It’s called Fat Thursday for a reason

Maybe it’s because I feel “fat” after eating my way through the downtown of Warsaw in search of the best Paczki? That would make total sense to me after seeing people stand in line, many since midnight, waiting for the first batch of these delicacies to be served up fresh and warm. It’s reported that from eating one paczki you would have to work out for twenty-five minutes to rid yourself of the calories you just consumed. But, that didn’t stop me or the thousands of other people from feasting on more than one of these traditional rose jelly filled yeast delights. Andy Kryza wrote that millions of paczki are sold within just a few hours.

Fat Thursday is a day of feasts, hence the name. This is the day you get to eat without guilt. The day marks the final week of the pre-Lenten celebrations so pick your paczki place carefully. In Warsaw, the shop, “Stara Paczkarnia” sells only paczki, and only from a take-out window, what a concept. People will stand in long lines for very long times to get their paczki right out of the fryer with the glaze still dripping. I opted out for a seat in a restaurant and a warm mug of mulled wine.

During Lent it is common for people to give up eating sweets, so it makes perfect sense that you would eat yourself sick during this day. Fat Thursday is celebrated by Christians signifying the last Thursday before Lent, warning you that you have only six days left to party before the forty days of Lent begins. Fat Thursday is always six days before Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lenten season.

In Poland, generally sweets, pastries and other goodies are given up or sacrificed during the Lenten season. The ten most common things worldwide, according to openbible, that people give up for the forty days of Lent are: chocolate, social networking, alcohol, Twitter, Facebook, school, meat, sweets, coffee, fizzy drinks. Are you thinking of giving something up for Lent?

Mental Floss describes how other Christian countries celebrate Carnival and Fat Thursday. Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Germany, Spain, just to name a few, all have their own special events and delicacies that are created specifically during this time. Traditions make this experience rich. Searching a city for the best paczki opened my eyes to a day filled with history. Everyone gets excited, young and old, it doesn’t matter. Everyone talks about where they are going to eat, who they are going to meet, it is a very festive day.

I stopped to chat with an Uber Eats delivery person as he exited the pastry shop with his backpack filled with paczki. He said, he has been working since early morning to get all the deliveries out, and that he would be working till the wee hours of the night. After all, this is the end of Carnival, so the party must go on, time is running out!

How are you preparing for Lent?

Cheers!

Merry Lynch

 

5 things I would tell my younger self

5 things I would tell my younger self (even though I know I wouldn’t listen)

It’s taken me over sixty years to feel as though I can call myself a “wise woman.” For some reason the age of sixty was a benchmark for me in what I refer to as the wise people community. It didn’t have anything to do with my hair having to be grey, even though it is. And I didn’t feel as though I had to have a face full of wrinkles or a body that was bent and aging. It was more of a certain confidence that I noticed in others as they age. A confidence that comes from exposure to different experiences, struggles, successes and relationships. A time in your life when you can hold your head up high and not care if anyone else agrees or disagrees with you, it just is after all your life.

After spending time with family and friends over the holidays and sharing stories, some funny, some tragic and some just plain stupid, I thought about my life and what I could offer for advice to myself. I know, I know, I’m not going to listen, but I thought about these bits of advice anyway.

Here are the 5 things I would tell my younger self:

  1. Friends and family: You know the saying “you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family”? I never really thought about what that meant until I moved overseas. Moving to a country where I had no friends or family opened up a world of possibility of just who I wanted in my life. Have you ever given any thought to being more selective of who you spend time with or interviewing possible friend candidates? Usually friends come through us from school, work or other introductions and we rarely reach out ourselves to meet someone new. In moving to a new country, I knew that one of the things that would help make this bold move a positive one was to find new girlfriends and fast.

I have to say that I was a little intimated to seek out new girlfriends as I was in a country where I did not speak the language. I got all caught up in my head about how embarrassing it would be to say to someone “hey, you wanna be my new friend?” So, I decided to hide under the social media cloud until I gained more confidence. In that, I began kind of stalking women on the social media sites I belonged to. I was seeking women in the city that I was living in that had similar interests or similar postings and I began reaching out to them to meet for coffee. Sounds kind of creepy as I write this but that is exactly what I did. As you can imagine some women never responded and quite possibly blocked me from their social media feeds. Other women, possibly being in the same circumstance, welcomed me with open arms.

So, my friendship speed-dating type interviewing began. I realized that I had a choice. I realized that I didn’t have to like everyone and that not everyone was going to like me, and that it’s all okay. Wow! What a load was lifted from my shoulders.

The result is that I live in a foreign country with women from all different nationalities, religions and cultures and I get to call these amazing women my friends. We have rich and deep conversations. We teach one other new recipes and uses for spices. We share our experiences and our thoughts of world views. We show one another our countries own unique traditions, music and share traditional costumes. My life is so rich from these new friendships. The action of taking an active role in discovering new girlfriends has given me a fearlessness and courage to be able to replicate this wherever I travel or move to, knowing that there are women just like me seeking new, healthy and rich girlfriends.

  1. Career: I was one of the fortunate ones. I knew at a very early age what I wanted to do. I think I came out of the womb knowing that I would have a career steeped in retail that would lead me to taking part in developing leadership programs for others. I saw retail as a way to communicate. Once I had the confidence of being one of the best in my field I began to pull out the disciplines that I enjoyed most and began to share those. That served me well in building my life full of passion and purpose.

