Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ad Lib

Today I'll have to ad lib, since I didn't have anything ready ahead of time. I just returned from Dallas visiting my daughter and her family, and while I'm tired, I'm still filled with the wonder of being with people I love and miss. Everything went great except for a few days without air conditioning in 106 and 107 degree temperatures. Luckily they have 2 units, one for the bedrooms and one for the rest of the house, and only the main house was affected. We were able to sleep, and now we can look back and laugh about eating dinner on a card table in the bedrooms to stay cool. I'm glad we all have a sense of humor.

Speaking of humor, I'm writing a new book, a fictional story written in southern dialect entitled, Me And Granmama In The Hill Country. It's a story by the narrator (me) relating memories of being raised with her little brother and sister by their Granmama in the hill country. Every chapter is an adventure with some humor and wisdom in each one. I'm having fun creating a life for this family. Recently, at my writer's group yearly celebration, I presented a skit in costume, complete with a hat and long pigtails, and recited the first chapter of my new book from memory using southern dialect. Now this skit is on YouTube. It can be found on YouTube at, Me And Granmama In The Hill Country Chapter 1.

When I went to Dallas, I took my costume with me and recited the skit for my family. We had a good laugh together, and it was wonderful sharing our lives in person, if only for that little while. I know how important that is, but a visit reminds me to never take the people in my life for granted. They're precious gifts to be treasured. Sharing our life with those we love enriches our own life. I'm trying to include that wisdom in my new book, and I hope this message will reach the hearts and minds of readers.

Share your love and it will come back to you.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Instant Gratification vs Balance

Lately I've encountered some reminders of our cultures' instant gratification mindset in which waiting for something isn't our way of life. Everything must be accomplished yesterday. Not today or tomorrow, but now at the latest. People are actually getting rich inventing ways to speed things up. I realize that too slow is too slow. But too fast leads to frustration, stress, strained relationships, and increased use of anti-anxiety and blood pressure medications. Some say fast is more efficient, but there's a difference of opinion as to the meaning of efficient.

What started me thinking about this was recently watching a large crab sideling across my back yard. I've no idea how he got there, but he seemed to know where he was going. There's a lake in my vicinity, but judging from the crab's speed, it probably would have taken him 2 weeks to get to my back yard. Maybe he was one of those coincidences that I don't believe in. Maybe I needed a reminder, and he was happy to oblige. Actually, he made me think of balance. Crabs generally move slowly, but they can move quickly when they need to. Maybe that's the way we need to live, instead of running constantly on high speed through life.

Balance has advantages. By moving slowly when we need to, we have time to think before we act, to ask questions and gather helpful information before making important choices and decisions. And we end up with fewer mistakes to regret. While I watched the crab, I thought of all the times I got taken by pushy salespeople, because I didn't take time to think before I signed on the dotted line. Then I criticized myself for my stupid actions. I'm still working on letting go of those regrets.

Balance is also useful for more than doing things with better judgment. It allows us time to experience the wonders life has for us. Do you really savor the food you eat? Do you know what a cool breeze on a hot day feels like? Do you ever walk barefoot in the grass? Do you enjoy the childlike excitement of waiting to open a birthday gift?

When my children were small, we used to ride down hills together on our snow sled in Pennsylvania. And we didn't time it to see how fast we could get to the bottom. I miss those days. How did I get so caught up in this fast-paced life? Maybe I just unconsciously followed the crowd and ended up in the fast lane.

Do you need to do and have everything now? Or would you like to experience more of life when you learn to expand your consciousness to a life of balance? You create your life, and you can have it your way. This is possible. But be conscious enough to choose wisely.

Enjoy the journey.


PS. Don't be impatient with old folks moving slowly through the grocery store. They've earned the right.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How To Create Peace Between You

Is there someone in your life who rubs you the wrong way, gets on your nerves, annoys you to the point of frustration? Well, welcome to the human world. 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, or at least ruffles your feathers.

Years ago I worked in a pharmacy, and my boss was verbally abusive. Then one day I exploded, and we had a yelling fight right in the store. I thought for sure I was fired, but instead he began treating me with respect, and we ended up with a good relationship. However, I wouldn't recommend that behavior to anyone. Don't yell at your boss.

Since that episode, I've learned a better way to improve relationships and 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 you may have that precipitate 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? Make necessary changes in yourself if you need to. Then if you feel comfortable talking to the other person about your feelings, do it. If not, there's an exercise you can try.

One time I worked with a team of people, and our supervisor's answers to the others was usually "yes", but always "no" to me, sometimes with a somewhat hostile attitude. I was confused, and I bent over backwards to please. But no change. Then I tried the following exercise. I stayed with it each day, and in about a month, I saw our relationship changing. Eventually, we became friends, and I valued that friendship.

Applying positive energy to a situation will diminish the negative energy, and thus change 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 breath, and let go. Let go. Let go.

When you say these words, you're sending the other person a love your neighbor kind of love--the kind that's wired in us to love others. You're affirming blessings in their life. And you're releasing them, and ultimately yourself, from the negative energy between you. You may not feel these words, so it may be hard to say them. But say them anyway. It gets easier.

In most cases, this exercise does work if you stay with it. However, you don't need to win every battle, so if there's still no change in the other person, at least there will be a change in your response feelings. Good results will come. People are in our lives for a reason. Turn the negative to positive, and find peace within yourself.

I wish you loving relationships


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Recapture Your Smile

Lately I've become more aware of my sense of self when I laugh and when I frown. It's like laughter brings out a part of me that frowning can't touch. One expresses from my heart, while the other is from my human mind. And each provides a very different perspective of who I am. Laughter reminds me that I am my true self as I was created, and when I frown I lose sight of that beautiful truth.

Smiles contain powerful energy--the good kind--the kind that transcends our pain and heals our wounds. And a belly laugh can turn a cloud into a rainbow. Laughter can dry our tears, and a smile at just the right moment has been known to actually save a person's life. And it's contagious. We tend to laugh when we hear others laughing. What a precious gift. I think God gave us this blessing, because He knew we would need it here on earth.

When I'm out running errands, I see people frowning. Some respond to my smiles. Some don't. Maybe the ones who don't respond haven't learned how to take care of business and smile at the same time, or maybe they're dealing with a heavy heart. Or maybe they just forgot how to smile.

Some children have pain and sadness in their lives, but they're ingenious, and they find ways to survive through laughter. I like to watch the innocent wonder on the faces of children. They're fascinated with life. I remember a time last year when I was behind a family in the checkout line in the grocery store, and a little girl about 2 years old was sitting in the basket ahead of me. She found the child in me, and we had a great time. We waved, blinked our eyes, and laughed together. It reminded me of the little child in each of us, that part of us that needs to play and laugh--that part that has not forgotten what is truly important and enduring in this human condition. Sometimes we lose that spirit when we grow up,and we forget when we used to laugh or how to even find a smile. We could take a lesson from the little ones.

When times are hard, we need to look to our inner child who remembers how to turn a painful challenge into a time of hope, and recapture a smile even when we feel the situation doesn't deserve one. Try it anyway, and watch a grin become a smile, a smile break into laughter, and your heart find peace and joy.

You are not your illness. You are not those bills you can't pay. You are not the crises in your life. Those are challenges you're dealing with. You are beautiful.

I wish you a joyful heart.