Tag Archives: self-empowerment

It’s really simple, but it’s hard.

My house the night of the fire

My house the night of the fire

Some readers follow me on the social network scene may know that there was a fire at my house last month.

News coverage of fire at my house

My meditation brought me to the place in the Christian Bible, which says “Ye shall know them by their fruit.” and my fruit was pretty good. Because although something bad, scary, completely unfair and wrong happened to me. I was okay, no one was hurt, and I was able to go on thinking in a positive and healthy way about the situation. Now I can share with you what I learned.

Worry. When something happens that is scary, wrong, unfair, and often completely unexpected, a person can take this as an opportunity to worry the rest of their life away. Now here comes the simple, but really hard part about life, especially life after tragedy… (drum-roll please) Are you ready to take notes? Ok here it is…. Live in the moment. Live in right now.

Oh man! How many times have you heard that before? It even comes on cheesy little plaques and everything. The thing is, it’s true. It’s exactly true. And here is another little bit that came to me and this is how it goes:

Several years ago my high school Psychology teacher Mr. Mason asked us a very important question “If something really bad happens to you, how much of your life are you willing to give to it?” I am not willing to give my entire life to something that happened in 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 1 day, or 1 year. If the bad incident is actually happening in that period, then it is happening and it is out of a person’s control. The question is how much EXTRA beyond the time it took to happen are you willing to give the incident?

This is something a person has to ask themselves BEFORE a bad thing happens, so that when the fear, anxiety, anger flares up inside, when you are human it will flare up inside. The mental mechanism is there to say, “I won’t let it have any more of my life.” Take a deep breath and go back to now. Now is work. Now is hugging my kids. Now is enjoying a beautiful day. Now is doing the dishes. Whatever Now is I go back there and time moves on and things get easier, maybe not easier all the time, however life goes on I survive and even thrive with planned moments of happiness. This is how, despite bad things happening I can still live a satisfying life.

Planned moments of happiness is something I’ll talk about next time.

I wish you all the optimum of happiness in your experience.

Until next time…


“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Volunteering. The ability to be the answer to someone else’s prayer. The ability to do something about those insurmountable problems that communities often face can be a very empowering and satisfying thing to do with your time. There is a power in taking on poverty, crime, blight, sadness and desperation and easing it for someone if only in a small way, can have a huge impact.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the bad news of the day. So much of it is spoon-fed to us through the media. It might be true that the entire problem of poverty cannot be cured overnight, there are things that each individual can do to ease the suffering others feel in turn it is a powerful and somewhat addictive feeling to know that you played a part in making the world a happier and more fair place to be in.

This time of year with children going back to school there are needs in many communities for school supplies to help low-income children have the tools they need to learn and better themselves. When children have the tools they need and positive support from their community, it makes the community a better place. It gives that child hope and higher aspirations to aim for as they grow into adulthood. People who take the time to have an impact on a child’s life can not only be a major inspiration for that child, it is often said by mentors that they feel they get more out of it because they have a healthy and joy-filled relationship with the strong souls that are the children of low-income families. It is a blessing to allow them some time to able to be children.

Our elders are another group that can benefit from a little care and companionship. I remember as a schoolgirl we would go to the retirement home down the street from our elementary school at least once a month to visit. The lady I would meet with was a retired teacher. I would make her laugh and she would teach me how to say things in Latin. Although that was many years ago, I remember her she always had an impact on me. Because both of my grandmothers lived very far away and her family had to live farther away for work as well, we were a good match.  I was able to bring her some happiness while her family was away and she gave me that grandmotherly experience I might not have been able to have if not for her. It was a win-win scenario. So whether delivering meals for people with limited mobility, driving people to their doctors appointments, or simply visiting and helping out one can have a very satisfying experience volunteering.

There are so many ways to give back to community. You don’t have even have to stretch too far out of your comfort zone, just pick something that feels good to you. Coaching youth sports, helping out at the animal shelter, making calls for a politician that you believe in, working in a community garden, donating blood, teaching people while they incarcerated so they can have a better chance at success when they return back to society. There are so many ways to give so many who need help military and their families are another great group to support. So find your place, find your passion, do something, no one can do everything but they can do something.

“What’s in it for me?”, some people want to know. I find that when volunteering many people are able to form wonderful relationships with other great and giving people. I highly recommend volunteering to single people with time on their hands. It’s a better place to meet people than bars. If you are new to a community, it is a good way to begin to be involved in the community and build relationships and feel connected. Giving back and being part of the solution to life’s big problems is a very important part of self-empowerment in order to live a satisfying life. Who knows you might even have fun!

Ways you can get involved:
American Red Cross
Feeding America
United Way
United We Serve

The joy of volunteering.

