Mary WelchI met Mary two years ago and she quickly became one of my closest friends.  She is spiritual, kind, and always fun to hang out with.  No matter how often we get together Mary is always smiling.  (You can see that in her picture).  Mary’s energy is palpable; she can walk into a room and she lights it up.

The first time I visited her house I was surprised to see she had motivational messages strategically placed throughout. I remember thinking, “we are going to be great friends.  This woman gets it.”  I am truly blessed with such amazing people in my life, especially Mary Welch!

Who what inspires you?

I have two historical figures who inspire me: Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi.

Lincoln was brave and smart.  He went against the grain and stood for what he believed in.  He fought for what he knew was right, and started the end of slavery.  I also love the fact that he lost many elections before he finally won one.  He is the epitome of “….if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Mahatma Gandi was the same in a lot of ways. He was a hero who stood for peace and left a legacy of peace behind.  He lived his beliefs, and he loved everyone.  He was tough, smart, and did great things.  And he loved everyone and everything.

I guess the “what” part is pretty close to the same for both men who inspire me.  They were brave, they stood for what they believed in, and they were loving caring people. And they were TOUGH!  They also both had a huge impact on the world.

When I was younger, I was convinced I could change the world.  When I got older I realized that was pretty grandiose.  I even got down on myself about it.  I thought I was silly.  As I got into my mid to late 30’s, I realized, very slowly − and through many experiences− that I COULD indeed change the world by sharing my joy, love, peacefulness and happiness with others and working on keeping negativity to myself and not dwelling on bad feelings. It may not cause world peace, but my part will sure help world peace along, right? Baby steps!

Do you have a slogan, motto or mantra?

Love Everyone and Everything.  Seems simple, doesn’t it? J All of my meditation, savasana, and quiet time is spent thinking about this, and strategizing about how to be better at it and more consistent with it.

Do you have a lesson or thought to share?

That seems like a pretty easy question, but it’s actually a lot of pressure.  I have taken so much form my experiences; which lesson is the best most important and profound?!

I can’t choose one, so I am doing two:

Be nice to everyone all the time.  Quite simply, I have learned that poor treatment of others causes regret, and treating others nicely causes me AND them to feel good.  Seems simple, right?

Shut up and listen.  This may be the most valuable lesson I have learned.  Everyone is so eager to be heard, that they forget to listen – I mean REALLY listen.  Since I focus on listening, I have learned SO MUCH more about life, and the people around me! And it has had such a HUGE impact on me and my well-being!

How do you deal with stress?

Sometimes, I have to force myself to stop everything and take a time out.  I have to go be by myself in silence, and force my mind to calm down.  That doesn’t happen much anymore because I work hard to keep from getting there. I try to keep things in perspective. Nothing is the end of the world.  Nothing is permanent, everything can be fixed, and I have lived through worse than whatever is going on right now.

Exercise is my number one stress reliever.  It’s my favorite because it’s good for me in more ways than just as a stress reliever.  I make myself take the time to exercise because if I don’t, there is a noticeable difference in my ability to cope.  I think the most important part of this is that I take time to focus on ME and doing something for MYSELF which forces my focus inward.  It also allows me time to think things out.  I have come up with some of my best ideas and solutions on treadmills!

Last but not least is yoga.  For me, yoga is the ultimate relaxation because I am treating my body to a purposeful slow down. It also stretches muscles and helps with aches and pains I experience from time to time.  I really think the oxygen factor from breathing during yoga is pretty magic.

Anything you want to share?

Yes, I am really thankful for my life and everyone and everything in it – past, present and future!

Every single thing that has happened in my life has made me the person I am today.  I am so grateful for all the lessons I have learned from all the people who have touched my life – even the ones that were difficult to get through. Heck, ESPECIALLY the ones that were difficult to get through! Those taught me the most!

I look forward to what the future brings.  I look forward to taking my lessons from the past forward and making a difference in the world.  And it doesn’t have to be a huge difference to matter!

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