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 ?”

Silence

“Silence is the best way to  let someone know they did wrong.” Pinterest anonymous

“Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

“Don’t be fooled my silence is not a sign of weakness.” picture perfect

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” Shannon Alder

There are times when I can’t think of anything to say  to anyone. It makes me feel stupid  and without any thoughts. On other occasions I feel like I am talking too much and I go home wondering if I said too much.  At a future date in time I review what I said wondering if that is why someone is a bit unfriendly with me. I can’t always recall everything that I said so I promise myself in the future, to be more careful with my words . Continue reading “Silence”

The Fear Of Failure

"All the elements for your happiness are already here. There’s no need to run, strive. At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it."    Thich Nhat Hahn
"By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person. Obstacles can be a form of liberation. Difficulties are required for success." Thich Nhat Hahn

All of us have so many fears but perhaps the biggest one is the fear of failure. It kind of groups all the other fears together. Whether it is our spouse, parent, child boss friend or enemy we hate to drop the ball and be considered a loser. The trouble is we can’t really define just what a loser is or what it means. We have bad vibes about failing and never consider that there might be a bright side to failing. Continue reading “The Fear Of Failure”

Absolution For The Suffering

Absolution“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”    Thich Nhat Hanh

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“We will not just say, “I love him very much,” but instead, “I will do something so that he will suffer less.”

” The mind of compassion is truly present when it is effective in removing another person’s suffering.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“The fact is that when you make the other suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides.”    Thich Nhat Hanh

At the Holiday  time of year we are filled with anticipation for ourselves and for others. The last thing we think about is absolution. Perhaps we are all in need of forgiveness.  Sometimes we hold on to grudges for many years. I honestly don’t know why we can’t let things go. I act the same way. As much as I might know what the correct thing to do is, finding the strength to behave in such a manner is next to impossible. What is the attraction of clinging to past hurts and pain? Maybe we enjoy the pain because we feel self-righteous and above the person who hurt us. Being the victim has its’ perks of gaining attention when we discuss our pain with others. We might even feel like the hero who was capable of enduring such misery.

No matter how we figure it on any given day it can become like a crutch that we reach for when we need it for any particular time or bad mood we are experiencing. Once we have absolved someone the transgression, we place it in a safe but hidden place  within our minds. The plan is to keep it there but that rarely happens. There are those times when the memories slip back through to the forefront and we tend to forget the fact that we already  forgave this misdeed. One must ask why we recall the negative.

I tend to believe that we become proud of  our suffering. We probably become our own hero which may not always be a bad thing. If we think about it we find that when we are hurting or feeling insecure and persecuted we reach for our defense of self-sympathy. We likely attempt to ease our own pain. It is understandable but it keeps the real forgiveness at a distance. Anything that cuts us deeply no matter how others view it, is difficult to absolve. We all understand there are degrees of depravity and also degrees of ability to forgive the wrongdoings of others.

I am as guilty as anyone of reminding some people of misdeeds and what I consider crimes against me. Over and over I suppose I am making them suffer. Now I wonder at what price and also how long is long enough. I am not sure about the length of time it takes to overcome emotional suffering. I know it is possible to forgive but certainly requires tremendous strength and will power to forget. There are those days we can do it but again we retrieve the pain when we deem it necessary when we need to comfort ourselves. Now the question becomes does it really comfort us?

I am considering the fact that when we keep recalling misdeeds, we perhaps do not truly have faith in the notion that the guilty person is actually deeply sorry. Now that might be the real issue. Many of us may feel that we haven’t been compensated for our suffering. We bring it to the present to hurt another over again until the day we suppose they are truly sorry. Of course we never consider how much agony we are bestowing someone we care for. If we reflected hard enough we might understand that we  have become the one providing the suffering. Never do we seem to look at ourselves in this manner because we feel the perpetrator deserves any pain we can render. Somehow I  am questioning if this is not ruthless. We can become the one who needs forgiveness.

There are those people who commit the same offense against us repeatedly. Of course forgiveness is difficult if not impossible. That leaves one with a choice of staying or moving on. I surmise that if one is willing to constantly forgive and accept the consequences  of a repeat offense run the risk of continued controversy.  It is not an unreasonable decision because at any point the faith and trust one has in a person is perhaps the only thing that keeps them afloat. Some people hope to stop their depravity or the depravity in another. On the other side of the issue is the amount of offense any one person  can endure before giving up.

I appreciate the fact that we can’t live for another and it isn’t always up to us to be their hero. Many of us don’t look at a situation in that way. Maybe we are someone’s hero and we don’t know it. Perhaps we make someone stronger than they are alone. It is not that I profess to linger with someone who constantly disappoints us but when there is love and the person falters but exhibits honesty in their attempt to improve it does entrust us with choices. If a person or a relationship of any kind is worth the effort and the absolution, likely we should take the chance. Peace and tolerance is always better than distress and grief.

