Growing Group

Five Favorites for January from 6 Degrees!

Happy New Year to all! This year is one where there is so much happening (Everything…everywhere…all at once!), & it seems we are starting with a bang right out of the gate! This first week is about the resolutions that are always sort of a ritual we all know. We start off with the best of intentions but…life catches up with us and well…it kind of falls flat by that second month! We have been working on that in “The Growing Group’ by just ‘reframing’ the notion of starting off big and ending with a whimper. Just to begin this month, we are all taking a step back and looking at our “Life Audit’ notes and the journaling notes from last year. It can help us decide where to begin and when is the best time to start making those plans for all of the things we envision in our future life! Number One Favorite! New Resolutions for a New Year! A good idea:  Make a list of the most Realistic Resolutions and your Goals to work on…The key word here is “ Baby Steps.”  Just keep adding the small steps each month to take to make your long-term goals, your dreams & visions come true!   Number Two: Celebrating the Mind/Body Wellness Connection! The second favorite is focusing on the Mind/ Body Wellness Connection…which is officially on January 3rd.  (But we have extended our resolution for this to every day of the year!!!) Our Growing Group has focused a great deal on the links between taking care of your physical health and your own mental health in concert with the other things you do to stay healthy. Eating right and staying fit are important elements for a sound body. But making sure you have mental health breaks, a plan in place for times when you are under stress and need to talk and ‘vent’ with someone are all just as vital for your long-term health plans! Number Three: Gluten-Free Day! The Third Favorite is on January 15th– Gluten Free Day. I have a lot of recipes in the PC Cooks cookbook that just happen to be Gluten-Free. But the best place to pick up new ideas is online at our Strictly Gluten Free Magazine on Flipboard! Personally, I’ve eaten Gluten Free for almost 30 years (Long before it was a ‘thing!) So it’s nice to see so many different ideas and recipes on how to cook and live gluten-free-both online and in current cookbooks. Number Four: The Hunt For Happiness Week! Number Four is about Happiness…The Hunt for Happiness Week is a good time to begin your own journey to ‘up the game’ in your quest for greater happiness. Gretchen Rubin has a best-selling book, The Happiness Project’ and Oprah has a book out too: “Build the Life You Want”. Our own “Growing Group’ is the best place to start your journey for happiness. You will find weekly self-guided exercises and motivation each Monday to strt yor week off on the right note. And from there, you are not required to journal, but it’s suggested you begtin to keep a personal file or notebook for your own individual markers and challenges to keep you on track. More energy and motivation, inspiring stories and verse, new ideas and tips to help you raise you” “EQ” (Your Emotional Intelligence), are just part of the tools you will find when you join us at The Growing Group each week! Number Five: Celebrating Life! Finally, the Fifth Favorite thing is the Celebration of Life Day on Monday the 22nds of January. It coincides with Roe v Wade Day, and to me, there really isn’t a controversy to see here. We celebrate life, diversity, different opinions and viewpoints, but above all, we celebrate life.  And that includes the rights and freedoms that we all share and probably take for granted at times! So that is why it’s not a shocking thing to celebrate our goals, our plans for freedom and happiness, our resolutions to make in the New Year, and our own unique lifestyles that make us unique and defines who we are as individuals!

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Five Favorite Things for July!

