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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

 

 

Thankfulness

As I contemplate Thankfulness, I realize that it is an optimistic quality. It renders a feeling of lightness and levity. There is no room for pessimism here.

Life itself can give one a sense of heaviness and darkness. Perhaps prayer is not a tool for you to help you get through negative happenings. Another one of the tools – Meditation – to aid in changing consciousness is not thought about as a possibility. Goal orientation is as remote as the moon because “just make it through the day” is on your mind.

How then can one begin to arrive at a better place in mind? Smile! It lifts the spirit. It is a beginning.

Look around you. What are you grateful for? No mater how small, one can find something. Are you breathing? Is your heart beating? Do you have a roof over your head and food for your tummy? Life is in your every cell.

I, for one, am glad that I have so many wonderful friends and loving family members, both immediate and extended. I have once again achieved fairly good health, and I am able to deal with the foibles of this body as it ages. I have so much to be grateful for. I have already written my thank you note to God, expressing my gratitude. Have you? It is a great way to “get in tune” with all that is good in your life, accentuating the blessing and lessening the effects of the trials and tribulations that our existence brings on this “Third Rock from the Sun.”

If you try it, perhaps you will have a new perspective, which you can then expand on as time unfolds for you.

Are you willing? Your efforts can exponentially grow, making tremendous changes possible for you.

Three things to remember as you go forward: Take life day by day; Be grateful for the little things; and Don’t get stressed over what you can’t control.

God’s blessings upon your journey! May it be filled with Life, Peace, Love, Joy, Truth, Beauty, Laughter, Light, and Happiness!

Be grateful Think 3 things 2 b thankful 4 be thankful Be thankful for Life

 

S — — T Happens!

S — — T Happens! Good Happens. These sayings are both true. We see them on car bumpers and on walls. Have you given them any thought at all? Do you just react to the bad stuff, without analyzing it? When good things happen to you, are you joy-filled? Sometimes, we are reluctant to enjoy that moment because we fear that something worse is just around the corner. Which one are you?

It has been wisely stated that it is not what happens to you that counts – it is how you REACT to what happens. When you get knocked down by incidents in your life, do you get back up again? Or do you “stay down for the count?” Do you nurse your emotional and physical wounds by proclaiming loudly to anyone who will listen to your statements about how bad your life sucks? If you do, you may find few who will listen to your sad tale for long.

It is a very true statement that: “What you think about/emotionalize over multiplies exponentially.” Is that what you want?

The questions then arise, “How can I pick myself up and get on with my life? Do I just pretend nothing happened? How can I change my reaction to the bad stuff?”

Answers can come to you slowly or in a flash. Your answers are personal to you. Awareness is the beginning of change.

Perhaps a class will come to your attention about your particular problem, or maybe a sermon, friend, or magazine will catch your eye. You will have an “AHA!” moment and begin to focus on something else.

Beauty surrounds us in many forms. When I have had very sad times in my life, I found that, if I went outside into nature, I became more peaceful. Bird song and twitters, flowers, walking barefooted in the sand at the edge of the surf, a nice long bath, reading a good book, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves of the trees, etc., enabled me to pick myself up again. In short, just anything that makes you feel better is a key to changing you from feeling like a victim to helping you deal with whatever happened.

Life is not an unending story of happiness. It is just moments of joy that your attention can spread to fill your days. Bad stuff occurs in all of our lives. Again, how you choose to react to what happens will determine if you “let the bitter root grow” in your heart, contaminating every moment of your days OR if you decide to not dwell on it, deal with the repercussions/consequences if there are any, and see where you go from there.

In my own life, I have had tremendous sorrows, many of which I did not think I could endure, from death and injury of loved ones, feelings of separation and loneliness, losses in many forms, etc . I have had many physical challenges over the years which have required physical therapy, pain pills, and medicines. I have had to change my vocation, which I loved. I had to find a way to deal with the pain so that my personality, which is optimistic, would not darken into pessimism. It is a natural flow if one stays with the problem but does not seek a better answer. Luckily, I have found many answers that help me stay optimistic, some of which are listed above.

Each person is different, however. You need to find your own way of dealing with S — — T till you can turn it into fertilizer for new growth.

Are you willing?

