Thinking and Loving ?

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”     Martin Luther King, Jr.

“And you know, when you’ve experienced grace and you feel like you’ve been forgiven, you’re a lot more forgiving of other people. You’re a lot more gracious to others.”   Rick Warren

“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.”     Patty Duke

I believe I am thinking a bit negative today because I keep believing nobody is capable of loving anyone especially unconditionally. I spend many hours attempting to figure it out but it leaves me questioning our human population. Parents love their babies until those babies begin to offer challenges and then the spankings and screaming begins. We all remember having disruptive days but usually we get over it and find peace again. Kids are wonderful until they speak their own mind and want to do their own thing as well as lead their own lives. That is hard on parents who want to continue to control their kids indefinitely. This can carry over into their child’s relationships of all kinds. Nobody is left out and everyone is at risk. Continue reading “Thinking and Loving ?”

Power Struggles

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” Rumi
“The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” Stephen Richards

“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” Shannon L. Alder

Power struggles are painful and stressful. I wonder how we get ourselves into a power struggle and why. I hate to say this but again I sometimes think our egos get us in the middle. We don’t have to have big egos either in order to have it throw up its’ head in arrogance. Perhaps our egos just hate to always lose and on any given day we are apt to appear more prideful than we actually  are or believe. Continue reading “Power Struggles”

Grateful

“One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we forget to be grateful. we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to his goodness it becomes a routine..”    Joel Osteen

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“God gave us minds to think with and hearts to thank with. Instead we use our hearts to think about the world as we would like it to have been, and we use our minds to come up with rationalizations for our ingratitude. We are a murmuring, discontented, unhappy, ungrateful people. And because we think we want salvation from our discontents…”  Douglas Wilson

Holidays are a time to be grateful. When we think of our Holiday celebrations we are brimming over  with excitement and at the same time stressed and fearful about how the they will progress. When we get through the days we are relieved with gratefulnes for what we said or did. We might also be grateful for what we didn’t say or do. Continue reading “Grateful”

Embrace the Moment

“Dignity is the moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad. Dignity is the moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom. Dignity is the moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter. Dignity is the moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself. Dignity is the moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it.”

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life-long quest of the wise.”    Shannon Alder

I know that many times I do not embrace the moment. I overthink what everybody is saying and doing and neglect the reality of the people  in my vicinity. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and most of us would say  that we are but demonstrating it and actually feeling it in the heart is another story. I know of some people who say I enjoyed it but, I had a good time but, It was wonderful but. I would like to throw out the buts. It appears to be crucial for them to downplay the whole experience. Continue reading “Embrace the Moment”

Hidden Truth

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”    Isaac Asimov

“They have the unique ability to listen to one story and understand another.” Pandora Poikilos

“Don’t build roadblocks out of assumptions.”    Lorii Myers

“Life is a series of events and sensations. Everything else is interpretation. Much is lost in translation and added in assumption / projection” Rasheed Ogunlaru

How sure we all are of what is the hidden truth behind everyone’s motives and frustrations. We think we know why a person said  what they said and did what they did. At least that is what we assume. Nobody lets us in on the secret that we  assume too much and most of the time if not all of the time we are wrong. I say this with belief  in what I know to be the reality beneath our facades. Continue reading “Hidden Truth”

Is Stress Within Or Without?

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”     Andrew Bernstein, author

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”     Bertrand Russell

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”     Peter Marshall, Scottish clergyman,

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”     Steve Maraboli,

We all discuss stress everyday and at any given moment we are wiling to either offer sympathy for another person’s problems or we want to divulge our own issues and garner support. Perhaps that is why social media is so intriguing because it offers all kinds of aid. We can dump problems on the pages of social media and await a generous supply of replies from  others. Likewise we hope to offer them the same kind of help when they are feeling the pressures of life. Continue reading “Is Stress Within Or Without?”

Learn From The Kids

“How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” Jostein Gaarder

“There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.” C. JoyBell C.

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!” C. JoyBell C.

