The Highs And Lows Of Marriage

 high and lows“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

shed light“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

Tone of voice“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.

I swear there are times I think I have a sign on my back that reads, ‘Take your anger and frustration out on me.’ So many people  bear the same complaints, so I am not in the boat alone. How is it we react in an unnecessary manner. How do we feel about our tantrums, which are as similar to a toddlers. I think that  is why I tend to hate to get coerced into the dilemma, because it is childish and unseemly, to display such a behavior.

Unfortunately, many people do it so often, that it is almost becoming acceptable. You also have those people who conclude with the excuse, “They are having a bad day.”  I would suggest they wear the sign, so we will all beware of the treatment we might have to succumb to, if we get in their way.

So many make excuses for these people, but it is unseemly for the victim to expect the least bit of sympathy. I wonder at times if it is because the majority of us have so many bad days, feel stressed out and are at our wits end. Of course our response is to push others around, if not physically, then mentally and verbally.

Somehow we have equated having a stressful life, with having the privilege of treading on the emotions of others. It is an almost acceptable occurrence. For those people who attempt to deal with their issues, and contain their emotions, there is no praise. They are considered exceptional people. They are no different from you or I, they just make more of an effort to do the correct thing.

I know many times false manners can be irritating, but there is no comparing that, to how hurtful mean or vicious poor manners can be. The unhurried person at the register, may be just learning, a slow learner, recently injured, older, having a difficult time catching on to the requirements, or simply having a problematic day themselves.The receptionists at doctors offices, and secretary’s at schools, along with many others, should know that their kind manner is so appreciated, by those of us who can only surmise to understand their tremendous workload.

Road rage stems from hurried people, stressed over time constraints or insecurity. Family members are the worst. They have a sense of believing, it is okay to speak to your kids, or to speak to your parents or siblings, or in-laws without exception. Of course the understood piece is, they will  be forgiven regardless of what they say or do.

How shameless of them. It appears they assume their well-being and moods, transcend everybody. We are all thinking and sensing individuals. Bless those who let it flow without incident. An eruption was suspended. Being patient and kind will always be in demand. Don’t ever underestimate its power to melt the stress of another.

I do have feeling for the transgressor. I believe they have gotten away with abusing others for so long, and don’t realize how defeating their actions are. To be so caught up in one’s life, that we are unaware of others, is extremely sad. Obviously we are missing the world around us. Our bad mood or disrupted plans, are not as important as our bonds with other people.

How far-reaching is our tactless behavior. Perhaps the people we have wounded, will react inappropriately with their own families, to alleviate their anger. I know for me, it sometimes takes a couple of days, to overcome cruel speech directed at me. I ponder how easy it is to get the same message across, to another, in a totally positive way.

I would assume, just as it is easier to discipline a child by hitting, rather than taking the time and effort to teach in a positive way. At a difficult moment, it is easier to explode at another, rather than take the time to calm our nerves, and think about our motives in the given situation. We can all handle frustrations in a positive manner, if we take the time and effort.

The choice of a positive or negative outcome is in our hands. If you are the receiver of a wounding situation, refuse to have it put you off your game. Take it for what it is, reflect mildly to ease your spirit, and then let it go so that it doesn’t impact your day longer than it needs to. If you are the perpetrator, contemplate the pain you suffered at a time another stepped on you, without thought or reason. If you can recall the cruel and cutting words, and how they made you feel, then perhaps it will support you in your attempts to discontinue your hurtful tone towards others. We can all get our opinions across in encouraging ways. If we want violence to end then lets begin with our aggressive speech and tone.

“Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue-to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.”    Socrates

“Before the tongue can speak, it must have lost the power to wound.”

“Man’s tongue is soft, and bone doth lack; yet a stroke therewith may break a man’s back.”    Benjamin Franklin

Why Worry About Failing!

failure“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.

As adults we don’t stop. We still look for approval and dread anything less than that which is considered failure. If we think about it long enough and hard enough we find a pattern. No one wants to be alone or outside the circle. We all want to fit in somewhere or someplace. Crashing is just not part of the scenario.

What nobody is willing to look at is the fact that we all do fail and likely many times. To admit it would be next to God-like. Why do we feel like such a loser when we collapse? I wonder why. Sometimes we are forced to learn by falling down. It isn’t necessary for anyone, including ourselves, to make a big commotion about it. We all hate nose-diving, and probably attempt to hide our unsuccessful attempts, as if it was a reflection of who we are. Maybe we worry we will be stamped with the words FAILURE written on our backs. We will have to carry the stigma around forever so we think.

