, farms, manufacturers, transportation, etc. It’s pretty unbelievable, we all have that in common…we all, for the most part, “follow the rules” of life. We go to school, get jobs, get married, have kids, pay taxes, get new jobs, buy houses, the list goes on.

But, each time a person makes one of these choices there’s an element of uncertainty. Something will go wrong and someone will get angry at someone else. But why?

Because of our EXPECTATIONS. We’re told what is right and what is wrong. Whether it’s by our parents, our teachers, the government, our boss at work or the media. And I’m not talking about the law here necessarily, but our social behavior, our bodies, our relationships, our jobs, our cars, our houses, our possessions, our beliefs.

This is me having a pessimist moment but seriously, it makes me angry that so many people live life in this world either looking for something that they might never find or they’re staying with something or someone because they don’t think they can do, or deserve, any better.

This is not their fault. We look at our friends, strangers, celebrities, and characters and see these fairytales, with what looks like only the happiest of endings. But we never see the whole picture.

I beg of thee to look beyond the surface. It is obviously acceptable to have expectations and goals. Most would encourage the idea. I advocate for the creation of personalized expectations. All things considered; family, friends, career interests, hobbies, capabilities, struggles, beliefs. How do you see your life? Write it down.

I wish for those that desire it to reach for the sky, follow your dreams and take chances. Follow your heart, listen to your gut and experience all that you want and are able. Do it for you and do it for love. Explore the world we live in and explore the make-believe. Expect the unexpected. Acknowledge and appreciate what you already have. Live in the moment, learn from the past. Pay attention to the small things. Learn everything you want about whatever you want.

I must now take my anger and turn it into my passion. And I hope you do the same.

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Learning Thought Exercises

Becoming Ultimate

megan-hodges-96121We all have dreams.

We have goals, aspirations, ideas…keeping these things in mind, we make a move. We get a job, choose a place to live, decide to have a relationship, buy a new gadget, learn a new skill, make a new contact, join a gym, read a recommended book, the list goes on.

All of the choices lead to experiences that define and shape the people we become. Some experiences better than others, but all of them bring something to the table.

I believe that we all want to become the ultimate versions of ourselves. So we keep making these moves until it feels right and that’s okay! That’s called living.

Think about when you go on a date or to an interview, people say, “just be yourself” or “do your best” or “just be honest” or “you do you… if they don’t like it it’s not meant to be.” In the back of my mind, I think to myself, “damn, I wish my best was better” or “If only I knew a little more about that.”

This is when I turn to my resources. I think it’s natural for a lot of people to feel like a little bit of a perfectionist in situations where they want to impress someone. That’s why we prepare for interviews with practice questions. You get online and study the company, study your position and what is expected of you. Deep down, we all want to be our best selves.

The daily conversations we have often include statements like… I wish I knew how to do that. I would love to learn about that. I’ve always wanted to go there. You’re so lucky, I could never do that. I wish I had more time for that.

These sentences are casual but at the same time we’re putting ourselves down, subconsciously believing we can’t do things because we don’t have the time or the money or the self-discipline.  BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE!

When you’re making your next move, do it with gusto. Move in the direction of your interest(s), or your dream(s). It’s not your mom’s move or your spouse’s move. It’s your move. Get the “I’m just not good enough” thoughts out of here and focus.

You can be your best self. You can learn how to play the guitar. You can learn a new language. You can make time for being crafty. You can write a poem. You can try that recipe. You can start your own business. You can lose weight. You can start a blog. You can get that promotion. You can earn the money you need for your dream trip to Europe. You CAN be downright ultimate. And I hope to provide any resources and inspiration I can find to get you one step closer.

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The world has so much to offer, especially with the great strides in technology and our ability to connect with others from all over the world. You get out there and do what makes you come alive. I dare you!

