*

*

Thursday, July 31, 2014

STRAIGHT UP

"Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find."
~Matthew 7:7~
 
No matter how strong we feel on the inside, I think it's possible, and easy even, to be vague on the outside. We hope for things. We hint at them and make subtle suggestions. But we rarely have the courage to simply ask, in a straightforward manner, for exactly what we want.
     Maybe we pretend that we don't really want what we want, that whatever happens will be ok. And everything will be ok- that's a given- but it's still helpful to be clear with ourselves, with others, and with God. A sincere free-from-whining "please" is a much stronger position to come from than shuffling our feet around and pretending that we don't care... when we do.

I am clear about what I want and ask for it without apology.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GOOD BEHAVIOR

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it."
~David Star Jordan~
 
Getting drunk, over-indulging in food, shopping to excess, sleeping around- all of these things may seem like solutions to the problems of our lives, but they are not, and they never will be. It's not possible to feel good in life unless we behave well. One leads to the other. The law of cause and effect is always in play.
     So not getting drunk, eating in moderation, saving our money, and choosing our intimate partners with care are the types of things that will actually solve our problems.
     Let's get honest about this. We are so easily, and so willingly misled.
 
I have integrity. I respect myself and behave in ways that make me feel good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE

"Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits."
~Robert Brault~
 
Life is less about achievement than it is about the next step. We reach goals by degree and evolve in layers, not leaps. Everything is a building process. We have to establish firm footing first, and then slowly rise upwards. A finished product without the benefit of a strong infrastructure and slow growth is vulnerable to wreckage and dissolution.
     To build something that will last is to not take any shortcuts. It's to stay on course and keep our faith for however long it takes and against all odds. Chances are that the strength of our structure will be equal to the time and effort we have put in, so we needn't be impatient and pushy. All we need to do is to take the next step, and then the next one as they come.

Life is a process and I don't ever arrive anywhere worthwhile all at once. I arrive by degrees with the completion of each successive step.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A WORLD OF UNCERTAINTY

"To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do."
~Bertrand Russell~

Waiting for an answer regarding something we care about deeply is a test of patience and faith. It might go the way we want it to or it might not. Living with the possibility of either outcome is an emotional balancing act of the highest order. Whatever is decided will steer us in our next direction, but coming to terms with not knowing is a psychological endeavor. We talk ourselves from one side of the coin to the other and back again. But we can't know until we know.
    
I long for definitive answers insofar as I can have them, but life teaches me over and over that nothing is ever as certain as I think.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

RUN-AWAY EXPECTATIONS

"Oft, expectation fails, and most oft where it most promises..."
 ~William Shakespeare~

What people will agree to "in theory;" what they will agree to do, to say, to bequeath, to remove, they are not necessarily willing to do. When a real decision is presented to them, a real opportunity to follow through on their talk, their idea, or their verbal commitment, we can watch with fascination as they make excuses and start to pedal backwards. Sometimes they are polite about it, and sometimes not.
     I have spent more time in my life than I care to admit counting on what can't really be counted on, and believing people at their literal word. I take casual, theoretical conversation as fact, and then feel disappointed when reality doesn't pan out as I've anticipated. I can save myself a lot of angst if, going forward, I catch my expectations before they run away with me instead of after the fact.

I stop myself from banking on what is only a done deal in theory. Nothing is done until it's done.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE JOY OF WEEKENDS

"Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath." 
~Lynden B. Johnson~

I am so grateful for weekends, for the freedom of time off and not having to travel up and down the road. Every time Friday cycles around again and accomplishment and exhaustion mix with the suspension of my daily grind, my whole body feels the relief.
     I don't mind working hard. I enjoy it. But I sure do appreciate a couple of days off.

I am thankful for the cyclical relief of weekends every time they come around.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SADNESS

"Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light."
~Jean Giraudoux~

Sometimes I'm just sad, and that's ok. It's a free-floating kind of sadness- for exhaustion, for pain, for effort expended and opportunities missed. I feel sad for all of the suffering of humanity, and for the travails of our beautiful trash-wracked earth.
     But something sweet always come along to restore my hope- something rich and fertile and natural and sublime- something full of life, and full of beauty, and full of loving vibration.
     At moments such as these, life is sad and beautiful at the same time.
 
I accept sadness when it bubbles up. It balances the sweetness and enriches my life.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TOUGHNESS

"Toughness is in the soul and the spirit, not in muscles."
~Alex Karras~

Real toughness is quiet and steadfast; not aggressive, and not belligerent. Real toughness does not advertise itself. It is confident in its own power and reliability. It waits and watches. It is not afraid to be tender and not afraid to be kind.
     More often, what we encounter is a fa├žade of toughness, which is nothing more than a cover-story for fear; a veil of amped-up composure over a puddle of insecurity. This kind of toughness is brittle, and weak.
     When life requires endurance and strength from us, let's call on the reserves of love within us instead of the smoke of our fears.