God bless you on your journey!

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Surfing Master, Waikiki, HI

Surfing Master, Waikiki, HI

Day Lilies

Day Lilies

Your response makes a difference

 

 

 

 

Are Your Roots Healthy?

When I ask the question, “Are your roots healthy?” – I am referring to your basic thoughts, feelings, and expressions of life. How you are living, the choices you make, what you think about, how stressed you are, etc., all form the background of every minute of every day of your life.

Are you so concerned about what others think of you that you never stop to ask that question of yourself?

Roots are just like a plant: Unless you nourish them with your spirit, thoughts, and positive emotions, they can just wither away, drying out and draining you of your life force, every day in every way.

Nourishment occurs when you stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and look for something beautiful in your environment. Beauty brings peace, calmness, serenity, and joy into your life. When was the last time you did this? Do you remember the early morning sunrise or sunset at evening? Did you stop and smell the flowers along your path today? Did you notice a beautiful or unusual bird?

Or are you so busy with the every-day work demands, your families’ needs, soccer practice, making a cake for the bazaar to support your child’s activities,  dancing lessons for your little girl, football practice for your young boy, etc., that you have just gotten lost in the shuffle? You know we have all had our turn at having to perform those requirements.  The bad news is that it can go on for the rest of your life if you let it. You will not have much time to yourself to ponder your personal growth issues. In fact, that may sound like a joke to you as you drop wearily into bed at night.  Whatever you need is at the very bottom because everyone else’s needs/demands/wants  have to come first…or so you may have been taught to think that way, especially if you are a woman with a family or a man providing for same. The daily vicissitudes (wear and tear) of life can exhaust you.

So where do you begin to make a change in the above priorities? It all starts with thinking about it and writing it all down. Once written down, ideas come to mind as you look at the words. Perhaps you can begin to question how important each one is and decide whether or not to keep doing same.

Albert Einstein one said: “The definition of Insanity is to keep doing the same things over again the same way, but expect different results.”

So I am asking you to just step back from your life for a few moments, think, grab a pen and begin writing your observations of yourself/your choices/your life. If you are willing to do that, you are raising your awareness. Awareness of the need for a change is actually the beginning of a new life for you, living more according to your purpose, happier, and more able to actually support the loved ones around you because of your new vision. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Maui Sunrise

Maui Sunrise

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees, early morning Waikiki

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees, early morning Waikiki

Red-Crested Cardinal - Beautiful Bird on Oahu, Hawaii

Red-Crested Cardinal – Beautiful Bird on Oahu, Hawaii

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a quality which is worthy of your intense attention. Without it, you drift through your life. With it, you can experience more joy and awareness than you would believe possible.

Mindful is defined as: “Having in mind; aware, heedful, or careful.”

Mindless is defined as: “Not using one’s mind; showing little or no intelligence or intellect; senseless or thoughtless; taking no thought; heedless or careless; unmindful.”

The first definition (Mindful) is informative, but the second definition (Mindless) comes closer by comparison to what can happen if one does not use Mindfulness.

You may ask: How does one begin to understand Mindfulness? The answer is quite simple: Stop and Breathe Deeply.

When one actually stops (as in sit down, make yourself comfortable, and begin to look around you), things change. You begin to see colors, shapes, and sizes. You become more aware of your surroundings. Use your eyes and really look at objects. Use your fingers and touch the cloth you are wearing, sense the hardness or softness of what you are sitting on, and reach out to touch things within reach. How do they feel? What do you smell? Is there some food cooking somewhere? Is there a sweet or a sour scent somewhere close by? What do you hear? Do you have some soft music on, or can you hear the children giggling as they play a game? Did you just eat something sweet or perhaps a piece of fruit? Can your taste buds still sense the tanginess of it? In other words, use your five senses to evaluate your surroundings.

Once you have done that, place one of your hands on your belly/stomach area and one on your chest. Close your eyes. Now breathe. If the hand on your chest is moving a lot more than the lower one, you know that you are not breathing in a good way. You are more subject to stress and a lot of other ills. If you are breathing like this, you need to relax your stomach/belly and expand it with the incoming breath, pulling it in as you breathe out. It may seem strange at first, but it is vital to your health to learn how to Breathe Deeply. Now try to slow your breath, breathe in as deeply as you can and slowly breathe out. Try to breathe out longer than you breathe in because it is getting rid of the carbon dioxide and impurities.

