The Sound of Silence

A few days ago, we were on top of Haleakala Crater on Maui. The sun was warm, and the view of the crater was clear. There was no wind, for a change, and the clouds were far below us.  We stopped by a lookout on the way down from the top. It was there that I heard it: A profound Sound of Silence which touched me deeply. Somewhere inside of me, I heard and felt a stillness that I have never experienced before at this level. It was so peaceful and quiet. I felt so very blessed at receiving this precious gift. The surroundings were not only beautiful and majestic, but it inspired awe in the beholder. The Silversword plant, which only grows there, is wondrous. The clouds were coming straight up from the rain forest far below, like wisps of imagination. It was hard to leave it in order to return to the hustle and bustle far below us, catching our flight home.

I know that it is an oxymoron, for how can Silence have a Sound? Perhaps because it is the exception. Sound is a pollution present in every place inhabited by humans and animals. Some of it is pleasant, like the rustle of leaves in the wind, surf on the seashore, or a waterfall. How about the sound of a child’s laughter or a cat purring? However, most sounds come from our environment: Traffic, horns, overly-loud music, neighbors fighting over some trivial thing, etc. Some we like: a newborn baby’s cry, good music, conversation with a loved one or friend. Others we do not care for much because it is not within our frame of reference. Even when life is a little quieter, there are not many places where one can experience the Sound of Silence.

The stillness in my soul is now present with me, wherever I go. It is like it makes the song of birds more sweet, the flowers more colorful, and  my awareness  is more alive than I ever remember. I know I am more peaceful at the center of my being. I treasure this greatly.

In the Bible in Psalm 46:10, it states: “Be still and know that I Am God.”

In this stillness, it gives us a home base from which to operate. Eric Butterworth said it very well: “Be in the hub of a wheel, living life from the center instead of at the circumference.” If you are caught up in the sound and fury of all the activity, guess who is at the circumference? (Is it any wonder that, at the end of the day, you feel like you have been run over by something?) But if you take a few minutes for yourself in the morning for quiet contemplation/meditation, you can respond more from the hub of the wheel (for it is very motionless there) and with a more thought-filled response to everything.

Life itself is filled with cacophony. It begins with sound of an alarm clock  so we can get underway, and continues throughout each day. Perhaps the baby is crying, the young children are fighting, or the phone is ringing, and the TV is already on. Sometimes, we are so afraid of being alone that we fill our surroundings with noise, be it a computer, music, TV, cell phone, etc. Some, of course, is generated by our 24/7 lifestyles, earning money so we can afford to live in this economy. The only question is: Is your health suffering from the anxiety, stress, and overload that is in your life, caused by the choices you have made in the past? How, then, can one begin to get a handle on this? Easy: One thing at a time. Begin to thoughtfully look at your reality and see each individual thing by itself. Then you can make a decision to alter it however you can to make your life more peaceful.

Serenity of Spirit is a worthwhile goal. It has a price that it demands, however. One must stop responding to exterior stimuli the way you always have. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Will I forever be grateful for the Sound of Silence which I experienced on Haleakala?  You bet! I have a new perspective to add to the daily ingredients for living a fulfilled life.

If you are a scuba diver, a snorkeling enthusiast, a spelunker, a hiker or climber of mountains, you know whereof I speak. You have experienced the moments of Silence.

I believe that each experience becomes part of our Tapestry of Life. Some beautiful memories add in the rainbow colors, and the tears and grief add the contrast of the background. When all is said and done, your Tapestry will be unique to you alone. How do you want it to look? No one else can weave it for you. For good or ill, it is yours to do. Others can have an opinion about what you should and should not do. But you are the captain of your ship. You alone must decide how to sail it and where you are going.

If you have a stillness inside from which to make your decisions, you will be able to ACT vs. REACT. If one is always REACTING to external stimuli, you will always have greater chaos in your life. ACTING means you take time to think things through before responding. If you have a charging elephant coming at you (which few of us will ever have),  you will REACT. The rest of the time, ACTING is the champion of Self Control and Calmness.

Funny thing about that is people are attracted to you because they can sense your attitude before you ever open your mouth. It emotes from you like the scent from a flower.

How do you begin? The following quote (which is mistakenly stated to be from Van Goethe *) puts it very well:

“Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

By utilizing this idea, Synergy is thus  created. (The Secret of SYNERGY is that, once movement begins, it multiplies and continues.) Is it a worthwhile goal? Absolutely! But only you can decide that. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

* (The lines are attributed to John Anster in a “very free translation” of Faust from 1835, where the lines in question are spoken by the “Manager” in the “Prelude at the Theatre.”)

