Long ago and far away, the reason for the season was born. He was a humble man, born in a stable. Life for him was simple. His message was clear, free from complications, and full of love for mankind.
But as we look at the Christmas Season today, it is filled with so many things to do that we drop into bed exhausted by the day’s activities and expectations. Have you ever stopped to think about why?
It should be time filled with good memories, moments of love and good will shared with others we care about. However, it is often a time of great stress, both personally and financially. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why that happens? It is a time filled with overdone to-do lists, stressed out, short breathing, and exhaustion. Does that sound merry? Nope.
When was the last time you took time for yourself to stop and enjoy the fleeting moments of your life? How are you breathing? Is it short and from the chest? Or is it relaxed and coming from the stomach, filling your lungs with life-giving oxygen?
Yes, it is a time for celebrating other people in your life. Does it come from expensive gifts you cannot afford? Or is it gifts from the heart, no matter how small? Is it baked goods, cooked with a happy heart, sharing of your energies and time? Do you stop to actually listen to others? Sometimes, that is the greatest gift of all. People in our world are crying out to know they exist. Is it a smile or a shoulder to cry on?
Life can be so much simpler if you let it be that. Look hard at your to-do lists. Examine them carefully. Is each item coming from a heart brimming with joy or expectations? Hope for a better world, no matter how small an action?
Your attitude of gratitude is necessary from beginning to end. Do you spend even five minutes of your day being grateful for the good in your life? This is vital to your well-being.
It is the way you give a gift and not the gift itself, after all. It is an expression of the love, appreciation, and joy that the gift is given. It is not the amount of money spent on it, but the act itself of remembering.
They say that the first gift you buy should be one for yourself. Do you do that? Have you ever done it?
This is the most beautiful time of year, filled with so much to be thankful for: Eyes that see, ears that hear, taste buds that celebrate the many delights of food made especially during this season, and the touch of others – be it an elbow bump, a hug, or a massage.
Remember: Life is so precious. Take time for yourself so you can relax into the season. Do not overextend your energy levels. Do what you can do each day, and do it with a happy heart filled with the joy of life. What more could you ask of yourself? That takes deep breathing, which goes away with the first moment of stress and anxiety. Stop and query: Is this act/gift, etc., really necessary? If exhaustion is a factor, take care of yourself first, not last. We only get so much energy to spend each day. Make each detail of your day count towards that end. Life will go on, whether you drop into bed at night, still filled with the stresses of the day, or if you relax before going to bed, counting the blessings of the day.
Life can be so much simpler if you put some thought into it. Are you willing?
Warmest wishes for the happiest of Holiday Seasons!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: anxiety, celebrating, complications, deep breathing, exhaustion, expectations, expensive gifts, grateful, hope, humble, joy, life, life is precious, Love, metaphysics, New Age, New thought, Reason for the season, simple, stressed out, thoughts, to-do-lists, touch, Truth, understanding, wisdom
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!
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.”)
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: act, anxiety, awareness, blessings, calmness, center, chaos, choices, conversation, Eric Butterworth, gift, God, Haleakala, Haleakala Crater, health, hub, imagination, journey, life, majestic, Maui, meditation, metaphysics, music, New Age, New thought, Peace, Psalm 46:10, quiet, react, self control, serenity, silence, Silversword, sound, Sound of Silence, stillness, stress, surf, Synergy, tapestry, thoughts, Truth, understanding, waterfall, willing, wisdom
Depression is defined in the dictionary as: low spirits; gloominess; dejection; sadness…Psychology: an emotional condition, either neurotic or psychotic, characterized by feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, etc.”
Anxiety‘s dictionary definition states: “a state of being uneasy in mind, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen; concern about a possible future event…Psychiatry: an intense state of this kind, characterized by varying degrees of emotional disturbance and psychic tension.”
Anger is defined as: “a feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, opposition, etc., and usually showing itself in a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of this feeling…Synonyms: anger is broadly applicable to feelings of resentful or revengeful displeasure; indignation implies righteous anger aroused by what seems unjust, mean, or insulting; rage suggests a violent outburst of anger in which self-control is lost; fury implies a frenzied rage that borders on madness; ire, chiefly a literary word, suggests a show of great anger in acts, words, looks, etc.; wrath implies deep indignation expressing itself in a desire to punish or get revenge.”
If you ask yourself a sincere question: Can I relate to these definitions? Have I ever experienced them? The answer would have to be a resounding, “YES!” Because, whether you acknowledge these ugly feelings or not, the human condition dictates that they are all part of our emotional makeup.
Then the question arises: Are you currently experiencing them in any form? Are you stuck in a loop where all you can do is think about what happened? This could include incidents that occurred many long years ago, last week, or right now.