If you have tried these exercises, you have a new awareness of your surroundings. You can then begin to do it any time of day, anywhere, and under any circumstances. You can do it for just a breath or two, or as long as you please. You may find that colors become more vibrant, and your five senses will wake up to new levels of experience.

Mindfulness is a central theme to a movie I just watched titled, “Griffin and Phoenix.” It was a very interesting story about a man and a woman who find each other only after they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and do not have very long to live. Each one knows, looking back at their lives, how they worked and lived without being truly aware of anything. They find in each other  the ability to live with Mindfulness. They want to experience every day fully as they create memories together. She knows she will not live till Christmas comes again, and she loves Christmas and presents. At the end of the movie, he goes to a hardware store and buys whatever it takes to surprise her with a decorated Christmas tree in the woods, including batteries to light up the lights, and lots of presents. It was a very poignant story.

Mindfulness can become an important part of your day. Just the act of walking can activate many thoughts as you are aware of your space and others around you. Perhaps you may see other people differently because you are more aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it. That can cause a new interaction level which can be more pleasant, whether it be a small one with a store clerk, a coworker, a friend, or a loved one. It can make you more efficient at work because it is no longer a boring repetition, but your mind is actively creating — be it a work of art, a sentence, taking care of a customer, or just cleaning up a mess that a small child just made. Your life can change a lot. But first you must be willing to pay attention to the details of your life. Like a flower emerging from the snow, you can express more livingness and joy.

After all, it is your journey and your choice. Mindfulness is a mine filled with valuable treasures, but only you can use your focus to find them. Are you willing to do it?

God’s blessings on your journey!

Breathe

Breathe

Bless each day

Bless each day

Tulips in snow

Tulips in snow

Crocus in the Snow

Crocus in the Snow

Crocus in full bloom

Crocus in Full Bloom

Azaleas in bloom

Azaleas in Full Bloom

Looking Forward Instead of Backward

With the 2015 New Year before us in just a short three days, it is a time to begin Looking Forward Instead of Backward.

If one is driving a car, how much time does one spend gazing into the rear view mirror? Now there is an accident waiting to happen!  We all have to be aware of what is going on around us, right here, right now, real time. It is no different with Life, every day, day in, day out. Usually, it is some unfortunate experience that keeps us gazing backward, to no avail. Perhaps it is a word spoken in haste that cannot be retracted. Perhaps it was an unthinking act on someone else’s part that hurts us so very much. Perhaps we have done something we are sorry for but cannot take back. History cannot be changed. It has been said that Unhappiness is a result of someone trying to make something Un-Happen. It is a fact that Time cannot go backward. Yesterday is gone, and Tomorrow is but a figment of our imagination. The only day we have is TODAY.  That is why it is known as the PRESENT. That is why it needs to be cherished, appreciated, and utilized the best we can. Forgive and let go of that which was so that you may move into your PRESENT with more livingness.

Now is a time when some people  begin to make New Year’s Resolutions so that goals may be set and achieved, possibly change some negatives in one’s life to positives,  “Turn over a new leaf!” etc. Some decide to begin a physical fitness program, pay for a fitness center contract, and make aggressive actions for a short time before the energy for change wears out amid the humdrum vicissitudes of daily life. Some decide to lose a lot of weight, set a goal that they remember from long ago and far away,  and then feel like a failure when the required changes in eating habits just do not magically happen. Why is it that so many actually do not see the necessary steps to success actually begin with very small increments?

Do not be disheartened if you desire to actually make a difference to your health and life. Consistency is the key, of course. For instance, one could begin to lose weight by looking at your eating habits and writing down what you actually put in your mouth for a week. There is an eye opener for you! Physical Fitness could begin by setting a goal of walking on a treadmill for a few minutes every day, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or parking farther out so you have to walk a little more. But first, you have to set a goal that is within your reach. You may not ever run a marathon, but you could see a healthier you in the mirror by beginning to make changes in what you do, how you do it, and the choices of food that you ingest.  Questions to ask yourself: “Do I quickly grab a Starbucks and a donut, or do I actually figure out what is good for me in the long run? No matter how good that sweet Danish tastes, will it nourish my body? Do I skip breakfast altogether (which, by the way, every doctor/nutritionist/health addict knows is the major sin against the body) or do I learn to eat to live vs. live to eat?”

