Friday, June 16, 2017
You don't know what's in the package until you open it. Unknown
When you receive a package do you spend time guessing what's inside and assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations. We might miss something wonderful because the situation doesn't come wrapped in a pretty package, and we discard it without looking past appearances. Or we might too quickly accept something based on it's attractive wrapping, and set ourselves up for disappointment.
We use this approach with all kinds of life situations, and we can't always back out of the holes we dig for ourselves. Too often we accept our assumptions about a job, people, how we spend our money, a trip we plan to take, a home we buy, companies for repair work, and even food past the expiration dates. The list doesn't end. That's life. Just think about everything you do or need on a daily basis. Do you manage your life based on assumptions, or do you open the package and see what's inside...to see what you're getting?
Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by. John Sales
One time I had a supervisor who pushed my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I wanted to keep the job, so I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find she had qualities I'd not seen before. And we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.
Then later I moved to a different city and searched for a job in my field. But the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting--definitely not a package I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my first impression.
Do not blindly follow anyone or anything. Always seek the truth out for yourself. Unknown
Nobody gets it right all the time, and we all know what it feels like to end up where we don't want to be. But we don't want to be a skeptic about everything either. So when you need to make a sound judgment about something, a few rules might help to reach an accurate conclusion, at least most of the time.
1. Don't be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.
2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You'd be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.
3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.
4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who've had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half...answers.
5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It's okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.
6. When you feel ready, review your information, check you feelings, and act.
Of course there are times when people, places, and situations we encounter are true to our first impression. But things aren't always what they seem. And it's usually worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping and open the package without judgment and find what's really there. As least we won't have to look back and wonder what might have been.
I wish you happy discoveries.
Friday, June 2, 2017
Sometimes life really is a bumpy road, and some of those bumps hurt. We need to find a place of rest, so when the bumps come, we have what we need to pass through them. That place of rest is within you--that place of peace, joy, comfort, wisdom and strength. It's a safe haven sometimes overlooked as we rush through life too worn out and stressed to deal with all the stuff that hits us in the face.
That place is always there, but it's not something to be just tapped into occaseinally when we're desperate for rest. It's where we need to go on a continuing basis, where we need to live as we meet each day's demands. We can form a daily connection through prayer, meditation, music, whatever way pulls you inside to your quiet place.
In every walk with nature, man receives far more than he seeks. John Muir
We hear about the benefits of nature where we can also connect with our inner self, but how often do we seek out places where we can actually experience those benefits? Most wooded areas have quiet paths with trees that whisper messages of peace, flowers that dance in the sunshine, maybe weeds with beautiful blue flowers, a few muddy places for children to make mud pies, snow in winter, and puddles after a spring rain. Something all year to soothe our jangled nerves and tell us that life goes on with wisdom and peace, in spite of daily challenges. As often as possible, allow nature to become a part of your life and feel the benefits of being one with nature. You might even sit under a tree and hear it whisper what you need to know.
There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. Minnie Aumonier
One year while visiting in Seattle, I sat on a shady porch taking in the pristine beauty of giant northwestern trees. I've always loved trees, and this majestic sight left me feeling breathless. Then a nearby tree called my name, and I thought of what I'd heard about the benefits of sitting under a tree. Something shifted inside, and I was drawn to try this new way to reach my quiet place. As I relaxed against the tree, the earth poured her loving energy up through the tree and into my body, wrapping me in exquisite peace and strength. And my heart was very quiet.
As I sat in this blissful space, I remembered singing in my school choir many years ago. We sang Joyce Kilmer's poem about trees. I still knew every word by heart. And now I truly understood his poem...and so much more.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Too many people go through life so busy they never really know the beauty that lies within them. They don't know who they truly are and the wonderful achievements of which they're capable. Every day their attention is given to the busyness of everyday life, and they miss the best parts. Find your way to go within and be quiet. Listen for the truth in your heart. You really can walk through life in peace and joy when you know where to look. Look there often.
I wish you beautiful discoveries within a quiet heart.
Friday, May 26, 2017
We live in predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. Every morning we expect our day to be as we've planned it. And we don't want any unexpected situations forcing us down a different path. Usually our plans are easily fulfilled, and our days are as they should be. No problem. Everything's under control, and all is well.
But we don't live in a fairy tale. Our world is real, and unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, or you forgot an important appointment, etc. Bothersome interruptions, but solvable. And that's okay. You've been there before, and you understand that life sometimes gets bumpy, and you have to roll with it.
I can and will make it through the storm...simply because I'm a survivor. It's what I do. Unknown
But what happens when a sudden unexpected illness temporarily invades your predictable life, like the flu, various viral infections, a chest cold that turns into pneumonia, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band aid. And what about the more serious chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, a heart condition, etc...illnesses that require a lifetime of attention. Whatever the illness, they all take their toll. And your life is changed. But you can survive.
You're allowed to scream, you're allowed to cry, but do not give up. Unknown
Recently I spent 6 days in a hospital, then a slow recovery at home. Hospitals are there to promote healing, but the experience can add stress to what you're already going through. In the hospital, every time there was a change of shifts, the new shift contradicted what the last shift required. And I felt like a ball bounced back and forth by the different shifts. One said get out of bed and move around, and the next one jumped all over me for getting out of bed and moving around. I ended up yelling at the walls and crying to go home. The whole thing was like a page out of the movie, "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." I had to come home to begin healing.
We experience illness on 3 levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In our response we may physically see or feel it; mentally we think about it, "Can I afford the medical bills? How can I function with it?" etc; and emotionally we feel angry, scared, frustrated, helpless, etc.
Each illness will manifest in different ways. One may involve physical pain with fear and frustration. Another may involve guilt, worry, or resentment. Another added expense, loss of mobility and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. And each person responds in different ways. Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality, your life situation, and the way you view your life.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Arthur Ashe
How do you respond when illness knocks you down? Have you ever thought about the way in which you deal with it? Knowing and understanding yourself at those times supplies a sense of control and is the first step in the healing process as you implement other resources. But once you've made that first assessment, it's important to quiet your mind and allow your body to heal.
Too often, some in the medical field have a 'one size fits all' agenda. But this is the last attitude a person in pain needs or wants. One size doesn't fit all. You are unique, and you need individual care. So when you need medical care, look for a care giver who cares.
People start to heal the moment they feel heard. Cheryl Richardson
Have you ever felt alone in a health challenge? Have you ever longed for someone to hear you and put their arm around you and tell you you'll be okay? Well, that someone is a major part of your healing. So find that person, and allow their caring energy to help you heal. And whether you're facing a temporary or permanent situation, look within for guidance, strength, and confidence, knowing you will always be the same beautiful soul that you are. And no illness can ever change that.
