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Your Life Is Your Mirror

Your life reflects your words, thoughts, and emotions/feelings. What are you dwelling on, thinking about, speaking, feeling?

“How can this be?” you may ask yourself. “Surely this is a joke!” Sad to say, it is not.

So look around you. Stop for a moment and concentrate on your life as it exists at this moment. What do you see? How do you feel? Is it beautiful or ugly? Are you peaceful or being torn apart by your inner lions? Anger, fear, hatred, and all separating emotions fall into this category. How do you tame them? Do you even want to? Are you so certain that your reactions to outside stimuli command these lions to come forth (so you cannot help or stop them)? Is it worth the price you pay? Are you so righteous that it justifies them?

When you close your eyes at night, what do you see, think about, and remember? Savoring that moment when you discovered something so beautiful that it made you stop in your tracks? Beautiful flowers, sunsets, some kindness that was given to you, a hug, a smile, a kiss perhaps? Life can be magical even in these trying times where so many are suffering from unimaginable tragedies. The question becomes:
What are you dwelling on? Is it one of life’s injustices common in these days? Or would you rather think, speak, and feel about ARK: Acts of Random Kindness that you did for others which were returned to you?

The lions inside of every one of us really do become the kings of our inner beings, dictating our life, reactions, and thoughts toward whatever is wrong with our own personal world. The good things disappear in the mist of our mind. When one looks around and finds hopelessness, fatigue, and sadness, you can rest assured that the restless lions are at work in your particular world.

In order to tame those lions, many suggest that deep breathing in the middle of the daily battle (if battle it be) and meditating on uplifting thoughts can give you moments of the peace you seek.

Bad things happen to all of us on this third rock from the sun. No matter how good or how bad a person we are, what we sow, we reap. In some cases, a few plant bad seeds of discontent, etc. There is enough of a mirage surrounding these few that they seem believable in the extreme, and like the pied piper calling the lemmings to the sea, they are followed willingly, much to our sadness and regret.

But you can decide if you want the lions inside of you to reign supreme or seek a new way to think, speak, and feel. That mirror will bring the wonder of life magically back to your eyes and heart. Are you willing to use that mirror to seek the changes you need so you can experience peacefulness once more? It is, after all, up to you.

God’s blessings on your journey!

Emotions Play a Vital Part in Prayer

Before words come thoughts. These evolve and involve emotions. Thoughts are the engine, and emotions are the gasoline that drives it. So, emotions do, indeed, play a vital part in prayers.

Prayers are more than supplications to a higher Being. They are building blocks towards a better life for ourselves and others. They form the light that guides us on our way each and every day. It is that light and awareness that we share with others who touch our lives, possibly for a moment and maybe a lifetime. It forms the basis of who we really are…before we open our mouths to communicate.

If this premise is true (and I believe and know that it is), it should commend the idea of examining our thoughts and emotions before, during, and after we pray. What is it that you are feeling and thinking right now? These will generate joy instead of sadness, peace of mind vs. experiencing harried, hectic, and unhappy situations.

It is all up to you. Do you choose to throw gas on a fire which is already consuming you or pour water over it, calming reactions and your spirit?

It is within your power every day to choose which ones that will help or hurt you. Words, thoughts, and emotions bring so much power into your life, for good or ill.

It is up to you. Are you willing to look at that idea?

God’s blessing upon your journey.

Merry Christmas!

Long ago and far away, the reason for the season was born. He was a humble man, born in a stable. Life for him was simple. His message was clear, free from complications, and full of love for mankind.

But as we look at the Christmas Season today, it is filled with so many things to do that we drop into bed exhausted by the day’s activities and expectations. Have you ever stopped to think about why?

It should be time filled with good memories, moments of love and good will shared with others we care about. However, it is often a time of great stress, both personally and financially. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why that happens? It is a time filled with overdone to-do lists, stressed out, short breathing, and exhaustion. Does that sound merry? Nope.

When was the last time you took time for yourself to stop and enjoy the fleeting moments of your life? How are you breathing? Is it short and from the chest? Or is it relaxed and coming from the stomach, filling your lungs with life-giving oxygen?

Yes, it is a time for celebrating other people in your life. Does it come from expensive gifts you cannot afford? Or is it gifts from the heart, no matter how small? Is it baked goods, cooked with a happy heart, sharing of your energies and time? Do you stop to actually listen to others? Sometimes, that is the greatest gift of all. People in our world are crying out to know they exist. Is it a smile or a shoulder to cry on?