I had to take a break from my writing due to family issues that needed my attention. Of course I never stopped observing and learning, even if I stopped writing. I noticed how tense it felt to let go of so many tasks I would normally accomplish when I have total concentration. Instead I sat back, worried and reviewed how far behind I assessed I must be. In reality I was only behind because I saw it that way. In actuality I might be and probably am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in time. Continue reading “Learn From The Kids”

Giving And Receiving

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”    Mother Teresa

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”    Steve Maraboli

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”     Brian Tracy

“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”     Mother Teresa

I don’t know about others but I can tell you how many times I have weighed in my mind, what pain or hurt others caused me. It seems silly and absurd and definitely not a worthy thing to do. So I question why I am guilty of doing it frequently. If I loved unconditionally, I would not have this problem at all. I recall how much I love my kids and profess to love them unconditionally. I do love them unconditionally but when it comes to others, I fail miserably. When I get myself composed, I fill my heart with love again until the next trying situation. Continue reading “Giving And Receiving”

Living With Despair Or Hope

Living With Despair Or Hope“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”     J.R.R. Tolkien

“She wondered that hope was so much harder then despair.”     Patricia Briggs

“Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is to lose your reason for living.”     Jo Nesbo

“The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.”     Alain de Botton

How many of us are fearful at every turn. I would guess that most of us worry constantly. We fear so many things that we don’t even count or connect them anymore. Our anxiety level increases along with the stress. What we don’t see is the numerous diseases we encounter because of the pressure of our burdens. We may be able to walk through fire to help someone, especially our families, but facing the issues of daily life may bring us to our knees. I heard someone say that there would always be prayer in schools, because there would always be tests.

The wonder of why we succumb to life’s strain is not especially hard to understand.  Facing problems head on is not the preference for most of us.  We perhaps prefer to think about it when we are forced. Perhaps  that is for the best in certain respects. Life does appear to wear us all down to the point of making us feel defeated.

Maybe we ought to reflect on what life means, and what goals we have set. Perhaps we doom ourselves by trying to gain the same items as everyone else, or have a  certain amount of money. Most of us take pride in the achievements of our kids. The honor falls on us so we think. Taking a deeper look in what we believe, and search for, may produce surprising answers.

What we want for our kids may not be what they ever wanted. What our kids do or don’t achieve has nothing to do with our own  happiness or disappointment. Our dreams may not be their dreams. Having reached the pinnacle of life may not look the same to each individual. I realize there are certain things that define all humans and their needs and wants, but perhaps taking a more profound look into ourselves, may solve some of our issues.

The pressure is on kids to achieve at school, be a hero at sports, and work for a scholarship for college. At the very least we hope they will gain entrance into colleges. Those of us without a lot of money hope to see our kids in a better position than we ever found ourselves. We may feel cheated or denied access to the good things in life. It can easily leave one bitter. That is not difficult to understand. But disappointment occurs in every level of society. There is no magic cure for heartache. Being human almost implies there will be plenty of demanding things to endure and master along with the good.

As a human, it is important for us to be in control. I believe now that once we give up that notion, life appears easier to accept. The ugly truth is that we are never really in control of anything. The happenings of life are slow and quick, happy and sad. Some things we can prepare for while others are shocks to the system. There are slow daily grinds,  and fast horrendous unexpected obstacles to deal with. Most likely none of us would change places with others.

It may not be exactly the same, but fear creeps into our lives and can become the unwanted guest. Teens build up so much stress that many teens at such a young age, figure life is too hard to continue. Again the pressure to win it all is tremendous. Where is the reflection of life itself. Perhaps we don’t appreciate things as much as we should, myself included. We should not have to value something after it is gone.

I recently lost my dog and the lack of her presence is so challenging  to endure.  I am not attempting to compare an animals loss to the loss of people, but it dawned on me how many more times I might have petted her or played in the yard with her. It has led me to comprehend life as fluid motion. It moves swiftly onward so whatever we value ought to be appreciated at the moment, especially while we can still enjoy it.