We might become almost close to fear at times. The doubts about overcoming our mistakes creep in and dominate our thoughts. As teens we worry if we will ever have a boyfriend or girlfriend whichever the case. If our friends are all involved it makes it so much worse. Again we feel diminished. We can’t look our friends in the eyes because they might see our ineptness. Somehow as we go through life we find it necessary to complete all of the landmarks we find as rites of passage and entrance to maturity. Everyone expects it of us including our family. As we continue through adulthood it doesn’t change much as we still feel the need to succeed at opportunities presented to us.

How important these opportunities are is not as relevant as accomplishing the tasks necessary. We never question what the reason is for the completing of the tasks. We never doubt how or why they have such a sense of importance to us regarding belonging. We don’t ever consider what happens to all those who can’t do something and basically fail. We just count our blessings that it isn’t us. As adults, if everyone has a trimmed yard, we will toil in our yard.

The people who fail are hurt beyond compare and go through some soul-searching and if they are lucky they find how pointless it was to reach for the silly goals of being like everyone else. At some point we are all unsuccessful at certain things because we are all different. It isn’t vital for us to run a fifty mile dash in a certain amount of time or become the hero everyone adores.

Missing the mark sends us into a period of questioning our motives and beliefs. Are we doing something we want or is it anther’s wish. Falling down teaches us tolerance patience and humility. We learn to continue towards our goal. We take our time and begin to look at other people who missed their goal of becoming winners. Perhaps they and we just haven’t made it to the finish line yet. Probably many of us cheer the failures on because we can identify with them on many levels. We likely see ourselves in them.

We would have to be very egotistical to imagine we could accomplish everything on a first attempt. When we fail we recognize our need to persevere in the task. We don’t give up. Maybe we learn that we also can’t give up on people in general. So what if they failed and let us down. They need another chance and we will give it to them.

If we learn so much from crashing I see it as a good thing. We don’t have to look at it as something to brush under a rug. The lessons are greater than the ones that come from winning. Our status is not tied to a golf game or baseball or soccer game. It is not tied to our ability to knit or crochet. It is also not tied to how perfect we are as parents or how many times we did or didn’t control our temper.

I view malfunctioning as a way to go back to the start and begin anew. We think defeat is a bad thing, because we view in terms of the intrinsic qualities of the person. A miscarriage simply means we have not overcome our challenges, whatever they may be. So what if someone buys all the correct foods for the baby. So what if some kids are totally disciplined. There is no correct way for anything. There are many ways to raise kids, discipline with love, nurture and take care of a home. Our method can be as worthwhile as anyone else’s. Having faith in our abilities is vital.

If we fret and question what we do in comparison to others, we will never trust we are doing anything correctly. We have our own ways. My mother had total control over her kids. The result was her adults kids were easier going and relaxed on discipline. The house was clean but not neat and life was flexible and the children were happy.

I wonder if she grew up in a home that was more flexible so she chose to be strict. I guess that proves parental rearing can go in many different ways and kids survive and thrive. Failure can be what we want it to be. It can make us realize we are in the wrong field, make us stronger and make us stretch beyond what we ever thought was possible. All it takes is a different name for what we call being unsuccessful at something we are attempting to do. Maybe we are not old enough just yet. Perhaps we haven’t learned enough about the subject. It is possible we have not persevered a long enough time. Whatever way you want to deal with it suffice it to say it doesn’t define who you really are. It counts about as much as a game of ball.

Don’t get cornered by failures. See them as life scars that have added dimension to your soul. You are more than your failings. Your many attempts stretch you beyond recognition into something far finer and more impelling. You have faced fear and overcome it in your demonstration of your survival.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”    Khalil Gibran

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.    Rabindranath Tagore

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson



What Forms a Memory?

what forms memories“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.

Perhaps  the past wasn’t quite as tender,  as we make it, and we leave out the bad pieces, only focusing on the good. That is fine, as long as we don’t confuse the reality  of the situation. The past with its problems and emotions, should remain in the past. Recalling happy times is wonderful, but the poorer times in the present, may seem to get exaggerated, when compared to the past. It is helpful to use the comforting thoughts of the past, as a support for the present, but when the pain is subsiding, accept the embellishment we made of our past.

