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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

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is both a time for giving and receiving. How are you at giving? How about receiving? Most of us are predominantly either one or the other. Rarely are we able to do both.

A child’s rhyme/song runs through my mind during this time of year:

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”

You hear repeatedly that “It’s not the amount you spend on a gift that counts, but the thought you put into it.” Do we really hear that at the heart level?

I truly love this time of year. I love playing Santa to my friends and family. I know others do as well.

The naysayers emphasize the commercialization of the Christmas Holiday, stating that it is just a time for the stores to make money.  Yes, that is true, but it does not take away from the idea that you can give of the love in your heart, no matter the item.

It is a time for expressing that love in whatever way you deem appropriate. What attitude do you have when you are selecting your gifts? Are you stressed out? Do you feel unhappy because you do not have enough money? If this is true for you, you need to take a look at your priorities. If you cannot give even the smallest gift with a happy heart, filled with the peace of the Season, what blessing are you adding to the gift? That is what matters the most, after all is said and done.

What do you feel when you receive your gifts? Are you looking at the amount someone must have spent, or do you think about what a loving thought and blessing is wrapped inside the package? Are you open to receive that thought and blessing?

My first gift to my friend, who later became my husband, was a small Christmas stocking from a mall kiosk, with his name in glitter and some candy inside. He went into shock when I gave it to him because it was so unusual for him to receive a gift. He still has that little stocking in his desk drawer all these years later. So you never know what a small kindness can do.

In the flurry of the season, take a few moments to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. The Christmas decorations, the music, and the Holiday Spirit (which does not come in a bottle, unfortunately) are all a part of it. I love to exchange Christmas cards because it is a time to touch base with friends and family to see how they all are, for they are now spread far and wide across the globe. What a special time of year!

The center of this Holiday is, of course, the Christ in Christmas. It is a time for celebrating his birth. Is He in your heart, mind, and spirit as you go about your activities? His Gentleness, His Love for all mankind, and His Caring Nature are all expressed through you on a personal level to every single person you contact. Be mindful of that as you go through your days. Do not be so busy with anything that you forget that.

Just know that you choose whether to be that blessing or not as you give your gifts. Put a little of your thoughts inside each one, K? Be a Blessing, K? Be aware of your attitudes when you open your own gifts — look for the thoughtfulness and be open to the gratitude for the expression of love that is inside each one, K?

God’s blessings upon your journey. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

Hibiscus & Christmas

Hibiscus & Christmas

Christmas Poinsetta

Christmas Poinsettia

 

 

Abundance

Matthew 13: 11 & 12 states: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”

These verses had confused me for years. It sounds so unfair and certainly not my idea of what a Good God would do to anybody. It took a long time for me to understand the full import of these verses.

IT IS ALL A MATTER OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND UNDERSTANDING.

Consciousness is a big word that translates into: What are you thinking about and emotionalizing over?

Are you concentrating on what you DO NOT HAVE or grateful for WHAT YOU DO HAVE? Do you feel a sense of LOSS? Are you CONFUSED?

Separating emotions multiply exponentially – the more you dwell on them, the worse it gets. Bad things happen, but the more you dwell on them, the more it continues to occur. CHAOS REIGNS SUPREME!

Yes, abundance of the bad stuff that occurs is definitely not a goal for anyone, knowingly.

Many believe that SCARCITY RULES — If you have something, then someone else does not have it. In short, there is not enough to go around. It is not a matter of doing without while someone else enjoys a nice home, great clothes and jewelry, perhaps maid service or a private jet to travel the world. Actually, it is a matter of looking at your life and your choices and being happy with what gifts God has given to you. Envying others is a road that leads to nowhere. Yes, there are many others who have so much more than I will ever own, yet I truly enjoy my life and my possessions, whatever they are. Years ago, we were burglarized, and I lost many of my favorite pieces of jewelry which can never be replaced. It was a lesson to me to truly enjoy what I do have, and do not worry about anything else. If some good fortune comes our way and we change where and how we live, I will be just as happy. If it does not happen, I have lost nothing. You see, we always have enough and to spare and to share. God’s world is one of abundance for everyone – mankind creates shortages, wars, power struggles, etc. If one gets in touch with the idea that God provides OUR DAILY BREAD, the struggle ends. Daily Bread in Jesus’ time means everything that you need, not just bread, literally. Is that idea new to you? Ponder it, for it is a gem of the most precious worth to you.