True forgiveness is almost an ability of angels and not man. However I still find it important to strive for that goal. Forgiveness makes us stronger and more fulfilled as we genuinely attempt to let go of our own suffering. Forgiveness is tied into suffering. If we come to the point of letting another be released from our revenge then we find serenity together. Most of us see the need to keep another in the chains of remorse until we deem them worthy enough to be set free. What we don’t consider is that we are actually waiting to release ourselves from the prison of anguish and revenge. We must be ready to release and dispose of the crutch of suffering. It pains us numerous times. That is not keeping us free. We embellish the iniquity to the point of not recognizing the truth of a situation. Time also bends the actuality of the occurrence.

In this season of love  and forgiveness perhaps it is time to take a look at our lives and let go of the many fears and angers due to hurts caused by those we love. We have locked them into a cell as much as we have locked ourselves into one. Release your own spirit and free  will and you will find the courage to let go of the pain that keeps others constrained. Now I believe that hanging on to the negative brings you down while reaching for the possible goodness brings joy and peace. May you all experience peace in this awesome season.

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”    Thich Nhat Hanh

“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”    Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

Grateful

Families8GRATEFUL

“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.

Our anticipations may be so much greater than actually what occurrs. Perhaps if we perceive this from the first moment we may  save ourselves unnecessary grief. I am not looking forward to having a terrible time but I do have a more realistic approach towards the Holidays. It likely comes  from agonies of past times and disappointments. It left me wondering time and again, what went drastically wrong.

That might be the key question. How and why do  things backfire. I see myself going through motions of being the superhero in a sense. I have faith that I will give the perfect gift, display an out of the world atmosphere, and cook a meal that will replay on the taste buds. I anticipate being surrounded by love. I anticipate others being anxious to talk with me perhaps because they find me so amusing or entertaining. My expectations are unrealistic. When the reality of the day occurs, I am  discouraged and must decide how to accept the disappointment. Even when the day has passed the tenseness continues along with the debate of how things might have gone better. I conclude with the question of why I put so much effort into something that was designed to explode.

When the same situation replays year after year in various scenarios, one is left questioning some truths. I discovered my expectations were fairy-tales. My generosity was full of assumptions of gaining affection in  return. My belief in love, compassion and caring was a little mixed up. I didn’t want to be so harsh on myself so I studied others and found some similar mistakes and regrets as well as disappointments. We are so needy to be accepted and loved yet we sabotage it daily.

Now when I am buying a gift for someone I think hard about pleasing them. I have discovered that at times even a small inexpensive gift causes me to be more grateful. I don’t attempt to be the hero or the winner of the most popular present award. I have given gift certificates in order for others to purchase what they want instead of what I think they should want. I enjoy doing things with others. My enthusiasm is for spending time with others. Although it is still nice to be invited for dinner, it is nice to be a listening ear or have someone be the sounding board.

So now I can share hot chocolate or cup of tea or coffee, with  another at any time of year and make it special. It was  never about turns or justifications. Love is never having to say your sorry and never having to receive something only when it is your turn. It is more spontaneous now and full of surprises. When the Holiday is over I find more contentment.  The lack  of frustration brings solid relief. I have learned to expect nothing so I truly am pleased with whatever wonderful things happen. On an occasional moment at any time during the year I am blessed with an unexpected heartfelt conversation with a friend or family member. It fills me with pleasure and love. No gift could compare with what. I have found that  the most anyone can give is their unconditional love.

I think we overdo the new products on the market to the point of excluding love respect and mindfulness. It is not that we are terrible  people. We have just been lulled into what we have been brainwashed to believe is a worthy gift. Pleasing others is easier than spending money or buying presents. It is about those heartfelt habits of the heart that send love to others in thoughtful ways. You can’t easily repay time or effort. Another issue that always comes up is the feeling of never being equal to others. We just don’t know ourselves. We have so much to offer. Competing with others is sometimes of our own doing. It isn’t feasible to always be the best cook smartest person or competitive worker in the room. It is okay to be us and tell and enjoy a joke.

Those who are busy bragging so much that they annoy us are to be pitied. If they have the need for attention so badly, I would suggest we listen and give it to them. Obviously they must require our approval. That kind of places us in a superior position if we were really taking notes which we are not. Seeing through the many facades others place before us allows us to better understand their motives for behaving the way they do. At any moment we can become that needy person who desires love and attention. There is no shame in this.

We all want to fit in with others. We like attention and respect, can be easily  embarrassed, and have many of the same wants and needs and problems. Our fears are similar. The need for love is genuine and sincere no matter what our personality is. If we enter the playing field understanding all of this then we already know our opponent because they are just like us. They should not render us fearful or jealous.

Navigating through the waters of fear and anxiety leads to calm sailing. What media tells us to value leaves us disappointed and distressed. Realizing what has meaning in our lives is the beginning of waking up to reality. The dream is upsetting because it isn’t based on facts. Perhaps by changing our habits of fake living may support us in finding the honest and genuine habits of heart. That kind of love is available all year through. We won’t have to wait for holiday time and we won’t have to fear and stress over pleasing everyone. Many of our actions render us tired and depressed. What we should be searching for is serenity and love in the current moment in time. Try choosing heart habits over rituals, be gratefull, then rejoice in having all that you ever needed within reach.

