During this long period of time after CoVID19 happened, changes in our world have left so many of us with extreme emotions about many topics. Everything we knew as normal is gone, with no expectation that anything will return to what it was.
These emotions range from despair, fear, angst, discord, grief, disappointment, anger, etc. There has been very little hope generated. Isn’t that a sad thought?
Now add in the upcoming election cycle, where civility has taken a back seat to angry dissertations and arguments between family members, friends, coworkers, etc. Everyone is so attached to their points of view that no one else can say anything else or contrary to it. Why is that? What makes this time in history different from any other occasion?
During this fractious time, if one were to say: “God is Good!” – it would seem like a crazy person said it. Why is that? How about: “Hope is a part of my everyday thinking!” Positive affirmations have been pushed aside as futile. Yet I would like to posit that this is the only way out of the darkness that surrounds us.
Is God Good when so many are in travail over the lack of money, lost jobs, missed opportunities, in ill health? Perhaps someone we care about has made his/her transition, and grief is all we can feel because we have not had the closure of being by his/her side when it happened? So many reasons to question the idea that God is still good.
Let me assure you that God has not changed, nor has He/She/It gone anywhere. You are not operating in a void, all alone in your misery. Your tool for access is prayer, whatever you define that to be. There is also meditation, deep breathing, yoga, being centered, exercise, experiencing the outdoors as best you can, peaceful sleep which rejuvenates the soul and mind, etc. Life can be better, no matter what you are personally dealing with.
It has been said that, “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to that which matters.” Can you believe that in this traumatic time? You can decide how you personally will respond to each and every situation in your daily life. Is that a unique idea to you? Possibly, but it is absolutely true. Outside happenings cannot dictate to you how you will decide to take action, unless it is an approaching angry tiger or elephant. Yet so many of us act like every single thing is an approaching angry tiger or elephant! No wonder you are exhausted when you fall into bed at night!
COVID19 and the election will pass. A vaccine will be formulated and distributed. Life will continue. The only question you have to ask yourself is: How am I going to make it through this storm?
If you are depressed, fearful, angry, grief-stricken, or caught up with any other negative emotion, you are planting more of the same. In order to have a different result, you will have to change your focus to something better.
You might ask me how. Focus is defined as concentrating on a thought or emotion, enabling clear perception or understanding. If you feel like you are a gerbil in a cage, with thoughts and feelings which only make you feel worse, you know you are stuck and need to turn your attention elsewhere. Only then will you be released from the cage of your own making.
Use whatever tools you possess (reading good thoughts, meditation, yoga, deep breathing while focusing on the stillness of a placid lake, whatever) to change your attention and perspective. You just have to be willing to do that. Are you?
Remember: God Is Good!
Peace be with you on your journey.
Have you ever watched a gaggle of geese that are coming in for a landing on a lake? They are majestic, to say the least. Before they touch down, their wings lock into a curved downward position as they descend. When they are close to the surface, they flutter their wings to let the air pass through their feathers and land. The one thing I have noticed, though, is that, no matter how many other geese are already in their chosen landing spot, not one ever sets down on top of an existing goose’s place. Their brains are not large, yet they always land successfully!
What if humans had that same ability when going from place to place, goal to goal, and job to home? After all, we have a larger brain. Why do we have such a hard time of setting our wings?
If we could do so as easily as the geese, think what a peaceful place our lives could be. We would leave our home situations at home, traffic/transit problems there, and work situations/problem/stresses at the place of origin. Perhaps you have heard, “Leave your problems at home. Put on your smile, and move into your day here.” Maybe you walk in the door at home and start yelling because you haven’t left the stressors at your workplace. You are carrying leftovers from place to place. You are literally not “setting your wings.” The same happens when going from burned toast at home to an important meeting at the office.
Goal oriented people can become obsessive, trying to get their To Do Lists done, all of them, all the time. They thus create stressors on themselves and others. Instead of flowing from task to task, they jump around like grasshoppers in lieu of doing just one thing at a time, which is really all one can do anyway. Multi-tasking is a myth.