Fear weakens me, but love makes me indestructible. I choose love. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

TOO LOOSE

"If it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul."
~William Shakespeare~

Too much familiarity too soon with people we are just meeting is uncomfortable. A certain level of propriety, at least for the first few minutes, is appropriate, and appreciated.
     I don't like my waiter to sit down at the table with me to take my order and then call me sweetie and act like we are best friends. And I don't want people to create nick-names for me, or to tease me, before they even know who I am. These types of liberties, though they reflect our increasingly casual culture, feel like violations of an unspoken social contract.
     Let's be respectful and proper and polite upon meeting people, and save our jibes and endearments for when we know each other better and have earned the right to be so familiar.
 
I am sensitive to personal boundaries and the dignity of unfamiliar people and maintain a level of decorum as we interact. I am not so casual that I forget to be respectful.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ALLOWING FOR DIGNITY

"I think most of us can remember without any difficulty and with a  flush of joy those extremely rare cases in our own childhood when some grown-up visitor treated us with real, instead of with mock, respect."
~William L Phelps~
 
It's possible to smoother people with our care and attention- to fuss and bother over them when they are perfectly capable beings in their own right. We tend to do this with old people and with young children. We insult their intelligence by being overly-protective and molly-codling, and by giving them the message that that they cannot function or succeed without us.
    Let's honor them instead. Let's treat all human beings, no matter their age or their situation, with dignity and respect.

I do not "talk down" to the very old and the very young. I treat them like the whole people that they are.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

THE WASTE OF WORRY

"We are more disturbed by a calamity which threatens us than by one which has befallen us."
~John Lancaster Spalding~

Most of what we worry about doesn't happen. It dissolves in the mist of time and evaporates before it has come to fruition. Other things happen instead: the unanticipated and unforeseen.
     I have a tendency to consider the future with a certain amount of dread, as if I am guaranteed suffering and hardship. I fret over these things as possibilities, but in truth, I am blessed by life more than I am cursed. I am regularly surprised by the beauty of ordinary things, and the people I meet, and synchronicity.
    Let's leave worry by the wayside and trust in goodness. Let's believe that everything happens for a reason, and that ultimately, all that we experience is for our evolution and prosperity. When fear and stress come mongering around, let's move past our anxiety and choose instead to trust in the process of our lives.
 
When I catch myself being upset over potential future events, I take a deep breath and remember that everything plays out in the end.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DAYS THAT GO WELL

"There is no longer the need to have a sense of control... Things flow as they will..."
~Emmanuel~
 
Some days I am content to go along and get along. I enjoy the nuances of the day and the colors I see and the people I encounter. I am empty of fight and struggle and angst, which are the ruling factors of my life on other days.
     It's a blessing to feel this way whenever it happens, because it's guaranteed not to last. More often than not, I am full of resistance. I resist the way things are, and I resist the idea of changing. I get stuck emotionally. So when I feel peaceful and easy in my skin, it's a good day, and I embrace it with my whole heart.

I am grateful for days that pass without my resistance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THE SCOPE OF THINGS

"The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them."
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery~

We are tiny in the scope of things. The internet makes our world smaller in the sense that we can communicate with people all over the earth, but it also dwarfs us. Our inclinations and likes and follows and views are a mere blip in the sea of visual and conceptual possibility. Multitudes of people have a website and an angle and something to promote. And so much of it is interesting, valid, curious, and seemingly worth our time.
     People's lifework is available for our perusal and review, and we add ours to the mix. It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time, like the most extravagant buffet of global food. It's all prepared to please the eye and excite the palate .
     And plenty of it is less appealing in reality than it may initially seem, but plenty of it is delicious as well, and unique, and not-to-be-missed. It's a hard thing not to over-fill our plates, and super-easy to get personally lost in the mix.

I trust that I will encounter who I am supposed to encounter traveling the road of life and do not allow the sheer volume of possibility to overwhelm me.

Monday, July 14, 2014

CAUSE AND EFFECT

"Choices are the hinges of destiny."
~Pythagoras~

I believe that the condition of our lives is more the result of our repetitive choices than it is the result of luck, or destiny. If we habitually choose dysfunction, then dysfunction is what we experience. If we choose gratitude, we experience abundance. If we choose to be loving, we experience the energy of love.
     Free will is about cause and effect. We are responsible beings- not victims. What we choose determines the quality of our lives.

Understanding that the choices I make dictate my experience, I choose with care.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

YES, BUT...

"An excuse is a skin of reason stuffed with a lie."
~Billy Sunday~

"Yes but" are two powerful words. They keep us from not changing what needs to be changed, not addressing what needs to be addressed, and not moving forth in the direction of our calling. They justify the status quo and excuse anything and everything. We weaken ourselves every time we use them.
     Let's be straight up and say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no. Let's not waffle and whine. Let's have the courage to choose what we choose without pretense, and with our full conviction.
 
I am brave and clear. I say what I mean politely and don't make excuses for myself or anyone else.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

THE ECHO OF ENERGY

"See yourself always as cause, and perhaps a better world will be found among your effects."
~Robert Brault~

We have no way to know how our small acts of consideration for others work their full effect; or how our words or actions in a public setting might influence someone in the crowd. Our movement and language is energy that ripples across time and space. What are we sending out?
     Our motivation matters. If we are spewing arrows and contention that may not be the best use of our lives.