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Silversword

Silversword

Silversword - Done Blooming

Silversword – Done Blooming

Plumeria with Palm Tree

Plumeria with Palm Tree

Plumeria (leis usually made from this)

Plumeria (Leis are usually made from these.)

Habiscus

Hibiscus

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Maui Sunrise & Surf

Maui Sunrise & Surf

Waikiki Sunrise & Surf

Waikiki Sunrise & Surf

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees

Hawaiian Sunset

Hawaiian Sunset

 

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a quality which is worthy of your intense attention. Without it, you drift through your life. With it, you can experience more joy and awareness than you would believe possible.

Mindful is defined as: “Having in mind; aware, heedful, or careful.”

Mindless is defined as: “Not using one’s mind; showing little or no intelligence or intellect; senseless or thoughtless; taking no thought; heedless or careless; unmindful.”

The first definition (Mindful) is informative, but the second definition (Mindless) comes closer by comparison to what can happen if one does not use Mindfulness.

You may ask: How does one begin to understand Mindfulness? The answer is quite simple: Stop and Breathe Deeply.

When one actually stops (as in sit down, make yourself comfortable, and begin to look around you), things change. You begin to see colors, shapes, and sizes. You become more aware of your surroundings. Use your eyes and really look at objects. Use your fingers and touch the cloth you are wearing, sense the hardness or softness of what you are sitting on, and reach out to touch things within reach. How do they feel? What do you smell? Is there some food cooking somewhere? Is there a sweet or a sour scent somewhere close by? What do you hear? Do you have some soft music on, or can you hear the children giggling as they play a game? Did you just eat something sweet or perhaps a piece of fruit? Can your taste buds still sense the tanginess of it? In other words, use your five senses to evaluate your surroundings.

Once you have done that, place one of your hands on your belly/stomach area and one on your chest. Close your eyes. Now breathe. If the hand on your chest is moving a lot more than the lower one, you know that you are not breathing in a good way. You are more subject to stress and a lot of other ills. If you are breathing like this, you need to relax your stomach/belly and expand it with the incoming breath, pulling it in as you breathe out. It may seem strange at first, but it is vital to your health to learn how to Breathe Deeply. Now try to slow your breath, breathe in as deeply as you can and slowly breathe out. Try to breathe out longer than you breathe in because it is getting rid of the carbon dioxide and impurities.

If you have tried these exercises, you have a new awareness of your surroundings. You can then begin to do it any time of day, anywhere, and under any circumstances. You can do it for just a breath or two, or as long as you please. You may find that colors become more vibrant, and your five senses will wake up to new levels of experience.

Mindfulness is a central theme to a movie I just watched titled, “Griffin and Phoenix.” It was a very interesting story about a man and a woman who find each other only after they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and do not have very long to live. Each one knows, looking back at their lives, how they worked and lived without being truly aware of anything. They find in each other  the ability to live with Mindfulness. They want to experience every day fully as they create memories together. She knows she will not live till Christmas comes again, and she loves Christmas and presents. At the end of the movie, he goes to a hardware store and buys whatever it takes to surprise her with a decorated Christmas tree in the woods, including batteries to light up the lights, and lots of presents. It was a very poignant story.

Mindfulness can become an important part of your day. Just the act of walking can activate many thoughts as you are aware of your space and others around you. Perhaps you may see other people differently because you are more aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it. That can cause a new interaction level which can be more pleasant, whether it be a small one with a store clerk, a coworker, a friend, or a loved one. It can make you more efficient at work because it is no longer a boring repetition, but your mind is actively creating — be it a work of art, a sentence, taking care of a customer, or just cleaning up a mess that a small child just made. Your life can change a lot. But first you must be willing to pay attention to the details of your life. Like a flower emerging from the snow, you can express more livingness and joy.

After all, it is your journey and your choice. Mindfulness is a mine filled with valuable treasures, but only you can use your focus to find them. Are you willing to do it?

God’s blessings on your journey!

Breathe

Breathe

Bless each day

Bless each day

Tulips in snow

Tulips in snow

Crocus in the Snow

Crocus in the Snow

Crocus in full bloom

Crocus in Full Bloom

Azaleas in bloom

Azaleas in Full Bloom

Love – Emotion, Feeling, or State of Being?

