Do you chop wood and carry water? You must be thinking, “Is she crazy? I’m not camping!” Tee hee!
In all reality, you do it every day, each in his/her own way. “How?” you may ask. Answer: Everything you do–be you a king, queen, laborer, or pauper–is in fact Chopping Wood and Carrying Water!
My point is that, if you are present in the moment, you are breathing, thinking, and performing your daily tasks, whatever they may be. The question is: What is your attitude? Where are your emotions? What are you thinking about and dwelling upon, whether it be past, present, or future? In these uncertain times with extreme fears and passions everywhere, where is your calmness and peace?
Only as you ask yourself these questions and then answer them can you leave the outside world behind so you can find the calmness inside you to weather the storm outside you.
The concept behind “Chopping Wood and Carrying Water” is actually a very simple one:
PRESENCE OF MIND!
If you are driving your car, is your mind thinking about the burned toast or unkind words from someone you care about? Or perhaps you are fretting because traffic is heavy and dangerous? Maybe you are concerned about a big project at work with impossible deadlines? My question is: “Are you driving your car, centering your attention on what is happening at that moment?” Would it be possible to take a deep breath, notice your surroundings, be polite to someone who needs to get over, and smile in your mirror? Taking life moment by moment is the only real way to live. You cannot do two things at once, no matter how hard you try. You may do many things in quick succession, but each one is by itself. Most people are trying to stuff their lives with stress-causing, unrealistic expectations of themselves and others.
Presence is defined as: “The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place.”
What that translates to is: Are you aware of how you are breathing at this particular moment in time? If you are breathing from your chest, you are stressed out. Only when you are aware of being able to breathe deeply from your stomach/diaphragm area can you get a handle on what is going on with you…your brain…your emotions. What is in the room with you at this moment? Is there something beautiful to please you, or a wonderful smell like baking bread, or perhaps the scent from someone you care about? So many times, our monkey mind is fretting over some silly situation that truly does not matter at all, if you stop and think rationally about its components. Usually it is just emotions running wild. Calmness is an impossible dream and totally out of reach.
Why? Because your attention is so centered on it, emotionally ruminating about it in your mind, perhaps drawing up unpleasant scenarios. Why do that to yourself? Beats me!
So many things are outside of our control, especially now. We forget that it is our reaction to outside stimuli that is causing the problem.
Life will go on, trust me, if you stop, take a deep breath, and apply Presence of Mind at that moment. You can control your reactions, but you must take the thoughtful action to do it. Are you willing? CHOP WOOD AND CARRY WATER!
God bless you on your journey!
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.
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
Webster’s Dictionary defines Mindfulness as: “Having in mind; aware.”
The Google for Mindfulness says:
1.the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
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.”
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!
In the Bible in Hebrews 12:15, it states: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” In Deuteronomy 29:18, the last part of it says: “lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall (poison) and wormwood.”
The definition of diligent is: Persevering and careful in work; hard-working, industrious,; done with careful, steady effort; painstaking. Bitterness is defined as: Causing or showing sorrow, discomfort, or pain; grievous; sharp and disagreeable; harsh; severe; characterized by strong feelings of hatred, resentment, cynicism, etc. Defiled has a synonym: Contaminate. Gall is: Something that is bitter or distasteful; bitter feeling; rancor; to irritate; annoy; vex. Wormwood is a bitter, unpleasant, or mortifying experience.
Just looking at these definitions, my mind conjures up so many instances of negative feelings that it is almost overwhelming. Small daily irritations take on a new depth of meaning: Someone cuts you off in traffic; you have ugly words with a loved one that you cannot take back — even though they were spoken in haste and in the heat of a moment, you do not truly mean them or the way you said it; the boss chides you in front of others; your child says, “I hate you!” in frustration because you are correcting his/her behavior; someone does a spiteful thing to you on purpose; ad infinitum ad nauseam. LIFE HAPPENS ONE MOMENT AT A TIME! Think of all the times you felt irritated, annoyed, or vexed. I imagine it happens on a daily basis.
This truth spoken here is worthy of careful contemplation. Why, you might ask? Because it is a poison so strong that it wilts the spirit of the one who holds onto it. It is like a parasite that sucks the very life out of you. Your livingness is diminished so greatly that you cannot live your life fully.
The greatest problem with the bitter root is that it enters in quietly, as a rule. You do not even know it is there. Yet its roots are invasive, grow quickly, and are very hard to eradicate once they are established.
How many times have you thought, “I wish thus and so did (or did not) happen.” Or perhaps it is an “If only…” expression. Then you dwell on it. Your emotions get caught up usually in the negative aspects of something and you cannot (or do not) stop it. Soon you are dwelling on yesterdays, with perhaps fear being created for your tomorrows, while today slips by, unnoticed. Isn’t it sad that, when one looks back at all the wasted hours, you cannot recreate them and take positive steps to make changes?
