Cape May Capers

In the beginning of June, I spent four days in Cape May, N.J. with 29 women. We ate in the best restaurants, explored the tourist sites and had belly laughs. It took a long time to recover from lack of sleep and the large amount of food I consumed. Coming home and being alone with my cats, Alfie and Alice, was an adjustment. The house was quiet, and not having anyone to laugh with and talk to was very lonely. After a few hours, I became accustomed to the peace and quiet.

Being with people makes me feel alive. Observing others is very interesting — some are outgoing, and others are introverts who like to listen. One evening there were 15 of us sitting around and chatting. Suddenly, one of the women made a comment and we started to laugh uncontrollably. The evening took off from there; the comments and laughter were contagious. I don’t think I laughed so hard in years!

According to research, laughter relieves physical tension and stress. I can attest to these feelings. I never felt better and could see the good in everyone. The next morning, everyone was extremely friendly and looked forward to spending time together.

I would love to hear about your fun times. Please post your experiences in the comment section below, or send me an e-mail to helen@helenburton.net. We can all enjoy one another’s experiences.

The world would be a better place if you could see the good in others and laugh together. Let’s start a trend to interact with people in a loving way. Are you up for the challenge?

Here are some actions you can try:

• Smile more: When shopping, walking down the street or stopped at a red light, smile at the person(s) with whom you come into contact. The world will become a friendlier place.

• Compliment others: Don’t be shy. If someone is wearing a pretty outfit, scarf, or has a nice haircut, make sure to tell them. You will brighten their day.

• Pay it forward: If you are at a coffee shop or toll booth, pay for the person behind you. The surprised look on their face is priceless.

• Reach out to others: Call someone you have not spoken to in a while. Calling to chat will renew your friendship.

• Share your feelings with others: Let your friends know how much they mean to you. This will create and reinforce intimate relationships.

Let me know if you have tried any of these actions and the outcome. Also, if you have tried other actions, tell me what transpired. You can leave a comment on this blog, or send me an e-mail at helen@helenburton.net.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,
Helen

Life’s Journey

I attended the play Intimate Apparel at the McCarter Theater, Princeton, NJ. The play takes place in 1905, and is a story of a young single African American seamstress who supports herself by creating lingerie for wealthy Manhattan clients. It tells of how one woman discovers her own empowerment and the true meaning of intimacy.

While watching the play, I was thinking about the years I was in my early twenties. My sole mission in life was to be married and have children. I was married at 21 years of age, and had two children by the time I was 26 years old. My days were filled with taking care of my daughters, cleaning the house and associating with friends and neighbors. If you had asked me what my life was like in the 1970’s, I would have had to figure out how old my daughters were in order to answer you. My life was so wrapped up in my husband and children, I had no identity.

In the early 1980’s, I realized there was more to life than taking care of my home and meeting friends for lunch. My small world started opening up, and I discovered a person who had many passions and gifts that she wanted to share with the world.

I am still on that journey. Today I have a life fulfilling my passions and making differences in the lives of others.

Take some time today to sit down and think about your life’s journey, to date. What are your proudest moments, what lessons have you learned and what dreams do you have for the future? After you have done this, write yourself a letter describing these special events. In the comment section below, shout out your praises and let us know your accomplishments.

Please help build this community by sharing your experiences, asking questions and suggesting topics you would like to discuss in the future. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Please either leave your comments below, or send me an email at helen@helenburton.net.

Warmly, Helen

Day Filled With Beautiful Memories

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. I had to get up very early, and as I was out late the day before, all I wanted to do was continue to sleep. My cat, Alfie, had to work very hard to get me out of bed to feed him and my other cat, Alice. After a while, I couldn’t take him walking all over me and Alice standing there meowing, so I reluctantly got myself out of bed. Dragging myself around the house, and realizing I had to leave in 20 minutes, it was a mad rush to get out the door. At that point, I could have felt sorry for myself or thought about the beautiful day I was going to have. Being human, I felt sorry for myself! However, knowing that I would be meeting my family put a smile on my face and changed my mood.

We had a beautiful day having breakfast together, walking around New Hope, Pennsylvania and seeing a comedy at the Bucks County Playhouse. I finished the day by attending a barbecue.

How lucky am I to have a loving and caring family. We keep in touch, and celebrate and support one another through life’s journeys.

I would love to hear about your special days by leaving a comment below.

