Blog Archives

No Room at the Inn

The Christmas story, as told in Luke 2:7 states: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn.”

The first part of that sentence — all the way up through “manger” captures our attention. But I would like to draw your attention to the last words in the sentence: “…no room for them in the Inn.”

During the Christmas season, busyness rules many people’s lives, dictating a hurry and scurry that tires the body and soul. There are lists to make, gifts to buy and wrap, cards to get ready to mail, parties to attend, and festivities/programs to partake of. All of these are great and useful.

But what if you stopped to think about your life and heart as a manger where the Christ child could rest?

Are you moving so fast to participate in all your activities that there is no quiet time to speak of the manger and what it could mean to you?

Is your life like the Inn where there is no room for the ideas of faith, peace, love, hope and joy – the quintessence of the Christmas Spirit?

Whoa! Slow down! Breathe deeply now.

Every day, your brain, heart, and body need to take the time for your own good in order to make room in your being for focusing on the qualities that make up the quintessence of the Christmas Spirit — the Faith which helps you along your way, the stillness of Peace, the Love of self and others, the Hope of a better day, and the Joy of life and more livingness daily.

It would only take a few minutes, but if you choose to spend that time, the gifts that will bring will last all day long. Are you willing?

God’s blessing be upon you and your journey!  Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

Manger of the Heart

Faith

Bring you tidings of great Joy!

Blessings Be Upon You!

Peaceful Sunset

Sands of Time

What do you most treasure in your life?

Time flows like sand in an hourglass – it is in our attention zone for such a short time, like a second, and then passes beyond our reach where we cannot change anything that just happened. Yes, we can make changes in future seconds in what is about to happen or is pending.

So, I ask you, where is your focus? What are you thinking about or spending time doing? What do you cherish?

If you answered these questions, then you must ask yourself the next question: How am I spending my time, which is so very precious because once that moment is gone, it cannot be changed? Every day counts. Every choice matters.

Are you working so that you might have more stuff, be it a Gucci bag, a Rolex watch, a new home, or a vacation? Or are you working because you are a solid citizen who pays your bills, but in many instances the incoming moneys are not enough to satisfy the outgoing layout? At what point do you draw the line? In this economy, many people are just surviving, working more than one job, and yet do not have enough to pay for necessities, let alone luxuries like steak. Homelessness of individuals and families is growing in this country because the pay for the available jobs is not enough to rent an apartment, let alone own a place to live. Many are eating the foods they can afford, which are the type that not only add weight but also contribute to extremely poor health.

In short, life happens. Dreams can die if you let them. Possibilities are never realized because every day we jump into the hamster cage, going round and round, with nothing changing.

Einstein said the definition of  insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Time moves faster as one ages. Days fly by, months evaporate, and years come and go. You can look at the past and wonder where it all went and why. Many times it ends up in castigating oneself because of the negative perceptions/expectations unmet/sad remembrances.

So I ask you, where is your focus? Where do you want to put your energies/time/dollars/goals? Your answer is the essence of the choices you make every single day. So I ask again, What do you most treasure in your life? Are you keeping that in mind when you make your choices?  Every act of every minute of the day becomes history, with its impact felt like the ripples that form on the lake when a rock is thrown in.

Time is very, very real. How you spend it – every second of it – really does matter, for one day the sands do run out. There is no turning of the hourglass for you. Do your choices reflect what you want to achieve? If not, a change is required. Are you willing?

God’s blessings on your journey.

Image result for hourglass

Image result for ripples on water

 

Perceptions

We acquire our perceptions of reality from the moment of birth. Authority figures such as parents, friends, teachers, etc., all contribute to the plethora of our understanding. Some are positive, yet most are negative, along with the feelings engendered. When something occurs, our frame of reference for these perceptions come into their own. We reject whatever is outside of them, and accept without question that which “fits.” We react accordingly.

At what point do we question whether or not these “perceptions” are helpful or harmful? Unless something happens to challenge our perceptions, we go through life’s daily motions, living our life, whatever it is.

Here’s a thought: Our perceptions are actually crystallized thought patterns, which form a mold for future use, automatically. What if one finds that change is needed in whatever form?

In order to change something, one must first examine one’s reality to see WHAT IS. This will show us how we thought/felt in the past. Then we must chart a course to a new destination that we desire. We are at the helm of our individual ship, after all. To chart a course requires thought, with feeling becoming the wind in our sails.

If our thoughts/feelings cling to the past, there is no wind to affect our course. Only in the present can we make a difference.