Love is defined as: “a deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons; an expression of one’s love or affection; a feeling of brotherhood and good will toward other people; a strong, usually passionate, affection of one person for another, based in part on sexual attraction; the person who is the object of such an affection; sweetheart; lover; sexual passion; sexual intercourse.”

Valentine’s Day is set apart as a celebration of Love. Couples use it as an opportunity to give gifts of chocolate, flowers, or jewelry, especially for the lady. Today, my husband and I exchanged cards expressing our devotion.  But the acts of love we give each other are a daily occurrence, large and small, year in and year out. Sometimes it is just listening to each other, exchanging a foot massage, or just enjoying each others’ presence while we walk in the park or watching a movie. We do not need to buy expensive gifts to show how much we love each other. Of course, we are older and more mature than young people are. We know what we cherish, which is time together and the attitude of being each other’s best friend. We not only honor, but we respect, each other. This removes many evils from our path.

As you look at the definition above, you need to decide for yourself which one applies to you. Love is more than sexual passion, attraction, and touching intimately. If one truly Loves another, one cares about that person, along with his/her needs/wants/desires. We are divinely made so we can help one another to grow and become the person we are meant to be. We are not meant to inhibit, control, or exhibit power over anyone if we actually are expressing Love. We are not to do harm in any way. This would include hateful, mean words which achieve nothing in the long run, but they do cause hurt feelings which sometimes cannot be eradicated. Gentle words are vital to a good relationship, while screaming and yelling exacerbate any situation.

Do you think about what you are going to say before you open your mouth? It is a good policy and serves diplomacy well. Do you ask questions, which require an answer, versus making statements which you must then defend and qualify. If you are talking to someone you truly care about, you might want to remember this. It can make a big difference in any relationship, be it a loved one, coworker, or anyone else.

If Love is just an Emotion or a Feeling, it may seemingly express itself in an ebb and flow, like the tides. Can you really have Love for a wayward teenager who is bent on achieving some idea that makes you crazy? Yup! That is when you use your Love to guide that person the best you can. It may or may not work. In the end, you do the best you can. Someday, that teenager will have children and only then will  understand how hard you tried to do the best you could. I used a teenager as an example, but it could be anyone with whom you have a relationship. Sometimes you might feel the ebb and flow with your mate. It is not a sign that love has died, necessarily. It only says something about the nature of emotions and feelings, which are not constant.

When one first “falls in love,” that person usually can do no wrong. You see “through the eyes of love.” Then somewhere along the way, little habits begin to irritate you. You either resolve them, or they continue to expand — like a snowball going downhill. Eventually, it becomes too big to stop. Bickering begins, and those turn into fights. The next thing you know, you two are separating and going your own way. Sometimes you are happy about it, and sometimes you are not. If you are caught in this spiral, you must ask yourself about why you got together in the first place. Are any of those reasons still valid? If they are, you need to find a way to fix it, if you can. If not, you need a different game plan when you enter a relationship with someone new.

A revolutionary idea: Is it possible to live in Love as a State of Being?

When you open your eyes in the morning, what is your first thought? Your second one? Are you glad to be alive? Are you grateful for something? Are you expressing friendliness to people in your world? When you take a deep breath, do you feel a sweet release of tension and stress?

The element of Livingness is expressing Love as a State of Being, coming from within, and going outwards to anyone who contacts us during a day. It does not matter if it is five minutes with a salesclerk, giving a smile and a thank you for the service rendered, or if it is towards someone you truly love — be it your mate,  mother,  family, friend, or anyone else of importance to you.

Love is a State of Mind First, Last, and Always.

If you Love Life, you stop and smell the flowers along the way, appreciate the colors that surround you, the beautiful butterflies that flutter by, and birds that sing their song. You are living in the moment, not worrying about tomorrow or yesterday. LIVE IN THE NOW. You must have heard this many times in so many different ways. By doing this, you are more able to stay in tune with your thoughts and emotions.

If you dance, are you listening to the music you are hearing RIGHT NOW? That beat, that movement is all timed to the music. It is not the song that was playing yesterday or last year. Nor is it the song that will be played next year. It is Today’s Song. By staying in the moment, you will be moving to the music of Life Within You, more able to better respond to Life’s situations, be they positive or negative.