Going back to the quote which alludes to the fact you can create a day filled with sadness or joy, if I continued to feel sorry for myself, I would not have had a beautiful day and by changing my mood, it enabled me to have a day filled with everlasting memories.

I know while being in a funk it is hard to change your attitude. Below are some suggestions:

•Accept how you are feeling. By not fighting the feelings, it opens the door for solutions.
• Think about a special day you had either by yourself or with others. It will definitely put a smile on your face.
• Call a friend and reminisce about a special time you had together.
• Listening to music can boost your mood. When listening to music I start to relax, and if I’m at home, dancing around the house certainly puts a smile on my face.
•Set aside ten minutes and write down all the things for which you are grateful. After 10 minutes expires, choose three things for which you are grateful, and every morning before getting out of bed reflect about those thoughts. It will definitely put you in a better frame of mind.

Please help build this community by sharing your experiences, asking questions and suggesting topics you would like to discuss. I am looking forward to hearing from you by leaving comments below or sending me an e-mail at helen@helenburton.net.

Warmly,
Helen

Eight Years Later

Some days are filled with excitement, wonder and others are filled with loneliness. I am sure these feelings are not exclusive to being a widow. We all have an array of emotions that are attached to different experiences in our life.

After my husband pasted away, it was the only time in my life that I lived alone. At first I received a lot of phone calls and was trying to get through the day. As the days turned into months, everyone went back to living their own lives and I had to learn to live a single lifestyle.

My saving grace were my two best friends, Alice and Alfie, my cats. Every morning Alfie woke me up at 6:00am to feed him and Alice. It has been 8 years since my husband past away and he is still waking me up every morning.

Through the years I have built a life for myself, working part-time and spending time with friends and family. Some days are exciting and others are difficult. During the difficult times, I always ask myself the question, “What are you learning today?”

Recently, I was going through a time when I lost my desire to engage in life, nothing seem to excite me. I just wanted to read a fiction book and lose myself in the characters. After sending a day just reading and binging on breadsticks, nuts and almond butter from the jar, it was time to reevaluated what was happening.

It was pretty clear I was feeling sorry for myself and in a rut. The big question, “Why.” During the past two months I was spending a lot of time with friends and family. My grandson graduated from College in May and my family spent a few days together, the beginning of June I went away with a group of friends and a few weeks later went to a wedding in Baltimore. I was constantly with either family or friends and then coming back to being alone was a hard transition. I was lucky to have my two companions, Alfie and Alice.

Thinking about my transition realized I was tired and missed the comradery of others. My challenge was to accept my life and focus on the positive aspects. It was up to me to turn my thinking around. Things I am grateful for:

• Alfie and Alice my loving companions.
• My caring and loving family and friends.
• The ability and desire to explore my feelings and take positive action steps.
• Assisting Non-Profits to spread their message by interviewing the key staff members on my Princeton TV show, “Skyrocket with Helen Burton.”
• Living life as a journey and always looking for opportunities.

Reminding myself how lucky I am to live such a fulfilling life has made a difference. What different steps do you take to adjust your thinking and put a smile on your face?

Please help build this community by sharing your experiences, asking questions and suggesting topics you would like to discuss. I am looking forward to hearing from you by leaving comments below or sending me an email at helen@helenburton.net.

Helen

Birthdays

You are living your life every day and all of a sudden realize your birthday is fast approaching. At first I go into denial and think it is not for a while. Then as the day draws closer I become slightly depressed and very sensitive. Thoughts of loneliness and the fact I am getting older is plaguing my mind. My defense mechanism is to isolate for a while. This behavior is short lived as my birthday arrives.
My birthday arrived. I had a fun day, met a very good friend for breakfast (splurged on a muffin), sat on the couch reading a book and celebrated my birthday with friends. The next day I woke up feeling happy and positive. What a complex individual I am and knowing there are beautiful people in my life is very comforting.
We are all different individuals; share with us your behavior as the big day approaches and/or how you celebrate the big day. Some of my friends plan big celebrations, others buy themselves presents or like me deny the day. There is no right or wrong.
Please help build this community by sharing your experiences, asking questions and suggesting topics you would like to discuss. I am looking forward to hearing from you by leaving comments below or sending me an email at helen@helenburton.net.
Helen

Give yourself a gift by living in the present moment

I heard a loud bang!  It sounded like a bird crashing into the window. To my surprise, there was a baby bird sitting on the window ledge. It was looking at me!  We had a great conversation!  The bird was chirping, and I was sharing about what was presently going on in my life. It certainly was a special moment!

