Monthly Archives: October 2014

Self Discovery

Self Discovery“And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone or that’s an evil one because it hurts them. People are too complicated to have simple labels.”  Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough. It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Never give up.” Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

It is impossible to get away from thoughts about self. Our entire day is focused on how we appear to others. No matter how much time we spend instructing ourselves to build that hard  exterior, we cave in or dissolve it immediately when confronted with the slightest rejection. I am guilty of it myself. I feel so motivated to be strong and I fortify myself with inner speeches. I walk out my front door, meet someone and all my  good plans are wasted.

It is as if the world has decided to play practical jokes on me. I can hear it saying, “Ha Ha I thought you weren’t going to give in but instead you were going to give them a piece of your mind when you had the chance. You just are not strong enough. When we part ways I experience such anger at myself  for letting myself down. I am about ready to give up until another sad day of reflection and work at  bolstering my ego to the point of reentering the living world and its’ many confrontations and dilemmas.

I have yet to discover why I can’t keep my own promises to self. I am so capable of keeping the promises made to others so why not those made to me. I know at any given moment, I am evaluating the person, place and happening. I might be angry at enduring an insult but when I run into that person, they begin telling me a sad story or act like I am their lost friend.  I  relent and start offering comfort and advice or camaraderie. Of course when we meet at work or social  occasions, I am the recipient again of the slight.  I constantly ask myself how easy it is for me to be taken advantage of. Continue reading

Value Has A Place

Value“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”    Martin Luther King.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”    Plato

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”    George Bernard Shaw

From Book “Mother-In-Law Daughter-In Law Dilemma

Consideration should always be granted to another person. A mother-in-law‟s fairness to her daughter-in-law is out of respect for her son, and a daughter-in-law‟s fairness to her mother-in-law is out of respect for her husband. We need to saturate our hearts with appreciation, deliberation, and honor. Treating another person decently or compassionately is demonstrating regard. It is acceptable to give others respect, but it is necessary to first be aware of anothers existence.

There are times when we simply do not see others or their needs and desires. Becoming mindful of other people and their wishes can plant the seeds for nurturing and respect. Many times we are not cognizant of the countless behaviors we exhibit that offend others. We hurt others by our actions or what we say. It requires practice to focus attention on others. Tuning into another‟s circumstance of the mind permits us to empathize with what they might be pondering or feeling.

A mother-in-law might be unaware that her daughter-in-law has been up all night with a crying baby. If a daughter-in-law shares this information with her mother-in-law, the mother-in-law can show consideration for and assist her daughter-in-law. A mother-in-law can simply be a sounding board for her daughter-in-law’s com-plaints. A mother-in-law can allow her daughter-in-law to defuse her frustration by simply listening to her concerns.

A daughter-in-law should key into her mother-in-law’s complaints. Her mother-in-law may not always feel well. A daughter-in-law might consider all of this before judging her mother-in-law’s frame of mind. Sometimes through common sense we demonstrate respect. Helping a daughter-in-law cope with her children is considerate. Helping a moth-er-in-law clear off a table is appreciative. The little things mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do for each other creates the bonds of respect they have for each other. Showing respect is also necessary when discussing our dissimilar opinions. We can reject our mother-in-law‟s concepts for decorating, spending money, or child rearing without rejecting her. We can never be too sure that our way is the better way for doing things just because it is the current thinking.

Mothers-in-law can reject their daughters-in-law’s concepts for working, spending money, dressing, or taking care of the children without rejecting their daughters-in-law. Give your daughter-in-law credit for venturing into the unknown and attempting to apply a new concept. You may feel it necessary to wear lace to a wedding; your daughter-in-law may wear pants or a skirt. You cannot tell her how to dress.

Research shows there are complaints from daughters-in-law when mothers-in-law visit unexpectedly. Daughters-in-law prefer formal invitations. Some mothers-in-law complain that they never get invited to their daughter-in-law‟s house for dinner. If they do get invited, the meal is thrown together from a box. Other mothers-in-law stated that if they just dropped by unexpectedly, they got a cold shoulder. They did not feel welcome. Some mothers-in-law felt like intruders.