Are you aware that depression is actually unexpressed anger, which then turns inward, wreaking havoc with every part of you? There are many avenues which you can follow in order to find an answer to your particular brand of it: Books, Classes, Meditation, Breathing, Learn to Forgive, etc. One suggestion I have seen is to write everything down and then mail it to that person, or just express it and shred it. Another is to exercise it away as you think about whatever it is. Another is to pound a pillow, expressing it as you think about it.
Depression also includes sadness and malaise. It can be due to the loss or illness of a loved one or an irresolvable situation, where the Pushmi-Pullyu from the Dr. Dolittle story, enters in. Just recognizing your emotions and the situation can help in enduring whatever is going on. Sometimes that is the best we can do.
Anger is not pretty. It can be extremely destructive in all of its forms. Women, more than men, tend to hold it in until it bursts forth like a raging torrent, usually over something trivial. All you have to do is look at the event and see if the words are commensurate with the situation. Usually, it isn’t. Then you have to look for unresolved issues that occurred prior to the outburst and see what the real driver is. Men tend to be more reactive to situations, responding immediately to it. Their fuses tend to be a lot shorter. This can be a good thing, but also not-so-good, depending on the outcome.
Let’s talk about the idea of FOXHOLES. Soldiers of old dug holes in the ground to protect themselves from the enemy. These holes were dubbed foxholes. In this analogy, think of yourself as being in a hole in the ground, protecting yourself from all incoming issues. As these incidents occur, you grab them instead of letting them pass you by. In lieu of handling the ones you grab at the time, you stuff them into your foxhole, literally filling it up again. You can see how easily your foxhole becomes full, and you are vulnerable because there is more incoming, with nowhere to stuff it. So when the next one comes in, you overreact because your foxhole is full. The other thing about stuffing foxholes is that, the longer that particular thing is in the foxhole, the harder it is to resolve. The idea here is to take care of all incoming problems and not stuff it in the first place. (Of course, if you had just let them pass by without dwelling on them, it would be a non-problem.) The only way to get the foxhole empty is to look at each thing you have stuffed in there and find a way to resolve it. Easier said than done, you say. I agree, but it is absolutely necessary.
Have you ever seen a mother or father with a difficult child, who just keeps pushing and doing inappropriate behaviors? They usually forebear action, especially in today’s world, until something happens which pushes them over the edge. Then they overreact with angry words, actions, etc., that are not in line with what just happened and a punishment that is not commensurate with the child’s behavior mistakes. This causes confusion for all.
In the Bible, Ephesians 4:26 states: “Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
My husband and I agreed from the very beginning of our relationship that whatever issues arrive during each day, we would take care of them before we went to bed that night. We would then resolve whatever it was, no matter how difficult or traumatic, to an acceptable level, kiss each other, bless each other, and go off into the Land of Nod peacefully. In all these years, we have never had any “Foxhole” troubles. Life is so much simpler this way. The resolution is accomplished more easily and appropriately.
Have you ever heard a couple arguing about incidents that happened long ago, dredged up in a moment of anger to be thrown in the other’s face? This is a full foxhole, folks. It appears as if by magic, but trust me, it’s not.
The most insidious factor of the Awesome Trio of Depression, Anxiety, and Anger is that they come to you in a complex mix of worry, fear, and trepidation. They are usually part of your foxhole before you realize what is occurring. How can you solve that? It is simple: When you finally recognize it, do something about it. Find a resolution that works for you. Do not let it just stay where it is, causing trouble, ulcers, and affecting your health, because it will not just go away. You will have to find a way to dissolve it. Action speaks louder than words.
Another aspect of this Awesome Trio is that we can assimilate it from the world outside of us: All you have to do is pick up a newspaper, read news on inline, or turn on the TV to the news. The horrific is common fodder for broadcasting. We react to some of it in a personal manner. Yet we can do nothing to change whatever happened, is occurring, or may come down the road. There are just simply horrid instances of every form of malice and ill will out there. Somehow, it ends up in our personal think tank as we find it abhorrent to us in so many ways. We ponder on it. Some of us respond and take some sort of action to assist whoever it is that needs help. Sometimes there is nothing we can do, ever. Yet it stays in our foxhole unless we take some action to either bless them on their way or otherwise resolve it so we can get on with our lives.
Living can be messy. It is not happenstance. We must participate in our lives to the best of our ability.
Are you willing to entertain the AWESOME TRIO of DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, and ANGER ENDLESSLY? Or do you want to find a way to process the causation in order to resolve whatever it is in a timely manner? It is, after all, your journey, health, emotions, ulcers, and life. No one can do it for you. You alone must make the choices that will make the difference.
God’s blessings upon your journey!