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Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

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!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

Believe In Yourself

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!

believe-in-yourself-kitty believe-in-yourself be-yourself how-do-i-see-myselfn attitude

 

 

S — — T Happens!

S — — T Happens! Good Happens. These sayings are both true. We see them on car bumpers and on walls. Have you given them any thought at all? Do you just react to the bad stuff, without analyzing it? When good things happen to you, are you joy-filled? Sometimes, we are reluctant to enjoy that moment because we fear that something worse is just around the corner. Which one are you?

It has been wisely stated that it is not what happens to you that counts – it is how you REACT to what happens. When you get knocked down by incidents in your life, do you get back up again? Or do you “stay down for the count?” Do you nurse your emotional and physical wounds by proclaiming loudly to anyone who will listen to your statements about how bad your life sucks? If you do, you may find few who will listen to your sad tale for long.

It is a very true statement that: “What you think about/emotionalize over multiplies exponentially.” Is that what you want?

The questions then arise, “How can I pick myself up and get on with my life? Do I just pretend nothing happened? How can I change my reaction to the bad stuff?”

Answers can come to you slowly or in a flash. Your answers are personal to you. Awareness is the beginning of change.

Perhaps a class will come to your attention about your particular problem, or maybe a sermon, friend, or magazine will catch your eye. You will have an “AHA!” moment and begin to focus on something else.

Beauty surrounds us in many forms. When I have had very sad times in my life, I found that, if I went outside into nature, I became more peaceful. Bird song and twitters, flowers, walking barefooted in the sand at the edge of the surf, a nice long bath, reading a good book, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves of the trees, etc., enabled me to pick myself up again. In short, just anything that makes you feel better is a key to changing you from feeling like a victim to helping you deal with whatever happened.

Life is not an unending story of happiness. It is just moments of joy that your attention can spread to fill your days. Bad stuff occurs in all of our lives. Again, how you choose to react to what happens will determine if you “let the bitter root grow” in your heart, contaminating every moment of your days OR if you decide to not dwell on it, deal with the repercussions/consequences if there are any, and see where you go from there.

In my own life, I have had tremendous sorrows, many of which I did not think I could endure, from death and injury of loved ones, feelings of separation and loneliness, losses in many forms, etc . I have had many physical challenges over the years which have required physical therapy, pain pills, and medicines. I have had to change my vocation, which I loved. I had to find a way to deal with the pain so that my personality, which is optimistic, would not darken into pessimism. It is a natural flow if one stays with the problem but does not seek a better answer. Luckily, I have found many answers that help me stay optimistic, some of which are listed above.

Each person is different, however. You need to find your own way of dealing with S — — T till you can turn it into fertilizer for new growth.

Are you willing?

God bless you on your journey!

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Surfing Master, Waikiki, HI

Surfing Master, Waikiki, HI

Day Lilies

Day Lilies

Your response makes a difference

 

 

 

 

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

Inside vs. Outside

When you are looking for answers or you have questions that need responses, where do you start? That sounds like a silly question, but it is vital to your personal and spiritual growth.

The very beginning of wisdom begins with a personal relationship with your Creator. Every religion in the world begins here for every person.

When I open my eyes  every morning, I say a prayer before my feet ever touch the floor: “Good morning, Lord! Thank you for this blessed day. I know that you will be with me every minute, unfolding my highest good before me. Take my hand, this day, and guide me. Amen!” Then I mentally take my Father’s hand, just like a trusting child, and begin my day. (By the way, if I ever turn loose of His hand during the day through negative emotions, I have to turn loose of them and reach for His hand again, trusting that all will turn out OK.)

You might ask why that is important. My answer? I know I am not alone, ever (that is, unless I choose to cling to negative emotions).

When I am seeking answers, need information, or just confused about some matter, I either write it down or ask the Universe to provide my needed responses. It comes in the form of a magazine article that I just happened to pick up, or someone sends me an email, or I become aware of just what I need to know, or a spiritual teacher comes into my life (in many forms, I might add).

Some religions call this: The Law of Attraction    OR What you think about, you bring about!

