Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Highs And Lows Of Marriage

 “When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship.?”    Joseph Campbell

“But marriage goes in waves. You’ve got to be patient. People bail and give up on their marriages way too early. They just don’t put the work and the effort into it. You’ve got to suck up your ego a lot of times, because that can be a big downfall.”    Anna Benson

It is impossible to have a set of guidelines for marriage because there are likely no two marriages that are identical. It stands to reason that if none of us are equivalent then when two of us get together and form a marriage it will be unique. That is why I believe it is next to impossible to imitate another couple. It may even be asking for trouble.

Women turn to other women when they have a problem in the marriage. Of course the first things friends do is to state what works in their own relationship. This is helpful to a point but useless as a tool of measurement. No two marriages are identical and therefore each relationship, like kids, needs to be dealt with differently.

I think some young marriages begin by assuming the man should do this and the woman that. Reality steps in and the turmoil begins.  Each partner feels they know how to divvy up the tasks.  They discover that the attitude of you do this and I’ll do that and everything will be fine doesn’t work.  Once each spouse stops attempting to delegate the jobs the bickering comes to a conclusion.

Marriages that work are based on less controlling expectations. Whenever we expect, we will perhaps always be disappointed. Soundly studying our prospects provides us with the realistic notions that are within reason. The plans must take into account the attitudes and moods of the day. They also must consider any stressful issues at work or in the extended families that may influence the thoughts and behaviors of our spouses.

None of us like having someone hanging the gauntlet over our heads and demanding we do our work. Many of us experience enough of that at our jobs so that the last thing we want to experience is this happening at home. Let’s face it, it is a total turn off. I understand like anyone else that there are tasks I want accomplished and maybe even waited on them for a long time. I also am aware that my timing is poor sometimes, and those tasks may appear to be discouraging to my spouse when I begin command with an ultimatum, that they get finished.

If one likes to cook, then man or woman they should be the chef. If one keeps the clothes washed and refrains from putting everything into the dryer then that is solidly their job. If you don’t like to do certain jobs and your spouse is willing to do them then stop checking on the time the job takes to do. It isn’t always about the time it takes to do the job, but whether or not you want it on your list.

Going shopping may be interesting for some spouses because they enjoy the foods and creativity. It may take more time but they have the benefit of choosing the meal plan and ideas. Picking up the house may be quicker but a bit more boring. Attempting to keep the division of labor fair and within reason helps to save some disagreements down the road. However it is never a perfect way to settle division of chores.

I believe many women sense their stronger connection to the home. Perhaps they are only looking at it from their perspective. The husband may see the crack in the cement that needs to be sealed. Likewise women may enjoy creating the ambiance within the home which the husband recognizes as a waste of time. Having respect for the intricate differences of what we profess to be a worthy job is vital.

I think that at times we may have to wait for some of the tasks we want completed. It may take time for either spouse to get to the job. Patience within a marriage solves wasted time and energy exerted in fighting which actually costs us possibly more days of lost serenity. Fights are usually detrimental to marriages and to accomplishing any kind of job.

Understanding is important along with patience because if we comprehend where our spouse is coming from even if we don’t agree we can accept the viewpoint. Perhaps our acceptance of a task that is put off will drive our spouse into completing it a lot faster on a better day. Because we grasped their need to wait, they may appreciate our desire to have it finished.

Empathy is so necessary in a marriage. Without empathy we never acquire an “I get you” kind of attitude. I think of empathy as walking in another s’ shoes and looking at the world through their eyes. For instance we may want that yard cultivated so we can plant a garden but our spouse sees only the work because they don’t enjoy gardening. The empathy also brings into account the moods, feelings stresses and health issues.

Sometimes we can be on a vendetta and become totally unreasonable and self-absorbed. I have done that many times and have witnessed others doing it. We hate to believe we act this way but in reality we do. If we make up our minds about the way we presume things ought to be, we control our spouse. We don’t care what their agenda is because we have our own plans and it includes their consent to go along. Likely we enslave them in a way, as far as what we envision they will accomplish.