Life can be so much simpler if you let it be that. Look hard at your to-do lists. Examine them carefully. Is each item coming from a heart brimming with joy or expectations? Hope for a better world, no matter how small an action?

Your attitude of gratitude is necessary from beginning to end. Do you spend even five minutes of your day being grateful for the good in your life? This is vital to your well-being.

It is the way you give a gift and not the gift itself, after all. It is an expression of the love, appreciation, and joy that the gift is given. It is not the amount of money spent on it, but the act itself of remembering.

They say that the first gift you buy should be one for yourself. Do you do that? Have you ever done it?

This is the most beautiful time of year, filled with so much to be thankful for: Eyes that see, ears that hear, taste buds that celebrate the many delights of food made especially during this season, and the touch of others – be it an elbow bump, a hug, or a massage.

Remember: Life is so precious. Take time for yourself so you can relax into the season. Do not overextend your energy levels. Do what you can do each day, and do it with a happy heart filled with the joy of life. What more could you ask of yourself? That takes deep breathing, which goes away with the first moment of stress and anxiety. Stop and query: Is this act/gift, etc., really necessary? If exhaustion is a factor, take care of yourself first, not last. We only get so much energy to spend each day. Make each detail of your day count towards that end. Life will go on, whether you drop into bed at night, still filled with the stresses of the day, or if you relax before going to bed, counting the blessings of the day.

Life can be so much simpler if you put some thought into it. Are you willing?

Warmest wishes for the happiest of Holiday Seasons!

Walk on Water or Sink?

The story of Jesus from Matthew 14: 22-33:

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. ”

This story can be applied to our daily lives, not as a myth, but a reality. The key here is Faith and Belief, not only in our Creator but also in ourselves.

When we begin something new, there is an idea that we can accomplish something. Usually there are details towards that end: Perhaps something we had not thought about when we began becomes quite important; sometimes there are people in our lives who discourage us from making changes or taking chances; but often it is a personal attitude that questions everything about it, expecting failure before we even start, and fears/doubts of almost anything our inner self can come up with, realistic or imaginary.

Relating the above paragraph to the walking on water idea: How often do you ask yourself: “Can I do this? Am I worthy? Who do I think I am? What if __________ (fill in the blank)? If only ________________ (fill in the blank) such and such would/could happen. You know the inner drill. This calls into action our self esteem, the role others play in our lives and the resulting decisions of action or inaction, what we expect of ourselves and others, and how we eventually react. Do we shut down and forget the whole thing? Do we pursue it by not expecting success but failure? Can you imagine a successful ending to the idea? Do we press on to the original goal, making adjustments as needed? Do we put forth enough of whatever it takes to arrive at a successful conclusion?

That is why the words Faith and Belief are counter to the Fears we dream up from our overworked imagination. Do you want to WALK ON WATER, going forth with your ideas, goals, and dreams? Or do you want to let your FEARS CAUSE YOU TO SINK? It is a personal decision, after all.

When one begins to make changes and take chances, the unknown takes on an outsized proportion to what it deserves. We really do make mountains out of molehills. So choose: Mountain or Molehill, stop where you are and stay the same or reach out and begin to become the person you were born to be!

God’s blessings upon your journey!

jesus walks on the water (matthew 14), published c. 1850 - jesus walking on the water stock illustrations

Hope Strengthens and Enables

A life without Hope is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly!

Langston Hughes poem “Dreams” says it well:

“Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

“Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.”

Dreams and hopes go hand in hand daily. Where one is, you will find the other.

Daily life has alterably changed. Where once one could see forever and think change is just a choice, daily life for the whole world has now been transmuted. But if you look carefully, you will see that one still has choices in what thoughts to think, what ideas to concentrate on, and what actions to take.

Know this: Outside stimuli cannot demand what response one takes. Yes, we can just REACT, but we can also choose to ACT after considering our many options. Life goes on, and so must we.

One can choose HOPE that enables good thoughts to come forth. Out of those thoughts, options multiply. Isn’t that worth the effort on your part?

Carpe Diem

The literal translation of carpe diem is “pluck the day,” referring to the gathering of moments like flowers and suggesting the ephemeral quality of life. Commonly understood as “seize the day,” the Latin phrase originated in the “Odes,” a long series of poems composed by the Roman poet Horace in 65 B.C.E

What better way to approach each and every day?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

FEAR IMMOBILIZES!

