The Wednesday Word is: CHERISH

Fifteen years ago, when we were picking out wedding photos, I chose this unassuming, candid shot from our wedding reception to frame and give to my husband as a gift. When I gifted him this framed picture I wrote in the card: “I hope we always look at one another like this…”

A picture says so much – however, it is open to interpretation. No one, not even the DJ, or the photographer, would remember this picture was snapped while my new husband was trying to uncork our sparkling wine and was delicately struggling to remove the cork and not spray said wine all over himself or his bride. I looked into his eyes, and he into mine… both of us saying without words, “Please open safely…” What came of that funny, and somewhat stress-filled moment was this beautiful picture of two beautiful souls intertwined in gleeful joy, speaking without words to the depths of how cherished one is to the other.

Living in this moment each time I see this picture reminds me of how devoted we are to one another and how blessed I am to love someone and in return to be loved like that. Cherish those you hold dear. Life is too short to accept anything but…

Developing Self-Awareness in Business

Everyone has individual strengths and deficiencies. Not everyone is perfect at everything. Take on only what you are able to handle sufficiently. Take-out anything you cannot handle or use the deficiencies as areas to learn and grow or acquire new tools and skills.

An effective leader is someone who takes time for self-exploration and developing self-awareness. These tools are not only beneficial of businesses, but required to be a quality leader. Asking questions and doing a self-check to ascertain whether you are part of the problem or part of the solution goes a long way with problem solving and team management. If you cannot recognize there is a problem, it will never be fixed. If you cannot get past your ego to develop and grow as a leader, you’re adding to the detriment of your team. Long-term success will not be met nor achieved if you fail to look at yourself first.

As mentioned, even the most effective and efficient leader does not always have all the answers. Being a solid leader means building and maintaining connections of quality resources and support services and staff to aid in your success. Maintaining those connections is important. Providing quality feedback versus constructive criticism shows employees you value their skills and services, and are committed to helping them succeed as they strive to help the company succeed. There is nothing constructive about criticism. A ridiculed employee will only work hard enough to earn a paycheck if they feel devalued and bullied. Building trust and rapport goes a long way to boost morale and maintain those valued resources and support which help develop successful leaders

Encourage employees to give you feedback as a supervisor. This feedback helps us develop plans for our growth as a leader. Learning to be part of the solution is key to building rapport and being accountable for your duties as a leader.

Leading by example may also involve encouraging employees to do self-exploration and self-awareness checks, and ensuring you, as a leader, embrace the idea of learning from our peers in order to build a reliable, congruent team and safe working environment where employees are recognized for their abilities and coached on their deficiencies. Taking time to coach an employee who is eager to learn and grow is a valuable resource.

When faced with potential disciplinary actions, take a breath. Taking a breath is the difference between reacting and responding, and can be the factor between giving an employee a true opportunity to take corrective action and grow or walking away and potentially losing a valuable resource. Practice the pause is honoring the space between the incident and the consequences. Honoring the space gives you time to decide the adequate plan to forge ahead. It is important not to let too much time pass, as doing so can cause a lapse in recall of severity, risking the opportunity to provide quality feedback.

Nora Knople with Haven Hypnosis & Wellness LLC provides corporate coaching for developing positive mindset and structured, goal-oriented, accountability leadership.

The Wednesday Word is: BELONG

“She’s a loser and trash because she lived in a rundown house on the wrong side of the road…” – but I played with them anyway.

They said, “She’ll never move off that road…” – but I traveled far.

They said, “You will always be a statistic because you came from uneducated people.” – but I studied anyway.

They said, “She’s kinda weird and quiet, but seems like a good kid.” – but I harnessed my creativity, and focus, and used it to write, and paint, and help people.

They said, “She is a fool!” – but I chased my crazy dreams, regardless.

They said, “She is crazy, you know…” – and she proved them right.

They said, “You are academically rusty and at age 35 and would will likely never graduate college now.” – but I persevered and graduated with a 3.0 and received my BLS at age 40.