One can use affirmations of what we can see is needed, together with prayer, to change the crystallized thoughts and perceptions. Only that will shatter the glass of crystallization, which will forever hold us in the same place, same habits, same situation.

Some people fear change because it is unknown. Only by Letting Go and Letting God with faith in the possibilities available can we begin to see the needed changes begin. Trust is a strong element here. Ego does not want it at all.

So if there is some change needed in your reality, no matter how big or how small, look at WHAT IS. Keep it before your eyes, thoughts, and feelings, without ambiguity or doubt. It is, after all, your journey, your ship. Are you willing?

God’s blessings for your journey.

Image result for ships

 

Mindfulness

Webster’s Dictionary defines Mindfulness as: “Having in mind; aware.”

The Google for Mindfulness says:

“mind·ful·ness
ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
noun: mindfulness
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
     
My favorite is, of course, the latter one. I would also add: “Doing one thing at a time.” We can, in fact, do only one thing at a time, even if one is a good juggler and has a lot of items in the air all at once. At that present moment, it is only one item at a time, even though all items are in movement. That is the art of keeping them in motion.
Life sometimes comes at us so quickly that we actually can get lost in the shuffle: Of feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, actual events that are occurring in our lives, etc. What then?
The first thing you will notice as you get stressed out is that your breathing has changed: You are breathing from the upper body, leaving the diaphragm out of it altogether. When you notice this, you stop for just a second or two (or a moment or two), take a really, really deep breath.
You will notice that one act alone helps to calm you down. If you do not know how to do that, maybe it is time to look into a yoga class.
Focus is key here. What are you putting your attention towards? Is it a plethora of so many things that you feel like you, personally, must do all of them before the end of the day? That is common in our society, unfortunately. However, it can also, in fact, be a truth. Each person has many roles to play every day. Often the roles overlap and collide, causing a mess, both inside and outside of you. What then?
As we age, we also lose the ability to keep “balls in the air.” We slow down. Our responses are slower. I don’t believe that life is moving faster. It is just that we are moving more slowly.

Your choices are clear: Get on that spinning merry-go-round and keep going until you drop from fatigue, OR STOP, BREATHE, Prioritize, figure out what is number one, do that, and then move on to number two. Anything else leads to insanity and ill health.

Besides, it does not work very well if you just jump on and keep going. Even Type A personalities get tired.

Meditation is taught in so many forms these days. If you need a quiet mind to function at your optimum level (and most people do), even a few moments in the morning before you begin your day is enough. Beauty is everywhere around us. Look for it. Take a few seconds to enjoy it. It just takes Focus and Awareness.

When the tempo of the dance of your life picks up to a pace where you can no longer keep your rhythm, something has to change. You just have to decide what that is. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Flowers – Hibiscus

Autumn, Maroon Bells, CO

Autumn at Multnomah Falls, Oregon

beauty Mt Sneffels, Co

What’s up?

Baby Goslings

 

 

 

Enlightenment, Before and After

Before Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water (did my many tasks).

After Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water (did these same many tasks with mindfulness).

It is like watching a flower from bud, to unfoldment, to full blossom. I apply the idea of experiencing the present – the NOW – to every act/task.

After all, God did not say “I WAS” -which is yesterday. Nor did God say, “I WILL BE” – which is tomorrow. God said, “My name is I AM!”

God’s blessing on your journey!

Allium

Allium

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus

 

Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.

If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”

Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.

Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an  endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.

But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).

If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.

The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.

Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.

The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.

Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living.  It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to  breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).

The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

Eating

Do you Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

This would appear to be a simple question, when in fact it is extremely complicated. Raised in families, we become accustomed to the foods we eat, as well as the way we eat them.

Do you eat your food quickly, as though you were starving? Or is a meal a leisurely activity that you enjoy eating slowly as you chat at the table with loved ones and friends? Do you prefer Italian to Mexican or American vs. Oriental? Are you a “meat and potatoes” person? Do you like white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth or quality grains that nourish your body?

If you stuff in your food as fast as you can, the center in the brain that notifies you that you are full never gets a chance because you have already over-eaten, packing the food in, stretching your stomach so you will eat more next time. It actually takes 20 minutes from the time you are full and should stop eating until that center tells you to stop. So, how much more will you stuff in that your body does not need? Answer:  A lot!

How about where you are eating? Do you eat in front of the TV set, paying attention to whatever is going on there vs. how much and what you are eating? Do you drive up to a fast food outlet, order at the window, pick it up at another window, and start eating before you even leave the parking lot, stuffing it in as you drive? Or do you go in, order your food, and eat it there peacefully before you begin to drive?

