Blog Archives

Are Your Roots Healthy?

When I ask the question, “Are your roots healthy?” – I am referring to your basic thoughts, feelings, and expressions of life. How you are living, the choices you make, what you think about, how stressed you are, etc., all form the background of every minute of every day of your life.

Are you so concerned about what others think of you that you never stop to ask that question of yourself?

Roots are just like a plant: Unless you nourish them with your spirit, thoughts, and positive emotions, they can just wither away, drying out and draining you of your life force, every day in every way.

Nourishment occurs when you stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and look for something beautiful in your environment. Beauty brings peace, calmness, serenity, and joy into your life. When was the last time you did this? Do you remember the early morning sunrise or sunset at evening? Did you stop and smell the flowers along your path today? Did you notice a beautiful or unusual bird?

Or are you so busy with the every-day work demands, your families’ needs, soccer practice, making a cake for the bazaar to support your child’s activities,  dancing lessons for your little girl, football practice for your young boy, etc., that you have just gotten lost in the shuffle? You know we have all had our turn at having to perform those requirements.  The bad news is that it can go on for the rest of your life if you let it. You will not have much time to yourself to ponder your personal growth issues. In fact, that may sound like a joke to you as you drop wearily into bed at night.  Whatever you need is at the very bottom because everyone else’s needs/demands/wants  have to come first…or so you may have been taught to think that way, especially if you are a woman with a family or a man providing for same. The daily vicissitudes (wear and tear) of life can exhaust you.

So where do you begin to make a change in the above priorities? It all starts with thinking about it and writing it all down. Once written down, ideas come to mind as you look at the words. Perhaps you can begin to question how important each one is and decide whether or not to keep doing same.

Albert Einstein one said: “The definition of Insanity is to keep doing the same things over again the same way, but expect different results.”

So I am asking you to just step back from your life for a few moments, think, grab a pen and begin writing your observations of yourself/your choices/your life. If you are willing to do that, you are raising your awareness. Awareness of the need for a change is actually the beginning of a new life for you, living more according to your purpose, happier, and more able to actually support the loved ones around you because of your new vision. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Maui Sunrise

Maui Sunrise

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees, early morning Waikiki

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees, early morning Waikiki

Red-Crested Cardinal - Beautiful Bird on Oahu, Hawaii

Red-Crested Cardinal – Beautiful Bird on Oahu, Hawaii

 

Driving Your Destiny or Yourself?

The question arises: Are you Driving your Destiny or Yourself!

Are you preoccupied with possessions? Do you know that what you own, owns you? You have to clean it, care for it, insure it, take dogs for walks or pay someone else to do it, etc. Stuff Rules!

Do you long for a simpler life? Do you feel that you do not have any time for yourself? Guess who can change that.

Life happens…a day at a time and a moment at a time. Yesterday is history and cannot be changed. Tomorrow is a dream which one can plan and work towards. Today is the only day that matters…this second as you read this.

If you believe that, will you act on it? Hug your child, tell someone you love and appreciate them, begin to do something that matters to you personally. Do you want to read a book or take a class? Pick up that book and begin it. Look for the class you want to take and sign up for it. Do you want to get in touch with someone that you have not spoken to in a while? Pick up the phone or send an email or letter. Don’t wait for the “perfect time” because that may never happen.

The only way your life will change is if you do.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer states: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Are you stressed out? The price of carrying that stress is high. It can cause significant health problems, if not your life.

How are you breathing? Your breath will tell you how well you are making choices in your life. Is it shallow and from the top of your lungs instead of belly breathing? If it is, you can be absolutely assured that you are shortening your life span considerably. Look for a yoga class you can do so you can learn to breathe better. Maybe you cannot get down on the floor, so look for a Silver Sneakers Yoga class in your area as they are everywhere. The poses are friendly to everyone who has physical problems, no matter the age.

This moment in this day is the only time you have to take a look at your priorities and assess what needs to change. Are you willing to get off the treadmill of your life and do it? Or is the treadmill going to continue just as it always does? If you are happy with the life you are living, I congratulate you for you are a rare bird. However, if you are not satisfied with the ways you spend your time, begin this second to look at where you are now and where you want to be. I am not talking about stuff and possessions. I am focusing on the one thing you cannot buy: More time.

