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Balancing Your Life

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!

Seagull Mobile

Hibiscus and Geranium

Dillon Reservoir Sunset

Hardy Hibiscus

Front Range Sunset

Zucchini Flower & Honey Bee

 

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

 

 

 

Beware the Bitter Root

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?

Synergy continues.

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!

Your response makes a difference inner peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enthusiasm

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!

Beauty in Action

Beauty in Action

 

Seek Stillness

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.

Geese on the Wing

Geese on the Wing

Front Range of Rockies

Front Range of Rockies

Front Range of Rockies

Front Range of Rockies

 

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