They said, “You’re not likely succeed…” – but I continued to learn what I didn’t know, continued to grow, and defined my own success.

They said, “What the heck is she up to now?” – and I said, “Stand back and watch!”

I have wanted to give up on myself so many times. I have overlooked success and believed I was never going to amount to anything. Then, one day, I changed the narrative.

That narrative did not come easily or without wallowing. From the earliest memories I can recall longing to be accepted. I never felt like I mattered or was wanted or appreciated or cared for. I started caring for myself more than others seemed to care about me, and it helped, for a while. Yet loneliness and rejection lay upon me like a heavy, wet blanket. Something was missing, besides self-esteem. A sense of family, community, companionship.

As a kid, I would wander and explore, to escape what was happening at home. Gary and Jane Bushers became my surrogate parents when I was about five years old. I adopted them. They didn’t know that, then. I would hang out at their house until I was forced to go home. Over the years I lingered longer, eventually wearing them down. I stayed at their house in high school probably more than my own. Their kids, my friends, became my brother and sisters, and are, to this day. I appreciate that love more than they may ever know. Gary and Jane gave me guidance, love, compassion and care. I needed it. I longed for it. And, to this day, love them immensely for it. It’s that love I cling to on days like today when I do not feel I matter much.

I just wanted to belong.

I still do.

A Poem by N. Knople

Rain.

Silent beads of essential life fall softly to the earth.

The hypnotic patter, awakening and caressing vibrations which comfort my soul.

As the rain intensifies, my energy, my soul remains tranquil – wanting to lie upon the grass and let the showers of our mother cleanse and baptize me anew. Not me, for the sake of me, my desire, my prayers, not solely for me, but for the forsaken ,and for all humanity – to be rid of disease and despair in this heavenly place…

To be removed of sin, sickness, and self-righteousness…judgments and injustices…trespass and torture…

How is it God the Divine creates such comfort and knows such peace, and how, oh how does the viral vital testament of humanity exist within it?

As the rain cascades and softens once more, drenching the earth, quenching all it touches, nurturing nature, I am in awe and ever aware, even the softness can turn to fervent, unpredictable calamity.

As the gentle rain sweeps midst gales, across the land in a fury of gusts and the velocity and volume of waters intensifies and shifts, becoming chaos within and beyond.

And now, what was so gentle and peaceful has become the loom of uncertainty, weaving the prayers for wellness and justice from nature’s thread and bead.

As quickly… quite suddenly, rather, the torrential downpour trickles…

The solitude appears in the storm and the earth we knew forever changed.

And no one noticed…

N. Knople

7-23-2020

The Wednesday Word is: Frog

Frogs? Nora, have you lost your mind? That’s unlike the words you usually give us. Frogs???

I said the same thing after meditation this morning. And like any good writer, I did research. I looked up information on frogs and learned quite a bit.

Frogs represent so much in spirituality. It is a symbol of making a leap between your hopes and reality. This makes so much sense as I begin to record my lectures here at home that I was supposed to give in Vegas in a few weeks. (Darn you, COVID…) My hope was to give these lectures in front of my colleagues in person and get that experience. Instead, I am giving these lectures in my hometown to a small, selective audience, for whom I am grateful, and recording it for the Vegas conference. It will be wonderful and I have done it this way numerous times, but my hope is not my reality. Next year… next year I hope to make that leap a reality.

Not frogs, but turtles, were an animal which I always felt a kindred spirit connection to. Maybe because my dad hunted turtles and I always wanted to go with him to rescue them and help them escape. I learned in my research this morning frogs, like turtles, are similar in symbolic in meaning. If either show up on your path, and turtles have been in my path for YEARS, it means it is time for you to speak up and be heard. That makes a lot of sense, since recently I stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted appointments to not one, but two local boards, in hope of making a difference and speaking for portions of the population which I feel is often overlooked and largely unheard. I’m listening, God. I’m as ready as I am going to be to do your work. You have been molding me for this purpose my whole life.