You must be whole on your own to be in a complete relationship


I would like to address a myth of the modern world that I feel is prevalent. With fairy tales and romantic comedies there is this assumption that once you are in a committed relationship you will never be alone. Yet in today’s world of business travel, long work hours and transfers to other places for work it is rare that a couple be together all the time. Those who attempt to be in a relationship in order to fill a need that they are not able to fill independently of their partner have a great chance to set themselves up for disappointment.

It is interesting to think about military families in history. Men would go to war sometimes four or more years without seeing their family. There are the modern warriors, not just the military but the business warriors that are away from their families on the road around the globe getting the deal done.

Entertainers, athletes, and others are constantly on the move on tour or promoting their work and their partners need to be strong and complete on their own. This allows a person to be able to enjoy the time they have with the one they love instead of feeling they must be punished in some way for not being present to fulfill the needs of the other.

In order to live a fulfilling and satisfying life one must have a parallel path to the one they love. There are great times when the paths intertwine and are in harmony. Yet, inevitably there will be times when paths become parallel but separate for any number of reasons. That’s why the key to happiness inevitably comes back to self.

Before a person can become a part of a strong relationship, they must first be strong as an individual. They must have an independent sense of place, of self, be able to provide for themselves should that become necessary. This ability changes the dynamic of a relationship from needing to be together, to wanting to be together. Something that often adds the spark and confidence people crave from the dating phase of a relationship. That is a very powerful distinction.

Relationships are a lot like running a three-legged race. The person not only needs to be capable of running quickly on their own, they must also be able to run tied to another which involves communication and team work. When both partners know they can count on the other to hold up their end of the team and keep moving forward together the more successful the couple will be in staying together throughout the journey of life.

Sophia Tesch’s blog becomes Summary of a Happy Life


When I started this blog it was essentially my random thoughts. It will continue to be to some extent however now the blog will be taken to the next level. I will be inviting some guest writers in, sharing resources and opportunities for self-empowerment and creating a more satisfying and fulfilling life. As such the blog has changed from Sophia Tesch’s Blog to Summary of a Happy Life. I hope you enjoy it and find some inspiration from it.

Extended family is important to living a fulfilling life.


In the past century a new phenomenon in Western Culture was to move for employment purposes. The focus was no longer on extended families but the nuclear family being primarily comprised of parents and their children.

Before this happened being human was more of a tribal experience. There were aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and siblings all near by to spread out the chores, the expenses, to share the joys and ease the burdens. People of like mind, when it worked well they were positive and supportive of family members’ endeavors. They were a source of advice and were there, which could lend to feelings of safety and comfort.

I am lucky. I have a pretty cool family. However, I know that not everyone does. The thing is, everyone needs support and with the way the economy is going and the uncertain future it seems even more important to create a support community around each individual.

Having a support system of people is an important part of having a fulfilling life. To feel the love and support of others emotionally, for advice, and even for other kinds of help during times of trouble. We need community. We need our people.

Now for those who have more of a challenge with their blood family. If they are somehow toxic, abusive, or generally not supportive if they hurt more than help or feel energizing to be with it is possible that the solution is to create a surrogate family.

A surrogate family are people who do support you. Who encourage you and have your best interest at heart. These are people you can share holidays and special times with and feel comfortable to be your authentic self. People who are loving and giving in positive ways. Sometimes friends can be even closer than family. The important part is creating a loving net of people who care to recharge you with positive thoughts and with whom you can live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Where can I find these people? You may ask. Usually you find them doing the things you do naturally. Look for people with common hobbies, interests and view points. You may also have friends with opposing view points, and that’s ok, as long as the time spent with them is mostly harmonious and not combative and stressful. Find people you work well with when putting together a meal or doing a project together. The kind of people you wouldn’t mind being stuck on a deserted island with. The kind of people you know will have your back and be there to pick you up after a bad day.

Having a sense of belonging and community is something I feel we are sorely lacking in the modern age. We can still be tech savvy and modern while still being able to enjoy the old fashioned tradition of family whether they are related by blood or not the important part is to be connected with love, connected by the heart.

Do your surroundings reflect you or someone else?


Look around you? Do you like what you see? Who is represented in the space you are in? Is it filled with things that please and empower you? Or is it a physical manifestation of compromise, someone else’s dream?

Having a space that is truly yours is an important part of living a satisfying life. Like a recharging pad for an electronic device humans need a recharge pad a place that is a unique manifestation of them. The colors selected, the style and decor, the little knickknacks and living items should say “This is me, this is who I am in this life.” Not to say that items are who you are in life, it is what is behind the items the picture of the time spent with friends, the t-shirt from a favorite concert or event that you went to. The pet that you may or may not have the books you read the souvenirs from your life journey. It is about the procurement of the objects, the stories to tell, the decisions that make a space uniquely yours that matters.