Of course when we become more reasonable we release our hold. If we do not learn how to play fair and hopefully compromise, I would venture to say the marriage will be strained. How could it not be tense? Just because we believe this is the way it should be does not mean we have the truth. We are ignoring the others viewpoint and understanding of the situation. Wanting what is best for us makes us overlook the views health wants needs and stresses of another.

Marriage takes time and effort and there are no easy rules or guidelines. I believe that the best we can do is to always include empathy, understanding, compromise, patience, tolerance and a respect for what is good for both partners. That is why placing the other spouse’s needs before our own at times helps us to achieve a more equitable division of labor because fairness is reciprocated. None of us respond well to demands and criticism. We all respond to love.

“All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest – never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership.”    Ann Landers

“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” Fawn Weaver

Shed Light On Strengths

“If your senses are numbed with delusion and denial, you will stop looking for these true strengths and wind up living a second-rate version of someone’s life rather than a world-class version of your own”     Donald O. Clifton

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”  Leonardo daVinci

Let’s face it we hate to admit our flaws. We deny those intrinsic shortcomings because we believe they demean us. In the meantime we all admit we are not perfect but just let someone point out some of our defects and we erupt in defense. We like to be perceived in a positive light. Admitting to anything less is unacceptable.

It is almost as if we are constantly in a competition with others and we must win at all costs. It is okay for someone else to make progress, they simply can’t pass us in the race. We are willing to help others only to a point and that is until they cross over the line and surpass us. How did we become so insecure? If we recall searching for a pre-school right after our child was born, suffice it to say we have our answer. Competing with siblings at a young age as well as receiving praise while another is disparaged speaks volumes. Rewards are given for awesome grades while humiliation is offered for a less than good report card. Of course it causes us to question the unconditional love and place it in the conditional category.

When others can witness the inside emotions we hide, it feels like an intruder into our home. Our doubt about our own worth is heartbreaking. To wake up every day with the need to compete with all those we come into contact with is exhausting. Nobody can keep up that pace. Slowing down and getting a handle on our life is the first thing we must do. Peace and serenity follow as soon as we are able to accept ourselves.

There is no reward for achieving the best grades, degrees, jobs or winning the most medals or trophies. When we hang out with others, if they are truly friends, they won’t find it necessary to exploit us or demean us. Their honor doesn’t depend on our downfall. If we provide them with a compliment it will never detract from our own inner abilities.

I find it to be a difficult task, to convince others of their strengths and worth. I also find it difficult to view myself in a positive light. It is as if we just can’t stop comparing ourselves to others and measuring our importance or imperfections by the merit or worthlessness of another. The reality is we are the ones searching for the validation of our own merit. There can be more than one person with fantastic capabilities, but the envy creeps in when we believe others are competing with us. It is a threatening sensation.

I believe at times, that what we are pressured to perceive as significant, is not the path we are to be on. If we do not want to be a gymnast and have poor coordination then it will take more time and effort and we might never reach the point of professional, regardless of how much parents or spouses push us to accomplish it. Perhaps another road will lead us towards a more comfortable goal. Searching for the truth about who we are and what our competencies are, supports us in finding our true course.

All of us must find our own life path and follow it. Whenever others unconsciously throw obstacles in our path, and detain our journey, or ridicule us, we can’t be deterred. The inclination might be to stop freeze and succumb to fear. Fighting our doubt and terror is critical to the survival of our own dreams. Following our own abilities and accepting their worth is our first step in making them happen. No one should indicate or dissuade another from their destinies.

It is extremely confusing when people refuse to accept what fascinations and proclivities they are endowed with. Total acknowledgement is at times not reached for many years. I believe that is why so many find their pastimes and happiness so much later in life. Most likely others cultivate hobbies out of their love and joy for their leisure pursuits.   We all attempt to please parents, teachers, siblings, friends or family. So many of us embrace fields others deem worthy. How amazing to comprehend the power others wield over us. We influence people all the time. Parents especially can nudge their kids into fields of study that are of no interest to their children. At some point, parents must let go and allow their adult kids to form their own opinions and choose their own path. Likewise, young adults must gain the confidence to withstand pressure and select for themselves.

