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Friday, November 29, 2013

BLACK FRIDAY

"Enough is as good as a feast."
~English Proverb~

In the aftermath of Thanksgiving excess, let's take a moment to get ourselves back on track. Let's not continue mindlessly to overdo everything all the way to New Year's Day. Let's remember and deeply believe that less is more and that quantity does not equal quality.
     Let's honor our desire for special-ness this time of year, for the soft magic of quiet lights and songs and being cozy at home and cheery in crowds. Let's not make ourselves sick from doing too much or eating too much or spending too much.
     Let's be appropriate and respectful and enjoy all of the simple pleasures of the season that do not come in boxes or on plates. Let's make the decision on this Black Friday, to proceed forward with great care.

As we approach Christmas, I spare myself the recklessness of overdoing everything.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

THANKSGIVING

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~JFK~
 
May we all have a healthy, relaxed, and enjoyable Thanksgiving full of love and gratitude. May we be free from anger and resentment and unkind thoughts. Let the day be the perfect balance of effort and joy, tradition and spontaneity, good food and full hearts.

Let us celebrate Thanksgiving with pleasure exactly the way it is and however it turns out.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

POW WOW AROUND THE TABLE

"Give thanks for the unknown blessings already on their way."
~Native American Saying~

I have always felt as if I have a little American Indian in me, and maybe we all do in a way. And whether the age-old story of the Indians and Pilgrims coming together to share in the fruits of the harvest is true or not, it's still a good story.
     Let's enjoy the bounty of life with all those we encounter this Thanksgiving-Time. Let's pow-wow around the table and send up prayers of celebration and appreciation. Let's be tolerant and grateful and easy-going. Let's leave our arrows and hatchets at the door and savor delicious tastes and aromas in the company of those with whom we don't regularly break bread.

I open my heart to the blessings of life and good food.

Monday, November 25, 2013

THANKSGIVING TRAVELING WEATHER

"Ultimately, there can be no complete healing until we have restored our primal trust in life." ~Georg Feuerstein~
 
Nasty weather threatens to interfere with Thanksgiving Holiday travel plans. It is obvious to me that I can't control icy rain and strong winds, but I feel frustrated by the promise of these things nonetheless. And I understand the need for flexibility and acceptance, because nothing can be known or certain until it actually happens, and yet I want my assurances. I feel done-to without them.
     I invoke good nature in myself, and the trust that all will be as it is meant to be. If expected people are not able to come for the sake of their own well-being and safety, their presence will be missed, but the higher good will be served.
     Just because I want things to go a certain way according to my plans and preparations does not mean that is the best way for them to go. Sometimes the most disappointing situations end up being the most instructive. Not getting my way allows me to learn surrender and letting go and trust in the big picture, even if I can't see it from where I stand.

I am willing to be flexible with things that don't turn out exactly the way I planned.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

OK TO BE ME

"It is not our darkness we are afraid of, but our light."
~Marianne Williamson ~

I feel like I owe someone an apology for my natural abilities and my blessings as if I come by them dishonorably somehow. And yet, everything I have become and everything I have is the result of years of effort and hard work and making the most of who I am by nature and God's grace.
     Let's be who we are and enjoy our successes free from guilt. We all have our share of suffering to equalize the playing field. If we make more of our opportunities than others do, that is not our fault, or something to feel ashamed about in any way. That is our gift. Let's own it without apology.

I am proud of who I am, and of who I am becoming. I do not apologize for being me.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE PERFECT MIX

"Seriousness is a disease."
~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh ~
 
"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

The idea of being frivolous has old associations for me. When I was young, for whatever reason, it came to be identified with all things feminine and social, and it didn't seem to be a particularly desirable characteristic. To be serious was the thing to be if I wanted respect and admiration, to be tough.
     But I understand today that it's not an either-or proposition. I highly value a bit of frivolity and a state of play to balance the seriousness of life with all of its attendant and unavoidable pain and suffering. And I embrace my femininity with its extra sensitivity, and also with its female style of fortitide.
     Everything is balance in the end and not at all the perfect moment or the perfect attribute, but ultimately, the perfect mix.

I embrace frivolous silliness as the perfect balance to the hard edge of a purpose driven life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HINDSIGHT

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is."
~Francis Bacon~

The desire to change has to come from within. People can tell us what we should do as vehemently as they like- and their insistence may startle us and make us question our behavior. But if we are not ready, we will justify whatever we choose to do and feel satisfied with our justifications.
     To the outside world, we may appear to be on a path of imminent and obvious disaster, but we can't see it ourselves until we see it, or until we crash and burn, whichever comes first. Our ability to be blind borders on the insane and ridiculous.
     Thankfully, we do have the ability to laugh at ourselves when we are further down the road and looking backwards. In the thick of our drama and delusion, we are unable to see the truth, but in the rearview, it usually makes for a good story.