The only way to stop it is to change what you are contemplating about NOW. Let go of YESTERDAY‘s events and fear not for TOMORROW!
Daily events create emotions in all of us, both personal and impersonal. Sometimes we take things way too seriously as the circumstances do not warrant the garbage created in our minds. You have had such a bad day that you collapse on the couch when you get home, grab the TV remote to get away from the unpleasantness of it all, or hop on the computer and use social media. The idea of processing the incoming information from the events does not occur to you, keeping that which is good and trashing that which is not. I call it mental housekeeping. The emotions need released as well, hopefully with exercise that raises the endorphins and calms the mind. Dare I suggest meditation and deep breathing? Or perhaps a massage? The problem with emotions that never get processed is that they tie your body into knots, and it is not long before you have ill health because the dis-ease (literally) is nourished by the negative energies. It all is stored somewhere or released. Which would you choose?
Ephesians 4:26 states: “Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” In verses 31 and 32, it says: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another…”
In light of the preceding paragraph, that is excellent advice for the longer you hold onto something, the harder it is to eradicate the bitter root.
Each day is a precious commodity — once spent, it cannot be regained. Each moment that goes by is history and cannot be altered. The only question you need to ask yourself is: How do I want to remember this day – with good thoughts or bad; with joy or sorrow; with anger or release? It is your choice, after all. Choose wisely.
God’s blessings on your journey!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: anger, annoyed, bitter root, bitterness, blessings, choices, contemplation, deep breathing, diligent, exercise, feelings, forgiving, God, I wish, If only, irritated, journey, joy, kind, life, massage, meditation, mental housekeeping, metaphysics, negative, New Age, New thought, parasite, poison, release, sorrow, thoughts, time, tomorrow, Truth, understanding, vexed, wisdom, wrath, yesterdays
Enthusiasm comes from the root for “En” = From and “Dios” = God. In short, it means that God is our inspiration of ideas and livingness.
The dictionary defines Enthusiasm as: “To be inspired as by a god; intense or eager interest; zeal; fervor.” That is pretty clear.
Yet, the daily wear and tear of life does not let us live our lives with Enthusiasm. That is a matter between the head and the heart. Stress denies its presence. Obligations required by our work, our families, our friends, outnumber the good thoughts we do have. Our electronic gadgets pervade every corner and every minute of our waking experiences…smart phones, computers in every form, gaming, etc.
The question arises: Having said all of the above, how can one participate in one’s life with Enthusiasm?
Answer: The first half hour after you wake up, you have a direct inroad into your subconscious. The same occurs at night: The last half hour before you go to sleep provides the same opportunity.
Can you arrange some quiet time for yourself at those time frames? It is an inroad to peace of mind and heart with quiet and deep breathing, positive thoughts, meditation, and dwelling on what is right in your life in lieu of that which is wrong.
Even 5 minutes could make a difference if you cannot dream of 30 minutes. It is your life. You alone must choose how you will live it. Daily prayers are also the “meat and potatoes” of your existence. How are you feeding your soul?
My vote is a quiet, peaceful existence with positive food for my soul. What will you choose?
God’s blessings be upon your path and choices this day!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: blessings, daily prayer, deep breathing, Enthusiasm, heart, inspiration, life, meditation, metaphysics, New Age, New thought, obligations, path, Peace, peaceful, positive, positive thoughts, quiet time, right, soul, stress, subconscious, thoughts, Truth, understanding, wisdom, wrong
We are surrounded by every form of noise, all day, every day.
It permeates our surroundings and our hearing.
But what really matters is the noise that occurs between our own ears.
There is a continual chatter of thoughts and feelings that overwhelm our senses.
The Bible says, “Be Still and Know…”
We have seen this saying on plaques, Christmas ornaments, wall hangings, etc.
What does it really mean? Is there a way to quiet the mental chatter and strong emotions?
It is easier than you think: In your busy schedule, mark off some time for yourself.
During that time, STOP! Even if it is just 5 minutes, you would be amazed at the difference it will make.
I take 5 minute vacations often: I stop and watch a gaggle of Canada Geese take wing…or land; my eyes see something beautiful to behold — the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, some covered with snow and some deep purple; a song catches my attention, and I really listen to the words and the rhythm; a dear friend calls to say Hi, and we share some pleasant moments (longer than 5 minutes, of course).
Some people do deep breathing exercises, some do yoga, some meditate – the form is not what counts here.
We give priorities to everything else, but short-change ourselves in the process. Nothing could be more important than the gifts we receive when we SEEK STILLNESS.
These gifts come differently to each person, but yours is waiting to be unwrapped. Are you willing to take the time to see what it is?
You might be truly amazed, for it could change your life forever.