Inspiration

Purdue Bucket List

    1. Attend Boiler Gold Rush – aka BGR aka Freshman Orientation.
      • Well of course!
        bgr
    2. Attend a basketball game
      • Absolutely
    3. Drink an entire Den Pop.
      • It was painful but yes.
    4. Eat at Triple X
      • Their breakfast is the best
    5. Get a milkshake at Pappy’s
      • Never got around to it.
    6. Pull an all-nighter
      • More than I’d like to admit, I miss Hicks library
    7. Fountain Run
      • OH YES!
    8. Attend a concert in Elliot Hall of Music
      • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Weird Al…not at the same show.
    9. Go to Harry’s Chocolate Shop
      • Just a couple of times 😉
        harry's
    10. Achieve a 4.0 for one semester
    11. Ride the Citibus
    12. Get a part-time job
      • Good ole ITaP
    13. Get a drink from the Lion Fountain
    14. Live with a random roommate
      • And I’ll never regret it Zucc!
    15. Skip a class on purpose and for no reason at all
    16. Visit a professor outside of class for office hours
    17. Become the president of something
      • WIT (Women in Technology!)
        wit
    18. Shake hands with the university president
    19. Stay friends with someone all four years
      • Since STAR, Jess!
    20. Attend a football game
      • Particularly for “Shout” and the IU Sucks dance
    21. Join a random club
    22. Go for a ride on the Boilermaker Special
    23. Get a picture with Purdue Pete
    24. Get a picture with the World’s Largest Drum
    25. Take a nap somewhere on campus
    26. Go to a Fraternity party
    27. Go to a Baseball game (at the new field)
    28. Go to Trivia Night at Jake’s
      • Where I met a very special guy, Max, I wish I was a better girlfriend to you.
    29. Go to Famous Frank’s
    30. Go to the Cactus
      • Thursday, the best and the worst night.
    31. Attend Breakfast Club
      • There is something exhilarating about drinking at 5 A.M dressed in a goofy costume.pirate
    32. Go sledding on Slayter Hill
    33. Walk under the Bell Tower
      tower
    34. GRADUATE.
      • Boom! Bachelor’s Degree.

Gosh, I miss life at Purdue sometimes. Great times with great people in a great place.

Boiler Up!

Lists NaBloPoMo

30 Random Things That 12 Days in Europe Taught Me

Venice, Italy  2014.

Venice, Italy 2014.


1. European lifts (or elevators) use 0 as the ground floor, anything above is a positive number, anything below is a negative number…makes more sense than G and B, really.
2. Coffee Shops in Amsterdam do not sell coffee…
3. In Germany, particularly Munich, when ordering a beer, 1 liter is a normal serving.
4. …Where you should also never order a Radler (a shandy), unless you want to be made fun of, especially you men, sorry.
5. The word pickpocket is the same in every language. Wallets in front pockets, hands on your purses!
6. Tequila is much better with cinnamon and an orange slice, as opposed to salt and a lime.
7. Always have your hotel address written down to show a taxi driver.
8. Sometimes…you must pay to use the public toilet.
9. Sometimes…there are Italian men outside the restroom taking money for you to use the toilet when it should actually be a free toilet experience…beware of these tricky people.
10. Austrian Schnapps are not like the Schnapps in the States…they’re stronger.
11. White Water Rafting is an amazing experience, even if there is a torrential downpour.
12. Think of yourself as a traveler, not a tourist.
13. If you need a masquerade mask, go to Venice.
14. Learn to say “Thank you,” “Please,” “Cheers” and other basic phrases in the local language…especially, “Do you speak English?”
15. There are lots of people who sell fake bags, glasses, and other products randomly on the street.
16. A coach is more than just a bus.
17. There are Australians…everywhere.
18. Bread, slices of assorted meats and cheeses…classic breakfast.
19. Italian rap karaoke is super entertaining.
20. The game “every time you see someone riding a bike, take a drink” in Amsterdam, is a death sentence.
21. Service stops in Europe are much more elaborate that the ones in the U.S.
22. You want leather? Florence is your answer.
23. On occasion, a seagull will attack and kill a pigeon in Rome…or maybe that was just a one time thing…
24. There are gypsies…there will always be gypsies.
25. Europeans listen to a wide variety of American music.
26. You will stay up late and you will get up early because you only have so much time in each place!
27. Validate your subway ticket to avoid falling up a down escalator.
28. Macaroons…Paris…delicious!
29. Don’t think too much, experience and embrace every taste, smell, sound, touch and sight!
30. 12 days is not enough time in Europe!

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