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Chop Wood, Carry Water

Do you chop wood and carry water? You must be thinking, “Is she crazy? I’m not camping!” Tee hee!

In all reality, you do it every day, each in his/her own way. “How?” you may ask. Answer: Everything you do–be you a king, queen, laborer, or pauper–is in fact Chopping Wood and Carrying Water!

My point is that, if you are present in the moment, you are breathing, thinking, and performing your daily tasks, whatever they may be. The question is: What is your attitude? Where are your emotions? What are you thinking about and dwelling upon, whether it be past, present, or future? In these uncertain times with extreme fears and passions everywhere, where is your calmness and peace?

Only as you ask yourself these questions and then answer them can you leave the outside world behind so you can find the calmness inside you to weather the storm outside you.

The concept behind “Chopping Wood and Carrying Water” is actually a very simple one:

PRESENCE OF MIND!

If you are driving your car, is your mind thinking about the burned toast or unkind words from someone you care about? Or perhaps you are fretting because traffic is heavy and dangerous? Maybe you are concerned about a big project at work with impossible deadlines? My question is: “Are you driving your car, centering your attention on what is happening at that moment?” Would it be possible to take a deep breath, notice your surroundings, be polite to someone who needs to get over, and smile in your mirror? Taking life moment by moment is the only real way to live. You cannot do two things at once, no matter how hard you try. You may do many things in quick succession, but each one is by itself. Most people are trying to stuff their lives with stress-causing, unrealistic expectations of themselves and others.

Presence is defined as: “The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place.”

What that translates to is: Are you aware of how you are breathing at this particular moment in time? If you are breathing from your chest, you are stressed out. Only when you are aware of being able to breathe deeply from your stomach/diaphragm area can you get a handle on what is going on with you…your brain…your emotions. What is in the room with you at this moment? Is there something beautiful to please you, or a wonderful smell like baking bread, or perhaps the scent from someone you care about? So many times, our monkey mind is fretting over some silly situation that truly does not matter at all, if you stop and think rationally about its components. Usually it is just emotions running wild. Calmness is an impossible dream and totally out of reach.

Why? Because your attention is so centered on it, emotionally ruminating about it in your mind, perhaps drawing up unpleasant scenarios. Why do that to yourself? Beats me!

So many things are outside of our control, especially now. We forget that it is our reaction to outside stimuli that is causing the problem.

Life will go on, trust me, if you stop, take a deep breath, and apply Presence of Mind at that moment. You can control your reactions, but you must take the thoughtful action to do it. Are you willing? CHOP WOOD AND CARRY WATER!

God bless you on your journey!

The Dance of Life

When one opens his/her eyes, the Dance of Life begins. Perhaps you have not even swung your feet out to the floor yet, but thoughts and emotions begin to pummel your consciousness…things to do, priorities, fears, worries, etc. Usually, it is the negative stuff that creates stress that come immediately to mind.

Wouldn’t it be great if your first thought upon waking is: “Thank God I am alive!” Breathe deeply, and feel your mouth smile. Joy fills your being. You are looking forward to another day of living your life, moving to the inner music created by a soul at peace.

If you had to guess, which scenario would come to the mind of most people? My guess is that the first one reigns supreme, with few even believing that the second one is a real possibility and not just an impossible dream.

At the root of the problem is the idea that your reality is subject to many outside influences and situations, most of which are intending to cause you stress and predicaments beyond your ability to cope with them. Your Dance of Life would sound like a cacophony of irritable noises to which you would move like a puppet on a stage, with strings beyond your control. Your breath moves up to your upper chest, denying the lung’s capability to provide oxygen fully to your body. Does that sound hopeless? It does to me.

Who would think that the busy thoughts in your mind could be controlled, with a choice of what and how to dwell on each situation the day would bring? Being able to use your body awareness to soften the abdomen when breathing in, and tightening it to push the air out so you get the benefits of oxygen to all parts of your being is not a silly idea pushed by some guru on television. It is actually the saving grace, becoming the beginning of the Dance of Life that is possible for each and every one.