So, are you one of those who HATH? Good for you! Or are you a HATH NOT? It says you will continue to lose ground.

Your heart and mind are a mated pair – not separated. What influences one changes both. If the LOVE you feel for self and others is a part of every moment of every day, guess what multiplies? However, if you CONDEMN yourself or others for any reason, it diminishes you and them as well. Which do you want to promulgate? The choice is yours to make.

Have you ever noticed a Dandelion that has gone to seed, or watched their seeds as they drift on the wind? That is the principle of abundance in action. You can see it everywhere in nature as things go to seed, getting ready for a new season. You, too, can do this. Just take a look at your consciousness and see what needs to change. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Dandelion = Abundance of Seeds

Dandelion = Abundance of Seeds

Nature's Abundance in Action

Nature’s Abundance in Action

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anger Management

A quote I live by every day: “Life is too serious to be taken seriously.”

I have had at least one person ask me what that means. I just responded, “Lighten up.”

When I was young, my temper would often get the best of me. Then I would dwell on the situation, only making myself more upset by the minute. Often it would take me days to get over some small incident.

Even if someone actually means to do something ornery to you, is a grudge the best way to handle it?

If someone cuts you off in traffic, do you react with anger? Are you still upset at your desk hours later? I figure that  person who cut me off, nearly taking my fender with him, did not actually do it to me — it is a habitual way to drive which is a poor paymaster, eventually causing that person to damage his own vehicle and probably somebody else’s. I bless him on his way.

As I have aged, I grant others the ability to misbehave and make mistakes, knowing that they are doing the best they can at that moment. I do not take it personally. It saves me a lot of wear and tear on my heart and mind because I just do not want to get angry about the situation. When I get angry, I am leaving my center of peace and tranquillity and exchanging it for something that will not be worth the agony it causes. I have to choose to ACT and not REACT. If I have to state something clearly so that a situation is resolved, I do not have to yell or cuss to get my point across. Yet there is no doubt in anyone’s mind what I am communicating.

I took an Anger Management class many years ago. I learned that ACTIVE LISTENING is the key. You repeat back to the person who is yelling at you exactly what you heard. You keep it up. Soon, the volume decreases. People yell because they think you did not hear them. When you repeat what they say, they lose steam. The Anger flows away. You cannot rationalize with an angry person. He/she is not listening to you. You cannot discuss the issues if one person is yelling and not listening. You can even, eventually, agree to disagree and then set another time to actually discuss the issues if it is necessary. I personally had to deal with a very angry 300 pound man who was borderline getting physically violent. The active listening calmed him down until I could ask him to leave. So I know it works.

Anger, in some people, causes them to withdraw as a reaction. They crawl up into a little shell, which only increases the anger expression of whoever is perpetrating the situation. Obviously, that person does not know you are listening to them.  Some people just try to get away from whatever is happening and just run away from the scene as fast as they can. Resolution never occurs.

Bullies love it. We admit that. They like to feel powerful and power-filled. They usually find someone to pick on that is smaller than they are.  They win by intimidation. Some supervisors do that same thing. You cannot interact with them because they know they have POWER. But being quiet like a mouse does not work either as a response. They usually only get worse. Try Active Listening techniques. Perhaps it will help calm the situation.