Portions are equally important. When you are in a buffet, do you put so much on your plate that it should have side boards? Let’s say that you are really hungry, so you put more on the plate than you know you should really eat? Do you eat it all? Are you trained to “Clean your plate!” Do you continue to just stuff it in?

The statistics in these United States for overweight people, including not only the obese but the morbidly obese, have increased astronomically from the young all the way up to the very old. If you question this, go anywhere people congregate – the grocery store, schools, fast food restaurants, etc. You will find that most of the people are from somewhat big to so heavy they can hardly walk. It is no small wonder that medical costs are rising astronomically.

Look at the food shelves by checkout. They will be filled with comfort foods, sugary treats, and other items like chips, etc. Look at what is in the carts of people as they pass you by. You just might be amazed at what you find.

Do they teach nutrition in schools? Not really. Do they teach food groups? Not usually.

What is the answer to this conundrum? A change of focus is absolutely needed.

All diets work for the same reason: Your intake of food is less than what energy you expend, every day. There are so many diets out there that it makes your mind spin. If you try one and do lose weight, statistics say that you will put back on the weight you lost plus some within a year. It takes a whole year for your body to get used to the changes. Most people just go back to whatever they ate before they began the diet.

Are you a couch potato? You will normally be eating far more calories than you are burning. After checking with your doctor, you may begin any physical activity that you like. Walking is normally within everyone’s ability. Do what you can to increase your expenditure of calories. It will be a blessing in so many ways, including increasing your balance, stamina, and ability to live your life.

So you may ask, “What is the answer?”

It lies in educating yourself on food groups, portions control, and making wise choices with what you put into your mouth. It takes a life style change to be persistent in maintaining weight loss.  Perhaps you could write down what you are going to eat the next day and stick to it. That works really well for some people. It is not will power – it is more “won’t” power (as in I will lower my intake of pop, munchies like chips, and sugar products). It requires you to make a decision to lose weight so you can be healthier. Educate yourself on what your body likes. I know that mine loves vegetables and fruits, with some protein to balance it out. I try to eat something from all the food groups every day. If I do eat a piece of pie, I balance it out with eating well the rest of that day and the following one. I chew my food more slowly and savor the taste of each bite. This also helps me to know when I am full so I can stop eating. Physical activity  aids me as well as I enjoy yoga and strength training, including aerobic activities. My mantra is: “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” when I am deciding what to eat.

You just have to ask yourself: Do I live to eat or do I eat to live? The choices belong solely to you. No one can do it for you. Yes, you can get surgical intervention in several ways, but do you really want to do that? Everything carries a price. Do you want to pay the price of never making any changes in your selection of what you eat, how much, and how fast? Do you want to stay a couch potato? It may take a while, but that price will inevitably be paid in a way you do not like and will not want to pay. That may include a shorter life span with corresponding ill health.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

change-your-thoughts-change-world do-something do-what-you-can

 

 

 

 

Believe In Yourself

How many times have you heard, “Believe in yourself?”

If you begin at the very beginning, your self concept begins from the day you are born and continues to build as the days go by. The important people in your life, especially your parents or a teacher, can have great bearing on the formation of your personal identity. Whether or not you have low self-esteem issues, or perhaps you have a hard time expressing your opinions or standing up for yourself, you are a person with the ability to recognize any perceived short-comings you have. You also have the power to decide to change.

When I was young and in the above-mentioned state, I read Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I came to many realizations as I read this book. I could see the common sense of it. I began to implement some changes. My husband at that time did not like the idea at all. In fact, he tore up my book into confetti-sized pieces, threw them at me as he exclaimed: “You cannot be a person because you are my wife!” Did the marriage last? No, because once I knew I could stand on my own two feet with the ability to make new choices, the situation was untenable.

If I were to look in a mirror today all these years later, I can celebrate because I married a man who truly wanted an intelligent mate who can think, act, and be the person I need to be – even while I am working with him, side by side, in harmony traces. (This is like a pair of horses, pulling a wagon, where the strengths of one aids the weaknesses of the other and vice versa, pulling the load equally.)

When I was a senior in high school (many years ago), I took Speech. Of course, I had to speak in front of the class. The person sitting in the first desk could not have really heard me – no projection, shy, slow of speech, etc. However, as I began to age, I discovered that I can be in a room of any size and be able to have everyone hear me without the aid of the microphone. How is this possible? It happened because I discovered that I could begin to unwrap my God-given gifts that I was born with and learn to use them to benefit myself and others.

