Saturday, December 16, 2017
We humans are magnificent creations. We have what we need to thrive and survive and display outstanding talents and skills. And one of the most wonderful and complex parts of us is our brain. Everything we ever heard or experienced is held in our brain. It's all there, most of it tucked away in secret forever. But we have our memories. And some of our past is never lost.
A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever. Unknown
Memories come to us in several ways. You may want to re-capture something from the past, so you think of it, and it becomes real again. Other times you encounter things like a song, a special memento, or a similar experience that brings up a memory. And you remember what brought you joy and what brought you pain. And you relive those times.
When something comes to you from the past, you remember. You remember those heartfelt happy times, and you cling to the experience when you see it, you feel it, you taste it and breathe in the sweet scent. You remember. And for a moment, you're lost in time. You reach out. You want it back. But you feel the bittersweet quality of memory, and you have to let it go...maybe with a smile...maybe not. And memories are a part of life. So you live with them, and treasure each one.
Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks. Avena
But all memories are not the happy ones. Sometimes they awaken a pain in your heart you thought was gone, never to return and torture you. Maybe you remember loss of a loved one, an opportunity you missed, a betrayal by a friend, words that cut deep to your soul, experiences you don't want to ever see or feel again. But you remember and you relive the whole episodes with the same tips and turns, the confusion, the unbelief, the heartfelt pain. You cringe and turn away. And the more you resist the memory, the stronger it gets. But memories are a part of life.
Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. Lewis B. Smedes
Many people remember situations involving themselves and others that need forgiving. When this is accomplished, the memory remains, but the suffering is healed and gone. Years ago when I was working, every payday I put money away for my retirement fund. Then a couple years into retirement, I lost my money due to neglect by the person handling it. A bitter memory. Everyone makes mistakes, but if I'd paid off my house instead, things would have been different. And I might have more pleasant memories now. But peace comes with forgiveness.
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Dr. Seuss
There's a saying, "Life is for making memories." But as we move through life with one experience after another, we don't actively create situations that might later become pleasant memories. We don't even think about or fully realize what our experiences will look and feel like in a memory. So why not create happy situations today to bring happiness again tomorrow in the remembering. And what a better time to create good memories than in a holiday season.
This is a time of year when people are rushing to get things done, with little attention on what they'll remember in the future. So pay attention to happiness that simply happens, and make some of it yourself. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, and maybe people you don't even know. Exchange lots of hugs, smile at strangers, play with children, sing out loud, skip up an aisle in the grocery store, call people by their names, share with your place of worship and charities. Be creative and do what makes you and others happy. This is a time to celebrate life and make memories you will cherish forever.
I wish you fun making your happy memories.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
It's December, and holiday planning is everywhere. More cars are on the road with fewer places to park, stores are picking up traffic, you see more ads on TV, holiday trimmings are going up, and everyone's looking for just the right gift. In other words, everything's progressing into the usual chaotic rush that strikes this time every year. It can be a time of constant stress OR it can be a time of wonderment and miracles...if you make it so. And isn't it wonderful? Or is it?
Many people are so consumed with doing, they miss the fun of being. They try to move through each day on auto pilot without much thought to where they're going. It's easy to forget things, then have to back track to remedy the forgetting. And pleasant experiences can turn into frustation and stress. If you're someone who celebrates a holiday in December, you know what it's like scrambling to get through it with a sane mind and a strong body still intact. Maybe you feel the reward is worth the stress. But with too much stress, it's like walking through a beautiful garden and forgetting to smell the flowers.
In the midst of the clamor, this time of year can also tug at your heart strings with sweet memories of times past when you held a certain loved one, when family was intact, when life was slower and felt more stable, when so much was 'just different'. You feel the stress of knowing you can't go back and recapture what you had yesterday. And painful feelings prevent your full embrace of the season. But your memories and your love for people and things from the past will always be a part of you. And you don't have to give them up. You can keep them close in your heart, while you focus on expressing love in the present.
As you move through your busy days, be vigilant and watch for opportunities to replace stress with love and joy in each experience. Recently I was in a check-out line in a grocery store, and I spied a small boy around 4 or 5 years old leaning against his mother also in line. I waved to him, and he waved back. And for a while we had fun giggling and connecting with back and forth gestures. Words were not necessary. Then suddenly he left his mother's side, darted over to me, threw both arms around me, and held on tight with his little head nestled against me. I was absolutely awe-struck, and I knelt down and gave him a hug. He finally left with both parents. And I'll always cherish the joy that dear little boy brought to me.