It has been suggested that Food Police is a negative idea in watching carefully what your choices are — treating the idea from a forceful point of view, ensuring failure. Actually, it all comes down to your choices. Is becoming more healthful important enough for you to look at the sweets that surround everyone at this time of year, the alcohol being consumed, the pops that are offered at every party, and enormous quantity of food on every plate?

Every diet in the world begins with measuring the actual intake of what you consume before you open your mouth, choosing the foods that will nourish you, and passing up the rest that is out there. Why is that so difficult?

That answer usually is tied up with our emotions. Are we stressed out? Are we overtired? Is the quality of sleep good, bad, or excellent? It has been proven over time that our hormones respond to all of these, even to the point where we are hunting for chocolate to eat so we can calm down, or some other comfort food which has nothing to do with our long term goal of becoming more healthy.

Attitude matters. It is paramount to make an analysis of what is going on between our ears. There are so many good things that come from exercise for our bodies that will help us along our path towards our goals. The peptides, etc., are released, helping us to feel better.

Some people do not want to take baby steps. They desire gargantuan goals, ensuring the probability that they will become failures more quickly. After all, if one cannot climb a mountain, what is the point in starting?

Confucius said, “Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

He had it right!

So if you want to begin to write your New Year’s Resolutions, be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Look at where you are now, and then decide where you want to be  a year from now. Then write a list of achievable steps where you can begin a synergy that will carry you onward.

It has been said that “Rome was not built in a day.” You might remind yourself of that as you go forth on your journey.

The Christmas Season is such a lovely time of year. It always seems to me that people are kinder toward others, more generous, more forgiving. But when that special day is passed, the attitudes in general change back to more “business as usual.” The meanness we all see every day overpowers our senses, and we lose sight of what Life is all about. Is it possible to extend these lovely Christmas moments and attitudes so that they are here every day of the year? It can be if you personally choose that to be your attitude and goal. It is, after all, up to you.

God’s blessings upon your journey! Happy New Year to one and all! May the light from the beautiful fireworks celebrations for the New Year remain in your mind and heart, long after they are gone from the skies. May God bless you with Love, Light, Life, Laughter, Joy, Truth, Beauty, and Peace every day this coming year!

Fireworks

Fireworks

 

 

 

The Joy of Life

The Joy of Life is a mysterious thing which you either have, know you have it, and experience it daily if not all the time —  or something has caused it to drain away, leaving you with an empty feeling, knowing not what you have lost.

Have you ever watched a dog that knows it is time to go for a walk? They are wagging all over, tail included. As they walk along, their head is up – unless it is down sniffing around at all the other smells. Their excitement does not lag as they go along, either. They are pulling on their leashes as a rule, and it does not matter what size the dog is.

How long has it been since you experienced the excitement of looking forward to something during your day? It could be something as small as a child’s smile or a small hand holding yours, or it could be meeting a friend or loved one for lunch. The possibilities are endless, aren’t they?

Or are they? Have the daily vicissitudes (wear and tear) worn you down to a nubbin?  Are you so caught up in what you have to do, what has to be done, and know you cannot do it all that your days disappear? It is like a thief in the night, for when you turn around, time seems to have evaporated before your very eyes. You look back over the last few days, or months, or years, and wonder where it all went.

The solution? Pay attention daily, hourly, and by the  minute. Do not let time slip through your fingers like sands in an hourglass.

Be alert! Look for it! Be like the dog who is looking forward to going for a walk. Be enthusiastic! When was the last time you “wagged your tail” over something you wanted to do?

Life comes to us in the present — not tomorrow or yesterday or even five minutes ago. It is the very second you are reading this, only to slip away into the past. What choices you make NOW do make a difference!

Do you have a dream that has dissipated into a ghost of its former self? DREAMS and GOALS help us to achieve more than we deemed possible, because SYNERGY comes into play. When was the last time you thought about your DREAMS or GOALS as a possibility/probability? Have you shelved them as improbable? You shoot yourself down before anyone else has a chance to do it! Perhaps you think you are too old? Too young? Do not have enough money? Do not have any time for such foolishness?

