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The Sound of Silence

A few days ago, we were on top of Haleakala Crater on Maui. The sun was warm, and the view of the crater was clear. There was no wind, for a change, and the clouds were far below us.  We stopped by a lookout on the way down from the top. It was there that I heard it: A profound Sound of Silence which touched me deeply. Somewhere inside of me, I heard and felt a stillness that I have never experienced before at this level. It was so peaceful and quiet. I felt so very blessed at receiving this precious gift. The surroundings were not only beautiful and majestic, but it inspired awe in the beholder. The Silversword plant, which only grows there, is wondrous. The clouds were coming straight up from the rain forest far below, like wisps of imagination. It was hard to leave it in order to return to the hustle and bustle far below us, catching our flight home.

I know that it is an oxymoron, for how can Silence have a Sound? Perhaps because it is the exception. Sound is a pollution present in every place inhabited by humans and animals. Some of it is pleasant, like the rustle of leaves in the wind, surf on the seashore, or a waterfall. How about the sound of a child’s laughter or a cat purring? However, most sounds come from our environment: Traffic, horns, overly-loud music, neighbors fighting over some trivial thing, etc. Some we like: a newborn baby’s cry, good music, conversation with a loved one or friend. Others we do not care for much because it is not within our frame of reference. Even when life is a little quieter, there are not many places where one can experience the Sound of Silence.

The stillness in my soul is now present with me, wherever I go. It is like it makes the song of birds more sweet, the flowers more colorful, and  my awareness  is more alive than I ever remember. I know I am more peaceful at the center of my being. I treasure this greatly.

In the Bible in Psalm 46:10, it states: “Be still and know that I Am God.”

In this stillness, it gives us a home base from which to operate. Eric Butterworth said it very well: “Be in the hub of a wheel, living life from the center instead of at the circumference.” If you are caught up in the sound and fury of all the activity, guess who is at the circumference? (Is it any wonder that, at the end of the day, you feel like you have been run over by something?) But if you take a few minutes for yourself in the morning for quiet contemplation/meditation, you can respond more from the hub of the wheel (for it is very motionless there) and with a more thought-filled response to everything.

Life itself is filled with cacophony. It begins with sound of an alarm clock  so we can get underway, and continues throughout each day. Perhaps the baby is crying, the young children are fighting, or the phone is ringing, and the TV is already on. Sometimes, we are so afraid of being alone that we fill our surroundings with noise, be it a computer, music, TV, cell phone, etc. Some, of course, is generated by our 24/7 lifestyles, earning money so we can afford to live in this economy. The only question is: Is your health suffering from the anxiety, stress, and overload that is in your life, caused by the choices you have made in the past? How, then, can one begin to get a handle on this? Easy: One thing at a time. Begin to thoughtfully look at your reality and see each individual thing by itself. Then you can make a decision to alter it however you can to make your life more peaceful.

Serenity of Spirit is a worthwhile goal. It has a price that it demands, however. One must stop responding to exterior stimuli the way you always have. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Will I forever be grateful for the Sound of Silence which I experienced on Haleakala?  You bet! I have a new perspective to add to the daily ingredients for living a fulfilled life.

If you are a scuba diver, a snorkeling enthusiast, a spelunker, a hiker or climber of mountains, you know whereof I speak. You have experienced the moments of Silence.

I believe that each experience becomes part of our Tapestry of Life. Some beautiful memories add in the rainbow colors, and the tears and grief add the contrast of the background. When all is said and done, your Tapestry will be unique to you alone. How do you want it to look? No one else can weave it for you. For good or ill, it is yours to do. Others can have an opinion about what you should and should not do. But you are the captain of your ship. You alone must decide how to sail it and where you are going.

If you have a stillness inside from which to make your decisions, you will be able to ACT vs. REACT. If one is always REACTING to external stimuli, you will always have greater chaos in your life. ACTING means you take time to think things through before responding. If you have a charging elephant coming at you (which few of us will ever have),  you will REACT. The rest of the time, ACTING is the champion of Self Control and Calmness.

Funny thing about that is people are attracted to you because they can sense your attitude before you ever open your mouth. It emotes from you like the scent from a flower.

How do you begin? The following quote (which is mistakenly stated to be from Van Goethe *) puts it very well:

“Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

By utilizing this idea, Synergy is thus  created. (The Secret of SYNERGY is that, once movement begins, it multiplies and continues.) Is it a worthwhile goal? Absolutely! But only you can decide that. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

* (The lines are attributed to John Anster in a “very free translation” of Faust from 1835, where the lines in question are spoken by the “Manager” in the “Prelude at the Theatre.”)