No one from our earlier years, is as good or as bad as we portray them to be. They were humans with their vices and virtues. It is as harmful to forget their bad effects, as it is to forget the worth. When we fight with our husbands, a previous love appears awesome. We put their ill features out of our minds. Same is true with our parents. We sometimes recall everything good and block the meanness. Likewise we might remember the hurtful moments but delete any pleasant  times.

I think we can use the former joyful periods, as a security blanket, when we need it. I also believe we may recall the tough phases of our lives, as a reminder to be thankful for the pleasant present, we are currently enjoying. If we experienced a problematic childhood, use it to be a better parent and discipline with kindness.

Try not to think of any negative occurrences, as wasteful stages. On reflection, as we reminisce, face the ghosts you have hidden, and realize they add dimension to your life in many ways. Embrace the heartache you endured, and accept the anxieties and fear. Turn them around in a way that helps you deal with the current problems in your life. Hiding our emotions doesn’t resolve anything. Facing them gives us the assertiveness we need to diminish them.

What might have seemed terrorizing as a child, when looked at it from an adult point of view, is manageable. Of course I am not talking about huge trauma issues, which may require professional help. I am concerned with the many small issues, that develop with people, due to unreasonable teachings and fears. To this day I do not take a nap, even if I was up half the night. It is totally due to the fact, my mother thought naps were terrible. She reasoned naps were for lazy people. It  was drilled. Even during pregnancies it was a no no in my mind. I have resolved this to a point, but the engendering is hard to overcome.

How simple this appears, but the power of our suggestion as a parent is amazing. Parents have far-reaching influence. Likely we must take the good of the learning, and leave behind the crazy notions. The peacefulness of recapturing blissful times is rejuvenating. After the time out, we can cope better with our glitches.

I am left with answering what makes our memories, and I know it isn’t our major outings nor our expensive gifts. It is those times that are full of emotions of any kind. if we are full of high spirits when we are with our family, chances are it will set in cement. Unfortunately, anything forceful of a negative manner, such as anger, screaming, yelling, and intense threatening emotions, will also play back again and again in our recall system.

I would suggest we watch what remembrances, we are embedding within our kids psych. We do not want to teach anger and revenge, with constant fighting. In a divorce situation, we must worry about revenge and hate, as well as distrust. What a child experiences becomes their memory bank.

We should realize how much we underestimate our child’s ability, to observe more than we think. All  we need to think about, is how much we remember from our own history. Secrets spurred our interest. Knowing  the thoughts of our past, might help us to refrain from the same mistakes. Of course we will definitely make our own errors, but when parenting with thought, our mistakes should be lessened.

How we make others feel, is what will be remembered. When I went through a trying situation, what I remember is anyone who said some needed words or gave me physical contact with a hug. At those moments some of my fear was diminished and released. I and all of us can’t explain the power of the emotions, to work miracles, but none of us can deny it. If you really want to be a good parent, discipline, teach, comfort, and even when you must get angry, always do it with love. That is what will sustain them years from the moment, and all of their memories will be positive.

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. when I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon”

What we remember from childhood we remember forever — permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.” ~Cynthia Ozick

“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children.”     Khalil Gibran

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”  Sigmund Freud

Learning To Live

Butterfly_and_Bee-L“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

breaking up“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.

By refusing aid when we need it, we spite ourselves. Letting pride stand in the way, in my opinion, is close to foolishness, and maybe even stupidity. If we can’t give in for ourselves, we should for our kids and spouses. Hanging on to false beliefs will not help us move forward, nor will it bring comfort and relief. Place negative feelings of anger and revenge, far from your thoughts, and concentrate on your needs in the present. If another can fulfill your wants, accept help.

Insecurity breeds pride, lack of confidence promotes anger and defensiveness, and anxiety renders us unable to admit it when we need help. None of us are self-contained. Human beings require others in their lives . We are a social animal. We learn from each other. We comfort and aid each other. The best place to learn the norms of a society,  is within a family structure.

With so many families splitting up, we have turmoil all around us, which is doubled for kids. They might begin with two parents, and end up with four. Now they contend with brothers sisters, step-brothers and step-sisters, and half  brothers and half sisters. They gain so many more people but lose others.

The gain is not always helpful, and can be detrimental. There is more competition. There are more discipline problems due to the various parenting styles. Encountering unfairness is likely to manifest, because a step child versus biological child is unbalanced. Jealousy is a give. As a teacher, I observed numerous kids mention, how their half-brother or half-sister got to see mom or dad full time yet they did not. It left them with an angry bitter feeling.

