Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Do You Do With The In-Between Time?

I can feel this year slipping away. It's almost gone, but the new one isn't here yet. Shall I take stock and rate the past year on a scale of 1-10? Or simply let it go (it will anyway) and look to the beginning of another year? Sometimes it's difficult being in-between. It feels kind of "nowhere." But like everything in life, we need to do something with it except just breathe until another phase begins.
I think I'll take this time to observe--I said observe--the past year and see what I come up with. Looking back, I can see I made a lot of mistakes, but I need to look at them without judgment, condemnation or guilt. I'm really a good person. I just goofed up sometimes. I kept putting off taking the computer course I knew I needed, and the project I tried to do myself on the computer was a real mess until a kind friend rescued me. I also changed my TV cable service to save money, but didn't read the fine print. Oops, it ended up costing more money. And during the summer, I planned to spend more time with my neighbor across the street, but didn't get to it. She's gone now, and it's too late.
I could say there are many things I should have done and didn't, but that would be a waste. I really need to look at my experiences, forgive myself for being imperfect, and examine what I can learn from them. I believe that life is for growing--not regretting. Maybe all those mistakes I made this past year can be turned into opportunities. They can open my eyes to where I've been and where I want to go from here.
The end of a year, or the end of any life phase, is a good time for reflection and vision, if we use it wisely. I think I'll spend this week taking a closer look and turn all those goofs into useful tools for a better year. Here's to better times ahead.
Love and blessings til next time.
Marilyn

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What Will You Take With You?

People all over the world have just finished celebrating the Christmas season. Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, and yes, many non-Christians celebrated Christmas too, at least the Santa Claus part--decorations, gifts, parties, and sharing happy times. But now that the season has ended, what do we do with the ending? Isn't this what we face with each life experience? We can choose what we leave behind and what we take with us.
Life is a mixture of pleasure and pain, and holidays usually involve both. We can't erase memories, but we can choose to leave any pain behind and take with us the beauty of the experience. Holidays can be hectic, and some things always seem to go wrong. Those are the bumps in the road, but we don't have to keep tripping over them in the future.
This year I remember wiping up cranberry sauce off the floor, missing my children who live in different states, nights I couldn't sleep, digging deeper into my pocketbook, and over-taxing my energy level. But I also remember the peace I felt during the beautiful candlelight service at church, laughs and hugs with my family and friends, phone calls with my children, the excitement of choosing gifts for others and opening my own, the smell of a Christmas tree and the sweet taste of honey and cinnamon. Oh, my, it all comes back to me now with the same delight.
So now I will put any pain, no matter how slight, into a big balloon and release it into the air to dissolve into nothingness. Then I will keep the peace and the spirit of the season in my heart. It feels so good there. And if any of that bad stuff comes up in the future, I'll just stick it back in the balloon and let it go again. So there.
I invite you to do the same. What will you release in the balloon? And what will you keep in your heart and take with you? Think about it.
Love ya all. Til next time.
Marilyn

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The good stuff is within

The holiday season can be filled with all kinds of emotions--beautiful wonder and excitement as we enjoy each day, or it can involve stress and even dread for some. It usually depends on our circumstances and/or our ability to feel at peace in spite of some kind of adversity. How wonderful when everything in our life helps make the holiday what it should be, a time of sharing with those we love, renewal of spirit and hope for the future. But, for some, that's not the way it is. It's difficult to feel at peace when alone, missing a loved one, dealing with illness or family upheaval or having an empty pocketbook.
I remember times in my childhood when my single mother had no money to surprise my brothers and me with holiday goodies. Sometimes angels came through for us, but sometimes not. Then there were times when I had little for my own children when their time came. Now some members of my family are no longer here, and I miss them when I think of happy times from the past. And a few years ago, I spent the holiday season in a rehab place after a serious car accident. Now that was a bummer.
But most of us have something we're trying to deal with, don't we? It seems that this time of year makes those bumps in the road really big. So do we suffer through it, or find ways to ease the pain and actually find some joy as we face those challenges? We tend to think that what's good in life is all outside of us, in what's going on around us, but the really good stuff is right there inside, in our mind and heart. Each of us is born with an innate ability to focus within and reach the love and peace that reside there. Yes, I know it takes practice. I'm still practicing. I stop, close my eyes, focus within and allow the peace in my heart to quietly emerge. Not always successful, but I'm getting better as time passes. It's worth finding, if only for a few moments, when we first begin the search. Why not try, and see what happens.
Love, peace and joy to all until next time.
Marilyn