For July, 6 Degrees is emphasizing the idea of relaxation. And finding the time to re-group and to vacate your usual routines and relax is vital. That is the importance of having vacations, even if they are only for a short weekend! This month, we are celebrating summer and that includes vacations and finding the time to read a good book (visit our site and Facebook page for good recommendations!). The importance of family and spending time with family and friends is one of the best parts of making holiday plans. Here’s hoping all of our friends and extended family that follows 6 Degrees is ready to have a wonderful vacation time!  Number One: Celebrating Summer & the Fourth of July!   On the fourth of July, we have been looking back at past vacations with family and friends. And some of the best beach pictures and mountain vacations are remembered on Facebook posts and Social Media shares with friends. Here’s a link to 6 Degrees Writer, where we start the month with just sharing some special memories of past times spent in wonderful ways…. **Don’t forget that 6 Degrees of Film features our Friday Flix film reviews (including July movie premieres!), each week on Facebook!   Number Two: Thursday, July 7th is Global Forgiveness Day We must keep reminding ourselves that when we practice forgiveness, we should include ourselves in the process! Chances are you are like most of us, and that means being harder on Yourself than on anyone else! Write yourself a Lifetime Pass of Forgiveness, and join us at The Growing Group! We have just begun a new series of exercises that start each Monday with an Inspirational Mantra in your inbox. That includes a short list of weekly motivational exercises to begin the week right! We are now offering the Growing Group Journal also, for those who would like to begin journaling as a daily practice….   Number Three: Tuesday July 12th is National Simplicity Day   Simplicity can continue our idea of relaxation by striving to live simply and to stress less! My own commitment means I am going to work to throw things away and downsize! When I get stressed from all of the lovely “junk” I’ve accumulated through a lifetime, I am going to practice deep breathing and then go to Brown Bag Organics. Our online magazine and Facebook page offer hints and tips for those who want to live simply, to embrace a natural life-style, and to find easy ways to de-stress.   Number Four: World Listening Day on Monday July 18th/Seneca Falls is July 19th   These two days combine Two of my Favorite Things…I believe somehow that the concept of listening more to others and then celebrating all the women who worked tirelessly for the vote can go hand in hand!   In keeping with the idea of reducing stress, breathing deeply, and finding ways to relax, we know those things are in direct contrast to the news we see on our TV screens each day.  However, in finding ways to listen to the other side, and working to find solutions and ways to compromise and accept those things we know we cannot change, we will find that listening does help.   And, to celebrate 100 years of the women’s vote, 6 Degrees created the magazine “A Century of Women.” Our motto is: “We are not going back” and that means that we must listen and  then move forward to find progress and solutions to 21st Century problems! Join us and visit the site to see our new products that include T-Shirts, Totes and Mugs with “We are not going back” as our tag line.   Number Five: Saturday July 23rd is “Gorgeous Grandma” Day Celebrate all the women in your life and family who are gorgeous grandmothers! We have a winner here at 6 Degrees…Susan is my sister-in-law and she is a tireless and proud Grandma as well as a simply gorgeous lady! Send your pictures to us at 6 Degrees and nominate someone you know to win a tote celebrating the strong women in your life: “We are not going back!” …. We are excited each month to roll out new opportunities to connect with you! Join us on the website or online at 6 Degrees and visit some of our new pages: Brown Bag Organics and My Dog Journal are just two!

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The Growing Group Round-up: Finding Fulfillment in your Life

This month in the Growing Group Round-up, we look at the different ways that the experts and specialists are helping us in our Growing Group journey. And the articles and different suggestions and inspiring quotes are all stepping stones to help us each month. In recent weeks, we have concentrated on the many different ways to look for happiness. The ways you can define what happiness means to you are important. And that also encompasses fulfillment. The “Bucket list” ideas are just another way of looking at goals you set and dreams you may have in your life. Fulfillment as part of the Plan Fulfillment is part of planning and actively looking for your happiness. Being a movie buff, one of the scenes that was most moving for me, in the classic film, “The Sound of Music’ was when the Reverend Mother told Maria that she would have to seek her own happiness and look for her life. She couldn’t hide from it. That is why the movie has been so inspiring! Fulfillment of your dreams can come in so many forms. Some of the experts have written that fulfillment consists of autonomy, mastery and purpose. For so many that can mean quite different things. The freedom to do what you would like can be a life-changing experience for those who have left their jobs and retired. Mastery of something you have loved to do, or would like to accomplish, can open up a whole new world for some that may have just begun to master a new hobby, The Growth Mindset for The Growing Group! And purpose is the mindset we can embrace in the Growing Group. Because they are speaking of the “Growth Mindset!” It is the fulfillment of dreams, and can also lead to so many bigger things. For example, it could open the door for you as a way to help charities.  Or you may find a cause that will lead you to meet new people who believe passionately in the same things that you do! These are all part of having a Growth Mindset. And finally finding ways to stop comparing yourself with others and coping with things you cannot control are all part of your quest for fulfillment and having a growth mindset to adhere to in your life. Moving Forward in your life Here is a modified list of some of the suggestions that can be building blocks for you in your Growth Mindset. They are all ways to move forward in your life. Think better of yourself-Practice Practice Practice! Embrace the concept of starting over and not Failure! Let go of those thoughts and people who radiate Negative Energy Be mindful of doing your best; Embrace your friend Good Job! Opposite of Perfection Pest!!! Mindfulness and living in the moment are your allies The Little Things mean a lot to someone you can help on a small scale today  