If one could set one’s wings as easily as the geese, you would better be able to construct your day, pick your destination (as it were) of each incident, decide your necessary action that is appropriate to the task at hand, complete it, and move on to whatever comes next. You would keep that sense of ease about each task, one flowing into another one, whatever comes next.
Imagine yourself in heavy traffic, you need to get home because you have a million things to get done before you can relax, which you desire even more. Someone else, equally as anxious, cuts you off. You respond with anger because they have invaded your space. What gets lost in the process? You got it! More stress than you had before.
I know you are definitely not a goose. But what if you could keep that sense of peace when setting your wings through your day, no matter what happens? There is an inner connectedness that can occur when you stop for a moment, breathe deeply, and decide your action in lieu of a reaction to circumstances around you. If you applied this idea to every incident that occurs throughout your day, you would be less stressed, more peaceful and happier person. You would most certainly be more healthy.
What if you could encapsulate the stressors you experience each and every moment of your day in a little bubble, all its own? Then you could act or react to just that particular incident instead of going crazy over the accumulation of it over time, be it a day, week, or lifetime. Some people are still reacting to things that happened long ago and far away, thinking about the injustice of it all, feeling self righteous, etc. It is an accumulation of things that are dragged from one incident to another that causes the confusion. Then add the daily stuff and you have a recipe for disaster. You may feel driven in lieu of being the driver.
What I am suggesting to you is that you can live a more peaceful life if you set your wings in the morning by breathing deeply, noticing the beauty around you, think of a very happy place in your mind where you were totally relaxed and easy going. It only needs to be just a few moments. Then as you move into your day, be it spilled milk, a restless child who will not get dressed or cannot find a shoe, a traffic incident, an angry coworker or supervisor over something insignificant in your mind, you can act or react as you choose. Perhaps you could flutter your wings, letting the occurrences flow without a negative response in your mind/being? Trust me, acting vs. reacting is the key to keeping your wings set and letting things go. Encapsulate those stressors by not ignoring them but by responding appropriately at that moment. Don’t drag stuff around with you, situation to incident. No wonder you walk in your door at home and collapse. You are doing it to yourself. That is the sad part.
If you were to set your wings, you would breathe better because the first thing your body does when it reacts to stress is shorten your breathing. You would be healthier, that is for certain. Your day would be less tumultuous. Instead of carrying an empty bag around with you, throwing the impact/influence of each incident into that bag as it occurs, causing you to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders by the end of the day because you are dragging a now-totally-filled-to-overflowing bag, you can choose to come home feeling fresh and alive because you dealt with each thing by itself. Would that be magical? You can choose to live like that. Are you willing? You can change. You can do it.
God’s blessings upon your journey.
Set your wings!
Flutter Your Wings!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: act, anger, Beauty, blessings, Breathe Deeply, choices, confusion, crazy, emotions turbulent, feelings, flowing, Flutter your wings, God, healthy, injustice, journey, life, meditation, metaphysics, New Age, New thought, obsessive, Peace, react, self righteous, Set your wings, stress, thoughts, Truth, understanding, willing, wisdom
After watching the Olympics for several days, it has occurred to me how important BALANCE is to each and everything I watched. If one is just an inch off-balance, one way or another, that person will go down – no matter how good they are, how much they have practiced, or the long hours and many dollars they have spent to get to the Olympics. A speed skater, a boarder, ice skating, skiing, etc. – all require the magic of Balance in order to reach the podium.
I have a mobile in my room. I was watching it for some time. It has seagulls with wires connecting it together. The slightest whiff of moving air will cause it to circle. I noticed that, out of all the seagulls on the mobile, one small section was not moving properly. After studying it for a few minutes, I could see that one seagull had the tip of its wing over that of another. So I reached up and tweaked it a little. The mobile immediately swung back into perfect balance and moved like it should.