If you look at your current situation , you need to look at where you are versus where you would like to be. It is that simple and that hard. You are the captain of your ship. You alone must decide where and how to sail it. Are you willing to make changes so that you can achieve a new beginning? It is all up to you, after all. What do you choose?

God’s blessings upon your journey.

Chuhily Exhibit

Chihuly Exhibit

Orchids

Orchids

Moonbow

Moonbow

Fire Rainbows

Fire Rainbows

Sunrise

Sunrise

Aurora Borealis and Sunset

Aurora Borealis and Sunset

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly

Red Winged Blackbird

Red Winged Blackbird

Dove

Dove

Live in the Moment by Dr. Wayne D. Dyer

Live in the Moment by Dr. Wayne D. Dyer

 

 

Tail of the Elephant

There is a tale about three blind men who are holding onto different parts of an elephant. One is holding a leg, saying: “This elephant is like the trunk of a tree.” Another is holding onto the tail, stating: “This elephant is like a snake.” Another is holding onto the trunk, who says: “No, it is like a really thick rope.” Thinking about it, they are all correct in their descriptions. But does it really describe an elephant? Nope.

You see, when one is looking at a situation, probably negative, one only sees it from a personal take on the facts. Other people could see it far differently.

We get so addicted to our own point of view, however, that we think that is all there is. In fact, we do not look outside of our own perceptions to answer a question, respond to a situation (either positive or negative), formulate a plan of action, or even decide to withdraw from the world at large, experiencing depression, angst, or fear.

If one were to suggest that there are other alternatives, most of us do not listen unless it already supports our point of view. The rest just falls away.

If one knows  someone who has had such pain in his/her life/heart that withdrawal has become the only answer, how do you show your compassion to that person? As she/he clings madly to the problem, do you get angry? Do you yell at him/her, trying to get through the wall that was placed there on purpose for defense/protection? If you can make no sense of the situation, which keeps deteriorating like a sinking ship, what are you to do if you care about that person? Stand by and watch it go down? That is painful, indeed, to watch.

Try to not forget that personal choice rules here. You cannot save someone who does not really want to be saved. Complaints and suffering aside, the one who is sinking may not want to go quietly, but positive action, no matter how small or doable, is not considered an option by that person because it has already been discarded.

You can always care very much. You can pray. You can try to structure another possibility if you remember the point of reference that person is using. Remember the elephant? Which part does he/she have hold of?

This process is also true in an argument. People tend to defend their own ideas, no matter how strange, and keep holding on to their own version of the elephant, be it leg, tail, or trunk. It is hard to discuss your idea/resolution if you cannot see what idea they are attached to. You have to enter their thought processes, use active listening techniques, recognizing the anger (which is a tool to make the anger dissipate), and keep feeding back to that person what you are hearing. One cannot argue reasonably with an angry person. The anger must first be drawn off in order to have any reasoning heard. Most anger is caused because that person feels like he/she is not being heard, which is why active listening techniques work so well.

How about you? Have you looked at your world lately? Do you have things that make you feel very uncomfortable? Is there an “unreasonable” person — be it a boss, supervisor, coworker, teenager, child — in your life that is “making you crazy?” Join the rest of the world as there will always be someone to “drive you up a wall!” The question is, what part of the elephant are you holding on to? Try to remember that you can decide to go crazy or not as that truly is a decision within your personal power to control. You can even opt out of it entirely by using silence — one of the most ignored, and most successful, tools in the world. It will stop the acceleration.

Sometimes, especially with children, we have to be the needed guide to the “little person,” who thinks whatever action we require is unwelcome and unwanted.  If we renege on our duty/responsibility as parents or teachers, the world will be a sadder place for it. That child will grow up without the tools to live his/her life and make better choices. There are so many children we see in stores these days who absolutely are not taught the word “NO means NO!” How many tantrums have you seen lately? It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy to try to keep doing what you know you need to do, often with little gratis afforded your efforts.  Try to remember the elephant because you are teaching the point of view that is needed to get the child to see the bigger picture and not just about how it is he/she is thinking/attached to.

Have you heard the words, “Team Building?” It is a buzz word to get things done as efficiently as possible. How does one begin? Simple: Teach the elephant idea as each one is holding a part of the overall product in his/her expertise. Each one has to learn what his/her part is and how it relates to the whole. Then you make sure each one does his/her part. There is always a before and after part to each person’s particular piece. It must start somewhere and end someplace else. It is like hooking the pieces of a train together so it can begin to move.  Usually, the whole train gets to moving forward, gathering speed as each learns and does what is needed. If one gets uncoupled, the whole train suffers from lack of forward motion and confusion. Then you have to figure out who got uncoupled, which is fairly obvious. The fix becomes clear much more easily.

