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Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm comes from the root for “En” = From and “Dios” = God. In short, it means that God is our inspiration of ideas and livingness.

The dictionary defines Enthusiasm as: “To be inspired as by a god; intense or eager interest; zeal; fervor.” That is pretty clear.

Yet, the daily wear and tear of life does not let us live our lives with Enthusiasm. That is a matter between the head and the heart. Stress denies its presence. Obligations required by our work, our families, our friends, outnumber the good thoughts we do have. Our electronic gadgets pervade every corner and every minute of our waking experiences…smart phones, computers in every form, gaming, etc.

The question arises: Having said all of the above, how can one participate in one’s life with Enthusiasm?

Answer: The first half hour after you wake up, you have a direct inroad into your subconscious. The same occurs at night: The last half hour before you go to sleep provides the same opportunity.

Can you arrange some quiet time for yourself at those time frames? It is an inroad to peace of mind and heart with quiet and deep breathing, positive thoughts, meditation, and dwelling on what is right in your life in lieu of that which is wrong.

Even 5 minutes could make a difference if you cannot dream of 30 minutes. It is your life. You alone must choose how you will live it. Daily prayers are also the “meat and potatoes” of your existence. How are you feeding your soul?

My vote is a quiet, peaceful existence with positive food for my soul. What will you choose?

God’s blessings be upon your path and choices this day!

Beauty in Action

Beauty in Action

 

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

Learning to Love Yourself

That sounds like an oxymoron, but it really isn’t.

We are trained from childhood to look for what we do wrong and not for what we do right. We make inner tapes of those people who are our idea of authoritative/instructive figures, and they are unedited tapes. Every time you say, “I should have…” you are actually listening to those inner tapes once again. It does not matter if the tapes are unedited and may not apply to a certain situation. We listen to them once again and beat ourselves up inside for some perceived shortcoming.

A simple example of this is etiquette: “Don’t put your elbows on the table while you are eating.” So, even if you have your elbows on the table as you lean forward to participate in an interesting conversation,  you can look back on it later and say, “I should not have done that.” You then proceed to make yourself wrong after rethinking something.  That happens all the time.

I have had different people call me later and apologize profusely for some apparent misstep, which I do not even notice, let alone recall. So it is not that something negative occurred which is clearly labeled that way. It is just someone is looking back at an occurrence, and, because they are a good person, they feel an apology is required…not optional. That happens frequently to lots of people, male and female alike. It is the tapes, always. The stronger the tapes, the more you beat yourself up inside, telling yourself what a bad person you are. Is this constructive? I doubt it. Can it improve your behavior, based on a negative model? Probably not. It just plants more self condemnation (which is a curse to a good self image), that is reproduced again later in a more lethal dose to your spirit. (How can you build something up by tearing it down?)

Another example is, “I have to learn things the hard way.” Isn’t that a great affirmation? If you want some more of what you don’t really care for, say that one!

I was 19 years old before I found out I could something right: I learned to ice skate. What a joy it was! I could fly across the ice and just enjoy being alive. I felt like I was finally free of the negative issues that I was surrounded with. I had been raised by my mother, who was raised in an orphanage as her parents had died before she was 5 years old. She raised me in the only way she knew, which was not pretty. My father had died two days before my 8th birthday. My self image was not a good one. I knew I was wrong before I got up in the morning, and I would be wrong when I went to bed that night. My mother was a good, gentle person trying to do the best she could. Her best nurturing came when I was sick, so I was sick a lot, of course. (We all need nurturing.) I was raised with the script: Don’t Be (which is synonymous for Do Not Exist). That, by the way, is the hardest one to get rid of.  Heartache, Inc., is what it should be labeled.

Because the tapes are inside of us, they are difficult to access, particularly if we do not realize they are there. Could you sit down and write down your own personal list of “Should Have’s” and “Ought To’s?” That would be a nice beginning to the ability to recognize tapes, which become commandments in our daily living. (It should be noted that this happens at the subconscious level until we bring it to the conscious level so we can override it.) Once you write them down, you can begin to realize where and who they came from and just how much they control your life. You can make a judgment about whether that particular tape is worth keeping and what is immediately made trash-worthy.

Self analysis is an art, is not easily done, and is often confused by the inner voices/tapes from our past. The more difficult our past has been, the harder it is to know how to begin. The only way to do that is really more simple than you have been led to believe. You don’t have to “rake around in the old bones” of your past for years, psychoanalyze all of it to look for reasons for causes of your behavior, and crawl to a new beginning, ever so slowly. You can begin today to make a difference and to make changes to your life. All you have to do is to decide right this moment that you want to cultivate a good self image–the beginning of learning to love yourself, right where you are with all your faults and gifts which need unwrapping by discovering what they are.

Just a word about the difference between a good self image and ego/grandiosity in all its forms. EGO is defined as that part of you that experiences the external world through the senses, organizes the thought processes rationally, and governs action; it mediates between the pleasure and wishing impulses of the id, the demands of the environment, and the standards of the superego (inner tapes). GRANDIOSITY is described as seeming or trying to seem very important–the negative aspect of which is putting yourself down all the time–same thing just at opposite ends. Ego can be a good thing if approached with caution, extreme caution. It is an element of a good self image if it is  balanced with good ideas: The ability to see reality clearly and acting appropriately (as in not needing to puff yourself up at somebody else’s expense; not continuously putting yourself down because you are riding your own case constantly; getting your feelings hurt because of a perceived {and sometimes real} slight that somebody else has said or done to you).  In short, one can get confused easily by everyday occurrences in your life. You can assume guilt where there is none. You can be very selfish and not care about others in any way. You can put someone else down because they do not perform in accordance with your expectations, forgetting that they have their own ideas as well. There are many permutations of the above idea. You may discover many of them on your journey…in yourself and in others. Once discovered, you alone must decide their worth to you and to others–you can keep what you want and discard the rest.

Anyway, my journey to a healthy self image has been a very long one and continues today. Through life’s experiences, both good and bad, I have found out what does and does not work–what matters and what does not. I have used books, workshops, and church classes in my search for any information that will help me to become a better person and who I was meant to be. I have found so many things to love about my life and find great Joy in just being alive, in seeking Beauty daily in all her forms, and in caring about others, helping them to find a handhold on their journeys so they can grow. A healthy self image is a treasure for the rest of your life and is well worth striving for.

Are you interested in discovering who it is you really are, without the dictation from the inner tapes to control your every move subconsciously? As stated above, you must first make the effort to discover these inner tapes and make them conscious so you can edit them and make changes in your life. Are you willing to do that?

Life is a symphony. You can make sweeter music and unfold like a flower if you do.

Make sweet music and unfold like a flower

Make sweeter music and unfold like a flower!

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