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Perceptions

We acquire our perceptions of reality from the moment of birth. Authority figures such as parents, friends, teachers, etc., all contribute to the plethora of our understanding. Some are positive, yet most are negative, along with the feelings engendered. When something occurs, our frame of reference for these perceptions come into their own. We reject whatever is outside of them, and accept without question that which “fits.” We react accordingly.

At what point do we question whether or not these “perceptions” are helpful or harmful? Unless something happens to challenge our perceptions, we go through life’s daily motions, living our life, whatever it is.

Here’s a thought: Our perceptions are actually crystallized thought patterns, which form a mold for future use, automatically. What if one finds that change is needed in whatever form?

In order to change something, one must first examine one’s reality to see WHAT IS. This will show us how we thought/felt in the past. Then we must chart a course to a new destination that we desire. We are at the helm of our individual ship, after all. To chart a course requires thought, with feeling becoming the wind in our sails.

If our thoughts/feelings cling to the past, there is no wind to affect our course. Only in the present can we make a difference.

One can use affirmations of what we can see is needed, together with prayer, to change the crystallized thoughts and perceptions. Only that will shatter the glass of crystallization, which will forever hold us in the same place, same habits, same situation.

Some people fear change because it is unknown. Only by Letting Go and Letting God with faith in the possibilities available can we begin to see the needed changes begin. Trust is a strong element here. Ego does not want it at all.

So if there is some change needed in your reality, no matter how big or how small, look at WHAT IS. Keep it before your eyes, thoughts, and feelings, without ambiguity or doubt. It is, after all, your journey, your ship. Are you willing?

God’s blessings for your journey.

Image result for ships

 

Mindfulness

Webster’s Dictionary defines Mindfulness as: “Having in mind; aware.”

The Google for Mindfulness says:

“mind·ful·ness
ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
noun: mindfulness
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
     
My favorite is, of course, the latter one. I would also add: “Doing one thing at a time.” We can, in fact, do only one thing at a time, even if one is a good juggler and has a lot of items in the air all at once. At that present moment, it is only one item at a time, even though all items are in movement. That is the art of keeping them in motion.
Life sometimes comes at us so quickly that we actually can get lost in the shuffle: Of feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, actual events that are occurring in our lives, etc. What then?
The first thing you will notice as you get stressed out is that your breathing has changed: You are breathing from the upper body, leaving the diaphragm out of it altogether. When you notice this, you stop for just a second or two (or a moment or two), take a really, really deep breath.
You will notice that one act alone helps to calm you down. If you do not know how to do that, maybe it is time to look into a yoga class.
Focus is key here. What are you putting your attention towards? Is it a plethora of so many things that you feel like you, personally, must do all of them before the end of the day? That is common in our society, unfortunately. However, it can also, in fact, be a truth. Each person has many roles to play every day. Often the roles overlap and collide, causing a mess, both inside and outside of you. What then?
As we age, we also lose the ability to keep “balls in the air.” We slow down. Our responses are slower. I don’t believe that life is moving faster. It is just that we are moving more slowly.

Your choices are clear: Get on that spinning merry-go-round and keep going until you drop from fatigue, OR STOP, BREATHE, Prioritize, figure out what is number one, do that, and then move on to number two. Anything else leads to insanity and ill health.

Besides, it does not work very well if you just jump on and keep going. Even Type A personalities get tired.

Meditation is taught in so many forms these days. If you need a quiet mind to function at your optimum level (and most people do), even a few moments in the morning before you begin your day is enough. Beauty is everywhere around us. Look for it. Take a few seconds to enjoy it. It just takes Focus and Awareness.

When the tempo of the dance of your life picks up to a pace where you can no longer keep your rhythm, something has to change. You just have to decide what that is. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Flowers – Hibiscus

Autumn, Maroon Bells, CO

Autumn at Multnomah Falls, Oregon

beauty Mt Sneffels, Co

What’s up?

Baby Goslings

 

 

 

Enlightenment, Before and After

Before Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water (did my many tasks).

After Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water (did these same many tasks with mindfulness).

It is like watching a flower from bud, to unfoldment, to full blossom. I apply the idea of experiencing the present – the NOW – to every act/task.

After all, God did not say “I WAS” -which is yesterday. Nor did God say, “I WILL BE” – which is tomorrow. God said, “My name is I AM!”

God’s blessing on your journey!

Allium

Allium

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus

 

Eating

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!

change-your-thoughts-change-world do-something do-what-you-can

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Fear

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.

better choices Change my tomorrows Do not stay where you are Past & future one step at a time

 

Do You “Push the River?”

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!

 

Life well lived

Change the Inside

Love – Reflection or Reality?

Today is Valentine’s Day – a time when most people find  a way to let others know how very much they care. Some use flowers, cards, and candy. Some cook a nice meal or eat out. Others find it is a day of loneliness because they are feeling separated, alone, and unhappy. Which category do you fall into?

Love has been described by many words, trying to express the emotions and thoughts which come tumbling through. In the end, words cannot encompass how one feels inside because there is such a distance between the head and the heart.