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Growing Group Round-Up

The Round up for this month in Growing Group includes several different articles that offer suggestions and tips on how to find happiness in life. They range from lists to improve your Everyday habits to simple suggestions such as listening to upbeat music and singing! There are even scientific studies now that work on ideas of finding ways to advance your ‘authentic self.” Harness the Power of Positive Thinking! The science has advanced a long way since we were introduced over a half a century ago to the “Power of Positive Thinking” from Norman Vincent Peale. But still, Dr. Peale’s remedies are part of the equation. Because once you have begun to adopt a positive attitude, the battle is halfway won! There are steps to organize your life, which should help all of us in a search for a better life, regardless of our quest for happiness! And finding ways to inspire us, to motivate us, and to uplift us is what “The Growing Group’ is all about. For those of us who see that we are on a journey, it brings us to one of the quotes we used last week. David Bowie reminds us that on the journey of life, there are many different waves of emotion and levels of being we experience, and it is all happening at the same time. And like the adventures from Alice in Wonderland, we have to make sense of things when we are coming and going all at the same time! Growing Group Article Round-Up Here is the Round up for the month to help us keep our feet on the ground and our hearts and minds lifted and open to new experiences each week: 10 Practical ways to improve your Happiness Things we need to say to ourselves more often Ways to organize and create new habits for a happier life 10 Simple ways to find Positive Energy and Optimism starting Now Uplifting Notes to ourselves to empower us each day All this along with more inspirational quotes and ideas will help guide you into the month of May as we think about all that we need to do before the summer begins!

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Monday Muse: Your Growing Group Round-Up