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. Hamilton Wright Mabie
Send your love over time and space to those you want to hug. They will receive the blessings that your love carries with it. And put your mind and heart in your gifts. No money for gifts? Love is the greatest gift you can give. I remember when a friend had no money to buy me a birthday present, so she cleaned my house. I'll never forget that gift or the precious angel who gave it.
Holiday seasons are rich with miracles if you know where to look. First hug the miracle that is yourself. Then reach out to others with your love. And watch and listen so miracles won't go unnoticed. Smile at strangers, and play with children. If you attend worship services, exchange hugs with others who need hugs as much as you do. And call people by their name. We like being validated. Keep your mind and heart open and receptive allowing your love to flow into this season. And you'll find your holiday miracles. Then you'll reach the finish line with a big grin, because you can finally sit back, put your feet up, and say, "Ahh. Yes, it is wonderful."
I wish you a holiday filled with peace and love.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Is there someone in your life who gets on your nerves and annoys you to the point of frustration? Maybe your boss, co-worker, neighbor, friend, life partner? Most people know someone like this. If you do, then you know that uncomfortable feeling that bubbles beneath the surface and drives you up a wall.
Years ago I worked in a pharmacy with a verbally abusive boss. Then one day I exploded, and we had a yelling fight across the store. I thought for sure I'd be fired. But when I carried my loud voice behind his counter, he was doubled up with laughter. I yelled, "What the hell are you laughing at?" With a wide grin, he answered, "I wondered how long it would take you to stand up for yourself. Bout time." After that he treated me with respect, and we ended up with a good relationship. However, I wouldn't recommend my behavior to anyone. Don't yell at your boss.
People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. Unknown
Over time, I've learned better ways to improve my own response to people who push my buttons. There's room for change on both sides. First look at your own responses, and honestly question any hangups that may precipitate or contribute to the other person's behavior. Am I being unreasonable? Do I expect too much? Do I respond from my own insecurity? Is there something in me that needs to change? Look for answers, and make necessary changes if you need to. If you feel comfortable talking to the other person, do it. If not, there are other ways to bring about change.
One time I worked with a team of people, and our Supervisor's answers to the others were usually 'yes', but always 'no' to me, sometimes with a somewhat hostile attitude. I was confused and made every effort to please. But no change. Then I went to my Minister for help, and she recommended the following exercise. I used it each day, and in about a month, I saw changes with my Supervisor. Eventually, we became friends, and I valued her friendship.
Recommended Exercise: Your goal is to change the negative energy between you to positive energy, thus changing the behaviors.
1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine looking at the other person.
2. Then say, "I love you, I bless you, I release you to your highest good."
3. Now take another deep breath, and let go. Let go. Let go.
When you say these words, you're sending the other person a love your neighbor type of love--the kind that's wired in us to love others. At first, you may not feel these words, so saying them may be difficult. But you're affirming blessings in their life, and you're releasing them, and ultimately yourself, from negative energy between you. So say the words anyway. In most cases, this exercise does work if you stay with it. And you might just find the peace you long for between you.
You can't change someone who doesn't see an issue in their actions. Unknown
Not everyone is going to cooperate and make the change you want in your relationship. And it may be someone you can't or don't want to release from your life. But you don't have to remain on the receiving end of their inappropriate behavior. Set boundaries with a plan to avoid emotional disturbance from a difficult person.
Boundary Examples: "I will be caring and considerate of your feelings; I will use yes or no when needed, and mean it; I will listen when you're talking to me, but will walk away if your words or manner are hurtful; etc, etc. And I will grant you the same courtesies." Create and present the plan appropriate to the person involved, such as your boss at work, your life partner, whoever, etc.
A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. Marianne Williamson
Some people have a fear of losing control and will resist change. So if someone refuses your miracle, then honor it yourself as much as possible. You're a special person with a right to peace and love in your life. Go for it, and be happy.
I wish you peace created between you.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Clutter in our outer world is tangible things with visual color and texture you can touch. But the inside stuff rolls around in your head and heart, and you carry it with you everyday. You wake in the morning, and it beckons your attention. And if you're an inside clutterer, you answer its call.
If it can be solved, there's no need to worry, and if it can't be solved worry is of no use. Dalai Lama
Like outer clutter, inner clutter occurs in different amounts and intensity. At best, you might experience occasional worry like rushing to catch a bus when you oversleep, or forget to cancel an appointment, etc. For those you might fret and say a few choice words, but then deal with it and not let it become an unecessary burden. Then more intense is worry over one main issue you just can't release like a lost relationship or a mistake you can't go back and correct. And your strong feelings hold it to you. You see no resolution, and you can't stop obsessing over it everyday.