Do you want to look back over the last few years of your life and wonder where it has gone? It happens to all of us, no matter the age. But you can begin to make a difference right now. Are you willing?

God’s blessings on your journey!

New yoga pose

 

Christmas Is Coming!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hibiscus & Christmas

Hibiscus & Christmas

Christmas Poinsetta

Christmas Poinsettia

 

 

What Does Enough Look Like?

The only question you need to ask yourself in your daily grind of life is: What does enough look like? Are you trying to buy a new house and need money for a down payment? Is your car falling apart, and it is necessary in order for you to work, go to college, or fetch the kids from school? Did you just see a necklace that just put a yearning in your soul to own something that gorgeous?

I could go on with many examples of the materialism that pervades our society today, world-wide.

There was a man in China, sitting on the curb with his family, with each one eating a Colonel Sander’s Kentucky Fried Chicken meal. He was asked how long he had to work to earn the money to purchase the meal. His answer? One week. He was very happy to do it.

So, how much of the money that you spend daily actually brings you a feeling of joy and happiness?

Most of us know that, in this economy, the money is spent before it ever arrives. There is also a lot of month left and not enough money to go around.

Could you step back a moment from your daily tasks to look at the long term of it all?

Have you ever asked yourself the key question: What does enough look like?

It is a key to prioritizing not only your money, how you spend it, and your long term goals, but also your time. How much of that precious commodity do you exchange for working to earn the money?

How long will you have to work? Must you work forever in order to maintain your current life style? Are you willing to change it so you can retire sooner and live on less income?

It is a fact of life that the more money you earn, the more you spend. Your expectations and choices change as you move up the ladder of success. It is almost imperceptible if you are not carefully monitoring your choices.

Many people are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is in the shape of a pyramid. The base is Physiological needs: Air, water, food, clothing, shelter, and human sexual instinct. Next comes Safety needs: Security of body, employment, financial resources, of morality, family, health and property. Then comes Love/Belonging: Friendship, Intimacy and Family connections. The next level is Esteem, which is about your personal self-esteem and self-respect, confidence, achievement, respect of others and from others. At the top is Self-actualization: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts. Maslow believed that, in order to understand this level, all of the previous levels must be mastered. Of course, there are no strict lines between these areas as they are interrelated instead of sharply separated . Many levels can be experienced at any time as they are closely related.

My point is that, beyond the need of a roof over your head and food in your stomach, a coat to wear if it is cold and shoes for your feet, a safe and warm place to sleep, water, and perhaps a little loving, what more do you need? Must the apparel have a great name like Prada or Gucci? Do you need a Penthouse? Must you have an  “arm candy” woman at your side as you stroll through a fancy restaurant, reveling in the looks you get? What kind of car are you driving? Is it good transportation or a fabulous vehicle? The answers to all of these questions are determined by your choices, one day at a time.

You can go up the ladder of needs, and think about what they mean to you. How much of your energy does it require to live at the level you have attained?

Life is so very precious, and no one knows how long one has. Are you willing to ask yourself sincerely: WHAT DOES ENOUGH LOOK LIKE?

Your answers could affect the rest of your life here on Planet Earth. You alone must determine your priorities and choices.

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

What Will Your Lasting Legacy Be?

When we make our transition, all we now own will be passed on to loved ones,  strangers who come to the Estate Sale,  Good Will Stores for things that are donated, or into the trash (for our priorities are no longer  important). Anyone who has had to deal with an Estate or changed circumstances of an aging parent or relative who can no longer stay in their homes knows this as a simple truth.

So I ask you: What will your lasting legacy be?

The answer to that question lies in your priorities. Just take a look at how your day unfolded before you today. Your priorities become plainly, and perhaps painfully, evident.

Do you ask yourself about a situation: Will the outcome of this matter in 5 minutes, or an hour, or 6 months, or a year? Or will it be totally forgotten before dinnertime? Who will remember it?

If your priorities are totally set on the acquisition of material wealth, how much will you be able to enjoy and for how long? At what price? All things come with a price, be it time, loss of companionship time with your mate and families as you work to afford it all, etc. How is your health? Are you stressed out? How is your breathing? (By the way, the first sign of stress is breathing upward from the chest instead of deep belly breathing — which is the beginning curative.)