The thought occurred to me: How nice it would be if we all lived our lives while paying attention to Balance: Work, play eat, sleep, etc. How we spend each golden hour of our lives each and every day plays a part, just like the wing tip.
We all know what we have to do each and every day. We have to work at whatever we do to earn the money to meet our commitments and take care of our loved ones. But if we are not very careful, we can easily get out of Balance in our lives.
Perhaps you are thirsty so you reach for a can of cold pop instead of water. You are in a big hurry and are hungry. You look on your phone for a listing of fast food outlets nearby in lieu of a health foods store with ready-to-eat items. A child wants you to read him/her a story after a long, exhausting workday, so that moment passes by as you collapse into a chair. Your body is tired and aching from sitting or standing at work all day or night, so you pop a pain pill and settle down to watch some television before bed or sit at a computer, playing games to relax your mind. No thought of yoga stretches or deep breathing enter your mind.
Perhaps you are far too busy and with too many commitments to take that five minutes for yourself or look for a yoga/Pilates/exercise class that would improve your health. You are shopping for groceries and grab the quickest and easiest meals instead of shopping carefully for items that are healthy for you or your family.
As I said, if just an inch off-balance in Olympic sports, it won’t work – the medal goes to someone else. However, if your life is Out of Balance, you do not feel well. You take a pill for your symptoms and keep going. You miss that beautiful sunset or perfect flower without noticing. Your mind is so busy on more important matters, like making a living, picking up the children on time, wondering where you are going to get the extra money needed to repair the car, how you can clean the house before guests arrive, and a million other things that bombard you from every angle. You are driven by outside forces that consume your time before you crawl into bed for a fitful night’s sleep because you are so over-stressed.
Your life is shortened by the stress caused because of your attention to the extraneous matters/forces. You do not take that five minutes of calmness before you start your day, breathing deeply and thinking/reading beautiful thoughts. When you get the chance to stop for a moment, you check your phone for messages or play a game instead of looking around you, pausing to see that item of Beauty just waiting for your attention. Your mind is crowded indeed. But if you choose to slow down just a bit, you would hear the laugh of a child as you read a story or see the smile return to a checker’s face who has just gotten a rude customer and needs your smile and “Good day!” to refocus his/her attention.
My point? Balance is not a dream – it is a choice. Every moment of your life contains one. You can make a difference to yourself and others. At risk is your health, the livingness you do or do not feel, and to the joy you could spread to others. The thought you put into every act/choice will change your reality.
You just have to ask yourself some questions: What is really important to you? How could you respond differently if you were not harried, tired, and grumpy? What would help change that? What class could you take such as Anger or Stress Management, Yoga, exercise, or something else? Could you stop what you are doing as you sit for hours at a time in order to move about for five minutes, as recommended? Could you take a deep breath and stretch a bit? Could you focus on something else instead of whatever is making you crazy?
Life is so fleeting. It is our choices each day that will help the time to pass quickly and easily or drag by as we do a job that is eating us alive. There are always alternatives. You just have to look for them. Are you willing?
God’s blessings upon your journey!
Front Range Sunset
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: anger, balance, Beauty, blessings, calmness, choices, crazy, deep breathing, dream, exercise, focus, God, grumpy, harried, journey, joy, life, livingness, Love, metaphysics, mobile, New Age, New thought, Olympics, sports, stress, thoughts, time, tired, Truth, understanding, willing, wisdom, yoga
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!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: active listening, alternatives, anger, angst, answer, argument, blessings, children, choices, compassion, crazy, defend, depression, efficiently, elephant, fear, God, journey, metaphysics, negative, New Age, New thought, overall picture, pain, paradigm, perceptions, positive, reasoning, simpler, team building, thoughts, Truth, understanding, willing, wisdom, withdraw
A quote I live by every day: “Life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
I have had at least one person ask me what that means. I just responded, “Lighten up.”