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Silversword

Silversword

Silversword - Done Blooming

Silversword – Done Blooming

Plumeria with Palm Tree

Plumeria with Palm Tree

Plumeria (leis usually made from this)

Plumeria (Leis are usually made from these.)

Habiscus

Hibiscus

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Maui Sunrise & Surf

Maui Sunrise & Surf

Waikiki Sunrise & Surf

Waikiki Sunrise & Surf

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees

Hawaiian Sunset

Hawaiian Sunset

 

 

Love – Emotion, Feeling, or State of Being?

Love is defined as: “a deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons; an expression of one’s love or affection; a feeling of brotherhood and good will toward other people; a strong, usually passionate, affection of one person for another, based in part on sexual attraction; the person who is the object of such an affection; sweetheart; lover; sexual passion; sexual intercourse.”

Valentine’s Day is set apart as a celebration of Love. Couples use it as an opportunity to give gifts of chocolate, flowers, or jewelry, especially for the lady. Today, my husband and I exchanged cards expressing our devotion.  But the acts of love we give each other are a daily occurrence, large and small, year in and year out. Sometimes it is just listening to each other, exchanging a foot massage, or just enjoying each others’ presence while we walk in the park or watching a movie. We do not need to buy expensive gifts to show how much we love each other. Of course, we are older and more mature than young people are. We know what we cherish, which is time together and the attitude of being each other’s best friend. We not only honor, but we respect, each other. This removes many evils from our path.

As you look at the definition above, you need to decide for yourself which one applies to you. Love is more than sexual passion, attraction, and touching intimately. If one truly Loves another, one cares about that person, along with his/her needs/wants/desires. We are divinely made so we can help one another to grow and become the person we are meant to be. We are not meant to inhibit, control, or exhibit power over anyone if we actually are expressing Love. We are not to do harm in any way. This would include hateful, mean words which achieve nothing in the long run, but they do cause hurt feelings which sometimes cannot be eradicated. Gentle words are vital to a good relationship, while screaming and yelling exacerbate any situation.

Do you think about what you are going to say before you open your mouth? It is a good policy and serves diplomacy well. Do you ask questions, which require an answer, versus making statements which you must then defend and qualify. If you are talking to someone you truly care about, you might want to remember this. It can make a big difference in any relationship, be it a loved one, coworker, or anyone else.

If Love is just an Emotion or a Feeling, it may seemingly express itself in an ebb and flow, like the tides. Can you really have Love for a wayward teenager who is bent on achieving some idea that makes you crazy? Yup! That is when you use your Love to guide that person the best you can. It may or may not work. In the end, you do the best you can. Someday, that teenager will have children and only then will  understand how hard you tried to do the best you could. I used a teenager as an example, but it could be anyone with whom you have a relationship. Sometimes you might feel the ebb and flow with your mate. It is not a sign that love has died, necessarily. It only says something about the nature of emotions and feelings, which are not constant.

When one first “falls in love,” that person usually can do no wrong. You see “through the eyes of love.” Then somewhere along the way, little habits begin to irritate you. You either resolve them, or they continue to expand — like a snowball going downhill. Eventually, it becomes too big to stop. Bickering begins, and those turn into fights. The next thing you know, you two are separating and going your own way. Sometimes you are happy about it, and sometimes you are not. If you are caught in this spiral, you must ask yourself about why you got together in the first place. Are any of those reasons still valid? If they are, you need to find a way to fix it, if you can. If not, you need a different game plan when you enter a relationship with someone new.

A revolutionary idea: Is it possible to live in Love as a State of Being?

When you open your eyes in the morning, what is your first thought? Your second one? Are you glad to be alive? Are you grateful for something? Are you expressing friendliness to people in your world? When you take a deep breath, do you feel a sweet release of tension and stress?

The element of Livingness is expressing Love as a State of Being, coming from within, and going outwards to anyone who contacts us during a day. It does not matter if it is five minutes with a salesclerk, giving a smile and a thank you for the service rendered, or if it is towards someone you truly love — be it your mate,  mother,  family, friend, or anyone else of importance to you.

Love is a State of Mind First, Last, and Always.

If you Love Life, you stop and smell the flowers along the way, appreciate the colors that surround you, the beautiful butterflies that flutter by, and birds that sing their song. You are living in the moment, not worrying about tomorrow or yesterday. LIVE IN THE NOW. You must have heard this many times in so many different ways. By doing this, you are more able to stay in tune with your thoughts and emotions.