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try the world is beyond the winning. Lao Tzu

Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Healing

Courage 2“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”    Rumi

“What happens when people open their hearts?”
“They get better.”    Harki Murakami

“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”    Shannon L. Alder

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” Marianne Williamson

Healing self is sometimes impossible to do. Years pass by  quickly as we all live our chosen lives. The wounds stay infected and begin covering with more and more scars. It is so hard to state what it is we really want from others and basically we can become disappointed at every turn. Maybe it appears to be weakness on our part. We might need others but we refuse to admit it to ourselves. Likely we have remained strong for so long and dealt with our losses and hurts that we simply can’t change our course and go another route.

The hurts and pain are real no doubt. The ways we perceive them as well as the reasons behind the occurrences are always shadowed by our own paintbrush. Children have suffered abuses of all kinds at the hands of those they love. Adults who want to become whole again must see through the infliction and search to find the strength to forgive those who perhaps owed them so much more.

Torments of all kinds rendered by various people fester and pain us at unpredictable times. What we want to say but likely never do renders us suffering in silence. We can all understand pain to a degree and we all appreciate the power of compassionate words that send us for cover rather than for bearing arms. Bearing the misery in silence is our only answer so we resolve to endure our situation quietly.

Many people carry the baggage around with them sometimes for a lifetime. Maybe it  appears to be easier to tolerate the discomfort in the quiet of our hearts. The trouble is that we never know when the agony will resurface and when it does we are usually never prepared to deal with it all over again. At a stronger moment we choose to ignore the sorrow because we like keeping it at bay so we can enjoy our times of pleasure.

Everything  that happens to us in life is what changes us for the better or the worse. Obviously the grueling experiences have a much more profound affect on our lives. The key is they also have the power to transform us in extreme ways. Such incidences are challenging and complicated. To confront them is problematic because so much agony covers up the intricate explanations of the rationale. Analyzing them no matter how much agony we must endure cracks the door open for finding the  details of the full picture.

Even when extreme sadness is present, finding our own peace of mind is critical to our own functioning and survival. I hate the term rationalizing because I feel like it leaves behind the emotional soreness. Perhaps the truth is that each one of us uses our own rationale for behaving the way we do. I may not care for your understanding of an incident any more than you accept my interpretation.

When parents hurt their kids emotionally, physically or sexually there appears to be no recourse and justifiably no excuses. I would almost agree with that and still do find it almost impossible to forgive unless one is close to godliness. Recently I have encountered those perpetrators of such crimes in agony themselves about how to find peace and forgiveness. I did not deal with them personally and am not  equipped  to do so but their anguish was obvious and deep.

Parents must seek help in all the ways they can find it. Of course a young mother barely above the level of a child herself, likely having had few good role models in her life, is going to be questionable in her child rearing practices. Condemning this person is difficult but condoning her is impossible. What are we left with but to consider why things went off track. Even knowing that may not help with a solution. I have faith in the belief that forgiveness comes when one totally gets the depth of the discomfort and agony they have caused another individual at any point in time and towards any person be it family or stranger.

I suppose it is why lawyers bring backgrounds of the suspected guilty person into account, in order for those who have  not been hurt so deeply to understand the emotional sting and heartache from the instigators own past. One might counter with the acute displeasure the perpetrator has caused the innocent victim. Although there are degrees of innocence and guilt there is likely not an innocent person among any of us, even if we unknowingly caused misery to another.

Healing is the critical component. It comes from facing the demons and incorporating the many excuses and arguments. One must accept the reality of the motives whether they are justified or at least extremely complicated and intense. Sometimes the full picture is not comprehended until one has matured a great deal. Having the courage to face what we have done wrong is vital in understanding dilemmas of the heart. Sustaining the strength to confront and let go of the emotional burdens is necessary.

One who has been emotionally injured creates a hard outer core so as to protect themselves from further pain. To heal  we must have the strength and fortitude to peel the armor off and allow the light to shine through us again. The throbbing sadness may subside somewhat with transforming our attitude and overcoming our fear of moving forward instead of remaining trapped in painful episodes within our past.

Those of us who have been beaten down as kids may learn to show mercy and compassion for others. Forgiveness for those who have hurt us comes with knowledge of the wrongdoers motives. Of course the point at which an offender realizes the pain and depth of their actions is the point they begin  their own lamenting and journey of survival in forgiving self.

Husbands and wives may go for many years rationalizing their crimes or offenses towards each other. If one searches for truth and honesty they are  confronted with their injustices and forced to mend their sins. Most of us are a mixed bag. Accepting this perhaps leads one towards forgiving others which eventually may lead the way to inner peace. Holding on to blame and injustices leaves no room for love  and serenity. Dumping the damages takes the sting out of the pain.

