Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.
If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”
Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.
Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.
But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).
If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.
The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.
Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.
The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.
Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living. It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).
The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?
God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Do you Eat to Live or Live to Eat?
This would appear to be a simple question, when in fact it is extremely complicated. Raised in families, we become accustomed to the foods we eat, as well as the way we eat them.
Do you eat your food quickly, as though you were starving? Or is a meal a leisurely activity that you enjoy eating slowly as you chat at the table with loved ones and friends? Do you prefer Italian to Mexican or American vs. Oriental? Are you a “meat and potatoes” person? Do you like white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth or quality grains that nourish your body?
If you stuff in your food as fast as you can, the center in the brain that notifies you that you are full never gets a chance because you have already over-eaten, packing the food in, stretching your stomach so you will eat more next time. It actually takes 20 minutes from the time you are full and should stop eating until that center tells you to stop. So, how much more will you stuff in that your body does not need? Answer: A lot!
How about where you are eating? Do you eat in front of the TV set, paying attention to whatever is going on there vs. how much and what you are eating? Do you drive up to a fast food outlet, order at the window, pick it up at another window, and start eating before you even leave the parking lot, stuffing it in as you drive? Or do you go in, order your food, and eat it there peacefully before you begin to drive?
Portions are equally important. When you are in a buffet, do you put so much on your plate that it should have side boards? Let’s say that you are really hungry, so you put more on the plate than you know you should really eat? Do you eat it all? Are you trained to “Clean your plate!” Do you continue to just stuff it in?
The statistics in these United States for overweight people, including not only the obese but the morbidly obese, have increased astronomically from the young all the way up to the very old. If you question this, go anywhere people congregate – the grocery store, schools, fast food restaurants, etc. You will find that most of the people are from somewhat big to so heavy they can hardly walk. It is no small wonder that medical costs are rising astronomically.
Look at the food shelves by checkout. They will be filled with comfort foods, sugary treats, and other items like chips, etc. Look at what is in the carts of people as they pass you by. You just might be amazed at what you find.
Do they teach nutrition in schools? Not really. Do they teach food groups? Not usually.
What is the answer to this conundrum? A change of focus is absolutely needed.
All diets work for the same reason: Your intake of food is less than what energy you expend, every day. There are so many diets out there that it makes your mind spin. If you try one and do lose weight, statistics say that you will put back on the weight you lost plus some within a year. It takes a whole year for your body to get used to the changes. Most people just go back to whatever they ate before they began the diet.
Are you a couch potato? You will normally be eating far more calories than you are burning. After checking with your doctor, you may begin any physical activity that you like. Walking is normally within everyone’s ability. Do what you can to increase your expenditure of calories. It will be a blessing in so many ways, including increasing your balance, stamina, and ability to live your life.
So you may ask, “What is the answer?”
It lies in educating yourself on food groups, portions control, and making wise choices with what you put into your mouth. It takes a life style change to be persistent in maintaining weight loss. Perhaps you could write down what you are going to eat the next day and stick to it. That works really well for some people. It is not will power – it is more “won’t” power (as in I will lower my intake of pop, munchies like chips, and sugar products). It requires you to make a decision to lose weight so you can be healthier. Educate yourself on what your body likes. I know that mine loves vegetables and fruits, with some protein to balance it out. I try to eat something from all the food groups every day. If I do eat a piece of pie, I balance it out with eating well the rest of that day and the following one. I chew my food more slowly and savor the taste of each bite. This also helps me to know when I am full so I can stop eating. Physical activity aids me as well as I enjoy yoga and strength training, including aerobic activities. My mantra is: “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” when I am deciding what to eat.
You just have to ask yourself: Do I live to eat or do I eat to live? The choices belong solely to you. No one can do it for you. Yes, you can get surgical intervention in several ways, but do you really want to do that? Everything carries a price. Do you want to pay the price of never making any changes in your selection of what you eat, how much, and how fast? Do you want to stay a couch potato? It may take a while, but that price will inevitably be paid in a way you do not like and will not want to pay. That may include a shorter life span with corresponding ill health.