March has been a challenging month. This month, we’ve talked about how to meet those challenges in the face of ongoing adversity. And in the past weeks, there has been much that has been identified that would cause great strife and sorrow. Not simply the ongoing war that we hear of daily from a faraway place, but the struggles that we face here and in our personal lives as we wrestle with decisions that can affect our lives or our loved ones down the road. Some people have health challenges, others may have pressing family problems caused from other people or from those who are close to us. Financial struggles, and worry about what might have been or what could be are all a part of our list of things to worry about each day! The Growing Group cannot help us to relieve those worries by creating instant solutions to end all of our problems. However, those of us who are in the group can relate and feel empathy and even suggest solutions that may help alleviate some of the worry and fear that is generated and may be unwarranted in many cases. Here are some of the nuggets that have been pulled for you from the list of suggested articles by experts this month. They have already served to help me in my own quest to find closure and solace as part of an extended family that is grieving the loss of someone we loved dearly and has recently died. “You Got This” Quotes   To use when you need a boost and motivational encouragement for those hard tasks that all of us sometimes face! Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, Not ABSENCE of Fear– Mark Twain Do one thing every day that scares you–Eleanor Roosevelt I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles– Christopher Reeve You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you are going to go to bed with Satisfaction– George Horace Lorimer If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the Ordinary- Jim Rohn The first step in getting what you want is to have the courage to get ride of what you don’t–Zig Ziglar Life Goes on Quotes   Some quotes to use when we have discouragements, setbacks, and sorrows, and need to encourage ourselves to move on! Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go-Hermann Hesse Your Past does not equal your future-Tony Robbins I’ve had a lot of success; I’ve had failures, so I LEARN from the failure– Gordon Ramsey We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them- William Arthur Ward Virtual Mentoring: Upgrade your Life   Mentors- Do you have them? I have always been able to embrace the good advice and words of wisdom that my real-life mentors have given to me. But at times, we find ourselves in need of critical advice and may not have the practical and caring encouragement that we need from our friends and family. One of the newest guidelines that has intrigued me, as someone who has known the value of books all my life, is that we may adopt ‘virtual’ mentors. One way to do this is to simply research a subject that we need well-meaning and focused advice about, and then use the expert you need as a kind of virtual mentor. Doing this expands your horizons to those who are experts, who have lived and have experienced hardships or succeeded in difficult circumstances, and they are brilliant and wise mentors who can help you in a focused way. One piece of advice: Read a book carefully. Take your time and focus on the guided categories that will pertain to your specific needs. Find the time to take notes and take it all in. And if you are careful and can use the information to your advantage, who knows? You may be the expert writing advice on this subject someday! Mentally Strong People do this…   Don’t be afraid/ Have Faith/ Trust the Journey The advice you receive in this article is about ways to manage your expectations in life. And realize that sometimes, we build things up in our minds and have ideas of what our own success and failures can bring and that may cause more real emotional damage than simply allowing things to unfold. Letting go of expectations of what things are ‘supposed to be’ and living in the here and now is some of the best advice that anyone can give you.  And coping with life as it is-challenges and all/ warts and all- is the only way we can allow ourselves to grow. What to say to ourselves more often   Here is a list of some things that we need to say to ourselves more often. I have a journal, (and I advise all of my friends and Growing Group members to keep one too!), that is full of the types of self-encouragement that we need to expand on and use in our lives daily. There is a phrase called “self-love” that I am not as comfortable with. It is meant to convey the type of motivation and encouragement we all need to use for ourselves. But rather, I like to talk about our inner strengths, our own voice and spiritual guidance that is part of the whole that makes up your faith and your inner core of values and wisdom. Love is key to all we do and of course, we can never be truly happy and free without love for ourselves as well as others. Here are some key phrases to use and to keep in your personal journal: *I can’t control everything that happens I can control the way I RESPOND to what happens *I will not get caught up in what

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Your Monday Muse: The Growing Group Round-up for October!

With the theme of Blessings this month in the Growing Group, the Round-up for October features some things that will serve as guideposts in your life.   When you are looking for ways to stay positive, (even when it looks like life has handed you a lemon!), you can look at the ways that you may have even had blessings in disguise when things do go wrong in your life. When we hear the phrase,  The Lord helps those who help themselves,  the idea of having free will and self-determination come to mind. Americans have always been great believers in the idea of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. Hidden Blessings Keeping that in mind, we also have thought of times when there were hidden blessings we received, as well as blessings we may have given to others. The emphasis is always on thinking of others in your life as you work on goals to succeed. The measure of kindness you can bring is discussed, as well as ways that it can positively affect your health. And when you pro-actively work on staying positive and productive, you can start your week right, and form habits that will help you stay focused and on track. Ways to Re-define Success… Finally, author Holley Gerth speaks about how we define success in our lives. We may need to redefine what we always thought we wanted as our ideal of being a success! If we want to look at the world in different ways, there are some inspiring stories from those who will help us see the world through their eyes. All of these are part of our road to positive growth that we find in the Growing Group. Blessings to all of you!-ML-The 6 Degrees Writer This week online in the Growing Group Magazine, look for: The ways that Kindness affects your health (Our Kindness Booklet can serve as a guide!) Do something to start your week that will make you productive all week long Find Habits to change your life Holley Gerth writes on what Success means to you-and ways to redefine it in your life Inspiring Memoirs: A new way to see the world

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Your Monday Muse: Finding Peace instead of living in Fear

