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Lessons Learned From Elsa

by Sep 1, 20152015, Archived Posts, Blog

Elsa came to visit this summer and left me with some things to ponder. Her approach to life is enviable. She begins every day with determination.  A hearty breakfast is a must. Physical activity and lots of it is essential for her well-being, and if you are around her you better be prepared to join in. There are no couch potatoes in Elsa’s world.

She lives in the moment. She doesn’t carry grudges about what happened yesterday. She is full of hope and possibilities for today.  She notices things around her- really notices them. At the beach she is fascinated by the grains of sand and the feel of the water surrounding her. She takes the time to hold a rock and feel it- really feel it. The leaf on a tree, the texture of the lace tablecloth- everything is worth pondering.

She lives each day fully engaged, fully present. And when it is time to say good night she sleeps soundly, no worries about tomorrow, no regrets about today.

You see, Elsa is 18 months old. The world is new and fresh and worth investigating wholeheartedly. I want to be like Elsa. I want to greet each day with determination and purpose, eat a hearty breakfast, get some good exercise, live in the moment, let go of yesterday and have hope for today and sleep soundly tonight.

This isn’t the way adults approach our days. We worry about what we did or didn’t do yesterday. We worry about what will happen or not happen tomorrow. We seem to make a habit of being mentally somewhere else, no matter where we are or who we are with. When we are with our family we think about work. When we are work we think about our family. We eat more than we need to and not food that really nourishes us. We don’t get the exercise we need because we are too tired. We are too tired because we don’t get enough exercise. We are conflicted beings.

We don’t live in the age of innocence as adults. Life is complicated. We know that we need to somehow put food on the table. We face challenges at work and challenges at home. We can become overwhelmed with responsibilities. How can we keep a healthy perspective?
Keeping a healthy perspective often comes from getting input from other people. Others can help us the bigger picture, the positive angle or a creative solution to our problem. At The River Center, we offer parenting groups led by experienced parent educators. Parents are able to meet other parents, share experiences, and learn from each other.  Our Employment Specialist helps job seekers keep a healthy perspective. We have money coaches to help you obtain a healthy perspective on your finances.  Our goal is to strengthen individuals and families so they can thrive. Thriving families have less stress and more joy and everyone benefits. If that sounds appealing to you, I encourage you to sign up for a parenting group this fall, or make an appointment with our Employment Specialist or money coaches. When our worries and concerns are being dealt with we are able to relax and breathe deeper. Call us at 924-6800 or mnelson@rivercenter.us for more information on any of our programs.

Wendy Hill, one of our parent educators, and I were recently comparing notes on our visits to the Maine coast this summer. She talked about watching families walking to the beach, children talking about their plans for building sand castles and flying kites. I had watched families at Sand Beach running into the ocean, losing their breath because of the cold and running back onto the beach. Both of us saw the timeless joy of spending a day doing nothing, having fun with sand and water and people we love.

Elsa’s approach to life is pretty straightforward. She knows what she needs and she goes for it. She sticks to the basics. She needs to be clean, eat, be active, and sleep. And she needs love. Take some time to do nothing with someone you love. Have a good breakfast, get some exercise, and enjoy the day. Take your cue from Elsa.