The Bible states it clearly in Matthew 6:19-21: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

For the sake of discussion, heaven is not some far off place with golden streets – – it takes on the meaning of what you value and your priorities in your daily living. Where is your treasure? Is your heaven inside of you? (Look at Luke 18:21: “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”)

Life goes by quickly, sometimes so fast it feels like a commuter train. Do you look back at the last week, month, or year, or wonder where it all disappeared to?

Everything we possess actually possesses us in some way. Vehicles need maintenance, as do houses. If you have a beautiful piece of jewelry, do you wear it proudly? Or does it live its life in a safe deposit box while you wear a paste imitation? Do you have elegant dishes that you actually use, or do they live in the hutch, where they need dusting? Remember, it is all about enjoying it.

You just need to look at your priorities carefully. Are you willing to continue the mad race, or would you rather take your children to the playground or go on a date with your important other? Time is one thing you can never spend twice. It can never be regained once spent.

Your choices are quintessential to the situation. Are you willing to examine them carefully on a daily basis so that you can, indeed, leave a legacy you can be proud of?

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

Are You A Human DOING Or Human BEING?

One good question: Do you consider yourself to be a HUMAN DOING or a HUMAN BEING?

A second question: Do you think you are a HUMAN BEING HAVING A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE?

Or are you a SPIRITUAL BEING HAVING A HUMAN EXPERIENCE?

What is the difference you might ask?

It is a matter of FOCUS, PRIORITIES, and how you actually spend your time each day.

We can have the most grand idea as we begin our day of who we are and what we plan to do, say our Prayers, Meditate maybe, and then get underway. Then the daily wear and tear (known as vicissitudes) begin. You make your to-do-lists and begin your day. The rest of the day passes as though it had wings. You look back on your day and wonder where it disappeared to. Things on your to-do-list are probably still sitting there, or it is partially done. You have to wonder: What happened?

Answer:  LIFE

One element here is the lack of FOCUS. There are so many distractions in our everyday world that it is a wonder we can get anything done. Noise levels can be astronomical. Quiet and stillness are rare. There are pressing priorities at every turn — everything from changing the baby’s diaper, to answering the phone, to dropping the kids off at school (and they are still half-dressed and dawdling), to getting ready for work, to a boss that changed his mind and added more work with tight deadlines on top of an already full load, etc.

How can one stay centered and calm in the face of the flurry of it all? Some say to get up at least five minutes earlier so you can have some quiet time where you can pray, meditate, do yoga or Thai Chi, read your Bible or Religious Instruction, or whatever you like, including a quiet cup of coffee on the back deck contemplating nature, birds, etc. God is there. But you must seek Him first in order to achieve that moment of rest that you will need to carry you through your daily activities.

In the Bible, Matthew 6:5-13, it states in v.6: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” It then goes into the Lord’s Prayer, which we are instructed to pray daily. I have wondered about that for years, but I have come to know that the whole story is to quiet the outer so that we can emphasize the innermost parts of us,  finding solace for our weary hearts and minds.

Another element that leads to Peacefulness of Spirit is Meekness. In the Bible in Psalms 37:11, it states: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Again, in Matthew 5:5, it states: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” George Lamsa’s explanation is as follows: “It refers to the type of man who does not retaliate and who is free from that grasping temper which leads to disputes and quarrels…Such men believe in nonresistance…” The true meaning of meekness is the ability to bend with the wind or being teachable. This is far from the traditional meaning of becoming a rug so others can wipe their feet on you. Say “Nay!” to that! It is more like a river flowing around the rocks and obstructions in its way. This is the attitude essential to remaining quiet, calm, and peaceful in the face of adversity.

It all comes down to what you think in your head versus how you react to what is going on around you. Are the kids fighting again? Is the husband or wife unhappy about some inconsequential detail (which is not important to you at all)? How are your stress levels — probably through the roof? Is a loved one ill? Is there too much month left and not enough money? Did someone cut you off in traffic and almost cause you to have an accident? Are your allergies causing you discomfort?

The world has a way of impinging on our presence of mind in a million different ways, both large and small. The only way to make a change in it is to alter yourself and how you are thinking and responding. The outside circumstances do not care a lick about how miserable you are.

So I ask you again:

Do you consider yourself to be a HUMAN DOING or a HUMAN BEING?