God’s blessings upon your journey!
How many times have you heard, “Believe in yourself?”
If you begin at the very beginning, your self concept begins from the day you are born and continues to build as the days go by. The important people in your life, especially your parents or a teacher, can have great bearing on the formation of your personal identity. Whether or not you have low self-esteem issues, or perhaps you have a hard time expressing your opinions or standing up for yourself, you are a person with the ability to recognize any perceived short-comings you have. You also have the power to decide to change.
When I was young and in the above-mentioned state, I read Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I came to many realizations as I read this book. I could see the common sense of it. I began to implement some changes. My husband at that time did not like the idea at all. In fact, he tore up my book into confetti-sized pieces, threw them at me as he exclaimed: “You cannot be a person because you are my wife!” Did the marriage last? No, because once I knew I could stand on my own two feet with the ability to make new choices, the situation was untenable.
If I were to look in a mirror today all these years later, I can celebrate because I married a man who truly wanted an intelligent mate who can think, act, and be the person I need to be – even while I am working with him, side by side, in harmony traces. (This is like a pair of horses, pulling a wagon, where the strengths of one aids the weaknesses of the other and vice versa, pulling the load equally.)
When I was a senior in high school (many years ago), I took Speech. Of course, I had to speak in front of the class. The person sitting in the first desk could not have really heard me – no projection, shy, slow of speech, etc. However, as I began to age, I discovered that I can be in a room of any size and be able to have everyone hear me without the aid of the microphone. How is this possible? It happened because I discovered that I could begin to unwrap my God-given gifts that I was born with and learn to use them to benefit myself and others.
When I was in elementary school, an art teacher, Mrs. Able, told me to never attempt to do anything in the art field. I was crushed and did not attempt any form of art for a long time. A few years back, I took an art class on my lunch break. My teacher made me promise to finish and frame my pencil drawing of a Norwhal, a collage I titled “Quietness,” and another collage in blue titled “Flight.” He told me I could put my works on display in any gallery in town. So I ask you, “What made the difference?”
The answer is simple: I discovered some of the gifts that I possess and did, indeed, learn to use them. My self definition changed from “I can’t!” to either “I can!” or “I want to try something new.”
You, too, can discover that you are a unique human being with many gifts inside of you which need unwrapping. The words, “Believe In Yourself” take on new meaning as you find what you are capable of doing. As you begin to set aside the old tape recordings of how incapable you are, the more you begin to actually live your life more fully. You can decide to make new choices instead of rehashing old memories/words or beliefs.
The only question remaining is: Are you willing? It is, after all, entirely within your capabilities to recognize that a change is needed. Then you find out that just the process of recognizing that a change is needed actually begins a synergy that can carry you forward as far as you want to go.
God’s blessings upon your journey!
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Is Listening an Art or a troublesome bother? Is it a good thing to learn, or is it a useless waste of time? Are you not really listening but instead are already formulating an answer in a conversation?
How one answers these questions will tell you a lot about yourself and your interactions with others.
It is my personal belief that every single person is actually looking for someone who will actually Listen to what they have to say.
In the world of electronic transmissions, it has been my experience that, in person-to-person exchanges, hardly any one is really hearing what another has to say. This contributes to a feeling of loneliness, even if one is surrounded by a crowd of humans.
One reason we value our pets so very much is that they are actually paying attention to us. We need that feeling.
Have you ever been in a conversation and inserted something ridiculous just to see if the other person is hearing you? I have. It can be quite comical, especially if you are not particularly invested in the situation.
If you ask the other person to repeat something you said, it is rare when it can be done. Why? Lots of reasons, with the main reason being that the other is not hearing you per se but is thinking about other things, perhaps elsewhere or another time entirely.
If one were to cultivate the gift of actually listening to another, be it in person, via phone call, text, or Tweet, etc., your world would change. Trust me on this. Others truly appreciate you because you give them your attention, responding to what is actually being said. If you should compliment them on something, they feel validated. This is worth its weight in gold.