Sometimes it is in looking back that I can see most clearly.

SHARING THE JOURNEY

"I felt it shelter to speak to you." ~ Emily Dickenson ~

Sharing our experiences and hopes and fears is what makes for good companionship. Let's not be afraid to open up to others and to listen in turn to what they have to say. We will both feel better if we do, and perhaps we'll open our hearts in the process.

I offer the stories of my life to those who want to hear them and I listen with pleasure to the stories of those who are willing to share.

Monday, November 18, 2013

THE QUIET INVITATION

"Courage is what it takes to sit down and listen."
~Winston Churchill~

If we are too demanding we will drive people off. We cannot attract them to us by insisting that they come- not by urging or imploring or begging. It's like sitting in the middle of a field and yelling out loudly for all the little animals to come. They scatter at our loudness.
     But if we can be quiet and calm, non-insistent, and open, they might become curious. Some will never venture towards us, but others may scamper closer and closer, cautiously, every time we turn the other way.

I follow my path and stop insisting that others come along. Those who are meant to travel with me will appear on the way.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

ALL IS FORGIVABLE

"We are only as sick as our secrets."
~ Unknown ~

We are none of us unforgivable, not for anything, not if we are willing to admit our error and make a sincere effort to do better going forward. Making mistakes is how we learn. We may be able to fool ourselves for a time and believe that we can keep quiet and "get away" with questionable conduct, or wrong action, but for most of us, our conscience catches up in the end. And when it does, we must confess to someone and open ourselves to forgiveness, or else we go mad with guilt.
     Our secrets imprison us, but as soon as we have the courage to reveal them, we are set free.

I am willing to admit my errors.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

CHOOSING HOW WE CELEBRATE

"Using the power of decision give you the capacity to change any and every part of your life in an instant."
~Tony Robbins~

As we approach the Holiday Season, let's prepare for the cultural invitation to overspend, overeat and overdo. Let's make conscious choices about ways we can simplify the season and be willing to eliminate the most obvious stressors. Let's be honest about all the ways we may go over the top. Maybe we decorate too much or bake too much or buy too much. If we enjoy that, it's one thing, but if we do our Holiday "stuff" out of a sense of obligation and guilt, then let's seriously consider changing our ways.
     I challenge all of us to re-evaluate what matters to us the most regarding our Holidays and what causes us the most discomfort. Let's be brave and bold and willing to change so that we can show up in our mirrors on January 1st feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for the new year.

I am willing to change my Holiday habits so that I can experience more real joy in the season, and less stress.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

EXCUSES GALORE

"If you don't want to do something, one excuse is as good as another."
~Yiddish Proverb~
 
Some people spend the energy they could use to change their life making excuses instead. We suggest one possibility after another and they shut each one down systematically. They are expert at expounding all the reasons why things are miserable but cannot change.
     The only thing to do with such people is to listen and smile and wish them well. Their life, as it stands, is serving them in some way that we cannot understand, and perhaps they can't either, but the bottom line truth is that they are not ready to take the first step out of the bog they're in.
     Change is always possible if we want it badly enough. The only real place we are stuck is in our minds.

I stop trying to help people that have no interest in self-improvement. I let them be and send them love. I have had times in my life when I wasn't willing to change either.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MORE THAN ENOUGH

"Do not take anything for granted- not one smile or one breath or one night in your cozy bed."
~Terri Guillemets~
 
Paying the bills some months is more stressful than it is other months because I have to juggle and consider and play it just so to make it all work. And it's easy to get caught up, at such times, in financially insecure feelings. It seems like no matter how many hours I put in at work, there's just never quite enough. I fall short yet again.
     But the truth is that I have a blessed life with everything I need and plenty of extras as well. I have a beautiful home with land and views of mountains, and a nice meal or two out at restaurants every week with my husband, who I love, and an amazing dog and a backup vehicle and clothes for every occasion, and computers and a cell phone and a TV with hundreds of channels and movies on demand.
     I work hard to support a life filled with material as well as emotional and spiritual blessings. So the bottom line truth of my situation is that no matter how much I have to finagle the bills some months, I live in abundance and have far and away more than "enough."

I appreciate the wealth of material things that I have in my life.