I wish you healthy days and loving arms around you.
Friday, May 12, 2017
It's a long journey through life, and as we move through various stages we may not realize that each stage is a gift with it's challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, blessings. Generally we just move along and don't much notice until something happens to jolt us into a realization that time passes and change takes place. And sometimes we don't welcome the change.
Our culture is a youth oriented world. As people age, we want to put them out to pasture, get them out of the way. Just try to find a pair of jeans that come above your hips, or a style you'd wear past the age of 50. And too many lonely people are in nursing homes. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. Ah, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them, got a gash in my son's head sutured when he fell off his bike, ordered art lessons for my other son, and made my daughter's prom dress--among thousands of other memories, some wonderful, and some not so wonderful.
Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. Unknown
You know what I mean. You have your memories too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn't. I just took it all for granted--except the traumatic experiences. I just wanted out of those. Then one day I looked around and realized I had gone through several more life stages. I had aged, and I wondered where it all went...those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn't looking.
The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life takes place. Barbara DeAngelis
I wanted to keep the happy times. Then I remembered the mistakes, and oh, how I wanted to go back and do those over. I thought about what I might have learned from them, and I was surprised at how much I had learned. But what about now? Was I learning now or drifting? I wasn't sure. It kind of felt like drifting, so I made a commitment to be aware of my life in each stage, and face each day with trust in God and myself, with intention and hope for a more meaningful life. When I falter and need reminders, I'm sure they will present themselves.
So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don't realize the full meaning of the word 'living', to live, to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our life in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you're probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you're more able to create a better future.
Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Hang on to those precious moments from the past, and let go of your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Every stage in life is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow in new ways. You are not what you have or do. You are the beautiful being inside who is on a glorious journey to self realization, and you can't find that if you overlook your purpose or fret about where you need to go.
Life may not offer the same experiences it did in past stages, but don't miss the great ones that are there for you now. There is Divine purpose in all of it, and you are part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.
I wish you much happiness in each stage of your journey.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Everything in the universe moves in cycles, and these cycles are necessary to life. The moon tells the oceans when to ebb and flow, seasons tell us when to sow and reap, and darkness tells us when our day should end. Our whole universe is involved in cycles, including us. We leave one phase and enter a new one. And each cycle offers some kind of rebirth and renewal. And all of nature shouts it's claim to a new springtime, "Look at me. I'm alive, expressing who and what I am."
Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. Doug Larson
Snow has melted, and crunchy slush takes over. It's springtime again...life coming forth at just the precise time and in the precise way according to nature's plan. Trees turn green, blossoms of every color discard their buds, butterflies emerge from cocoons, bears come out of their caves and stretch in the warm sun, and every little fuzzy critter scampers to explore what his buddies are up to. Every year we're treated to nature's brand new technicolor presentation of rebirth and renewal. And it's breathtaking.
I remember when I was a child in Michigan, and springtime wrapped her arms around the earth and replaced the drab haze of winter with her gifts of rebirth and renewal. I saw it in fields of tulips with every color in the rainbow and in blue and yellow wildflowers pushing up randomly along my path to school. I listened to birds and night owls pouring their songs into springtime air becoming reacquainted with lost friends and celebrating new ones. I felt spring breezes and warm sun caressing my bare legs when I discarded my leggings until the next cold winter. I watched lightening dart across the sky heralding springtime rain. And then I danced in the rain, hopped through puddles, and tasted rain drops on my tongue.
Every spring I joined nature in her celebration. With all of my senses, I was part of this glorious transformation. I saw life in nature, and I felt life in myself, like we were part of each other in God's great universe. I saw it and felt it everywhere. Then I grew up and forgot to notice. And springtime grew to mean days were longer, we could save on the electric bill, and vacation time was getting closer. Where did joy of the season go? Recently I looked around and realized it's all still there...every year.
"There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature." Rachel Carson
Fall and winter energy pulls us in and says slow down, let go, and regroup. Spring and summer energy pushes us out and says move forward, take on the new, and express your colors. Just like everything in nature we're wired for seasonal change, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And we can't help responding to those seasonal changes. We can either respond with resistance and become more physically disturbed and less motivated, or we can answer the call and become more healthy and invigorated.
Now is when old painful experiences can pass away and make room for a new beginning, like flowers budding anew after a hard freeze. We've all been through those hard freezes. But we need to open our eyes to the possibilities that present themselves every spring. Do you ever think about rebirth and renewal within yourself, or are you content to continue living in the old script you've written for your life? Everyone creates a script. It's like a recipe for living, and we act it our everyday. We may have visions or dreams of how we'd like to change it, but most of the time those fade away, and our springs come and go as they always have.
Those who plow in hope not only understand the law of the harvest, but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. Neal A. Maxwell
How about taking a lesson from the tulips or butterflies, or like the bear, be brave enough to come out of your cave. Within each of us is a light so bright you can write a whole new script and experience positive changes in your life. A time of rebirth. A time of renewal. Search deep within. What are your colors? What is your song? What are the words you want to say? Someone said, "Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly." So spread your wings and fly. It's your springtime.
I wish you beautiful discoveries in your springtime.
Friday, April 28, 2017
We're all involved in relationships, and no two are alike. The easy ones bring joy and comfort. The impossible ones may stay for a while, but most of the time they don't last. The difficult ones may take some work, but we usually feel they're worth keeping. And each one is there for a purpose, to bring a blessing and/or a lesson. No matter what, our life is blessed by people.
When dealing with those difficult ones it's wise to first know yourself...to understand your feelings when someone ticks you off. What bothers you and what doesn't ...and why? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Are you tactful or confronting...quiet or outspoken...judgmental or accepting? What are your fears and insecurities? And what ability or talent can you express to others? You may have valuable qualities of which you're not even aware. The better you understand yourself, the better you'll understand others, even the difficult ones. So know yourself first, and then focus on the people in your life.
Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A person's behavior patterns are clues that reveal much about them. And difficult people may require closer attention to understand their behaviors. The more you observe and understand, the better equipped you are to deal with them. They may have inner fears or insecurities that cause troublesome behaviors that frustrate or irritate you. Maybe there's fear of losing control, losing position, revealing weaknesses, or some other hidden fear. Or there may be some emotional pain the person is not comfortable sharing. We all try to protect ourselves in some way, and we may use negative behaviors to cope. We can't see inside of another person, but knowing and understanding as much as possible may lead to a better relationship.