Is Love a Reflection in you, or Reality? If it is a Reflection, it is like an image in a mirror that one tries to copy. However, copies do not work very well because it originates in the head. If it is a Reality, the look in your eyes in the mirror, the smile on your lips, and the lift in your step comes through before you speak. The heart is expressing itself in Joy.

Yes, life can dim that Love expression, but it cannot remove it completely. The embers of that fire remain.

There are many illusions out there that can create feelings: Passion by itself burns brightly, but then is more easily lost; Hugs and Kisses feel good always – yet they are actually temporal; Gentle Touching can make one aroused, until sexual intercourse satisfies the longings. The plain truth is that it always ends sometime. The feelings themselves can cause confusion because men and women think they are Reality. When the feelings fade, they move on to the next stimulation. The problem is that satisfaction cannot be found there either.

Love as a Reality is present in every moment of every day. It is a State of Being, present always regardless of time and distance, life or death. It is like Light – shining outward to others and receiving their Light as well. Specific and Random Acts of Kindness pour forth. With that Light comes Respect and Friendship. They are inseparable.

Friendship is a key element of relationships. It has been observed that many people treat acquaintances better than they do their mates. That is a most strange phenomenon. Your mate should be your very best friend and treated accordingly.

In daily life, attitudes of barriers like “me” and “them” create situations that would not otherwise occur. Conflicts arise, causing stress and unhappiness for all. Perhaps it is time to take a look at that in order to find a different way to interact.

Many times, one may hear: “learn to love yourself first.” Jesus stated, “Love thy neighbor AS thyself.” Somehow, many people do not recognize the simplicity of those words. He did not say, “INSTEAD OF Thyself.”  Personal growth gurus have stated for years, “Begin in the morning, look in the mirror, wrap your arms around yourself and state: I Love You while looking in the mirror.” Sounds like a great idea to me. It is a start in the right direction, at the very least

“Love is a strange thing.

It is a flower, so delicate

that a touch will bruise it

and so strong that nothing can stop its growth.

Think how often we miss love in a life time —

by a wrong gesture,

by an unspoken word,

by not keeping silent at the right time.

We lose it by the interference of others,

by a lack of money and communication,

by a quarrel over a trifle,

and yet

we cannot live without it.”

Author unknown

May we decide today to Love in Reality in lieu of Reflection, spreading acts of kindness daily. Are you willing?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

God’s blessings upon your journey!

 

 

 

Problem Solving

Albert Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Sound familiar? So , how do you begin to change so you will get a better end result? One thought at a time. Sounds silly, but is, nonetheless, true.

Every day, life presents us with situations/lessons in disguise. How you respond to them is entirely up to you, your thought processes, your emotions, and your choices. Sometimes, we feel that circumstances dictate our responses, which can be partially true. I am not referring to “exiting a burning building” or “danger–run!” I am discussing things like an escalating argument where one participates in that escalation. Nowhere is it written that one must respond in kind till a situation gets out of hand. One can always withdraw from the room, decide to keep silent, or even listen with a verbal acknowledgement of what the other person is stating (which is the best way to defuse it according to Anger Management techniques). My Golden Rule which I have used successfully for many years: It takes two to fight – if one is unwilling, it cannot happen.

I am not addressing abuse situations where a victim and an abuser, either through emotional or physical actions, fuse into a deadly dance. Professional help is needed in those cases.

There are situations where we choose our response because of exterior demands: Working with a person with Dementia, sickness, disability, etc. We modify our own words through training, caring, or loving response.

Problem solving can begin as a written exercise, where one sits down with pen and paper (or computer or other electronic device) with the intent of brain-storming ideas for solutions. Then you take each item and contemplate its positive and negative merits. It may take time to really think it through. It can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. It may take several tries to come up with something you are ready, willing, and able to do. Just remember, you need to know that a resolution exists and you can find it, use it, and release that problem through whatever action you deem appropriate.

Just endlessly talking about a problem with numerous people does not change it. In fact, it can magnify it. The more you think about it without any solution that you can believe in, the more it becomes a permanent resident. If that is what you want, keep talking. If not, begin to look for a way to resolve it.

Life is a precious thing. It is more than an endless conundrum of existence, like a hamster in a squirrel cage, going round and round endlessly. One must come up with a different idea if you want out of said cage.

How do you begin? Answer: One step at a time.

Most situations do not change overnight. Yet, persistent effort to accomplish a different outcome does not go unrewarded. Every little bit begins a new synergy, which in and of itself, can accomplish more than going around in that cage another time. It is worthy of your thoughts so that you might find a new way to live.

Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

 

Small Steps

Small Steps

 

Getting Ready for 2016

Such an excellent idea! Negative things, no matter how big or small, need your time to write down and contemplate. Change does not come in huge sizes. They actually begin like a snowball at the top of a hill – small and then growing in size as it rolls down. If you do want some changes in your life, then you need to look at the elements of what is needed to accomplish these. It is well worthy of your time and effort.

Warmest wishes as you begin your journey into the New Year, 2016!

God bless your every effort.

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