We are really left with the capacity to move onward with life and living. We still have the power to choose our own course and make amends where required. We can do better than what we were taught or what was modeled. We have the option  to be engulfed in the fiery blaze or to leave the fury and grief behind and walk a gentler path of understanding and forgiving as best  we can. It doesn’t mean forgetting just releasing the constant nagging of the torment. We will always be aware of its’ presence but we don’t have to allow it to overwhelm and consume our lives. There is a special prayer that I love to think about when I believe I have been hurt or misunderstood. It brings a semblance of peace and sanity to an overburdened world. I will share it below at the end of the post.

Marriages, families friends and all relationships run into bumps and bruises. Parenting of course has the ability to cause more heartache because of the innocence of children. Many adults have not grown up with any guidance themselves but they do have the ability to search and gain the help and knowledge they need to improve their skills. Transform your heartache and it will alter your life. Love is always at the bottom of the messy pile. Most of us just don’t know how to show it, give it or receive it. We falter at expressing our love as well as our pain. We want peace but instigate friction. We want understanding but initiate confusion. Pride is produced over honesty. Time to trust in honesty by letting the love out of the prison where we hold it confined. Anger and revenge trigger fire and ash, while love promotes an atmosphere of harmony, goodwill and freedom from strife. In the process we are releasing ourselves from the prison which only we have the key to unlock.

“To Love is to reach God” Rumi

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.” Rumi

“My soul gave me good counsel, teaching me that the lamp which I carry does not belong to me, and the song that I sing was not generated from within me. Even if I walk with light, I am not the light; and if I am a taut-stringed lute, I am not the lute-player.” Rumi

“O divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to  be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Saint Francis of Assisi

 

 

 

Embrace the Moment

Embrace“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.

All of us are guilty of sensing contrariness all around us. The challenge is to override the negative and embrace the joyful present encounters. Of course all is easier said than done. I find most moments in time are significant and more meaningful than we could ever imagine. They have the power to generate a calming atmosphere or sometimes a  volatile atmosphere. They also end in repercussions of all sorts. That is the part we don’t anticipate and likely what causes us all kinds of remorse.

At a family gathering one day, there was a controlling member of the family who was helping with dinner. When another person challenged the way she was doing something the battle ensued. Of course the controlling individual wanted her own way while the other person was upset with the mistake. The frustration of both individuals rose and abated  when a third party intervened and defused the problem.

Neither individual noticed how uncomfortable everybody around them was becoming. Nobody wanted to make a move at first. Picking sides is hazardous to one’s health. At long last someone did have the courage to stop the bad interaction and resolve the issue. I noticed as the general public renewed their inspiring  conversations the two involved insurgents of the mishap were noticeably upset. Their faces were drawn, their lips were tightly pursed, eyebrows were lowered and bodies were tensed as they took turns eyeing each other. No one dared to tread on the dilemma.

As time passed the mood lightened and everyone had a good time but the two warring people went home with a lot on their minds. I wondered how something so simple had the power to cause such a huge negative effect. The controlling person felt diminished and under appreciated while the other person felt upset that they had  unnecessarily voiced an opinion. Of course hindsight is invariably better but if the controller let up a bit and listened they might have gained some worthwhile knowledge. The interfering person should have let things go because they were not the one offering to help. The fact that both factions will likely bring their antagonism to the next gathering is sad. All guests are at the mercy of those who choose  to toss emotions around like fall leaves. The contrary person is also to blame because they did not have the confidence to accept another opinion.

We are all so good at finding the faults of others and I include myself. Perhaps we sense in them the faults we would like to fix in us. There are times when out of desperation we release our perceived truths onto another. Having been there I know we are always sorry. I now see this as a moment of discovery for myself. I believe those are the times I am forced to see  something I perhaps did not want to discover about myself. After the uproar and embarrassment I am forced to acknowledge if only to myself, how much pain I am carrying inside. All of the hurt gets released when we sense another person around us who somehow brings out the drainage of the infection.

In a way I am understanding the importance of the small  simple moments in time that provide a teaching moment. Another guest was thanked for helping  to clean up the table. With embarrassment they declared that they had not helped. At first I felt sorry for the person who had complimented one who had not actually aided in the jobs. Then I realized that likely they helped that person. The receiver of the undeserved compliment had some food for thought. Hopefully they will offer assistance at a future period in time.

When it all comes down to the final analysis we repeatedly learn from our positive and antagonistic interactions with others. All is really not lost. If we can appreciate the value of the unfavorable communication we can acquire information that is invaluable. By understanding this we will matriculate the knowledge with enthusiasm. Of course we can disdain the whole episode and receive nothing from our encounter but anger. The choice is ours.

The best situation is perhaps to discover our own inadequacies without reaching the pinnacle of lashing out at another. Facing imperfections allows us to improve. Without acceptance there can be no progress. Most of our issues seem to resonate with jealousy, competition and the  striving for love. We don’t believe in our own worth. The honesty is that we can and do love more than one person. Somehow being number one is relevant to us all. I  would  suppose that on any given day the number one varies in the minds of most people.