Any step you could take to achieve these dreams and goals is NEVER TOO SMALL! If you would take the step you see, it will lead you on…just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz did in the “Follow the Yellow Brick Road!” Along the way (where she tried to get back home), she was accompanied by Toto, her little dog, and then the Scarecrow (without a Brain), a Tin Man (without a heart), and the Cowardly Lion (without a medal). The Wizard of Oz  came up with a solution, which worked for him just fine. It took the Good Witch of the North to show her that the Red Slippers could take her home if she just thought correctly. Ideas are like that as well.  If you have the courage to begin it, life unfolds before you like a flower. Yes, you may have to pay in time and effort, but think of the fun you could have along the way!

Each day should be like a banquet, with the table spread before you containing all you could enjoy. What would your table look like? What do you want from life? Is mere existence enough, with one day melting into all the others along the way? Or do you want more? Define it. Write it down. Think about it. What step would begin it?

The Joy of Life is not afar off. It awaits you…with every choice you make today. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

 

The Picture of Alert/Excitement

Picture of Alert/Excitement

Dancing for a Treat

Dancing for a Treat

Having fun with paper

Having Fun, Playing with Paper

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does Enough Look Like?

The only question you need to ask yourself in your daily grind of life is: What does enough look like? Are you trying to buy a new house and need money for a down payment? Is your car falling apart, and it is necessary in order for you to work, go to college, or fetch the kids from school? Did you just see a necklace that just put a yearning in your soul to own something that gorgeous?

I could go on with many examples of the materialism that pervades our society today, world-wide.

There was a man in China, sitting on the curb with his family, with each one eating a Colonel Sander’s Kentucky Fried Chicken meal. He was asked how long he had to work to earn the money to purchase the meal. His answer? One week. He was very happy to do it.

So, how much of the money that you spend daily actually brings you a feeling of joy and happiness?

Most of us know that, in this economy, the money is spent before it ever arrives. There is also a lot of month left and not enough money to go around.

Could you step back a moment from your daily tasks to look at the long term of it all?

Have you ever asked yourself the key question: What does enough look like?

It is a key to prioritizing not only your money, how you spend it, and your long term goals, but also your time. How much of that precious commodity do you exchange for working to earn the money?

How long will you have to work? Must you work forever in order to maintain your current life style? Are you willing to change it so you can retire sooner and live on less income?

It is a fact of life that the more money you earn, the more you spend. Your expectations and choices change as you move up the ladder of success. It is almost imperceptible if you are not carefully monitoring your choices.

Many people are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is in the shape of a pyramid. The base is Physiological needs: Air, water, food, clothing, shelter, and human sexual instinct. Next comes Safety needs: Security of body, employment, financial resources, of morality, family, health and property. Then comes Love/Belonging: Friendship, Intimacy and Family connections. The next level is Esteem, which is about your personal self-esteem and self-respect, confidence, achievement, respect of others and from others. At the top is Self-actualization: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts. Maslow believed that, in order to understand this level, all of the previous levels must be mastered. Of course, there are no strict lines between these areas as they are interrelated instead of sharply separated . Many levels can be experienced at any time as they are closely related.

My point is that, beyond the need of a roof over your head and food in your stomach, a coat to wear if it is cold and shoes for your feet, a safe and warm place to sleep, water, and perhaps a little loving, what more do you need? Must the apparel have a great name like Prada or Gucci? Do you need a Penthouse? Must you have an  “arm candy” woman at your side as you stroll through a fancy restaurant, reveling in the looks you get? What kind of car are you driving? Is it good transportation or a fabulous vehicle? The answers to all of these questions are determined by your choices, one day at a time.

You can go up the ladder of needs, and think about what they mean to you. How much of your energy does it require to live at the level you have attained?

Life is so very precious, and no one knows how long one has. Are you willing to ask yourself sincerely: WHAT DOES ENOUGH LOOK LIKE?

Your answers could affect the rest of your life here on Planet Earth. You alone must determine your priorities and choices.

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

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!

 

 

 

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