Friday, August 25, 2017

How And When Does A House Become A Home?



Home is a place where we live, where we keep our toothbrush and our dirty clothes hamper--or is it? We don't usually take notice, but what if it's a state of being that one feels in a certain place, or in every place. I've known people who feel at home wherever they go, and others who have never felt at home anywhere. The place where one lives could be a house, an apartment, a cave, the side of a mountain, a ship at sea, or under a bridge somewhere. Does the place matter? Or is home really inside of us, in our mind and heart waiting for expression?

It takes hands to build a house, but only heart can build a home. Anonymous

We each have our own ideas about what a home should be--or what it should not be. And our memories are sometimes involved in this perception. We may want to escape painful childhood memories or re-create happy ones in our surroundings. For some, it's the physical environment, for others the people they're with, or the state of their affairs. A person can live in a mansion and long to go home. But the place where we live is just a place until something there satisfies a need in us, and then we perceive the place as home. So it's the meaning we assign to a place that brings us in touch with our inner sense of home.

I have a friend who was born and raised in Poland. She sometimes speaks of walking in the woods near her grandfather's farm when she was a child, and of the safe, warm feelings she experienced there. Now when times get rough for her, she longs to go home to Poland. That place is where she found her inner sense of home, and that's where she yearns to be when she feels a need to rest from life's burdens.

Until I moved into my present home, I had never lived in one dwelling for more than four years. I used to wonder what it was like to have a home. When I was nine-years old I came close to knowing what that meant. I spent several months with an aunt and uncle in their lake house in Michigan. It was a beautiful time when I felt home inside of me. I felt joy in the scenic wonder of the place, validated and loved by my aunt and uncle, accepted by my school friends and was treated as a special part of the universe. That's what home meant to me, and I found it there, if only for a little while.


Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful. Hazrat Inayat Khan

Each of us is unique, and how homes are created differs with different people. Some may feel at home as soon as they walk into a place where they will live. Others may already know what they need and want, and they plan purposefully to fulfill their unique perception of home. Others may create gradually without purpose toward a home, and over time, without forethought, add little by little, until one day they look around and say with a smile, "Oh, my goodness. I've turned my place into a real home." However a home is created, it's a feeling made manifest from the heart.

A house is made of bricks and beams. A home is made of hopes and dreams. Unknown

What thoughts, memories, visions, scents and sounds come to mind when you think of home? Do you already have a place that's home to you? Does where you live satisfy a need in you? Your home is an ongoing expansion in your life, and as years pass, allow it to reflect more of you and what you hold dear.

I wish you love, peace, joy, safety, and abundance in your special home.

Marilyn

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Coping With Job Dissatisfaction And Finding Your Joy



Recently I saw research on TV regarding job dissatisfaction, and I was amazed at this revelation, although not surprised given the way our world has changed over the years. According to this report, a large number of people are greatly dissatisfied, many are somewhat dissatisfied, and many are no longer even mentally or emotionally involved while on the job. In too many situations people go to work, do what's expected, get a pay check, and go home stressed and exhausted.

In my younger years I did waitress work, and while it was hard work and I sometimes dealt with rude customers, employees were not taken for granted like cattle to be prodded into submission. We were valued and appreciated, and this was reflected in the work environment. But not so in many places today. We live in a different world.

Having also worked in the mental health field for many years, I look at the psychological reasons for today's dissatisfaction in the place where we spend most of our daily life. It's not only our response to what goes on outside of ourselves, but something that's going on inside too. We humans have basic needs that must come from both our outer world and our own sense of well being on the inside.

In our outer world we need validation and appreciation for the work we do. This means receiving fair pay and treatment in a safe work place where we can enjoy doing what we do. It means a sense of security with benefits and a solid future. It means respect from supervisors and congenial relationships with co-workers. It should be a place we look forward to each work day...a place that enhances our quality of life. Utopia? Not really. I remember when most work places were like this.


Burnout is what happens when we ignore the soul whispering against an unhealthy job or relationship. Unknown

On the inside, each of us is endowed with a 'knowing'. But how often do we listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to know for our life to be fulfilling? Maybe we're too busy to listen. Every day our mind is caught up in what we need to know on the job to keep the bills paid. And we push buttons to communicate and get things done. Out modern world is efficient in many ways. But there's something inside that needs to be fulfilled. It's that innate need to create and find satisfaction in our creation. Our God-given gift of creativity feeds our soul and maintains our identity. And you can't get that from a stressful job or a hand held gadget.