The daughters-in-law complained that they worked a full-time job and had children to contend with. If they invited their mothers-in-law, they did not cook too much because they are not “gourmet cooks.” Some daughters-in-law stated that their mothers-in-law stopped by unexpectedly to spy on them and to catch them and their house in complete disarray. One daughter-in-law stated, “She just wants to check up on my house-cleaning habits and cooking ability.”

The truth for both mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law lies someplace in the middle. If a mother-in-law or a daughter-in-law is trying to find imperfections, then they will easily find them without much effort. There are imperfections in the best of us, but also worthiness in the worst of us. Respect requires the ability to ignore anothers shortcomings. If we display appreciation for another, we might be more considerate in our judgments and opinions. By being aware of someone’s struggles, we may connect on a higher level with that person and recognize his or her worth. If we appreciate another‟s challenges, it may conceivably allow us to appreciate them.

The daughter-in-law should not be expected to produce a gourmet meal. Many mothers-in-law agreed that boxed pizza was just fine as long as they got an invitation to come over.  They felt the company was the best. Likewise, the daughters-in-law agreed that an unexpected visit now and again was okay, provided there was a refrain of criticism. Both factions wished for pleasant conversation.

“Nobody as long as he moves about among the currents of life, is without trouble.”
Carl Jung

“While on a walk one day, I was surprised to see a man hoeing his garden while sitting in his chair. What laziness! I thought. But suddenly I saw leaning against his chair, a pair of crutches. The man was at work despite his handicap. The lessons I learned about snap judgments that day have stayed with me for years now.

VIGNETTE

Cassie was an easy woman to talk to. She began her rendition of her mother-in-law, Nancy. Cassie had been married to Sean for over ten years. Cassie had a twinkle in her eyes every time Nancy‟s name was mentioned. Cassie recalled and retold a couple of funny and interesting stories. Her lush plants were obvious, and Cassie recalled one particular account about her plants and her mother-in-law. Cassie began her account with an amusing smile.When Cassie and Sean were first married, they lived a short distance from Nancy. Cassie remembered how busy she was at that time with young children. Cassie loved plants, but she admitted, at times, she forgot to water them. Her mother-in-law was had a green thumb.

When Nancy would stop by for a visit, she would pull out all of the brown, dead leaves and water Cassie‟s plants. Nancy would then instruct Cassie on how to take better care of them. If Nancy came unexpectedly and Cassie had piles of laundry all over the kitchen floor, Nancy just stepped over them and made her way to a chair without blinking an eye or losing a step. Nancy never mentioned the dirty laundry. Cassie laughed. Nancy would invite Cassie to lunch. Nancy always chose the restaurant, but she allowed Cassie to have veto power. Cassie recalled using her veto power only once. Nancy had chosen a fish restaurant, and Cassie hated fish. That particular time they chose a restaurant they both agreed on.

Cassie always had three plants hanging in the den by the window, full of brown leaves and drooping green ones. Cassie mentioned her busy schedule. She drew attention to the three plants and recollected how they were looking about as attractive as they had the day her mother-in-law decided to come for an unexpected visit.  She called Cassie the day before she planned on visiting. Cassie hung up the phone and studied her three sick plants. Cassie was not in the mood for an instruction, so she marched to the garden shop and bought three plants just like her dying ones,  and replaced them.”
hem

The next day, Cassie hung up the plants, picked up the house, and waited for her mother-in-law to arrive. When Nancy walked into the front room and spotted the fully green plants, she remarked how beautiful they were. Nancy then turned to her daugh-ter-in-law and said, “You must have just bought them.” Cassie was shocked. She stared at her mother-in-law, and then they both burst out laughing. For the rest of the visit, if either woman mentioned the plants, they had another laugh.