The difference between the INSIDE vs. OUTSIDE approach is that countless numbers of people seek answers from those outside, trusting them before one’s own insight is utilized. Many seek the advice of psychic readers, Tarot cards, talking with friends, teachers, preachers, Personal Growth Speakers and Workshops, gurus, Holy Men, Wise Men, Elders, etc. My point is that inside of you, you have a guitar string that resonates to your inner being and its growth. If you receive information from outside of you, give it the guitar string test: If it resonates, your highest good is being blessed.

This probably seems like an outer space idea, at first, if you have never resonated before. My example is that I was in Harper’s Ferry just wondering around on my own for a few minutes. I heard some notes of music coming from a store. I walked in, asked the sales clerk what the music was, she answered, “Danny Wright’s ‘Time Windows.’ ” I walked over to the rack, picked it up, and turned to go to the cash register. A lady stopped me by asking, “Excuse me, but you just walked in, found out what was playing, and now you are buying it. How did you do that? I have been here for two solid hours, listening to these. I still do not know which one to buy. How do you know you will like it?” I responded, “My inner Spirit just began waltzing the second I heard it. I know I will love it for always!” She, of course, looked at me like I was a lunatic. I smiled at her, turned to the cashier, bought it, and walked out. Of course, Danny Wright has many wonderful works out now, but that one was my first experience, and it was not being sold in Colorado for a long time. I still love his music.

If I did not resonate, I could never have done that.

Resonating comes in the form of words as well: Books, Preachers, Teachers, Wise Men, Gurus, etc. All of these are outside sources. My point is that, when I resonate to these words, I am forming a relationship with them, making them my own. They become part of who I am.

People can be seekers, going from a book, to a teacher, to a class, etc., accumulating knowledge all the while, but they never ask: How can I use this? How does this apply to me? What will I change because of this new piece of information? It never becomes part of their being, used, contemplated, and cherished.

It is like three blind men trying to describe an elephant: One has hold of its leg, saying, “It is like a tree trunk!”; one has hold of its tail, saying, “It is like a snake!”‘ one has hold of its trunk, saying, “It is like a rope!” They are all correct from their point of view, but the concept of an elephant has truly eluded them.

Some people accept words of an Authority Figure, which could be anyone that person holds in high regard or who they feel has power over them, and blindly follow whatever they dictate or whoever is interpreting their ideas. There have been many famous and infamous figures throughout history who prove this, including Jesus, the Pope, Dalai Lama, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Mohammed,  John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato, Plotinus, Aristotle, Hitler, Stalin, David Koresh, Jim Jones of Jonestown, Billy the Kid, Geronimo,  etc. The list is endless. It can be anybody whom one places their trust in or who they feel subservient to. In inner cities where gangs rule, guess who is dictating to others? You know who it is. This idea can be applied to a manipulative Preacher as easily as it can be anyone you put ahead of your good common sense, your Inner Guide, and your resonator. Wars have been fought for thousands of years and continue today because people give up their personal power to someone else.

You might say: “I cannot control the world. All I can do is make decisions for me.” PRECISELY!

You can be a seeker and travel the world, looking for completeness outside of yourself. Lots of luck with that one.

Or you can begin with the personal questions that you need answers to. Write them down. Ask your Creator to teach you what you need to know to understand how to RESONATE to an inner guitar string so you can hear it when it twangs, be it music, words, books, teachers, or friends. Make it your very own music. Create your very own symphony inside of you. This will guide you to the end of your days.

The only question is: Are you willing? God is the Potter, and you are the Clay. In order to change your reality, it must begin inside of you. It is your choices in action.

God’s blessing on your journey!

 

 

 

Dealing With Sickness

Sometimes, out of the middle of nowhere, a health issue pops up. Sometimes it is serious, sometimes not. But whether it is serious or not, it always messes with your mind, attitudes, and emotions. How do you get through it?

It is not an issue of wimping out, having a pity party, or giving up. As long as you are alive, you have to deal with it. How you do that is up to you and nobody else. What does your mind say? What attitudes do you choose to encourage? What emotions do you endure?