Another idea  we don’t think about is the fact that we hold others as hostages while we engage in petty misconduct. The  happy moments in our lives can be dissolved quickly  when others ensue with a battle of wits or insults. Attempt to reflect on the repercussions of such behavior. I know I am so aware of such transactions because I have been the inflammatory person as well as the  receiver of such destructive incidents. I would venture to say  most of us are guilty. It isn’t about blame but about discerning the truth in what  we say and do and why we say and do it.

By perceiving the truth we might choose a calmer path that leads to enlightenment without the regret. It does take some will power to refrain from immediate judgement and response. It takes courage and strength to acknowledge ourselves in those actions and words. It takes forgiveness towards  them so that we can forgive ourselves.

We all have much to be thankful for. We all  work hard to accomplish much and improve. We don’t see our accomplishments and we miss our gains. We might endeavor to be grateful for so much in our lives that we just don’t think about. There is probably so much we would not trade for anything in the world. Realizing what we have that can’t be bought ought to prove the priceless  treasures that we enjoy within our lives. Changing our attitudes may alter our lives in the most profound  ways.

On another note, for all the times we fail and fall down, we can still retrieve the knowledge acquired. There is never a loss as long as we take something positive from the occurrence. None of us is perfect. None of us would enjoy being judged. But as much as we all fall down, we all have the ability to rise to great heights. If we give up we will never soar. If  we are still attempting and failing we can rejoice because as long as we never give up we can make it happen. The possibility is there for us by having the faith in our ability  to be successful. It only takes the confidence to believe in self. The goal is just pushed a little bit further into the future but still within reach provided we get up after we are knocked down.

“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”    Shannon Alder

“An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.”  Steve Goodier

“They will hate you if you are beautiful. They will hate you if you are successful. They will hate you if you are right. They will hate you if you are popular. They will hate you when you get attention. They will hate you when people in their life like you. They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God. They will hate you if you are spiritual. They will hate you if you have courage. They will hate you if you have an opinion. They will hate you when people support you. They will hate you when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”     Shannon Alder

Let Go of False Pretense

Let Go of Pretense“That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretense. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”    Jim Morrison

“The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense. There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ.”    A.W. Tozer

“Whatever is above will be managed by the powers above you. Don’t live as a man, pretending to be God. Do what you can do; leave what you can’t to God!”    Israelmore Ayivor

Likely we are all tired of being afraid to admit we are scared most of our lives. Presenting ourselves as capable human beings is the norm. Any of us that fall short of the mark simply hide the truth sometimes even from ourselves. Most of our frustrations deadlines jobs and burdens have more to do with how others may perceive us if we fall short of the time restraints.

Our spouses get upset with us when we haven’t fulfilled an ongoing project. Our kids want us to do things or fix things or take them places. We  believe we fail as a parent if we haven’t brought our children to places to experience this and that. It isn’t so much where we find the fault but the fact that we find ourselves lacking most of the time.

Having the boss mention our name quickly at a meeting and then forgetting who we are the next day relates to us the insignificance of unworthy compliments. We might deserve the recognition but we can’t believe that becasue we achieved anything that others believe we are somehow more important than they are. Nothing is further from the truth.

I have seen some people mention that a  person didn’t deserve the credit so they were not impressed. My point is that we think a lot about how others see us yet none of us really care. We may feel the person deserves a pat on the back but when we leave the meeting that person is out of our thoughts.

Spouses of all kinds are tempermental. At times a task may be all important for them to see accomplished. Maybe they are having company and want to mention we finished the task. They worry about impressing another and we worry about pleasing them. The trend is that we are all seeking glory for  one moment in time and the glory is costing us lots of emotional pain.

Understanding those times when we are guilty of expecting too much of another is crucial in keeping the relationship strong. If we become unbearable in our demands of course the relationship is jeopardized. Our spouse sees only disappointment when they look into our eyes. That is wearing down the body mind and spirit. How long can any of us take mental stress?  Observing the amount of people who will lie or cheat to make gains is the proof.

We are being controlled by our own ego in its’ desire for acceptance and pride. It is not always a bad thing to exhibit some pride in what we say and do but allowing it to  manifest at the will of others is becoming detrimental to our health. Just because the wife wants a task done so that her father will be impressed with her husband’s  talent is silly. For the husband to take up the gauntlet to please his wife is also silly if he doesn’t have the time to do the task. For a wife to be coerced into cooking a gourmet  dinner for her mother-in-law  to prove she is a  competent wife and cook is  crazy. It may not be the husband or wife pressuring their spouse. Sometimes the challenge might be picked up by the husband or wife simply to prove their worth to their in-law.

If we come close to delivering anything on time we get a sense of relief in having accomplished something. Of course all of the other achievements have been forgotten by us and others. As soon as one task is completed everyone looks towards the next. There really is no end to the tension and pressure.

The old pain of seeing ourselves through the eyes of other people is well established in our world.  That is perhaps why we  worry about what others think feel and see when they observe us. The trouble is that none of us have long memories. We live in a short term memory world. Why would anyone define who they are by so many unimportant jobs they complete?