Fear is insidious. Teens worry about tests, dating and being accepted. Adults worry about money, their kids, homes, spouses and careers. Then life happens and throws in all kinds of roadblocks. We all have so many issues, it is impossible to mention all of them. We come to a false belief in the notion that our best is never good enough. That adds to our anxiety and sends us running in circles while searching for meaning in life. So many of us just keep moving and thinking the motion somehow will fix our worry. Facing problematic concerns is too difficult.

Now I see it as running away. I am escaping my problems by waiting for the answer to fall from the sky. I don’t face some of my worries or burdens. I simply ignore them and keep moving. One day I thought about the fact that I spend way too much time on those negative fears and concerns. Many or most of them can’t be altered, but I know I can face them if I muster my courage. Perhaps my fears can’t be crushed, but likely they can be approached, modified and understood. Accepting isn’t easy but honestly managing the fear renders it neutral. I can handle it in a variety of ways and see it for what it is.

As life moves forward we have children and then encounter problems that were unforeseen. We can lay on the battlefield defeated and discouraged, surrendering to life in defeat. Or we can face it and fight it by tackling it head on, allowing our mind heart and spirit to work together to find better answers than giving up. Perhaps we may not find the solutions we were seeking, but we might find a remedy we can work with. Enlightenment  grants us the courage to travel in a new direction.

We all hurt inside when our objectives and desires are left by the wayside. We cry for our kids and others we love when there are mistakes, pains or heartaches. What is not clear to see or understand, is that many times our cries are for ourselves and the things or ideas we longed to see happen. It is our loss that hurts. We wanted or expected certain things to happen and when they don’t go according to our plan, we are devastated. I am totally included in this group’s interpretation.

I honestly wonder if it is spiritual growth that we all need despite our efforts to avoid it or encounter it. Maybe our trials and tribulations bring about a deliverance from jealousies, envy, pride, anger, control and more. We may get knocked down but perhaps we are a better person when we get back up. It forces us to view life in a different way despite our best efforts to avoid that.

We may be forced with challenging changes that brings anxiety into our lives. But any time we have faced tremendous difficulties, we are confronted with finding our own strength to deal with the changes. Perhaps we come to acknowledge our need to appreciate those people and things we cherish. I like everyone else, take so much for granted. We lose our patience, get angry, feel envious, jealousy  and intolerant more times than we would like to admit.

I just wonder if the obstacles remind us to slow down, smell the flowers or coffee, and reflect on finding peace and serenity. If nothing else, life teaches us to have more patience, love, empathy, and compassion. It leads us towards understanding, and learning to appreciate the small  stuff. It awakens us to the little things in life that we should cherish and remember. Perhaps we are being nudged towards the good and spiritual side of ourselves. This in no way means God brings us sorrow in order to teach us something. On the contrary. I believe we are brought to the attention of what life is all about.

We all die at some point. We have bodies and souls. Most likely we should be focusing more on our inner growth than our outer enrichment. Faith and hope drives away fear and stress. In many ways faith and hope are our miracle cures. If we just slow down and look for the real meaning in our lives, we may not be so quick to toss those simple actions of a gift of dandelions from a child. The child at such a young age knows about beauty and love. As we get older we drive those messages further from our minds and hearts and embrace the frivolity of worldly desires.

By renewing our faith in a higher being, perhaps we can relieve the panicky feelings of fear, dread, jealousy, losing control, loneliness, anger, and heartache of all kinds. Mankind is really facing similar issues. We just run away from them until they catch us. Focusing on hope and love, drives away the clouds of fear and doubt. The challenge is to keep hope strong and alive. Succumbing to our fears,  leaves us defeated already from things that may never befall us.  It also creates a losing feeling before we have begun to do battle.  Faith gives us courage to accept the hope and love available.

Life has never been about finishing. Life is more of a  circle. Life is all about the ride we take. There are problems that confront all of us. Fearing the future is destroying our present with  thoughts that never come to pass.  Enduring our daily issues with faith and hope, brings courage to ride into the future with love, because life is the ride. Enjoy your life by seeing it with new eyes of peace and serenity. Whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually threatened, always choose to battle with hope as your partner.