Common attitudes vary from looking on the bright side, taking your courage in hand, and do what you have to do to get better, whatever that consists of…be it physical therapy – doing it with a good effort, knowing that what you put in will determine how well it works – take your prescribed medication as you should – change of diet, either temporarily or permanently – asking for help when needed, even if you are independent-minded and do not want to ask – make a list of questions for your physicians – listening to their answers – in short: Doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal of improving and getting better.

Looking on the other side of attitudes, you see an unwillingness to go through the pain of it all, be it exercises from physical therapists,  uncomfortable tests for evaluation, unwillingness to trust your physicians or their advice, inability to cope with it all so you withdraw and do nothing (which is an option, though not a very wise one), just hoping that somebody out there has a magic pill to make it all go away.

So far, I have not found any magic pills. Have you?

I cannot wave a magic wand and make the problems disappear, never to return.

The emotions you deal with can exacerbate an already tough situation, as can your brain. Fear immobilizes – always! Anger is debilitating. (Yes, anger is a component, more than we like to admit.) It can even be a generic anger that this has happened to you.  It is all inside of you, bubbling away like a witch’s brew.

Knowing the cause – be it an accident, exposure to a sickness, or just a problem with your body – rarely helps.

Somehow, you need to find a way that works for you personally. You must seek help to resolve the thoughts, emotions, and attitudes. Books can aid you. Counseling can, too. Venting with a good friend can come to your assistance. Prayers for me are a vital part of it all, requesting them from caring family and friends I know.

When it is a loved one who is ill, it becomes a lot more complicated. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness come unbidden as you watch them suffer. You might be able to paste on that smile while you are in their presence, trying to help where you can, but when you are alone, it can fill your heart with angst and fear. You are not in control of anything. That is when you have to do the same thing as listed above: Get yourself under control. You cannot be of assistance to anybody if you don’t calm yourself first.

I know dear people who are caught in the horns of this dilemma. Denial causes inappropriate reactions, delaying resolution – sometimes permanently – as the condition continues to deteriorate.

It has been said: “The way out is the way through!”

I believe this from the very bottom of my heart. There is no avoiding it. You just have to ask yourself: How am I going to respond to this situation? Examine your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and emotions. They are as important as the symptoms of the illness. You are a whole person, not just an arm, leg, heart, head, or other body part.

With that in mind, perhaps you could start by making a list of them. Then you can look for ways to resolve each one. There is no evading this issue, so deal with it.

The question is: Are you willing? Do you want to look for a resolution? It is within your purview to do it – and you are the only one who can. The problem is well defined. Now look for the answer.

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

 

 

Guidance

Everyone looks outside of themselves for guidance. Ask a friend. Ask an associate. Ask a boss. Ask a parent. You name it. There are as many opinions out there as there are people.

A child needs the help and guidance of the parent/parents as he/she grows. God designed it that way.

However, as we mature, we have to come to the idea that we have to make decisions on our own. One cannot depend on exterior sources forever. We can inquire into many resolutions in any way that seems fitting to us…all exterior to our minds. They can help us sort it all out. But we have to know: THE MOMENT OF ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY WILL NEVER ARRIVE!

Sooner or later, we have to decide: Get into the boat with both feet and begin to row, or get out on the bank with both feet and find a different path. You cannot go anywhere by having one foot in the boat and one on the land.

For me, it is vital to make the connection/recognition of the God Self within — the Inner Companion who will always be there for me, waiting for my attention, recognition,  and listening ability. First, last, and foremost, Prayer can help me sort out what is important and what is not. My mind can be jumbled like the Dr. Dolittle’s Pushmi-pullyu. I can feel stressed out, thinking about some problem that is of significance to me at that moment. Once I enter my meditation and calmness breathing, I can sort things out so much quicker. I can KNOW that everything is going to be all right, no questions asked. You see, Prayer, Meditation, and Breathing are all one — not separate functions.

Life unfolds before me in its fullness. I know that all my loved ones, problems notwithstanding, are being held in the hands of God. Each one is God’s child, too. Sooner or later, each one will find whatever it is that is needed to guide them and provide for them in every way.

Doubt is the killer here. If God’s phone is on busy, and I am not deserving, I am pleading for naught.