Everyone is unique with particular talents or abilities, and these become part of who they are in the world. Some can fix problems, some are comforting, some are fun, some give good advice, some are good listeners, etc. But no one is all of these, so we can't expect anyone to be everything to us. Nor can we be everything to everyone else. But learning a difficult person't talents and abilities can be used to create a more harmonious relationship.
Some of the best people with whom you can have a relationship are the people who challenge your thinking. T. D. Jakes
Years ago when I worked with a mental health team in a jail setting, one Sergeant felt threatened by our presence and always gave us a hard time. So I devised a plan to soften his attitude. I noticed he was organized and had a talent for keeping his floor running smoothly with few problems. So I assumed a subordinate attitude and began complimenting him on the exceptionally good work he was doing. Well, his frown quickly changed as he threw out his chest and smiled with ego satisfaction. From then on, our difficult relationship became one of congenial cooperation. So compliments are sometimes useful in melting a negative attitude.
Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. So if your efforts to create more harmony are not producing results, it may be time to regroup and alter the way you relate to a person. If there's conflict when you try to discuss deeper personal issues with someone, but it's absolutely necessary, then do it. But try to generally relate to them on a lighter, more surface level, so as not to step on thin ice. Avoid areas in which they become defensive. Try to understand where they're coming from, and help them feel safe with you. But if nothing works, be willing to let them go.
Sometimes God uses difficult people, like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off us. Joel Osteen
If you want to keep a difficult person in your life, try to look past behaviors that disturb or irritate. And don't get caught up in their chaos. There's good in everyone, even those who come across otherwise. So look for qualities in them that you can enjoy. You wouldn't want to keep them if you didn't already see something of value, even something to help you learn and grow. Approach all of your relationships with love and as much understanding as you can muster. You just might find a diamond in some rough exteriors. And their lives just might enrich yours.
I wish you many happy relationships.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Many, if not most people today are familiar with Eric Berne's psychological theory regarding the parent, child and adult ego states, different parts of ourselves from which we function. The parent expresses our value systems, morals and beliefs, and may be critical or nurturing. The child is our feeling self. And the adult uses rational thinking and problem-solving, and tries to keep the parent and child in balance. If we become familiar with these parts of ourselves, we can work with them and create a healthier, happier life.
We've all had traumas and painful experiences as children. But you don't have to be adversely affected by the past when you start healing the child within. Unknown
Since the child is our feeling self, when you feel sad, hurt, angry, scared, frustrated, any painful feelings, that's your child crying for help. And your child needs attention. We're all human, and we will have those feelings sometimes. They're part of life, and we can't totally shut down all negativity. But you can be aware of your feelings, know where they're coming from, and turn to your inner child with love and compassion. You can learn to diminish the negative and increase the positive feelings. And your inner child, and thus you, can learn to be happier.
"It is necessary to own and honor the child you were in order to love the person you are." Robert Burney
As you become more familiar and relate more with your inner child, you'll know right away how to work out any painful feelings. And you and the child part of you will feel more like the one person you are. But it's also important to recognize your parent self, the self that can be critical or nurturing, and your adult self with its rational thinking and problem-solving skills. Then when your parent self gets critical, you can call on your adult self to handle the situation and free your inner child from more hurt.
"She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay." Raven Rose
Seems like you go in and out of different characters, doesn't it? Well, all 3 of them are you, and whether you know it or not, you've been using all of them all of the time...crying with pain, criticizing yourself, and your adult self intervening. Example Scenario: Suppose someone said something unkind to you, and you were hurt and cried (That's your child self). Then a voice in your head said, "Oh, can't take it, huh? Stop that blubbering (That's your parent self). Then you dried your tears and told yourself, "Never mind. You're loved and you do matter (That's your adult self soothing your inner child feelings). We use all parts of ourself automatically.
Now there's another side to all of this. While you're healing the hurts and drying the tears, your inner child would really like to have some funl. You know, the things you used to do before you got so busy. So let her/him out sometimes. Sing with the birds, make funny faces and laugh at yourself, walk in the rain, dance around the house, eat an ice cream cone and let it melt down your belly. The list is endless. The more you laugh, the less pain you will feel. And it will be so much easier being you.
There is a child inside all of us who continues to believe that it can always get better. That it doesn't end here. Vienna Pharaon
When your child self is happy, you look up instead of down. It raises your sights to who you really are...God's beautiful creation who only wants good in your life. You have the strength to successfully meet life's challenges. You have wisdom to make wise choices and create peace instead of pain. You have the courage to bring what's good for you into your life and rule out what's not. You live each day with faith and hope. And you learn to love your wonderful self. You heal your inner child, you heal yourself. And life can be so good.
I wish you fun being you.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
If you're like most people, everyday you drive your car to a destination. And you handle gas, oil, water, tune-ups, and repairs when needed. Maybe you take a bus or train, but you always have transportation during your life journey. So you probably use many vehicles over your lifetime. But do you ever think about the only vehicle that transports you throughout that journey without any trade-ins? Think about it. It's more valuable than any car you'll ever drive. Yes, it's your remarkable body that gets you through your lifetime in spite of all the challenges you may encounter.
I stand in awe of my body. Henry David Thoreau
Our body is an absolute miracle to be cared for and used wisely. But we move through each busy day with little thought of its welfare and the many ways in which it serves us. We don't see it as the vehicle that houses all parts of our total self working together as one beautiful entity. We're usually not aware of our body until aches and pains crop up, but each precious part of us needs daily attention if we're to fulfill all we're meant to be. As a car needs gas, oil, and water to function, our body needs food, water, air, sleep, and lots of TLC.
Do you ever think about the food you take in every day and how it actually nourishes you? We consume protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and plant based molecules that serve as antioxidents, anti-inflammatories, and anti-cancer agents. We routinely consume food every day without thought of its value. Do you ever look at a glass of water and wonder why it's so important? Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, flushes out waste products, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, makes minerals and other nutrients accessible to the body, protects body organs and tissues, and moistens tissues such as mouth, eyes, and nose. All that in a glass of water? Remarkable.
We don't think about breathing unless something happens and we're short of breath. And we realize the value of air. Each breath carries oxygen to our cells and powers every process in our body. Then carbon dioxide is released with pollutants and foreign organisms. Sounds simple, but life depends on it. Refresh and Release. Wonderful. But did you know that air also contributes to sound which we need to make words?