We have all heard the famous saying, “Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it.” In life, attitude is everything; it is what shapes our beliefs and our desires. I would add that it determines how your Dance of Life will unfold.

Yes, there are so many outer occurrences in our life that seem to predetermine our reactions, thoughts, and emotions. But what if you could change that? During this time of fear-filled existence, a sense of loss of so many things that we once considered our divine heritage, and exterior dictates of our daily routine, how could it be possible to be serene and at peace with yourself and others?

If you want a dose of insanity, turn on the television to listen to the daily news. That will begin your morning with negativity enough to last all day and well into the night. Every thought and emotion, every occurrence, etc., will solidify the notion that this world is truly chaotic, with no hope of anything else.

Or: you could get a cup of tea or coffee, sit quietly for a few minutes, and possibly read something uplifting to your heart and mind, concentrating on what is right in the world instead of all that which is wrong. Breathe deeply, do some yoga or Tai Chi as you move into your world with a sense of lightness and joy versus darkness, sadness, and anxiety for yourself and the world at large.

We all know someone who is in dire straits right now, perhaps jobless, hungry, and depressed. Where does one draw the line with compassion for all those others who are hurting deeply in so many ways right now? Praying is a good key, of course. Each person must answer that one personally. But it is possible to remain in a peaceful center while partaking of such activity as you deem necessary…if you begin when you first open your eyes in the morning and before your feet touch the floor.

One thought that has recently come to me is: In the Dance of Life, the part we play (big or small) is just a tiny portion of the lessons others came to this planet at this time in history in order to learn.

It is the idea of a grandfather teaching his grandchild about a butterfly which is struggling to get out of its cocoon. The child wants to aid it by helping to remove the cocoon. The grandfather stops her, saying, “If you do that, you are condemning it to a flightless existence. Only by its struggle to get out of its cocoon will the life force fill its wings so it can fly and be the beautiful thing it was meant to be.”

If you could magically remove the struggles you see every day, would you? Could you? Should you? We all help where we can, yes. But where is your stopping point?

At any rate, your Dance of Life is under your care, custody and control. What kind of music do you want to hear as you move through your day? It is, after all, within your power of choice to determine this, each and every day.

God bless you on your journey!

God Is Good!

During this long period of time after CoVID19 happened, changes in our world have left so many of us with extreme emotions about many topics. Everything we knew as normal is gone, with no expectation that anything will return to what it was.

These emotions range from despair, fear, angst, discord, grief, disappointment, anger, etc. There has been very little hope generated. Isn’t that a sad thought?

Now add in the upcoming election cycle, where civility has taken a back seat to angry dissertations and arguments between family members, friends, coworkers, etc. Everyone is so attached to their points of view that no one else can say anything else or contrary to it. Why is that? What makes this time in history different from any other occasion?

During this fractious time, if one were to say: “God is Good!” – it would seem like a crazy person said it. Why is that? How about: “Hope is a part of my everyday thinking!” Positive affirmations have been pushed aside as futile. Yet I would like to posit that this is the only way out of the darkness that surrounds us.

Is God Good when so many are in travail over the lack of money, lost jobs, missed opportunities, in ill health? Perhaps someone we care about has made his/her transition, and grief is all we can feel because we have not had the closure of being by his/her side when it happened? So many reasons to question the idea that God is still good.

Let me assure you that God has not changed, nor has He/She/It gone anywhere. You are not operating in a void, all alone in your misery. Your tool for access is prayer, whatever you define that to be. There is also meditation, deep breathing, yoga, being centered, exercise, experiencing the outdoors as best you can, peaceful sleep which rejuvenates the soul and mind, etc. Life can be better, no matter what you are personally dealing with.

It has been said that, “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to that which matters.” Can you believe that in this traumatic time? You can decide how you personally will respond to each and every situation in your daily life. Is that a unique idea to you? Possibly, but it is absolutely true. Outside happenings cannot dictate to you how you will decide to take action, unless it is an approaching angry tiger or elephant. Yet so many of us act like every single thing is an approaching angry tiger or elephant! No wonder you are exhausted when you fall into bed at night!