I worked in the Government for many years. I used this concept successfully on so many needs that it was honed to simplicity itself. I worked with individual field offices, reporting requirements, travel, major household moves, regulations, timekeeping, performance appraisals, etc. This idea works, plain and simple.

What areas could you use this elephant idea in? Do you see the elephant, or are you personally hanging onto a leg, tail, or trunk? You will have to learn to shift your paradigm to see the elephant. Are you willing? You life would become so much simpler if you would “get out of your box” and look at the overall picture. Once you know the principle and can use it, you whole life could change because interactions would become easier. You could use it with anyone in your environment. Is it worth your effort? YES!

God’s blessings upon your journey!

 

Elephant

Elephant

Elephant, Tail, Legs and Trunk

Elephant, Tail, Legs and Trunk

Room to Grow?

When one moves a plant, you carefully prepare the soil with additives and root starter. You put a lot of effort into making the transplant a success. Do you do as much for yourself?

One moves a houseplant around so it gets just the right amount of sunlight and moisture. Do you do the same for yourself when you discover you are in a negative environment which is killing your soul?

Many of our decisions in life dictate how we spend our time each day. Do you have a family, especially one with children? Do you have an aging parent that requires your care-giving? Do you have a high-performance job that involves staying in touch 24/7 with a computer, smart phone, or other tech-savvy equipment? Do you do business world-wide with different time zones? Are your relationships doing well, or are those filled with bickering over large and small things? Is there a lot of stressful people making unreasonable demands on you? Do you wake up at night and go to your computer to make a note about the day’s events so, if you get called to task, you can know what really happened? Do you have any time during the day which you can call your own?

My point is that your mental and physical health often come at the end of all the demands placed upon you. How can you have room to grow if you have no time for yourself? It takes time to read mentally and spiritually stimulating books/articles. Exercise does not happen without a solid intent by you. Neither does meditation, even if it means taking a few minutes to just stop and breathe, looking at the world around you and thinking good thoughts. Have you literally “stopped to smell the flowers” lately? Do you look for the beauty in your world? It takes time and paying attention to your environment to do it, no matter whether it is just a minute or two or a long coffee break. It has been proven that, when you hang art on a wall, it stimulates emotions and thoughts. That is why you see it everywhere. It is more than just a decoration. Take a minute now and look around you…what do you see?

Dr. Caroline Leaf (drleaf.com) is traveling the world, telling everyone that the brain needs nourishment of all kinds, including healthy food. The emotions that rule your world are either curing you or killing you. They evoke physical changes in your brain and body which will literally do precisely that. So are you paying any attention to the emotions and thoughts that fill your days? Or do they just run rampant over the top of you most of the time, dictating actions/inactions/reactions? That makes for a really crazy world. Do you like this type of situation, or do you want to take an action that will change it? There are so many classes out there aimed at teaching you to control your emotions and thoughts. Are you willing to look for them?

Dr. Emma Seppala (www.emmaseppala.com) has done some amazing research into the impact breathing has on you. You can say, “I know how to breathe as I have done it all my life!” But what you do not realize/know can be literally causing a lot of damage to your body. Everyone knows that stress kills, a simple fact proved many times over. Dr. Seppala is teaching that yogic/deep breathing can transform lives. When you are under stress, your belly breathing is gone, giving way to chest breathing. The cure? Belly breathe, of course! Have you ever watched an infant sleep? The little belly just goes up and down. Somewhere along the way, as we become adults, we become chest breathers and must relearn how to breathe correctly. It brings in more oxygen to the body, enabling it to help heal injuries faster and perform better. You would be the benefactor of many improvements in your life, including a greater ability to deal with the stress-causing elements and feeling much healthier.

Some think that meditation is a religion. It is not unless you choose to make it so for you. It quiets the whole body. It restores so much that, until you try it, you will never know the possible changes you enable in your physical makeup. It is said that five minutes can do wonders. Do you dare to take five minutes for yourself? You may find that you end up making more time for yourself because of the changes you see.

