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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

GETTING ALONG

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."
~Benjamin Spock~
 
It's not possible to love everyone in the same way. We can be tolerant and compassionate, but we can't make ourselves like people who just rub us the wrong way. There's likely a reason for it, even if we can't quite put our finger on it. And I'm not at all sure that we are supposed to know why. Maybe the lesson is as simple as accepting that it simply is what it is.
     If my guard goes up every time I encounter certain individuals, I'm just going to trust that I have those feelings for some greater purpose, and that all is exactly as it should be.

I'm not supposed to get along with everyone. Some people I instantaneously relate to, and some I do not, and in both cases, it's ok.

THE WAY OTHERS BEHAVE

"Trust is letting go of needing to know all the details..."
~Author Unknown~
 
When people don't behave the way I think they should, it's easy- easier than I'd like to admit- for me to cop a resentment. I get righteous inside and take their behavior as a personal affront. How dare they behave in such a way?
     But who am I? And what do I know about anyone else or what motivates them or why they do what they do? Presumably they have their reasons. And to give myself some credit, much of the time, I am pretty quick to recognize my resentment and let it go.
     But when I have gone out of my way and made a special effort to accommodate someone and then  they don't follow through on their end to my satisfaction, I feel piqued, which serves no one and least of all me.
     I have to remember why I do things in the first place, and acknowledge that whatever I do, it is ever and always my choice.
 
I allow others to be who they are and let go of my expectations.

Monday, April 28, 2014

FEELING HAPPY

"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open."
~John Barrymore~
 
Sometimes I just feel happy, and I'm grateful for that. I am happy for my life and the glory of nature and all of the beautiful people that I know and love. I'm happy for my bubbling creativity and my intellectual curiosity and my willingness to explore.
     Happiness comes and goes for me as it does for all of us, but I sure do like it when it's here.
 
I enjoy the happy feeling whenever it comes around.

INTERRUPTION

"If I had it to do again, I'd ask more questions and interrupt fewer answers."
~Robert Brault~
 
In our super fast paced world we have become adept at finishing other people's sentences for them, and not really listening, and thinking that we know all kinds of things that we can't possibly know.
     Let's stop interrupting and second guessing. Let's get quiet enough internally to be able to really listen to what is actually being said.
 
I give my conversational partner the courtesy of my full attention. I do not break in with my own thoughts and interrupt their flow.

Friday, April 25, 2014

GENTLENESS

"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace... and gentleness..."
~Galations 5:22~

Some people's energy is glaring like bright lights in our rearview mirror as we travel down the road. Much as we might like to ignore them, our whole environment is blasted  by their volume and intensity.
     Let's embrace the quality of gentleness. Let's be soft and subtle and soothing. We can still make an impact, but quietly and sincerely. There's enough brash and blaring energy in the world already without our adding to it.

I needn't blast myself into the world like bright headlights. I prefer to glow and illuminate with more subtlety, like a candle, or a crackling fire.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE LIMITS OF MONEY

"Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail."
~Henry Wheeler Shaw~

We equate money with power, but maybe it's not as powerful as we think. We try to build a financial fortress around ourselves to guarantee our security, but our only real security is not in things, but in us!
     Let's invest in ourselves with appreciation and love and enthusiasm. Let's claim the power that is within us- the power to change and the power to evolve. And let's stop waiting for money to bring us happiness, because, ultimately, it cannot.
 
I stop turning to material things for a sense of worth. I carry my riches within me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SPEAKING UP

"Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you."
~Matthew 7:7~
 
I'm not sure why it's so hard to ask for what we need, but it is. We are somehow programmed to be utterly self-sufficient and low-maintenance, to take care of ourselves "on the sly." Let's change this. Let's step into the light and speak up without apology. Let's respect ourselves and those who love us enough to ask directly for what we need.
 
I am confident and courageous. I don't have to shrink myself. It's ok to ask for what I need.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GIVE AND TAKE

"Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons."
~Ruth Ann Schabacker~
 
I am a giver from way back. I like to give. It comes naturally to me and makes me feel good. Being at the receiving end of things does not come so naturally to me, but I'm better at it than I used to be.
     The longer I live, the more I realize that life happens "in exchange"- the exchange of energy, love, kindness, support, money, time, conversation... Everything is an exchange. And I can't stop the flow of energy one direction or the other. It's not natural to do so. I have to make allowances for the currents running both ways.
 
I love to give, but sometimes I have to allow others to give to me. Life in balance happens both ways.