Fear does indeed immobilize one because it enables thought patterns that are based on the worst possible outcome. This, in turn, creates emotions that ensure vulnerability and helplessness. Overwhelmed by all of the above, inaction itself generates a decision from indecision!

Sound crazy? Of course, it is! Does it happen? All the time! Why? Because fear is so strong a negative emotion that it just takes over, mind and body. All one can focus on is the object/idea feared. No other outcome is thought about. Peace is an impossible dream.

Somewhere in the Fear spectrum, Anger enters like a charging elephant! Unstoppable? You bet! This causes one to perform poorly and respond negatively and overactively to outside stimuli.

As long as one’s attention is focused on the “bad stuff” of life, which happens daily in most people’s experiences, the “good stuff” is kept locked up and cannot hold sway in your thoughts and emotions.

Focus is the key here. It’s like holding a magnifying glass to look at something. The more it magnifies, the bigger it seems. Reality has not changed, but your perspective has greatly altered.

In order to get off the merry-go-round of this thought/emotion process, one must firmly grab the reins on this runaway horse and firmly take control. One must choose to “get a grip” and change the arena by looking at other possible outcomes, thinking/feeling other alternatives. Only then can your reality change by loosening the hold fear has on you, permitting to you to be more functional in your life and reactions to others. Anger is not generated so one can think better before acting.

The exclusivity of Fear is this example: I was driving a good friend of mine home about sunset. It was the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen, vivid, so many colors! I brought this to the attention of my friend (who was caught up in a negative sequence involving Fear and Anger). She absolutely could not see the beauty of it. She brushed it aside and continued with her diatribe. Nothing in her situation changed because she was “feeding the monster!” The situation became unalterably worse. How else could it be?

If one wants peace to fill your mind and life, your focus has to change. Ernest Holmes said: “What you think about, you bring about.” I would add that thoughts create feelings, which are the engine of the mind. Both create your reality, like it or not. Focus is part of the idea behind Dr Wayne Dyer’s: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Do you want to continue down a negative path in your life, or do you prefer peace, adaptation, mobility, and different choices to govern you? It is, after all, your choice. Are you willing to experience something else?

God’s blessings on your journey!

New Goal: Nurture your Spirit

As the New Year is coming, our minds may turn to New Year’s Resolutions. If you do make some, chances are that, once the price of achieving your goal is recognized, few will actually put out the effort in order to succeed.

One worthwhile goal is that, for about 30 minutes to an hour after you wake up, you have a direct line open to your subconscious. That is the best time to plant seeds of change in your life by reading something nurturing to your spirit.

I always follow this up with my morning prayers for all the people and matters that concern me or that I know are in need of prayers. I pray specifically by name (because I believe we are known to God by our names), as well as by groups. Another hint: If you are praying for a person, it is best to pray when you know that person(s) is sleeping. That is the best time to have maximum benefit because the conscious mind will not be running interference. This is not a control issue. You are only praying for the higher good to be manifest. It is never done to cause any harm to anyone or to manipulate. Perhaps you are praying for a healing of a specific health issue. We love people and care very much that harmful effects are occurring in each life. Thus, we are centering our attention on the highest good possible for each person–not from our personal point of view or opinion, but from a loving attitude.

Life has been particularly difficult this year due to the world pandemic of COVID19. It has impacted everyone everywhere in so many ways–health wise, financially, job wise, depression, anger, etc. Your attitude is a most valuable asset, which ends up getting lost in the daily unpleasant circumstances of your life. We know for a fact that it is not what happens to you that is the most important, but it is how you REACT to the stimuli of the outer world that is the key here. Your whole life can turn upside down, but if your focus is on the TRUTH of the bigger picture, you can more easily find a way through the difficulties. It is like plugging in an appliance in order to have it perform. Would you expect an appliance to work if you do not plug it in? Faith alone provides the avenue. If you choose to Plug In by Prayer, Reading, and Nurturing your spirit, you are bringing the power of God into your life by Activating THE HIGHER POWER, releasing the necessary energy to perform the tasks! If you don’t Plug In, you are riding a raft in the storm of life, being thrown hither and yon, without the ability to do much about it.

So, I ask you: Which would you rather do? Plug in and stay peacefully calm, poised, and capable of dealing with each difficulty as it comes up, or jump onto that raft for a wild ride for your day? It is all up to you!