When someone is angry, it raises their blood pressure, the adrenalin “fight or flight” response, and the wear and tear on the body. It is like a light that goes shooting out at the person or situation. When it is over, one feels empty and drained. If the anger is not expressed properly, however, it turns inward and becomes depression. That is a bad beast to have to deal with.

You can pound on pillows, write a hate letter and shred it, perform physical exercise, imagining that you are stomping out the problem/situation/person. There are lots of ways to exorcise the bad feelings without putting one’s fist through a wall, person, or thing.

I have had three accidents in my life which have impacted my body functioning and hampered how I can do many tasks. I have had to deal with anger over the losses to my healthy body. Life is not fair, and it will never be so. I had to work my way through the anger responses so I could deal with the pain and the situation. That is not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary because I choose to be a pleasant person with a smile on my face. Most people will never know what I have gone through and what is happening to my body at any moment. I do not let the pain or the anger control me and dictate what my interaction level will be with others. I choose to overcome it and share the best that is in me with my world.

We are like puppets of the memories we have, registered long ago when we were learning how to interact with our world. We learned how to deal with situations by watching those around us. If we did not have good mentors (and most of us had parents and others around us who are capable of making mistakes), we respond with whatever we learned, good or bad.

Most of the therapy that people pay for is so they can react and interact with their world differently than what they learned when they were small. They want to be able to be more functional. That is a good thing. It is never too late to change, using whatever tools you can find that work for you, be it a book, a good friend, etc.

If you find yourself becoming angry at something or someone, can you stop for even a second before you light that flame of destruction? Can you ask yourself why you are ready to rip somebody’s head off? Can you stop and breathe deeply, trying to calm yourself, your blood pressure, and your “fight or flight” response? That is the purpose for counting to 10, slowly.

Do you remember the scene in the Harry Potter movie where Ron was facing his fears, and he turned the spider into a clown, with roller skates on each leg?  Do you know that anger can be dealt with in the same way? I quietly think about a scene from Alice in Wonderland, looking for the Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit with the pocket watch yelling, “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” Anything that will add levity to the situation until I can regain my perspective. I don’t have to tell anyone what I am up to…I just do it.

When things gets crazy around me, instead of joining the craziness, I just calmly rise in my air balloon, looking at the situation as a spectator. If I choose to ACT, I can then do so. No hint of REACT is there. (Now, if I had a charging tiger to deal with, I would put my adrenalin to good use. But short of that, in real life, there are not many  dangers out there to react to. It is the imaginary dangers that cause the damage, and most of them never happen. We just worry about it all, nonetheless.)

If have been told that I am a very positive person. I work at it. It is not something that happens by chance. I work on my calm attitudes because I want to be part of the answer, not the problem.

Each morning when I get up, I set my sails so that if some errant wind catches me, I can then adjust my sails so I can keep heading towards my destination, whatever that may be for the day. Lots of people can try to huff and puff, and blow me off course…all to no avail. Circumstances can do the same. I still press on with my hand on the helm, charting my course by my belief system and my faith. with prayers always in my heart.

Life happens. We all make mistakes. We have to continually pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

If you find yourself stewing over some situation and not arriving at a peaceful resolution, just know that you have lots of company. The only questions you need to ask yourself are, “Do I want to continue feeling like this? Do I want to change that?” Hanging onto your anger will not solve a thing. It only wears you out from the inside. Is it worth it?

 

I Am There

Poet James Dillet Freeman wrote this some years ago. A copy of it is now on the moon as it was carried there on the Apollo XV voyage by Astronaut James B. Irwin and left on the moon for future space voyagers. It has always touched my heart and comforted me when I need it. I share it with you as it has been one of my guides for a long time.

I Am There

“Do you need Me?

I am there.

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.

You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.

You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.

I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.

I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.

When you need Me, I am there.

Even if you deny Me, I am there.

Even when you feel most alone, I am there.

Even in your fears, I am there.

Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.

I am in you, and you are in Me.

Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of “yours” and “mine.”

Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

Empty your heart of empty fears.

When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.

You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.

And I am in all.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.

I am there because I have to be, because I am.

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.

I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law’s fulfilling.

I am assurance.

I am peace.

I am oneness.

I am the law that you can live by.

I am the love that you can cling to.

I am your assurance.

I am your peace.

I am one with you.

I am.

Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.

Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I am there.”

If you would print this off and post it in a prominent place where you would see its message often, you would ponder its Truths. Then you could begin to find ways to make your life more worthwhile, change your perspective, which would then effect positive motion in the right direction. Answers would come more readily as you seek them. Happy Hunting! May God bless your every endeavor.

Procrastination

PROCRASTINATION is a foible that we are all guilty of at one time or another… some experience it more than others.

Items of unfinished business that are laying around create disorder, and that causes PROCRASTINATION.  As one envelope invites you to put more there…so does a chaotic environment procreate itself ad infinitum ad nauseum.

One element of procrastination that generates chaos is a lack of organization…a pile of anything, be it paperwork, clothes, or something else. If one has not used the idea of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” piles of stuff accumulate. A pile is just an invitation to procrastination. A lack of prioritizing also contributes to it.

Putting first things first sounds simple and uncomplicated…until you take a look around at your surroundings. Most of us live in a state of unfinished business…a project not quite done in one place; dirty clothes that have not yet made the wash basket; a hat here, a glove or two there; unopened mail where one put it, still lying in a stack a couple of days later.

Sometimes we overburden ourselves with expectations. We surround ourselves with disorganization that makes it looks insurmountable, so why even start?

Every single item on a To Do List actually holds a piece of your energy. Just looking at it will not release that energy. It must be completed to free the mind and energize the soul so one can do something else.

When I find myself procrastinating, I purposely choose ONE THING and BEGIN to accomplish it. Synergy then gives me the  ability to continue on with my day, doing whatever it is that I choose to do.

One of my simple organization methods is: “Try to handle something only once.” If it is in your hand, make a quick decision to “put it in its place.” If it is dirty clothes, put them in the wash basket immediately and decide to not just dump them wherever. If it is unopened mail, determine what is junk mail, ready for recycling; open real mail and sort it…put bills with the bills and the rest into a suspense area to be dealt with later. Dirty dishes can get rinsed off as soon as you are done eating as food dries quickly and makes it even harder to get off…put them in the dishwasher  OR get them washed, dried, and put away.

If you are already living a state of unfinished business, pick one room or area. Begin to take care of the problem. Prioritize, put stuff away, and simplify your life. Soften your viewpoint and focus it on a smaller goal that you can achieve.  Break a pile into its parts and handle each one individually. With enough consistency, you can see the piles shrink before your very eyes.

Unfortunately, we do not have a Mary Poppins in our lives to put things in order. The clothes do not hang themselves up, and toys do not jump into the toy box.

Habits are difficult to change. They are created by continually making bad choices. They remain because we do not consciously make a decision to change our actions.

So, how about you? Do you want to continue to beat yourself up for your Procrastination? Do you really want to put out the effort to change? If you do, write it down. It begins there. Then pick an area to begin and decide to get moving. Are you willing? If you do, you may find your breakthrough!

Try to remember: God created Divine Order and Harmony in your mind as a natural state of being, bringing Peace to your Soul. This happens when you create order from disorder in your environment. All you have to do is look at a waterfall, a rainbow,  beautiful flowers, an osprey in flight, or a lovely landscape to understand this Truth.

Best wishes as you begin to change. Enjoy your day! 🙂

Bridal Veil Falls, Idaho Springs, CO

Bridal Veil Falls, Idaho Springs, CO

Rainbow Signifying Peace

Rainbow Signifying Peace

Beautiful Flowers

Beautiful Flowers

Osprey in Flight

Osprey in Flight

Mt Evans, Front Range, CO

Mt Evans, Front Range, CO

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