Thinking about our body, we can't forget about our brain. That's what keeps us on the right path on our journey. Our brain is equipped with several levels of brain waves, ranging from very alert to deep sleep. And they're constantly in motion depending upon what we're doing. Theta Healing says, "Everything you do or say is regulated by the frequency of brain waves." During times of deep relaxation, Theta brain waves activate the body's natural self-healing processes. What about that....your body can heal itself.
I used to think my body shut down when I slept, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, during sleep our bodies restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, synthesize hormones, and solidify and consolidate memories. And after sleep, we retain information and perform better in memory tasks. I better check on that one. I don't feel that smart in the morning.
"Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel." Kevin Trudeau
Much is constantly happening in your body, but you carry more than flesh and bones. You're given a mind to understand and reason, to choose, to create, and relate to others; your heart keeps faith and hope, it loves and forgives, and brings smiles instead of tears when life knocks you down; spirit comforts and reminds you of who you are; and your soul is who you are. The years take their toll, but inside is the spark....the light....the eternal motor that keeps you going while all the finite parts serve you on your journey.
Your body has needs only you can supply. So listen to your body for direction. It's the barometer that knows what you need no matter what your mind may be thinking. And you'll hear it speak if you pay attention. Love and care for this magnificent gift, and allow it to take care of you. You are blessed.
What I've presented in this article doesn't even touch the magnitude of this remarkable creation. And you may disagree with some of my thoughts. But I continue learning. And I invite you to learn too.
I wish you health and happiness in your discoveries.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows. Napoleon Bonaparte
Healing music fills our world and runs through our lives everyday. But we're so busy we miss the beauty that comes with meaningful music that touches our heart and really makes a difference in our daily life. And health issues, anxiety, and depresson either take us down or run beneath the surface hidden from the world as we struggle to function.
A few years ago, I developed a chronic health challenge that kept me wired up, and I was in a constant state of anxiety and depression. Then I discovered two sources of healing music. And oh, what glorious sounds.
Stephen Halpern's incredible music is like nothing you've ever heard. He uses music for healing, without continuous rhythm or recognizable melodies. And it draws you into a natural state of harmony and balance. When I sat quietly and listened to Halpern's Chakra Suite, I was embraced in the quiet relaxation and peace I longed for. This music touched my soul, and helped me through a difficult time.
Then there was Il Volo, three amazing young men who brought their glorious music and Italian voices to the world. I didn't understand the Italian words in most of their songs, but their voices spoke to me about life. And their expression touched my heart with the realization that we humans are blessed with beauty we're not even aware of. As I listened, I felt alive. And my life was meaningful.
But as time passed and I felt good again, I forgot and drifted away from my daily music routine. And fatigue, anxiety, and depression crept back in. So I've returned to Halpern and Il Volo. Perhaps my angels are teaching me a new lesson, because listening to Halpern and Il Volo now, I've become aware of other voices in the world, the ones we don't hear as music. But sometimes that music we don't hear can fill our hearts with joy and heal our deepest pain, if we listen to its songs.
If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive. Eleanor Duse
That healing music is all round us; a song in the wind blowing through trees, waves hitting notes against the shore, bees humming around a flower, or children's laughter. Now I even whistle with birds in my back yard. Yes, really. It's all music. And our most important song is inside of us. We all have our own voice, the unique way we express ourself. And we have the power to choose our songs.
In the grocery store, one of the clerks always smiles, asks how I'm doing today, and if I want paper or plastic. She sings the same words everyday, and the title of her song is, "I care about you." I know this because I feel her caring voice expressing the words. (Some really do care) My niece sings with smiles from her wheelchair, and I know writers who put their songs on paper. Ah, the music.
Michael Jackson said, "To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?" It can lower your stress level, help heal your body, and lift your unhappy soul to new levels of peace and balance. Each day listen to the music your world has for you, and express your own music to others. You have the voice within you to choose your song. Sing it to the world. There's healing and happiness in sharing the music.
I wish you songs to sing and joy to share.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Life itself is a series of problem solving. That's what we do. We move through each day on various levels of energy, sometimes easy going and sometimes difficult. Everything affects everything else. So with experience, we learn what to expect and how to handle what we encounter. And we do pretty well in that environment. But what about those unexpected situations that suddenly arise without warning. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere, and may be the result of our own actions. Most of the time they're fixable situations, but some can put your life in turmoil.
It's the unexpected that changes our lives. Unknown
Some unexpected situations may seem fairly miner but can skyrocket your stress level....like when you're ready for work and discover your car has a flat time; or you forget to register your kid for summer camp; etc. Those situations can force you in a direction you didn't know was coming.
On a more serious side, you suddenly lose your job; or a major health issue invades your life and robs you of your independence. A few years ago after a hurricane had passed, a gigantic tree limb crashed to the ground in my back yard. I was grateful it spared my house, but the thundering sound was deafening, and I was frozen to the shaking floor. Removing that tree limb became a major challenge.
Another time through no fault of mine, I was suddenly in a serious car wreck. I spent 2 months in residential treatment, and went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Recovery was long and hard, and I didn't drive for a year. Serious yet, if you suddenly lose a loved one, this kind of unexpected trauma requires some inner healing and time with others close to you for understanding and comfort. And the loss may always be there.
Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference. Virginia Satir
We all respond in different ways to the unexpected. Sometimes the first response is to get hung up on 'What ifs'. What if I'm late for work; what if my kid thinks I forgot because I don't care; What if I can't find another job; what if I never get well; what if there's another limb ready to fall; what if I'll never walk again; what if I can't recover. Or you might dive right in with immediate action. If there's danger like a fire, you'd probably swallow your panic and get help right away.
What gets measured, gets managed. Peter Drucker
Unless you're facing an emergency, your first concern should be what you're feeling inside. Panic, even the initial stress, can cloud your mind, and you could miss your best options for a solution. Just a few moments within can make a big difference in your outcome. If you can, let the problem be, and identify what's going on inside. What are you feeling....panic, fear, trauma, anger, regret, sadness, grief? What is it, and how severe? Notice your breathing. Any racing thoughts? Now take some deep breaths, and allow your body and mind to let go as much as possible. And give up the 'what ifs' and 'ain't it awfuls'.
When you're a little more calm, step back and gauge the size of the mountain. Ask, "How big is it really? What can I do about it? What happens if I can't fix it? Where can I find help if I need it? etc." Meet each day knowing you have what it takes to handle whatever comes up. And those puddles may not be as deep as they seem.