When I was in elementary school, an art teacher, Mrs. Able, told me to never attempt to do anything in the art field. I was crushed and did not attempt any form of art for a long time. A few years back, I took an art class on my lunch break. My teacher made me promise to finish and frame my pencil drawing of a Norwhal, a collage I titled “Quietness,” and another collage in blue titled “Flight.” He told me I could put my works on  display in any gallery in town. So I ask you, “What made the difference?”

The answer is simple: I discovered some of the gifts that I possess and did, indeed, learn to use them. My self definition changed from “I can’t!” to either “I can!” or “I want to try something new.”

You, too, can discover that you are a unique human being with many gifts inside of you which need unwrapping. The words, “Believe In Yourself” take on new meaning as you find what you are capable of doing. As you begin to set aside the old tape recordings of how incapable you are, the more you begin to actually live your life more fully. You can decide to make new choices instead of rehashing old memories/words or beliefs.

The only question remaining is: Are you willing? It is, after all, entirely within your capabilities to recognize that a change is needed. Then you find out that just the process of recognizing that a change is needed actually begins a synergy that can carry you forward as far as you want to go.

God’s blessings upon your journey!

believe-in-yourself-kitty believe-in-yourself be-yourself how-do-i-see-myselfn attitude

 

 

Listening – an Art or a Bother?

Is Listening an Art or a troublesome bother? Is it a good thing to learn, or is it a useless waste of time? Are you not really listening but instead are already formulating an answer in a conversation?

How one answers these questions will tell you a lot about yourself and your interactions with others.

It is my personal belief that every single person is actually looking for someone who will actually Listen to what they have to say.

In the world of electronic transmissions, it has been my experience that, in person-to-person exchanges, hardly any one is really hearing what another has to say. This contributes to a feeling of loneliness, even if one is surrounded by a crowd of humans.

One reason we value our pets so very much is that they are actually paying attention to us. We need that feeling.

Have you ever been in a conversation and inserted something ridiculous just to see if the other person is hearing you? I have. It can be quite comical, especially if you are not particularly invested in the situation.

If you ask the other person to repeat something you said, it is rare when it can be done. Why? Lots of reasons, with the main reason being that the other is not hearing you per se but is thinking about other things, perhaps elsewhere or another time entirely.

If one were to cultivate the gift of actually listening to another, be it in person, via phone call, text, or Tweet, etc., your world would change. Trust me on this. Others truly appreciate you because you give them your attention, responding to what is actually being said. If you should compliment them on something, they feel validated. This is worth its weight in gold.

In the process of anger management, the primary goal is to repeat what the angry person is saying (yelling, screaming, etc.). This lets the other person know that you hear him/her. Usually, anger escalates when that one feels like you are not listening, so the noise level increases. Of course, you cannot reason with someone when they are like that, but you can after you have acknowledged that they are upset and why. Then anger itself automatically diminishes like poking a balloon with a pin.

Life is hard enough with the day-to-day stressors we experience. If you could lessen the stress in your life by learning to Listen, would it be worth your while? Absolutely! Are you willing to put forth the effort to do it? It is, after all, your choice!

God’s Blessings on your Journey!

Caring - Listening Ear

Caring – Listening Ear

Biggest Communication Problem

Biggest Communication Problem

 

 

 

A Time For All Things

As I look out my window and see the lovely flowers, I am reminded of the idea that there really is a time for all things. Right now, it is a time for heat and staying indoors as much as possible until the cool of the Colorado evening arrives so we can walk around the lake. Later and sooner than you think, it will be time to put up the shorts and find our jackets, and then our winter coats.

When I don’t feel up to par and this old body hurts, aches and complains, I have to remind myself that “This, too, shall pass.” I exercise and do my physical therapy, put on my happy face, and get on with my day, whatever that becomes.

I know that no one likes to be around a complainer. Period. Complaining just sets whatever it is that is going wrong into concrete and is much harder to deal with. Why would anyone want that?

I find something to rejoice in, no matter how small. Perhaps it is a few moments in hot water in my jetted bath tub, which eases any body part that is complaining. Perhaps it is looking at my photo albums on my computer and putting on some nice music as they keep showing frame after frame. My point is that one does not have to remain in that bad mood unless you truly want to do that. There is so much to be thankful for if one just looks for it. That is the key.

Life is so short so I don’t want to waste the precious time that God gives me every day. There are loved ones who need a word of encouragement, a saleslady that truly needs a kind word and a smile, a child that needs a cuddle and to know that it is OK, etc.

In short, dear readers, it is up to you to choose to stay in the “bad day,” or find ways to make it better. Are you willing?

God bless you on your journey!

arrows - aiming

 

 

%d bloggers like this: