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As part of my continuing studies, research and development for my personal growth as well as ADJUST, I am participating in Stoic Week 2018.

I sometimes use mind maps as a contemplative practice. I expanded on what resulted by looking up "control," "comfort," "safety" and other words that came to the surface.

At first I ended up diving into Buddhism (philosophy and story of Siddharta Gautama--the original Buddha from India who is depicted with coils on his head); and during my research I also delved into Logotherapy, CBT, Positive Psychology and... Stoicism?!

Yep, that's right: Stoicism, not "stoicism" (with a small "s"), I'm learning there's a pretty big difference) really resonates with a lot of my personal philosophies and marries well with other research in wisdom traditions and psychology that are reflected in the ADJUST.ed program.

During a doctor's visit way back, I shared an update on my professional focus re: ADJUST. In reply, Doc says, "Have you heard of Tim Ferriss?" At the time, I had not yet. She recommended that I might want to give his podcast a listen because he had some really interesting guests that focused on some similar themes that I had brought up during our conversation.

I added Tim to my podcast queue along with Cathy Heller's Don't Keep Your Day Job, The Good Life, Wayne Dyer and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head. I gave him a listen and I was hooked! He even interviewed someone else I had been looking into: Cat Hoke from Defy Ventures! (more on that another time.)

I eventually found Ferriss's TEDtalk on fear-setting and I got curious about Stoicism when I saw the overlap between some mind maps from months prior and recurring obstacles I was observing in group discussions.

Did you have the same confusion between Stoicism and stoicism that I originally did?!

Stoic Week challenges the self-selected participants around the globe to live like a Stoic for a week, by providing daily text, meditations, and other tools to request insight on their experiences, to further studies about the impact of adopting and integrating Modern Stoicism in daily life.

While it has been a busy week and I have not been able to do everything, it is fascinating and resonates very much so with much of what ADJUST.ed's techniques, concepts and strategies. The concept that stands out the most as an overlap is our ability to choose and apply our knowledge that affects our experience.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this growth opportunity supports ADJUST and our mission to help you live your happily EVEN after!

#Stoicphilosophy #TEDTalk #practices

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Saturday was such a gorgeous day out for an outdoor jaunt through the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ!

Nelson and I intended to go to the Grounds for Sculpture for a long time--but the long commutes into Manhattan made down-time less about "where" we were together and more about "how" and "when" we spent time in each other's company.

So many things have changed; and I've had to learn how to live with that. I hated it at first, but realized that that's exactly what integrated grief is. Acceptance leads to integration to be able to move forward healthily.

Grief itself can last a lifetime because grief--very simply put--is reaction to loss. I had to adjust my understanding, my beliefs and interpretations to get that: every time I do something different than I would have is that way because I lost my beloved husband & best friend, physically. That's integrated grief because I can move through the moments with my reaction--not hindered or held hostage by it anymore.

I realized that with effort, grace and support over time; how to move beyond feeling like a victim after his sudden death; beyond the identifying as a survivor and into a space of growth, intention, and gratitude. It's the transition for which ADJUST was created.

In this "space" of transition into my happily EVEN after, I am different--dare I say, better. I have a deepened understanding and regularly embrace everything I can with mindful gratitude.

I am especially grateful to learn how to live in grace: being able to try things that may not go as I plan, and readily exercising flexibility, forgiveness and patience to myself and others as things change.

I've discovered firsthand that courage can be best developed and strengthened in a state of grace... (Take that mind-blowing revelation from a recovering perfectionist and former people-pleaser!)

...so, with my nervousness to meet new people "in check", I went out into the world, for a Central Jersey Widows & Widowers meetup that happened to be visiting closer by--just a 30-minute drive from PA!

I wanted to visit the grounds for a while. Nelson and I would see the oversized statues that spilled over into the Hamilton train station while we hurried passed into the parking deck to run for the train to begin our 2 hour commute.

As I left the house, I wondered how I would be received. I felt a little scattered, running late after being on the phone with a sick friend who had returned my call, and also accompanied by a local widowed friend who was not on the guest list, and realizing I had no way to immediately reach the organizer.

I sent her a message on Meetup with the details and my contact info before jumping in the car. My mind raced with disapproval, admonishment and embarrassment before I paused and reassured myself that: I am safe, I did what I could, my priority was to my safety, my friend's well-being, and I was on my way with good intentions in my heart...and everything else after that is out of my hands. Happiness and peace take practice!

After I arrived and guessed who the host was from a tiny profile pic on my phone, it took a short while for me to collect myself and get centered to engage in enjoying the time and new experience of meeting people...

...as well as doing something that Nelson and I enjoyed and appreciated together: creativity, uniqueness.

As an extrovert, socializing came more naturally to Nelson than to me: a friendly and outgoing introvert. ...which by the way, is not an oxymoron (but more on that some other time).

Thankfully, the organizer-host graciously acknowledged receiving my message, and assured us that we arrived in time and that others were still on their way.

While many of their group already seemed to know each other, they were warmly welcoming. One sweet woman even joined us for a stroll while the others ate in the cafe.

We joked, laughed, took pictures together and exchanged contact information. It was even more fun and pleasant than I imagined it would be. A couple of us exchanged texts in the days afterward, and we are even hoping to meet somewhere in PA the next time.

They were a lovely bunch! I'm glad that I took the chance to walk with courage and an open heart to make new friends.

What's this life for, if not to grow, connect and share the best of ourselves to support one another?

I'm looking forward to more opportunities to do all of that as best as I can for others in my happily EVEN after. I hope to see you along the way to yours!

#widowhood #personalcontemplation #memories #ADJUSTLifestyleDesign

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