COVID19 and the election will pass. A vaccine will be formulated and distributed. Life will continue. The only question you have to ask yourself is: How am I going to make it through this storm?

If you are depressed, fearful, angry, grief-stricken, or caught up with any other negative emotion, you are planting more of the same. In order to have a different result, you will have to change your focus to something better.

You might ask me how. Focus is defined as concentrating on a thought or emotion, enabling clear perception or understanding. If you feel like you are a gerbil in a cage, with thoughts and feelings which only make you feel worse, you know you are stuck and need to turn your attention elsewhere. Only then will you be released from the cage of your own making.

Use whatever tools you possess (reading good thoughts, meditation, yoga, deep breathing while focusing on the stillness of a placid lake, whatever) to change your attention and perspective. You just have to be willing to do that. Are you?

Remember:  God Is Good!

Peace be with you on your journey.

Saint or Sinner? Peace or Chaos?

Each segment of the church system/religious beliefs has its own parameters of what consists the answer to the question: Are you a saint or a sinner? On one side is the saint, and on the other is the sinner.

Even in our own minds, we label our concepts of saint or sinner. From this point of reference, we judge our world, past and present, self and others. We beat ourselves up for our perceived shortcomings, where we fall short of our own expectation levels. Others also emphasize the same. This only reinforces the negative input incoming to our spirit. Is it productive or counter-productive? Does the negativity give us a desire to change? Nope. Only a positive attitude, working toward a positive goal, can do that. Isn’t it amazing, though, that so many people think that the negative motivation works?

Here is a revolutionary concept: What if we have the power through the use of our choices to be one or the other and even somewhere in between? Is that a possibility?

It may sound absolutely insane to think of life in that way. We put a lot of attention on blaming others, circumstances, or even life itself. This helps us to avoid the responsibility of accepting that we made a poor choice in the first place.

Yes, accidents happen, as do sickness, job loss, horrific weather, crazy politics, etc. Then we have to decide on what our particular response will be – not our reaction, mind you. I am focusing on the idea of what I am going to do in this situation that is occurring on this Third Rock from the Sun. Am I praying for the situation others are experiencing in such a traumatic way? Of course. My response is to choose to support the relief efforts in whatever way I can. Please note that I said response.

In my own life, stuff happens: Good, Bad, and all that comes between those two. However, as captain of my ship, I must decide how I am sailing: What, where, destination, journey, etc. In a strong wind, I must tack to maintain my course. I have to consider my destination (a fixed point) vs. the journey itself as it unfolds. Heaven knows that the destination certainly can change in an instant through positive or negative impacts, perhaps with no choice of my own involved. Life happens.

The only question you are left with: How do you want to respond vs. react to exterior situations/information? The choice is always yours, whether you recognize it or not. In this restless world at this point in time and space, the electronic transmission of all facts/perceptions are known to all with just a touch of a button, literally. The emotions are running so high that the fight or flight pattern in all of us is controlling so much of our thoughts. This state, if kept up long enough, will be our undoing, both individually and collectively.

Peace must be actively chosen as a part of our world. Step back for just a moment, breathe deeply, become quiet (no matter how briefly), and rest just a bit before reentering the exterior world. Your body and mind will thank you. That choice is up to you! Choose wisely.

Praying always for all the suffering that is happening now. Be safe. Act constructively and positively. Do what you must, but don’t lose your sense of self/peace in the process.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Set Your Wings

Have you ever watched a gaggle of geese that are coming in for a landing on a lake? They are majestic, to say the least. Before they touch down, their wings lock into a curved downward position as they descend. When they are close to the surface, they flutter their wings to let the air pass through their feathers and land. The one thing I have noticed, though, is that, no matter how many other geese are already in their chosen landing spot, not one ever sets down on top of an existing goose’s place. Their brains are not large, yet they always land successfully!

What if humans had that same ability when going from place to place, goal to goal, and job to home? After all, we have a larger brain. Why do we have such a hard time of setting our wings?