Now I get to travel the globe, work with international companies in team building and bridging the gap in cultural differences to enhance the work place and profit margin. My work with individual female clients takes a deeper dive into helping them to create a life of soulful purpose using past experiences to design a life filled with passion. Although this unfolding took time, I had layers of negative thinking that I had to release. Layers of self-doubt and perceived unworthiness that needed to be dealt with, but the work and the learning has paid off in ways that I never dreamed of. Doing what you love, even if it is one tiny aspect of your work and learning all that you can about that one thing will take you places you have yet to uncover.

  1. Do what you love: Undoubtedly you have heard the quote, “do what you love and the money will follow?” I was lucky enough to have a great role model that made this quote come alive. My Dad was a Chiropractor when it was illegal. As a young athlete he had been helped by a Chiropractor and decided that he wanted to do the same.

He fought long and hard for his beliefs and for his profession and taught us (my brother and sisters, who are all entrepreneurs) to do the same. It’s not always easy and you don’t always get it right the first time in being an entrepreneur or tackling a profession or career that you love but once you find that “thing” that makes your heart sing, with patience and nurturing the pay off is huge in more ways than one.

Doing what you love for me is a layering process. There were many “things” that I loved doing throughout my life. Many “things” that I enjoyed learning about. It wasn’t until I began noticing a trend that everything began to click. I noticed that I was always placed or gravitated toward leadership positions, I noticed that the teams I built were solid, strong, with little or no turnover, I noticed that these skills could be used anywhere in the world, I noticed that my one on one relationships were more comfortable and deeper with my female clients.

Doing what you love is a mastering of a few small skills or interests and doing it better than anyone else you know. One of my biggest lessons in doing what I love is just being authentic and those that are ready for the message will gravitate toward you.

  1. Live where you love: This seemed to take me forever to understand or grasp. As a mother and now grandmother I had all kinds of perceived ideas of who and what I was supposed to be. Yet, somehow in my mind that did not equate to the life I dreamed about or the life that was playing out in actuality. I was racked with guilt and shame as my role of a mother seemed to veer of course. I was sure that my children would be damaged for life and that there was no one to blame but myself. I had no other role models that I could look up to for inspiration or support.

Then the grandchildren came. I began to have anxiety about what that role meant. I didn’t have the big house with the wrap around porch that I saw in all the movies. I had a career that took me all over the country and parts of Europe. How could that possibly compare to what being a good grandmother looked like in my head? Then the big blow came, the blow that changed everything.

One night while on a Skype call with my granddaughter, who was 6,000 miles away, she said, “you’re the Grammy that lives at the airport.” Although some or many of you may be chuckling at this statement, for me on the other end of the phone I struggled to hold back the flood of tears. What I heard was, I was the Grammy that was not around, I was the Grammy that had no home, I was the Grammy that was not there. My heart felt shattered into a million tiny pieces. All the voices of friends and family that told me I would never last living overseas were blaring in my head.

Then, after the sobbing ceased, I saw the other side of the conversation. I saw the Grammy that could show my little granddaughter the world, I saw the Grammy that could instill a confidence that anything is possible, I saw the Grammy that could help her bridge the gap in cultural understanding and acceptance of others. This Grammy could now stand up tall. This Grammy didn’t have to fit the mold, this Grammy could provide something else. I love living a life abroad. I learn something new every day, either about the place I am visiting or myself. It is an ongoing love affair. One that I hope more people will venture to discover.

  1. Money: It is impossible to talk about life long advice without touching upon money matters. Money is said to be an exchange of services rendered. Ok, sure, in your chosen profession the dollars you are paid may not seem enough and usually are not. But that’s not all that this is about. How do you take care of your money? What are the things you spend your money on that are not worthy of it? How many things do you purchase that you don’t need but what you want? How many things that you purchase do not enhance or provide joy in your life?

After reading the book, “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo, I realized just how much money or exchange of energy that we waste. Moving to a foreign country and going through the process of down-sizing or in my terms “right-sizing” was life altering. My husband and I had accumulated lovely antiques throughout our life together. Our home was welcoming and warm. Yet when the time came to leave it all behind, the never-ending task of emptying the drawers, closets, garage and storage seemed too much to handle.

None of our children wanted anything. We were burden with stuff, mementos, furnishings that somehow, we thought defined who we were. Then the process of giving it all away began. We struggled in letting go. We moved things from one pile to another seeking to hang on for just a while longer. Then the deadline came. The home was sold, the airline tickets purchased, this was real. It was happening. We dreamed it, we are doing it. Sadness, joy, elation, anxiety came flooding in all wrapped up into one big mixed up emotional mess.

We were told by financial advisers that we needed several million dollars in order to retire or live this lifestyle. We were told that the life we dreamed of was not achievable with our current financial forecast. We were told we didn’t have enough. There is it, that not enoughness again. It took me years to get rid of that scarcity thinking and I wasn’t about to begin adopting it again. So, I began to research. An all-consuming research of others that had lived a life abroad. Of others that didn’t have millions or that had lost their savings in the stock market or poor investment choices.

I knew there was a way, and that meant that keeping scarcity and fear out of the conversation was important. There was no place for the word “no” without a conversation of where it came from. I left no stone unturned. I looked to the internet and found articles on grandparents.com and Time magazine on couples that threw in the towel for plane tickets. I joined internet communities of people that were transferred for career opportunities around the globe, looking at what they did for work, how often they moved and where to, as well as how they lived. Come to find out, it was achievable. I wasn’t making this up and I certainly wasn’t the first one to do this. Fear and scarcity have no place here, the money conversation is about what you want out of life. Stuff or experience. We each have our own answer. By becoming convicted to your dream, seeking a way to make that happen (legally), and then stepping into it without guilt, shame or embarrassment can be done. “What your mind can conceive and believe, your mind can achieve” and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

So, to you, my younger self, I know we must learn from our own mistakes. Each of us uses life lessons in a different way and they mean different things to each of us. Try to remain present, stay away from the blame game, and keep your eye on the prize – no matter how big or small. Live your life, not that of those around you. Listen to your heart, not of those that you see in the movies. Create your world full of the richness that beautiful friendships can offer, work to become special and unique at one thing and share it with the world, do what makes your heart sing, love wherever it is you lay your head at night, and believe that your experiences are not limited to the amount of money in your pocket but are limited to whether or not you choose to have that experience.

