What Inspires Thrivers to Thrive?

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by Cynthia Hazen

We had a gathering recently and invited people to share what ideas foster their thriving.  What a wonderful way to visit with people.  People suggested they were inspired with thinking about it for themselves and enjoyed sharing their ideas as well as hearing the ideas of others.  I found it wonderfully uplifting and enjoyable.

Ken and Barbara had lots of ideas.  For Ken RESPECT for others as well as himself was key — being comfortable with oneself.  Savoring life, reaching beyond the status quo and enjoying new things moves him.  He appreciates living within his means and realizing you can’t control everything.  His wife Barbara particularly appreciates friends who are like sisters, a strong relationship with Jesus, gratitude and a sense of humor as well as her wonderful husband.  She thinks having a disciplined life is important to thriving.

Michael and Tom are inspired by thoughts of some of the greats.  Michael appreciates Maya Angelou’s “Life likes to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I’m with you kid.  Let’s go!” Tom is a Henry James man and likes his “Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind huge spider web of the finest silken thread suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every airborne particle in its tissue.  It is the very atmosphere of the mind; and when the mind is imaginative. . .it converts the very pulses of the air into revelations.”

For Phoebe (and Al) GRATITUDE is important.  Phoebe likes LAUGHTER with FRIENDS, EXERCISE and keeping busy, her spiritual growth and gratitude — appreciating and enjoying nature and the support of her family.

For Al (and Marg) HAPPINESS is salient.   Al states that thriving = happiness.  He thinks that happiness is being satisfied with what you have.

Bridget and Jim focus on ACCEPTANCE.  Jim simply states ‘accept.’  Bridget elaborates to ‘accept what IS.’

Darcy and Dick appreciate the importance of limits, growth and change.  Darcy advocates learning to say NO, doing what you would want to receive, speaking kind words, CHANGE is GOOD. . .REINVENTION is AWESOME and no meal being complete without wine.  She reminds me that COMPROMISE is not a four letter word.  Her husband, Dick, advises putting a SMILE on SOMEONE’S FACE EVERYDAY.

Erna has a philosophical approach suggesting that “every question possesses a power that does not lie in the answer.”  She advises following the dancing path, in discussion or argument focusing on progress rather than victory and defines eternity as the time where the question and answer would become one. I do appreciate her focus on the power of the question itself.

Ruth and Joe encourage saying “YES” to every opportunity and in their long and successful lives both individually and together they have demonstrated how it has led them to great adventures and new friends.  They also advise saying “NO” to things you do not want.

The focal ideas Nicholas and I shared were reflected by others for the most part.  Nicholas focuses on being grateful, grateful for all, being curious and feeling the joy.  He is particularly keen on BEING and ALLOWING.  I am a big proponent of creating life in a deliberate, a chosen, way and appreciating that we are always choosing in how and what we are being.  I, like others around me, enjoy the laughter and joy amplified when shared with friends.

While there were other guests, they preferred privacy with regard to their shared thoughts which were however similar to those of the others.  As is most likely apparent, we are fortunate to be developing a nice group of thoughtful and thriving people with whom we are developing friendships here in Aiken, SC.  The themes of focusing on joy, growth and development, acceptance and respect, and appreciating life (including limits) were evident both in what people shared and in who they were/are.  What a pleasure and how happy to be sharing with these good people.