Every one needs a space that reflect them back to themselves. That reminds you of your humanity and who you are. A place with your favorite music, your favorite food, your favorite textures and scents. These are like a reset where you can walk into a space take a deep breath to blow the hassles and obligations of the world away and just be. This is so vital to a fulfilling life.

Of course it all goes back to the initial work of all human beings, to define self. What do you like? What should or shouldn’t be in your space? What accurately represents you as a person? These questions must be answered before the shopping begins.

Many years ago I saw the perfect example of this experience. Dr. Gladys McGary an amazing accomplished woman, holistic healer, author, speaker, mother, you name it she’s done it. A can do lady. I had the privilege of being invited into her home, her domicile, her space. This is where I learned about this philosophy by example. Being in Dr. Gladys’ home was like a museum of Dr. Gladys’ life. Not pretentious or self involved in any way it was just a physical space that said “This is who I am, this is what I’ve done.”

Most impressive was the skin of a tiger over her couch which she had slain herself in India many years before. She said the tiger had forced her into a position of defense and she was protecting her own life and that of the villagers who had come for medical help. It was the story that was evoked from the tiger rug on the wall that made it even more impressive the tiger lived on through her stories.

When moving in with others we sometimes sacrifice our expression for that of another. The perfect home is one that has a little bit of all the house members represented in the space and that each person has some place even if it is just a small corner that they can call their own a place that is only theirs that they can create their reflecting spot.

If your space does not currently reflect you find out how it can. If you work in a place that doesn’t allow personal belongings what is something temporary that allows you to make the space your own while you are there. If you share a space, how can you have enough of you in your surroundings to truly reflect your time here on Earth? Make your own museum of you, something to share with others and call your own.

What happened to live and let live?


black & white Pictures, Images and Photos

Yesterday was July 4th, the American National day of Independence.This got me thinking about the quintessential American values, the most prevalent being Freedom. Can a person be free and feel free while at the same time being around others who express their Freedom in a conflicting way? What happened to live and let live?

In the past twenty years or so a feeling of self-entitlement has developed in our society. An expectation of personal comfort that appeared to come of age with the notion of political correctness that has created a strange dichotomy. There are people who have a strong belief that they should never be offended or made uncomfortable in any way. There is a sense with them that their personal Freedom is being infringed upon or threatened by those around them who are not making the same personal life choices as they are about very personal life options.

These choices run the gambit from religion and social choices defined by personal beliefs such as whom to date, what to eat, what to wear, who should have children and how many and a lot of other very personal life shaping private decisions. A person’s life experience is shaped by these very important decisions some which do have an overflow of sorts within their community and society as a whole to varying degrees.

Can we feel free and allow the person next to us to express their diverse expression of freedom at the same time? This becomes more controversial when these choices are in direct contradiction to one another. How does a person live within their fundamental ideals while staying out of another individual’s way who lives in a contradicting fashion with the same passion we wish to live our lives with unrestricted Freedom? Is this possible?

It is my belief that it used to be easier because the world cultures once were so isolated from one another and that people who lived near one another tended to be related in some way by mutual family, culture or background. Today however with more transportation choices and exposure through the internet of many life options people are more aware of other people’s business quite frankly.

Add to that the political power struggles and main stream media which pick up on stories that stir the pot of these passionate topics of discussion and we have what seems to be a very hostile social environment. If we are to move into a more peaceful future for our children to grow and thrive in we as a global community will have to find answers to the questions presented. Can we be aware of one another and our life choices and be able to share space, share this planet together in peace? Can we live and let live?

I love my Freedom. Being more creatively inclined I feel my Freedom is vital to my happiness and frankly my existence. I don’t fare well in oppressive circumstances. I don’t want to make personal choices for other people, and as long as they are not harming another individual and are not imposing their beliefs on me I feel passionately that I must stand up for the right of others to be Free as much as I would hope someone else would stand up to help defend my sovereign freedoms. It is hard to watch people live in a way that I don’t agree with. However, if I can’t find some way to come to terms with being ok with how my neighbor lives and if others do not come to their own conclusions about how they can be themselves at the same time living in some semblance of harmony with their neighbors, what chance does the world have of ever living in a state of peace?

Is imagination a good thing?


Imagination can be a double-edged sword. On one hand it can make a not so nice world seem a lot better than it actually is and on the other hand it can make a not so nice world seem a lot better that it actually is. Confused yet? Let me explain.

This has been a topic of much contemplation lately. The down side of imagination is when a person paints over a dangerous or destructive relationship or situation with her imagination. Making something that she should run away from seem like a situation where everything is great. This happens a lot with people who have experienced abuse. They think that their partner who is abusive to them is actually something that they are not, for example that they are kind and loving instead of violent or demeaning. This kind of imagination is more of a curse than a blessing.

