Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Welcome To My Life

Everyone and everything around you is your teacher. Ken Keyes Jr

People come into our lives for a purpose. They come with love and support and/or to present us with an opportunity for growth. And there's a blessing in each one, for even a painful challenge is a blessing if we learn from it. Sometimes we don't see the blessing until we look back on the experience and realize we took something of value from it.

When I was working, I had a supervisor who made my life as miserable as he could, and I stayed stressed out. I told a friend about him, and she said, "He's probably one of the best life teachers you've ever had." Her comment rattled my brain, and I took a second look at this difficult person and my feelings toward him. I'd stayed so immersed in miserable feelings, I'd missed the value in this challenge. I began some inner soul-searching, as I call it, and realized how I could gain from the very irritation I dreaded every day. With a different perspective, I found strength and wisdom from this experience to pave a smoother way for myself in subsequent relationships.

No one makes you feel anything. It is how you react and respond that determines your emotions. Brian Tracy

Nobody says you have to like a person that's in your life, but you can learn to live around him or her for as long as you have to, and keep your sanity while you're at it. You can't change the other person, but why let someone else determine how you feel? You can take dominion over your own feelings, and learn something about yourself in the process.

Each person is a valuable part of our growth, so when someone is in your life, put your feelings on hold and ask what you can gain from the experience--patience, understanding, independence, self-worth, strength, compassion--whatever is yours to learn. Think to yourself, Welcome to my life. Let's see what we can learn from each other.

Sometimes people you believe to be your enemy really can be your greatest teachers if you give the relationships a chance on that basis. Over the years, once I learned to start out with the Welcome to my life statement, a few of my potential enemies became friends. And we learned together. Sure made life a lot easier.

I wish you happy encounters.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Rainbow

Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail. Robert Motherwell

I'm a child. Ten years old on a school trip. Mesmerized by a sight so beautiful my breath escapes me. Thousands of tulips. Michigan tulips. As far as I can see they stretch across a field before me, and fill my eyes with brilliant color beneath a soft blue sky above. Their colors form a rainbow in my mind. Yellow, red, purple, pink, orange, white, all swaying in the warm breeze while the springtime sun sparkles on their petals. I hold my chest and sway with them, overcome with awe at a sight I only dream of in my storybooks. For a while, this incredible sight replaces the loneliness I feel at home. It's nobody's fault at home. That's just the way it is.

This beautiful panorama of color taught me something I've carried with me my whole life. No matter what pain we encounter on our journey, there is always a rainbow somewhere. There have been times when I looked around at my life and saw nothing but dregs of what might have been. Boulders that looked too big to overcome. Doors closed to me forever. Hills too steep to climb. But my mind held the picture of the tulips, and I picked myself up and moved on.

When life throws you a curve, and you think you can't get up, you may not see a rainbow. But the rainbow is always there. Maybe it's just behind the clouds you see in your life, or between rain drops when they fall, or in birds talking to each other early in the morning, or in a child's smile. You may have to get on a bus and take a field trip in your mind to find it. But it's there.

When it looked like the sun wasn't going to shine anymore, there's a rainbow in the clouds. Maya Angelou

Life has a way of putting the difficult stuff right in our face, while the good stuff remains illusive. Maybe that's what teaches us how to be more alert and careful where we focus our attention. Rainbows are all around you. You have to know that. You have to believe that. And open your eyes and your heart to look past the darkness and find them.

I wish you clear vision along your path.


P.S. I keep the beautiful yellow tulips on my computer desktop.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Second Thought

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. D.H.Lawrence

The above quote is the philosophy I should have taken when I was recently forced to get along without my computer for 10 days. During that time, I wrung my hands, railed at fate, and felt as if life would never be the same. Okay. So I wasn't that insane, but I did forget everything I thought I'd learned about facing those bumps that pop up on the road of life. I was resisting the situation with all my might, and that just prolonged the agony.