What are the things that you would tell your younger self?

To your journey, make it yours!

Merry Lynch

 

5 Ways to Rock Your World in 2018

5 Ways to Rock Your World in 2018

It’s here!!! 2018 is here, so let’s get ready to wipe the slate clean and begin a new. Each and every day we have an opportunity to show up in a different way. We get to make new choices, hopefully better ones, than the day before. We get to show up in a new way, should we choose too, to get different results. Are you ready?

In order to move from where we are to where we want to go and grow we need to get rid of the old to welcome in the new. You must be ready, willing and able to step into a new way of being, thinking and acting.

So, let’s get grounded and ready to make 2018 your best year yet! Here are some suggestions to prepare for creating an amazing 2018! Oh…in order to do this, you first must drowned out the negative voices of not enoughness (did I just make up that word).

  1. Where do you dream to take your life?

That’s kind of a load question and can sometimes bring about a lot of anxiety or confusion. Take some deep breaths and just think about it. What if…..you could (and you can by the way) do that thing, move somewhere, work somewhere, be somewhere else. Where would that be? And then…why there? What does that person, place or thing provide for you? Begin to describe these thoughts in detail, down to the minutest detail. Describe what you look like and feel like once you have that thing.

  1. What are you willing to give up?

Oh no, it’s true. In order to get different results, we must become a different person. So, what do you have to give up about yourself in order to receive or be ready to get something different? Maybe you need to let go of the negative self-talk, or jealously, maybe it’s guilt or shame you need to release. It’s different for everyone. Fear shows up a lot in this question. If that speaks to you, what kind of fear do you need to let go of?

  1. Reflect on your life

Here is where we get to take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is after all part of who we are. There certainly are parts of me that I don’t like to look at or talk about but sweeping things under the carpet never works for long. This is a great opportunity to take a look at your accomplishments over the past year, where you may have failed or missed an opportunity, and what you are most proud of. We all experience set backs, disappointments and misunderstandings. Here you can look at them, resolve the underlying feelings and move on. It’s also the place to be able to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing something or trying something new.

  1. Practice forgiveness

I have to be honest, this is my stumbling block. It’s not very pretty but it is part of me and something that I am aware of and work on often. Forgiveness is not just about forgiving others, it is also about forgiving yourself. If you are like many, you find it hard to come up with a list of accomplishments but have not problem listing the disappointments or set backs. Look at where these thoughts come from and move these thoughts to a place of kindness and laughter. Forgiving is a process of releasing the ego. When holding judgement of yourself or someone else you actually are giving that person control instead of allowing your dreams to manifest. Holding on tight to the wheel never did anyone any good. Now is the time to have faith in yourself and others.

  1. Build upon your past

We all have them. Sometimes they are messy, sometimes they are freaking awesome; but we all have a past. By looking at the good, the bad and the ugly we then can begin to lay a solid foundation to build upon. Where did you rock the world? Do a time line. Take your age and divide it by 3. Take each section of your life and look at your accomplishments. (For instance: age 60 divide by 3 = 20)

Ages 1-20 accomplishments: first girl to run on the boys track team, President Future Homemakers of America, captain of the cheerleading squad, got married

Ages 21-40 accomplishments: had two daughters, got divorced, opened my first business, married my soul mate

Ages 41-60 accomplishments: became a grandmother, moved to and worked in Poland, learned how to thrive with lyme disease, launched my first website

Your list can go on and on, so don’t be shy about it. It’s for your eyes only. Now circle the one thing that makes you the proudest, makes you feel like you rock the world, makes you giddy with excitement. Describe that person, that feeling, the way you looked. These are the words that we will use in crafting your vision board and your next steps.

Once you have an opportunity to review these five steps, then you’ll have an idea and an open mind to be ready to receive all the goodness that the world has to offer.

Happy New Year!

Merry Lynch

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10 Things I Have Learned From Living Abroad

Being brought up in a small town in Maine, I used to dream about a life abroad. I wanted to travel and meet people from different places. I wanted to see how they dressed, what they ate, what their daily lives were like. I was a dreamer.

We were very fortunate as a family; my father was a very successful entrepreneur which afforded us to travel throughout the United States and parts of Canada. The one caveat that my father had was we were not to leave the country until we had seen all that the United States had to offer.

Well, as you can imagine, we never left the country, other than a weekend trip to Quebec City. Which I might say, is not a bad thing and is not a bad caveat that my father stated but it did not curb my appetite for wanting to travel abroad.

The first opportunity I had to get on a plane and leave the country was in 1976. I was newly married and my husband and I were going to Venezuela and Aruba for our honeymoon. When we arrived, the streets were lined with army personnel loaded down with machine guns and there were tanks parked on the street.

I was nineteen years old at the time and my mind was spinning with questions. When we finally arrived in Aruba, I saw a different kind of life. The resort life and the way the natives really lived. That image of such disparity has stayed with me all of my life and helped to form the person I am today.

My next trip abroad was in 1994 to Poland and Germany. This time with a new husband, a native of Poland, wanted to show me his world. I was hooked. I loved it, the people, the food, the history, the stories that were around every corner. I swore to him at that time that I would live abroad someday.