"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations." Unknown
If an unexpected situation is a result of your own mistake, never condemn yourself. Adding a problem to the one you already have does nothing beneficial. So don't do it. Instead, say some affirmations. "I am strong enough to lick this tiger, and smart enough to find a clear road ahead." Sometimes an unexpected difficulty now is the
very thing that may lead you to that clear road ahead. Look for it with clear vision.
I wish you peace in your heart along the way.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Everything we say or do in life is a choice. Unknown
Push a button, turn on a thought, talk, get dressed, drive somewhere, thousands of actions every day. We're creatures of habit, and most of the time we're unaware that each action is a choice, and each choice has a consequence. Of course, we need to form habits to function on a daily basis. But each decision we make creates a result, positive or negative. And it pays to understand the bigger picture, so our major choices can benefit us as well.
For every choice we make we set a cycle of energy and consequence into motion. Caroline Myss, PhD
We take everyday habits for granted. But you choose. And those daily activities probably meet your needs. But what about major decisions about work, finances, relationships, health, home. etc...those choices that are difficult to undo or change? And what about situations that just happen through no fault of yours? A few years ago, I experienced a serious car wreck. I didn't choose the accident, but I chose the route that got me there. So where does it all come from?
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. C. G. Jung
We learn during our whole lifetime, but for the most part, childhood is where we learn how to live our life making choices. We make them in our own individual way, with a number of factors that influence our methods. And these influences prepare us well or lead us to a series of misguided decisions with negative, even painful, results. As children, the demands on us can create a sense of confidence or mistrust in our judgment.
Situations such as poverty, health issues, disruptive environments, and negative messages can hamper our ability to make sound choices. Trying to live up to roles assigned by our parents can engender security or insecurity. Even where you are in the birth line can make a difference. Nothing written in stone, but the oldest are usually more independent and self-reliant; the middle may feel shadowed by the others; the youngest more dependent and welcome support.
Life is all about choices. Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make. Unknown
How many people do you know who look back in regret wishing they'd chosen differently in their work, relationships, health, etc? I can't count the times I've done that. I had to experience 2 years of therapy to learn that my fear, insecurity, poor self-image, loneliness, and so forth had altered my ability to choose wisely. And that's when I turned the page with wiser choices and happier consequences.
There's no guarantee that all your choices will be the right ones. But you can learn to create better outcomes most of the time. There's a saying, "Look at your life, and you'll see what you have created." So first look at your life and own responsibility for having created it. Then look at each present situation in your life, and think back in time to what choice you made in the past that created that situation, positive or negative. Some choices may appear to have been mistakes. But re-examine and see if anything good ultimately resulted from them. You may be surprised.
Now consider what there is within you that may influence your choices, positive or negative. Is it doubting your ability, poor self-image, fear of failure, what will people think, etc? What determines the choices you make? Just being in too much of a hurry could be a problem. With awareness and understanding, you can sometimes correct situations in your life with new choices. And those you can't change, you can choose ways to better cope.
The next time you have to make a major choice like buying a product, finding a doctor, a new friend, a job, a relationship, or a major life change, analyze what you're thinking, and get in touch with your gut feeling. Don't expect a perfect answer, but trust yourself, and vanish any fears. Check your options, get a second opinion, gather needed infornation, talk it over with someone you trust. All of this information will empower you to go forth in confidence. You've done your homework, and in the future it will pay off. Maybe not perfect, but you can experience more of the life you long for deep inside. And when you learn, you can teach someone else.
I wish you clear vision and happy results.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
See beyond what you see. That is where Hope is. Unknown
Life is a mixture of things turning out just the way we want, and times when nothing turns out right. Either way, there are no guarantees. We explore, investigate, gather facts, plan and make decisions. It's part of life. But there are times when no matter what we do, a situation is iffy, and we can't be sure of what tomorrow will bring. But then we never can be sure of tomorrow. Life has a way of surprising us, good or bad.
We all know how to enjoy the good times. But those tough times can put us to the test...Row your boat or go down with it. And we respond the best we can. Most of the time when those tough situations arise, we can see a way out. And we resolve them. But some are overwhelming, and we can feel helpless and trapped. Each of us has the inner tools we need to get up when we're knocked down. But in painful situations, we may forget how strong and powerful we are.
One of our greatest gifts is our will to life. Not only to be alive and exist, but to have a life, to grow, thrive, and be all we're meant to be. But that truth is hard to find when you're on the bottom, treading water, afraid you'll drown. And you want to just give up. Pretty desperate. But there are many people who know this place well. Maybe you've been there. Or maybe you're there now.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. Desmond Tutu
It's my belief that all living things have this will to life instilled in them, and will fight for life as long as they can. Last month I sat on my front porch looking at my beloved azalea bush with its dead branches and wilted leaves. After 30 years of gorgeous crimsom blossoms, I was told it was dying, and I watched it giving up. It's dear to my heart, and I cried for its loss as I would for a human. But then...then...just recently I saw a few little blossoms burst forth...and more blossoms...and more. Most of the branches are gone, but its heart is fighting to survive with whatever strength is left. It reminded me of our human struggles. And my own heart jumped with HOPE. Now I'll take pictures of it to a gardan shop and see if I can save it. And if I can't save it, I'll honor its gallant memory and the message it gave to me.
Hope is the ability to hear the melody of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it today. Unknown
What do you do when faced with a dilemma? At first you may be tempted to look outside of yourself for answers, but your first response should be to go within and examine your feelings. If you're already falling apart inside, your mind will not think clearly. If you find any worry, fears, uncertainty, etc, step back, take a deep breath, and claim your innate resources of strength and power with a strong capacity for Faith and Hope so you can move forward.
Even an easy challenge requires understanding and a wise approach to maintain a position of confidence and positive direction. So now look outside of yourself. Clarify your problem and define the outcome you want to achieve. What resources will you need, and what's already available to you? Is there enough money, contacts to help you, useful tools? Are there people or groups in your life that can give you the understanding, compassion, and support you need? And what will you need to create?
Your Faith will give you the strength you need, and Hope will guide you as you move along with your plan to scale another hurdle. This is part of life, and you have a life to live. Make it a happy one.
I wish you Hope and Faith on your journey.
Monday, February 27, 2017
I have to apologize for not having an article ready for today. But I remembered a time a saw a precious little girl enjoying an absolutely wonderful laugh...and I thought about the value of laughter not only in fun times, but especially when you're down and need lifting up. So today I'm offering a poem about those down times.
If you're laughing, you're healing. Gangaji
It's not easy to laugh when you're hurting with physical illness, mental anguish, emotional pain or a spiritual need. It all hurts, and you may feel nothing can help. But that's when laughter is important to help your inner child laugh again. There have been times when my own faith had to be rekindled and, for me, my poetry helps. I wrote the following poem during one of those times.