In the process of anger management, the primary goal is to repeat what the angry person is saying (yelling, screaming, etc.). This lets the other person know that you hear him/her. Usually, anger escalates when that one feels like you are not listening, so the noise level increases. Of course, you cannot reason with someone when they are like that, but you can after you have acknowledged that they are upset and why. Then anger itself automatically diminishes like poking a balloon with a pin.
Life is hard enough with the day-to-day stressors we experience. If you could lessen the stress in your life by learning to Listen, would it be worth your while? Absolutely! Are you willing to put forth the effort to do it? It is, after all, your choice!
God’s Blessings on your Journey!
As I look out my window and see the lovely flowers, I am reminded of the idea that there really is a time for all things. Right now, it is a time for heat and staying indoors as much as possible until the cool of the Colorado evening arrives so we can walk around the lake. Later and sooner than you think, it will be time to put up the shorts and find our jackets, and then our winter coats.
When I don’t feel up to par and this old body hurts, aches and complains, I have to remind myself that “This, too, shall pass.” I exercise and do my physical therapy, put on my happy face, and get on with my day, whatever that becomes.
I know that no one likes to be around a complainer. Period. Complaining just sets whatever it is that is going wrong into concrete and is much harder to deal with. Why would anyone want that?
I find something to rejoice in, no matter how small. Perhaps it is a few moments in hot water in my jetted bath tub, which eases any body part that is complaining. Perhaps it is looking at my photo albums on my computer and putting on some nice music as they keep showing frame after frame. My point is that one does not have to remain in that bad mood unless you truly want to do that. There is so much to be thankful for if one just looks for it. That is the key.
Life is so short so I don’t want to waste the precious time that God gives me every day. There are loved ones who need a word of encouragement, a saleslady that truly needs a kind word and a smile, a child that needs a cuddle and to know that it is OK, etc.
In short, dear readers, it is up to you to choose to stay in the “bad day,” or find ways to make it better. Are you willing?
God bless you on your journey!
F is for Forever
E is for Evading
A is for Another
R is for Reality
Forever Evading Another Reality
Does this acronym speak to you? It explained a lot to me in my life and in how others experience FEAR.
The worst part of FEAR is that it is immobilizing, whether it is real (Is that a bear up ahead?) or an illusion (all the “What if’s” you can think about).
Fear always has a companion, WORRY. These two serve to make one’s imagination run wild. The more you concentrate on what you do not want to happen, the more these two become a driving force in your decisions.
Question: Why would one consciously put so much effort into something you do NOT want to happen when you could use that same energy to be constructive, formulating a better outcome?
Do you feel “stuck” in a situation that is harmful to you, your personal growth, your life? Is it because of FEAR and WORRY? These two are thieves that steal your potential good from you.
ANSWER: Only you can take action to make a better choice. You have to look at your daily life and see what you need to change.
FEAR and WORRY create a vortex which leads to nowhere. Are you willing to keep it going? How does it serve you?
If it does not help you to create a new synergy with a better goal, you are simply marking time.
Time is the one thing you cannot buy back. No amount of effort will bring you more of it. Life is so very short. Each moment needs to be spent wisely and well in lieu of languishing in a “Woe is me!”
Your history is just that: History, as in gone, as in cannot be changed. Each second becomes history, quickly.
Are you willing to keep spinning your wheels, or do you want more? If you do, now is the time to begin it.
The Chinese have a saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Are you willing to look for a step towards a new beginning? Exit the quagmire of quicksand and begin anew. You have the power. Use it.
God’s blessings upon your journey. Remember that destinations are good to aim for, but enjoy each moment of your NOW.
Imagination is a wonderful characteristic to have. Like most things, it has its good and bad sides. The good sides can be seen everywhere: Creating a beautiful garden or landscape; writing a book; painting a picture; decorating a cake or a room; dancing; etc. The bad sides are not so obvious: Being afraid of monsters under the bed or in the closet; Phobias about anything from spiders to heights; fear of something in the future or consequences of what is past; etc. In fact, it is easy to see the negative side in others, but it is not so easy to spot it in yourself.