Now, fast forward to 2017, it has been a full three years of living abroad and traveling the globe. It has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Not only have I grown exponentially as a person, woman, mother and grandmother, business woman, and wife; but I have come to realize that we are all just humans looking for connection, acceptance, and love.

My sixtieth birthday was spent in a park with thirty-one other people from seventeen countries. Now that’s what I call living!

I have danced the salsa on the streets of Warsaw

helped to deliver a baby calf in the countryside of Poland

went topless on the beaches of France

 

dropped my cell phone in the Grand Canal of Venice

went snorkeling in the coral reefs of Australia

 and bought my first pair of underwear from a street vendor in Spain

spent a few nights in a Polish hospital when my lyme disease decided to act up

and so much more. And as an added bonus, I have made the most spectacular friends from around the globe.

But how do we get to that point if we are too embarrassed to make a mistake learning a new language for instance, full of guilt or judgment of what others will think about us, or believing that we can’t or shouldn’t. Too often I run across people that are in awe of my life, and although that is flattering, anyone can do this. The list below hopefully will give you the courage to take a step toward your dream life.

10 things I’ve learned from living abroad

  1. Learn to say: hello, good-bye, please and thank you in the native tongue of every country you visit. Learning to live like a native will exponentially enhance your travelling experience.
  2. Introduce to strangers. I know you were told as a child to never talk to strangers. Well…here is your chance. Say hello on the bus, talk to someone at the coffee shop, speak with the cashier, befriend a waitress. People are proud of their country and where they live and are always happy to make your stay enjoyable.
  3. Share your gifts with the world. People are inquisitive by nature. Share a tradition, a recipe, a way to do something different. Even share a smile. In some parts of the world smiling is a lost art.
  4. Learn to laugh at yourself. Living or travelling in a foreign country is fraught with embarrassing moments. Get over it and see the humor in life.
  5. Experiences are more important than stuff. This I know for sure after selling or giving away all of our belongings except for 50 pounds worth of clothing, my life is so much richer now than ever before.
  6. Being inquisitive is a great gift. By being present in the moment you will reap the rewards. By saying “yes” to adventure a whole new world will unfold before you.
  7. Make sure to check out websites like interntations.org, check in with the local American Chamber of Commerce office or the American Embassy during your travels. There are people just like you all around the globe seeking new friends.
  8. When trying something new you’ll suck at it and that is OK. Lighten up, your new life is just on the other side of fear.
  9. Never live on a street name that you can’t pronounce. I know this may sound silly but when ordering a taxi, calling in an emergency situation, or ordering take-out it helps to be able to clearly pronounce your destination.
  10. Even though I live abroad it does not make me any less of an American.

Where is it that you want to go, what do you wish to experience, how do you see your life playing out and how can you impact the world?

Be Authentic and let your light shine. The path will appear.

Lovingly,

Merry Lynch

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend. You never know when you just might change someone’s life.

Check out these other posts that you may find of interest:

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives

Share A Smile With A Stranger

5 Ways To Unsuck Your Life

Feeling stuck and don’t know where to begin, fill out my quick Let’s Get Acquainted Questionnaire so that I may guide you in the direction of your dreams. I am here for you! If you are ready to live life on your terms, guilt and shame free then make a move today. Let’s Get Acquainted! 

Share A Smile With A Stranger

Exploring Southern Spain for the winter my husband and I came across the charming little town of Finestrat. As always when we travel we ask ourselves, “could we live here” and this time the answer was an astounding YES! This region in Spain is surrounded by mountains on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. Everything we love to do all wrapped up into one.

Neither my husband or I speak a lick of Spanish, although my husband is much better at faking it than I am. After spending the past three years in Poland, I am getting everything confused. Not being particularly gifted at picking up a new language, I learned the words I needed to know in order to shop, get around and order a meal in Poland but not really much else. Hi, bye, kiss me and I love you gets you a long way in a foreign country.

Now, here comes Spain, and I have no idea what is going on. The people speak so fast that I can’t grasp anything but I have found that just like in other countries we have traveled to that a smile always works. Ok, I did learn how to say “hola” which is hello and “gracias” which is thank you. Often times the native speakers are thrilled to have you even try. So…I’m doing my best.

The charming town of Finestrat captivated us immediately. It’s a little bit Sedona, Arizona, with Puig Campana visible from everywhere with the pink rock and pine trees. Puig Campana offers fabulous hiking and rock climbing for all levels and views that will take your breath away. And bonus, Puig Campana is a short six miles from the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, which offers wide, white sandy beaches with palm trees and bougainvilleas blowing in the wind, it’s like a dream that you don’t want to wake up from.

As we glanced around, we noticed a church steeple in the distance and decide to meander through the streets to find it. It’s always a good idea to say a bit of thanks as often as possible, so we traverse the windy streets of the old town and begin our journey.

The streets of the old town of Finestrat, are narrow and certainly only able to fit one car at a time. I decided that my driving skills are not yet ready for such steep terrain and cement block buildings on either side but I am in awe of those that do such a daring feat.

After a bit, we find the cathedral of this lovely town. The inside is a buzz with people setting up displays of mangers for the Christmas celebration. We stop to say thanks for all of our blessings and off we go. Not knowing what we will find next, we turn left and right just following any path or road. It’s all so beautiful and quaint that we just keep walking.

As we round a corner, we notice an elderly gentleman leaving his home and locking the door. We smile and say “hola,” and he motions to us to follow him. We happen to be walking in the opposite direction but he points his cane in the direction he wishes to go so we decide to follow. At first I thought maybe he just needed help walking, so that’s ok, I can do that.

