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Friday, February 28, 2014

ACCEPTANCE

"Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems."
~Bill Wilson~
 
I don't always anticipate things with pleasure. In fact, more frequently than I care to admit, I am filled with a certain amount of dread and negativity. I feel sure that I will be wrecked by whatever is coming and be unable to survive. I resist what I have no real power to stop, and I suffer for my resistance.
     Sometimes I need a bit of grace to make the shift into acceptance, but once I get there all is well again. And I get through whatever I have to get through, the way I always have, one little bit at a time. And sometimes, most of the time in fact, I even experience some unexpected happiness along the way.

If I can recognize my resistance to things and find a way to let be whatever is, then I can experience peace within.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

THE RHYTHM OF LIFE

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony."
~Thomas Merton~

 I like the rhythm of my life. I like the rhythm of my early mornings before work, my late afternoons and evenings, and my days off. There is something soothing and comforting about these repeated routines- even the blast and go and give to the point of exhaustion that I do at work- and the writing, writing, writing in every spare moment.
     I like the rhythm of my life with my husband, walks with our dog, conversations around the table, and the rising and falling light. Even when getting through the day takes more effort than usual, more pick-me-up and go-through-the-motions, I am still able to appreciate the repetitive rhythms of my established routines.

I am grateful for the circular flow of my life.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

GROWING THROUGH LIFE

"The only thing that is constant is change."
~Heraclitus~
 
When we are in one evolutionary stage, we cannot imagine outgrowing it, and once we've outgrown it and look back, we cannot imagine having been satisfied being there. We are so blind in some ways. We are not able to take change and progress into account when we think about our futures. We imagine ourselves just as we are, but ten years down the road.
     And it's not our fault that we can't anticipate how life will change us and grow us, but we need to remember that likely possibility when we try to lay down our future plans in permanent marker. When we finally get there, we may end up wanting something entirely different than whatever we were able to anticipate.

I plan for the future but allow for the possibility of a change in heart or a change in mind or a change in me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CURSE WORDS

"Language is the dress of thought."
~Samuel Johnson~

Sometimes I can get on a roll using curse words as adjectives and expletives and just to emphasize my point. In the past, I have felt a certain satisfaction in doing so, and when my children were little I used to tell them that using such words was a privilege of adulthood. But the truth is that when I hear other people cursing, it jars me. It seems startling and rude, surprisingly vulgar, and most definitely not-attractive. And that's not how I want to be. So it's a good reminder.
     Let's be instruments of courtesy in this rough and rugged world in which we live, and commit to not cursing. Let's clean up our language and find better words to emphasize our point.

I commit to not cursing. Life lacks courtesy enough without me adding to the vulgarity.

Monday, February 24, 2014

TRUSTING GOD

"Our distrust is very expensive."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
 
Sometimes I forget to trust in God's timing. I take on more responsibility for outcomes than is mine to take on, and I suffer for it. I waste precious energy trying to force solutions and guarantee success when all I really need to do is to show up and keep an open mind.    
     Everything presents itself as it should when it should, and I believe that there are reasons for all that happens that are beyond my limited understanding. So my energy might be better spent accepting life as it happens instead of trying to run the show.

I trust that everything happens on time, so I stop trying to rush the process.

Friday, February 21, 2014

TAKING FIVE

"Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness."
~George MacDonald~
 
It feels good, every once in a while, to give myself a break; to be cozy and silly and utterly non-productive. I am productive 99.9% of the time. I needn't feel guilty for an occasional lazy day.

Every so often I need to do nothing but lounge around.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

SAYING OUR THANKS

"The struggle ends when the gratitude begins."
~Neale Donald Walsch~
 
I am grateful for the lengthening days. I am grateful for sunshine and fresh air. I am grateful for love and compassion and forgiveness and the way that time heals all wounds. I am grateful for my voice and for words and for music and for good books. I am grateful for candle-lit meals and laughter and an occasional dessert. I am grateful for the rising dawn and settling dusk. I am grateful for high noon. I am grateful for my good health and the good health of those I love. I am grateful for mountains and colors and heartfelt tears. I am grateful for smiles and the gift of being alive. I am grateful.