When I was young, my temper would often get the best of me. Then I would dwell on the situation, only making myself more upset by the minute. Often it would take me days to get over some small incident.
Even if someone actually means to do something ornery to you, is a grudge the best way to handle it?
If someone cuts you off in traffic, do you react with anger? Are you still upset at your desk hours later? I figure that person who cut me off, nearly taking my fender with him, did not actually do it to me — it is a habitual way to drive which is a poor paymaster, eventually causing that person to damage his own vehicle and probably somebody else’s. I bless him on his way.
As I have aged, I grant others the ability to misbehave and make mistakes, knowing that they are doing the best they can at that moment. I do not take it personally. It saves me a lot of wear and tear on my heart and mind because I just do not want to get angry about the situation. When I get angry, I am leaving my center of peace and tranquillity and exchanging it for something that will not be worth the agony it causes. I have to choose to ACT and not REACT. If I have to state something clearly so that a situation is resolved, I do not have to yell or cuss to get my point across. Yet there is no doubt in anyone’s mind what I am communicating.
I took an Anger Management class many years ago. I learned that ACTIVE LISTENING is the key. You repeat back to the person who is yelling at you exactly what you heard. You keep it up. Soon, the volume decreases. People yell because they think you did not hear them. When you repeat what they say, they lose steam. The Anger flows away. You cannot rationalize with an angry person. He/she is not listening to you. You cannot discuss the issues if one person is yelling and not listening. You can even, eventually, agree to disagree and then set another time to actually discuss the issues if it is necessary. I personally had to deal with a very angry 300 pound man who was borderline getting physically violent. The active listening calmed him down until I could ask him to leave. So I know it works.
Anger, in some people, causes them to withdraw as a reaction. They crawl up into a little shell, which only increases the anger expression of whoever is perpetrating the situation. Obviously, that person does not know you are listening to them. Some people just try to get away from whatever is happening and just run away from the scene as fast as they can. Resolution never occurs.
Bullies love it. We admit that. They like to feel powerful and power-filled. They usually find someone to pick on that is smaller than they are. They win by intimidation. Some supervisors do that same thing. You cannot interact with them because they know they have POWER. But being quiet like a mouse does not work either as a response. They usually only get worse. Try Active Listening techniques. Perhaps it will help calm the situation.
When someone is angry, it raises their blood pressure, the adrenalin “fight or flight” response, and the wear and tear on the body. It is like a light that goes shooting out at the person or situation. When it is over, one feels empty and drained. If the anger is not expressed properly, however, it turns inward and becomes depression. That is a bad beast to have to deal with.
You can pound on pillows, write a hate letter and shred it, perform physical exercise, imagining that you are stomping out the problem/situation/person. There are lots of ways to exorcise the bad feelings without putting one’s fist through a wall, person, or thing.
I have had three accidents in my life which have impacted my body functioning and hampered how I can do many tasks. I have had to deal with anger over the losses to my healthy body. Life is not fair, and it will never be so. I had to work my way through the anger responses so I could deal with the pain and the situation. That is not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary because I choose to be a pleasant person with a smile on my face. Most people will never know what I have gone through and what is happening to my body at any moment. I do not let the pain or the anger control me and dictate what my interaction level will be with others. I choose to overcome it and share the best that is in me with my world.
We are like puppets of the memories we have, registered long ago when we were learning how to interact with our world. We learned how to deal with situations by watching those around us. If we did not have good mentors (and most of us had parents and others around us who are capable of making mistakes), we respond with whatever we learned, good or bad.
Most of the therapy that people pay for is so they can react and interact with their world differently than what they learned when they were small. They want to be able to be more functional. That is a good thing. It is never too late to change, using whatever tools you can find that work for you, be it a book, a good friend, etc.
If you find yourself becoming angry at something or someone, can you stop for even a second before you light that flame of destruction? Can you ask yourself why you are ready to rip somebody’s head off? Can you stop and breathe deeply, trying to calm yourself, your blood pressure, and your “fight or flight” response? That is the purpose for counting to 10, slowly.