As we walk, he asked us where we were from. My husband said Poland and I say California. He smiles and then remarks about the fires of California and the heat, using hand gestures and words that we can decipher. He leads us through the streets to this beautiful vista overviewing the Mediterrean. Breath taking is all I have to say. He then motions us to follow him further.

The streets are steep and our steps are small and slow. We then come upon a botanical garden that is on the very top of this vista. He points to a sign that is in Spanish and English which tells about the Arabs who first lived in this region. Spain has a fascinating history. We turn around and there is a lovely little chapel. We walk over and my husband tries to open the door but it is locked. So we look inside the small window and are overcome with gratitude. We turn to our guide to say “thank you” and he pulls a set of keys from his pocket and opens the door. I begin to cry.

We walk inside and he turns on the lights. We bow and say a prayer for this amazing gift. He just stands and smiles. He is the curator of the historic buildings in this town and was so happy to share them with someone. Blessings everywhere. After a few moments of silence we leave the chapel and he locks the door behind us as he leads us down another path.

Slowly we walk through the windy streets and he points out the home of an American as well as an Australian couple. This certainly is the man to know. Although our sentences are short and somewhat broken, we are able to communicate with a smile.

We round a corner and we are back at his home. We say our good-byes with hand shakes and kisses (always three kisses in Spain), and make our way back to our car filled with gratitude and joy. Finestrat will always have a special place in our hearts.

The one thing, among many, that I have learned over the past three years of living and traveling the globe is that we all have the same need to connect with others. People love to share the place they live and their story. So if you have ever feared not understanding or being able to speak a foreign language, never let that be the fear that holds you back from experiencing what those in foreign lands are just waiting to share.

Be the light in someone’s day, share a smile, and reap the rewards.

With love and light,

Merry Lynch

 

 

The Net Will Appear

The saying “jump and the net will appear” seems to come at the most inopportune times for me. I have a dream or a goal, a vision for something that I would like to do or experience and bam the cycle begins and totally busts a bubble in my dream. It’s like being pushed off the top of the mountain when playing “king of the mountain” as a kid. Except now as an adult the stakes are higher, now I have a reputation to uphold (or at least I think I do), or I could look like a fool if I fail, or I could just plain be totally and utterly embarrassed. Whatever “it” is that I believe could go wrong if in fact I do “jump” are mainly all ridiculous notions that seem to pop up out of nowhere.

Mostly I find for me these negative notions come up when I am trying to go it alone. After all, if I tell someone of my dreams then I might actually have to do something about it. Or, whomever I tell may cut me down at the knees and tell every reason why I can’t do or can’t achieve what I dream I can. So, I keep my mouth shut, I keep my dream inside me and tell no one. Now I am definitely not jumping, what a silly idea, I’ll stay put.

Do you struggle asking for help? Have you ever felt that if you could just find or talk to the right person or get the right information a door could open for you? Has the thought ever gone through your mind that the person you need help from either wouldn’t give it to you or wouldn’t want to help you?

Knowing that over 87% of the thoughts that go through our mind on a daily basis are negative it only makes sense that we could experience negative thoughts when needing or wanting to reach out to someone or do something different.

My experience is no different, my struggles may be just the same as yours; the goal however is to notice the feeling, the struggle, the emotion and move through it seeking those people that are waiting to help. You just need to ask….and the net will appear.

In 2003, after changing my lifestyle from a successful business owner in Portland, Maine to a psychotic resident of the valley of the sun in Phoenix, Arizona I felt as though I had lost my place in life. I knew there was something more in me that I needed to express, that I needed to share with the world, that I had a bigger calling in life but I didn’t know where to begin. I was in total confusion.

I kept having flashbacks of being with my father, who was a vivacious leader, doctor, and motivator but he passed away in 1980. Who was I going to turn to, who is it that could unlock the greatness within me.

As a little girl, my father would take me to motivational seminars. By the time I was ten years old I had seen Dr. Wayne Dyer, Charles “Tremendous” Jones, and Zig Ziglar. The thought came through my head that I needed to speak with Charles “Tremendous” Jones and then the thoughts quickly went to: why would he speak with me, what would I say, and I would probably sound ridiculous. But my inner struggle continued and I kept seeing his face.

One day after googling Tremendous Jones, I picked up the phone still not sure what to say and dialed his number. Thankfully he did not answer the phone so I left a message with my name and number stating that I just wanted to touch bases with him. Knowing that he would never call back, I felt relieved that I could check that off my list until two hours later when my phone rang.

The person on the other end of the phone said: “Hello Merry Lynch, this is “Tremendous” Jones. What can I do for you today.” Sweat immediately began to pour from my body, my mouth became dry as cotton, my head went blank. All I could say was “I can’t believe I’m hearing your voice.”

For some reason, I had a need to see his face, to be with him, to speak directly to him so I made up an excuse. I told him that I was going to be in Pennsylvania (which I was not) in two weeks (where he lived) and that I would like to take him out to lunch. There…I said it…now I waited for what seemed like an eternity for him to answer.

“Well Merry Lynch, no, you can not take me out to lunch.” See I knew it, is where my mind went and then “but you can come by my office and read to me. Shall we say two weeks from today at noon?” My head spinning and my heart pounding, I of course agreed.

The flight reservations where made and off I flew; excited, anxiety ridden, and feeling very courageous all at the same time. I arrived at his office just as planned and waited anxiously for “Tremendous” to appear. Just then the tall, charming man now with an eye patch covering one eye came bursting through the door to shake my hand. “Tremendous” escorted me into his office and we sat down.