If you dance, are you listening to the music you are hearing RIGHT NOW? That beat, that movement is all timed to the music. It is not the song that was playing yesterday or last year. Nor is it the song that will be played next year. It is Today’s Song. By staying in the moment, you will be moving to the music of Life Within You, more able to better respond to Life’s situations, be they positive or negative.

If you look at your current situation , you need to look at where you are versus where you would like to be. It is that simple and that hard. You are the captain of your ship. You alone must decide where and how to sail it. Are you willing to make changes so that you can achieve a new beginning? It is all up to you, after all. What do you choose?

God’s blessings upon your journey.

Chuhily Exhibit

Chihuly Exhibit

Orchids

Orchids

Moonbow

Moonbow

Fire Rainbows

Fire Rainbows

Sunrise

Sunrise

Aurora Borealis and Sunset

Aurora Borealis and Sunset

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly

Red Winged Blackbird

Red Winged Blackbird

Dove

Dove

Live in the Moment by Dr. Wayne D. Dyer

Live in the Moment by Dr. Wayne D. Dyer

 

 

Have You Laughed at Yourself Lately?

Every single day, I find lots of reasons to laugh at myself. Sometimes I am so serious that the thought of laughter is its own joke. Yes, there are times to be serious. But laughter makes a wonderful companion, especially when I am making myself wrong about something or depressed over some ache or pain. I heartily endorse the use of laughter as a tool for healing as well, just like Norman Cousins’ book, “Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived By the Patient:”

“Anatomy of an Illness was the first book by a patient that spoke to our current interest in taking charge of our own health. It started the revolution in patients working with their doctors and using humor to boost their bodies’ capacity for healing. When Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a crippling and irreversible disease, he forged an unusual collaboration with his physician, and together they were able to beat the odds. The doctor’s genius was in helping his patient to use his own powers: laughter, courage, and tenacity. The patient’s talent was in mobilizing his body’s own natural resources, proving what an effective healing tool the mind can be. This remarkable story of the triumph of the human spirit is truly inspirational reading.”

Another of interest is “The Healing Power of Humor” by Allen Klein: “The ability to laugh at annoyances, crises, and even outright disasters can literally save your life. The author presents a series of proven techniques for overcoming the negative effects of loss, setbacks, upsets, disappointments, trials, and tribulations.”

If one Googles, “Laughter is the best medicine,” lots of entries come up. One such entry is, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” at http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm    What a delight it was to see this, repeating how many areas of your life,  spirit, and health can improve through the use of humor and laughter. Please go there and read this refreshing article.

Norman Vincent Peale states: “It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself, you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.” Please check out some of his books, especially, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It helps to change your perspective.

Proverbs 17:22 states: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

That is an accurate description of how I feel about laughter and its absence. That is why I look for the lighter side of things in spite of pain, enduring illness, sadness (which is appropriate for a time, but then you have to let it go), depression (feeling down for long periods of time), growing older (and seeing how very much I am no longer capable of doing or must do much less), etc. For every reason under the sun, there are many reactions possible. I have to admit that I cannot always respond well, lightening up and getting on with life, but it is my ultimate goal and ideal. I strive very hard to make it workable in my life. I put some music on and dance around, just experiencing the joy of movement. I do yoga. I do my physical therapy exercises religiously and go to the physical therapist as needed. I exercise daily in some way. I love the endorphins that gives me.

My message is a simple one: No matter what you have got that is eating at you, laughter and humor can improve your heart and mind so you can deal with life more effectively. All you have to do is seek to experience it in your life, in whatever way that suits you. Are you willing to turn loose of the problem that is choking the life out of you and look for another answer? It is your choice — use it wisely.

God’s blessings on your journey!

My Mom at 96, Still Laughing!

My Mom at 96, Still Laughing!

What a joy that was to experience!

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Love Yourself

That sounds like an oxymoron, but it really isn’t.

We are trained from childhood to look for what we do wrong and not for what we do right. We make inner tapes of those people who are our idea of authoritative/instructive figures, and they are unedited tapes. Every time you say, “I should have…” you are actually listening to those inner tapes once again. It does not matter if the tapes are unedited and may not apply to a certain situation. We listen to them once again and beat ourselves up inside for some perceived shortcoming.

A simple example of this is etiquette: “Don’t put your elbows on the table while you are eating.” So, even if you have your elbows on the table as you lean forward to participate in an interesting conversation,  you can look back on it later and say, “I should not have done that.” You then proceed to make yourself wrong after rethinking something.  That happens all the time.