Cassie spoke with love about Nancy. Cassie said how Nancy always went on vacation with them. Nancy would babysit while Cassie and Sean went out by themselves. The only drawback to having Nancy on vacation was that she had to sit in the front seat of the car with Sean. Nancy would get car sick if she didn’t sit up front, although Cassie had never seen Nancy get carsick. Cassie chuckled. Her amusing stories were inspiring. They proved that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law could manage a compatible relationship with honesty, understanding, respect, and a dose of humor.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson

“It is not good for all your wishes to be fulfilled; through sickness; you recognize the value of health, through evil; the value of good; through a hunger; satisfaction; through exertion, the value of rest.”    Greek book of wisdom

The crosses people bear are seldom in plain sight.”
Annette Ashe

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others life.”    Richard Bach

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”
Albert Einstein

The Prism Of Life

The Prism Of Life“An easy life is rarely meaningful and a meaningful life rarely easy.”    Oliver North

“The art of living, lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”    Havelock Ellis

“The real world reveals itself like surprise gifts on our doorstep, special moments that seem above and beyond the reality of others. These times are full, beautiful and meaningful beyond words, even when wrapped in pain.”    Christopher Hawke

Sometimes we lose our way. I suppose it has to do with striving towards goals, that probably  aren’t right for us. I also wonder if we just need the stamina, to stick to the fight a bit longer. Whatever the problem, I know there are times in the lives  of most or all people, that are so muddled, that we can hardly find our way out. I find air, only when I think about the good things in my life.

I have wondered why our lives appear to be so complicated at moments. Is it due to our own interactions, that make a situation more mixed up than it needs to be? The truth is, it doesn’t matter what the issues are, it seems to have more to do with our own attitudes, which build up the barriers. I also wonder, if it has to do with our own expectations. Maybe we are trying to control our lives a bit too much. Perhaps we expect more from ourselves, than we can deliver. Maybe others depend on us too much.

I’d like to book a personal tantrum day for myself. Honestly, have you ever gotten tired of being the dependable person? I remember as a child, being the one people expected to do the correct thing. Of course it  gives you many friends, but also a share of enemies. One can never please everyone, or anyone. all of the time. You’re number one today, but dirt tonight. Dirt is good for plants. I recall some family members adoring me, others disliking me and still others wishing to put me “In my place.” I was called “Goody Two Shoes”, a name I learned to hate. As a kid, really all I wanted to do was what I was told. I learned at an early age, that it doesn’t work. Thinking for myself became my solution as an adult. Wearing a suit of armor was incorporated, and deafening my ears when needed.  All of this allowed me an escape route from fear and worry.

It is difficult to focus, when life gets confusing. Your attention is  beckoned to so many different situations, that none of them get the attention they deserve. In the end result, you accomplish nothing. Life is anything but calm. The restlessness takes over along with uncertainty. Life is never clear, and attempting to focus on life in general, is disorienting. One wonders how it happened. Yesterday the picture was crystal clear, and today it is perhaps mystifying.

I know for me, it is as if I am alone, afloat in the middle of the ocean, attempting to spot land. How I got there, and why I am pursuing such a course,  is beyond my understanding. For sure it settles the mind down for reflection. The body is forced to become a subdued prisoner of the mind. If the thoughts are not dealt with, the body can’t continue functioning. The mind can overwork the body, and confuse the brain, with a myriad of ideas. Reflection about the core points in our lives, becomes essential.

Maybe reflection is a good thing. Contemplating sometimes generates clear thought. The responses are not always the ones we assumed, but perhaps they make sense. It probably is necessary to  target how the road blocks happen, so that we might avoid them in the future. We may also consider why they appear, and how we might stop them or at least lessen them.

Many times these obstacles have necessitated a reviewing of my actions, and intentions. Embracing the whole picture, probably ensures that I reflect on the truth of a problem, and find a better solution than the current one. I hate to restart. I look at my sewing mistakes as humble stitches, as did the pioneers of the past. I refuse to take out mounds of stitches. Admittedly  we do need to redo certain things. If we get it correct, all is well at least for the time being.

I make an analogy to wars. Each war we fight is concluded with the commitment to end wars. Unfortunately, we go along for many years and find ourselves in a similar situation, and begin another war. That is how I believe my body is working. I  travel forward without consideration most of the time, until I crash and am forced to face reality. Perhaps it isn’t what I want to look at, but likely it is what I should observe. Without reasoning, there is no heartfelt living.