What a long way I have come, becoming aware of my surroundings.  Many years ago I would have heard the bang, saw nothing was broken, and continued with my day. I was the type of person who was always thinking about the future, and not focusing on what was happening in the present. How sad to have missed so many special moments. My behavior changed after taking many workshops and self-development trainings. I realized how important it was to enjoy today because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  What a blessing experiencing life in the moment!

Yesterday I had coffee with my granddaughter, who was telling me about her fantastic Israeli trip. Listening intently, I was able to experience through her eyes and learn about the places she visited. This experience brought us even closer.

Living in the moment is not easy; it takes practice.  Even though I have been practicing this behavior for many years, sometimes my mind wanders as I am doing something or talking to someone. When becoming aware of not concentrating on the moment, I take a deep breath and start focusing again.

Please let us know some of the tools you use to bring yourself back into the moment.

I would love to hear about your special occasions while living in the present moment. Please leave your experiences in the comment section below, or send me an email to helen@helenburton.net. I look forward to hearing from you.

Take Care,

Helen

Sharing Your Special Gifts

Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual;
you have an obligation to be one. — Eleanor Roosevelt

You have spent many years learning and acquiring new skills. It is a crime not to feel comfortable with whom you have become. It’s time to acknowledge these talents and share them with the world.

I facilitate a weekly discussion group. We watch a TED Talk (Technology, Entertainment and Design) and then discuss the presentation. Check out TED Talks (www.ted.com). Yesterday, during the discussion period, I was listening to and watching the various participants. It was amazing hearing their stories, knowledge and wisdom.  I learned so very much.

Suggested Actions for the Day

  • Make a list of the things you’re good at.
  • Decide how you can share these talents with others.
  • Take one little step. (Example: Join a choir if you love to sing.)

Please help build this community by sharing your experiences, asking questions and suggesting topics you would like to discuss. I am looking forward to hearing from you by leaving comments below or sending me an email at helen@helenburton.net.

Helen

Living in the Moment

I am looking out the window of my home in NJ and the butterflies are flying around the weeds and flowers. What a beautiful and peaceful picture.

It has taken me years to come to the point of just relaxing and enjoy what is happening in the moment. This was a hard transition for me to be able to take the time to enjoy what was happening right now and not focus on all the things I had to do.  I’ve attended many workshops/lectures and have read different books in which the presenters and authors always focus on the benefits of being in the moment.

How do you accomplish this feat? Some of my methods for finding peace:

  • Making myself a cup of tea, sitting in a comfortable chair and looking out the window. The first time I tried this, I sat for about 2 seconds. After trying this exercise for several weeks, I was able to sit longer. Don’t worry about your thoughts, keep telling yourself you are okay. It is amazing how relaxing and peaceful you will feel.
  • Taking a short walk outside and enjoying the sights and sound around me. Some people listen to music as they are walking and others enjoy the quiet. Moving and being outside restores my energy and I feel ready to conquer the world.
  • While spending time with friends, grandchildren and children, I take the time to think how lucky I am. On Monday evenings for the last 12 years my grandson and I have dinner together. We call this our bonding time and have built a great relationship.

Please share with us the tools you are using in order to enjoy the moment and the benefits you are receiving. Creating a list will help us find different ways of being in the moment.

Let’s continue to build our community in supporting each other with ideas, lessons learned and empowering thoughts. I am looking forward to hearing from you by leaving comments below or sending me an email at helen@helenburton.net.

Have a beautiful and peaceful day!

Seventy — What a Great Adventure!

Hi everyone,

My name is Helen Burton and I turned 73 this spring. What happened only yesterday I was 48? To be part of this online community, we are not going to check your age and welcome anyone who wants to be part of it.

My hope is that we build a loving, supportive community where we can share our realities of life. Not being able to get up from a chair without sound effects, walking slower, having to rest after a very busy day, etc. Also, having the strength to volunteer at a children’s event, or take a long bike ride or have deep and meaningful conversations with younger people, which enables us to feel young inside.

Being in my early seventies is an exciting time. Having the freedom to explore many opportunities, meet new friends and sometimes the experience and wisdom to make healthy choices. I would love to hear about you, your dreams and ideas for building this community.

Life goes on and having a place to share our reality is comforting. So let me hear from you by either leaving your comments below or sending me an email at helen@helenburton.net.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Helen