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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!

Flowing with the River of Life

Imagine that your life and all that happens to you are like a river, flowing from an unseen source stream, and flowing on beyond your physical sight. Now think about white water rafting categories:

Grade 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill level: very basic)
Grade 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skill level: basic paddling skill)
Grade 3: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering.
Grade 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed.
Grade 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering.
Grade 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that they are effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Class 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death compared to lesser classes.

If you contemplate these categories, you can see instances in your personal experience which contain incidents of these Grades — some much more turbulent than the others.

Sometimes, we just feel swamped, perhaps unable to function in our realities. Then there are those occasions when we encounter rocks that leave us physically or spiritually bruised/injured. Perhaps you are hanging onto a branch for dear life, knowing that if you let go, your life will change — fearing the worst, afraid of the unknown. But there can also be lazy river days, when one can just drift along with the current, not needing to care about when you will get there or how, just relaxing on your inner tube and enjoying the journey.

Awareness is the beginning of change. Choices occur second by second from the time you get up until you go to bed: From what clothes you will wear, foods you will eat, how you respond to negative stimuli, smile or frown, happy or sad, etc. All of these can combine with such force as to dictate what white water rafting category your day will be in. If you find yourself in a situation, can you take a deep breath, swim to an eddy in your mind, and relax, thus escaping the turbulent current? Instead of reacting to the external stimuli, consider your options carefully. Do you want to jump in with both feet and fight the current/waves/rocks? Or do you wish to take a slower, more contemplative route — perhaps portage around this particular issue and pick up the river  downstream?

My analogies are simply to draw your attention to what you have going on in your life right now. Do you like/love what is unfolding for you moment by moment? Or is it so traumatic that you want to run the other way? What maneuvers are you considering? Is it in response to the river or to the people in your life? Are you listening to yourself or not? Perhaps you may feel like you have no choices – which indeed becomes a choice in itself. Consequences follow as surely as the night, the day. Are you willing to keep perpetuating this myth? Or do you want to become more aware? Both have serious decisions/results. Only you can take action. Do you choose to paddle or not? Are you willing?

God’s blessing upon your journey!

Storms of Life

Storms of Life

Enjoy Life

Enjoy Life

Control Reactions

Control Reactions By Dr. Caroline Leaf

Have You Laughed at Yourself Lately?

Every single day, I find lots of reasons to laugh at myself. Sometimes I am so serious that the thought of laughter is its own joke. Yes, there are times to be serious. But laughter makes a wonderful companion, especially when I am making myself wrong about something or depressed over some ache or pain. I heartily endorse the use of laughter as a tool for healing as well, just like Norman Cousins’ book, “Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived By the Patient:”

“Anatomy of an Illness was the first book by a patient that spoke to our current interest in taking charge of our own health. It started the revolution in patients working with their doctors and using humor to boost their bodies’ capacity for healing. When Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a crippling and irreversible disease, he forged an unusual collaboration with his physician, and together they were able to beat the odds. The doctor’s genius was in helping his patient to use his own powers: laughter, courage, and tenacity. The patient’s talent was in mobilizing his body’s own natural resources, proving what an effective healing tool the mind can be. This remarkable story of the triumph of the human spirit is truly inspirational reading.”

Another of interest is “The Healing Power of Humor” by Allen Klein: “The ability to laugh at annoyances, crises, and even outright disasters can literally save your life. The author presents a series of proven techniques for overcoming the negative effects of loss, setbacks, upsets, disappointments, trials, and tribulations.”

If one Googles, “Laughter is the best medicine,” lots of entries come up. One such entry is, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” at http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm    What a delight it was to see this, repeating how many areas of your life,  spirit, and health can improve through the use of humor and laughter. Please go there and read this refreshing article.

Norman Vincent Peale states: “It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself, you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.” Please check out some of his books, especially, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It helps to change your perspective.

Proverbs 17:22 states: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

That is an accurate description of how I feel about laughter and its absence. That is why I look for the lighter side of things in spite of pain, enduring illness, sadness (which is appropriate for a time, but then you have to let it go), depression (feeling down for long periods of time), growing older (and seeing how very much I am no longer capable of doing or must do much less), etc. For every reason under the sun, there are many reactions possible. I have to admit that I cannot always respond well, lightening up and getting on with life, but it is my ultimate goal and ideal. I strive very hard to make it workable in my life. I put some music on and dance around, just experiencing the joy of movement. I do yoga. I do my physical therapy exercises religiously and go to the physical therapist as needed. I exercise daily in some way. I love the endorphins that gives me.

My message is a simple one: No matter what you have got that is eating at you, laughter and humor can improve your heart and mind so you can deal with life more effectively. All you have to do is seek to experience it in your life, in whatever way that suits you. Are you willing to turn loose of the problem that is choking the life out of you and look for another answer? It is your choice — use it wisely.

God’s blessings on your journey!

My Mom at 96, Still Laughing!

My Mom at 96, Still Laughing!

What a joy that was to experience!

 

 

 

 

 

“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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