Do you think you are a HUMAN BEING HAVING A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE?

Or are you a SPIRITUAL BEING HAVING A HUMAN EXPERIENCE?

The difference lies at the center of you. Are you willing to be driven by external circumstances forever, or are you willing to do whatever it takes to put your hands on the wheel  and take command of your ship? It is all up to you as to where and how it sails.

Saying a few words in prayer in the morning is not enough to keep your hands on the helm and in control of your destiny. You have to do something differently in order to achieve some level of calmness in the heart of you, no matter how hard the external winds  are blowing — and they can get pretty strong. Where is your attention focused? It is your priority system that got you where you are today. Are you happy with that? If not, are you willing to look for another answer? Take the personal time for yourself, whatever amount that is, so you can quiet the storm, seek guidance, and proceed with a knowing that all is OK, regardless of the circumstances. Take the step you see, and proceed as best you can.

Are you willing to give it a try? It is, after all, your journey.

God’s blessings upon you!

Tree Showing Weathering by Wind & Elements

Tree Showing Weathering by Wind & Elements

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret in Flight

Life Is A Journey

It’s been said frequently that Life Is A Journey and Not a Destination.

How many times have you thought, “If I could just (you name it), I will have arrived.” You could put in, “Be debt free,” or “Be able to buy (that beautiful dress, fancy watch, expensive hand bag or shoes). Then people will notice how well I am doing. I will have arrived.” Every advertisement is directed at this attitude, whether it is whitening your teeth or buying any product. Please note the emphasis on arrived. Does that not, in itself, connotate a Destination?

Is the acquisition of “stuff” on your high priority list? How about buying a new home or car? Some people in the rarefied atmosphere want a new personal jet and a longer landing field. So you work day and night toward getting the “stuff” and then paying for it, be it a loan or a credit card. What price are you actually paying for it?

Are you working so hard that you have little time to spend with loved ones, and, even when you are with them, are you still fussing about some problem at work that you cannot resolve? That is time you never get back. I’ve heard a suggestion that I use: When you are traveling home, you mentally encapsulate the day and park it into a Box labeled “To Be Resolved,” or “Unfinished Business.” You then look at something in your immediate surroundings so you can really see where you are at that moment.  By the time you are home, you can truly greet your loved ones (be it a person, cat, dog, bird, whatever) and enjoy your evening more because your attention is not being fractured by some problem from work that you can do nothing about at that moment. Focus is the issue here.

Are you working so many hours that you are not taking good care of your body by eating good, healthy food and exercising properly so you will stay strong? Or are you grabbing fast food and gulping/chugging it down as soon as you leave the drive up window? You know it is high fat and will drive up your cholesterol and weight in the long run. You can tell yourself that it may happen sometime in the future and maybe not, and certainly not to you. It is amazing what lies we can tell ourselves to justify our poor decisions, and then believe them… 😦

Are your stress levels so high that you feel like you must smoke or eat chocolate or carbohydrates (sweets) to calm yourself down? Yet you may tell me you have no time to learn yoga, breathe correctly, meditate for a few minutes to calm the mind and body, or exercise. Do you know that the first sign of stress is the inability to breathe deeply? That shortens the oxygen available to your muscles and body to function. It creates aches and pains as well, headaches, tight muscles which can injure easily, etc. Is it worth it to you to find a different way to handle stress, and then do it?

Do you see a pattern here?

Life and choices come to us one moment at a time. Some choices never happen again because the consequences of that choice eliminates possibilities that would have been an option. Are you giving your attention to the price you are paying daily and what the coin is? (The coin is health, happiness, exercise, eating right, etc.) Is it worth it to you?

If Life Is A Journey and NOT a Destination, are you willing to take a serious look at your priorities so you can enjoy your Journey more?

Priority? What Priority?

Priority? What Priority?

 

Living in the Now

This is a phrase that is used by many people for numerous reasons. We would all agree that, whatever form it is in, it is a good idea.

But what does it really mean? It may seem self-explanatory and rather simple. However, as with all things that sound simple, in reality it can get very complicated in a hurry when one tries to use it in everyday life.