A king with a very busy schedule (where every minute was taken up with some required duty on his part) had an appointment at a beautifully-decorated room in a hotel. When he got there with his retinue, no one was there. His aid began apologizing profusely for the mix-up. He held up his hand for silence. He looked around the room for a few minutes, and a smile appeared on his face. He took the time to look at his surroundings. Finally he turned to his aid and said, “This was wonderful! You must schedule more of these for me — at least one a day! It will be very good for me!”

Sleep is another problem that can cause many serious problems to your personal detriment. People sleep with their phones at hand and work on the computer until time for bed. The television is part of your daily routine. Many studies have been done that state that the blue light from electronic devices can delay the body’s melatonin processes for hours, causing poor quality sleep. Why does this matter? Because REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep restores the body. If you don’t get REM sleep regularly, over time detrimental health effects appear: Change in mood (as in grumpier), poorly functioning body and brain, ability to handle stress, etc. It can even cause hallucinations. Studies state that  7-8 hours a night is needed for optimum results — any less than that causes significant problems. As one grows older, it is a rare occasion when you do not have to get up and go to the bathroom, but this is just a temporary interruption. My point is that your life can change dramatically if you change some of your choices regarding electronic usage close to bedtime.

Life can pass so quickly, second by second, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, and year by year. You can look back over your current reality and see how things are. Then you get to make a new choice if you are not happy with what you see. But only you can make the changes. Take a chance on yourself. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Orchids

Orchids

Beauty

Beauty

Seedlings

Seedlings

Bees At Work

Bees At Work

Breathe

Breathe

Chihuly Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens

Chihuly Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Looking Forward Instead of Backward

With the 2015 New Year before us in just a short three days, it is a time to begin Looking Forward Instead of Backward.

If one is driving a car, how much time does one spend gazing into the rear view mirror? Now there is an accident waiting to happen!  We all have to be aware of what is going on around us, right here, right now, real time. It is no different with Life, every day, day in, day out. Usually, it is some unfortunate experience that keeps us gazing backward, to no avail. Perhaps it is a word spoken in haste that cannot be retracted. Perhaps it was an unthinking act on someone else’s part that hurts us so very much. Perhaps we have done something we are sorry for but cannot take back. History cannot be changed. It has been said that Unhappiness is a result of someone trying to make something Un-Happen. It is a fact that Time cannot go backward. Yesterday is gone, and Tomorrow is but a figment of our imagination. The only day we have is TODAY.  That is why it is known as the PRESENT. That is why it needs to be cherished, appreciated, and utilized the best we can. Forgive and let go of that which was so that you may move into your PRESENT with more livingness.

Now is a time when some people  begin to make New Year’s Resolutions so that goals may be set and achieved, possibly change some negatives in one’s life to positives,  “Turn over a new leaf!” etc. Some decide to begin a physical fitness program, pay for a fitness center contract, and make aggressive actions for a short time before the energy for change wears out amid the humdrum vicissitudes of daily life. Some decide to lose a lot of weight, set a goal that they remember from long ago and far away,  and then feel like a failure when the required changes in eating habits just do not magically happen. Why is it that so many actually do not see the necessary steps to success actually begin with very small increments?

Do not be disheartened if you desire to actually make a difference to your health and life. Consistency is the key, of course. For instance, one could begin to lose weight by looking at your eating habits and writing down what you actually put in your mouth for a week. There is an eye opener for you! Physical Fitness could begin by setting a goal of walking on a treadmill for a few minutes every day, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or parking farther out so you have to walk a little more. But first, you have to set a goal that is within your reach. You may not ever run a marathon, but you could see a healthier you in the mirror by beginning to make changes in what you do, how you do it, and the choices of food that you ingest.  Questions to ask yourself: “Do I quickly grab a Starbucks and a donut, or do I actually figure out what is good for me in the long run? No matter how good that sweet Danish tastes, will it nourish my body? Do I skip breakfast altogether (which, by the way, every doctor/nutritionist/health addict knows is the major sin against the body) or do I learn to eat to live vs. live to eat?”

It has been suggested that Food Police is a negative idea in watching carefully what your choices are — treating the idea from a forceful point of view, ensuring failure. Actually, it all comes down to your choices. Is becoming more healthful important enough for you to look at the sweets that surround everyone at this time of year, the alcohol being consumed, the pops that are offered at every party, and enormous quantity of food on every plate?

Every diet in the world begins with measuring the actual intake of what you consume before you open your mouth, choosing the foods that will nourish you, and passing up the rest that is out there. Why is that so difficult?