It is clear to me,  that some of the calamities might have been avoided, if I had taken the time to consider, what I was doing, saying, and how I was behaving. It doesn’t make one proud of themselves, but having been down the road of persecuting self, I refrain from going that route. I will settle myself down, and look at the facts, as well as my own misguided notions, and then I will undoubtedly change my course. It is not to my liking but inescapable. Each time I am forced to alter my course, I am confronted with paying more attention to my selections. The transformations are undoubtedly a benefit, and never the hassle, I assumed they would be.

Each of us is faced with those challenges, big and small, every day. What may appear simplistic to others, can be traumatic to us personally. It doesn’t concern me, what others think, only what I think and feel. Our feelings for people and things is different. Our treasures are varied. Supporting each other is imperative, to navigate   through obstacles and snags. So many people have inner and outer restrictions, that never appear to go away. Those are the people that are required to be strong, in the face of adversity and pain. It can be with situations or health. Those people are to be admired as heroes.

The chaos and turmoil in our lives has to be faced and settled, if we want to make any kind of progress. It is easy to say but placing it in God’s hands, relieves us of some tension. Some obstacles are too big to fathom. We can’t wade through mud without help. Faith and hope are paramount, to attaining relief. The answers are not always the ones we request, or expect, and I must admit I like my own choices as much as anyone else. Learning to cope with life, takes time, effort, forgiveness when we falter and steadfast tenacity in searching for truth.

I know at times, our hoped for answers, are far into the future. Extreme patience is necessary. I think profound happiness is also attained in due time. We don’t always appreciate why we missed the plane, lost the car keys, misplaced the job application, broke up with the boyfriend or girlfriend, and overslept on the day of the interview. We believe it is the worst thing in the world that ever happened to us. Of course we never find out about the hijacked plane, car crash, company shut down in the near future, horrible boss and job situation which likely cause us health issues. Perhaps there is a safer day, a more suitable job, and a better soul mate.

When the future arrives, and everything falls into place, we forget about how awful we felt, during our previous tribulations. All our attention is on what we gained, not what we were spared from enduring. Faith and trust is so difficult a pill to swallow. I guess the best thing is to reflect now and again on our  lives, be thankful for the good, and tolerant of the troubles as much as we can. Understanding our life, and purpose, is actually as important as living our life. People sometimes go through life mindlessly living. Better to comprehend life and live it  with purpose and meaning.

“What mattered was still there. That was what they all felt, and what surprised them all. What mattered couldn’t be shaken.”    Jodi Lynn Anderson

“The will to dream, the courage to act and the hope to win are the stuffs that make life meaningful! Create the life you wish to live and live it fully!”    Israelmore Ayivor

“When we work creatively and productively with others, our experience of meaning can be profound. When we work directly for the good of others, meaning deepens in ways that reward us beyond measure. Whenever we go beyond satisfying our own personal needs, we enter the realm of what Frankl called “ultimate meaning.” some call it connection to a higher self, to God, to our own spirit, to universal consciousness, to love, to the collective good. No matter what it’s called, it is deep meaning and it transforms our lives.”      Alex Pattakos, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work

Potency Of Actions

Potency Of Actions“If your relationship to the present moment is not right- nothing can ever be right in the future-because when the future comes it’s the present moment.”     Eckhart Tolle

You find peace, not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”    Eckhart Tolle

“Anything that you  resent or strongly react to in another, is also in you.”    Eckhart Tolle

I am not being critical as some of my knowledge comes from my own experience. It is vitally relevant that we comprehend, myself included, how we go about teaching our kids the many things we desire to see in them. If we sense our kids are not very empathetic, perhaps we should check on our own empathy towards others. If we never demonstrate any care of others then it will not be found in our kids.

Offering a food cart to another before retrieving one for ourselves allows kids to observe empathy or mindfulness in action. It demonstrates in a simple way, our concern for another person rather than ourselves first. There are numerous times we display agitation at waiting for prescriptions or a doctor’s visit. WE get angy at people in the office. Some of us even take it out on these people. They are simply trying to do a job. Our attitude is only adding to their stress. We can be a stress reliever by acknowledging we are aware of the long wait but understand it is likely necessary and unavoidable.