Imagination can be extremely helpful in Visioning a better outcome or future because you are dwelling on the positive side of it all. In a way, you are creating a mold of what you would like to have or see happen. The Power of Attraction then creates synergy to bring it forth.
One example of the bad side is a person who is a shut in with many ailments and pains, the Imagination works upside down, enhancing how awful your reality is. Your awareness of anything outside of your area is automatically eliminated. News from the outside world is not important. If anything, one probably picks up on the negative news. Things begin a downward spiral, like a snowball going downhill. The synergy brought forth is not anything desirable.
Other examples are workers who are on a treadmill of life, barely able to feel in control of their choices because of the demands on their time: Travel time to and from work, young children, perhaps parents who are in need of care taking. In short, the idea of making time for exercise, walking, reading, or taking a long bath and just relaxing are just a dream. Yet they are essential to personal health and well-being.
The question becomes: What do you want to occur? What do you choose to dwell on?
It is this choice that becomes the difference. If one continues to dwell on the negative, the snowball continues on its way. If a glimmer of a positive can be introduced into the imagination, the snowball can be stopped and a new synergy begins.
However, most people are not proactive about making changes in their reality.
If they experience fear, it immobilizes and restricts, making it impossible or extremely difficult to deal with. That immobilization/restriction causes consequences that multiply exponentially with time. They longer one waits to decide on a plan of action, the more severe the situation becomes.
Fear begets fear.
“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address.
The message here is that hesitation has a price you may not want to pay. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it is inevitable if you do nothing.
So how about you? Do you want to use your imagination in a constructive way? Are you so caught up in the daily humdrum of your existence that you do not think about a different possibility? It is your choice, and not making a choice becomes exactly that, a choice. What is your decision?
God bless you on your journey!
Tempus Fugit! (Time Flies!) As I age, it seems like the hours, days, months, years just evaporate before my eyes. It appears to be a time warp, yet it is not.
If one were to think about the word, “Cherish,” its many connotations explain the deepest, most meaningful use of the word: “To feel or show great love for something or someone; to remember or hold an idea or belief in a deeply felt way; to harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely.” There is nothing casual about this word.
Each and every day, each person gets on the treadmill of life, doing activities and work, play, exercise, etc. So I am asking you to pay attention to the people in your life, young or old, boss or coworkers, your child or someone else’s – just notice how you interact with each one. Ask yourself, “If I never see that person again, can I live with what I just said? Was it kind or mean? Did I share a smile or a frown?” Instead of just trying to get through the day, why not experience each moment as it comes? Soon enough, the day will be gone. Are you happy with it or not? Is there something you would change? Do you wish you could “unsay” something? If you are not paying attention, a lot of things just slide right on by, good, bad, or indifferent. Is that OK with you?
If you decide to cherish each moment, you will notice a significant change in how fast the hours disappear. The people in your life will feel your affection and thoughts, simplifying interactions tremendously.
It is, after all, solely your choices which will make a difference. Choose Wisely vs. Poorly.
God’s blessings upon your journey.
Grasping Hand sounds pretty startling, doesn’t it?
Do you know how they catch monkeys in the forest? They put out glass jars with a nut in the bottom. The monkey reaches in, grasps the nut, and then cannot pull the hand out because it will not let the nuts go. They come back, pick up the monkeys, jar and all. They break the jar once the monkey is secured. Easy.
Do you have a Grasping Hand? Are you holding onto something so tightly that you do not want to let go? Do you know how much effort that takes?
Place a pencil in your hand and wrap your fingers around it. Ask a friend to remove it. Not going to happen. Now – open your hand. The friend can remove the pencil easily. The difference? Readily seen – you let it go by opening your hand.
There are many reasons to have a Grasping Hand, some of which are sentimental (which is OK). Some things have served their use (as in clothes you have outgrown or no longer wear because your tastes have changed). Yet, sometimes we hang onto things just because we have a lack consciousness. Hoarders are one example. Yet they, too, acquire things that they will never even use.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? It can be.
