Long ago and far away, the reason for the season was born. He was a humble man, born in a stable. Life for him was simple. His message was clear, free from complications, and full of love for mankind.
But as we look at the Christmas Season today, it is filled with so many things to do that we drop into bed exhausted by the day’s activities and expectations. Have you ever stopped to think about why?
It should be time filled with good memories, moments of love and good will shared with others we care about. However, it is often a time of great stress, both personally and financially. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why that happens? It is a time filled with overdone to-do lists, stressed out, short breathing, and exhaustion. Does that sound merry? Nope.
When was the last time you took time for yourself to stop and enjoy the fleeting moments of your life? How are you breathing? Is it short and from the chest? Or is it relaxed and coming from the stomach, filling your lungs with life-giving oxygen?
Yes, it is a time for celebrating other people in your life. Does it come from expensive gifts you cannot afford? Or is it gifts from the heart, no matter how small? Is it baked goods, cooked with a happy heart, sharing of your energies and time? Do you stop to actually listen to others? Sometimes, that is the greatest gift of all. People in our world are crying out to know they exist. Is it a smile or a shoulder to cry on?
Life can be so much simpler if you let it be that. Look hard at your to-do lists. Examine them carefully. Is each item coming from a heart brimming with joy or expectations? Hope for a better world, no matter how small an action?
Your attitude of gratitude is necessary from beginning to end. Do you spend even five minutes of your day being grateful for the good in your life? This is vital to your well-being.
It is the way you give a gift and not the gift itself, after all. It is an expression of the love, appreciation, and joy that the gift is given. It is not the amount of money spent on it, but the act itself of remembering.
They say that the first gift you buy should be one for yourself. Do you do that? Have you ever done it?
This is the most beautiful time of year, filled with so much to be thankful for: Eyes that see, ears that hear, taste buds that celebrate the many delights of food made especially during this season, and the touch of others – be it an elbow bump, a hug, or a massage.
Remember: Life is so precious. Take time for yourself so you can relax into the season. Do not overextend your energy levels. Do what you can do each day, and do it with a happy heart filled with the joy of life. What more could you ask of yourself? That takes deep breathing, which goes away with the first moment of stress and anxiety. Stop and query: Is this act/gift, etc., really necessary? If exhaustion is a factor, take care of yourself first, not last. We only get so much energy to spend each day. Make each detail of your day count towards that end. Life will go on, whether you drop into bed at night, still filled with the stresses of the day, or if you relax before going to bed, counting the blessings of the day.
Life can be so much simpler if you put some thought into it. Are you willing?
Warmest wishes for the happiest of Holiday Seasons!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: anxiety, celebrating, complications, deep breathing, exhaustion, expectations, expensive gifts, grateful, hope, humble, joy, life, life is precious, Love, metaphysics, New Age, New thought, Reason for the season, simple, stressed out, thoughts, to-do-lists, touch, Truth, understanding, wisdom
I have known for many years that I Am The Doorkeeper of My Mind!
“Thoughts are Things!” Ernest Holmes…Also: “What you think about, comes about!”
Philippians 4:8 (King James Version): “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Could it be any more clear?
Yet we stuff our monkey minds with cluttering thoughts during every minute of every day, losing our peace and joy for what purpose? Just like the song, “Windmills of Your Mind”:
“Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel,
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel…
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.”
Can you choose to stop, hit pause, and just be quiet for a moment? Or is your race so harried that your breath is shortened from stress, possibly self-imposed because of your thinking processes?
Life itself is filled with noises of every kind. Some are important, but most are not. If one does not differentiate between incoming sensory information, overwhelm is a natural outcome. Then if you react to the situations, you are “waking up the devil” inherent in each one, which is a recipe for disaster.
Romans 12:2 states: Be ye therefore transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Why would this be important? Because thoughts create emotions, which are the driving force of your personal engine.
What would a car be like if you had no destination in mind? Or being a ship on the ocean, driven by winds and currents instead of guided on its way? Your life is your ship. If your thoughts linger with worry, anger, loss and other negative emotions, you are feeling all that you do not want to happen…pushing on the accelerator, if you will, but going nowhere. Is that what you want?
If you are The Doorkeeper of Your Mind, you will have a different way of looking at everything. Situations are an outside stimulus which can be separated by your inside sense of calmness. If you are examining incoming data, you can sort it out a whole lot easier. This is especially true of emotions: Caused by outside circumstances or inside responses? Is it yours, or does the problem really belong to somebody else? We can remain human garbage cans, drained of all energy, unable to react appropriately, etc. Is that something you would willingly choose? I think not…yet we do it every day in almost every situation because we do not know of another choice. Yes, it is just a choice.
What do you choose?
God’s blessings upon your journey!
Mark 12:31 states clearly: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Note that it does not say before yourself, or instead of yourself, or NOT yourself!
It has been known for thousands of years the simple truth that: “Love begins with YOU!” Self Love is perhaps the hardest to master.
Most people are harder on themselves than they are with anyone else in their lives: bosses, friends, lovers, mates, children, acquaintances. We become our own worst enemy. Why is that?
I personally believe it is because we are so focused on OUT THERE realities from the second we wake up until we fall exhausted into bed at night. Then it doesn’t end. Look at all the different sleep medications out there that are for sale. There must be a reason. My guess is that our dear mind is keeping us awake, thinking of things we could have done better or differently, stress, nerves, world news, fears for money, jobs, and the pandemic of COVID19. My list could go on quite a while. So we beat ourselves up endlessly for so many reasons.