If we are going to play the role of guiding another person, we should be sure to understand the emotions aptitudes and desires of the person involved. After all none of us would like having another select our spouse or friends, yet by allowing others to send us packing this way or another is disregarding our own thoughts and desires. Offer some input but always allow your kids to follow their own hearts.

Parents probably want their kids to earn a decent living so their manipulation may be out of love, but it is still a tool they use with pressure attached. As parents we need to guide with love and accept the returns of independent thinking. We hopefully did not have children with the ulterior motive of controlling them forever, which has happened to some kids. Most of us yearn for our kids to become independent, resourceful and financially independent.

Friends like to keep all things equal. Worrying about our dreams that might be greater than their own is fearful to them. Competition and jealousy is always present in friends family and co-workers. In the end we must select what is necessary for our own growth.

Unless we observe the abilities in us the insecurity will keep creeping in until we are overcome with doubt and anxiety. At those points we turn to others for support. That may be fine but trusting our own decisions is vital. We are capable and deserve a lot of credit. Just rising every day to face the problems and difficulties while keeping a smile for the family is truly a hero’s place.

Perhaps our answers are deep down inside of us just waiting to sprout. The fear is what holds us back from uncovering the actuality of who we are. Being so much more than we could conceive and having the power to extend beyond what we ever imagined is scary especially when it is possibly within our reach. Exhaust the qualities within, recognize the capabilities without and trust yourself as the first line of defense and courage to move in the direction of your own making.

Don’t allow fear to overshadow what you are and what you can become. Your happiness will depend on your ability to trek your own path, even if it is not a well-trodden route. Trust yourself because you are the most honest adviser you can have. Being happy and content isn’t always about money if it ever is. Find your way and commit to it.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”    Ernest Hemingway

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”    Christopher Reeve

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”    Audre Lorde

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”    Harriet Tubman

The Tone Of Verbal Communication

“The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.” Buddha

“There is no evidence that the tongue is connected to the brain.” Frank Tyger

“The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.”    Josh Billings

“A knife-wound heals, but a tongue wound festers.” Turkish Proverb

I have had numerous people mention, the harsh tone of voice others use when interacting with them, for any reason. I am familiar with the negative impact, another person’s speech and attitude can have. I am certainly no stranger to the unkindness others display randomly, and without thought to the receiver. I hold back on the refrain almost always, due to my inner voice repeating, you will be sorry if you respond back with similar negativity.

I am pleased later, that I did not say things I might have regretted. I am confounded that so many in society, believe they can disperse with cutting remarks, that wound more than the cut of a knife. The trouble is the receiver of such injuries, carries it with them for a long time. I replay the incident hoping I can find reasons, or forgiveness for the giver, but each time results in the same conclusion, why did that happen to me again. Continue reading

Why Worry About Failing!

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”    Maya Angelou

“Don’t let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. And certainly don’t whine. You can be brought low, that’s OK, but don’t be reduced by them. Just say, ‘That’s life.”    Maya Angelou

I would question why so many people worry so much about failing except I do it myself. One never plans on fretting but somehow it filters in. As children we attempt to do the somersault everyone has already mastered. We practice because it isn’t cool to be the only one who hasn’t done it. As children, we hide our grade if it is lower than a B or 80, in case everyone else did better. If we come in last while running a race, we blame it on a late bedtime or too much for breakfast. It can never be something intrinsic.

As we mature our attitude towards failing only gets worse. We begin comparing ourselves to everyone. Girls usually need to dress in a similar fashion to make the correct statement. Boys must pass the I am tough test to be included in the group. It could be the athletic group or the math group but having similar qualifications is important in order to be accepted. Continue reading

What Forms a Memory?

“Childhood is supposed to be happy, and if you can’t remember yours with any happiness, what hope have you later, when life starts handing you fresh grief?”       Amity Gaige

“A rose gets its color and fragrance from the root, and man his virtue from his childhood.”  Austin O’Malley

There are moments in time, that are  imprinted  in our minds, and often we replay them over and over. If we remember a time a parent brought comfort or support, then at a difficult moment in the present, we recall that thought, and it might bring tears to our eyes. It can be both good memories, and happy memories, but they have remained etched within our brains. We retrieve them when necessary.