Many of us were raised up with very little possessions. Hence, we decide to keep stuff that no longer serves a purpose for us.
There are so many others out there who still have very little. Why not share with them what you no longer need? There are so many organizations out there that would appreciate that set of dishes, silverware, serving spoons, clothing, furniture, etc. Recycle your stuff with the universe. Let it go!
A few years ago, I had the obligation of going through a relative’s house. Many of us have to do that. Things that held such attachment to that person become no longer valid. So the sort begins: One bag to the Good Will or other charity organization, some to relatives, and others to the trash.
Why wait for somebody else to do it? Take charge of your life, keep what you want, and then let the rest go to wherever you think it will be needed.
I know someone who keeps everything by the stacks. These items are never looked at or cherished. Yet, if asked to go through them, it causes such agitation that it is mind boggling. It is very sad to see.
How about you? Are the emotions that are generated by these items so difficult to endure that it makes it impossible to release them? This can be the case, easily. Each item can only be examined on its own merits, and then a decision rendered, item by item. That is pretty overwhelming, yet necessary.
What price is there for the Grasping Hand? It can be extreme in many instances, from creating a fire hazard to feeling helpless about it. Only you can decide what price you want to pay. Are you willing?
God’s blessings upon your journey!
One example of “Pushing the River” is: Have you ever been in a hurry to drive somewhere and getting really irritated at stop lights and pokey drivers? That is an example of “Pushing the River.” The fix is simple: be where you are, concentrating on the moment.
Perhaps things are not going according to your plans, or something unexpected happens to delay you. These are examples of “Pushing the River” because you are getting upset, excited, or angry about whatever it is. However, the answer is always the same: Be in the moment, experiencing your life and resolving the situation.
It sounds pretty simple, yet it can be as complicated as you make it. Life will go on, either way.
But the more you experience negative emotions (upset, angry, irritation, etc.), the less livingness you have. You are giving your power away to others and to situations that are, obviously, not under your control. Your response is your life expressing.
Have you taken the time to analyze yourself: Are you a Type A personality or Type B?
Type A personalities (per Wikipedia) are “ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving workaholics, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence…Dangerous Type A behavior is expressed through three major symptoms: (1) free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents; (2) time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation – usually described as being short-fused; and (3) a competitive drive, which causes stress and an achievement-driven mentality.”
Type B personalities (again per Wikipedia) are “noted to live at lower stress levels. They typically work steadily, and may enjoy achievement, although they have a greater tendency to disregard physical or mental stress when they do not achieve. When faced with competition, they may focus less on winning or losing than their Type A counterparts and more on enjoying the game regardless of winning or losing. Unlike the Type A personality’s rhythm of multi-tasked careers, Type B individuals are sometimes attracted to careers of creativity: writer, counselor, therapist, actor or actress. However, network and computer systems managers, professors, and judges are more likely to be Type B individuals as well. Their personal character may enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, and think of the outer and inner world.”
It is readily apparent that Type B personalities are more relaxed and approach problems differently than Type A personalities. You can sense the wear and tear that Type A people experience. Can you recognize your traits as more of one of these than the other? It is possible to be a mix, of course. But it is the predominance of one over the other which can rule each day.
Pushing the River is like a Commandment: Thou shalt do this or else! “My way or the highway” people have less flexibility in living and choices that they see from their frame of reference. Every other possibility is nixed before they become aware of such an idea. Can you see how limiting that can be?
Would you rather be relaxed, floating on an inner tube, paddling at will than be on a Class V river rafting trip? Life can be hard enough without starting out every day with a Class V. Wouldn’t you agree?
Can you get the sense of flowing with life’s experiences each day, seeing where it takes you? Yes, there are things that need doing – in their time. Nothing wrong with that idea. It’s just proceeding as if you have a guided tour vs. a Tour de France push. Can you sense the difference?
Are you willing to look at your daily choices to begin to make some required changes so you can live with less stress, anxiety, and anger? It is, after all, your choices that will make a new beginning for you. Are you willing?
God’s blessings upon your journey!