Monday, February 27, 2017

Choose Laughter


Hello, everyone.

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.

Marilyn

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Is Your Goal Setting Journey Successful...And If Not, Why?



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

Marilyn

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are You Running Your Life or Is Your Life Running You?



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.


Marilyn

Monday, February 6, 2017

Approaching The Unknown. Friend-Foe-or Challenge?



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.


Marilyn