If we could do so as easily as the geese, think what a peaceful place our lives could be. We would leave our home situations at home, traffic/transit problems there, and work situations/problem/stresses at the place of origin. Perhaps you have heard, “Leave your problems at home. Put on your smile, and move into your day here.” Maybe you walk in the door at home and start yelling because you haven’t left the stressors at your workplace. You are carrying leftovers from place to place. You are literally not “setting your wings.” The same happens when going from burned toast at home to an important meeting at the office.

Goal oriented people can become obsessive, trying to get their To Do Lists done, all of them, all the time. They thus create stressors on themselves and others. Instead of flowing from task to task, they jump around like grasshoppers in lieu of doing just one thing at a time, which is really all one can do anyway. Multi-tasking is a myth.

If one could set one’s wings as easily as the geese, you would better be able to construct your day, pick your destination (as it were) of each incident, decide your necessary action that is appropriate to the task at hand, complete it, and move on to whatever comes next. You would keep that sense of ease about each task, one flowing into another one, whatever comes next.

Imagine yourself in heavy traffic, you need to get home because you have a million things to get done before you can relax, which you desire even more. Someone else, equally as anxious, cuts you off. You respond with anger because they have invaded your space. What gets lost in the process? You got it! More stress than you had before.

I know you are definitely not a goose. But what if you could keep that sense of peace when setting your wings through your day, no matter what happens? There is an inner connectedness that can occur when you stop for a moment, breathe deeply, and decide your action in lieu of a reaction to circumstances around you. If you applied this idea to every incident that occurs throughout your day, you would be less stressed, more peaceful and happier person. You would most certainly be more healthy.

What if you could encapsulate the stressors you experience each and every moment of your day in a little bubble, all its own? Then you could act or react to just that particular incident instead of going crazy over the accumulation of it over time, be it a day, week, or lifetime. Some people are still reacting to things that happened long ago and far away, thinking about the injustice of it all, feeling self righteous, etc. It is an accumulation of things that are dragged from one incident to another that causes the confusion. Then add the daily stuff and you have a recipe for disaster. You may feel driven in lieu of being the driver.

What I am suggesting to you is that you can live a more peaceful life if you set your wings in the morning by breathing deeply, noticing the beauty around you, think of a very happy place in your mind where you were totally relaxed and easy going. It only needs to be just a few moments. Then as you move into your day, be it spilled milk, a restless child who will not get dressed or cannot find a shoe, a traffic incident, an angry coworker or supervisor over something insignificant in your mind, you can act or react as you choose. Perhaps you could flutter your wings, letting the occurrences flow without a negative response in your mind/being? Trust me, acting vs. reacting is the key to keeping your wings set and letting things go. Encapsulate those stressors by not ignoring them but by responding appropriately at that moment. Don’t drag stuff around with you, situation to incident. No wonder you walk in your door at home and collapse. You are doing it to yourself. That is the sad part.

If you were to set your wings, you would breathe better because the first thing your body does when it reacts to stress is shorten your breathing. You would be healthier, that is for certain. Your day would be less tumultuous. Instead of carrying an empty bag around with you, throwing the impact/influence of each incident into that bag as it occurs, causing you to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders by the end of the day because you are dragging a now-totally-filled-to-overflowing bag, you can choose to come home feeling fresh and alive because you dealt with each thing by itself. Would that be magical? You can choose to live like that. Are you willing? You can change. You can do it.

God’s blessings upon your journey.

 

 

Geese Landing - Set Your Wings!

Set your wings!

 

 

Flutter Your Wings!

E=mc squared = God

God, whatever you conceive Him/Her/It to be, is everywhere present (Omnipresent), all knowing (Omniscient), all powerful (Omnipotent).

Think about that for a moment. To the rational mind, it does not seem a remote possibility from a human viewpoint. How could any one entity actually be all three of those? Assuming, then, that we cannot conceptualize such a thing from the mind, one must then move to the realms of wisdom and understanding.

Einstein’s theory is very useful here because he showed that all matter we can see is based on and contains Energy. Since one cannot see energy unless it is transmuted into something like light or gravity, it remains in the invisible realm. Is this not the same area that prayer goes into?