Monday, November 11, 2013

SMILES

"Let my soul smile through my heart and let my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter Thy rich smiles in sad hearts."
~Paramahansa Yogananda~

Our genuine smile is our gift to the world. With it, we can change the quality of someone's day. Simple and authentic friendliness is a rare commodity. We more often think how we can get our way or get our fair share than how we can fill someone else with light and happiness.
     But the rewards for doing so are vast and delightful. They cost nothing and have worth beyond measure. So let's do it. Let's flash our smiles at people and open our hearts and think about what we can give instead of strategizing tirelessly about what we might be able to get.

Smiles exchange happiness. I give them away and receive them in turn.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

THE BONDAGE OF ASSUMPTIONS

"Many of the assumptions we make are not necessarily scientific or rational but holdovers of past belief systems that are no longer held."
~Vern Bullough~
 
We are held in bondage by our assumptions, and live a pinched and limited existence by believing that we know what others think and what they want and what they have to contribute or not. If we take the time to talk to others and really listen to what they have to share, we will often be surprised by the error of our assumptions.
     Sometimes we think people smarter than they are and sometimes we think them less smart. We may assume a life of ease and plenty and be shocked to discover tragedy and hardship. We need to keep an open mind and allow everyone and anyone to share their vision and perspective. Then we are living a life beyond assumptions and a life beyond our own limited way of understanding the world.

I make room and time in my life for other people's experience and for everyone's unique point of view.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

TRUSTWORTHY

"Every day is a day of reckoning."
~John Gardner~
 
Let's be good to our word. If we say we will do something, let's do it. Let's be diligent and rigorous in our in our integrity to ourselves and others. If we say we will call, let's call. If we say we will follow up, let's follow up. Let's be sincere rather than expedient. Let's be reliable and trustworthy and believable and on time.
     In a world of disappointments and blowhards, let's be impeccable. Let's be for real. Let's make every effort every day to be absolutely true.

I can be counted on. I stand by my word.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NO UNGODLY HOURS

"O Radiant Dark!
Thou hast a joy too deep for shallow Day."
~George Eliot~
 
People sometimes refer to extremely late night or early morning hours as being "ungodly," but the truth is that they are not. I take a walk with our dog, Boss, every morning at 4am and it is exquisitely beautiful. I see the moon and stars and sometimes falling stars. The air is always fresh that time of day, even in the summer, and the earth is quiet. Roosters and people are still asleep and the road we walk is free from cars.
     Being awake and walking about at this hour is ungodly in no way. It is full of silence and starlight and spirit beyond measure.

I appreciate the gifts of every hour of the 24.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SOCIAL BALANCE

"I am vast. I contain multitudes."
~Walt Whitman~
 
I am playful when I am with people and thoughtful and intellectual when I am alone, and both sides serve me perfectly. I need time to be quiet and contemplative and studious and literary because I love that side of life. It's a big part of who I am. It feeds my soul and my passion for learning.
     But people fill my need for love and laughter and that side is no more or less important. It is invigorating and fun to share stories and experiences and to be silly and part of the crowd... even if it's a crowd of only two. We need our solitude and we need to be in the company of others. Lacking either, we miss the balance and pleasure of our lives.
 
 I equally need people and time alone. I enjoy them both and cannot be healthy without one or the other.

Monday, November 4, 2013

WHAT DO WE FOCUS ON?

"The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear."
~Brian Tracy~

I believe that age and time and money and love are states of mind as much as they are actual conditions of our lives. These things are relative, fluid, and all rising and sinking by degrees. Within our hearts and minds we are sometimes young, sometimes old, sometimes rich and sometimes poor. We can be destitute with money in the bank. We can feel unloved with arms embracing us on all sides. We can rush through our days for no reason at all or savor them like gifts.
     It's all about what we focus on and what we allow ourselves to believe.

I catch myself in a negative mindset and change my focus. On any given day, I am a reflection of the things I believe.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

THE POWER OF BELIEF

"In the end you regret less the things you believed that weren't true than the things that never came true because you didn't believe."
~Robert Brault~

In order for our lives to be rich and fulfilled, we have to believe in something- in love or beauty or nature or God; in hope or progress or fate- in something. Without belief we are without purpose, and without meaning or relativity or importance. We are lost in space.
     In the universe of my beliefs I am both insignificant and powerful beyond measure; a pinprick of light and a torrential downpour of rain; tiny and enormous, na├»ve and wise. I am the perfect mix of human and divine.

I believe in something bigger than my limited human experience and that belief gives me power and endless hope.