I think these are helpful crutches, but I believe we stretch the memories to fit our needs. When someone hurts us, by reflecting on a time when a parent soothed us, or a past love supported us, we ache for that time period and resent the present. When our mood changes for the better, we place the memory into the back of our minds, and keep it handy to summon it again when necessary. Continue reading

Learning To Live

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”    Tecumseh

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.    William James

Photo by Matthew Reynolds

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.    Denis Waitley

We rejoice at the happy occasions in life. At weddings we laugh dance and sometimes cry because we are both happy and sad. We are jubilant that the couple has found each other to share the road ahead. We are sad because those of us who have been on the road know it can be rough and painful and not as perfect as we were led to believe. It is a too difficult to explain to the newly married couple and if you could they wouldn’t believe you anyways.

Life is meant to be lived and learned. How can we best understand kindness except through being treated with harshness? When others hurt us again and again we rejoice when a kinder heart helps us. Maybe the hurts are many but when we acquire knowledge from them they take on a different meaning and we can release the pain we have held onto for so long.

Some people react with retaliation when given troubles. The attitude is I was hurt and scarred so I intend to dish some back to my kids and the world. Of course that is a choice we can freely make. The lesson obviously wasn’t understood by us and it will most likely be presented to us again, in a more dramatic manner. Life instructs us how to live.

Plants that have fallen on poor ground tend to send off their seeds to an area that is more conducive to their survival. Cats are one animal that leaves a home that mistreats them in preference of a kinder home.  Even insects know how to survive under duress. I know of a white moth who relies on a white tree for surviving the many birds and animals anxious to eat it. One year there was a fire that scorched all of the trees black and everyone thought it would be the end of this particular species of moth. That did not happen because all of the new born moths were born black. It puzzles scientists to this day. Of course curiously the next generations went back to white when the trees began to heal and return to their white state.

When we are down we figure out a variety of ways to live. We can leave our mark as an innovative person or one who attacked the world because of his problems. I know the playing field is different for all of us but many people of all ages, races, economics and gender have had their issues to face and overcome. It is possible to do it if one never gives up.

Life practically challenges us to prove our worth and what we are made of. It is a different ride for everyone but without a doubt there are highs and lows for all. Sometimes I wish we were warned from the start that there are no promises. Things will go pleasantly some of the time, but there is evidence to suggest that there will be moments of tribulations. The triumph of defeating any obstacles is totally emancipating.

I am not a pessimist. There is importance to our struggles. How can we reach the pinnacle of humanity without total understanding of what that means? Living with injustice we acquire a sense of fairness. Meanness and contempt instructs us in kindness and tolerance. Injustice and fear lectures us in overcoming fear and allowing courage to bring about the necessary changes. Hatred communicates the importance of love. Our lives are similar to taking school courses. As we master certain lessons we are given more to discover. Most of our learning overlaps and all lessons call for love.

By accepting our glitches along with our pleasurable times we acknowledge our lives as a mixed bag. If we really can identify with the knowledge we can recognize it when it happens to another, and possibly be of support. Helping each other is what furthers our own life and makes it more worthwhile. If we choose to make it a competition rather than a collaboration we will be less fulfilled and access less understanding. We learn to navigate around the obstacles on the road with advice from others who have been there.

What the poor person cannot see is that the rich cannot buy love or happiness even with all of their money. What the rich person finds is that they don’t ever have everything they want because some things can’t be bought. Both parties are left with having to find their own integrity which might be aloof to them both.

Happiness in any given life situation is elusive. Those moments are present but at times we are so full of duties and ideas that we might miss the best pleasures due to our own busy agendas. We forget to be thankful for the simple minutes in time that are indescribable. Those are the moments we will reflect on and smile, at some future date in time,

Life shows us how to love as well as it clarifies to us how to endure difficulties. Both travel side by side. If we stopped being jealous and envious of each other we would learn how problematic everyone’s life can become. It would also instill in us the significantly wonderful pleasures of our own life.