When you fight something, you're tied to it forever. As long as you're fighting it, you're giving it power. Anthony de Mello

Our thoughts, feelings and actions produce energy, and our energy gives power to whatever is involved. One of the best ways to keep an unwanted situation or condition hanging around is to resist it. We do this with fear, worry, fretting, frustration, yelling, kicking walls, or any other way we can think of to express our negative feelings about it. Some people focus on their shortcomings, real or imagined. They focus on wanting these thoughts to go away, so they can feel good about themselves. This does nothing but give power to what's being resisted. With an outside problem, we attach ourselves to it as if that's going to make a difference in the outcome. We think the problem can't be solved unless we stew over it, and this too is resistance. These cycles take us nowhere.

Most problems work themselves out over time, but why chain yourself to them? You might as well say, "Pull up a chair and have a seat. I'll feed you enough energy to keep you around for a long time."

What you resist persists. And only what you look at, and own, can disappear. You make it disappear by simply changing your mind about it. Neale Donald Walsch

Nonresistance doesn't mean putting your head in the sand and ignoring something that needs your attention. It simply means choosing to accept the problem not as a mountain, but as a manageable hill that you're capable of resolving, rather than focusing on it with resistance.

1. You don't need to like the situation, but accept it as your own.
2. Talk to your feelings with understanding and compassion. You're human.
3. Detach your self from the problem, so you can be free to do what's necessary.
4. Research ways to resolve the issue and act upon them.
5. Just get the job done as best you can and accept whatever you need to accept.

While you're doing all of the above, send love to yourself and to the whole process. Love is the healing ingredient. You don't need to push against life. Allow it to move you forward in peace.

I wish you open arms full of love.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Best Laid Plans Etc

It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are. Clive James

Hello. Hello. I'm still here. I didn't go anywhere. I've just been wrestling with my computer that quickly showed me who's boss in our relationship. Two weeks ago, I wanted to include a picture with my post, which seemed like a good idea at the time. (Well, what can you expect? Old ladies need something in their life too, so this picture was to be "It" for me) Well, I followed the written directions from a friend who's a computer wizard, but I totally screwed up the project. The picture was too large and in the wrong place. Then when I clicked something else the picture disappeared. With a few choice words, I projected my frustration onto my computer, and in malicious retaliation, it bellied up and died. Stone dead for 10 days until another friend coaxed it into forgiveness and acceptable performance.

I can't help it if I'm semi computer illiterate. I'm pretty good at a lot of things, but computer stuff isn't one of them. My cranberry salad is a hit at family gatherings, and I make my own delicious gluten-free cookies. And years ago when I worked in the jail as a Mental Health Counselor, a violent schizophrenic was no problem for me. The officers used to call me to handle those situations. And I'm only 5ft 1in tall. Then when I was a bar waitress on an Air Force Base in Texas, I knew how to deal with guys who'd had too much to drink. There's a method to that, and I learned quickly. When I lived in Las Vegas, I went to the desert and learned to shoot a gun. I was pretty good at it, but the gun scared me, so I got rid of it. I also remember the time I was alone in a London, England airport, and didn't know how to get my two huge suitcases from the first floor to the second floor to change planes. You'd think the airline would have done that for me. I felt pretty stupid, but I finally figured that one out. There are carts to do that. Duh!

In my later years, I actually wrote a book, Silent Echoes, that was published last year. It's a memoir, but it has lots of adventures in it. I reveal some of my stupid times, but in the long run, I had sense enough to survive. So I have to ask myself why the computer is such a mystery to me. I understand what makes people tick, and they fascinate me. But the computer is like a giant stranger hovering over me, chiding me, because I don't understand that piece of solid mass with a mind of its own.

There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor, and we are funny to God. Bill Cosby.

I finally decided that if this computer and I have a future together, I'll have to lighten up and make some concessions, because I know there will be no such thing on the part of the computer. That ego will never give an inch. So I will practice patience, and only in extreme anger will I reveal that other models are available.

Be kind to your computer. You may still need it.