Jealousy is a common thread, as is fighting about discipline. If we think about it, the child now deals with two households with different rules. The saddest piece is the loss of extended family, which basically gets left by the curb. We don’t plan all of this obviously, but we sometimes don’t think about it either, before we make so many of our own plans. Kids lose family members, whenever there is a divorce in the family.

The intact families may also lose connections to extended families, through fights,  disagreements or the general wish to be self-sufficient. It may work for the adults, but I venture to say the kids are the losers. Any time we subtract love from the equation, there is loss. I don’t  suggest moving in with parents, but the need for other caring adults in the life of a child is vital.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, as well as cousins, add to the repertoire of support for the child. Sometimes parents forget, how much of a source of help, these people can be when one needs a break. Calling out for help is more than acceptable, and anything but demeaning. Everyone needs a break and kids can be difficult. Some are more challenging, so an extra pair of hands releases the burden.

Can you imagine what it feels like to have extended family, available to call on and to trust they will come to your aid? For a child this is probably the most empowering thing in their corner. They know this, and sense this, because when it is gone, they are reticent, nervous and less secure. Uncertainty and self-doubt may emerge.

Problems happen to all of us, and marriages do fail. Sometimes we can’t control the reality of the situation. We can control how we choose to interact with the outside family, when there is a divorce. Don’t put them in the middle, and make them choose sides. Ask them to remain neutral for the sake of the kids. Allow the kids to get to the family times, that now do not include you.

Hearing and knowing what is best for the kids is not always what we had in mind. Using kids as pawns to hurt each other, will never work, and will perhaps make the situation worse. If we place the needs of the child first, we’ll remember to cut as little as possible out of their lives. In the end, all of us benefit from observing the beautiful child that emerges.

“The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others Constant kindness can accomplish much. As
the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust,
and hostility to evaporate.”     Albert Schweitzer

“A man does not have to be an angel in order to be a saint.”    Albert Schweitzer


Empty Words

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.

Technology is only adding to the dilemma. Most of us are tuned out, at least half of the time. I watch as people are having a conversation with another. While the speaker is talking, the listener is computing. Then they reply to the speaker with empty words of comfort or praise. I don’t know about others but it doesn’t work for me.

It is such a harsh world, and we need comfort from others. We need to know other people understand, because they have undergone the same situation. This comes from communication. If there is none, then we all suffer a lack of connection to others.

Many or most times we get through the difficult time. Unfortunately, at a future point in time, it reoccurs and the pain and problems are bigger. That is because we haven’t really settled it in our minds. Because of this we revisit old wounds and repeat mistakes. How sad when we are close enough to touch each other, yet miles apart from touching hearts.

I am not saying we must always involve a psychiatrist and or a psychologists. Although they do  serve an important role in the world. I do think in past times people had each other to lean on. I recall some collaborative good times on my parent’s back porch, when I was a child. We must make time again for those  simple pleasures, and insights, that lead to clarity and love.

I know we talk on phones and text, but because of the swiftness of our lives, we cryptically offer advice. We are noticeably in a hurry, and at times just agree with the hurting person. Agreeing that they are correct, in dumping the boyfriend or whatever else they are planning to do is dangerous to their lives. Of course our friend proceeds to do this with our blessing. Right or wrong we possibly have changed their lives in a perilous way.

We can reason and say it is their issue, but when any of us are confused, we look to others to lead. I am certainly not suggesting we take the responsibility for norther’s poor selections, but I am suggesting we should pay a bit more attention when another calls for our help. Many of us talk about how we can make a difference in the world, or help humanity. We have our answer. Support those we see in front of us.

Again that might seem too easy to be the answer, but simplistic is usually truth in action. Poor listening only causes us to give surface advice. If the person repeats on and on, and we get tired, we agree with the person and their negative viewpoint towards their problem. We may even engage in the derision of another because it is more interesting than dealing with the emotional wounds. To really be of service to another, we can’t run away from the emotional pain.

It is relevant that we remain neutral because we are hearing only one side. By staying neutral we can gain a clearer picture of what might be the other side of the problem. The person can now assimilate it and accommodate it within their own minds and hearts. The result is possibly a peaceful outcome. Of course this takes time, but in the long run, it may actually result in a speedier resolution. Otherwise we might revisit this situation many times with our friend, or family member, until we begin avoiding them altogether.

