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Live, Love, Laugh!

This particular threesome is visible everywhere – on cars, plaques, walls, etc. Sometimes it is:

Live Well

Laugh Often

Love Much

It could be very esoteric (beyond the understanding or knowledge of most people, as defined by the dictionary). It could just be that it is so simple, its deeper meanings are overlooked in the chaotic, busy world we live in. Certainly, many things occupy are thoughts from the second we wake up to the minute we go to bed.

But taking a deep breath and pausing, just looking at the three above phrases, ask yourself, “What comes to my mind?”

Live Well could immediately be translated into a materialistic ideal in lieu of being happy with your life and how you are living it.

Laugh Often could be nullified by the stress you are feeling at this moment over many situations in your life which you do not feel you have any control over, engendering a sense of hopelessness.

Love Much could simply be an erotic invitation to enjoy the flesh and its ecstasies, or it could make you think, “Have I told my loved ones today how very much I love them, appreciate them, enjoy them?” You know, with all the tragedies that have happened in this world in these past few years, I wonder how many people passed on without hearing that simple phrase?

Live, Love, and Laugh are my personal commandment for every moment of my day, every single day I am alive. I want the people in my life to know how very much I appreciate them. I do not want anyone to doubt that, ever. Each one is a gem in his/her own right – unique, special, one-of-a-kind.  No matter how small they are, or what age they are, or how I know them. It matters not to me. I want to cherish each and every one, and I want them to know it. Life is too short to do otherwise. I want to look each one in the eye and let them know that I am listening to what they have to say. Each relationship, no matter if it is a busy store clerk who is obviously having a bad day, or a long-term friend, deserves not only my attention, but a smile as well. (You might be surprised at the lift a simple smile can accomplish, or a small act of kindness.)

Life passes us by through simple inaction, words unspoken, feelings unexpressed, and good intentions never fulfilled because one runs out of time. That happens with every minute of every day as it becomes  history from this present moment.

You have to ask yourself, “Do I want to write a note today to just say Hi to a lonely friend, or a dear one I have gotten out of touch with, or even a note of forgiveness to someone (whether it is ever sent or not)?” Perhaps even a phone call,  an email, or a Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Love is more than a feeling – it is a state of mind. If you are coming from a LOVE perspective, you act differently than you would if it comes from any other point of view.

Laughter, alias Levity, is a cure-all of just about every negative emotion we can muster. Sometimes we feel like the tail end of the dog, instead of the nose or ears. We get wagged a lot – by others, by situations, by things we believe are not under our control.  Laughter has so many gifts to share. Yet, in this serious world so many of us live in, Laughter is the exception, not the rule. Isn’t that truly a sad state of affairs?

When I say Laughter, I also mean the state of mind known as JOY or Inner Joy. It is a sense that all is OK in your world. Is it? Or not?

You could ask, “What do I have to be Happy about?” Then follow that with a diatribe of complaints. Now I ask you, does that make you feel any better? Doubt it.

In your negativity, may I ask you, “When was the last time you went outdoors to experience Nature at her Best?” I find that even a trip to an indoor area where there are plants helps when the weather outside is adverse. When it is not, step outside. Find something from Mother Nature to admire. You will find your heart lifted like magic, your stress will disappear, and your perspective will lighten and improve.

Are you willing to make the move from the dog’s tail and go up to the ears or nose? You do control your destiny. Declare it to be so.

Look for my three friends: Live, Love, and Laugh in all their fullness. May your step be lighter, your heart happier, your breath much deeper, and your life more meaningful. God bless you on your journey!

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Green Mtn Reservoir CO

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Rocky Mtns CO

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Wild Sweet Peas

Wild Sweet Peas

Bee on Flower

Bee on Flower

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?

 

Happiness

The definition for Happy is:  “Favored by circumstances; lucky; fortunate; having, showing, or causing a feeling of great pleasure, contentment, joy, etc.; joyous; glad; pleased.” By the way, Happiness is a noun, while Happy is an adjective. That means the latter is active while the former is static…that means a lot.