On the contrary, when times are tough in a way that a person has no control to change, an imagination can be a wonderful tool of survival. Being able to imagine something better in order to stay hopeful and positive can be a tremendous asset. Imagination can also be wonderful if a person has a talented imagination they can make a pretty good living utilizing it–or so I have heard.

Imagination, blessing or curse? It depends on the circumstances. It is never a good idea to detach too far from reality. Reality is a grounding point of reference that is a necessity. However, to take a few fleeting flights of fantasy away from reality in order to contemplate the what ifs in life can be quite productive. It can illuminate possibilities, help to develop goals, and assist in problem solving.

At the end of the day, it’s the results that count. If a person is living with her head in the imagination clouds too much there won’t be much in the way of positive results in her real life. However, if there is too little imagination, like an engine with no oil, the mind can begin to overheat. The balanced imagination offers time to dream and time to take the realistic actions needed to bring those dreams into reality. In balance, imagination might not be a bad thing after all.

Confidence v. Arrogance


What is the difference between a confident person and an arrogant person? Confidence is inspiring and positive where arrogance generally turns people off and sends them away. The arrogant person is a talker. Often talking about what they have done, their various perceived accomplishments, who they know, what they know and the list goes on.

Confident people don’t feel the need to talk about their accomplishments because their accomplishments speak for themselves. Often other people will tell the confident person how good they’re doing because they are being judged by their actions, not their perceptions about the impact they are having in the world.

Simply put, the confident person is able to back up their talk with results. Arrogant people are often unproven, insecure and have a false sense of their positive impact on the world around them. Arrogant people have not paid their dues and this is what causes them to receive negative feedback when they tout their perceived accomplishments to others.

Confidence is built one successful result at a time. There is no way to cheat and get there it can only be earned. Each experience and event builds to the next until a person creates a strong foundation of accomplishment on which to stand and be judged at the end of the day for their contribution to humanity.

The arrogant foundation is false, weak and with holes that do not stand up to truth and scrutiny. In this case there is nothing of substance left behind of any real value and in many cases quite the opposite is true where the arrogant person was more destructive than helpful in their particular community.

Confidence has a power to it. It is magnetic and attractive. It is an inner light that shines through the eyes of a person who knows they are capable of accomplishing great things because they have actually walked through the fire and have done it. They have proof, people love a leader and a passionate person who is able to get things done.

Arrogance is like assault. Someone trying to steal power through a con job that they want to sell to appear to be more capable than they have had the ability to demonstrate in real experience. The interesting thing about arrogance is that the lie can be made true with work and diligence to task. If a person wants to they can trade in the false notions of what they would like others to believe them to be, take the path of those before them who have confidently accomplished such things and earn the confidence themselves. This takes focused action, work, sacrifice and determination to trade in arrogance for confidence. It is very possible, even more so when a person makes a plan and follows through on it.

From a distance confidence and arrogance can seem very similar in the end it’s about taking the actions, making the sacrifices and doing the work in order to be able to back up the claims to one’s abilities.

How to breathe when someone you love doesn’t love you back.


In the human experience there is a spectrum of emotions that come with life. The highest highs of bliss and the deepest cuts of painful experience. One that cuts the deepest is to love someone that does not feel that love in return. Life can go on and a person can keep breathing with unrequited love. Step out of the trap one baby step at a time.

One helpful tool is to keep a journal. To say all of the things that are welling up to tell the object of your affections that may be inappropriate to tell them. This allows the freedom from such thoughts and allows the opportunity to put the words on paper to analyze and if needed to destroy. Sometimes ripping up such a letter allows a feeling of freedom to move on to a relationship that is mutually fulfilling.

When the mind movies of that special person float through your mind, especially at inopportune times, like during a class or a meeting that needs focus and attention. Simply take a deep breath and mentally send the love you feel to that person. In order to clear your mind and focus on life in the now and the present.

Get out and have fun. It is important to not be isolated thinking that there can be only one when that person doesn’t love you back. Mingle amongst the people, flirt a little, find ways to occupy your thoughts and rebuild personal confidence. This is a stage of personal empowerment and confidence makes a person that much more attractive. Who knows there just may be someone else out there who is more fun to flirt with and can blossom into a healthy mutual relationship?

Realize that it is no one’s fault and that you are a treasure. It is so important to be with a person that is happy to be with the real you. Where you can be all that you can be for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, those vows are there for a reason. The more real you are and the more your partner in love is willing to be there too the more wonderful the relationship will be. It is hard to be patient to meet that person, however it is so worth the wait.

In the meantime have fun with friends, perhaps get a pet, some furry friend that you can love and that can love you back. Don’t hide in a furry friend relationship though, never get up. Finding a mutually loving person is a contact sport go out and meet people and one day you will find the one that loves you back that can heal the pain caused by the one that didn’t.