Celebrating My Book Proposal: Brain Health for Boomers

August 5th, 2011 • By: Suzanne Holman Brain, Success, Suzanne Holman



Who would have thought that entering a writing contest for a book proposal would bring up my entire life for review???  I certainly didn't expect to have the array of emotions come forward for me.

When I first read about the contest, I didn't feel called to enter.

Then it came to me that this was a valuable structure for me to follow to move me along to writing my first official book.

I was preoccupied with house renovations and preparing for my first solo long distance trip from AZ to WA and thought I'd get into the writing once I got settled.

Once I arrived, it took me quite a while to settle in to my place. Then I needed to move into one daughter's house to pet sit and then after a week moved into my other daughter's house when they went on vacation.  

I did buckle down and worked on the project.  It was much more work than I anticipated it would be. I found myself questioning everything I was doing in my writing and in my business, feeling discouraged and with little drive to write.  

Using some of my strategies for getting centered and allowing the negative feelings to be there, notice them, and then let them float away, I was able to get very focused and devoted many hours to my writing.

I did complete the proposal and gingerly pressed the send key. 

I feel empowered that I could focus and complete.
There were 600 who signed up to be eligible to enter a proposal…..don't know how many entered over 200 but don't know final count.

After the contest entry date passed, Christine had a celebration call for all who had entered the contest.
Hearing one person after another share how they too had had a transformational experience just from completing the proposal was so inspiring!

Christine herself was overwhelmed with the depth of the experiences that entrants had during the process.

In about six weeks we'll know who won one of the two book contracts and the many other author-related prizes.

It is amazing how being part of a large group of inspired authors can move us all forward toward completing our writing!


Use Your Hands-Take Time For Projects For More Happiness

July 28th, 2011 • By: Suzanne Holman Joy, Laughter, Life purpose

Gretchen Rubin is a brilliant attorney who left the law to write and spent a year test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier and blogged her way to a NYT #1 Best Seller, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

I recently was introduced to Gretchen's work by Ben Dean of Coaching for Happiness.  I loved her latest video post talking about the value of using your hands to create something in order to increase your happiness.  She was trying to think of something that would work for her and had a plethora of responses, suggesting ways she could get creative. helps you with all necesarilly tools.

You may enjoy reading her post and the comments:

You can find them at this link:

And I love Gretchen's twelve commandments!

Twelve Personal Commandments

  • Be Gretchen.
    Let it go.
    Act the way I want to feel.
    Do it now.
    Be polite and be fair.
    Enjoy the process.
    Spend out.
    Identify the problem.
    Lighten up.
    Do what ought to be done.
    No calculation.
    There is only love.

What do YOU do to create with your hands?


Healthy Mind Platter – Dr. Daniel Siegel and David Rock

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, a professor at UCLA and executive director of Mindsight Institute and David Rock, executive director of NeuroLeadership Institute recently created a concept called The Healthy Mind Platter.  Taking off on what makes for a healthy, balanced, plate of food, The Healthy Mind Platter has  seven essential mental activities necessary for optimum mental health in daily life.

“These seven daily activities make up the full set of ‘mental nutrition’ that your brain needs to function at its best,” writes David Rock. “By engaging regularly in each of these servings, you enable your brain to coordinate and balance its activities, which strengthens your brain’s internal connections and your connections with other people.”
The seven essential mental activities are:
Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain.
Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, richly activating the brain’s social circuitry.
Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways.
Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain.
Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge.
Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.
I think they really described clearly what our brains to function effectively!   And just as we EAT daily, so does our brain need its daily servings of these seven items.
Think through your day today.  How many of the seven "times" did you include in your activities?
Are you finding yourself so crowded by people that you have no "time in"?
Or are you isolating and need more connection with others?
AND playful?  Is there play time in your day?
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."   Remember that one??  We are hearing it here from the experts.  Our brain need playtime to stay sharp, creative, and focused!
Resource:   David Rock, “Introducing the Healthy Mind Platter,” Huffington Post, June 3, 2011.

26 Magic Minutes of Daily Walking


According to a study done at the University of Pittsburgh,
26 minutes is the exact amount of time optimum for helping your body to burn calories and increase the 
endorphins that make us feel better.

It also is enough to pump the blood with more oxygen to enhance our thinking.  

Another benefit is that you will help to balance hormones that control your appetite.

Somehow 26 minutes sounds like a lot less than 30, doesn't it?

Add that brisk walk to your daily routine and notice what effect it has on you!


Work Smarter-Not Harder: Lesson From Kayaking

Suzanne Kayaking


I absolutely LOVE being on the water!
And when you are in a kayak, you actually can feel at one with that water.
You're there with the sea creatures, creating very little disturbance to their habitat.

Here's the story of a great kayak adventure afternoon:

It all started with a PERFECT weather day.   Not too hot – not too cold.
It was a just-right day!  Like Goldilocks and the porridge that she chose that was just the right temperature when she visited the cottage of the three bears!

My daughter and I each were in a single kayak and my son-in-law was in a three-person kayak with my two grandsons, 6 and 8.

We decided we were ready for a good adventure heading to an island that was farther than we had actually paddled before.
I was feeling strong although I hadn't kayaked for close to two years.

We headed out into the water and it became clear to me that it would be a constant effort to keep from being pulled by the current.  
I found myself working my left arm too much and felt a bit of cramping starting in my upper arm.  Years ago I had an injury that resulted in my having a monocep instead of a bicep when the long head of the bicep ruptured.  Generally I don't notice a difference in the performance of that arm.  At this moment it was screaming at me!

I experimented with focusing on using different arm muscles and different paddle strokes.  It wasn't helping.  

I asked for some feedback from my daughter and then from my son-in-law.  He could see that I was using more of an up and down motion rather than moving my upper body side to side.  I focused my attention on changing my strokes and was able to get a pretty good rhythm going.  

We stopped at an island, had some snacks and the group did some hiking up on the island.

We talked about going to land that was fairly close to the island and my son-in-law would get a ride to our van and drive back and pick us up.  I wasn't ready to end the day and we all decided that we would go back to our original launch site.  One advantage was that going in the opposite direction would mean having that current stress on the right arm instead of left arm.

I loved the flow that I was feeling as I paddled along using more of the side to side motion.  Soon we were seeing and feeling the waves being created by wind that had kicked up.  I've always loved going over waves, whether on a body board, raft, swimming or in a kayak.  I was loving that feeling and the boys were giggling and screaming with delight with the up and down of the waves.

However, they were starting to pick up intensity and the waves were getting a little more powerful than we preferred.  

The thought of the cold water in the case of a flip-over and the worry of having two little boys in that cold water brought up some concern for us.  It was important to move rapidly to get back to shore before wind got too intense.

I totally focused on my body movements and kept a rhythm going.  I noticed that if I took my focus away from what I was doing, I would lose momentum and would start being moved off course by the water.  I felt the need to be super focused so as to keep our progress going toward shore.

As we got closer to our launchiing spot, the waters started to calm down and my daughter and I were deep into a conversation and paddling smoothly along.  Her husband called to us as we were about to go past the site!  What had felt like a struggle earlier in the paddle was now just in a flow for both of us.  My body felt as though it had worked hard, but was not in any pain.

It felt great to complete this long and challenging kayak paddle.  The intensity of the water made the victory back to land even sweeter!

Amazing when you decide there might be an easier, more efficient way of doing something and get some support so that you can work smarter – not harder!

I'll make a point of thinking back to that experience when I notice I'm living my life "harder – not smarter" and turning it all around.
I'll remember to ask for support when I feel there might be a better way of doing something rather than just working harder in the same way.


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