Monday, April 21, 2014

TIME FOR GRATITIDE

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul."
~Henry Ward Beecher~
 
I'm grateful for warm air and the rising and falling moon. I'm grateful for movies and the lessons of my life experience; for calypso music and lemons and walnuts and figs. I'm grateful for the feeling of love and kindness.
     I'm grateful when I get into bed at the end of the day and for morning sunshine. I'm grateful for my blessings and grateful for my challenges and grateful for my good health.

I am grateful to be exactly who I am where I am.

Friday, April 18, 2014

RETREAT

"Silence is the universal refuge."
~Henry David Thoreau~
 
Modern life requires an awful lot of running around, driving up and down the road, and back and forth across town. Modern life also requires a lot of instant contact and communication; so much so, in fact, that though a day of no contact and no running around might sound appealing, my guess is that if we did it, we would feel antsy and restless rather than relieved.
     But maybe we ought to do it anyway, every once in a while- a kind of still and silent retreat- for a few hours, or a day, or longer. I feel myself leap to concern even in the contemplation of such a thing: what about my laptop, I'm wondering... couldn't that slip by because it's where I write? Maybe it could, but that's not the point. The point is that I think we need the retreat but can't fathom the real reality of taking it.
     Let's start by fathoming it, and then, maybe, one day, we will find the willingness to leave our excuses by the wayside and make it happen.

I consider stillness and silence and how I might incorporate these things more readily into my life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HABITS

"Ill habits gather by unseen degrees
As brooks make rivers, and rivers run to seas."
~John Dryden~
 
Being severely overweight or severely underweight is equally problematic. Pleasingly plump is one thing, and thin another, but excessively too far in either direction belies an imbalance, not only on the surface, but within.... which begs a qustion for all of us: how do we feed ourselves? Can we get honest enough to admit that we have a problem if, in fact, we do? Do we believe in the possibility of better health, and that it's possible for us?
     And maybe it's not our weight, but some other habit that is negatively impacting our spirit and vitality. Are we smokers? Gamblers? Chronic shoppers? Addicts of exercise?
     Let's face our "stuff" whatever it is. Let's face it, and raise the bar on our lives.

I'm honest about my unhealthy habits and open to the willingness to change.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CHILDISH PLEASURE

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."
~R. Tagore~
 
Some children are simply wonderful to behold- so free from self-consciousness and full of joy for simple things. I saw a little girl wearing a purple tutu and skipping into Costco, and a little boy with a huge smile saying, "You know what? I LOVE this place!"
     When did we get so grouchy as adults? Let's restore our sense of playfulness and delight.

I let the child within me feel a sense of wonder and excitement for all of the little happenings of life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CONDITION OF LIFE

"I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
~Agatha Christie~
 
It's an error on our parts to think that we should reach a place where we are completely pain free and be able to sustain it. Everything is variable. If we don't hurt in one way or one place, we will likely experience some aches and discomforts elsewhere. Aches and pains are part of the human condition. Sometimes they are barely noticeable and sometimes they pummel us insistently.
     Let's learn to take whatever we feel in stride, whether it's physical or emotional. Let's accept and befriend the conversation of our bodies and our minds.

I don't expect to live pain-free. I am ok with my suffering and take it in stride.

Monday, April 14, 2014

THE WAY WE FIND THINGS

"Expectations are like fine pottery. The harder we hold them, the more likely they are to crack."
~Brandon Sanderson~
 
Sometimes we have expectations without even knowing that we have them. We don't realize until we show up and feel disappointed, that it's not what we thought; that it's smaller, or bigger, or too loud, or not spacious enough, or whatever it may be. Who knew that we had it all figured out in our minds just how great we were going to have it, and what good times would be had?
     The only thing to do, at such a realization point, is to acknowledge that we had an expectation, unbeknownst though it may have been to us, and to let it go. And then, we need to accept the situation as it actually is, and find the good in it. Anything less is guaranteed resentment, and none of us needs that.

When I realize that I have unmet expectations, I release them to the wind. My wanting things to be other than they are doesn't change the facts.

Friday, April 11, 2014

WHAT IS

"Whatever IS, is right."
~Alexander Pope~

Acceptance is not always a happy affair. Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow without a lump in the throat. And sometimes, what is, is sad. But that doesn't mean it's not worthy of our loving care and attention, or that we don't have to accept it.
     I feel sad sometimes for the losses I've survived and the self-deception and suffering of the human race. But the sadness always passes, and hope returns again, and I remember that happy has its portion in my life, just like sorrow, and both are mine, unequivocally, to accept.

I cease fighting the shifting emotional currents of my life. I feel happy when I'm happy, and sad when I'm sad.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SUNSHINE

"Sunshine is delicious."
~John Ruskin~

I love the sunshine! I love its brightness and its warmth and its healing energy. Everything feels better when the sun is out, especially after days of rain and greyness. It is the best kind of goodness. The sun comes bearing so much more than just physical light.