We chatted for a few minutes about how I knew of him and then he asked me again, “what can I do for you Merry Lynch?” and I began to tremble. I told him that I was lost, that I knew there was something that I was supposed to be doing but I had no idea how to begin or what it was.

He told me that he had lost his sight in one eye and had trouble reading. His office had a library filled from floor to ceiling with books along one wall. He asked me to walk over to the library wall and without looking select a book and let it open in my hands. I did as he asked.

He then asked me to read to him, both the left and right page and then close the book. Immediately my lips began to tremble and tears ran down my face as I began to read. What a crazy reaction, what is happening to me. The man just asked me to read for heaven’s sake…but hard as I tried the tears kept coming.

I read the pages as “Tremendous” had asked and closed the book. He looked up at me and thanked me for reading to him and then he said, “there is your answer Merry Lynch.”

On no, I didn’t understand. I didn’t get the answer, how stupid of me. He got the answer and I didn’t. I mustered up the courage and replied, “I’m sorry Mr. Jones, I was so nervous that I had no idea what I was reading. Please tell me the answer.”

He told me to take a look at the title of the book. I told him that the title was “100 Best Bible Verses for Leaders.” He replied back, “see there is your answer.” On no, I still don’t get it. I said, “Mr. Jones, what answer?” His response was simple. I wanted it to be complicated. I wanted it to be earth shaking, huge, monumental so that there was no way I could possibly achieve it and then I could just go back to my life and let it be.

But now there was no turning back. The “jump” that I made in contacting him changed my life forever. The net did appear yet I was trying to do the back stroke and take the easy way out. I think we all can attest that taking the easy the way out doesn’t work either.

Tremendous Jones’ simple answer was, “you are a leader Merry Lynch, the world is just waiting for you stand up and lead. There are people out there that need you.” I sobbed, yup, couldn’t stop the faucet of tears. I knew it all along. I spent my life in leadership positions. I had gone through all types of trainings and mentor programs. I knew people liked to follow me, work for me, be with me. I had certifications and degrees in the study of people and yet the task seemed overwhelming to me.

Thankfully Mr. Jones brought me back down to Earth, talking me off the ledge. We talked about leadership, about showing up for others, about lending a hand and I felt a sense of accomplishment and calm. I felt in my heart of hearts that I can do this. I jumped and the net did appear. Charles “Tremendous” Jones was my net.

Shortly after this we parted and “Tremendous” passed away several short months later. I was the last person he saw in his office. My net appeared because I sought it out, I asked for it, I believed in it.

Don’t ever let those dreams be misguided by nay sayers or negative thinking. The gifts you have to share with the world are not about you, your gifts however are about serving. The gifts you have are like no other. You are the only one that can possess these gifts. You are the only one that can deliver the message in your own unique way. And yes, the world is waiting for you.

Gratefully,

Merry

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A new year, a new you! Join me and other like minded women for Core Confidence in Portland, Maine on January 6, 2018. No excuses, no negative self-talk…learn to love your big beautiful self again and build the life of your dreams.

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Cemetery Celebrations – All Saint’s Day

Let’s Talk About Cemeteries…

When you think of a cemetery, what’s the first thought that comes to your head? For me, it’s that dark, cold, scary place where I never want to go. Is it the same for you? When was the last time you visited a cemetery when it was not related to a death? Again, for me, I can’t remember (when in the US anyway). I do recall stopping by my parents grave for a very short visit maybe five years ago but I did not bring any flowers.

On this Halloween I find myself at a cemetery in Lodz, Poland and not because it is Halloween but because it is the day before All Saint’s Day. This trip or gathering (a festival really) at the cemetery happens every year beginning on the day before November 1st , and runs through November 2nd. All Saint’s Day, November 1st,  is a very important day in the Christian calendar.

All Saint’s Day, also known as, All Soul’s Day stems from a belief that there is a spiritual bond between those in heaven and those still living and it is a time to honor the Saint’s that have given their lives to God. It is a national holiday in those historically Catholic countries and is widely celebrated by the whole family.

Poland, a country made up of nearly 92% Catholics, places much emphasis on this day. The cemeteries are buzzing with people chatting, laughing and reflecting. The grave stones have been polished, weeds picked, candles lit and flowers placed all for this celebration. The flower vendors line the streets with fresh and silk made arrangements, the glass candle votives that come in a variety of color and sizes are there for the choosing. The police detour traffic as the pedestrians fill the streets. The air is filled with the smell of cotton candy, grilled farmers cheese and the pretzel vendor to help keep the children and everyone’s tummies full as they wind their way through the gravestones.

Families stroll through the cemetery gates carrying their offerings to their deceased loved ones. They come with brooms, pruning shears and cleaners to beautify the grave and spend time being grateful for the love they once shared or the bravery this person exuded during times of oppression.

This day, All Saint’s Day, is so special that everything is closed. Malls, restaurants, bars, food stores, everything, even the local coffee shop. This can prove to be a little hazardous if you are on holiday, one could starve to death, if not prepared. But, there is hope, you can always stop by a local cemetery and find lots going on.

Cemeteries are jam packed. Coming from America it is hard to believe you would spend the day among the dead. Shoulder to shoulder, the young children and the elderly flock to spend a day sharing memories and stories of their loved ones. It is truly a beautiful site.

The event goes way into the evening and as the candles are lit the cemetery seems to come alive (no pun intended). The center aisle is where people come to place candles of the forgotten ones as they silently lay their candle on the ground and stand quietly in reflection. It is a chilling site and very sombering.

Mexico is another country which joyfully celebrates this day. I once had the opportunity and pleasure (I might add) to celebrate this day at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in Southern California  favorite food or drink, dress or clothing, hobby or profession in the trunk of their vehicle of the deceased. 

