Life Isn t A Bowl Of Cherries It s A Smorgasbord You Like Some And You Dislike Some But Sample It All

Life Isn t a Bowl of Cherries It s a Smorgasbord You Like Some and you Dislike Some But Sample it AllLife isn t a bowl of cherries Sorry I know many have spoken forever the opposite of that phrase Life is actually like a full loaded food-bar filled with lots of experiences tastes and flavors some pleasant some not and many in between Some of life gets shoved down your throat and much you create and enjoy yourself like a new recipe It s up to you When you look at your life where do you go Do you look at where you currently are what you re experiencing now Do think about everything that you ve gone through and stay stuck in all that Do you acknowledge yourself for all your accomplishments Or do you even remember what they all are I think you actually want to do a combination You want to honor your experiences and celebrate your accomplishments It s really hard to see the upside of who you ve become without examining what brought you here the good the bad and ugly all of it When I work with people and ask them who they are in the world they often tell me their job title or position in life They say well I m a CEO I m a Manager I m a teacher I m a wife or husband or parent True I appreciate that But who else are they What have they experienced that has brought them to this place My belief EVERYTHING that we have experienced brings us to where we are now We had to go step by step through the fire as well as through the accolades and we NEVER fully arrive because whatever is next shows up Story Many years ago I was visiting my Mother in the hospital While there I ran into an old high school buddy We hadn t seen each other in many years In my mind this woman had the perfect life She came from a well-to-do in-tact family She married her high school boyfriend they had two wonderful daughters They lived in a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood And to boot much to my disdain she was gorgeous and a size 4 or 6 I had always envied her At this encounter I sucked it up and had a coffee with her trying to quell my instant jealousy Well as it turns out the tables were way turned I was shocked Here s what happened She was at the hospital because her Father-in-law was dying I of course gave her my condolences Important note here She knew that I d been through many difficult circumstances in my life I came from a single parent home Dad left when I was 4 she knew my Mother struggled to provide and we had little when I was young She knew that I d experienced tragedy with the loss of two brothers a few years back and that now I was facing my Mother s debilitating illness Anyhow we re having coffee and she says to me Ann I ve always admired you I was shocked You know how to handle life and the difficulties it presents and I ve NEVER had to deal with anything remotely hard my life has been easy That I knew I don t know how to handle this impending death I m totally unprepared with how to handle difficult circumstances Can you give me some advice That was a moment where I embraced and even became grateful for many of the hard things I d handled in life I knew I was more prepared I knew I was strong and resilient It was a pivotal moment I did of course try to comfort her and offer her some ideas about how to cope etc I especially shared with her the importance of acknowledging her feelings and expressing them not to suppress them I told her it would eventually make her stronger and be of assistance as she faced further crises in her life It was indeed a wonderful encounter My work over the years has been shaped by this and many other events Yes I was a clinical social worker – therapist I had training in how to be helpful to others But more importantly I had life experience that taught me that I could make it through nearly anything survive and then even thrive beyond In fact it has taught me that I can be happy and fulfilled I can chase life I can reinvent it and create it to be what I want I suggest now in my work as a coach and as a motivational speaker that people embrace all aspects of their lives with appreciation Do I mean you should be happy when you lose people or are struck with illness yourself or lose jobs or anything else No you aren t happy of course not But you are being given the gift of opportunity here a chance to deal with difficulty and then move beyond it to go beyond where you ever thought you could for yourself and for others Example When I was 32 years old yes a very long time ago I gave birth to my wonderful child Gabriel He was perfect I was in love from the very first moment I laid eyes on him It was a heavenly time However in that incredible time of happiness I was also involved in the experience of my younger brother age 27 dying from cancer That was in March of that year Then in September of that year when my baby son was only 7 months old my brother died He d been diagnosed the previous November with malignant melanoma and it took his life in only 10 months He was 5 years younger than me and felt more like a child to me you know I was the older sister helping my single Mom care for him Anyhow to make matters worse two weeks after my brother died my older half-brother was killed in a car accident It was the best of years and the worst of years Not only did I have to learn to handle my own grief but also to support my Mother through the loss of two sons AND yet there was the glory of this incredible new life that we all celebrated I m sort of convinced that Gabriel came when he did to actually help us transcend that tragedy Note I had many things that prepared me to go through that year My grandparents had all died My Father had died when I was 19 although he was mostly absent we had reconnected in my teens My Mother had been dealing with a serious illness for many years And as a therapist I d done much of my own therapy and work to deal with everything as it came along Was I prepared for that year with the double tragedy Absolutely not We re never prepared for loss and grief even when we know it s coming But perhaps some of us handle it more easily than others So what s my point here What have I learned that I can pass on Again I say sample it all embrace it all and let it teach you gratitude as well Assignment Take this on if you d like 1 Make a list of all the difficult things you ve experienced While you do it it might be emotional but also you can appreciate in the moment that you ve handled it all You re still here 2 Make another list of all the incredible things you ve accomplished in your life e g graduated high school or college jobs you ve held how your kids have turned out living situations etc 3 If you re up to it make a list of what you ve learned along the way Here s a few of my lessons just to spur you on a People are with us for as long as they are enjoy them b Know that when you let go you open yourself up for more good things to come into your life c It takes something unpleasant to remind us of how good life can be d I can handle way more than I expect although I m not asking for more So my final words Think of when you go to a restaurant with a smorgasbord a buffet an all you can eat food bar You go around the tables you look you smell You take some and you leave the rest behind Maybe you come back for more or different Those of you who are adventurous might perhaps taste some things you haven t tried before and give yourself a new experience Perhaps you remember tasting those things before and that you didn t like them so you leave them behind Importantly you get to choose what to have linger on your palate what will never enter your lips It s up to you You can eat a little you can stuff yourself and be full and uncomfortable You choose As I continue to work with people as they take on their life as they ReInvent themselves I m committed to doing whatever it takes to get them where they want to be I don t mince words I express myself fully hoping to help them do the same to tell themselves the truth Once they face their truths their sadnesses their circumstances AND look at their accomplishments they can begin to move forward to whatever is next in their lives Until next time thanks for taking on your life ann

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