The most troublesome situation is when multiple issues build up inside with focus on many painful feelings that won't stop. And they become a source of daily rumination without resolution. Or you retain feelings from the past like sorrow, regret, anger, etc. And a trigger like a song or a sudden memory can create an ongoing reaction. You can even get into, "What if this happens, or what if that happens," before anything worrisome happens. Inner clutter fills your thoughts, and you feel there's no way out.
Outer clutter in our surroundings influences the way we feel. But it doesn't require constant attention, and daily activities furnish a respite. Inner clutter is a different phenomenon. Your thoughts are part of you. And for a person who's caught up in a daily battle with obsessive thinking, the relentless invasion of worrisome thoughts can reach down to the soul and leave them anxious, depressed, and exhausted. Just living day to day becomes a challenge.
Non resistance is the greatest power in the Universe. Eckhart Tolle
When mental clutter piles up, you try to make it stop. But it won't budge. You try pushing it out of your mind, but it gets stronger. And you push harder. So it goes, over and over. Well, there's a saying, "Resistance breeds persistence." And it does. So stop resisting. Once you let it be, you can get to ways that will release it and bring you peace. And there are ways to do that.
First, give yourself permission to release the clutter. Then voice your intention to stop obsessing, and verbalize a vow to break loose. Be firm.
Prepare with self-talk, and speak to your thoughts with love as often as needed. Repeat, "I've been approaching problems with worry, and that doesn't work. I'm smart enough to handle whatever needs my attention, and let the rest go. And thoughts, I don't need you now. I'm taking charge, and we're going to be happy."
If it doesn't nourish your soul, get rid of it. Unknown
Consider the difference between worry and concern. Worry is clutter, and doesn't solve problems. Concern implies relevance and importance, and is a valid place to begin releasing the clutter. So list everything you're worrying about, and rate each item by how relevant and important it is and how much you 'need' to be concerned about it...0 being not at all, and 10 being a lot. Then choose items you can solve without worry.
A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. Marianne Williamson
Imagine a large balloon, and drop items you're releasing into the balloon. Seal the top, and wave goodbye with forgiveness and love as you watch it float upward and disappear into the sky. Feel your shoulders lighten and your mind clear. Now you have nourished your soul.
It may take additional efforts to finally stop cluttering your mind. But continue the clearing procedure as needed, and your mind will eventually develop a 'stop button'. And you can truly be free. A long time ago, ongoing efforts worked for me, and I'm grateful.
I wish you a peaceful mind and heart.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Let today be the day you learn the grace of letting go and the power of moving on. Steve Maraboli
Some people are never concerned with getting empty boxes to pack up clutter for the trash collectors. God bless 'em. But others of us live our lives overrun with all kinds of clutter. It's not something we do deliberately. We just don't put things where they belong in the first place, and they pile up. We have good intentions, but we take stuff for granted and pretend it's not there.
Clutter is stuck energy. The word "Clutter" derives from the Middle English word "clotter" which means to coagulate--and that's about as stuck as you can get. Karen Kingston.
Everything is energy, and energy attracts like energy. So if your life is full of clutter, more clutter is what you'll attract. And it creeps up gradually when you're not looking. Over time, it meshes together like part of the decor. And it becomes part of your everyday life. You may try to change your focus away from it. But the clutter is still there.
People clutter for different reasons. Some allow 'memories' to pile up with old pictures, souvenirs, reminders of happy times, etc. Others accumulate stuff and plan to 'get to it later' like unread mail and greeting cards, receipts that need filing, etc. Others think they might 'need something later' like ads for things on sale, old clothes they'll never wear, the hat for that outfit they never bought. Then there's the messy person who just lets everything pile up.
Our home environment is a reflection of who we think we are, and clutter becomes a part of that reflection. We identify with it. So the clutter influences the way we feel and takes a toll on our health. It can invite dust, or molds, and toxins that affect us physically, draining our energy and our ability to fight illnesses. Looking at clutter everyday can also encourage mental and emotional stress that disturbs our sense of well being with feelings like incompetence, anxiety, and depression. And our home may no longer support a positive self-image or what we need to be healthy and happy.
If you're a chronic clutterer, your brain is trained for it. But you can re-train your brain and create a new way to live. Clutter has some meaning for each person, and it's important to understand why you clutter. So ask yourself, "Why do I allow clutter in my home? And what reward do I get from it?" You might answer, "I allow it to pile up because I can get to it later, or I keep it because I might need it sometime." And my reward is "I don't have to do it now, or I'll have it if I need it." Now make a decision to release your need to clutter, and make an appointment with yourself to begin clutter maintenance.
