Life Changing Character Story

be-an-optimist

I found this the below article and had to share it with everyone – I think the story makes it really clear for our kids to understand and see why surrounding yourself with positivity and optimism in life, is so important.

– Stephanie

Life Changing Character Story
Author: Dr. Anthony Fernando

A new teacher stood at the front of his classroom preparing for another battle.

He glanced at the students as they filed into class – Worn out sneakers, shirts untucked, shoulders slumped. What could his English class give these kids that would help them with the problems they faced in the real world?

He had tried reaching out to them and he knew that he’d failed, but today he was going to try a different approach.

“OK everyone, grab a seat and listen up! “Today we’re going to talk about the nature of character. So… Damon, what does character mean to you?”

The heavyset boy in the second row shifted in his seat uncomfortably before replying, “Umm, character is the people in a story?”

“You’re right Damon, characters are the people in a story, but the nature of character goes much deeper than that. Let me show you something.” James lifted two plastic trays up on to his desk so that everyone in the class could see them. In each tray sat a large sponge. He then produced two glass jugs. The first contained clear water and the second contained dark brown drain water.

The young teacher poured the clear water into the first tray and the brown water into the second tray. “OK, who can tell me what’s happening here?”

“The sponges are soaking up the water?” replied the usually quiet Sharon.

“That’s right Sharon, the sponges are soaking up the water that surrounds them. “And that’s exactly how we develop our sense of character. We absorb the ideas of the people around us just like these sponges soak up the water. “If we surround ourselves with supportive, optimistic people we gradually develop a positive character,” said the young teacher indicating the tray containing the clean water.

He then motioned towards the second tray. “On the other hand, if we continually associate with pessimistic and cynical people, we gradually develop a negative character.”

James paused and noticed that the background chatter that usually filled the class was absent.

“Now what happens when I take the sponges out of the water?” he asked as he lifted up the sponges, one in each hand.

The class looked puzzled.

“How do they look?” prompted James.

“They look the same to me” said Damon and the class responded with a ripple of laughter.

“You’re right Damon, they do look the same on the outside, but there’s one important difference. “Watch what happens when I squeeze the sponges.” James squeezed the first sponge and clear water flowed back into the tray. He then squeezed the second sponge and released a steady stream of dark liquid.

“You see, even when I remove the sponges from their trays, they still carry their water with them. Its only when I squeeze the sponges that we can really see what’s inside them.

“The same thing happens with us,” continued James, “When we leave our familiar environment, we still carry our character inside us and when life puts us under pressure, our true character emerges from within.”

Today I’d like to encourage you to take Mr Glover’s lesson on board. Make the decision to spend your time with motivated, optimistic people. By doing this you will gradually soak up the thoughts and ideas necessary to develop a positive character. And when the time comes and life puts you under pressure, you’ll be able to draw upon this reservoir and your true character will emerge from within.

 

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Preparation & Diligence

children-in-snow

“Preparation is not suddenly accomplished; it is a process steadily maintained.”
~ Oswald Chambers

Diligence is about making the right choice, and sustaining these right choices over the course of a lifetime.

Fitness and good health require diligence. We want to play with our children in the snow, shovel our driveways, take brisk walks, and enjoy nature’s simple activities with our loved ones without becoming breathless and tired. In order to maintain our youth and energy over many future years, we stay diligent.

At this time of the year, as our pace quickens, our diligence helps us to continue to create time in each day for ourselves. Fitness is a commitment to health and requires focused energy and effort.

Here’s to continued diligence, strength and stretch with Centerpeace.

Stephanie

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Who turned on the trees?

autumn-in-new-york

The leaves have turned, the air has gotten cooler…

Let’s remember to pause long enough to take in the beauty of fall.

Breathe in all of the colors that surround us during this beautiful time of year.

A moment of nature at it’s best! To life!!!

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One Step!

stepping stones

The stepping stones of life

“Courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you think you can.” – David Ingber

This past week was Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. A day of atonement, we are encouraged to reflect on the past year, and look deep inside ourselves. Opening our minds and hearts to growth connects us to a place within that is pure, real and alive. A difficult task, yes. If we can face our deepest selves we will live authentically with our best energy.

For all of us there will be moments that steal our oxygen. It is at these times that we breathe into our pain, facing our troubles with a goal. If we avoid the pain, we can not find resolution and that pain gets stored somewhere within us with no place out…. for the only way out of the door is through the door.

