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Live with Intention and ‘Engage With Grace’.

All year long, we at Axeos talk, tweet and blog about health and wellness. But today, Thanksgiving 2012, we stand with our friends at Engage With Grace to participate in their annual blog rally and to bring awareness to the sensitive-but-oh-so-important topic concerning end-of-life care, the conversation surrounding it and the choices we each need to think about making: the hard ones, the important ones. With this in mind, we invite you to go to their site and register your wishes and thoughts. Be brave. Go forth in health. Happy Thanksgiving – we are especially thankful to have the opportunity to participate in this blog rally and to share it with you!

Once again, the Engage With Grace team welcomes the Thanksgiving weekend with a blog rally to encourage everyone we know — and those we don’t — to have those tough end-of-life conversations with their loved ones. We invite you to share this post (or some version of it that speaks to you) with your own friends and family, and above all to consider these key questions for yourself. Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Eliza.

One of our favorite things we ever heard Steve Jobs say is… ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’

We love it for three reasons:

  1. It reminds all of us that living with intention is one of the most important things we can do.
  2. It reminds all of us that one day will be our last.
  3. It’s a great example of how Steve Jobs just made most things (even things about death – even things he was quoting) sound better.

Most of us do pretty well with the living with intention part – but the dying thing? Not so much.

And maybe that doesn’t bother us so much as individuals because heck, we’re not going to die anyway!! That’s one of those things that happens to other people….

Then one day it does – happen to someone else. But it’s someone that we love. And everything about our perspective on end of life changes.

If you haven’t personally had the experience of seeing or helping a loved one navigate the incredible complexities of terminal illness, then just ask someone who has. Chances are nearly 3 out of 4 of those stories will be bad ones – involving actions and decisions that were at odds with that person’s values. And the worst part about it? Most of this mess is unintentional – no one is deliberately trying to make anyone else suffer – it’s just that few of us are taking the time to figure out our own preferences for what we’d like when our time is near, making sure those preferences are known, and appointing someone to advocate on our behalf.

Goodness, you might be wondering, just what are we getting at and why are we keeping you from stretching out on the couch preparing your belly for onslaught?

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering, for communing, and for thinking hard together with friends and family about the things that matter. Here’s the crazy thing – in the wake of one of the most intense political seasons in recent history, one of the safest topics to debate around the table this year might just be that one last taboo: end of life planning. And you know what? It’s also one of the most important.

Here’s one debate nobody wants to have – deciding on behalf of a loved one how to handle tough decisions at the end of their life. And there is no greater gift you can give your loved ones than saving them from that agony. So let’s take that off the table right now, this weekend. Know what you want at the end of your life; know the preferences of your loved ones.

Print out this one slide with just these five questions on it.

Engage with Grace Slide

Have the conversation with your family. Now. Not a year from now, not when you or a loved one are diagnosed with something, not at the bedside of a mother or a father or a sibling or a life-long partner…but NOW. Have it this Thanksgiving when you are gathered together as a family, with your loved ones. Why? Because now is when it matters. This is the conversation to have when you don’t need to have it. And, believe it or not, when it’s a hypothetical conversation – you might even find it fascinating. We find sharing almost everything else about ourselves fascinating – why not this, too? And then, one day, when the real stuff happens? You’ll be ready.

Doing end of life better is important for all of us. And the good news is that for all the squeamishness we think people have around this issue, the tide is changing, and more and more people are realizing that as a country dedicated to living with great intention – we need to apply that same sense of purpose and honor to how we die.

One day, Rosa Parks refused to move her seat on a bus in Montgomery County, Alabama. Others had before. Why was this day different? Because her story tapped into a million other stories that together sparked a revolution that changed the course of history.

Each of us has a story – it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We work so hard to design a beautiful life – spend the time to design a beautiful end, too. Know the answers to just these five questions for yourself, and for your loved ones. Commit to advocating for each other. Then pass it on. Let’s start a revolution.

Engage with Grace.

A few simple ways to a stress-free holiday.


hol·i·day noun “A day on which one is exempt from work; specifically: a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event” – Merriam-Webster

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. The kids are out of school. You’re trying to juggle a thousand different things: how to spend your holidays, how much flights cost, who needs to be where, if you should make brussel sprouts to go along with with your turkey feast and oh yeah – how to manage all of this, your precious time. SIGH. The devil is in the details and you’re stressed. But good news from Axeos: there are several, simple things you can do to decrease “that feeling of dread” so you can actually relax and enjoy the holiday. Ready? Here you go:

1. Remember that the importance of the holiday season is spending time with family and friends – don’t miss out by getting carried away in the planning.

2. Leave plenty of time when you are traveling. Whether it be heading to the airport or driving to your destination allow plenty of time to avoid being late and becoming frustrated – and stressed – before you arrive.

3. Holidays get frenzied so we need to remind ourselves to relax often..take “One minute breathing brakes” to center yourselves. You will enjoy the holiday much more.

4. You are making memories so if problems arise in these upcoming holidays remember your sense of humor. HUMOR can take the “sting” out of the difficult moment.

5. And remember the holidays come and go quickly so be present – enjoy and have fun.

See? Easy.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Written by Eilleen McDonald, Co-founder, Axeos LLC

Organizational behavior and the 21st century workplace.

I love my job

“How easy is it for organizations to adapt to change?” Can companies rely on their “old ways” to change and help employees evolve as the world is moving so rapidly? How many will survive if they do not make the necessary changes in their organizations?

During the recent NeuroLeadership Summit, senior executives and experts explored the connection between neuroscience and organizational change, understanding how we can effectively deal with the human resistance to change. Axeos believes it is important to approach change with a new perspective – one that offers an effective solution to individual employee wellbeing.

To this point, we would like to share this blog from the Harvard Business Review. Enjoy!

Eileen McDonald, Co-founder, Axeos