Teaching kids to be grateful is another concern. It is absurd to say, “My kids are so ungrateful. I do all kinds of running around for them yet they don’t even care. To top it off they fight with me.” I agree that is not very nice but how many of us have spent years disagreeing with parents and fighting in anger. We probably go for days months and years not speaking to them. We don’t stop to say, “Oh my parenst spent years working hard to pay the bills as they took care  of me.” It is as if we believe we have the right to treat them shoddily because we are an adult now. We have responsiblilities and worries that they don’t know about. It is so much harder for us, so we think. Our parents wrongdoing to us seems to outweigh any wrongdoing we are guilty of regarding our own kids. Even if it is true, forgiving and peace is often a better choice.

Maybe it is true that we can do more spend more and even understand more than our parents did. However,  one day when our kids look back on what we did and didn’t do, hopefully they won’t judge us as harshly as we judged our own parents. We get back what we put out. We get back what we teach. It isn’t like one day we wake up and say to ourselves I think I’ll teach my child about honesty, love, kindness, humility, perseverance or tolerance. They are learning each of these virtues on any given day. We must demonstrate such virtues or perhaps our kids will ignore them the way do.

So much is stressed about manners and even talk about mindfulness being taught at schools. It all sounds wonderful but you can’t always teach it. Talk means nothing. Demonstration means everything. When parents demonstrate with actions, their concern for others, it registers in the mind and processes in the heart. Schools can reinforce these attributes but they can’t reach the hearts of the children as easily as parents are able to do.

I remember a teacher saying to a class I was in, ‘If I could just unscrew the top of your head and then pour all of the knowledge into your head my job would be so easy.” I suppose the same is true about righteousness and morality. If we are not wary of what we are actually teaching kids or baking, then when the bread is raised and done, the end result might surprise us. This is likewise true for kids. This is one thing not easily taught because it requires our attention and mindfulness of our own thoughts, actions and words.

It is no surprise that kids from divorced homes have trouble with love and trust. Their lives were disrupted, tossed into turmoil, and cut apart at the heart. Grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins and even parents are many times separated from them. Unconditional love ends up becoming conditional. Feelings of loss as well as jealousy creep in towards step brothers and sisters. It is likely,  inevitable in most instances. We don’t understand why they become angry and rebellious. As we have less time money and love to give, it is more difficult to express our love for them.

Kids love their parents unconditionally. They forgive but they will mature into a similar version of what we are. Teaching trust makes it necessary for us to exhibit forms of trust in our own relationships. Stability and endurance require us to accept commitment and forgiveness in our own lives. If we exemplify these virtues in our own lives, likely we have a good chance at witnessing it in our kids lives.

Gratitude is an awesome feeling. We have so much yet choose to deliberately focus on the negative of what we don’t have. When we have love we have all  we need. We can get through obstacles. Instruct your kids to be thankful for what they have in their lives including the people such as mom and dad and grandparents and aunts uncles and cousins. They are priceless. Stay connected even if those people are irritating at times. We are all annoying at times. If I can accept your annoying behavior then perhaps you can accept mine. That is how it works.

Mindfulness is a virtue and it can be learned through demonstration, as can anything worth knowing. I know now how much better it is to try to be tolerant of the failings of family and friends. They bring another dimension to my life that can’t be replaced by another. When I start recalling my parents and siblings shortcomings, I work hard to put on the brakes. I know I am being overly critical and I am aware of how much good is in all of them. I would rather express and point out the goodness I find in the family rather than their faults. I hope that one day they will return the favor.

It is so easy to release the fighting and fault finding. We never feel good after such an experience. How renewed we feel after a family episode. If we feel love in our hearts our kids are sure to learn it easily without any effort on our part. We don’t want our kids picking up on distrust anger resentment or fear. Better they learn trust, serenity joy and assurance of the presence of love.

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”    Nhat Hanh

“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you; I came to live out loud.”      Emile  Zola

Turning Disappointment Into Acceptance

resentment“Family dinners are more often than not an ordeal of nervous indigestion, preceded by hidden resentment and ennui and accompanied by psychosomatic jitters.”    M. K. Fisher

“The man who is anybody and who does anything is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood. This is a part of the penalty for greatness, and every great man understands it; and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment.”    Elbert Hubbard

I find the thing that brings the most heartache and pain is disappointment. Every day there is so much need to face discouraging situations. At home it is frustrating if we feel the workload is not fairly divided. At this time loading the dishwasher which wasn’t suppose to be  our job, gets irritating with every dish. Perhaps the job isn’t as hard as our anger at having to do it.