If one prays to an anthropomorphic being as a concept, it still goes into the invisible realm. Some people believe that they are not worthy of deserving such an honor as granted prayers, so they deny the essence of what they are praying for as they keep worrying about whatever it is they are asking for. Some do not even pray unless they are in dire straights and in need of a miracle. The rest of the time they are just busy living their lives. Few are ascetics who are in prayer always. Then there are a few awakened human beings who just live in connection with their idea of God, knowing their prayers are fulfilled always because they are literally seeing the manifestations (without regard to distance) of whoever/whatever they hold in their consciousness. They are connecting to the E=mc squared=God concept on the invisible realm, waiting for the visible realm to come forth.

Sometimes it is not an immediate, visible demonstration. Sometimes it needs a continuous flow, like putting a hose in a bucket of muddy water so it may slowly clear. But time is not of the essence here. Only the end is necessary.

So if you are praying for something, hold the end in view. If it is for someone else, hold a picture in your mind’s eye of that person being happy, whole, healthy, and doing well. When you keep worrying, you are telling your God/He/She/It that you do not believe It can do the job. You become part of the problem, not the answer.

When you are praying, you just have to ask yourself, without regard to your religion, whatever is on your heart and mind. Then let it go. Do not hang onto it. If it comes to mind again, just remind yourself that you are going to think only of the end result = not the “how is this going to happen?” stuff either. Leave the How and the Way to that Omnipotent Being who loves you and your beloved and wants only what is the highest good of all to occur.

Trust becomes an issue here. But if you cannot trust this Being, why pray at all?

Life happens. So does Love, Livingness, Wholeness, Positive State of Mind and Emotions, etc. You, too, can arrive there. Are you interested? Are you willing? The answer is in your purview.

God’s blessings upon your journey! Beauty awaits thee every day. Look for it!

Mt Sneffels, Co

Autumn, Maroon Bells, CO

Our Thoughts Our Angels Are

Our thoughts become the basis for living our lives.

If these thoughts are positive and uplifting, our lives are blessed.

If, however, these thoughts are negative – including anger, fear, worry, sadness or any variation thereof – our lives become a living hell. Do you remember the lake of fire where you are burning up, but it never ends? You are never without the pain of it all? Thus, our lives become bitter and cursed.

Most people do not realize how important our thoughts are. They get up in the morning and embark upon another day without a short time of quiet to calm their inner selves. They run through their day and obligations like a squirrel in a cage. At night, they drop into a restless night, not sleeping well because of their stress. Is this not a hell?

If a thought appears to these people which would lessen their hell, will they pay it attention or not?

The likelihood is that they will keep on keeping on, whether it be duty, lack of knowledge of a better way, or just plain tiredness.

What if a person could seize that thought and actually wake up to a new way? What a marvelous thing that would be! The pain would fizzle, and the fires of hell would dissipate!

Could you imagine such a future for you?

God sent angels in human form to the men of old, warning them to always take care of strangers at their door that they might entertain angels unbeknownst to them. Sometimes the angels came in a dream while they were sleeping.

In today’s world, God sends us many angels to help us live better, more fulfilled lives. These angels are our thoughts. They instruct us in better ways to live and move and have our being.

Why do we ignore this possibility for good in our lives? I believe it is the noise made by the disrupted emotions of anger, regret, pain, anguish over things that did or did not happen, etc.

What I am suggesting here is that where you put your attention – past, present, or future – grows into either your worst nightmare or your best dream. Which would you rather strengthen and enable? Which path would you choose? Could you take that class, read that book, get counseling, or simply stop in the morning with an appropriate quiet time to still your mind and spirit?

Our thoughts our angels are, truly.

What will your choice be – pay attention and make changes or Keep on Keeping on? It is all up to you, after all.

God’s blessings as you walk your pathways upon your journey!

Cloud Angel

 

Spirit of Christmas

No Room at the Inn

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!

Manger of the Heart

Faith

Bring you tidings of great Joy!

Blessings Be Upon You!

Peaceful Sunset

Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.

If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”

Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.

Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an  endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.

But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).

If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.

The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.

Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.

The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.

Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living.  It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to  breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).

The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

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