Brushing our emotional problems to the back of our minds allows them to grow, and eventually take over our thought processes. Surface speaking, and thinking, eventually gets overloaded. We need clarity. Most problems are easily solved, or worked out in time, if we deal with them in a positive way. if we embark on a course involving the slandering of another, we might feel comforted and powerful for the moment, but for sure one day perhaps we will be the recipient of the bad-mouthing.

With thought and reflection, understanding is allowed to surface. When this happens we can’t return to naivety. Anger dissipates and tolerance enters. The good part is we arrive at a peaceful end to a problem. When we work on a puzzle, it is hard in the beginning, but as we process the pieces, and put them together, a clearer picture emerges. The same is true with our problems with jealousy, anger or any fear. The more we are willing to witness all of the parts, the more we can make sense of our state-of-affairs.

Even when we continue to have to allocate time with the same problem, it is still a reduced dilemma. Because we are familiar with the issue, it permits us to put it to rest in a quicker manner. Take some time to listen intently, before offering any advice. Respect the magnitude of the problem as it is coming from the soul of another human being. Reflect on your answer, because sometimes we should follow our own advice.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” Scott Peck.
“We are not going to deal with the violence in our communities, our homes, and our nation, until we learn to deal with the basic ethic of how we resolve our disputes and to place an emphasis on peace in the way we relate to one another.” Marian Wright Edelman

Family Rifts

castle_hill_1“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.

I appreciate how difficult it is to be sorry to someone who has hurt us, or who we believe has hurt us. We seek revenge or at the very least, satisfaction in their suffering a similar fate. The trouble increases with time. We don’t heal the wounds. They fester instead, and the truth is unclear, making it impossible for those involved to figure it out.

It is so overwhelmingly sad, to observe kind wonderful people in such a dilemma. We want to make things better, and some of us offer the listening ear. Most people in pain only want the soundboard, and so nothing changes. Unless hearts are willing to alter their stance, everything remains as is.

I venture to say that actually things get worse, because as we all live our lives, we have problems surface in all areas. We don’t have the support from the distant opponent, and we miss it in a way. Instead of calling the person, and attempting a truce, we fill our hearts with more anger. Now we can add to the growing list of their negligence. They didn’t care when we were ill, and they never called. We completely forget to acknowledge they probably didn’t know about our situation. It doesn’t matter to us. All that matters to us is that they dropped the ball, and didn’t help us. How sad is this for both participants.

I see the bonds of dislike, or even hate, growing stronger. Of course the reality of the past gets altered in the process. Now the involved individuals gossip to friends, and other family members, about what happened. How awful this makes the other person appear to be. As neutral as others attempt to be, they are drawn into the drama with words of agreement, or support. If they try to clear the atmosphere, they are criticized. The quarreling person raises their voice, and continues with a tirade of wrongdoings, to confirm proof of their correctness in the argument.

My own decision is to let others talk, and say little myself. if I do speak. I most likely will regret it. I liken this to those who love to take pictures of those in the wrong. We see one side of the landscape, but not the other side. So perhaps all of the judgments we render, should be amended.  Listening and showing a calmness regarding the matter, may be a great thing to apply.

So many people miss communions, graduations, birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, showers weddings and more, because of ongoing battles with others. The more the omissions pile up, the more we solidify our hate. On Holidays we blame the other accomplice, for not attending  family functions. We don’t see our fault in the unhappy atmosphere, that we helped to create.  The rest of the family is disappointed with the absence of either member. We refuse to admit  our own pain. Instead we boast how well we cope, and can do without the friend or relative. We ignore our aching heart because our pride is ruling our ego.

Time passes swiftly and years might leave us bitter. We might ask why we held on so tightly to our angry position, and caused ourselves so much pain. The answer is probably our need for love. We want and need love. If we don’t receive it, then like a plant in the closet, we die. Even if the plant gets soil and water, it won’t survive. Without the sun, or love, they die. So to do humans. We do it slowly, and some of us wilt, but many of us go out battling.

I guess my idea is that we have a responsibility to take notice. It isn’t worth ignoring and having people, or yourself, suffer a lifetime of pain. Tune into the signs and see through the rage, flying insults and even physical actions. Whether it is us, or another, we must get involved enough to render our apologies, if we are the erring party. If we are not I would still recommend a peace offering, because the days and years pass quickly, and it is not worth it, to keep the  fight  going.