Also, when frogs show up on your path it is about doing self-work, learning how to jump across the distance into reality, leaving old baggage behind. I think God needs me to do more practice of what I preach. Again, I am listening. It’s appropriate the frog symbolism would appear today, as a good friend of mine is asking me to proof her new self-help journals, which makes me have to do the work to give her appropriate feedback. Writing has been speaking to me a lot and God has been making me aware my niche in my work and my writing. I’m excited to know this purpose so clearly.

I also learned the frog is like the bat, the BAT? I loathe the bat, but after today I will learn to let go of that feeling. Frogs and bats are animal signs of renewal. So, I guess I am coming into anew. Letting go of the past completely, letting go of disappointment, fear, resentment and just loving and living my life from today and for the rest of my life. I have no idea how long my life will last, but I can feel God preparing me these last few weeks for something. After getting the frog symbol this morning it is clear my work is not done yet.

God sent me the symbol in my meditation this morning because God knew I would look into it. God doesn’t always send us signs which makes sense. God wants us to do the work, to understand it is not always going to be easy, but in the end, absolutely worth it. Meditate today and see what unusual signs and symbols you get. It might be the very thing we would overlook is the thing we need to pay attention to.

The Wednesday Word is: QUARANTINE

Remember when you were asked the hypothetical question: If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want to be stranded with? — who did you say? Does the answer still stand today? You all know why I am asking. Perhaps a self-imposed isolation sounds like a vacation right now. Maybe you’re imagining it now, as you read. However, does the appeal remain when you realize your spouse, children, parents, pets, are also isolated with you? #togetherathome

This word has been at the forefront of conversation over the last few months. Many turned it into a lifestyle, never wanting to leave the house again, ever. While this sounds humorous, it isn’t meant to. This virus is SCARY for a lot of people. Even daily routines change frequently, for a lot of people. That alone is difficult for people who do not do well with change.

It seems things are even more uncertain than they were four months ago. I would be the first person to say: “Keep hope. We cannot bear worry for what we don’t know. Let’s focus on what we do know.” But, I am right there with you, my friends. I am not sure I know what I know. The word around COVID-19 seems to circulate and change. The appearance of lack of consistency in planning, executing and preventing seems to change, but in all honesty, it hasn’t. These are unprecedented times. None of us have had to live with these exact circumstances, ever. Knowing how to help by being vigilant in hand washing, disinfecting, and also mask wearing and only going out when it is a necessity, for many, if not most. It’s difficult, but needed in order to push ahead of this virus, I believe. Yet, not everyone can adhere to every part of the aforementioned plan to help, for their own personal reasons, of which no one is obligated to divulge. Howevet, bearing transparency, as I type this, I am faced with difficult decisions as a business owner about what is best for my clients and myself. Our safety, security and health are paramount.

Some say they feel my state (Ohio) may be headed for another shutdown. If so, stay at home orders may be inevitable. Stay at home is not the same as quarantining, though many labeled it so. If a SAH order happens, I will do my part to ensure safety, security and health, first and foremost. Fortunately, for me and my clients, my business is operational online, as well as in person. That is not the case for so many. Many people are still unemployed and have been since March. Basic needs are being assessed on a daily basis, and well no money means staying home more. So for many, quarantine has become a lifestyle without option, already. Every person has dealt with or is still dealing with COVID-19 related stress. Think about that for a moment. Not one person is unaffected by the stress of COVID-19. Not. One. Remember that when people are making decisions about their daily living.

