No Regrets

by Lila Lazarus

Lila Swing
Photo by Costello Candids

We’re moving my Mom this week to an assisted living facility. While her health is good, her mind is slipping away. It’s hard to believe just a few months ago we were talking about traveling together to Poland and the Ukraine to see the towns her parents emigrated from. There’s no chance of that anymore. She always said she was going to learn how to play bridge and mahjong. She never found the time, and now it’s never going to happen.

Thinking about all the things my Mom can no longer do is a powerful wake-up call. When I think of all the places she wanted to travel, the people she lost touch with because she was “too busy,” the hobbies she planned to take up someday… it’s painful to think about. And it’s also a major motivator for me. I don’t want any regrets. I don’t want any guilt. So, I did some thinking about how to live without any. Here’s what I’ve come up with: Continue reading “No Regrets”

The End of Summer and the Beginning of Now

by Lila Lazarus
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The end of summer? Are you kidding me? It happens every year but somehow always catches me by surprise. I can’t stop thinking: “Where did the summer go? How are kids already going back to school? Is that a chill I feel in the air?” I’m creating a feeling of impending doom in my gut. I start imagining the misery of scraping frost off the windshield. My mind starts to wander.

But not this year. This year, I’m trying something new—and you may want to try it with me.  I’m making use of a superpower we all have. I’m staying right here in this moment. We spend so much time worrying about things to come. And it gets us nowhere. It just steals the magic of the moment. Our bodies may be rooted in the present, but our heads are hijacked and time travel into another place entirely. A wandering mind can lead to anxiety and misery. When I don’t stay in the date on the calendar, my head often fills with negativity. So, I’m celebrating this day by staying right here in the present moment without needless worries. If you’d like to join me in this moment, here are simple ways to stay right here right now without worry. Continue reading “The End of Summer and the Beginning of Now”

If You Don’t Have Time, Make Time

by Lila Lazarus

Lila_Bicycle“It must be nice,” my friend said to me with a tinge of resentment as I got onto my bike.  “Having time to ride a bike is a luxury I can’t afford,” she said.  Her words hurt me.  She made it sound like I have all this extra time in my life to ride my bicycle.  The truth is, I don’t have extra time…I make it.  For the last six months, I’ve been deep into training for a 300-mile bike ride with Team Joe’s to raise money for Make-A-Wish to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.  It’s a three-day journey— 100 miles a day. Those of us making this ride have been training for months. There are dozens on our team who, like me, don’t have time…they make it. They are doctors and CEOs and lawyers and business owners. Husbands and wives, parents and students. Every one of them has a busy life. And none was given more than 24 hours in a day.

So if you’re one of those people who looks longingly at those riding their bikes, or playing with their kids in the park, or sitting and reading a book and thinking “Gee I wish I had time for that,” then these words are for you. Decide what it is you want to do and make a commitment. Continue reading “If You Don’t Have Time, Make Time”

Let’s Play

by Lila Lazarus

“You’ll find more happiness growing down than up.” – Anonymous

Being an adult stinks. There’s pressure, stress, bills, constant obligations and a growing list of aches and pains. Going to work every day means putting on work clothes, sitting in the car, sitting in the office or cubicle, being serious, doing so many “important” things and then sitting in traffic on the way home again. So, I’ve made my decision. I’m going to be a kid for the rest of my life. Forget the fact that I’m more than a half-century old, I’m no longer going to act my age. (Actually, if I’m honest, I never have.) Continue reading “Let’s Play”

Happy Me Month

by Lila Lazarus

This is the season of holidays for other people. First, I was buying Mother’s Day gifts. Then I’m looking for Father’s Day gifts. There are several graduation days on the calendar and a few wedding days, too. So I’m throwing out an idea for a new holiday: Me Day. Or maybe even Me Month. Hear me out.

Unless we take care of ourselves, we’re no good to anyone.

This probably sounds so selfish or self-centered. And it’s supposed to. We’re so afraid to blatantly focus on No. 1. And when we do, we often feel guilty. But unless we take care of ourselves, we’re no good to anyone. We hear it so often in yoga: You can’t pour from an empty cup. We need to take care of ourselves first. Unless we really give ourselves some true TLC body, mind and spirit—we’re no good at work, at home or in the community. So here’s my suggestion: Take the next 30 days, (yes, a full month!) and focus on you. And in case your me-muscle is as out of shape as mine, here are some suggestions on how to do this:

Get a full night’s sleep every night for a month.  Can you even imagine that? I’d be happy to just get a full night’s sleep two or three days in a row. Your mood, productivity, relationships, waistline, EVERYTHING would improve. So many sleep studies have linked our bad sleeping habits to poor performance at work, car accidents, anger, depression, not to mention heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This one step could change the world.

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That’s me meditating in the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas.
Meditate every morning.  It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes. Even five minutes can change the course of your day by putting things in perspective. I know when I really commit to a morning mediation on a daily basis my day starts off with more energy and balance. I just feel happier. And there are so many meditation apps now that can help you through the process. And you can meditate anywhere.

Move. If you want to transform your body, mind and spirit—go for a walk every day. Stretch, do yoga, go for a run. It will boost your energy and help relieve anxiety and stress.

Don’t move. Make sure you also carve out time in your day to relax and restore. It doesn’t have to be a nap. It’s just a conscious slowing down. This is the hardest one for me. I need to make a conscious commitment to doing less.