I find that when I hurt inside,
I can make a joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet a different place,
Along my weary path.
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 laughter to wash away the tears. Be happy, dear one.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
It's hard for our minds to stay in the present, and we tend to want a better future. So we set goals. We're taught this principle with slogans like, "Going for the goal; success is measured by reaching goals; without goals, attempts at success are futile; etc." Although there are many skeptics about setting goals, we're a goal setting nation from individuals to large organizations.
According to the World Book Encyclopedia, a "goal is a thing for which an effort is made" or a "thing wanted." Things you want generally fall into 3 categories...having, doing, or being something. Examples: I want to have a patio behind my house, or I want to learn French, or I want to be 10 pounds lighter. Each one suggests a goal. But we're all different, and reaching the goal may or may not involve a specific plan to get there. Some people need prodding, and others don't. Some of us would not get out of bed each morning without goals for the day, and some of us cringe at having to function with pre-set goals.
No one knows how far his strengths go, until he has tried them." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Goals may be small achievements or life changing, but they all offer opportunity to learn and grow. And goal setting probably produces rewards more often than not. But it can also go the other way. When successful, it provides a sense of motivation and purpose, with focus, passion, direction, improved self-esteem, and something to look forward to. But for some people, setting goals can be limiting, and may do more harm than good. It can create a sense of 'I should', self-doubt, pressure to succeed and fear of failure, too much living in the future and neglecting the present, and feeling unworthy and depressed if they do fail to reach their goals.
Determine What you want and Why you want it. Once you understand what's important, you can utilize your Passions and achieve anything. Brooke Griffin
One size doesn't fit all, so it's wise to choose an approach in which you feel comfortable; detailed planning, tentative planning, available doors as you move along, or any method that feels right for you. Whatever your method, get a clear vision of what you want to achieve, why you want it, and how much you're willing to go through to get it. Then begin creating your process to get there.
I set goals for myself, but I'm not one to map out a way to get there. In my forties, I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but had no money for necessary education. I had no idea how I could accomplish such a goal, but I had to do it. So I quit my job, moved to another city, stayed with friends, got another job, and enrolled in school on a loan and later a stipend. While in school, I reached out to some wonderful people for help, I volunteered at seminars for free admission, and volunteered at a Mental Health Center for experience. And eventually I had the degrees and training I needed for many happy years doing work I loved. Nothing planned...just opened one door at a time, and reached my initial goal.
Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods. Unknown
If you have a goal and choose to plan ahead, go easy on yourself, and keep your demands reasonable. And to minimize stress, set realistic, flexible standards within your capabilities. Include whatever you will need in each step toward your goal, and list resources for help along the way. Allow for any unforeseen situations that may occur, and be ready to alter your course if needed. Keeping your eye on the goal will keep you motivated. And monitoring the process as you move through it will furnish valuable insight if in the end you need a second attempt. Don't give up.
We can't become what we need to be by remaining where we are. Oprah
Do you want to make a change in your life, but scared to take a step forward? Well, choose your goal, and ask someone you trust to stand by you through the change process so you don't feel alone in a threatening world. Be understanding and patient with yourself. And if you fall back, don't criticize. You're stronger than you think, and you can make it. And it could make a difference in your life. Move forward into freedom.
I wish you sunshine on your journey
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little. D. H. Lawrence
We're living in a time when we're bombarded with so much information, it's hard for our brains to digest all of it. So we run through each day trying to sort out what we need in order to function with little time to see where we're going. In a way it's a good thing much of our functioning is based on habits that keep us in line. But on the other hand, it doesn't give us much room to see beyond those habits. And our wonderful gift of creativity gets lost in the process.
First we make our habits, then our habits make us. Charles C. Noble
The habits we use in adulthood are learned during our childhood years. We take every piece of knowledge from our environment, sift through it, accept and reject, and come up with what makes sense to us or what is expected of us, or both. And the habits we form become our pattern for living. In years past, our innate gift of creativity was nurtured and encouraged. But over the years, in many schools, little time was allowed for creativity. And we've learned to survive in a material world where gadgets are the answer to daily functioning...push a button for this and a button for that.
If you are not consciously directing your life, you will lose your footing and circumstances will decide for you. Michael Beckwith
Unless we've chosen to live creatively with freedom to direct our own path, we can be swept along by the dictates of current expected behavior. And we wake up every morning to follow our mental 'to do' list for that day without question. When unforeseen situations come up, we move into whatever direction they take us and do our best to resolve them with robotic precision. Day ends, and we've once more fulfilled our mission to solve problems as they arise and maintain our status quo. We're the sickest industrial nation in the world, and our drug industry is a booming business. We're supposed to be running our lives, but it appears our lives are running us. And it gets overwhelming.
When you look at your situation, what do you see? Probably work, paying bills, maintaining a home, maybe raising a family, tending to health issues. helping someone close to you. You know...all those having and doing things. Your daily responsibilities are so very important, and maybe you're reasonably content. But you don't have to let them dictate the quality of your life.
Walt Whitman said, "I am larger than I thought, and more wonderful." And we are. But sometimes we get so caught up in having and doing things, we forget about being. And life cannot be measured in things. Things are finite...here today and gone tomorrow. It's intangible qualities that make life worthwhile and memorable...those qualities that express our larger, more wonderful self.
When was the last time you watched a quiet sunset, listened to birds welcome a new day, tasted an apple pie just out of the oven, enjoyed a long conversation with a friend, said a prayer, or experienced a good old fashioned bear hug with a child and felt the loving energy between you? Have you forgotten? Those blessings don't happen unless you take the reins and direct your life to include them as a vital part of your busy world. Balance is key in all things, and we can reach a balance between feeding our material needs and feeding our souls...even in today's gadget world.
Live your dreams. Create your life. Lead with intention. Leslie Schwartz
If you feel your life is being run by responsibilities, and you want a more fulfilling life, go within and explore where you are now and where you want to go. Whether you share responsibility with someone or you shoulder it alone, by leading with intention you can create the kind of life your heart wants. Your life is a journey, and you have the power to direct your steps along the way...your way. Be happy, dear one. You are larger and more wonderful than you think.
I wish you a full and happy life.