If you're employed in a happy work environment, enjoy the years you spend there, and express gratitude every day. You're blessed. And I'm happy for you. On the other hand, in our society, many are not so fortunate. Some do turn to more gratifying pursuits, but as months turn into years, some feel so trapped, they don't even try to change the status quo. These are people you see every day who live from one pay check to the next without hope for a way out.

Use your smile to change this world, don't let this world change your smile. Unknown

If you feel unhappy in your job, even miserable at work, know that you can change your own life in spite of your situation. First, change the way you perceive your work environment, and do the best you can with what you've got there. Start taking your love and your smile to work, and you may find it's contagious.

Then create something in your life that reflects who you are, that says your life matters...You matter. Focusing on creative satisfaction can compensate for the negatives at work, and reduce stress, and give your life meaning. Hopefully this could be at your job, but if not it could be found in something you just enjoy doing...maybe volunteering, gardening, cooking, writing, music, sports, sharing interesting knowledge, whatever. There's much undiscovered talent within you. So look within and find your joy.


I wish you peace and joy in all of your life.

Marilyn

Friday, August 4, 2017

Freedom To Quiet Childhood Messages And Choose Your Own Way






What then is Freedom? The power to live as one wishes. Marcus Tullius Cicero


We're all products of messages we hear growing up. "Do this...Don't do that"...etc. Those messages influence who we think we are and the way we live our lives. But some people break loose and answer the call they hear deep within...the call to be who they are and choose how they will live. Which one are you? How free are you to make your own choices and follow your own way? A few years ago, I wrote a very short whimsical story about a young woman wrestling with her messages and making a decision about her future. I hope you enjoy this story. It could be you.


SPRING CLEANING

I slushed through soapy puddles across the kitchen floor, doubled up my fists, and kicked the empty mop bucket as far as my bare foot could sling it. I heard my mother's voice from my teenage years. "You should be more careful. Spring cleaning doesn't need to be a chore." My mother's voice was grounded in my head--from all my ages. Sometimes I wondered if I even had one of my own. Her voice echoed from the past with phrases like, "Nice girls sit with their legs together," "Take a quick shower, so you don't waste water," and "Too much sugar isn't good for you." I remember how she hovered over me at mealtime to make sure I cleaned my plate. I still feel guilty when I turn away from brussels sprouts.

Yes, my mother taught me some valuable lessons and gave me some good advice, but wouldn't you think I could do something now without cringing to chatter from an old phonograph wound too tight? Where was my own self in my life? I'd wanted spring-cleaning to be painless, but I always wrestled with my inner drill sergeant spounting orders. 

I knelt down and sopped up water with the big towel I usually took to the beach where I heard my mother tell me not to go out too far in the ocean. "Even good swimmers drown, you know." Calm down, I told myself. Keep it simple. I knelt down and squeezed the last bit of water into the pail, threw the towel across the room and sat back on the tile floor. It's time for a break.

I wiggled my body into a comfortable position in the recliner chair on the patio. The morning air smelled clean and fresh. A big gulp of iced tea cooled my throat, and I grinned like a defiant child escaping out the back door when it's time to help with the supper dishes. Escape sounded good. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and coaxed my mind to quiet. There's power in quiet. There must be ways to stifle old messages, free to express my own voice and reflect my own personal style.

I turned off the alert button in my head and allowed new plans to flood my mind. First I'd go to the beach, feel the cool breeze between my bare legs, and swim far out into the ocean, looking back at the shore from very deep water. I'd run along the beach as fast as the wind would carry me and feel the warm sand ooze between my toes. Then I'd come home, take a shower and bask under the welcome spray for as long as I wanted. And that strawberry cheesecake that's been in the freezer too long. It's time to smack with each bite.

My grin widened to a full smile, and I felt a strange sense of power begin to stir, a feeling I'd only glimpsed in the past. A sense of resolve gnawed in my head. I'd get back to spring-cleaning, I mused, but wait 'till I'd done some inside cleaning and practiced being a new me. I could hear my mother saying, "Everything begins with a first step." That one I'd choose to keep.

I wish you successful intention, follow through, and freedom.

Marilyn