Deciding to wear a mask or not wear a mask is one source of stress for so many people. Do not assume you know why someone is or is not wearing a mask. If you see a person with a mask, refrain from judgment. Likewise, if you see someone without one. Imagine being alone in life. Having no one, not one person, who can shop for you, run errands, etc. Now, imagine you are exempt from wearing a mask because you have severe asthma. Imagine also, being at a higher risk for getting COVID-19 because you have asthma. Imagine how heavy that feels having to decide and calculate how long you feel it MIGHT be safe to be out and understanding there are no guarantees you will be safe, even if you shop during senior hours. Then, imagine going to the store to shop, being told you cannot because it is for seniors and those with health ailments, and because you do not have to disclose your having asthma and you are only 28 and look healthy, you can’t shop right now. THIS is what people are dealing with. Imagine how much more alone that person feels, on top of the stress and loneliness they already have.

Judgment is a kin to quarantine. When we place judgment on someone with or without knowing facts, we impose isolation and separation. There is far too much of that going on. The virus just made it appear more acceptable to shun people. It’s not ok. It’s NEVER ok.

When the powers that be made decisions for us and ordered stay at home orders, many people mistakenly called it quarantine. I can understand the mistake because they feel quite similar. With a stay at home order you can still have guests and practice social distancing. With quarantine no visitor policies are required. In all of it, we do have choices. With choices come consequences. If all you can do today is to not make a big decision, then that IS a decision. If all you can do today is decide to limit travel and focus on self-care, then that IS a decision.

Quarantine is not a place where most of you reading this are. Quarantine is something we do to reset and accept healing. Taking time for respite is a necessity. It should be among our basic needs. These are trying times for any of us. Let’s do our part to not make it any harder for anyone else than it already is.

Be well. <3

The Wednesday Word is: MASK

There are a few four-letter words which entice such passion. I am certain you can think of one or two. Never, not in my lifetime, did I think MASK would or could be one such word. It’s become an expletive to some people. It’s the elephant in the room. The thing no one wants to have a real discussion about… wait, isn’t that most EVERYTHING anymore? We have become a nation pissed off about our constitutional rights on everything. Even things which are not covered by the constitution are somehow now bearing one’s constitutional rights. I must have missed that lesson on the right to wear or not wear a mask in Mr. Denos’s Ohio History class at Norwalk Middle School or in Mr. Allen’s Government class at Norwalk High School. Perhaps that Bill or amendment was passed after 1989-1990. Certainly, if it was in the state Constitution, Mr. Denos would have covered it, or in the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Allen would have covered it.

I think people mistake personal rights for Constitutional rights. What is right for you is not right for all. I practice meditation, daily. I know a lot of people who would rather have their toenails ripped off one by one than to sit still for 30 minutes of meditation. Yet, many of the same people ask me what am I doing as of late to be so “chill”… I choose to meditate. It works for me. It is a personal choice. However, my right to meditate is a Constitutional right, though I do not always call upon the Divine in meditation practice, freedom of religion is covered in that much referenced First Amendment. Many people, especially as of late, have assumed a variety of interpretations of the First Amendment to match their desires to fit their rights and freedoms as U.S. citizens. Still, wearing or not wearing a mask, verbatim, is not covered in the U.S. Constitution. You can interpret the law however you want, it doesn’t make it so. If I get a ticket for drunk and disorderly, can I use the Constitution to get out of my charges now?

“The officer has no grounds to arrest me, your honor. I was intoxicated, yes. However, it was my right and freedom of religion, to consume wine, as it is communion and since I cannot get to church, I take communion at home. And disorderly, I was celebrating the Holy spirit…” Don’t get any ideas. I doubt it will fly.

Sure, as a writer, I can interpret scenarios to fit my needs and make my points. However, this doesn’t make what I write true or lawful, just because I say it is. So many people have used these last four months to become well-educated in constitutional law. They have no problem educating everyone on how right they are and how wrong you are. I’ve yet to have one such scholar cite the area of the constitution that covers mask wearing.

No one is taking away your rights by telling you to wear a mask. Wearing a mask protects others in the event you could be a carrier of COVID-19. If you feel your rights are infringed having to wear a mask, imagine how someone might feel if you choose not to. Your right to not wear a mask is more important than my right to health. Actual rights and personal preferences/choices are NOT the same things.