“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”     J.D. Stroube

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”    Herman Hesse

“Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that has been denied.”     Elif Shafak

Rebellious Mothers-In-Law

Our Rebellious Hearts“What the soul knows is often  unknown to the man who has a soul. We are infinitely more than we think.” Kahlil Gibran

“I realized that all the trouble I ever had about you came from some smallness or fear in myself.”    Mary Haskell

“All cruelty springs from weakness.”    Seneca

“We are expression of earth, and of life – not separate individuals only. We cannot get enough away from the earth to see the earth and ourselves as separates. We move with its great movements and our growth is part of its great growth.”    Kahlil Gibran

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”    Seneca

There has been a tremendous amount of talk about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. The fascinating part is that nothing ever changes. I wrote a book on the mother-in-law daughter-in-law dilemma which took  over fifteen years of research. I interviewed people at the beginning of those years and at the end and I got the same results. To be honest, I was shocked.

Today’s young people appear to be more computer literate, independent and outspoken. Yet when you mention a mother-in-law, their complaints and issues sound  the same throughout the ages. They are no less confident around their mothers-in-law than any other generation. Perhaps they are even less secure, given the confusion regarding one insignificant person, who appears to make them nervous. The mystery is they can’t figure out why.

The  typical answers, which have some truth in them, are jealousy, fear, and their own insecurity towards their relationship with their husbands. Their possessive feelings towards their husbands, causes a resistance in them to accept their mother-in-law. Regardless of how any of us feel, mothers are mothers and they will likely always hold a connected bond with their daughters as well as their sons. Most women like to believe that only daughters stay close to their mothers. I call this surface bonds.

Mothers keep their bonds of affection for all of their kids, and young or old the love does not diminish.  The belief is that women stay bonded  to mom, but men somehow evolve into a new creature that stops caring about his beginnings. Many men likely under duress, leave a lot of space between themselves and their mothers, so as to alleviate any trouble with their wives.

Of course it is silly because if we looked into the future, or at life itself, we would realize that we will perhaps one day be at the other end of the stick. None of us think of that. We  assume we will  have our tiny babies, toddlers and young children under our spell forever. As most older women will attest, time passes quietly but swiftly and things turn around. I have heard the same  rhetoric of  “how much better I would do things than my mother-n-law did.” Probably you won’t make the same mistakes, but you will forge ahead with your own errors, unwittingly unaware that you have done anything wrong.

Nobody plans on making problems for anyone least of all your son or daughter-in-law. The trouble is, if one has made trouble already, forgiveness is the only route that allows them on the track again. Of course we can skip the forgiveness, and rattle onward with confusion, distrust, uneasiness, fights, horrible interactions, and free time spent on rehashing everything that was said and done. Humans are great at overlooking their own transgressions. We give ourselves plenty of slack in reference to pain and blame. In the end we all are delivered fair amounts of stress, anxiety and worry.

Mothers-in-law need time to adjust. When a woman becomes a new mother, she frets and wants to be left alone so she can learn all the ways to take care of her baby. She doesn’t want a lot of advice, at least not from the older generation. She gains her independence and eventually steers her own wheel. Likewise, a new mother-in-law must learn how to switch up  her own way of doing things. She no longer can interfere with her sons choices, nor stop by when she feels like it. Yes her son probably wouldn’t care any more than her daughter-in-law worries if her own mother stops by. The trouble is the daughter-in-law wants her privacy, and deserves her privacy. Mothers-in-law need to respect the lines that are drawn.

This is easier said than done. If a mother has freely spoken to her child for over twenty years, it is difficult to expect her to suddenly learn how to keep her mouth quiet. Of course she needs to learn this, but give her some time and space to fall back, make mistakes and then learn to adjust. It is the changes and fear of the transformations that are likely taking place. The love is always solid but the alterations in the relationship are numerous. Changes require a lot of adjustments in action, words and emotional acceptance.

Calling men mommies boys, only makes the men put up a facade of separation from the mother. That in turn hurts the mother. We haven’t changed the son’s love for his mother. We have only caused him to hide his feeling and keep them undercover. That is silly as well as sad, when we don’t place the same parameters on our own heartfelt associations. Just as we can’t be forced to love someone, likewise we can’t be forced to stop loving someone. The heart rebels.