The challenges parents place on their shoulders regarding their worth as a parent is unending. Every parent they meet throughout the day is a potential competitor. The parent compares their every act to this other person. No wonder they say “misery loves company.” My guess is that is why we like to see others fail because we fail and want to know we are okay especially because we know this other person is okay even thou they failed.

Most of us likely program our kids to compete and meet expectations. Sometimes placing  too much emphasis on achieving sends them  spirally in defeat. The competition begins early. The demands and challenges start early. The worry and fear begins at an early age and doesn’t end until we die or decide on our own to stop comparing. When we reach that point our lives relax and serenity enters.

I am not suggesting we give up our tasks or duties. I am suggesting we rethink what we consider essential tasks with their timelines. Perhaps a more lenient view on needs and wants would  be a better consideration. pleasing others or doing jobs to prove our importance only  sends us worry and anxiety. Nobody wants to be under the wire to accomplish more than is feasible without breaking.

Consideration for others and working on tasks in a  reasonable atmosphere is calming. Those outsiders who find fault will forget about us the very next day.  They won’t even remember what we didn’t complete yet. If we change our attitudes we will discover burdens being lifted from our shoulders. We will have more time and more peace. We will be more accepting of our kids who come in all sizes, shapes and varying attitudes.

We all bear needless worries to prove our worthiness. Many of our jobs may not be necessary or not required to have a time constraint. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Removing all of the adorned and inflated egos makes room for the fresh air. We might even make a truce. I won’t pretend to be what I am not if you will do the same. I will be who I am and that makes me special and unique just as you are. Without the tension we all have more time for loving and honest living.

“Character that is fruit-producing can be summed up in the mastery of these 5 qualities: morals, but a sense of humor; love, but respect for criticism; intelligence without pretense; humility without self-loathing; and a mind open, but with solid convictions.”    Criss Jami

“Cowardice is when you hide away from your real self, and wear another self in pretense. Be yourself; that is bravery. If yourself is not better for you to be, change yourself and live in that changed self!”    Israelmore Ayivor

 

Is Stress Within Or Without?

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.

What are our pressures? How can we alleviate them or lessen them? How do we live a simple existence? Where do all of the anxieties of life come from? Why do we believe our burdens are so much worse than someone else’s? How can we be happy and release the worries?

There are so many more thoughts and questions running through our minds on any given day. We want answers and search for solutions and become overwhelmed when we can’t find the answers to our questions. Even social media doesn’t usually offer answers. They likely offer kind remarks and a quick pep talk. That is a kind thing to do especially when we might not have all of the hidden facts of a problem to actually give a profound answer.

At times I feel like the support we receive alleviates some anxieties almost like a steam kettle gets relief from getting the valve opened up and allowing the steam to escape. It works but only for awhile because if we keep it on the burner it only whistles again for relief. I see our lives running in similar fashion where we keep our hearts minds and bodies on the hot plate and just receive respite now and again when the tension is too much to bear and keep within.

We have a a tremendous amount of work to accomplish on any given day. There are appointments, games for children to attend homework jobs studying household tasks and family business that must be attended to. There are phone calls to make people to please and jobs to attend to which have been put off long enough. There are family affairs to attend and people to talk to. Does that give anyone else a headache because I have barely touched the surface of our overloaded schedules and already feel tired and overwhelmed.

Honestly there is much we place on our plates that we worry about needlessly. Lots of things time alone can handle. Deep down are we truly concerned with every missed phone call or are we stressed about appearances. Thoughts pertaining to how we will be perceived if we don’t do this or that worry us. Family members did this for me and now I must return the favor or I will appear to be the jerk. If I can’t finish this thing my wife or husband will think either I didn’t  care or I have become a slacker. My co-workers manage to leave from work mostly on time while I’m always left finishing my items for the day. What is wrong with me? If I complain it will appear I am incompetent. If I continue I will be at work for longer and longer hours.

We begin to ponder such thoughts as, I don’t have the money or support that another has to get plans for my house accomplished.  Some items will have to wait. They don’t know how lucky they are. My life is unfolding in ways I never exactly planned and now I am not sure where it is I am going. I thought I would be this far advanced in my career and in my life but I have barely left the gate. My neighbors make it seems so easy to get things done. They are lucky because they probably don’t have to check in as much I as do or they don’t have the same commitments that I have. I’ve had more than my share of loss and health issues and some people seem to escape the hardships. This rendition probably sounds familiar. We all have faith that we are behind in our tasks and in life.

I have been there and done that with getting caught up in my own life and emotional problems perceived with my own looking glass. The more I reflect the more I can see my false attitude towards my own crises and the crises of others. Studying anyone’s life allows us to understand it is filled with side steps and obstacles as well as times to rejoice. I am sure most of us love the joyful times and would love to have them more often.

As hard as it is I found it necessary to review my concern over the negative problems in my life rather than the accomplishments and joys. The more I focused on what was wrong the more I understood why my life appeared to be depressing. My jobs seemed more difficult to manage and overtook the thinking. At times I was left with a job schedule rather than a life. It lead me to challenge what my life was all about and what were burdens and what were drains and liabilities. I began to understand that some of my troubles were my perceived millstones regarding people and inconveniences.