Our husband or wife are expected to be home early for a nice meal. Suddenly comes the phone call stating they will be late. All the plans are dashed and we are crushed. Our minds work overtime and we know, and believe they could have gotten out if they tried harder. I guess the danger is when we deduce they didn’t care enough about us to make the endeavor. After a long day we don’t want to be greeted by another persons’ bad mood. Maybe they have been cranky all week so it is our turn. So we reckon.

At work there are those people who never make the coffee but they make sure they get their share of everybody else’s pot. We think they pride themselves  on this accomplishment. We get unnerved when it is our spouse’s turn to bathe the kids and all we can hear is angry yelling and demands. We resolve not to go and relieve them because we know that must be their plan. Now we are mad that they are plotting such a scheme. perhaps they are not but we don’t question to find out the truth or reason why they feel the way they do.

The in-laws are coming again and the husband is not going to cook the meal. How inconsiderate. The last thing we want to do is listen to them deliver and dwell on a boring story idea or thought that really could have taken two minutes to deliver rather than fifteen. The night is ruined and it is their fault. They should be responsible for their own families we surmise. The negativity and resentment builds with each new incident until there is so much resentment that we imagine all kinds of motives our spouse or family member use to manipulate us. We determine not to be taken in.

When imaginations run wild they are similar to a fictional story with us as the author. We are the unfortunate person that everyone is taking advantage of. Other people become the enemy. We have our strongly held beliefs and we don’t have time nor do we want to put in the sweat to figure out our enemies point of view. In our eyes they don’t have any reasons for acting the way they do. They are at fault and we are just responding in kind.

The marriage and the friendships limp along in this fashion until they dissolve. It might not be what anybody planned but if the relationships are not given any air, they will burn to ashes. What we don’t always see is that once we are on the wrong track in any relationship, it cause double the problems. We notice more wrongs, have less patience and put no exertion into understanding them. We have finished with trying. Things become larger and more detrimental.

Perhaps some issues might have been solved if we had pursued some solutions prior to giving up.  Once we make a choice to abandon the relationship, we have pronouncrd it dead already, it is sad when this happens. Probably it didn’t have to happen. Being afraid to face the burdens with each other fosters a continuation of resentment that terminates the love. I am a believer in love. I know things can always or most of the time be worked out but prolonging the negativity cuts off the oxygen for a healthy relationship.

Perhaps if we might recognize our own limitations instead of clinging to our independence and capability so as to prove our self-sufficiency, we might salvage our bonds. Weakness is such a fearful thing. We would rather not give in to weakness and dissolve the union instead of admitting our tiredness and vulnerability. Along with these attributes comes the necessity of knowing how to get help using positive rather than negative means.

I have yelled and complained to no avail. If anything each person digs in their heels and shuts down their  listening skills. You just wait for your  chance to blurt out present past and future hurts. One wants to cover all of the bases. I eventually caught on to the fact that the arguments proceeded down the same path with the same ending. After years it occurred to me to switch up the response.

The hard part is coming to terms with my participation of wrong doing. Honestly nobody likes being wrong or admitting sorrow for mistakes. I tend to use the word but a lot. I am sorry but you weren’t listening, you started it, you didn’t take a turn, you never try. It sometimes led into another fight. I just didn’t want to take  all of the blame and my spouse was not interested in taking any of the fault. There I go again placing more on him than on me. In time we were both able to admit it when we were at fault. The strange thing was as soon as I admitted my blame in a situation, the quicker my spouse jumped in admitting something I would not have thought about. It became easier to find the truth and keep our feelings intact.

Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law disagreements are mostly misunderstandings. No one gives in and admits defeat. Sibling rivalry can continue forever without finding motives or forgiveness in each other. Family feuds destroy years of friendship and guidance. Reviewing a bad situation when we are relaxed and in a happy state of mind, allows us to get a sense of the craziness in maintaining a feud. Truly nobody comes out a winner but  everyone comes out a loser when a truce can’t be formed.