What we must deeply investigate, is the factual truth in the situation. We all need love, so we should never withhold it, under the guise of standing strong. If we ever loved this person, we must search for a piece of it in our hearts, and attempt reconciliation. We might be adults, but our hurts and scars are as painful as a young child’s.

All parents are encouraged, to accept and love their kids. Never allow competition to be the game you play, in terms of a child’s intrinsic qualities. All kids deserve to be a winner in some aspect, and receive attention and love. All kids need praise to feel worthy and important to their parents. Find something worthwhile in your child to praise. Recognize the jealousy in the battles between people. It is most likely, the jealousy of wanting more love, and attention, than they are receiving. Never assume you have given enough care. Some of us need to hear it, or get more love than others might think is sufficient. I hate to use the word jealousy, because we believe a jealous person is an insecure person. Perhaps we fear losing something we need. When we lose it, we react by pushing it further away. I notice that when someone appears out of control, and angry,  love will stop it quicker than more anger and battles.

“From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.”    Socrates

“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.”   Socrates

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”    Mark Twain

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”    Mark Twain

Letting Go Releases Peace

release 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.

Every girl has her dream guy fashioned in her mind. It might be blonde hair blues eyes dark skin and medium height. She finds romance with the tall fair black haired brown eyed man. Some plan on four or five kids until they have one who is a challenge. They narrow their selection to two.

How many of us plan to make a lot of money, retire early and spend the rest of our lives doing good work for the benefit of all. Reality sets in along with bills, kids and college plans. We find ourselves older more tired and exhausted to even contemplate, about the load on our plates. Is it that we somehow get diverted from our dreams or is it that what we dream is unattainable? We should have faith in our plans, choices and marriages. I think perhaps we underestimate what life is.

No one ever said we would find total serenity and happiness yet we continue believing we and our spouse will be different. Our parents may have messed up their lives and proceeded to get a divorce. We assert our confidence and hold onto the faith in our everlasting marriages. That is an awesome and expected option. Another expectation we should comprehend is that life never rolls out smoothly and we should be warned of this fact right from the start. It won’t deter our plans but it might foster a more realistic attitude about life in general. This knowledge may perhaps prompt us to downplay our expectations a bit. I don’t believe this is the same as telling kids there is no Santa Claus.

Our lives are not full of misery and pain. They are at moments full of epiphanies. They are also stacked with obstacles that test our courage and ability. To understand this from the beginning may aid in strengthening our spiritual qualities. Demonstrating patience helps us see things to the fruition. Having empathy allows us to understand another’s lack of patience. Displaying tolerance towards others gains us the tolerance we need when we must cross over the same bridge. Loving and caring of another merits us those same attributes in our need. What we send out we will get in return.

If one expects the perfect life then they will be devastated and defeated. Life will disappoint them at every turn. None of us is perfect all of the time. Husbands and wives are disappointing at moments but usually there are many more pleasures within our lifetimes. The quality of forgiveness is worthy of the highest of praises. When we forgive we gain our own peace of mind. Forgiveness allows us to start anew with a blank slate. It also shows faith in our power to get back on our feet after having fallen down with the support of someone we love cheering us on with faith in our capability to achieve.

Jobs may come and go. Money may mount and dissipate. Live in the moment. I know many people with young children who worry about college before their child is walking. I would suggest they save some money but live in the present day and work out what you require for that moment. The future may look different when we get there so why worry about stuff that will likely not occur.

If the couple starts working morning noon and night to save and forgets about the importance of spending time with the child then they have lost more than what they would lose from a lack of education. The present moment demands its’ own requirements. It is enough to fulfill and think about. If we constantly live and fear the future then we don’t enjoy the days rewards and blessings. We miss so much by thinking about stuff that might happen. Today is occurring and demands all of our attention. By giving the present the focus it deserves, we eliminate the fear of tomorrow.

Each hour calls for a mindful attitude. By our being considerate, we alleviate double pressures and stress. Look at your six month old and see a baby you can snuggle instead of seeing a college kid with a price tag. Don’t ignore your funds and duties but never allow them to devour your time and your life. The fairy tale of endless smooth sailing is a myth. The tales of heroes amongst us is not a fairy tale.  Just check out yourself in the mirror once in a while. We are the heroes who overcome all odds and make things work. Life hurts as it builds us up. Let go of your fear of the future and release inner peace for the present.

“When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.”    Unknown
“A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.” unknown
“The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.” Unknown