We are all on a journey called life. We walk alone yet we truly are woven together, through time and space, forming community. Let us hold, help, hear, accept, and love one another in a way that shows our goodness and loving kindness.

My rabbi says that big steps are great but small steps are more stable. Whether you use your right or left foot first makes no difference. Just move….I am.

L’Shana Tova

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Farro is Healthy and Delicious – Learn How to Make Farro Salad

farro

Farro is Healthy and Delicious!

If you have yet to try Farro, now is the time!

Farro is a whole grain that is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates. Additionally, farro has twice  the amount of fiber and protein of modern wheat.  This delicious grain has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it more easily digested.

Here is a simple recipe to introduce you to this new grain!

Farro Salad

* Cook farro according to the directions on the bag.  I undercook it, as I prefer mine with a little bite rather than too soft.

* While farro cooks, saute a chopped shallot until cooked through. Set aside in a bowl.  Then saute two drained cans of chic peas in olive oil for a couple minutes. Set aside in another bowl. Saute a box of spinach and/or arugula in olive oil and again set aside.  Finally saute chopped zucchini.

* When zucchini are cooked, add back the shallots, chic peas and greens.  Mix together and then add farro.

* Stir in one bunch of finely chop parsley, leaves only, no stems.

Dressing

* Whisk together the juice from one lemon, 3 TBS olive oil, salt and pepper.

* Right before serving, drizzle the dressing, toss thoroughly and sprinkle 1/2 cup of parmesean cheese shavings to the top of the salad.

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Positivity: The Positive Pledge

The Positive Pledge

This summer I have spent a great deal of time reading. Ive enjoyed absorbing information from great philosophers which I have found energizes me and teaches me how to live life more fully.

“Count your blessings, kindness counts, broadening and building, dream about your future, apply your strengths, connect with others ,” are just a few of the themes from the book Positivity, by Barbara Fredrickson.

What I learned scientifically is that research shows that positivity prompts cell growth and development and negativity aids in cell decay. Even more enlightening but not surprising is the discovery that the movement of our bodies and the active exercise rituals we create daily accelerate cell renewal both in our body and brain. This cultivated mindset of positivity transforms us for the better emotionally and therefore our bodies respond physically. This special book shows that living a life with positive energy could be life giving.

Jon Gordon, author of “The Energy Bus”, created The Positive Pledge. Daily reminders which improve the quality of our day to day lives. May it speak to you and be helpful in cultivating your own positive pledge. Life is busy for all of us and its pace only seems to get faster. I find each day it takes conscious effort to stay focused and centered on what is really important. I know that there are sacred moments in the ordinary if our hearts are open to it and we make the time to notice those moments. Lets create more positivity together and continue to make each day its best, because we can.

The Positive Pledge
I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity. When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism. When I want to hate I will choose love. When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better. When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow.I pledge to be a positive person and positive influence on my family, friends, co-workers and community.When I experience a set-back I will be resilient. When I meet failure I will fail forward towards future success.I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me. I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes everyone around me better. I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
When faced with adversity I will find strength.

So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world.

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Gluten Free!

Exciting news!

For many years I have been making an all natural oatmeal cookie with ingredients such as flax seed, all bran, a bit of whole wheat flour, various dried fruits, and almonds. Sometimes I add peanut butter or pumpkin to the base of the cookie. Rather than white sugar, I use honey or applesauce to add sweetness to my recipe. It is a delicious bite and I am thrilled to sell bags daily at our Centerpeace studio and now at Local, a new restaurant in Chappaqua.

Over the course of the past few months, I have been reading about the benefits of removing gluten from our daily diets to reduce inflammation.  A gluten-free diet excludes foods containing gluten, which is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barleyrye, malts and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often as “dextrin.” I am hopeful that this connection might be specifically helpful to my goal of reducing my own ever-present inflammation in my right leg causing pain and discomfort.

While I had taken a step years ago by switching from white to whole wheat flour, I now wanted to find ways to continue to bake delicious homemade cookies, breads and muffins using only gluten-free ingredients.  And so I began to expand to the gluten-free aisle of the markets where I found a wonderful product.

I am happy to announce a gluten-free version of my cookie.  Its base is made from an amazing baking and pancake mix made by Pamela’s Products, sold at Whole Foods. It is wheat-free and gluten-free.  I have used this brown rice and natural almond meal mixture in pancakes, pumpkin bread, zucchini muffins and now my cookies with delicious success!

Bon Appetit…..




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