I have had different people call me later and apologize profusely for some apparent misstep, which I do not even notice, let alone recall. So it is not that something negative occurred which is clearly labeled that way. It is just someone is looking back at an occurrence, and, because they are a good person, they feel an apology is required…not optional. That happens frequently to lots of people, male and female alike. It is the tapes, always. The stronger the tapes, the more you beat yourself up inside, telling yourself what a bad person you are. Is this constructive? I doubt it. Can it improve your behavior, based on a negative model? Probably not. It just plants more self condemnation (which is a curse to a good self image), that is reproduced again later in a more lethal dose to your spirit. (How can you build something up by tearing it down?)

Another example is, “I have to learn things the hard way.” Isn’t that a great affirmation? If you want some more of what you don’t really care for, say that one!

I was 19 years old before I found out I could something right: I learned to ice skate. What a joy it was! I could fly across the ice and just enjoy being alive. I felt like I was finally free of the negative issues that I was surrounded with. I had been raised by my mother, who was raised in an orphanage as her parents had died before she was 5 years old. She raised me in the only way she knew, which was not pretty. My father had died two days before my 8th birthday. My self image was not a good one. I knew I was wrong before I got up in the morning, and I would be wrong when I went to bed that night. My mother was a good, gentle person trying to do the best she could. Her best nurturing came when I was sick, so I was sick a lot, of course. (We all need nurturing.) I was raised with the script: Don’t Be (which is synonymous for Do Not Exist). That, by the way, is the hardest one to get rid of.  Heartache, Inc., is what it should be labeled.

Because the tapes are inside of us, they are difficult to access, particularly if we do not realize they are there. Could you sit down and write down your own personal list of “Should Have’s” and “Ought To’s?” That would be a nice beginning to the ability to recognize tapes, which become commandments in our daily living. (It should be noted that this happens at the subconscious level until we bring it to the conscious level so we can override it.) Once you write them down, you can begin to realize where and who they came from and just how much they control your life. You can make a judgment about whether that particular tape is worth keeping and what is immediately made trash-worthy.

Self analysis is an art, is not easily done, and is often confused by the inner voices/tapes from our past. The more difficult our past has been, the harder it is to know how to begin. The only way to do that is really more simple than you have been led to believe. You don’t have to “rake around in the old bones” of your past for years, psychoanalyze all of it to look for reasons for causes of your behavior, and crawl to a new beginning, ever so slowly. You can begin today to make a difference and to make changes to your life. All you have to do is to decide right this moment that you want to cultivate a good self image–the beginning of learning to love yourself, right where you are with all your faults and gifts which need unwrapping by discovering what they are.

Just a word about the difference between a good self image and ego/grandiosity in all its forms. EGO is defined as that part of you that experiences the external world through the senses, organizes the thought processes rationally, and governs action; it mediates between the pleasure and wishing impulses of the id, the demands of the environment, and the standards of the superego (inner tapes). GRANDIOSITY is described as seeming or trying to seem very important–the negative aspect of which is putting yourself down all the time–same thing just at opposite ends. Ego can be a good thing if approached with caution, extreme caution. It is an element of a good self image if it is  balanced with good ideas: The ability to see reality clearly and acting appropriately (as in not needing to puff yourself up at somebody else’s expense; not continuously putting yourself down because you are riding your own case constantly; getting your feelings hurt because of a perceived {and sometimes real} slight that somebody else has said or done to you).  In short, one can get confused easily by everyday occurrences in your life. You can assume guilt where there is none. You can be very selfish and not care about others in any way. You can put someone else down because they do not perform in accordance with your expectations, forgetting that they have their own ideas as well. There are many permutations of the above idea. You may discover many of them on your journey…in yourself and in others. Once discovered, you alone must decide their worth to you and to others–you can keep what you want and discard the rest.

Anyway, my journey to a healthy self image has been a very long one and continues today. Through life’s experiences, both good and bad, I have found out what does and does not work–what matters and what does not. I have used books, workshops, and church classes in my search for any information that will help me to become a better person and who I was meant to be. I have found so many things to love about my life and find great Joy in just being alive, in seeking Beauty daily in all her forms, and in caring about others, helping them to find a handhold on their journeys so they can grow. A healthy self image is a treasure for the rest of your life and is well worth striving for.

Are you interested in discovering who it is you really are, without the dictation from the inner tapes to control your every move subconsciously? As stated above, you must first make the effort to discover these inner tapes and make them conscious so you can edit them and make changes in your life. Are you willing to do that?

Life is a symphony. You can make sweeter music and unfold like a flower if you do.

Make sweet music and unfold like a flower

Make sweeter music and unfold like a flower!

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