Live and Let Live, A Short Love Story on Valentine’s Day

Reading Shelly Cook‘s article in the Winnipeg Free Press today reminded me about Randy Pausch‘s The Last Lecture. Pausch was facing his imminent death, and delivered a message filled with optimism and  hope – with a focus on living life.

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. With all the divisiveness and conflict in the world, I think we can all use a little love right now.

I am currently in Puerto Vallarta with my husband. It is a long-planned get away in which we are able to relax, explore, and connect – with each other and with friends who are likewise in this area of the world. We are also able to do some remote work while we are here – a gift of our collective COVID experience.

Our condo is located in ‘the romantic zone’ in PV. “Zona Romántica is a trendy area filled with lively expat and LGBTQ bars, plus restaurants serving global fare. Quaint courtyard cafes and contemporary art galleries sit alongside boutique hotels on cobblestone streets.” It’s a pretty cool place.

And, it is filled with love, mostly from the LGBTQ community. I am sure this community is like any other, and has all sorts of humans who are part of it. What I have witnessed, however, in this short period of time that we are here, is a group of people (mostly men) who are joyful, fun-loving, and very affectionate. On several occasions, even chilling in the pool, I have enjoyed listening to spirited conversations filled with laughter. I find myself compelled to jump in and join them!

What’s even more cool is that I think most of them would be more than happy to include me. I ‘see’ inclusion in their eyes. Perhaps people who have experienced not being included are more aware of the importance of it!

I have also noticed nothing but kindness. Even toward this clearly hetero couple. One evening we attended a Drag Show with friends at ACT2PV. As we enjoyed our cocktails awaiting the start, four very large men took the seats directly in front of us. ‘Oh my’, said one of them, ‘I hope we aren’t going to block your view!’. After I said something like ‘no worries, all good’… one of them said ‘Well if we do, you know you can just come and sit on my knee.’ After which all four of them lol’d, as did we. Just playful fun!

Beyond that occasion, there have been several times when I have observed a real ‘joie d vivre’ in this community. Now, one might argue… Hello? It is warm and beautiful and vacation, who wouldn’t be joyful? True enough. But I think there is something more. I think there is a real ‘acceptance’ in this community – of everyone – even a spiky-haired Manitoba girl, who just wants to hang out with nice, positive people, filled with love. Ya know what I mean?

Maybe a lesson that we all need right now is one of acceptance. Of each other. Of our differences. Of ourselves. Randy Pausch accepted his fate in 2007, and delivered a message that still resonates today. It reminds me of something my mom said a lot when we were growing up, ‘live and let live’.

Let’s do that.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity! 

Not Crazy, Just Human: Cut Yourself Some Slack during the Holidays

Not Crazy, Just Human -Book Cover

Over the next several months, we will be sharing some of the learning from “Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing”.

This first excerpt is timely. The holidays can bring all sorts of joy and also all sorts of stress. Remember to be kind to yourself can help!

Cut yourself some slack

One day last summer, I went for lunch with my brother, Devin. I am so grateful that we have always been very close. (Other than when he was young and annoying, of course!).

While we ate our Thai food during lunch last summer, Devin shared about a time ten years ago when he went through a tough situation.

“You were there for me, Der. You were always there for me. I want you to know that I am here for you too.” That was good to hear. He continued, “One day, when things were getting better for me, we were out for coffee, and I started talking about the tough situation again. I remember you saying, ‘Oh, I wondered when that might come up again.’”

“Did I really say that,” I asked. “Like in a ‘mean’ way?”

“Yes,” Devin said. “It was as though you just wanted to talk about something else—about something good, and you did not want to keep talking about that same bad situation. I am only telling you this because it might be affecting you now …  if you are being impatient with yourself, if you are judging yourself, if you are trying to just get over this, it could be damaging you.”

I thought about that a lot when I got home. Thanks, Dev. That was a huge gift to me. Even though I do not remember saying that a decade ago (and really do not ever want to be that way with others who are sharing something with me), it was a good reminder that if I don’t want to be that way with them, I should not be that way with myself.

So ,,, when you feel challenged, worried or irritated, or when you say or do something you really wish you had not, remember to be kind to yourself. Pause, put your hand over your heart, and speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love.

 

You’ve Got A Friend In Me: Social Connection and Mental Well-Being

It is difficult to know where to start on this topic….or to end. Social Connection is central to your mental health, to your level of happiness, and to your very survival! Period.

One of my many valued book purchases from a few years ago, was renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman‘s  Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Connect. The book ” explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter.  Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world – other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill.  According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten.”

I just returned from a trip to Mexico with 6 friends. The entire experience was an living example of what happens in your brain and your body when you are connecting.

First, as a group, we did almost nothing but laugh! (If you are not already aware, search for the benefits of laughter and you will be inundated with references, including this one from Harvard’s Neuroscience Institute.) Laughter changes you (your skin tone glistens, your eyes brighten, your posture becomes more fluid), and it affects the people around you! We met so many special people who were staying at the same resort – some of whom I am still in contact with. I believe we met because of the wonderful energy I was carrying around from the interactions I was having with my group of friends.

Second, we had many opportunities for what my brother, Devin, calls “D&M’s” (deep and meaningful conversations). I have known most of these women for over 30 years, and I still learned something new about them on this trip. I was reminded of how much we have been through together (marriages, raising families, deaths, health scares, etc.) and I know that my life is all the better for having them in it. We’ve been there for the ups and downs, we’ve seen each other at our best and our worst, and we still care about and value each other.

Since I returned from the trip, I have reflected on how any relationship – from your marriage or partnership, to your co-workers, team mates, and even your children – all rest on the foundation of friendship. GoodTherapy.org defines Friendship as “a close association between two people marked by feelings of care, respect, admiration, concern, or even love.” They go on to outline some “common traits of friendship:

    • Some degree of commitment, both to the friendship and to the other person’s well-being.
    • A desire for “regular” contact with the other person. “Regular” contact could occur once every two days or once every two years.
    • Mutual trust, concern, and compassion.
    • Shared interests, opinions, beliefs, or hobbies.
    • Shared knowledge about one another’s lives, emotions, fears, or interests.
    • Feelings of love, respect, admiration, or appreciation.”
As I write this today, I am thinking of all of the other people I am so fortunate to call friends:
    • a beautiful human who was in a course I taught at UofW many years ago, and is now one of my dearest friends (we refer to each other as ‘healing sisters’…and we are…),
    • the participants in my mastermind groups – from my professional association and also from my local entrepreneurial community – who started off as a ‘business/professional’ group and quickly became so much more,
    • a co-worker from over 30 years ago, who I meet with every three months with regularity…
    • the people pictured above who are early-bird worker-outers like me…we get together a couple of times a year outside of the gym to add to our every day moments of connection as we sweat,
    • and so many more.

As I do with the ‘group of 7’ described above …. with my husband, children, and other family members …. I definitely commit to having regular contact with all of my friends. I trust, care about, have compassion for, and love each and every one of them. They nurture me, as I hope I do them.

I hope you also choose to commit to ongoing friendships! Sometimes, it might you who initiates most of the get-togethers and I know that can be frustrating. Remind yourself that each of those times of connection are an installment in your well-being bank and you (mind, body and soul) will reap the benefits for years to come!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!