Monday, February 6, 2017
There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception. Aldous Huxley
The unknown...the dark, scary, unknown...that place you don't want to go...but it's there...always there...looming in the realm of unanswered questions where anything can happen...and you don't know what you're facing. Stress builds, and you've gotten yourself into a frightening horror film when a can of soda and a box of popcorn in the latest Mickey Mouse film is really all you're going to need to survive. have you ever experienced such a trip? This example may be exaggerated, but don't we sometimes needlessly chew over something trying to resolve an issue in our mind to avoid the unknown?
But we can't escape. Life is full of unknowns, and not always anticipated. The very next moment from your present moment is an unknown. And events can happen without any warning at all. So relish every precious moment you have. Last year, with no thought of any next moment, I was hospitalized twice for a sudden accident. Now after 14 months, pain is subsiding, and I'm more at ease. But still dealing with nerve damage. And I had no idea anything was coming in that very moment.
Everyone is afraid of something, but usually we're not faced with situations attached to dire circumstances. We don't have all the answers, but outcomes are fairly predictable. And we can calm our fears with some positive reassurance. "It's okay if I'm a little nervous on a new job; I can find new friends when I move; etc." We survive these unknowns and move on.
But when we're faced with a critical situation that could lead to painful repercussions, it becomes a gigantic question we'll have to answer at some ominous time in the future. We don't know what path it will take, and we get caught up in 'what ifs' over one imagined scenario after another. "How can I cope if my marriage ends in divorce? Where can I go if I end up losing my house? What if I can't work after surgery? etc." The outcome rests in the unknown, and stress builds as time passes. What a waste of our mental and emotional resources.
The fears we don't face become our LIMITS. Robin Sharma
Sometimes our challenges are within our own minds where we can have control. But fear might hold us back from things we want to change in our life, and we refuse to act. At age 47, filled with fear, I left my waitress job and went back to school. It changed my life. Had I not stepped out of where I was, I would not be writing to you now. What would your life be like if you stepped out of what you don't want and into what you do want? Fear might say, "What if you make a mistake or maybe you'll fail and look stupid." But fear is a reason, not an excuse. And in situations like this you have some power over the unknown.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot. Michael Althsuler
Sometimes things happen for which you're in no way responsible. "Unexpected turn of events, painful loss, a plan falls through, broken promises, someone turns against you, etc." But that's life, and you have to deal with it. And while you may not be able to alter an outcome, you can alter your response to it with courage over fear.
It may seem easier to look the other way, but when you stumble, you fall hard. So start by taking a look at your life everyday. And if you're facing a disturbing unknown, prepare yourself now to experience the best response possible given the circumstances. The better you understand what you're dealing with, the wiser will be your response. Clarify with questions like, "Do I have time to plan; what are my alternatives; is there a way out if I need one; will I be able to function effectively; etc?" Your courage will build as you go along.
If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone. John Maxwell
No unknown situation is comfortable. So use your discomfort to move you forward, and grow with each unknown. You're here for a reason. Step out and find your answers on the other side of fear, knowing that whatever the unknown holds, you have what it takes to find your way.
Blessings in all of your unknowns.
Monday, January 30, 2017
The spirit is the true self, not the physical figure which can be pointed out by your finger. Cicero
We generally think of ourselves as having one identity and that personality and individuality are the same entity. But they are quite different. Personality is our ego self, the reality we created with false beliefs while growing up. This external changeable part of us is influenced by the environment, and we cultivate personality by listening to voices outside of ourselves. Individuality is the inner or real self that never changes its identity, and it expresses spiritual qualities. We cultivate our individuality by listening to the still small voice inside and following it. Therefore personality is the sum total of all your changing opinions about yourself. And individuality is your Self.
Ideally our 2 parts, the ego self and true self, will function together in harmony and peace, and the ego will express in our material world who we truly are. But many people believe their personality is who they are, and this is who they identify with. Even those who know better sometimes have difficulty living from their true self. But if we want to live authentically, we must gradually transform our reality. This transformation is our spiritual journey back to our spiritual source.
What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. Abraham H. Maslow
Transformation to decrease negativity in your life and develop more positive and fulfilling experiences...to live from your true self...will take increased awareness and understanding of both your personality and your individuality. You experience both selves, but you must pay attention and become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns in order to distinguish one self from the other.
Step back and become the observer. At first, just practice observing and learn to recognize the impatient, demanding voice of your ego and the patient, loving voice of your true self. Question...how are they different, how do they feel, what is each saying to me with words, feelings, and actions, what does each want for me? Etc. Get to know them as you've never known them before. And as you become familiar with each one, learn to identify them with, "This is ego, or this is me, my true self." With this awareness, you can learn ways to decrease expression of your ego personality and increase expression of your true self individuality. When you see the bigger picture, you see with the eyes of the soul.
Ego is just like dust in the eyes. Without clearing the dust, you can't see anything clearly. So clear the ego and see the world. Unknown
Even with all its troublesome ways, the ego self is not our enemy. It's like a misguided child who needs guidance and healing to think and behave in ways to benefit the whole person. Ego feels fearful and insecure, and uses deception and control to survive. So reassure it you're not trying to eliminate it, but to understand and incorporate its valuable traits into your life in positive ways. Your ego self is strong and resourceful, and you can teach it to listen to the voice of truth and lead you in choices that redirect your life in positive ways instead of disruptive ways of the past.
Every experience of love, bliss, belonging, inspiration and insight provides a stepping stone back to your true self. Deepak Chopra
The ego wants control and will resist change, but it can be tamed and integrated as a positive part of the whole person. And once you learn to identify the ego state as it arises, you have the power to allow your true self to express in its place. As you go through each day dealing with your ego self, practice expressing more of your true self's divine qualities of love, kindness, understanding, and compassion. As these qualities increase, negative ego will lose its need to control, and will decrease. And positive changes will come.
Transformation is a lifetime endeavor, but as we begin to know ourselves as souls, we gradually release attachment to our false identity, and we embrace our wholeness. As our ego self and true self function together in harmony, our life will have deeper meaning and will reflect the love and peace we long for.
I wish you happiness as You.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice is wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to--you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide. Sogyal Rinpoche
On our journey through life we take much for granted, with little note of who and what we are as people. But we are complex creatures, and for centuries Scholars and Theologians have sought to explain us physically and metaphysically...physical, ego, spiritual, soul, divine, conscious, subconscious, superconscious, and so on...with varied opinions as to who and what we are. I disagree with some, and you may disagree with me. So we each accept what feels right to us.
It's not necessary to know all of our complexities in order to live in harmony with our ego and true self. But it is important to understand these two parts of ourselves, how they relate to each other, and how they can work together for our common good. We are innately a spiritual being, or true self, expressing in a human body. But as children we accept negative feedback from our environment and deny our true self with false beliefs about who we are. And we create an ego identity that becomes an active part of our personality.