I recognize my blessings and express my gratitude.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

THE MOTHERHOOD TRAP

"Never violate the sacredness of your individual self-respect."
~Theodore Parker~
 
It upsets me when I see a dedicated mother discount herself as being somehow less important than her child, or children. It's evident that everything possible has been arranged for them- every opportunity, every advantage, every activity of interest- and the mother is carpool to them, and pocketbook. She seems to exist exclusively to serve her young. And she talks about herself that way. Not surprisingly, her children treat her with the same kind of contempt and disrespect that she treats herself.
     This is not ok! Even as mothers of very important children, we matter! We have worth and beauty and talent galore in our own right. Fathers don't seem to tend in this direction as easily as mothers do and I commend them for that. But mothers! We are too quick to sell ourselves short, as if everything meaningful about us passes to our children when they are born and we no longer have anything to offer except to them.
     Let's step up and claim our beauty and our value and be willing to joyfully express to the world the unique and wonderful gift of ourselves!

I love my children but do not let them rob me of my dignity or my life.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

HELPING OTHERS

"Everyone thinks about changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
~Leo Tolstoy~
 
It's so hard to know that someone we love is suffering in some way and to equally know that there is nothing we can do to help them- not unless they share their suffering with us. We are all so good at suffering alone. We pretend to be fine. We tell people what we think they want to hear. And sometimes we even convince ourselves that all is well.. even when we know somewhere within us... that it's not.
     And the last thing we are willing to do is admit we're in over our heads and ask for help. We make ourselves handle it. We operate on nerves and fumes and push beyond all reasonable limits. And we go farther and farther until we can go no more. And sometimes, then, we will reach out our hand for assistance, and sometimes, even then, we will not. There's nothing anyone can do for us until we are ready and willing to do something for ourselves.

I can't help anyone else unless they want my help, and ask for it, but I can always help myself. And that is my main job.

Monday, February 17, 2014

MNDING MY BUSINESS

"It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people's business." ~Dolley Madison~
 
What is good health to one may be toxic to another. It's different strokes for different folks. And yet, we so readily impose our rules  and rigor on others thinking we know what is best for them. But where do we get such authority?
     Happily, I am imperfect and I know it, and am mostly ok with being that way. I am not always sure what's best for me, nor do I always make the best decisions, or eat exactly as I should. And if that is the case, which it is, then how can I possibly know or even presume to know what's best for someone else?

I stay out of other people's business and trust them to know what they need to know when they need to know it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

GIVING AWAY OUR POWER

"There is just one life for each of us: our own."
~Euripides~
 
Sometimes we think others are better than we are and we give them power in our lives. We look to them for guidance and wisdom, and we count on them to know all of the things that we feel uncertain about. And they indulge us readily. They have information and plenty of advice.
     But sometimes, down the road a bit, we realize that they don't know quite as much as we think they did, and that truthfully, we can guide ourselves better by our own inner compass than they can steer us from afar.

Before I take someone's advice, I make sure I really know who I am asking.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

ACCUMULATING SNOW

"It's easier to keep up than to catch up."
~Bishop Lamont~
 
It's snowing today, snowing fiercely, and there are already ten inches on the ground. Forecasters have told us it is likely to continue all day so who knows how much it may end up accumulating.
     I lived in Michigan for nine years, and living there, I learned how important it is to keep up with the snow on a day like this. Shoveling sidewalks and clearing off cars is far easier to do every few hours than to wait until the bitter end, or until tomorrow morning when the night has had a chance to refreeze whatever may melt, or worse yet, drop a whole additional layer of icy rain on top. Light and fluffy snow is far easier to move than snow that's heavy with wetness or encrusted with ice. And clearing wide enough paths for comfortable walking also matters, and keeping up with those as well. We never know how long the snow might remain so 's worth being thoughtful as we set our boundaries with it.
     And life is like that as well. It's so much easier to stay on top of things than to let them pile up. One load of laundry or the dishes from a single meal are completely reasonable to deal with. Mounds of either are completely overwhelming. And two or three pounds to lose from over-indulging is a relatively simple task, but fifteen or twenty may never come off.

     I use the snow as my inspiration and commit to keeping up with the maintenance of all of the things in my life that accumulate over time.
 