That answer usually is tied up with our emotions. Are we stressed out? Are we overtired? Is the quality of sleep good, bad, or excellent? It has been proven over time that our hormones respond to all of these, even to the point where we are hunting for chocolate to eat so we can calm down, or some other comfort food which has nothing to do with our long term goal of becoming more healthy.

Attitude matters. It is paramount to make an analysis of what is going on between our ears. There are so many good things that come from exercise for our bodies that will help us along our path towards our goals. The peptides, etc., are released, helping us to feel better.

Some people do not want to take baby steps. They desire gargantuan goals, ensuring the probability that they will become failures more quickly. After all, if one cannot climb a mountain, what is the point in starting?

Confucius said, “Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

He had it right!

So if you want to begin to write your New Year’s Resolutions, be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Look at where you are now, and then decide where you want to be  a year from now. Then write a list of achievable steps where you can begin a synergy that will carry you onward.

It has been said that “Rome was not built in a day.” You might remind yourself of that as you go forth on your journey.

The Christmas Season is such a lovely time of year. It always seems to me that people are kinder toward others, more generous, more forgiving. But when that special day is passed, the attitudes in general change back to more “business as usual.” The meanness we all see every day overpowers our senses, and we lose sight of what Life is all about. Is it possible to extend these lovely Christmas moments and attitudes so that they are here every day of the year? It can be if you personally choose that to be your attitude and goal. It is, after all, up to you.

God’s blessings upon your journey! Happy New Year to one and all! May the light from the beautiful fireworks celebrations for the New Year remain in your mind and heart, long after they are gone from the skies. May God bless you with Love, Light, Life, Laughter, Joy, Truth, Beauty, and Peace every day this coming year!

Fireworks

Fireworks

 

 

 

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is both a time for giving and receiving. How are you at giving? How about receiving? Most of us are predominantly either one or the other. Rarely are we able to do both.

A child’s rhyme/song runs through my mind during this time of year:

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”

You hear repeatedly that “It’s not the amount you spend on a gift that counts, but the thought you put into it.” Do we really hear that at the heart level?

I truly love this time of year. I love playing Santa to my friends and family. I know others do as well.

The naysayers emphasize the commercialization of the Christmas Holiday, stating that it is just a time for the stores to make money.  Yes, that is true, but it does not take away from the idea that you can give of the love in your heart, no matter the item.

It is a time for expressing that love in whatever way you deem appropriate. What attitude do you have when you are selecting your gifts? Are you stressed out? Do you feel unhappy because you do not have enough money? If this is true for you, you need to take a look at your priorities. If you cannot give even the smallest gift with a happy heart, filled with the peace of the Season, what blessing are you adding to the gift? That is what matters the most, after all is said and done.

What do you feel when you receive your gifts? Are you looking at the amount someone must have spent, or do you think about what a loving thought and blessing is wrapped inside the package? Are you open to receive that thought and blessing?

My first gift to my friend, who later became my husband, was a small Christmas stocking from a mall kiosk, with his name in glitter and some candy inside. He went into shock when I gave it to him because it was so unusual for him to receive a gift. He still has that little stocking in his desk drawer all these years later. So you never know what a small kindness can do.

In the flurry of the season, take a few moments to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. The Christmas decorations, the music, and the Holiday Spirit (which does not come in a bottle, unfortunately) are all a part of it. I love to exchange Christmas cards because it is a time to touch base with friends and family to see how they all are, for they are now spread far and wide across the globe. What a special time of year!

The center of this Holiday is, of course, the Christ in Christmas. It is a time for celebrating his birth. Is He in your heart, mind, and spirit as you go about your activities? His Gentleness, His Love for all mankind, and His Caring Nature are all expressed through you on a personal level to every single person you contact. Be mindful of that as you go through your days. Do not be so busy with anything that you forget that.

Just know that you choose whether to be that blessing or not as you give your gifts. Put a little of your thoughts inside each one, K? Be a Blessing, K? Be aware of your attitudes when you open your own gifts — look for the thoughtfulness and be open to the gratitude for the expression of love that is inside each one, K?

God’s blessings upon your journey. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

Hibiscus & Christmas

Hibiscus & Christmas

Christmas Poinsetta

Christmas Poinsettia

 

 

Saying that Final Good Bye

Saying that Final Good Bye when a loved one passes away is one of the hardest journeys one can take.