Does that sound like Self Love to you?
Also, how about FORGIVENESS? Can you forgive yourself for your shortcomings, no matter how small, big, or in between they are? Can you forgive others for past instances where they fell short in your eyes?
To me, Self Love includes not only Forgiveness, but also Gratitude. Are you truly grateful for all the blessings (big and small) you have in your life at this moment? I could start with allowing myself a deep breath, releasing stressful thoughts and condemnations, and just being glad I am alive in this moment. I am grateful for everything from a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive when I need it, bills are paid, good medical care as I age, this computer to use to communicate with my world at large, smart phone and tv, my Keurig that gives me a hot cup of coffee, etc. I also know how to handle all the aches and pains, injuries, etc., as I age because I have been careful to learn yoga, exercise, and physical therapy to strengthen whichever body part needs it at the moment. I include deep breathing as I start my day and as the day proceeds. Beauty is part of my world, which includes beautiful flowers, watching birds and observing my garden grow – providing us with squash, eggplants, and tomatoes to eat and to share. I could go on, but you get the idea.
The difference in my life is which thoughts and emotions I choose to entertain myself with. I, too, have strong emotions/thoughts that carry me away quickly. Prayer helps a lot with that. Meditation is necessary as a tool to calm down and love myself anyway. That to me is a key.
You, too, have the possibility of using your own keys to LOVE YOURSELF ANYWAY! After all, perfection is merely a goal, not a commandment.
We are lectured when we are young about our many faults. We take that inside of us and use it well, much to our own dismay. Sometimes it is so strong that we treat all of that as REQUIRED PERFECTION, from which we will ALWAYS fall short, requiring us to reprimand ourselves for every transgression. Isn’t that a sad thought? Because we do it at such a deep level and so naturally that it is difficult to change. However, we can choose to change. We truly can get off of our own backs and stop beating ourselves up!
You are in charge of your own mind. Are you willing to let what is really not working very well continue? Or do you want to begin to LOVE YOURSELF TRULY?
One of the yoga breaths is called the CARING BREATH: You reach both hands/arms out in front of you, take your right hand/arm and touch your left shoulder as you bow your head in that direction and you say, “I accept myself fully, with all my faults and shortcomings.” Then you reach out with your right hand/arm and say, “I am willing to serve, love, and care for others.” Then you repeat this with the left hand/arm. I find this so peaceful and life-changing.
Many motivational speakers tell us to look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, “I love you just as you are. You are enough. Go forth with joy in your being!”
Are you willing to try to love yourself? It is all up to you, after all.
God’s blessings on your journey!
In The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, he writes: “The selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears…When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
So if you are in sorrow, try to remember that, if you have wonderful memories of someone, to that degree will you grieve – sometimes for the rest of your life, for you will miss that someone more than words can express. That pertains to good memories of all kinds.
However, when you are filled with joy and laughter, look carefully at the situation/memories, etc. You will feel the connection with past incidents/people/special happenings. That will deepen the joy because you will understand the source.
Remember, your choices every minute can make or break your feelings/thoughts/memories. Whatever you focus on is what you are blessing into expression. It is, after all, entirely up to you to create the happiness habit.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
God bless 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
The Christmas story, as told in Luke 2:7 states: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn.”
The first part of that sentence — all the way up through “manger” captures our attention. But I would like to draw your attention to the last words in the sentence: “…no room for them in the Inn.”
During the Christmas season, busyness rules many people’s lives, dictating a hurry and scurry that tires the body and soul. There are lists to make, gifts to buy and wrap, cards to get ready to mail, parties to attend, and festivities/programs to partake of. All of these are great and useful.
But what if you stopped to think about your life and heart as a manger where the Christ child could rest?
Are you moving so fast to participate in all your activities that there is no quiet time to speak of the manger and what it could mean to you?
Is your life like the Inn where there is no room for the ideas of faith, peace, love, hope and joy – the quintessence of the Christmas Spirit?
Whoa! Slow down! Breathe deeply now.
Every day, your brain, heart, and body need to take the time for your own good in order to make room in your being for focusing on the qualities that make up the quintessence of the Christmas Spirit — the Faith which helps you along your way, the stillness of Peace, the Love of self and others, the Hope of a better day, and the Joy of life and more livingness daily.
It would only take a few minutes, but if you choose to spend that time, the gifts that will bring will last all day long. Are you willing?
God’s blessing be upon you and your journey! Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
Posted in Uplifting Thoughts
Tags: attitude, awareness, blessings, Breathe Deeply, busyness, choices, Christ child, Christmas Spirit, faith, focus, God, hope, hurry, journey, joy, life, livingness, Love, Manger, metaphysics, New Age, New thought, Peace, quiet, thoughts, Truth, understanding, willing, wisdom
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!
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!
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Tags: Beauty, blessings, goal orientation, God, grateful, Gratitude, Happiness, journey, joy, life, light, Love, meditation, metaphysics, New Age, new perspective, New thought, optimistic, Peace, Pessimism, prayers, smile, thankfulness, thoughts, trials, tribulations, Truth, understanding, wisdom
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!
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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!