I was working towards attaining what other people’s anticipations were for me. what I might accomplish from their perspectives were out of sync with reality. I decided my life should be lived with wisdom. We possibly use our loves and friendships as security blankets. Somehow it makes us feel untouchable from pain. We lament a loss of life yet it really is our loss that pains us. It reflects and diminishes our own life. I know none of us can totally diminish all of the stress from our lives. I also am aware now that the majority of our stress fear and anxiety is from within and from our own mindsets and points of view. We refuse to let others off of the hook and we most definitely won’t allow ourselves to be free. Such containment and misconceptions about life renders all of us drained anxious and unable to cope.

burdens are from the expectations of what others want or what we believe they want. There are deviations in reality here. Whatever notions I may have thought about others were perhaps off base. Outlooks they perceived about me were also likely wrong. There was a relief from many weights which occurred when I came to the realization that much of my worries were of my own creation.

As I began peeling back the layers I understood that most of the millstones were generated from  my own thoughts. Most of us choose to compete in the difficult world. We want to gain attention, make money ifluence others be held in high esteem and make a statement of importance. We enjoy the competition, like to impress and strive for what the world perceives as having made it. I questioned my notions of what that meant and discovered everyone had some similar ideas and some varying notions.

Such grandiose expectations are coming from within not from without. Most people honestly are not worrying about how big your car is or even if you own one. We are all too busy discussing and agonizing over our own lives and where we are heading. Young people worry about making it work for the spouse and kids while older people worry about retirement. We just can’t stop agonizing long enough to enjoy the life we have. Simply put we live in a future period of time. we must resolve to be over and done with any  expectations for others or for ourselves.

We likely haven’t let others down. We may have disappointed ourselves and our anticipation of dreams coming true. Perhaps many of our dreams do come true but are overlooked by our huge hopes and prospects. In the end we derive no pleasure from anything. That is what is sad. Finding hope faith and love from within is crucial to living a happy life. The outside world will never deliver. Enough needs to be enough if one wants to be happy. We can’t dwell on what we want but on what we have.

First find the peace from within by seeing life as it is rather than how you would like it to be. Don’t keep searching for the things you won’t find. Cherish the riches and pearls within your reach that are priceless. All or most of us know that pearls are made from irritation and strife over a long time. I see similarities to our family and friends. They may irritate and annoy us and  expect our support over the long haul of living. But in the end we discover the treasure we never knew was there. Suddenly the precious life we are living becomes a vital significant jewel we should respect. Our lives are filled with so much more happiness than we ever believed possible.

Our happiness and feelings come from within as we discover the full meaning of living. It may never be what we anticipated or expected but it is a life well lived and full to capacity with what counts in life. The sooner one discovers the faith hope and love within the quicker we stop searching to find it without. Stress is relieved and worries are more inconsequential. Life lightens, moods improve, jealousy  and anger diminishes and  opens up the door for love to grow. My favorite phrase is “Keep it simple.”

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”     Chinese proverb

“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”     Jill Botte Taylor,

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” —Amit Ray

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”     Sydney J. Harris

 

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”     Benjamin Franklin

39. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened happened.”      Winston Churchill

Discover What’s Real

Discover What's Real“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” Joseph Campbell

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” Johann Wolfgang Goethe

“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth, how much money you have gathered or how much attention you have received. It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters,” Amit Ray

“When you don’t know what you’re living for, you don’t care how you live from one day to the next. You’re happy the day has passed and the night has come, and in your sleep you bury the tedious question of what you lived for that day and what you’re going to live for tomorrow.” Ivan Goncharov

All the discussions we have that are centered around being satisfied are just words. It appears that we understand what it is we need to alter in order to be content, but we are simply too entrenched in our old way of thinking. So instead we talk about lessening our burdens, eating  healthier and spending more time with the family. Our intentions are awesome but they are more like those New Years’ resolutions that fall  by the wayside by the end of January.

I am not trying to block our ideas about bettering our lives. Making resolutions is wonderful and necessary to begin anything new. I just believe at least for myself, that I must attempt to act on them immediately before I give up on them or give in to the temptations of letting them go. Nobody plans on stopping their good intentions. It happens when our old way of thinking creeps in and nudges us to take care of this and that  before we attend to our home and family ideas. Of course the more we attend to what we perceive as the necessary agenda, the little time we have left over to get the good  intentions working.

How many times we pick up fast food because we are running late and the kids need to get to a sports, drawing or music appointment. We excuse ourselves this one time  because the meeting ran late. We resolve  to do better next week. As days and months pass we just dash our intentions.  They just  can’t jive with our lifestyle at the moment. I can’t express how many times I have said when things calm down I will do this or that. When I do repeat this phrase out loud  things only get more complicated. I can then blame all my responsibilities for failing my resolutions. It becomes my life styles’  fault  for my inability to stick with my promises.

