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Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.

If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”

Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.

Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an  endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.

But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).

If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.

The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.

Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.

The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.

Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living.  It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to  breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).

The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

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

 

 

Are You Singing Your Song?

Maya Angelou said: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer — it sings because it has a song.”

The Carpenters sang:

“Sing”

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

I personally think they got it exactly right, like the Little Bear’s chair, porridge, and bed in the Goldilocks tale.

The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Robert Southey

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks.  She  went for a walk in the forest.  Pretty soon, she came upon a house.  She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge.  Goldilocks was hungry.  She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

“This porridge is too cold,” she said

So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.

“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.

After she’d eaten the three bears’ breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired.  So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs.  Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

“This chair is too big!” she exclaimed.

So she sat in the second chair.

“This chair is too big, too!”  she whined.

So she tried the last and smallest chair.

“Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed.  But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom.  She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard.  Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft.  Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right.  Goldilocks fell asleep.

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled the Papa bear.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said the Mama bear.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” cried the Baby bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” growled the Papa bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” said the Mama bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair and they’ve broken it all to pieces,” cried the Baby bear.

They decided to look around some more and when they got upstairs to the bedroom, Papa bear growled, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed,”

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, too” said the Mama bear

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed and she’s still there!” exclaimed Baby bear.

Just then, Goldilocks woke up and saw the three bears.  She screamed, “Help!”  And she jumped up and ran out of the room.  Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the forest.  And she never returned to the home of the three bears.

THE END

I put in this story because I think that the stories I loved as a child are becoming lost and are not being told anymore.

We all have a song to sing, whether it is in tune or not, whether it sounds good or not, and whether anyone likes it or not. We each have something to contribute to this world. We are each made unique, with our own set of gifts that no one else possesses. We may not know what these gifts are and may never unwrap them in our lifetimes. Isn’t that a sad thought? I see it repeatedly in the lives of people I know.

“Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

This truth rings in my heart every day. It is why I put so much effort into both my blog and http://www.WFosterWelborn.com blog and his books. I want his song to be heard by as many as seek to know his works. The effort I have put forth has been blessed as the messages have reached out to others around the globe. I shall continue to sing my song.

How about you? Isn’t it time for you to unwrap your gifts and start singing as well?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

The old Classic

Do You Want To Die With Your Music Still Inside You?

“Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside us.” (Oliver Wendell Holmes as found in http://artquotes.robertgenn.com)

Each of us is born with a lot of inner gifts inside of us, yet without effort on your part, the gifts stay all wrapped up and are never opened. They never see the light of day. Each of us is unique, like a snowflake = no two are alike. Only you can be who you are.

Sometimes a person believes authority figures in  his/her life, be it a parent, a teacher, or a boss. If told long enough that a quality is not part of their makeup, a person believes that and never unwraps the gift inherent inside, just waiting to be unwrapped.

I was nineteen years old before I knew for certain that I could do anything right. I learned to ice skate. I flew across the ice with wings on my feet and in my heart. No, I was not Olympic material, but I found something I could do. I was raised with the emphasis on negative programming,  as in everything I did was automatically going to be wrong. I was raised in a traditional Protestant religion by a mother who was raised in a Catholic Orphanage by nuns. Guess who believed that she was going to be WRONG for the rest of her natural life? Yet, I broke that programming, beginning with the day I learned to ice skate. From then on, I claim the right to try to do whatever opportunity comes my way. I have used personal growth books, workshops, lectures, etc., to that end. When an opportunity comes my way, I want to be open to its possibilities for me. I am unwrapping my gifts still. What a joy it is!

The opposite is true of someone who is stuck in fear of the unknown or who does not believe anything else is possible. The gifts inside stay there, dormant. If one gives away their power to outside authority figures, nothing becomes the reality.

When I was young, I had an art teacher named Mrs. Able. She kindly informed me that I should stay away from art when I was in Elementary  School. So I believed her, and I did…until I was in my 40’s. I took an art class at lunchtime. The teacher said I could put my work on display in an art gallery and made me promise to at least frame it, which I did. Just look at the wasted years! I could have been having fun with it all that time.

How about you? Have you kept your inner potential of gifts under wraps, hidden deep inside you? Have you explored what they might be? What surprises are waiting for you? All you have to do is begin to believe that you can do something about your dreams and wishes. Perhaps you could begin by writing them down. It also helps to raise your awareness of how you can begin to bring them to life. That enhances the Synergy of movement into being. Are you willing to do it?

Blessings on your journey!

 

 

 

Attitude of Gratitude

Christmas and New Year’s are now past. The gifts have been opened and enjoyed. Perhaps you have made some New Year Resolutions, had a party, and welcomed the beginning of a New Year. So…what comes next?

Will it be more of the same? Or are you determined to make some changes?

Do you look at your life frequently, just to comment on what is wrong with it?

Do you need more of ….. (you finish that sentence)?