It is simple to find faults in others and in their lives. Perhaps it is just as easy to discover qualities worth imitating and assets worth acquiring. No one is given the perfect life nor the perfect solutions. We all must strive. We can make it easier on each other. We can stop with the excuses of what we did or didn’t receive. Because that is the route to defeatism and leads to a lack of action. Time to gather our faith and put our hands on the steering wheel. Much is out of our control but much is within our reach.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”   Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.    Steve Jobs

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.    Dale Carnegie

The Vital Significance Of Family

“There is an ongoing battle between conscience and self-interest in which, at some point we have to take sides.” Robert Brault

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to
hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell
apart, that’s true strength.” Unknown

“During the first 10 years of my life, while my parents were married, I enjoyed a privileged upbringing. After their divorce, my life was
difficult.” Bianca Jagger

Have we lost the idea of family? It is time to recapture the meaning of the supportive family. The quick reply of not my family won’t work anymore. At times we put words in other people’s mouths, that might never be said in reality. In this way we can confront our own demons, as to why we ostracize ourselves but blame the family.

Of course we all have family flaws, and stories we can relate to. It isn’t about who suffered more or less, or which situations were more outrageous. Life in general is tough, and we can all use support of one kind or another. We can’t fear our own insecurity. Nobody is giving out awards for martyrdom. If we can just get over ourselves we can accept help. I even find that helping others gives one a good feeling. We in a way, are making others feel good by allowing them to do something worthwhile.  This includes our families. Continue reading

Empty Words

“Action has meaning only in relationship and without understanding relationship, action on any level will only breed conflict. The understanding of relationship is infinitely more important than the search for any plan of action.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.” Emma Thompson
“Injustice can be eliminated, but human conflicts and natural limitations cannot be removed. The conflicts of social life and the limitations of nature cannot be controlled or transcended. They can, however, be endured and survived. It is possible for there to be a dance with life, a creative response to its intrinsic limits and challenges …” Sharon Welch

I think sometimes we lose faith, and a bit of love, when others simply toss out words that hold no truth. We all know how that feels, and how it goes, yet it isn’t something we can explain. It is simply a feeling, and a real emotion. Most of us half listen to someone’s story, or tale of woe. Even complaints and good news is ignored. As much as we believe we cover our tracks, truth is we don’t fool anyone.

It is hard to challenge the listener and say, “Well I think you are only half listening to what I am saying.” Instead we accept whatever attention we get, and spill out our hearts. If we totally paid attention to each other, there would be no need of a repeat discussion, and likely the healing process would begin. Instead we suffer a bit longer, until we either clear it up ourselves, or find a person who will help us deal with a situation. Continue reading

Family Rifts

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”  Khali lGibran

“The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives – the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men in yourself.”    Norman Cousins

Everyone has some issues within their families. Many parents are separated, which causes its’ own set of problems even for the married children. Some siblings are not speaking to certain other siblings. Some siblings dislike the new sister-in-law or brother-in-law. Cousins get angry with cousins. Fathers and sons clash on a regular basis, while mothers and sons or daughters  find themselves in ongoing arguments. Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law disputes are almost glorified. It leads one to wonder why the rifts  and battles continue, and to question why nothing usually changes even with time.

I thought about some personal experiences and concluded, we are simply seeking love, admiration and acceptance. Many believe an answer is not that easy, but actually fact is obvious to find. As a matter of fact, I have found that many problems are easier to solve than they appear. For instance, if we want to make amends with anyone, the simple reply of I’m sorry let’s be friends, would likely turn some things around for people. Continue reading

Letting Go Releases Peace

“Your strength is in your calmness, in your clarity of mind. Strength comes from putting the negative aside without reacting. win in calmness, in consciousness, in balance.”   Yogi Amrit Desai

“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, and my kindness for weakness.”    Unknown

“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away”    shing xiong

In every part of our lives we hope to gain control. What frustrates us the most is when our plans go awry. Of course there are always plenty of people we can blame and do fault. We have such a belief in our ability to make things happen, it never occurs to us to look at our helpers along life’s way. These supporters may never get a thank you but I am sure they are not waiting for one.

Most of us have never stopped to review why we still have such faith in our agendas. I like to plan my days however, I am totally aware of the extremely few times my agenda ever flowed smoothly. The few times that my day went according to plan made me think it was purely accidental. Yet I and many others make lists, phone calls e-mails and reservations along with gaining commitments from others. It just never goes according to plan. Continue reading