Here is the other thing: before judging someone for wearing or not wearing a mask, how about doing one more thing? Mind your business. I am not obligated to tell you why I wear a mask no more than you are obligated to tell me why you don’t. Certain people are exempt from wearing masks. Certain people feel safer wearing them. It’s not your business. Some people feel they are as ineffective as the soccer ball wearing one in the picture above. Others feel they are quite effective. Statistics show when we obliged the efforts to keep spikes low, we succeeded. But we all know statistics, like the Constitution, are open for interpretation.

Bottom line, make smart choices for yourselves. You cannot predict how your choices will affect someone else. Mind your business and be safe. But also, be kind. I won’t judge you for not wearing a mask, don’t judge me for choosing to.

Be well. Be kind. Be you.

The Wednesday Word is…

Sometimes a word comes easily. Sometimes I have to meditate on it longer, rest within it and let it be. Sometimes I pick a word and hope something insightful happens. Today, nothing. Not the word nothing, no words came to me to meditate upon, no message…

I thought about complacency.

I thought about injustice.

I thought about inhumanity.

I thought about my family.

I thought Jesus himself is probably shaking his head at how our world hasn’t changed much.

Then, I thought about nothing.

Eventually, the thoughts wafted away.

Nothing. Not quiet. Not words. Not stillness. Not clarity or tranquility.

Just. Nothing. In a way only nothing can be.

Nothing I thought seemed significant, yet quite significant at the same time.

Nothing I felt seemed significant, yet significant at the same time.

Words are just words.

What matters is when the dust settles,

and you’re alone with it the nothingness,

and you accept the nothingness,

and it quiets the storm within and beyond, for the slightest of a moment…

and you know alone isn’t lonely.

Alone let’s you know you.

Alone let’s you be ok with how you feel, what you feel or let’s you do none of it, and that is ok, too.

Without thought.

Without feelings.

Without judgment.

Just being.

Nothing.

And, it’s not nothing and I am not a nothing.

But this…this is everything.

In. This. Moment. Now.

And, for now, that’s all I need.

Experience nothing today.

The Wednesday Word is: ENERGY

Energy. A force within each of us and of us. It is the strength and vitality of all things. It is the force, strong or subtle, which aids humans in sustaining physical and mental activity.

You know what energy feels like and looks like, though we might think we cannot. You feel your heart beat and the breath enter and exit your body. If you didn’t, you are paying attention now. The mental agility it takes to read and process these words contains energy. When we experience a child’s boundless charisma, we witness energy. When someone shows up in a ‘mood’ we experience their energy before they even say one word.

Energy is powerful. It is a force we too often take for granted and seem to not understand how to harness it, get more of it or settle it. However, we have more control over our energy than we think. Sometimes it just takes sitting with it, meditating on it and tuning in to your personal environment and the environment around you. You know what feels good. Do more of that. You know what feels icky. Find ways to balance the energy so you can not allow the icky to affect you negatively. You can still retain a lesson from a negative experience without retaining the negative energy within the experience. It’s perfect harmony, if we learn how to fund the balance.

Nature is a great neutralizer. Balance can come from a shower, sitting and listening to the rain, dipping your toes in a stream or watching the ocean waves move, rhythmically carrying away our burdens and bringing renewed energy back to us, with each crest and roll. Ocean waves carry, neutrally charged water of mother earth up to the shore, bringing with it, life. And as that wave rolls away, it takes with it, the worries, transgressions, fear, anxiety, stress, sadness and pulls it away from you and cleanses it in the waters of life. So we relax, and allow life to carry on, rolling in, and out and peace prevails if we let it.

Life can pull you in so many directions, but sometimes you just need to stop fighting the tide and go with the flow. Or sometimes you just need to STOP and listen to what your energy is telling you.

If you’re waiting for the lightbulb to go off sending you a signal or an a-ha moment you won’t get it going Mach 30 with your hair on fire. You need quiet to resolve and balance the energy so you can best read the situation. The energy within chaos is meant to be confusing. People surrounded by chaotic energy are surrounded by randomness and often unsettled, lacking clarity. This may leave you feeling like nothing you set out to do gets accomplished. You control your energy and you can control the energy you accept into your circle. When life feels chaotic, take this as that lightbulb moment, or your a-ha! Notice if you experience patterns, and connections between what you experience and times of day or people you are around. Check your ego. What energy are you showing up with which maybe isn’t serving you well? Develop your ability to bring awareness to your energy and notice how you feel and where you feel those feelings. Question those feelings. Ask why or how come and begin to connect the dots, reflect, and learn about what energy you want to hold onto and what energy you need to release, which no longer serves you well. You choose how to show up or not show up. What do you need today?

How will you and your energy choose to show up today?

The Wednesday Word is: BIRTHDAY

This morning, during and after meditation class, I was thinking about my husband’s birthday this week. Despite still being under COVID restrictions, I managed to take him to lunch (our first time out to eat together since March), to the beach and for a nice drive, to get away for a while. Then we came home and I did something I never had done before. I used his pellet grill to make him surf and turf for dinner. He got phone calls, video chats from our daughters and other family and friends, and a quick, socially distanced visit from our youngest daughter and her boyfriend. All-in-all, I think he had a good birthday.

Birthdays were something I always cherished. I remember, despite a lot of my childhood being filled with fear and angst, my mom used to try to make a point to make my birthday matter. I can still remember my very first birthday party with classmates at McDonald’s, when I turned 6. I remember some of my favorite gifts: a ceramic bunny, a water/hoop game, SpeakNSpell, Barbie dolls. I remember going ice skating once. I remember going to dinner with boyfriends over the years, and dinners with my husband. Each year, for my kids, I used to make them their favorite dinner and dessert. We went away from that when they got older, as they wanted to start new traditions. Yet, I find myself yearning for those birthday dinners these days. I hope those dinners are among my daughters’ favorite birthday memories. I remember having a cake fight at my grandson Drew’s birthday party one year, too. And a huge water balloon fight at my grandsons’ Eli and Jeb’s birthday party. Such fun!

For me, birthdays took on a greater significance when I was diagnosed with my first serious health condition at age 12. Seems I have been dealing with something all my life. I had no idea if I would overcome scoliosis. No idea if I would run again or if I would lose the ability to walk or something more serious. I came through it ok. Later in life I would be diagnosed with cancer. And while caught early, birthdays took on a strong purpose, for me. I celebrated my 28th birthday with my brother and friends, all the while no one knowing I was having surgery and starting treatment the following week. I didn’t celebrate my 29th birthday because depression set in. I didn’t celebrate much that year. When I turned 30, I took myself and my roommate out to the fanciest restaurant. I even ate escargot! I decided on my 30th birthday that from this moment on I would celebrate my birthday in some meaningful way, and make sure each of my children understood how precious their lives were, as we celebrated theirs each year, too.

While how we celebrate has changed, I meditate on their birthdays now, sending them love, light and health through the next year and honor the gratitude for being blessed by their lives. Same with my grandkids.

We are only given so many birthdays. Some people are given a spirit and are lost in utero and their families celebrate their short lives in special ways. Others may only get a few seconds of life and their families still celebrate their lives, too. Still, others may get many seconds of life (there are apx. 22,075,000 seconds in a long lifetime) and take each one for granted. Or, as sad as the reality is, life can end in a second, and this birthday could be the last. We never know how many birthdays we will have. So my advice is celebrate each one. Celebrate half birthdays, too. Live the life you deserve, and even if you have a birthday where you just do not feel like celebrating you, make a point to do a random act of kindness for someone else. It will lift your spirits and give new meaning to celebrating life every day. Heck, for that matter, treat each new day like a birthday. Why not?

Happy Birthday! <3