God bless your journey. Happiest Wishes for a Marvelous New YEAR to one and all! God alone knows how very much we all need it!

Image result for happy new year

God Is Good!

During this long period of time after CoVID19 happened, changes in our world have left so many of us with extreme emotions about many topics. Everything we knew as normal is gone, with no expectation that anything will return to what it was.

These emotions range from despair, fear, angst, discord, grief, disappointment, anger, etc. There has been very little hope generated. Isn’t that a sad thought?

Now add in the upcoming election cycle, where civility has taken a back seat to angry dissertations and arguments between family members, friends, coworkers, etc. Everyone is so attached to their points of view that no one else can say anything else or contrary to it. Why is that? What makes this time in history different from any other occasion?

During this fractious time, if one were to say: “God is Good!” – it would seem like a crazy person said it. Why is that? How about: “Hope is a part of my everyday thinking!” Positive affirmations have been pushed aside as futile. Yet I would like to posit that this is the only way out of the darkness that surrounds us.

Is God Good when so many are in travail over the lack of money, lost jobs, missed opportunities, in ill health? Perhaps someone we care about has made his/her transition, and grief is all we can feel because we have not had the closure of being by his/her side when it happened? So many reasons to question the idea that God is still good.

Let me assure you that God has not changed, nor has He/She/It gone anywhere. You are not operating in a void, all alone in your misery. Your tool for access is prayer, whatever you define that to be. There is also meditation, deep breathing, yoga, being centered, exercise, experiencing the outdoors as best you can, peaceful sleep which rejuvenates the soul and mind, etc. Life can be better, no matter what you are personally dealing with.

It has been said that, “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to that which matters.” Can you believe that in this traumatic time? You can decide how you personally will respond to each and every situation in your daily life. Is that a unique idea to you? Possibly, but it is absolutely true. Outside happenings cannot dictate to you how you will decide to take action, unless it is an approaching angry tiger or elephant. Yet so many of us act like every single thing is an approaching angry tiger or elephant! No wonder you are exhausted when you fall into bed at night!

COVID19 and the election will pass. A vaccine will be formulated and distributed. Life will continue. The only question you have to ask yourself is: How am I going to make it through this storm?

If you are depressed, fearful, angry, grief-stricken, or caught up with any other negative emotion, you are planting more of the same. In order to have a different result, you will have to change your focus to something better.

You might ask me how. Focus is defined as concentrating on a thought or emotion, enabling clear perception or understanding. If you feel like you are a gerbil in a cage, with thoughts and feelings which only make you feel worse, you know you are stuck and need to turn your attention elsewhere. Only then will you be released from the cage of your own making.

Use whatever tools you possess (reading good thoughts, meditation, yoga, deep breathing while focusing on the stillness of a placid lake, whatever) to change your attention and perspective. You just have to be willing to do that. Are you?

Remember:  God Is Good!

Peace be with you on your journey.

Love your Neighbor AS Yourself

Mark 12:31 states clearly: “Love your neighbor as yourself.

Note that it does not say before yourself, or instead of yourself, or NOT yourself!

It has been known for thousands of years the simple truth that: “Love begins with YOU!” Self Love is perhaps the hardest to master.

Most people are harder on themselves than they are with anyone else in their lives: bosses, friends, lovers, mates, children, acquaintances. We become our own worst enemy. Why is that?

I personally believe it is because we are so focused on OUT THERE realities from the second we wake up until we fall exhausted into bed at night. Then it doesn’t end. Look at all the different sleep medications out there that are for sale. There must be a reason. My guess is that our dear mind is keeping us awake, thinking of things we could have done better or differently, stress, nerves, world news, fears for money, jobs, and the pandemic of COVID19. My list could go on quite a while. So we beat ourselves up endlessly for so many reasons.

Does that sound like Self Love to you?

Also, how about FORGIVENESS? Can you forgive yourself for your shortcomings, no matter how small, big, or in between they are? Can you forgive others for past instances where they fell short in your eyes?