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rainy Days

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's been raining for two days, and I'm sure there are many people praying for the rain to stop. It's like rain is one of those awful things we have to endure in life. Even those who report the weather on TV frown when there's no sunshine in the forecast. Yes, too much rain can be damaging, but is it always our enemy? It feeds the earth and can sometimes feed the soul.
I love sunshine. I need sunshine in my life. But some of my dearest memories are from rainy days. I remember how thrilling it was in my childhood when I'd run outside on a hot rainy day. I can still feel the cool water running down my body soaking me to my toes and the sound of puddles splashing around my legs. The street was usually full of kids giggling while their mothers yelled at them from porches. How can such a sublime treat be something of dread? I think maybe kids know something that too many grown-ups have forgotten.
I've spent most of my life near the Atlantic Ocean, and I've always enjoyed romps in the surf on a hot summer day. My brother and I had a dog named Shep who'd come running out into the water to save us every time he heard us yelling. I think he knew we were only playing, and it was fun for him too.
For a few years I lived in Las Vegas where it doesn't rain much. Sometimes weeks passed without a drop of the wonderful stuff, so at the first sign of thunder I got ready for my romp outside. Neighbors looked at me like I'd lost my marbles, but I knew what I was doing.
We sometimes use the word rain referring to those bumps in the road we all must face from time to time, and we can't always go outside and play when it rains. But we can take a second look. We are offered many contrasts in life, and the degree of our pain and pleasure depends on what we do with them. When the dark days come, we can choose to do our best to dance in the rain, and then bask in the sunny days that follow. And the sunny days do follow
Love, blessings and sunny days to all until next time.
Marilyn

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Make a list

I imagine I'm in the same situation as a lot of people in this holiday season, up to my ying yang in as much as I can handle without falling out from exhaustion. And stress keeps rising. I see people running from sale to sale, and the lines at the post office are horrendous. As for me, my TV went out and my bed collapsed, so much of my shopping has been to replace those two items in addition to the cards, gifts and other stuff. What to do?
Well, I'm falling back on my trusty to-do list. I know people who would never make such a list. It's just too much trouble, they say. But that's something I've done for years, and it does make my life easier. I'd rather put something on a list one time than to have it running around in my head over and over until I do it. Once it's on paper, I'm done with it until I get to it. When there are things I need to do that are outside of my usual routine, I put them on a list before bed for the next day. It's quite a freeing experience. Then later I get a kick out of crossing them off as I complete each one. Gives me a sense of accomplishment. The ones I don't finish can go on the next list.
I realize it's kind of hard to begin doing this, but it's gotten to be a real habit with me, and I've found it greatly reduces the stress of all the stuff there is to do in a very busy world, especially when things pile up.
Let me see now--what's on my list for tomorrow? Get an ink cartridge for my printer, order 2 more gifts, call in a prescription refill, and call a friend about a special she might want to watch on TV. I'd forget all of it except for my trusty list. It's nice to live in a world where so much is at our finger tips, but it sure can overload one's mind.
Love and blessings to all until next time.
Marilyn

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The power of a loving hug

December 13, 2009

I had planned to write in my blog on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but I thought I would add an extra one today. After church last week we had a wonderful potluck luncheon, and I took my usual cranberry salad. Well, today I gave out 3 requested recipes for the salad. Made me feel good. I also got the hugs I look forward to each week.
Do you know how important hugs are? They actually warm the heart and promote healing. Some people, like me, don't live in an environment where they get daily hugs, so each hug is a treasured experience.
There was a time when I believed I didn't need people. I was living my life alone just fine, thank you. But the older I grow, the more I realize how important it is to have people in our lives, especially loving ones. I remember how I scoffed when Barbra Streisand sang the song People. I love that song now. I think expressing love is the most important thing we can do in life. It's the greatest healer for all kinds of pain. We need people to love and to love us. I know it's hard for some who feel so alone, but there really are others out there who feel the same way and would love to exchange a hug. We just need to reach out and find them. I find mine in my family, friends and church, but there are many places to look. If you put out enough love, the Universe will respond with a loving hugger. It has to. That's Universal law.
Til next time, here's to love and blessings for the whole world.
Marilyn

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This time of the year

December 12, 2009

Today is a wonderful time to start a blog, when religious and cultural celebrations are going on all over the world. It's a time of looking over the past year, and feeling new possibilities churning inside. The holiday can open a heart that may have been too closed in the past, and can lead to a renewal of spirit if we let it.
As I think of past holidays like this, I remember some that were so sad I didn't want to see the smiling faces on the street. I didn't want to smell the holly or hear the bells chime. It was more than I could bear. But I survived, and I'm grateful. Otherwise, I would not have known the glorious ones that warmed my heart with immense joy in just being alive. I guess it takes the sad times to appreciate the good ones.
Have you ever been riding in a car, and you ran over a big bump in the road that knocked you off balance for awhile? Then everything leveled out, and you were on your way again. Gosh, that's the way it is in life. When those bumps come, it's not always easy to get out of the way, but if we don't get up after they hit, we won't know the beauty that may be ahead.
I used to curse the darkness I sometimes went through in the past, and I'm still trying to work through some of it, but now I look back and realize how much I learned from it. Maybe we need those bumps to grow and become what we're meant to be.
Spirit is in the air, and we can choose to grab on and feel it. Love, peace and joy are always in our heart. We just have to look inside and find it. Spiritual renewal is within each of us.
If you happen to feel that you have nothing to smile about right now, close your eyes and see Santa's belly jiggling when he laughs. I'll bet it will bring you a chuckle or two. It does that for me.
Love and blessings to all until next time.
Marilyn