How important it is to mention the other people  unintentionally trapped in the disagreements we foster. They are the casualties of war and hardly get counted. We underestimate their pain, grief and  frustration. After arriving at this destination many times we sit back and reflect or at least some of us do. That is the point of enlightenment. It arrives the moment we come to accept our blame. It leads to a rougher path for ourselves as we face our own “demons” and become open to acceptance and forgiveness to self. The result is dramatic. Stress and worry are lifted and we become stronger and braver. After all we faced up to powerful accusations which originated in our own minds and hearts.  The reality was lit up in our awareness. The fuzziness  we encountered cleared giving us a clear picture.

It was so extremely hard to do the first few times but it is strange how much easier it got. There is no shame in wrongdoing when you admit to doing it. Honor is not just covered up but lost when we lie to  ourselves. We gain our sense of pride and honor upon admittance of guilt. After being locked up behind the bars of conspiracy, it is a relief to achieve release from the cage that surrounding us. Doing what we don’t want to do is painful, yet in the end it is actually a release from the pain. I encourage forgiveness to self and others. The mind must figure out the truth while the heart must work some feeling and sense of forgiveness to help the soul grow spiritually.

How much more time do we desire to give to fruitless anger and fights. How great is it actually to have the last word. If we can visualize the grave possibility of attaining inner and outer peace in the process it appears to be worth the time and effort. Of course unless we want to end up in a similar situation, we must begin to face the truth earlier in the game and not get caught up in another futile place. Changing our ingrained habits of the mind and heart requires commitment.

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”    Buddha

“Emphasis on educational and vocational rehabilitation must not be allowed to overshadow the profound need that will exist for spiritual reorientation. Inevitably there will exist, to a considerable degree, psychological maladjustments manifested in disillusionment, resentment toward civilians, depression, and a sense of guilt. Spiritual therapy available in the resources of the Christian faith can accomplish most in overcoming these problems.”    John Bonnell

 

 

Find What Matters

blessings“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”     Antoine Saint-Exupery

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”     Arthur Conan Doyle

“Joy isn’t the natural response to blessings – joy is what comes from acknowledging them.” Richard Paul Evans

Whenever parents compare kids the consequences are harsh. Yet many parents who do not compare their kids  still find competition rampant. Their  kids compete if not with each other then with people in their social circles. I question where all of the competition begins and I find  it never ends but appears to get worse.

I am aware that the world is set up for a stage of competitiveness. We can’t take a walk without feeling we are being observed and assessed. Are we wearing the cool running shoes, walking shoes or sneakers? Do  our colors match and is our make-up right for day or night? Do we look older than our age from our lack of sleep? Will we run in to people we know so maybe we should wear the other coat? How about the hair and walk? Appearing confident is important.

Somehow the world was changed from a natural environment to one of clashes at every turn. It makes no difference if you enter the game or not. You are still measured and approved or disapproved. Of course if you are approved, people will dislike, distrust and envy you. They will also include you but attempt to discredit you. If you are found to be lacking you will be loved because we all approve of the downtrodden and we love to rescue and support others. It gives us a superiority feeling. That is good to support others but shutting down on those we technically admire is  not good.

I know some people who actually criticize themselves constant;y so that others will deflect their remarks and encourage them with praise. Other people  who just  want to share their positive news are met with smugness. Maybe that is our way of keeping the playing field even. When we notice another moving ahead we have the need to push  them back. So it goes. If we could only alter the evolving nature of the world in a more profound way.

Schools foster the competition with the prevalence of grades and honors for progress. There is no honor for work well done. It is based  on gaining rewards. I am all for encouragement and positive rewards but as a child matures the rewards should taper off allowing one to achieve for their own sake. The thanks is in the knowledge or skill and accomplishment. It might even be a voluntary support to another.

Games foster the same mentality with besting of another. It is hard to imagine any of us can keep a friend. After all, if our friend moves up in the world economically, it is a game changer. They make new friends as they travel in a different circle. Even if they choose to keep with the known group, they make them uncomfortable and end up having to make new friends. The group can’t maintain its’ own stability with the changing of circumstances.  It is a known fact that those that win the lottery usually switch everything about their lives including people they hang out with.