To me, Self Love includes not only Forgiveness, but also Gratitude. Are you truly grateful for all the blessings (big and small) you have in your life at this moment? I could start with allowing myself a deep breath, releasing stressful thoughts and condemnations, and just being glad I am alive in this moment. I am grateful for everything from a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive when I need it, bills are paid, good medical care as I age, this computer to use to communicate with my world at large, smart phone and tv, my Keurig that gives me a hot cup of coffee, etc. I also know how to handle all the aches and pains, injuries, etc., as I age because I have been careful to learn yoga, exercise, and physical therapy to strengthen whichever body part needs it at the moment. I include deep breathing as I start my day and as the day proceeds. Beauty is part of my world, which includes beautiful flowers, watching birds and observing my garden grow – providing us with squash, eggplants, and tomatoes to eat and to share. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The difference in my life is which thoughts and emotions I choose to entertain myself with. I, too, have strong emotions/thoughts that carry me away quickly. Prayer helps a lot with that. Meditation is necessary as a tool to calm down and love myself anyway. That to me is a key.

You, too, have the possibility of using your own keys to LOVE YOURSELF ANYWAY! After all, perfection is merely a goal, not a commandment.

We are lectured when we are young about our many faults. We take that inside of us and use it well, much to our own dismay. Sometimes it is so strong that we treat all of that as REQUIRED PERFECTION, from which we will ALWAYS fall short, requiring us to reprimand ourselves for every transgression. Isn’t that a sad thought? Because we do it at such a deep level and so naturally that it is difficult to change. However, we can choose to change. We truly can get off of our own backs and stop beating ourselves up!

You are in charge of your own mind. Are you willing to let what is really not working very well continue? Or do you want to begin to LOVE YOURSELF TRULY?

One of the yoga breaths is called the CARING BREATH: You reach both hands/arms out in front of you, take your right hand/arm and touch your left shoulder as you bow your head in that direction and you say, “I accept myself fully, with all my faults and shortcomings.” Then you reach out with your right hand/arm and say, “I am willing to serve, love, and care for others.” Then you repeat this with the left hand/arm. I find this so peaceful and life-changing.

Many motivational speakers tell us to look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, “I love you just as you are. You are enough. Go forth with joy in your being!”

Are you willing to try to love yourself? It is all up to you, after all.

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

Saint or Sinner? Peace or Chaos?

Each segment of the church system/religious beliefs has its own parameters of what consists the answer to the question: Are you a saint or a sinner? On one side is the saint, and on the other is the sinner.

Even in our own minds, we label our concepts of saint or sinner. From this point of reference, we judge our world, past and present, self and others. We beat ourselves up for our perceived shortcomings, where we fall short of our own expectation levels. Others also emphasize the same. This only reinforces the negative input incoming to our spirit. Is it productive or counter-productive? Does the negativity give us a desire to change? Nope. Only a positive attitude, working toward a positive goal, can do that. Isn’t it amazing, though, that so many people think that the negative motivation works?

Here is a revolutionary concept: What if we have the power through the use of our choices to be one or the other and even somewhere in between? Is that a possibility?

It may sound absolutely insane to think of life in that way. We put a lot of attention on blaming others, circumstances, or even life itself. This helps us to avoid the responsibility of accepting that we made a poor choice in the first place.

Yes, accidents happen, as do sickness, job loss, horrific weather, crazy politics, etc. Then we have to decide on what our particular response will be – not our reaction, mind you. I am focusing on the idea of what I am going to do in this situation that is occurring on this Third Rock from the Sun. Am I praying for the situation others are experiencing in such a traumatic way? Of course. My response is to choose to support the relief efforts in whatever way I can. Please note that I said response.

In my own life, stuff happens: Good, Bad, and all that comes between those two. However, as captain of my ship, I must decide how I am sailing: What, where, destination, journey, etc. In a strong wind, I must tack to maintain my course. I have to consider my destination (a fixed point) vs. the journey itself as it unfolds. Heaven knows that the destination certainly can change in an instant through positive or negative impacts, perhaps with no choice of my own involved. Life happens.

The only question you are left with: How do you want to respond vs. react to exterior situations/information? The choice is always yours, whether you recognize it or not. In this restless world at this point in time and space, the electronic transmission of all facts/perceptions are known to all with just a touch of a button, literally. The emotions are running so high that the fight or flight pattern in all of us is controlling so much of our thoughts. This state, if kept up long enough, will be our undoing, both individually and collectively.

Peace must be actively chosen as a part of our world. Step back for just a moment, breathe deeply, become quiet (no matter how briefly), and rest just a bit before reentering the exterior world. Your body and mind will thank you. That choice is up to you! Choose wisely.

Praying always for all the suffering that is happening now. Be safe. Act constructively and positively. Do what you must, but don’t lose your sense of self/peace in the process.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

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