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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

 

 

 

 

Tail of the Elephant

There is a tale about three blind men who are holding onto different parts of an elephant. One is holding a leg, saying: “This elephant is like the trunk of a tree.” Another is holding onto the tail, stating: “This elephant is like a snake.” Another is holding onto the trunk, who says: “No, it is like a really thick rope.” Thinking about it, they are all correct in their descriptions. But does it really describe an elephant? Nope.

You see, when one is looking at a situation, probably negative, one only sees it from a personal take on the facts. Other people could see it far differently.

We get so addicted to our own point of view, however, that we think that is all there is. In fact, we do not look outside of our own perceptions to answer a question, respond to a situation (either positive or negative), formulate a plan of action, or even decide to withdraw from the world at large, experiencing depression, angst, or fear.

If one were to suggest that there are other alternatives, most of us do not listen unless it already supports our point of view. The rest just falls away.

If one knows  someone who has had such pain in his/her life/heart that withdrawal has become the only answer, how do you show your compassion to that person? As she/he clings madly to the problem, do you get angry? Do you yell at him/her, trying to get through the wall that was placed there on purpose for defense/protection? If you can make no sense of the situation, which keeps deteriorating like a sinking ship, what are you to do if you care about that person? Stand by and watch it go down? That is painful, indeed, to watch.

Try to not forget that personal choice rules here. You cannot save someone who does not really want to be saved. Complaints and suffering aside, the one who is sinking may not want to go quietly, but positive action, no matter how small or doable, is not considered an option by that person because it has already been discarded.

You can always care very much. You can pray. You can try to structure another possibility if you remember the point of reference that person is using. Remember the elephant? Which part does he/she have hold of?

This process is also true in an argument. People tend to defend their own ideas, no matter how strange, and keep holding on to their own version of the elephant, be it leg, tail, or trunk. It is hard to discuss your idea/resolution if you cannot see what idea they are attached to. You have to enter their thought processes, use active listening techniques, recognizing the anger (which is a tool to make the anger dissipate), and keep feeding back to that person what you are hearing. One cannot argue reasonably with an angry person. The anger must first be drawn off in order to have any reasoning heard. Most anger is caused because that person feels like he/she is not being heard, which is why active listening techniques work so well.

How about you? Have you looked at your world lately? Do you have things that make you feel very uncomfortable? Is there an “unreasonable” person — be it a boss, supervisor, coworker, teenager, child — in your life that is “making you crazy?” Join the rest of the world as there will always be someone to “drive you up a wall!” The question is, what part of the elephant are you holding on to? Try to remember that you can decide to go crazy or not as that truly is a decision within your personal power to control. You can even opt out of it entirely by using silence — one of the most ignored, and most successful, tools in the world. It will stop the acceleration.

Sometimes, especially with children, we have to be the needed guide to the “little person,” who thinks whatever action we require is unwelcome and unwanted.  If we renege on our duty/responsibility as parents or teachers, the world will be a sadder place for it. That child will grow up without the tools to live his/her life and make better choices. There are so many children we see in stores these days who absolutely are not taught the word “NO means NO!” How many tantrums have you seen lately? It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy to try to keep doing what you know you need to do, often with little gratis afforded your efforts.  Try to remember the elephant because you are teaching the point of view that is needed to get the child to see the bigger picture and not just about how it is he/she is thinking/attached to.

Have you heard the words, “Team Building?” It is a buzz word to get things done as efficiently as possible. How does one begin? Simple: Teach the elephant idea as each one is holding a part of the overall product in his/her expertise. Each one has to learn what his/her part is and how it relates to the whole. Then you make sure each one does his/her part. There is always a before and after part to each person’s particular piece. It must start somewhere and end someplace else. It is like hooking the pieces of a train together so it can begin to move.  Usually, the whole train gets to moving forward, gathering speed as each learns and does what is needed. If one gets uncoupled, the whole train suffers from lack of forward motion and confusion. Then you have to figure out who got uncoupled, which is fairly obvious. The fix becomes clear much more easily.

I worked in the Government for many years. I used this concept successfully on so many needs that it was honed to simplicity itself. I worked with individual field offices, reporting requirements, travel, major household moves, regulations, timekeeping, performance appraisals, etc. This idea works, plain and simple.

What areas could you use this elephant idea in? Do you see the elephant, or are you personally hanging onto a leg, tail, or trunk? You will have to learn to shift your paradigm to see the elephant. Are you willing? You life would become so much simpler if you would “get out of your box” and look at the overall picture. Once you know the principle and can use it, you whole life could change because interactions would become easier. You could use it with anyone in your environment. Is it worth your effort? YES!

God’s blessings upon your journey!

 

Elephant

Elephant

Elephant, Tail, Legs and Trunk

Elephant, Tail, Legs and Trunk

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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