Living in Fear Excerpt from “Life Coach/ Christ Coach”:  There is a very funny movie from comedian Albert Brooks, called Defending your Life, that is constructed on the theme that out of all the stories and trials of our lives, what we are finally judged on is our ability to live our lives without fear. We begin to see much of our own trials in life are surrounded by fear, and it becomes one of the major drivers of our behavior. And in the movie, the assumption is that if we live a life that is fearless, where we learn to take chances and damn the consequences, just living our lives to the fullest, we may conquer the inhibitions that hold us back and make us whole and well-adjusted and more perfect human beings. It is a wonderfully complex notion, and of course, one that is fictional. There are so many brave people who show us what life is like when we conquer fear. But the human condition is one where we acknowledge that we act bravely in the face of fear, not that there is no fear left! Most heroes will honestly tell you there is some measure of fear when they acted bravely. There is a funny scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where they trail one of the knights singing of his cowardice in fleeing a battle as he ‘bravely ran away!” So it is that we remember the sayings: “Discretion is the better part of valor” and ‘Choose your battles wisely.’  We have learned earlier of the woman who marveled at the calmness of the Captain who brought order and peace when all were fearful on a huge ship at sea in a storm. That is the voice of reason, … The gathering storm is not lessened when we learn to conquer our fear, but we can live to fight another day and to face the enemy bravely when we learn to conquer our fear. There is a saying in Spanish that translates something like, “A life lived in fear is a life half lived’ We know what fear is when it drains your energy and causes you to freeze. It is something we live with, and must learn to not simply conquer, but acknowledge and learn to do battle with each day. Remember the mantra from the English living through the blitz of London in World War II: Keep calm and carry on. Is this not what Jesus did, knowing the outcome that faced him? And we do know what the outcome of our lives will be as we must all face our own mortality. … life is seen not as a battle well fought, but a life well lived and the knowledge that we are given the freedom to let go. Living in fear is much harder than fighting with death, …” Accepting God From Life Coach/ Christ Coach Excerpt “….We can relate to the many, younger people and those who go to mega-churches in search of, what Tozer calls ‘the above-average spiritual experience.” They seek something deeper, and this is, in his estimation, defined as wanting more (FOMO) ‘because the average Christian life is tragically shallow.’ Perhaps we can lose the “Christian” in this sentence as all our lives may seem more inner directed and we are isolated from other things with the cell phones and internet connections that leave us wanting more. Searching and seeking, we look for answers and Christ is one who is there for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer brings the point home with his reading of the gospel of Matthew 6:33 “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Anxiety for food and clothing is clearly not the same thing as anxiety for the kingdom of God, however much we should like to persuade ourselves that when we are working for our families…we are thereby building the kingdom, as though the kingdom could be realized only through our worldly cares.” Bonhoeffer tells us that the kingdom of God is so far distinguished from the earthly possessions that come our way, we need to distinguish them in our minds. …. Learning to accept the will of God and to try to understand how God is speaking to you in this life can be a challenge for all of us. Oswald Chambers said that God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to mis -understand. We are left asking at times: “I wonder if that was God’s voice?” Oswald suggests we (first) ask and we shall receive. To say, “Speak to me, Lord!” and then to listen to what you are hearing. I know that I have been deaf to his voice at times, and at others, when I was receptive and took time to listen, I found some amazing answers to the hard questions. In my own life, I changed jobs and the new one didn’t work out. I was simply looking, and seeking, when a friend sent an email of a job description that sounded like the type of work I had done many times before. I knew that even though I had thought I would never return to the old work I had done for many years, that this was a good fit. And it turned out, they needed me and I needed them! I heard God’s voice in the simple and short email that led me to a path I had thought was closed to me. This happens at times, when God will tell you where you need to be or to go. I wanted a small dog a few years back, and went to look at a dog that needed a home. The heavens opened up and it rained so hard, I barely made it home in the downpour, with no dog and not even a chance to look at it. I thought, perhaps God

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