There was also a display of old or antique cars that had been dressed up for the occasion and the festival was full of light and love. Music blared, food was plenty, children were playing and laughter filled with aisles. Day of the Dead as they call it at the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, is a fun filled festival with music, food, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the antique road show where the cars are decked out with the deadliest of designs.

I am drawn to deep traditions such as this and am filled with awe of the love that is shared on this day. What does going to the cemetery mean to you? I think a summer gathering might be in store during my next visit to my home town in Maine, how about you?

Until next time,

Merry Lynch

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Unsuck Your Life

Being on the treadmill of life is often times hard or seemingly impossible to get off. We see others living these fabulous lives and yet we stay right where we are in our pity party of existence. Sometimes we go as far as to ridicule others that have something that we want or desire. Yet when given the tools, even though we already have them inside of us, we don’t use them.

The 5 ways that I have learned to “unsuck” my life and move from fear to fearless will seem easy as you read them. Don’t be misled. I want you to be successful. I want you to have everything in life that you desire and that you deserve. Going it alone, doesn’t work for many of us. I see it all the time and have struggled with it myself.

Surround yourself with like-minded people. You know the ones, they pick you up when you fall. Those are the ones you want around whenever you are making any kind of change. Share your dreams, paint a picture for them, get clear and see it (whatever that may be) unfolding in front of you, and always be grateful for the life you have so you can receive the life you want.

Once you have your support system then begin your journey. Here are my 5 ways to unsuck your life:

  1. Tiny Steps-yup this is so important. For me also the hardest of the steps. I prefer to go through life like a bull in a china shop but that doesn’t serve anyone, especially me. By noticing the little things, you will begin to see just how everything all fits together like a beautiful puzzle. Take your dream or goal and break it down to the tiniest detail. Number everything in order of importance and complete each tiny task one by one in order without moving to the next before you have the first one completed. Then track it. Tracking your progress will allow you to see that you are in fact moving forward. When you see your progress, you get to find momentum. As momentum builds you too will find more confidence and conviction to move effortlessly through your detailed tiny item listing.
  2. Two Sides to Every Coin-ugh this gets me every time. There are in fact two sides to every coin, wouldn’t you agree? There also are two sides to every story. Kind of like a checks and balances things. It’s one of the twelve laws of the universe so who could possibly dispute it? Every time a negative thought about yourself or your abilities pops into your head and believe me they will, take a moment to look at it. Like you are observing it as a third person. Is that negative thought really true about you? Most likely not. Are the words that someone said about you true? Nah. Could you be better? Sure, we all could. Once you have a chance to view the “coin” from both sides…let it go. Breathe and let it go. This thought no longer serves you or the world. Let it go.
  3. Mindfulness-I love this. This short three-minute practice will change the way you live your life forever. You can do this three-minute practice as many times during the day or night that you need. My suggestion is to begin by using this short practice before getting out of bed in the morning and before going to sleep at night. Then once you get in the groove of using this technique you might find yourself using it throughout the day as well. So here it is: get comfortable, close your eyes, take deep belly breathes for one minute. Focus on your breath the whole time. Notice it, like feel the air coming in your nose and out through your mouth. Feel your belly rise and lower, that kind of noticing. Then, keep breathing but slow it down a little, move your focus to the thoughts going through your mind. Just look at them and let them go. Observe them move but without wanting to grab a hold of them or put any emotion toward them. Do this also for one minute. For the third minute, go back to focusing on your breath. Big deep belly breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth while moving your attention once again to the sensations that this type of breathing provides. As the third minute draws to a close, slowly wiggle your toes, move your hands around and open your eyes. This short technique will rock your world. Need a little more convincing when it comes to mindfulness meditation? You can read about it more in my e-book Your Daily Dose – your prescription to living life to the fullest.
  4. Visualize-gotta see it to believe it. The oldest technique for achieving anything great, the one used by athletes, organizations (like Google and Microsoft), and multi-millionaires. The caveat here is that you have to have a clear vision or a dream, a goal, an aspiration. By clear, I mean, one that you can clearly articulate. This is where I find most people get stuck in visualizing. The fear crops up once we see that our dream can be a reality and then when it comes time to articulating this dream, we lose it. Can’t find the path and then we quit. Sound familiar? So, get your dream in sight, feel it (this is a must), see yourself in the dream (look pretty good, huh?). Once you see yourself in your dream then begin to describe who you have to be, to become that person. Who do you admire that has the traits that the new you needs? Do you need to smile more (tiny steps remember), do you need to be more outgoing, do you need to be smarter with your money? Things like this…Then you have to begin to be that person. Believe it and the dream will appear. Want to learn how to create a vision board that works? Join me in Portland, Maine on January 6, 2018 for Core Confidence Visions. Don’t let another year pass you by. Registration is now open!
  5. Believe-Amen to that. It is my belief that we were all put on this Earth as perfect human beings. No matter what race, color, gender, religion, disability or not, we are all perfect as we are. If that is true, then the world is my oyster. Right? Easy enough. The gifts that you have are like no one else’s. You are the only one that can share your gifts in the way that only you can do. The best part of believing is the understanding that if you are the only one with these gifts then you have an abundance of opportunities to share your gifts and live a life of abundance.

By going through these five simple and free steps to unsuck your life your dreams will unfold just as they are supposed to. Believe that the world is abundant. Believe that you deserve everything in life that you want with goodness and love. Bring it on…let go…love abundantly and Unsuck your Life.