Happiness is many things to many people. It is a state of mind. Some people equate it to ecstasy, or a state of euphoria. I would suggest to you that it is much more than that. It is more than a feeling, however fleeting that can be.  Some believe that circumstances outside of you can bring you Happiness, unknowing that Happiness is an inside job. Perhaps you may want a soul mate so you can live “happily ever after,” yet that particular one has not appeared because all of the candidates are flawed. Some have become disillusioned with the idea, believing it to be an impossibility. So they just stop looking or trying. Some keep looking even though they are not exactly sure what it is they are seeking. Some reach a sense of desperation because they want to begin a family, feeling like the clock is ticking against them. They actually have the option now of freezing their eggs or sperm, just in case they finally find that certain someone. That keeps their options open so they can have a healthy baby.

Some think that stuff can be the essence of their existence. Just go out and buy whatever you think will finally make you Happy. Yet that newness wears off, so you go buy something else. It is a wonderful thing to enjoy your possessions and all the good that God has brought to you…whether it is a beautiful necklace or a fancy car. Just remember that there is more to life. Besides, if material possessions brought Happiness, why are there not more of us deliriously Happy? Some people seek money and fame beyond all else, yet when they find it, they still must feel empty because of involvement with drugs, alcohol, and other addictions, some of which are fatal. It appears to be conundrum to me. (Definition of Conundrum is any puzzling question or problem.)

Some seek security and base all their decisions on that one idea. Yet security in itself is usually a moving target, especially in this economy and changing circumstances for so many people.  Some people even think that getting married will provide you with it. When they find out that it does not, they opt for divorce in lieu of being together and learning from each other. Tough decisions all.

There is a tale about a king who wanted to be happy, so he sent out a decree that he wanted to find the happiest man in his kingdom. He thought that, if he could find this person, he could wear this man’s shirt and be happy too. However, when he found the happiest man, it turned out that he did not even own a shirt. There is an idea to ponder.

Think for a minute: If Happiness is an inside job, how can anything outside of you actually truly create it? If you had a Happy plant growing inside of you, it would need nourishment in many forms: water, vitamins, sunshine, you name it. Yet we neglect to do any of that because we are waiting for some magic from outside of ourselves to help it to grow. While we wait, the plant withers and possibly dies.

I would suggest to you that Happiness has some basic qualities that help one to realize it:

H          Healthy

A           Admiration

          Politeness/Respect

P           Peace

I            Intimacy

N          Neatness/Orderliness

E          Ecstasy

S          Stillness

S          Serenity

All of these are interconnected with a sense of well-being. If one considers each word and then looks for something in their life that could be identified with it, perhaps just realizing it will raise your Happiness Quotient. If we remember that what we focus us on grows in our life, just changing how you approach the circumstances in your life could make it better.

Life was meant to be lived. Isn’t it about time that you felt you were, indeed, more alive?

If you are serious about being a happier person, suggest you sit down with a blank sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle. Now write the words, “Am I Happy” and add a punctuation mark. It can be a “?,” a “!” or even a period. The punctuation mark will tell it all. Once you do that, on one side of the column on the paper, write down what makes you feel happy. On the other column, write down what makes you feel sad, lonely, lost, or unhappy. You might be amazed at what these answers will show you. Just writing things down helps you to take a look at your perspective and perhaps change it if you want. We get stuck like a hamster in a cage, doing the same things every day for the same reasons. Sometimes, it helps to get out of that cage of humdrum existence. Writing things down can add clarification and help you formulate a new beginning for you, starting now.

Are you brave enough and willing  to try it?

 

 

“Good Morning, God!” or “Good God, It’s Morning!” ?

What is my attitude when I open my eyes for the first time each day?

Good Morning!

Is it a Good Morning?

This picture of a little chickadee is in my bathroom, asking me that very question.

Attitude affects and effects perspective, always. AFFECT is defined as influence; produce a change in; to move or stir the emotions. EFFECT is defined as the power or ability to bring about results. PERSPECTIVE is defined as a specific point of view in understanding or judging things or events, especially one that shows them in their true relations to one another.

You may ask me why this is important. The answer is a simple one: How we view our world and interact with it begins with the second we open our eyes. Our first waking thoughts “set our sails” and will determine our journey for the day..the winds that come, as they always do, will catch those sails and blow us completely off our intended course unless we first set them properly and then adjust them as needed.

Is your world a fright-filled one where you have to turn on the morning news to get your first dose of negativity or pick up your newspaper to do the same? Or do you get a fresh cup of coffee and sit down out on the patio to quietly greet the day? All of your first actions in the morning will influence the rest of your day.

You control your reactions to what happens to you by starting to make small changes in your schedule to accommodate new beginnings. Are you willing to take that tiny amount of time to make a difference in your life?

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