How much time, effort, pain, fear and stress we needlessly place on our shoulders. There is room for one more person to love in this big world. We must have confidence in ourselves, trust in our own worth and not feel jealousy in the mother son relationship. Perhaps if we could get beyond  that, we would all learn to have serenity. Mothers-in-law are just as guilty of jealousy, as well as insecurity. But trusting they have a place in their son’s heart, should give them peace.  Why do we want to spend our happy times, assessing what another says or does. In the end it is futile and pointless. The evaluation results always depend on the person doing the assessment more than what is the truth.

Mothers-in-law have a new playing field. They need to refrain from overstepping boundaries, respect rules that are set, even if they don’t agree with them, or even if they think they are ridiculous. Respect and tolerance is key. Understanding how much your son loves this person is essential. They are his family now, and although you will always be a part  of his family, stepping back a bit and recognizing the importance of his union and the onward cycle of his life is crucial.

Most if not all mothers do not want to keep their sons locked away or stagnant. Allowing them to live the life they choose is not our decision to make, but it does necessitate that  we accept his decisions. Daughters-in-law who want peace, and honesty, must accept some of the fault in a failing relationship with their mothers-in-law. By understanding their role in the crises, they can alter their opinions, as well as stretch their thinking. By coming to realize that they can’t just pretend their husband never had a mother, or that he can easily walk away from having her in his life, will afford a deeper revelation about life itself.

A daughter-in -law’s fear and stress might be her own nervousness at taking the helm. Of course the daughter-in-law is up to it but she must have some faith in herself. None of us can control another, or not forever. If we wrap our treasure and hide it, how can we enjoy it ourselves. Bringing it into the light gives others the chance to experience some of the joy. By having our husband’s interests in mind, we might offer a truce in any difficult situation.

Judging the mother-in-law too early in the game causes misconceptions. It would be like judging a child’s temperament after the mother is leaving the child in your care. The screaming yelling and misbehaving child is under duress at the moment. It is not a good time to be judging him or her. I would suggest the mother-in-law may be at that same point in time, as the toddler.  She is under fire to accept so many changes that are definitely attuned with life and natural, but not easy. Perhaps a mothers slight temper tantrum is also quite natural. Give her time to adjust and make it as easy and as acceptable as possible because in the end she will come to understand, there are no other options.

Mothers-in-law should understand that their daughters-in-law are young, and have a lot to learn about the progression of life. Attempting to give them the fast pass doesn’t work. They are vulnerable, are excited about their new beginning and want independence and freedom, to make their own choices. A mother-in-law has to allow her son and his wife to make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. Interfering is out of the question. Perhaps their ridiculous idea might pan out better than you thought.Everyone is breaking new ground. We all react poorly at moments. Acting like  children is probably very common in adults of all temperaments. Whether we behave aggressively,  or passive aggressively, everyone needs forgiveness and kindness at times.

We all want to be understood regarding our feelings, which are not easy to express. How many mothers-in-law want to believe they are expressing a temper tantrum, and showing signs of jealousy. How many daughters-in-law want to believe they are possessive and jealous of their mothers-in-law. Both parties will get over the newness of it all, and release their own fears in time. When that future time comes, it would be nice to still have a worthwhile relationship. Trust me, it is an awesome treasure to have and well worth waiting for, or working towards. Tolerance, forgiveness, understanding and love will open the chrysalis to a new adventure that all will love and enjoy, if we will simply have faith that it is possible.

A man can be free without being great, but no man can be great without being free.”     Kahlil Gibran

“Imagination sees the complete reality, – it is where past, present and future meet… Imagination is limited neither to the reality which is apparent – nor to one place. It lives everywhere. It is at a center and feels the vibrations of all the circles within which east and west are virtually included. Imagination is the life of mental freedom. It realizes what everything is in its many aspects … Imagination does not uplift: we don’t want to be uplifted, we want to be more completely aware.”    Kahlil Gibran

“When the hand of Life is heavy and night song-less, it is the time for love and trust. And how light the hand life becomes and how song-ful the night, when one is loving and trusting all.” Anonymous

“He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.”    Seneca