Do you remember the scene in the Harry Potter movie where Ron was facing his fears, and he turned the spider into a clown, with roller skates on each leg? Do you know that anger can be dealt with in the same way? I quietly think about a scene from Alice in Wonderland, looking for the Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit with the pocket watch yelling, “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” Anything that will add levity to the situation until I can regain my perspective. I don’t have to tell anyone what I am up to…I just do it.
When things gets crazy around me, instead of joining the craziness, I just calmly rise in my air balloon, looking at the situation as a spectator. If I choose to ACT, I can then do so. No hint of REACT is there. (Now, if I had a charging tiger to deal with, I would put my adrenalin to good use. But short of that, in real life, there are not many dangers out there to react to. It is the imaginary dangers that cause the damage, and most of them never happen. We just worry about it all, nonetheless.)
If have been told that I am a very positive person. I work at it. It is not something that happens by chance. I work on my calm attitudes because I want to be part of the answer, not the problem.
Each morning when I get up, I set my sails so that if some errant wind catches me, I can then adjust my sails so I can keep heading towards my destination, whatever that may be for the day. Lots of people can try to huff and puff, and blow me off course…all to no avail. Circumstances can do the same. I still press on with my hand on the helm, charting my course by my belief system and my faith. with prayers always in my heart.
Life happens. We all make mistakes. We have to continually pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.
If you find yourself stewing over some situation and not arriving at a peaceful resolution, just know that you have lots of company. The only questions you need to ask yourself are, “Do I want to continue feeling like this? Do I want to change that?” Hanging onto your anger will not solve a thing. It only wears you out from the inside. Is it worth it?
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: accidents, act, active listening, agony, anger, anger management, blood pressure, breathe, bullies, calm, crazy, depression, fair, fears, grudge, heart, levity, life, memories, mentors, metaphysics, mind, misbehave, mistakes, New Age, New thought, pain, Peace, perspective, power, puppets, react, resolution, sails, spectator, temper, thoughts, tranquillity, Truth, understanding, wisdom, withdraw
Pity Parties prevail, unfortunately. There are so many reasons to stay in one permanently. Would that do any good? Not likely.
In one of Og Mandino’s lectures, he said, “When I feel sorry for myself, and I don’t want to enter the world…I open the paper to the obituaries to see how many would trade places with me if they only could.”
Now that is definitely something to ponder.
He also said, “Never treat time as if you had an unlimited supply. No one has a contract with life.”
If you were to take a census of your prevailing attitudes, what would you say they were? If they center on a Pity Party, you have to know that direction will lead you nowhere. Are you willing to take a close look at the words you speak, the emotions you feel, and the ways you act? What is your body language saying? Can you look into a mirror and look closely at your eyes and your facial expression? What story are they telling you?
When you are depressed, one of the harder things you can do is to look into your eyes in a mirror and gaze upon your countenance. Why? Your eyes are downcast, for one thing. You are sad, your shoulders sag, and your head hangs down.
Did you know that depression is actually unexpressed anger turned inwards? Note I said, “Unexpressed.” I don’t mean you need to put your fist through a wall or hit something or somebody. There are many constructive ways to work on anger, such as working out, hitting a pillow, writing it all down on a sheet of paper and then shredding it, releasing it.
The point of a Pity Party is that you want to feel better. So, if you stay in one long enough, you should feel better, right? Nope, never going to happen. It perpetuates itself.
The only way to get out of a Pity Party is to change your focus from whatever is driving you crazy. You need to find something else to think about. Hopefully you will find something beautiful to contemplate, look at a rainbow, or listen to music. Many things can lift your spirit, from a good massage or warm bath to a quiet walk in nature. You just have to find something that works for you.
Again, it is in your capable hands to find a different way to express yourself. Are you willing to try that?