From a rocking chair

June 28th, 2016

My grand-aunt, who happens to be absolutely amazing, recently turned 96. This lady remains a wealth of wisdom, and listening to her many stories, and witnessing her awesome attitude, has always been a real blessing for me. The older I get the more curious I become…so last time we spoke I asked her:

What’s the secret of your unshakable inner peace and happiness?

She looked me in the eye and smiled with the following explanation:

There is always something to appreciate in life.
I like to be mindful of all the good stuff.

The statement blew my mind; after all, her ears don’t hear well, her eyes can’t see clearly anymore, her body hardly moves and it takes her an hour just to dress. She has all the reasons in the world to be unhappy, though she never complains. Instead, she puts her mind on something nice and gives her full attention to that rather than the things that would have her spirit spiral down… Even if onlyone out of ten things are appreciate-able you can be sure she’ll focus on the one good point!

She’s my hero. Her wisdom is admirable. Moreover, she is a role model of how to age with grace. She speaks often of those she met, worked with and loved throughout her life. When she doesn’t feel physically strong enough to go out she likes to refresh memories of the nicest moments in her life. Would you believe she’s still got a best friend from the college? He’s just paid her a visit to wish a Happy birthday..! How great is that?!

Talking with her makes me wonder:

What does it take to cultivate a friendship for over 80 years? How could I age with such grace? What will my favorite go-to memories be when I can’t go out to see the world anymore?

And most of all –

What story will I tell my grandchildren one day?

It’s been a year since my dear friend and a soul-mate Vicki Flaherty invited me to help spread mindfulness among the leaders of our corporation. In this traditionally conservative IT environment of predominantly left-brain oriented people I wasn’t sure if she isn’t just playing the “Imagine if” game with me. However, she was serious and she had me on board for the idea in no time.

Imagine a corporation which has an exciting vision, inspiring leadership, delighted customers and engaged employees who spend their days working from their sweet spot immersed in creatively productive flow.

Now imagine that the change started with something as insignificant as one mindful breath at the beginning of a meeting i.e. 16 seconds spent in group meditation.

God knows…

Fast-forward…and here we are a year later; I am literally punching myself: two thousand members in Mindfulness community, people all over the world meeting to meditate together, hundreds of leaders interested to apply a more mindful leadership and learning new practices they wish to integrate into their daily lives. All happening naturally and organically expanding far beyond what we’ve envisioned…

The mindfulness story keeps evolving and I sense this is just the beginning. It feels wonderful to ride the mindfulness wave together and create what has only been a dream last spring. Shared out loud with a strong belief and clear intention on the part of Vicki it moved mountains…I mean masses And people already perceive the value it’s creating in their life.

I’m having a “flash-forward” – seeing myself at 96 years old, sitting on a rocking chair, telling my grandchildren how the whole story started…when the project became one of my favorite memories I enjoy coming back to…and why it turned to be one of the most meaningful things I’ve done in my life.

I like to be mindful of the good stuff.

What story would YOU like to tell from your rocking chair one day?





Vicki Flaherty
9.7.2016 03:13

I like to be mindful of the good stuff. Brilliant. Indeed your great aunt is filled with wisdom. What an inspiration.
I have to pinch myself - what we have created for ourselves and others since we met less than 3 years ago. It's super to be co-creating with. We are making a difference! So glad to be writing this story with YOU!

Terry Flaherty
10.7.2016 15:25

Amobg the greatest blessings in life are our children. They are our legacy. How blessed am I to have Vicki as a beloved daughter who is making her mark in this world. It is my turn to learn from her - and I am. Hers is one of my very best stories! God bless you both.

10.7.2016 17:25

Hi Terry, thank you for your heartfelt comment. You must be so proud of Vicki...she's a light for so many of us! I fully agree with you, being a mother I am reminded of just how blessed I am every day. And - I'm almost sure that my gifted daughter has taught me more than she could have learnt from me :-)

11.7.2016 15:55

It is always pleasure to read your blog and I have to admit I am also always excited about the comment section. I hope it will not sound too cheesy but I also have a daughter, even though she is still a child (or maybe because of this fact) she likes listening to the stories and there is no better storyteller than my grandmother. She is now 83, she lives on her own and she is doing really well, she doesn't need any help and when we visit her, she usually complains about her knees or back:-) But if we ask her about her childhood or how was it when she was dating my granddad, she brightens up and suddenly she is full of live, stories and she entertains us all. My daughter loves especially the story how my great-grandfather, so her great-great-grandfather came back from the 1st World War. So when it comes to your question, when I see myself in a rocking chair, I would like to be able to tell my own stories, what I have seen and done but I hope I will remember these too. Of course I hope my stories will be better but I would like to leave it to my great-grandchildren to decide:-)

12.7.2016 22:13

Hi Marky, I appreciate you shared the stories of your grandmother, we are really fortunate if we have such people around. Isn't it amazing that in the end it might be the impact we had in the lives of others that matters the most? I know you already have quite a few of such stories under your own belt too... Keep on rocking it ;-)