I appreciate my own good intentions and those of others. Now I want to focus on reaching objectives and goals because day after day I see the need to appreciate  what matters in my life. No wonder the elderly hate being old and feeling useless and depressed. Most people consider them outdated and helpless.  Yet if any of us are confined to the house or can’t get involved in a work project we feel denied or treated unfairly. Likely if we had more respect for people of all ages,  genders etc. we would not have any complaints about getting older. It would appear easier to mention to an older person, “how  about if you sit and do this job because I know it hurts your legs to stand but you are very  capable to achieve this task.

There is also an issue with believing that if we sign our kids up for various entertainment somehow we are passing parenting with flying colors. Possibly those that can’t afford to bring their kids on numerous vacations or sign them up for camps of any kind get the feeling they are failing their children. My  sense is neither is failing their kids unless they are ignoring them and not spending time talking with their children. Interacting with kids is vital for their emotional health. The small things we say and do with our kids are priceless. The interchange of words, ideas, problems and fears can result in a reduction of their anxieties. When we hear of kids feeling depressed and anxious we can appreciate the importance of spending time with kids rather than more money or entertainment.

Finding occasions  for the family is crucial. Most of us admit we don’t have the spare intervals. Now my answer is to make the time and mark the family needs as  urgent. I think more marriages and child problems would be solved because we paid better attention to issues before they became critical problems to resolve. I’d rather deal with discussions and ideas and arguments instead of waiting for the ball to drop and then having to fix whatever went wrong. At that point I might have to spend weeks dealing and fixing something critical that developed out of something that was originally minor.

How do we get so busy.  I reflected on my own schedule and realized that we value work, getting ahead, earning degrees, and gaining money. These are all material gains. Most of us don’t think about human rewards or accomplishments. We honestly believe that they just happen and kids will forever love us and our spouses will always understand when we don’t make time for them, and our friends will continually like us even when we focus on having  much more material wealth which has now reached an obsession.

The truth is  our kids perhaps  get into more trouble, seek other more uncaring people to confide in, and perhaps lose faith and trust in us. They learn how to become like us in the scheme of life. Some kids choose a path far different from their parents’ lifestyle. We might find they don’t make time for us anymore when they are teens and even when they are adults. Our spouses become people we don’t understand anymore. We see changes in them but miss the ones in ourselves. They appear to be selfish and distant as well as being only interested in their own needs. We have basically stopped working as a team and became individual  entities striving towards our own goals.

Some of us might have jumped on the plane our spouse is flying and directed  towards whatever our spouse wants. We are not thinking or speaking up for ourselves in that situation. No matter what material item I have ever purchased, I must admit that it never ended up being as awesome as I thought it would be. It lost its’ sparkle quickly. Sometimes I swept any thoughts of the item  out of my head because  being a waste of money made me feel even worse . What I gained out of all of this was what remains in my heart forever.  I found it to be those things I ignored the most. My  resolutions to spend more time with the family were actually the best things I could have done  and enjoyed doing the most.  Sometimes we don’t sense  the reasons our spouse wants certain things and why our children desire to keep us closer.

Personally, the sentiments that filled my soul had so much more to do with inner requirements than outer desires. It seems easy to profess but not so easy to explain to someone who is still  strategically trying to move ahead in their lives. Moving ahead to them is making money and earning titles. If I have so many degrees and accomplishments and so do you why would I be impressed with yours? All I would be interested in discussing was my own perceived accomplishments when it was my turn to speak. I’m not impressing anybody and neither are they. Yet we pride ourselves with these successes.

If someone were to ask us what we did with our lives we would be tossing out achievements. How about having and enjoying a great marriage and awesome children and happy home environment.  That likely would not be considered relevant unless we seriously review what is relevant. Maybe it is time  to think about that for a moment. Where did we relax and have fun? Where were we not judged and could be ourselves? Where did we receive the support and backing to keep moving ahead? Where were our happiest moments spent?

It is time to open our eyes to what is real and what is fake. Clothes degrees fortune fame travel and useless objects are not where it is at. Figuring out what counts brings peace and  serenity. The deadlines are gone and the competition is over. The need to defame others and outsmart them ends as well as the gossiping. The time spent on useless games and masks renders us more time for the essential things like home and family. No wonder there are so many breakups. We just don’t value what is priceless and within our reach. Take more than a moment to view your life and treasures and be thankful for  both before your time to enjoy them runs out.

“Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfill whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. We all know individuals who did not fulfill the promise they showed in childhood. Many of them became haunted by the image of what they might have become. Instead of blaming fate, I think we should accept ourselves as we are and try to fulfill whatever dreams are within our capability.

Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.”
Michio Kaku

“Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around, Karma exists, chickens do come home to roost, and as my mother, Phyllis, liked to say, “There is always a day of reckoning.” The good among the great understand that every choice we make adds to the strength or weakness of our spirits—ourselves, or to use an old fashioned word for the same idea, our souls. That is every human’s life work: to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling, and maybe even everlasting.” Donald Van de Mark