It's all about finding the calm in the chaos. Donna Karan
Get a box for trash and a bag for give-a-ways, and make notes to yourself to stay with a schedule to the end. Clean one area at a time like one drawer, one closet, one pile of papers, etc. Keep only what's meaningful like pictures, letters, mementos, etc, and what's necessary like medical reports, unpaid bills, etc. But let all the rest go. And with each job you finish, see yourself as strong and capable. It may take more than one attempt to change for good. So keep reminders in those areas you've cleaned, and maybe you won't clutter again. :-)
When you're done, stand back and look around. Smile at what you've accomplished, and you'll feel a new energy in your home. And now that you've cleared the clutter on the outside, take a moment to go within and tell yourself you'll clear the inside clutter too.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week to release your inside clutter and find peace.
I wish you happy days in your clutter free home. And maybe your car too?
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Hello, Dear Readers,
Sorry I haven't been around for a while, but due to a bout with illness, I just couldn't make it. And this being Veteran's Day, I especially wanted to remember our veterans with an article. Didn't make that either. But I do want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women who served our country with their love and dedication. And if you know a veteran, let him/her know you care. Thank you.
Now since I couldn't get an article ready, I'm offering a little poem on a different subject that I wrote a long time ago.
Laugh A Little. It's Good For You.
Although I hurt a lot inside,
I sometimes joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet another place
Along my weary path.
It usually comes up suddenly,
And takes its rightful place.
It stays around a little while
To fill the empty space.
Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.
God knew I'd need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.
Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.
I wish you a beautiful laugh whenever you need one.
Friday, October 20, 2017
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. John F. Kennedy
Most of us get a job, work hard, pay bills, solve problems, have some fun with family and friends, participate in spiritual activities, and keep our lives moving. But if you're one of those, do you ever get a feeling maybe there's something more, something you're missing in your life? That feeling is a part of you inside that reaches out to your conscious awareness with a message you might want or need to know. There's more to you than what you've seen so far.
Your life has purpose. Your story is important. Your dreams count. Your voice matters. You were born to make an impact. Unknown
Each of us is born with a special purpose for our life, and something inside longs to express who we are and our reason for being here. But we seldom think consciously about such things. We know that life is a mixture of positive and negative experiences, and we prefer the positive. But how often do we actually think about or own role in helping to create a happier world? In thousands of ways our world needs help, but do you ever contemplate ways in which you might express something beneficial to others in your own special way? Hmm... What would you express? Think about it.
The things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose in life. Follow them. Unknown
We're all endowed with talents, or gifts, things we enjoy and do well that are connected to our life purpose. And we bring these talents with us into our life to fulfill our purpose. But we don't always recognize them as blessings that give our life meaning. And sometimes we take our talents for granted and minimize their value with an attitude that says, "Oh, that's nothing. Anybody can do that." But no two people can do anything exactly alike, because what each person does is very special and cannot be duplicated.
Some of us express our talents in seemingly small, insignificant ways...smiles and hugs help heal a broken heart, being a good listener validates others, repairing children's bikes brings them pleasure, etc. With others, talents can be reflected in one's type of work...teachers, physical therapists, nurses, etc. Millions of talents, all equal in importance, all blessing someone in some way. How vital each person is in our world. And most don't realize that the good they do is an expression of their life purpose.
The meaning of your life is to find your gift. The purpose of your life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso
We discover our talents in different ways at different times in our life. And sometimes they're even discovered through a painful experience. I once had a patient who suffered with a back injury and felt his life was useless. He knew nothing of talents and life purpose. But he loved nature, and one day he discovered he could lay on the ground propped up on one side and grow a garden with one hand. Then his mood changed to happiness as he fulfilled his life purpose making others happy supplying beautiful flowers to hospitals and anyone who wanted a bouquet...including me.
If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose. Bishop T. D. Jakes
You may not know your purpose in life, and when you ask yourself why you're here, you may have no answers. But if you know your talent and bring it to its rightful importance, you'll see the connection. Then use it and claim your own happiness fulfilling your purpose. If you don't know your talent, start noticing something you really enjoy doing, and you do it well. It could be your work, a hobby, a pastime, etc. Listen to the voice inside that says, "There. That's it. That's why you're here." And move through your life fulfilling your purpose with a happy heart.
I wish you happiness as you discover your self.