Circumstances may appear rather easy in the beginning of each day. You know you have certain things that will occur that day. So you begin your day. Your boss changes his mind on a due date for a project and gives you half the time to do your portion. This will require a lot of your personal time — perhaps even working at home — to do what is asked of you. That will bump your work out session, a date with your important other, and forget the time to cook that healthy meal you were planning in lieu of grabbing something on the run. This happens in many ways to every one of us. We start out one way, only to have to reverse directions and go another way. Our priorities change constantly during any given day. So, the question arises: How can I Live in the Now?

Life takes planning, both short and long term, in order to feel like we are in control of our time and destinies. It takes money, goals and cooperation from others, which they may or may not provide.

We must maintain our awareness of the above paragraph when we are busy with our daily lives and priorities. Otherwise, we arrive at a point where a long-dreamed-of goal is supposed to be achieved, only to find that it got lost in the cacophony which has occurred in the meantime.

So, how do we stay on track, Live in the Now, without sacrificing our planning? It is like deciding to take a journey by car. You get out the maps in order to decide the best routes to your destination (ignoring GPS in this example), you check out your vehicle to be sure it is safe for a trip, you pack your bags, and you get underway, following your template. You know there will be road construction (obstacles), traffic, accidents, etc., along the way. Yet you choose to keep going, mile by mile, until you reach your destination.

Living in the Now is just like that road trip. Moment by moment, you begin it. You know how you want to get there, when, and with whom. You take in the information that is coming to you through all of your senses, analyze it, and then see how it fits into your “road trip.” This all happens with lightning speed at both your subconscious and conscious levels. If you have an established template, you have more stability, enabling you to adapt to conditions on the fly. At the end of your day, you will be able to look back on your accomplishments despite the obstacles and happenstance occurrences. You will have positive feelings about yourself and others. You will have energy to proceed into your evening and enjoy life more. The daily wear and tear will have occurred to you as well, but you will have been proactive, resolving each instance as it appears to the best of your ability. You will feel like you are LIVING your life.

However, many of us do not make a template. Whichever way the winds blow (and sometimes the winds can be pretty horrendous!), it blows that person hither and yon. (The demands of daily living are the winds.) At the end of that day, that person will be exhausted, will feel like the day “just got away” from them, and will be embroiled in the negative emotions generated by being out of control of the time and the day. He/she will just drop on the couch when finally arriving home, with no thought given to anything other than the daily essentials. This person will be EXISTING. Procrastination would be the way of operating, creating more ill feelings to wreck havoc on the spirit.

The daily vicissitudes (wear and tear) take their toll on all of us. The only question is: Do you want to LIVE or EXIST?

I, for one, choose to LIVE in the NOW. There is always more to be done in a day than I can possibly accomplish. Yet I am enthusiastic about seeing a beautiful butterfly or flowers, watching a Sand Sculpture Contest to see how creative adults can still be, or looking at children playing — always a joy. When the daily vicissitudes come, as they always do, it is my attitude which makes a difference. It has been said that, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Yet, how many of us can do that? Not many. We REACT in lieu of ACT, we look at the negative side of the situation first, and then we “blow our cork!” Is this beneficial? Does it solve anything? Not likely. By changing my choices, electing to form a template for my day, deciding my destination, and be positive and SMILE — the rest of the day eventually takes care of itself. Things happen or don’t happen. I run into my obstacles, examine them assiduously, see what can be done or not, and move on. It is like a waltz, where your center of balance is over your feet. If someone or something is always pulling you off balance, how can you dance? It is your job to maintain your balance. No one can do it for you. Your attitudes, decisions, and priorities will run your day for good or ill.

If you are the Captain of your ship, with your hand on the helm, you alone can decide where the winds will take you. Take your hands off the helm, and watch where the winds carry you. You are a powerful person, able to decide this: Do you want to LIVE or EXIST? Do you want to REACT or ACT? Do you want to be positive or negative? Where is your center of balance? It is your CHOICE. If, through inaction and procrastination, you do not make a choice, it will be made for you. The winds will take over, I can assure you. What do you want?

Beautiful Butterfly

Beautiful Butterfly

Cactus Blossoms

Cactus Blossoms

Sand Sculptures

Sand Sculptures

Sand Sculptures

Sand Sculptures

Playing in the Sand

Playing in the Sand

Children Playing

Children Playing

Having Fun with her Daddy

Having Fun with her Daddy

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