Say no. I don’t think I even know how to pronounce the word “no.” But saying yes all the time is killing me. Saying yes is a great excuse not to take care of yourself. So during Me-Month I’m simply not available unless the request aligns with my mission and values. Sure, I’ll still have to work and keep up with responsibilities, but during certain sacred hours: early in the morning, during my normal workout time, and in the evenings, sorry, the answer is no.

Get to the doctor. It’s the last thing we have time for. Too many of us wait until we’re sick to get the care we need. And if you’re like me, you’re overdue for everything. I’m overdue for the dentist, the gynecologist, I still haven’t scheduled my physical, my mammogram (which is months overdue) or a bone density test. Last year my doctor gave me the paperwork for a colonoscopy and I never followed up. It’s on my to-do list every single day and yet, I never make the call. One hour at the doctor could add years to my life and help relieve any worries. During Me-Month all appointments will hereby be scheduled.

If we all get better in touch with ourselves, we’ll be way better at getting in touch with each other. Let me know what you think of Me-Month. I can already envision the Hallmark cards we could send to ourselves:  “In a world of change…open the card…Thank you for being my only constant.” Or just “Thinking of You Me!

Lila Lazarus Photo_resizedLila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.

Get Rid of Your Bucket List

by Lila Lazarus

For years I talked about climbing Machu Picchu. I told people,“It’s on my bucket list.” I dreamed about it. I swore that one day I would find the time, the money, the adventurous travel partner, and live out my dream. But year after year, something else came up, or money was tight, or time was limited and it never happened. Machu Picchu became a symbol for me of not living my dreams. And as years turned into decades, I realized time is eventually going to run out. That’s the problem with bucket lists, they don’t have a time limit.

What’s on your bucket list? If you want to live your dreams in this lifetime, you first have to know what your dreams are. That’s what the bucket list is all about. It’s a blueprint of the life you wish you were living. But I no longer have one. Why? Because  a bucket list is a list of things you want to do someday, one day. It should be called “My Dream List.”  It’s a list of castles in the air, pie in the sky, pipe dreams that never turn into reality. I believe in living that list— not dreaming about it. Continue reading “Get Rid of Your Bucket List”

Stay Open, Stay Young…Stay Uncomfortable

by Lila Lazarus

My Mom stopped using the computer. Sitting at the keyboard and constantly trying to remember which password and what website to use became too much for her. It was uncomfortable, so she stopped. Now she has no way to Skype with her grandchildren and can’t remember how to log on to her bank account. It means she’s no longer checking her emails and it’s been so long, she can’t remember how to log on to Facebook. It makes it difficult for friends and family to connect with her. It’s a dangerous decision as we get older. We either open up to learning new things, take on new challenges and push harder to widen our scope or decide to avoid discomfort and watch our world get smaller and smaller. My Mom always loved a good adventure. She was always so creative and so open to a challenge…open to life. But the moment she stopped, everything changed. Life started closing. Continue reading “Stay Open, Stay Young…Stay Uncomfortable”

Some Day, One Day is Today

Someday_Onedayby Lila Lazarus

I’ve been talking about writing a book someday for as long as I can remember.  I always knew that one day I would get to it.  But the moment I sat down to do it,  I saw something really interesting on LinkedIn, or got sucked into an article on Huffington Post or just needed another cup of coffee.  For me there were always eight days in a week.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Someday.  Drum roll please.   I’m done talking.  If you’re reading this now, then something really incredible happened.  Someday, One Day  is Today.  That’s the title of my new book.  How do you like it? Continue reading “Some Day, One Day is Today”

Signs of Aging

by Lila Lazarus

There are certain signs you want to ignore but you can’t. I was visiting my Mom and thought I smelled something burning. Rushing to the kitchen, I noticed a scorched pot on the stove. “Oh that?” Mom said calmly. “I forgot about the oatmeal.”

It wasn’t just the oatmeal. She was becoming more and more forgetful, confused…foggy.  I didn’t care about the oatmeal or the pot. I was hurting for my Mom. This beautiful woman who has always been so vibrant, energetic, creative and upbeat was changing so rapidly. Or maybe I just had been ignoring the scorched pots and pans, the messy – actually dirty – countertops, the overgrown garden, the piles that seemed to be growing in every corner of the house, a mountain of bills, papers and unopened mail on her desk. The home she had lived in for so many years was in rapid decline. It’s one of nearly a dozen things people should take note of when they’re visiting parents and grandparents—especially those living alone.

So this holiday season, when spending time with aging loved ones, here’s a list of things to notice beyond burnt oatmeal: Continue reading “Signs of Aging”

Before You Check Facebook…Read This

by Lila Lazarus

Slow down. Don’t read this like you read most articles—skimming, barely taking it in.   No, read this article with the aim of changing your entire life. Really. Just by slowing down and mindfully reading something word by word, you can change your whole experience. Suddenly you let go of anything that might be distracting you and fully engage with the words on the screen.

Every moment is an opportunity to be mindful—to be aware. It’s a chance to pay more attention to what we do while we’re doing it. And every day more research reveals how beneficial that kind of mindfulness can be for reducing stress.

Words hit us 24/7. They slide across the bottom of a newscast, parade across the screen on our smartphone or jut out like a billboard on a Facebook post. And every time a word pops up at us, we have the choice to let it bounce off us or take it in. Every time you click on a post or a blog you have the chance to practice being mindful… being present.   When you’re reading mindfully, you’re reading word by word. You’re noticing the tablet, phone or screen the words are on. You’re noticing how the light of the screen hits your eyes. Take a moment to feel your eyes guiding you to the right and then back to the left again. Continue reading “Before You Check Facebook…Read This”