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

SELF-TRACKING

"The beauty of my body is measured... by the stories that it tells."
~Sarah from I AM Beautiful~
 
We behave differently when our performance is being measured somehow, whether by someone watching us, or by wearing a heart rate or movement monitor. We step it up a notch, try a little harder, and have a sudden interest in wanting to shine. I have observed this in myself and in others.
     Without the monitor we are content to be good enough. We work at an intuitive level that suits our style, and because it's intuitive, it feels good. When we amp it up a level, we increase our risk for injury and discomfort, but we also raise the bar on our limits and stretch beyond our usual comfort zone. If we are already inclined to push ourselves perhaps we go too far when monitored, and if we are not inclined to push ourselves, then maybe it's just the thing.
     But either way, being watched or watching myself turns my focus away from the pleasure of the activity and locks me in to results and scores and competition, and while a little of this may be healthy, too much of it suffocates my soul.

I use tracking devices with caution recognizing that even as they have the ability to measure my progress, they also have the ability to strip pleasure and intuition from my life.

THE TRUTH ABOUT COMPETETION

"It's too big a world to be in competition with everyone."
~Colonel Potter~
 
Sometimes we just can't compete. There is always someone better, stronger, faster, smarter- you name it. We want to be the best at everything but sometimes we just can't be.
     The thing we are best at is being ourselves, with our unique mix of baggage and gifts. The minute we try to be someone else and beat others at their own game, we have lost something. We have lost our proper position and our right size. We are exceptional in our own way, not in every way.
     And we have to accept that if we want to be happy in life. If we go about striving and straining in realms that don't suit us, we will end up sorry and out-classed. We have to learn to step to the side and let other players have the field when we are clearly and obviously out of our league.

I can't be the best at everything and that's ok.

Monday, February 10, 2014

OVER THE TOP


"Less is more."
~ Robert Browning ~

We like to push the envelope. We like to see just how far we can go before we crash and burn. We like the idea of being maxed-out and super-charged. We like to show off.
     But there is arrogance in all of this, and grandiosity, and a certain distaste. Let's learn to trust ourselves more and have to prove ourselves less.

I don't have to be maxed out all the time in order to have a valuable life.

Friday, February 7, 2014

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

"Cease expecting and you have all things."
~ Buddha ~
 
Why do we demand so much of ourselves? We expect to be tireless, expert, sage, and beautiful at all times, to need no one and to succeed without strain. We expect to over fill our lives and still get everything done with ease. We think we have no limits, and that if we do, there must be something wrong.
     We are supposed to be flawless and fearless; endlessly patient, and full of faith. And doing the best we can is not enough. We are supposed to be super-human and do it all and then some without complaint.
     We are kidding ourselves, and the one who pays the price for fooling us is us. Let's learn to be reasonable and learn to pace ourselves and learn to have gratitude for all that we are able to accomplish and not the one thing that we have to leave undone.

I accept my limitations and commit to being reasonable and sane.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NEVER ENOUGH

"Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough." ~Gail Sheehy~
 
I wrote a book and got it published, something I've always wanted to do, and yet, I feel pressure instead of pleasure. I feel an urgent need to write the next book and to effectively market this one, and I find myself worrying that if I do something wrong at this point in the process then maybe it will all be for naught. I feel like I have just been introduced and now it's time to step up and prove my worth.
     And all of this is off-kilter but not un-typical- not for me- and not for many of us. It's the never enough syndrome. We feel like whatever we do and whoever we are is never enough.
     Let's not. Let's be ok with who we are and where we are and exactly what is. Let's take off the harness of perfectionism and rigor and cease our never-ending cry for more.

I take the pressure off myself and accept that even with all of my limitations I am enough.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MONEY OR LOVE?

"Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy but not peace or happiness."
~Henrik Ibsen~
 
Which is more powerful- money or love?
 

I keep my priorities straight and remember what matters the most.

 
"Money often costs too much."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

LIFE GOES ON

"Time waits for no man."
~St Marher~
 
Everything is a continuum. We work hard to achieve something, and when we finally achieve it, there is almost no moment for pause and glory. We are immediately on to the next thing or responding to the never-ending daily demands. It feels as if time should stop so that we can  properly take note of whatever momentous thing is occurring, or has just occurred.
     But the sun comes up and the sun goes down and we just have to find a way to celebrate or mourn or give thanks en route. No matter how much we may want to, there is no way to arrest the process of time.
 
I pause throughout my day and throughout my life in order to honor and acknowledge important things and experiences as they happen.

Monday, February 3, 2014

WHO I AM

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."
~Emily Dickenson ~

The body is poetic.
The mind is busy and aware.
The emotions are unpredictable.
And the spirit is vast.

Each aspect of me has its own character and inclination. I am beautiful and complex.