Belief is vital. God is With Me = Emmanuel.   That is what it means. If God be for me, then who can be against me? Together, we form a majority. I ASK, BELIEVING that it is already done. It is moving from the unseen into the seen. When I say Amen, I know it will appear in whatever form it needs to take. I watch answered prayer every day of my life. How, then, could I not believe?

I ask God questions all the time by writing them down in a book and date it. When I get the answers, I also write them down. God is faithful and always responds through any avenue He sees fit. It might not be the answer I thought of, but it is an answer nonetheless.

God is so good to me. I can truthfully say that. I can look back over all the years, and be grateful for the good people who have come into my life: friends, loved ones all, are wonderful to my eyes. My life is full. My cup runneth over, daily. I have wonderful memories of so many delightful things.

I can look back over the tears I have shed by the bucket-full, and know that they served their purpose. I can remember all the sadness, disappointment, and dismay and know the same.

Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” addresses this very well:

“Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The Deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very woods that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.”

These are treasured words for me.

Would I want to relive any of the bad memories? Nope. They came. They went.

Would I want to revive all of the good memories? Nope. They came. They went. I will treasure them always, but they are not my now.

When I am seeking Guidance, I know in my heart that: LIFE IS LIKE A SYMPHONY — ALL THE GOOD NOTES, ALL OF THE OFF NOTES, ALL THE BAD NOTES —  BECOME ONE — THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

All of life’s memories become a tapestry, where the dark threads only highlight the brightness and color of all the others.

Knowing this has given me great equanimity and calmness, helping me to not only ask for Guidance and in Prayer for the many needs of every single person I know, some very tragic and heart-rending, some just confused, some seemingly lost on the path, some needing healing, etc.

GOD IS THE ANSWER…WHATEVER YOU CONCEIVE OF THAT GOD…WHATEVER RELIGION…WHATEVER BELIEF SYSTEM…GOD IS THE ANSWER.

Matthew 7:7-11: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that seeketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

Additionally, Luke:11:12 “Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?” Same story.

Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.””

Is your life chaotic? Confusing? Are you in need of more information? Guidance is available. ASK, SEEK, KNOCK. Are you willing?

Personal Rejuvenation

Springtime is here! What a wonderful time of year to zero in on your bad habits and look around for a better way to live!

We all do things on a regular basis that do not serve us very well. The bad thing about habits is that the more you resist them, the stronger they appear to be. I use the word, “appear” because it is just an illusion.

This goes for the all the “aholic” words you can think of: Chocaholic, workaholic, alcoholic, couchaholic, tv-aholic, game-aholic, text-aholic, foodaholic, phone-aholic, depressed-aholic, party-aholic, etc. Anything you do that does not serve you well qualifies.

There is an old saying that, “Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.” Ergo, anything done to excess can become “too much of a good thing.”

Moderation can assist anyone who chooses to change. A piece of chocolate, a little tv/game/text/food/party time, etc.

Spring time is a time of renewal. It is, literally, a new beginning. A time when the earth awakens to begin another cycle.

You could choose to look at the illusions you serve and treat as a reality. You can move from concentrating on the problem to one that is looking for an answer. If you ask the question, God can answer you with a magazine article, a book, a person, a teacher, or a class.

Let’s say you want to lose weight, have tried many things unsuccessfully, and have an attitude of hopelessness — one that says you have not done it before, so what makes you think this time will be any different? You are concentrating on the problem, not the answer. There is ALWAYS AN ANSWER — one that will work for you if you consistently try something new. You could NOT eat the whole container of ice cream at one sitting because you are depressed. You could take a class that is appropriate for your physical condition…something that is gentle enough to help you begin to make a difference. You could take a meditation or a yoga class to calm yourself and learn to breathe correctly in lieu of stuffing something into your mouth to anesthetize your overwrought feelings. You could say the same for cigarettes, which everyone knows is detrimental to you to the point of death.

The problem is that the gung-ho attitude for change rarely works. Sooner or later, gung-ho gets weary and leaves. It is replaced by feelings of failure, sadness, hopelessness, etc.