I understand about sun worship and sing my own kind of praises. The beautiful sun is a magnificent thing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

THE REAL DEAL

"Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas."
~Shoseki~
 
Our self perception is skewed at best. We distort ourselves in all kinds of ways. We think we are worse than we are, or better; thinner, or fatter; kinder, or more forgiving. Honest self-appraisal is valuable beyond measure, but it is hard-won. We have to work for it.
     We have to learn to question ourselves and check our motives, to realistically evaluate our attributes and our character flaws, and to find a way to be ok with ourselves- not as some inflated or self-deprecated version of ourselves, but simply as we are.

I accept myself completely as I am, with all of my gifts and imperfections.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

HARD LESSON

"Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him."
~Booker T. Washington~
 
One of the lessons that we all have to learn in life is that we can't save people who don't know they need saving, and we can't help people who don't want help, and we can't reason with people who are unreasonable. And this is not a sometimes kind of thing. It's a fact. No matter how hard we try, or how much we want to, or the limitlessness of our love, we cannot.
     And trying to do so is much like banging our head against an unbreakable wall. We have the power to make our head hurt, but no more. And the sooner we learn this, the easier our path will be. We waste precious time and emotional energy trying to affect change where it is not within our power to do so.

There are limits to my power: I cannot fix other people, and the sooner I learn this the better I will feel.

Monday, April 7, 2014

GETTING THROUGH THINGS

"We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness. "
~Unknown~

Worrying about how we will get through things that have yet to happen is time ill-spent. We can trust, absolutely, that whatever we have to get through, we will get through... somehow. It may not be exactly pretty, or graceful. We may stumble and fall. We may suffer a bit. But we will get through it. We always do.
     So let's stop wasting our precious lives away worrying over things. Let's accept that some things come easier than others, but that's what makes our experience what it is. If everything were easy, we would have no reference point for comparison purposes. It's the dark and challenging times that make our good times oh so sweet.

I don't have to worry about anything, because everything, in its time, will resolve.

Friday, April 4, 2014

PERFECTLY PRESENT

"I got the blues thinking of the future. So I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor."
~ DH Lawrence~

We ruin our present moment ruminating over the past and fearing for the future. It's silly that we do this- talk about opportunity lost! But we do. We all do.
     Let's pay attention to our thoughts and commit to bringing ourselves back to the moment every time we catch ourselves far away. Let's get in touch with our sensory awareness and be blessed with what is presently blessing us, whether we know it, or not.

I let go of the past and the future and tune in to right now.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NEXT RIGHT THING

"The way out is through."
~Nine Inch Nails~
 
Certain things in life that we have to do, as part of our job, or part of our family, or just because, can be annoying. And we would rather not do them. But in spite of our lack of enthusiasm, they still need to be done, and sometimes we are just the person for the job.
     When this is the case, rather than feeling irritated or victimized, we can use our initial annoyance as an opportunity. We can observe our resistance and our distaste, but make the decision to not let whatever it is ruin our day or our peace of mind. We can simply do our best, look for the positive if there is any, and know that when it's over, we can say, with a sense of assurance, that at least we showed up and did our part.
 
Life is full of things we'd rather not do, but if we have to do them, let's do them with the best attitude possible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

THE LIMITS OF ALL OR NOTHING

"When you reduce life to black and white you never see rainbows."
~Rachel Houston~
 
In the same way that a boat without a hand on the tiller will automatically  head into the wind, I automatically go to all or nothing thinking. I forget the good in the bad and the bad in the good and the mix of both that is the signature trademark of life. And I also forget, at such times, that the way I feel will change over and over in the course of a single day, and sometimes even in the course of a single hour.
     I resist the wind and end up facing it. I would do better to keep my hand on the tiller and watch the tell tales that show me the way it's moving, and then adjust the direction of my thoughts so that instead of battering me head on, the winds of life pass across my bow and carry me forth.
 
If I am observant instead of resistant, I can use everything to my advantage.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

HERE AT LAST!

"The sun has come out... and the air is vivid with spring light."
~Byron Caldwell~

Daffodils are blooming and the cherry blossoms are on their way. And so are the Phlox and the Eastern Redbuds and the Lilacs and Peonies. Our world is about to transform! After this long and snowy winter, let's be extra diligent about noticing every burst and bloom of color. Let's rejoice in the long awaited unfolding of spring!

I watch and wonder at the vibrant color as it returns to the landscape, and I celebrate and appreciate every bloom and bud.