The age and circumstances can affect you in ways you never imagined. Sometimes the ill-health of that person can make it a little easier because you do not want to see them suffer anymore, so it becomes a release for them and perhaps for you.

Sometimes it is an unexpected accident — one that you could never have considered as a possibility. Tragedy can break your heart because it is so sudden.

Then the details, expenses for burial, paperwork, rules and regulations come into your awareness. Who knew how complicated it would be? It would seem that an original of the Death Certificate is needed for just about any transaction. It can take weeks or months to take care of the business.

It is said that about 96 percent of people do not have a will or express their wishes in a written document like the Five Wishes as a Living Will. Do those people in the 96 percent understand the negative impact of such an act of omission? Could they not see what a morass of regulations that they are leaving for their families?

As for me, my dear mother passed away recently. Her last month was filled with suffering that even narcotics could not take away. She was surrounded by caretakers who truly cared for her, including family members.

When I looked down at her for that last time, saying a prayer for her on my lips and in my heart, I knew she was finally at peace and without pain. In our belief system, she has become “absent from the body but present with the Lord.” Her Spirit is in a better place. She was set free from a failing shell that just could not house it anymore.

Will I miss her? Of course, every minute of every day. But I believe in God Mail — my thoughts and words to her will be delivered instantly by the best transmission system in existence. Hence, I know that I can still “talk” to her freely. I want her to see through my eyes the beautiful flowers she loved so much on this plane of existence, so I’ll send her a “snapshot” of the Beauty I partake of, or of the loved ones she cared about, or any other thing which I consider important.

I do not know how others who do not have a faith/belief system survive this moment, and the moments to follow. I can only think of the emptiness that must be a part of that. Which faith/belief system that you have is not a factor here. But one must believe in something in order to get through this trying time.

How about you? Have you chosen to take a moment or two to express your wishes in a legal way? I highly encourage you to do so. Not one of us is going to get out of this world alive, so think about it. It would make a tremendous difference to your affairs and those who would have to deal with all the problems created thereby through a lack of a written document.

Life itself will go on for me. The Memorial Service details are almost finished. There will be that moment of one final Good Bye to my beloved mother. But I rest assured that Her Spirit is doing just fine where she is now.

Remember, life is made up of choices, minute by minute, and day by day. Have you told someone, “I Love You!” as they go out the door? It does not matter the age or circumstances. It may be the last words you can express to that person. 911 taught us that in a dramatic way. We have no guarantees.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Forever in our Hearts

Forever in our Hearts

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our warmest wishes for you is to have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

It is a day to watch parades on the television, probably overeat from a heavily laden table (if you are lucky), take a nap, enjoy the companionship of loved ones and friends, or perhaps even to just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Whatever your day consists of, we hope that you take the time to list all of the blessings which fill your life. Some are obvious, and others are not. Some you think of frequently, while others pass you by without your noticing. Some do not get any of your attention at all until something negative impacts it. Sometimes, the negative takes it away for a long time, if not forever.

Thanksgiving has always been a day for doing exactly that: Change your focus from what you do not have and are striving for to what you already possess. It does not matter if it is a nickel when you need it, or lots of cash at the right time.

Just notice: Can you walk? Can you talk? Can you sing? Can you use your hands freely? Do you have your health? Are you working your way through a health challenge? Can you eat whatever you like? Can you see? Can you hear? What beauty surrounds you?

There are so many people who do not have those blessings for they are either unable to do them for whatever reason or their life situation prohibits/inhibits it.

Life is made up of a lot of simple things which pass us by like a ship in the night if one does not take time to focus on them. We miss many blessings just because we do not see them. Look at your surroundings to see the beauty, life, and laughter that are there – no matter how small or insignificant it may appear. Just know that what you bless increases.

Gather your loved ones and friends, be they near or far, into your heart and thoughts. Bless them one and all.

How about you? What do you choose to focus on today?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Beauty from Chihuly Exhibit at Denver Botanical Gardens:

Blue Icicle Towers

Blue Icicle Towers

Persian Towers

Persian Towers

Saffron Tower

Saffron Tower

White Tower

White Tower

Mirrored Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops

Mirrored Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops

Blue and Purple Boat with Walla Wallas

Blue and Purple Boat with Walla Wallas

Summer Sun

Summer Sun

Heliconia

Heliconia

Orchids

Orchids

 

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