Blog Archives

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

 

 

 

 

Do Feelings Pray?

The question arises: “Do Feelings Pray?

Some would reply, “What an absurd thought!” Some would think, “How could this be true?” Others would agree wholeheartedly. How about you? What reaction do you have to those three words?

That is the telling tale in how you live your life.

If you would be the first one (“What an absurd thought!”), your reality is based on what you can see with your eyes, hear with your ears, taste with your taste buds, touch with your hands, etc. Is that all there is? Nope! In fact, so much of our reality is just our perception of things, not the real hard facts about things. There is so much more to life than this.

If you are the second response (How could this be true?), you want a bona fide answer to all of life’s myriad questions. Some would say, “You are from Missouri – Show me, Prove it, etc.” Unfortunately, taking something on faith is not within your possibilities. The quandaries your mind must go through are endless.

If you are of the third type who would agree wholeheartedly, you have been able to work through some of life’s most troubling problems successfully.

Why? Because feelings begin in the unseen world of thoughts, rising up from that well deep within your being. Your Spirit resides here. Your Consciousness lives here.

Most people think that outer situations command a response – be it anger, bitterness, love, laughter, etc. Yes, there are messy situations outside of us. There are people on this planet whose main goal in life is to make others miserable. Yet there are others who are working for the highest good of all. There are so many in between these two extremes.

As for you: Have you laughed lately? Have you smiled? Are you “down in the dumps, thinking that life sucks without end!”

Have you given your power away to someone else who may be bent on making you incredibly sad? What do I mean when I say, “given your power away?” Just precisely that. Your interaction level with that person is solely within their control because you let it happen. If you want something badly enough from that person, he/she can manipulate you at will. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that question.

Feelings are precious. They are the seed of your tomorrows. If you plant feelings of sheer misery, how can you hope to grow plants of laughter and good things coming to you?

One must be always aware of what you are emotionalizing about because those emotions then quantify, multiply, and bring more. If it is good stuff, great! If not, guess what kind of crop you will receive? You got it. In other words, if you emotionalize over what you DO NOT WANT, you are sure to get exactly that! Is that really what you want? Doubt it. That can never change unless you do.

Outer situations cannot control you unless you let them. The difference is between ACT and REACT.

When you REACT to a situation, you are giving your power away. When you look at what is going on, analyze it, and think about how you want to ACT in response to it, you maintain your sense of  awareness. You actually DECIDE on an appropriate action in lieu of getting angry, saying mean things (which you cannot take back), or getting physical. Even SILENCE maintains a powerful influence on the outcome of events, especially if you cannot decide what to say or do in this instance.

It is OUTER vs. INNER. Some people would pray about it first before responding. Others would rather scream and yell. It leads to no good end, but so many use this response, it does make you wonder.

How about you? If you are pondering some of life’s events, both good and bad, where is the balance of your emotions? Are you feeling PEACE, GRATITUDE and THANKFULNESS for the good you still have, or is your heart bitter, complaining over all you have lost? Until you can release the latter, you will be unable to see the former. It is as far from you as the East is from the West. In other words, you cannot get there from here.

If you think about the possibility that FEELINGS DO PRAY,  you can begin to change your life for the better. It simplifies a complicated process of personal growth, of which AWARENESS is the Beginning of Change.

It is all up to you, after all. Do you want the sadness of your yesterdays to continue to rule your life now, or is it time to let it all go, turn your attention to this very moment of today, and look for something to be pleased about? Do you want to keep moping around, or do you want to begin to REALLY LIVE your life?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Seedlings

Seedlings

Orchids

Orchids

Maui Sunrise

Maui Sunrise with Rainbow (Promise of Peace)

 

 

 

The Sound of Silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings upon your journey!

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

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Silversword

Silversword

Silversword - Done Blooming

Silversword – Done Blooming

Plumeria with Palm Tree

Plumeria with Palm Tree

Plumeria (leis usually made from this)

Plumeria (Leis are usually made from these.)

Habiscus

Hibiscus

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Maui Sunrise & Surf

Maui Sunrise & Surf

Waikiki Sunrise & Surf

Waikiki Sunrise & Surf

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees

Hawaiian Sunset

Hawaiian Sunset

 

 

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?

 

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

Peace Begins With Me

This new year presents us with a brand new page to begin again, to change what we want to change, to become the person we were meant to be, and one place to start is a song by Vince Gill:

“Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth,

The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father,

Brothers all are we.

Let me walk with my berother

In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me.

Let this be the moment now.

With every step I take,

Let this be my solemn vow:

To take each moment

And live each moment

With peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.”

Each day, with every word we speak, with every thought we think, we are creating our reality as we know it to be.

We are, indeed, planting the seeds that will bloom in our tomorrows.

Do you want a more peaceful life and experience less chaos?

It all begins with your thoughts and emotions. Do you REACT in lieu of ACT? Did somebody else make you angry?

Do you feel justified in these negative feelings because it is somebody else’s fault?

Guess who pays? It is not the other person, who has moved on and could usually care less.

You baggage just got heavier, didn’t it? Is it worth it to you to drag it around, every moment of every day?

Peace can be maintained as an attitude and a reality if you can truly realize that “Peace begins within you!”

There is nowhere else it can start. Life is so short. Why drag around chaos-creating emotions when you can choose to let it go?

If you could pretend to yourself that you are a spectator on some aggravation going on in your life, would your point of view change?

What advice would you give yourself when you see it from a different point of view? Is it really all that important? Is there something you can actively do to effect a difference in outcome? Are you listening to yourself? Are you listening to others?

Peace is not something that comes wrapped with a bow. It takes work on yourself and your perspective to calm down so you can experience something else that is far more livable and lovable.

Are you interested in PEACE, personally, and moment by moment? Figure out what the price is and pay it in whatever coin required. It could be the coin of forgiveness of self or others, the coin of blessing others on their way, or even the coin of loving yourself enough to be happy anyway. This is not an oxymoron. It is TRUTH.

It is in your hands. What do you choose?

Hibiscus - Adding Beauty

Hibiscus – Adding Beauty

Hibiscus at Christmas

Hibiscus at Christmas

Autumn Seeds

Autumn Seeds

Autumn Seeds

Autumn Seeds

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