I am a purveyor of positive energy. I intentionally infuse the world with love.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MOVING FORWARD

"You will find a path."
~Frank Slaughter~
 
There is always a way forward, always a space to move into, a new door, and a fresh perspective. Even when we feel stuck there is a way; even when we are out of ideas, and out of hope. Unknown and unexpected opportunities sprout like seeds. They pop through the dark earth and grow.
     We feel certain that there is no way forward, and yet, the way appears. We glimpse it and catch our breath. We look tentatively and shift our feet from side to side. And then, with courage, and a sense of destiny, we take the first step.

I trust in the path of the unfolding future.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

SELF-BETRAYAL

"If a thousand old beliefs were ruined in our march to truth we must still march on."
~Stopford Brook~

We must look within for our own truth. We won't find it in others- not in parents or gurus or lovers or friends. We so readily sell ourselves out and doubt our instincts and hand over our power to those who impress us in one way or another. They seem to know. They have the answers. They will save us, and guide us, and carry us. And no one is more disappointed than we are  when things don't turn out the way they were promised. We feel betrayed. We feel we have been duped.
     And we have, but not in the way we think. When we give our power away, when we turn our precious lives over to the whims of others, it is ourselves that we betray, and ourselves that we abandon, and ourselves that we have unintentionally wronged.

I do not allow others to run my life. I maintain myself as the ultimate authority on me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

"We're all just walking each other home."
~Ram Dass~

It's impossible to be completely self-sufficient. We live in a web of humanity and influence and dependency. If we are being realistic, then we have to acknowledge that high integrity behavior, personal responsibility, and cooperation with others all have to be appropriately balanced. We do not live in a vacuum, nor should we want to. Give and take is the natural order of things, and a balance of give and take is the way to go.
 
I am fiercely independent and I am also a team player. Life requires of me that I be both.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

THE LIMITS OF MAGICAL THINKING

"Those who are not governed by reason take the chance that someday the sunken fact will rip the bottom out of their boat."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes~
 
I used to do a fair amount of "magical" thinking. I used the power of intention to drive me with a kind of fearful urging towards a specific outcome, and then, when the outcome didn't play out exactly as I had intended, I figured I had done something wrong. I believed that there was a guaranteed path to achieve my vision, and if it didn't work out, I must have somehow missed a step along the way. I made no room in this approach for flow or grace or serendipity. I was all about tunnel vision and drive.
     I understand now that I have to take responsible action in the direction of my intended result, but then I have to leave it alone. I have to let go. Some things are better left undone and unaccomplished, and that is how the highest good is served.
 
I can't see the view from every angle, so I have to trust that if something is working out or not working out in a surprising way, there are forces greater than me at work, and somehow or other, even if I can't see it or understand it, all will be well in the end.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

THANK GOD

"Hope is patience with the lamp lit."
~Tertullian~
 
Thank God for thunderstorms to cool things off when they get too hot, and for wetness in general: puddles and baths and rivers and streams. Thank God for changing seasons and changing perspectives and the evolution of our souls. Thank God for love and life, for friendship and laughter, for mercy and courage. And thank God for the never-ending reality of hope.
 
I believe in the blessing of dynamic change.

Friday, July 4, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

"We sleep peacefully at night, cradled by the big strong hands of America."
~Val Saintsbury~
 
We expect to have the freedom to live as we please and to do as we choose, and consequently, we take it for granted that it should be any other way. We find plenty to whine about and have sour grapes galore. We complain about our politicians and the "system" and whatever bothers us about current events. But the simple fact remains that all around our globe, others are not so lucky, and being American is an incredible privilege, a great blessing, and an unending opportunity.
     Let's be patriots today, and express our gratitude- that we have the rights that we have and the advantages that we enjoy. Let's take up the flag and take up the cause and feel proud and honored to be who we are and to live where we do.
 
I am grateful for my freedom.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

SAVOR THE FLAVOR

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. I smile when I look back at the troubles that have strengthened me."
\~Truman Capote~
 
Depending what we choose to use as our examples, we can forward almost any point-of-view. We can make a case for the low, the high, the ugly, the beautiful, the organic, or the cheaply manufactured. We can make a case for anything because everything and its opposite exist side by side and all-together.
     But maybe, what appears unfortunate is not always unfortunate and vice versa. Good can come from bad and bad from good. So maybe, the thing to do is to stop making a case at all, one direction or the other, and to accept the mix of life as it is: rich, varied, and full of surprise.

I stop forcing my black and white thinking on the world and embrace the full flavor of my life.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

LOVE AS A HABIT

"Love is a tender look which becomes a habit."
~Peter Ustinov~
 
I love to eat fresh blueberries in the summertime. I love mountain views. I love people with all of their misunderstandings and longings and dreams. I love the sun.
     I love gentle soaking rain and late afternoons at the beach. I love feel-good movies. I love colors and seasons and stirring air. I love silence and resonating sound: drum beats, toe-tapping music, chirping birds.
     I love the reality of possibility, and choice, and the courage it takes to keep on no matter what. I love the cycles of days, the arrival of dusk, and the never-ending evolution of all things including myself.

Life is worth showing up for. Every day is a brand new adventure.