In order to make some changes, you need to have a dialogue with yourself and be gentler. (No strong-arming yourself, please.) Look at the people on the Fastest Loser TV Program. They have given themselves an incentive to do what it takes. Why don’t you try to do the same? Surely, there is something you want that will help you to firm your resolve and take action for a change that is beneficial to your life, your livingness, and your longevity. Make a personal reward part of the program…make the rewards small enough and doable so they reinforce your long-term goal. The only question is, are you willing to take a look at your life, make a list (short or long) of what you want to change, and then come up with at least one suggestion that will help you begin…to take that first step, even if it is like a thousand-mile journey. Again, build in a reward program as well. The journey may be shortened considerably by improved attitudes, more energy, feeling better, liking how you look in the mirror, compliments from others, etc. Then you keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving along, step by step toward the NEW YOU…in looks, actions, etc. Make up new lists of action as you move towards your goal, always keeping the steps small enough that you will be successful, creating Synergy towards where it is you are going.

REMEMBER, THE KEY TO CHANGE IS CONSISTENCY!

Does that mean that, if you make a mistake and eat a box of cookies, you just permanently trashed your choice to be healthier? No, it means that you begin again, this moment, to fix a salad and a piece of meat for dinner. Failure only occurs when you give up.

MAKE A DECISION NOW TO NOT GIVE UP, NO MATTER WHAT! PERSEVERANCE IS THE KEY HERE!

Only you can make this Springtime a journey towards changing whatever it is that is not serving you well. Are you willing to make a list, look at it, and begin?

God’s blessings on your journey!

Tulips in Snow

Tulips in Snow

Growth Happens

Growth Happens

Signs of New Life

Signs of New Life

These three pictures show how Mother Nature perseveres: Growth continues in spite of the horrendous forces that can happen. You can see pictures of trees growing out of rocks and on impossibly steep cliffs, flowers and weeds growing up through the cement, etc. These should give us impetus in our lives to overcome, to begin again, and to go for it!

 

 

 

The Light of God

This poem was written by James Dillet Freeman when he was a young man for all soldiers of WWII. It is a favorite of mine, and I begin each day with this prayer:

The Light of God Surrounds me…

The love of God enfolds me…

The Power of God protects me…

The Presence of God watches over me…

Wherever I am, God is.”

This is the shorter version, which many people are familiar with. I usually change the “me” to “us” because I am praying for all of my loved ones; hence, the last line is, “Wherever we are, God is.”

The longer version goes like this:

“The light of God surrounds me…

The Love of God enfolds me…

The Power of God protects me…

The Presence of God watches over me…

The mind of God guides me…

The Life of God flows through me…

The laws of God direct me…

The power of God abides within me…

The Joy of God uplifts me…

The Strength of God renews me…

The Beauty of God inspires me…

Wherever I am, God is.”

I find great comfort from this poem. Sometimes my mind just stays in the problems that I see in my own world as well as the world at large, both personal and loved ones’ worlds, just going round and round. I have to remind myself that I need to move my FOCUS to the ANSWER. It is perfectly obvious that there is no resolution to the issues involved unless one moves to an answer-seeking posture. I am not talking supplication here (as in begging to take some problem away). It has been said that “The way out is the way through.” That means that we are asking for our highest good as well as that for our loved ones. If we know specifics in the answer, we can look to them; however, it can limit the answer. But the generic “highest good” works very well, as does wrapping whoever we are concerned about in White Light, which is the highest God there is.

I had a friend whom I told the White Light idea to before she left on a trip. During that road trip, there was an accident that was imminent. She immediately wrapped them in White Light, and the accident was avoided. She knows the White Light saved them as nothing else could have.

It has been said that “Ye have not because ye ask not.” In Matthew 7:7,8, it says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asked receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

This is talking about the ANSWER, which is a change of FOCUS. In our loving concern, especially for loved ones, we get stuck in the problem and chaos. We WORRY and fret, perhaps even shed tears. In the end, one must turn them, the problem, and our concern and worry over to God. We have to LET GO AND LET GOD do what is best. That is a tall order.

Are you willing to change your focus? Are you willing to give True Prayer a try? It means that you have to pray believing. Can you do that?

If you do, it will change your life and the lives of your loved ones. I can promise you that. God’s blessings be upon you, every minute of your day!

 

 

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