The ego is the false self born out of fear and defensiveness. John O'Donohue
With this ego identity we think, feel, and act in ways that interfere with our ability to be happy. We may experience the illusion of separation and limitation, or be driven into destructive habits for a false sense of worth, or feel vulnerable, and use control to protect ourselves. We may even assume a false grandiose self-image to cover feelings of insecurity, regret, guilt, etc. And our every thought automatically goes into our subconscious and finds expression in our life, positive and negative. We're not aware of all that's in there, but we live our life based on its content.
Be guided by spirit and not driven by ego. Allison
When you think about who and what you are, you may include the negative in your self-image...beliefs like ugly, stupid, clumsy, not as good as, lacking wisdom, etc. But you are none of that nonsense. That's just what ego is saying you are. And ego is mistaken. In truth, you are that spiritual being with divine qualities. And your true self is completely aware of your true nature with unwavering knowledge that you're not anything that limits the expression of your spiritual self. It involves the love and peace you long for, and always promotes union instead of separation.
If we live wholly in the consciousness that personality has built up, we're ruled by the carnal mind, the ego self. But wisdom from our true self wants to flow through our ego self and be expressed in our life. We're meant to learn, grow, and evolve spiritually on our journey. And it's been said the ego should be the servant, not the master. So our mind, thus our ego, must be trained to work with our true self to accomplish our true mission.
Your true Self never doubts. Your false self does so you can see and identify who you are and who you are not. Roxana Jones
The ego wants control and resists change. But it can be tamed, and its qualities can be made to work for our benefit. It is strong, clever, and resourceful, and being a tempter, it presents opportunities for us to make valuable choices that can redirect us in positive ways along our path. If we're to find the love and peace we long for, our ego must learn to stop and listen to the voice of truth inside. And this must involve teaching your ego self who you truly are--a spiritual being with divine qualities.
Understanding and awareness are the first steps to releasing ego and becoming more of your true self. Next week I'll talk about ways to identify and correct your ego's misguided tools for living.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Good evening, everyone. Yes, I'm a night person, and ordinarily I'd be creating a message perhaps to touch your mind and heart with helpful information on your journey. But due to a current health challenge, I've not been up to writing a full contribution this week. So I'm offering a few short poems I wrote that may at least bring some useful food for thought. And by the way, I would enjoy some comments to share your thoughts, positive or negative. We gain pleasure from the positive, and we learn from the negative. Thank you for both.
We've been through the mill,
Up and down the hill.
We've known the pain and sorrow.
But never ever forget
The sun's gonna shine tomorrow.
We are survivors
Lord, help me make rainbows
Instead of cloudy days.
Fill my life with hope and joy,
And love in all my ways.
Help me see the truth of me,
And those whose lives I share,
To know the value of their presence,
To let them know I care.
I run away and search out there.
I keep looking for the prize
To find me in another's face,
In someone's else's eyes.
But God speaks to me in quiet times.
His voice comes in so clear.
Not so much in spoken words,
But feelings that I hear.
He tells me things about myself,
The truth I need to see.
And then I know the years have been
My journey to find me.
So there comes a time when new gets old,
And I know it's not out there.
I have to look inside myself,
For I'm the one who has to care.
Find your beautiful self, and love every inch of you. There's no one else like you in the universe, and there's much you've yet to discover. I wish you much happiness on your journey.
Monday, January 9, 2017
The World Book Encyclopedia describes chaos as great confusion and complete disorder. And right now, today, we live in a world consumed by chaos with lawlessness, unrestraint, and unaccountability. We have adopted an Us and Them mentality where people are consumed with hate for others unlike themselves. And this mentality reaches everyone on earth at every level...nation against nation, group against group, brother against brother. This chaotic atmosphere disrupts every aspect of our lives.
I sometimes wonder how we got here to this place of such unrest. Could it be that while we slept, the Us and Them mentality, obsessed with power and control, expressed like a run-away train saying, "Climb aboard and join us on this chaotic ride to hell?" And we forgot who we are?
I lived through the Great Depression, hot and cold wars, protests in the streets, man's wars against humanity, cruel treatment of certain groups of people, and the list goes on. But in all my years, I've never experienced anything reaching the depths of the inhumane situations filled with hate that we see today. It's everywhere. And I cry, because I remember when, in spite of the chaos, there was so much good to bathe our wounds in the bad times. And I miss that.
During the Depression years, when I was 6 years old, my father died, and my mother, my 2 brothers, and I moved to Detroit. We lived in an apartment house with tenants from different countries...Poland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. During the day we all left our doors open, and I loved to sneak by each door and listen to conversations I didn't understand and smell foods I'd never tasted. In spite of our differences, we could all speak English and became like a family helping each other through the hard times. I knew the ways in which we were different, but I loved the ways in which we were one. How did we lose our oneness and become Us and Them?
In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. Deepak Chopra
I remember another experience that taught me about people unlike myself. When I started school, I was the kid with the southern accent, and everyday I encountered a group of African American children who waited and beat me up on my way home from school. My mother's complaints to the school Principal brought no help. So she created a pile of snowballs, hid behind a tree, and threw like crazy. But she also taught me not to make the color of their skin an issue. Their mama's just needed to teach them better. As time passed, we became friends. And I learned about oneness.
Most people believe we are created by God. And some believe that God favors the Us group more than the Them group. But I can't believe the God I know would look at His beautiful creations and separate us into categories judging one group better than another. Even our constitution says we are all created equal. This is who we are, and to quiet the chaos, this is what we need to express in our lives.
In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. Carl Jung
No matter how our world appears now, order exists within the disorder if we're willing to find and express it. Imagine dumping out a jigsaw puzzle, and pieces fall in confusion and disorder on the table. But within that chaos, there's a beautiful country scene with total clarity and order. You just have to fit the pieces together in an orderly way, and the chaos disappears. This process can manifest in the world if we resign from the Us and Them mentality and begin picking up the pieces of our life.
Keep stillness within and acknowledge the beauty of who you are, part of a tapestry woven in love. Within each of us is clarity and order...not the picture we see in our chaotic world. And the unifying pattern lies in the hearts of all people. We are interconnected, and with loving outstretched arms of brotherhood and sisterhood, we have the power to melt the chaos that divides us. Projecting your love into the world may seem small, but you are a part of the world, and your love can affect the whole. Let the light of love shine within you, and the world will find peace.
I wish love in a peaceful world.