Here’s a novel idea: Look at your life carefully. Look at all the elements that are in it. Inside of each element is something to be grateful for. Many elements you were born with: You can walk, talk, speak, smell, think. There are many in this world who do not have the abilities you do. Are you contemplating what you will have for dinner? Many are wondering if they will be able to find anything to eat at all. In short, life is really not about what is wrong, but what is right. Too much attention is devoted to correcting deficiencies, while little is spent on the attitude of gratitude.

A song says, “Count your many blessing, name them one by one…” How long has it been since you did precisely that?

Whatever you focus your attention on is “the seed of your tomorrow.” Do you want more of what is good for you, or do you want to continue like a hamster in a cage, going round and round in the same old lessons?

Life is about lessons. It is meant to be lived. We all of have to do whatever it is we do every day…work, ride the bus, drive a car, play super mom or super dad, provider, bill payer…our routines rule our life.

When was the last time you said, “Thank you!” to someone? Do you show appreciation when someone does something for you? It is all part of the Attitude of Gratitude.

As for me, I am grateful for each and every day, from the sunrise to the sunset and beyond. I do count my blessings often. I love to be able to exercise and be healthy. I love to be outside and enjoy all of God’s wonders that He shares with me, be it a coyote,  a Kestrel, or a bee on a blossom in my camera’s vision, which is also a gift. Beauty is all around, and I actively seek it.

Life comes to us a moment at a time. The Attitude of Gratitude becomes a part of our way of life, which expands our blessings and our livingness in the enjoyment of each day.

So instead of condemning (finding fault with) ourselves and others, why not spend more of our time being grateful, COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS?

Coyote

Coyote

What's up?

What’s up?

Kestrel

Kestrel

Bee on a Snap Dragon

Bee on a Snap Dragon

Daily Resolutions vs. New Year’s Resolutions

Newspapers and magazines are filled with articles this time of year about New Year’s Resolutions. Many people make magnificent resolutions that, if carried out, would make a big difference in their lives. Some even take action to make those resolutions come true: They buy a gym membership to be more healthy; they buy a book on “How To…” with the express intent of achieving their goal; they buy exercise equipment; they buy Stop Smoking patches or remedies. Then daily life takes over. Time crunches arrive. Decision time: “Do I take the effort to keep my resolution or do I not?” “I’m tired.”  “It’s late.”  “I’ve had a hard day.” “I’m so stressed out that I need a cigarette to calm me down.” Almost any excuse becomes a reason to delay working on the resolution. What seemed marvelous as an ideal soon loses its glamour when faced with the price tag attached…and there is always a price tag attached, whether it can be seen or not. Perhaps we like to create mountains that we think we can climb, imagining ourselves overcoming obstacles and ending up victorious. Then, when the energy ebbs away from the initial resolution, disillusionment settles in, accompanied by a feeling of some degree of failure most of the time.

What if, in lieu of sweeping, substantial resolutions, you begin by making a bargain with yourself: Make a simple Daily Resolution that would, if carried out consistently, begin to make a change you can live with and actually achieve? Small steps represent choices you can make. Taken collectively and over time, you can, indeed, create possibilities in your life that could bring you gifts of all kinds…intangibles including joy, peace, laughter, wisdom, understanding, as well as tangible results that are measurable such as the loss of a pound or two, or you actually cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoked that day, or you exercised by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or you signed up for a yoga class and really enjoyed doing it so you kept at it. No choice is too small to matter. Begin with where you are today and look for a possible step that will take you in the right direction.

It has been asked, How do you eat an elephant? Answer, one bite at a time. So, are you willing to make the effort to make a simple Daily Resolution? Your future is in your capable hands, today.

Whatever this New Year holds for you, may you be blessed with your highest good and an abundance of Life expressing through you as you.

Colorado Mountain

Colorado Mountain

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

 

Love Yourself

Mark 12:30,31   “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart…first commandment…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Interesting thought, isn’t it? Please notice emphasis is on the “AS.”

It seems to me that too much attention is paid to:  “Love Thy Neighbor.”

In other words, you send out love to everybody else.

Yet, when it comes to actually loving ourselves, we so often fall short in that department.

“I’m fat.” “I’m too skinny.” etc. Something is always wrong.

We look in a mirror, and we do not like what we see.

We condemn, criticize, castigate, etc. When do we feel good about ourselves?

We are taught as children that we must not “get too puffed up” because that is a sin.

Why do we forget the “AS”? It goes on to state that there is no commandment greater than these. Yet we do not ever act as if that is true. Do we believe that could be a possibility for us?

In other words, LOVE actually begins within us – for ourselves.

Only by accepting ourselves, complete with our faults as well as our gifts, can we then actually love others.

We all have gifts to share with the world…unique, special, and one-of-a-kind.

Yet it is only when we stop beating ourselves up for our shortcomings that we can actually grow, learn, and become who we were intended to be.

When you look in a mirror in the morning, what do you see? Do you like your reflection?

Can you begin by saying, “I love me!” and give yourself a hug? Can you compliment yourself and actually mean it?

No matter how silly that sounds, it is actually the beginning of your change in attitude, towards yourself, as well as others.

Don’t you agree that this world would be a much better place if there were more LOVE in it?

It can only begin within you. Are you willing to give yourself a fresh start, NOW?

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