Gratefully,

Merry Lynch

 

 

 

 

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Poland – A place to visit and fall in love

Night Panorama of Royal Castle and Old Town in Warsaw, Poland

Poland is many things to many people. Some have experienced Poland for themselves and others have only heard of the horrors yet neglect to hear of the growth and prosperity. So, as you plan your next vacation spot think about this: Poland is a land of 2,000 lakes, 251 castles, where underground cities are made of salt and where Nicolaus Copernicus re-imagined the universe. It is a country dabbled with 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites and where Polish authors command more respect than anywhere else in Europe.

Poland, is a place where Madam Curie was named the first female Nobel Prize winner (not once but twice) and a country where 87% of the population is Catholic with 13 national holidays when even getting a hot cup of coffee can be a challenge.

Michael Moran, who wrote the book A Country in the Moon, describes Poles as having a “rhapsodic temperament, lovers of charm and hospitality, brave and reckless in life, imaginative, great observers (hence the staring), and advocates of freedom.” “Poles are lovers of horses and horsemen, they are patriots who treasure honor and fidelity, they are romantic, and have sincerity of intention and a burning emotion for achievement.”

Poland, a place of cities lost and cities gained, of primeval forests and stunning palatial gardens, of grisly murders and secrets buried. Where cemeteries tell a story of faith and heroism and where tombstones stand proud above the loss of life yet the beauty of the stones portray a story of love, life and triumph that is offered up by the world-renowned sculptors who gallantly have carved out their story.

Warsaw inspires an exploration of a deeper heart. An impossible leap of imagination is required to deal with the scale of death and destruction and the statement of faith that these people have. The shortest walk around Warsaw becomes a lesson in the history of destruction and rebirth.

Warsaw is a city that has witnessed inconceivable acts of courage, heroic resistance and formidable reconstruction. No city in Europe suffered so much and no city demands the wanderer an intense look into human behavior. Poles through all the devastation became passionate entrepreneurs, rising from the destruction of WWII, sold anything they had left to anything they could make and the spirit of the entrepreneur was born.

Step outside and take a chance on visiting Poland. Connect with those you meet along your path, even through the embarrassment of language or mis-understandings. Take advantage of what Poland has to offer and teach you during your stay. It is all within your reach, either by foot, car, bus, tram, train or plane, Poland is waiting for you to discover it.

Poland is within your grasp to learn and cultivate relationships that will go beyond anything you have experienced in the past. Put down the hammer of judgement, seek to find the answer to your burning questions, of which I am sure there will be many. Open your mind and your hearts to a people that are eager to learn, to hear, to experience your life.

My journey to Poland has brought about many life lessons, I hope that yours will be the same.

Be adventurous,

Merry Lynch

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A Minor Setback

A few weeks ago I experienced a minor set-back. If you are like me, these set-backs, delays or derailments can take us off course leaving us frustrated, alone and feeling just plain lousy about life.

I show up pissed off at myself (because generally I did something that was not in alignment with myself) or I become scared and anxious because I don’t understand what is happening. This time, after a visit to the doctor and some internet research I was better able to get a grip on what was happening but then I became angry and went down the never ending pity party rabbit hole of “oh, why is this happening,” “poor me, poor me.”

Until I realized that all this negative energy certainly wasn’t going to make anything better I then gave myself a virtual slap in the head and began to work on my attitude and self-care.

After all this is a minor setback and when it is all said and done minor ain’t so bad. There is afterall the minor leagues, that is a step before greatness to the majors. Then there is the minor cut which is a small cut or bruise and of course the minor set-back which can take things a little off course.

Certainly this isn’t the first delay or the first derailment I have experienced in my life and thriving and surviving with a chronic illness comes with ups and downs. I know that..but still..it gets to me sometimes.

Living with a chronic illness such as Lyme Disease brings about unexpected surprises at a moments glance. Being caught off guard on anything in life, if not understood, can send us spiraling out of control. Having the where with all to notice it and then having the courage to stop the spiral will make all the difference.

Madame Curie once said that “life is not to be feared, just understood.” OK, so certainly I nor anyone else on the planet totally has a handle on all of the effects that Disease and its co-infections has on the body but what I do know is that my body is altered and I need to embrace that and not push against it.

As I was walking down the street, thankfully with my husband, a very large eye floater obstructed my view. What I really want to say is this giant, green slimy thing that looked like something out of a science fiction movie flew in front of my vision and scared the shit out of me. I felt like I was being attacked by something inside my body (which truth be known about Lyme Disease, that was exactly what was happening).

Thankfully we were able to get a doctor appointment with an eye specialist that day to uncover what was going on.

Lyme Disease delivers many things in varying ways to different people (hence the reason it is difficult to diagnose and treat). My jolt of the day was a floater. I am told floaters are known to occur naturally as we age and those of us with Lyme Disease experience them more often and earlier in age. A floater can appear as a dark spot or line that moves about in your line of vision. The floater that I experienced was on a much larger scale and reminded me of something out of the movie Ghost Busters (I know, I’m dating myself here).

 

On the big scheme of things the concern is a retinal tear that can a cause blindness, another side effect of Lyme Disease. I am attempting to see this (no pun intended) as a minor set-back in order to stop the negative voices.

Anyway, after being placed on bed rest, no exercise, no lifting, not getting excited or emotional for several weeks the tests and an ultra sound of my eye have found no further damage. This is a blessing.

What do I do from here? Take care of myself, get plenty of sleep, yoga, eat a non gluten, no sugar, no yeast diet, meditate, be grateful and share my experiences. I CAN do that! I have the right to choose.

Minor right? That is how I choose to see it. What do you do about minor set-backs?

Be well,

Merry Lynch

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