Liking people for who they are ought to make  us immune from such issues. It is also a known fact that two is company and three really is a crowd. Nobody enjoys fighting to be part of a conversation. One is always left in the dust feeling the pain of rejection. Is it important to be the center of attention? Must we speak a certain amount of time to  be correct in the threesome? Are we still the same person? We are the same person but sense we are losing the race. I am not sure what the race is. Most of us don’t but we perceive when we are losing.

Parents instruct the kids to include everyone yet they choose who they will sit beside at functions. I’ve seen many who bypass those they know without a thought. Many imperceptible actions are perceptible to kids who immediately pick up on what we model. Anything that can be contrasted with babies and children is made a contest that we all participate in. Unintentional situations that materialize are also suddenly an opportunity to judge. The more I think about it the more I find it hard to believe we can hold onto our friends at all. It most likely works when we are okay with the pecking order. If it transforms in any way it may topple the relationship.

If I am the one who is always searching for acceptance and my friend is the one in the leadership role offering advice, it is perturbing if we switch roles. One takes a step backward and one a step forward. In actuality the friendship might dissolve. Some friends are available for all of the problems. They relish their role as lead support. Once a person is back on their feet the connections are altered and the relationship may not go back to its original form if at all.

My point is we are never relaxed and enjoying a relationship without the added innuendos. Look at the magazines offering beautiful people. Observe the TV and the power and control of marketing. See our friends in a dither about keeping up with everyone else. Look  at the concern we have with homes kids and ourselves. Too much emphasis is placed on how others think of us and what we hold dear. I’d like to find the magic to change the world. If we could reset the button and delete rivalry we most likely would defeat many clashes.

If the world can’t be altered, the next best thing is ourselves. Resetting us might make a difference. The more we refrain from striving for nonsense things and praise, perhaps we will send others the message of relaxing when with us. We might share without judgement. I don’t care if my child pooped on the toilet at one and your child was four. If it is irrelevant to me I shall not be repeating the news to so many others. It really doesn’t make a difference to another person anyways. If I were to repeat it I still see it as inconsequential  to anyone else.

It isn’t necessary for me to make myself appear improved by degrading someone else. As our kids finish school and move into careers, we tend to dwell on their accomplishments. Although  we might be happy for them and proud,  we don’t understand that to others it may not be as important. I am not saying don’t share the news but I don’t think we must share the updates constantly. I only mention this because there are many who are suffering with their own particular adult child issues. This is no way makes their child less or more important. It also doesn’t mean they want attention. It simply means our roads are complicated and maybe we should stick to what is important.

I love hearing what is going on in other people’s lives. I do know that couples who are attempting to have a baby and are truly discouraged are not so enthused when they hear about others having kids. I don’t fault them. Sharing is one thing but flaunting is another. I remember one couple discussing their recent vacation with a couple whose husband just lost a job. I think we are just so programmed and maybe so insecure ourselves that we have the need to constantly hold up to others things we believe are to be treasured.

As I mature myself, I find worth in the simple things. Again no criticism to another s beliefs. I just place so much value on giving and receiving love. The happiness and contentment is powerful. It is so simple to find out your own gems. All we need to do is think about those things we would hold onto for the last moment as other things slipped away. That is our treasure. If you get worried about the competition surrounding your life, and the jealousy creeping in, recall  what counts in your life. you may  already have won the top prize yet you continue your search and struggle at the world’s calling. I know it is said that stuff bothers us only if we let it. By reminding ourselves of what we have to be grateful for, we dismiss the beckoning of false prizes. We do away with the competition and we get to know who our family and friends really are and we are able to keep them in our lives forever. Most importantly we find ourselves and serenity.

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of Peace.” William E. Gladstone
“Don’t count your blessings, let your blessings count! Enjoy Life!” Bernard Kevin Clive
“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” Thomas G

 

 

 

 

Pride Is Virtuous

Pride Is Worthy“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”    Steve Jobs

“Values are principles and ideas that bring meaning to the seemingly mundane experience of life. A meaningful life that ultimately brings happiness and pride requires you to respond to temptations as well as challenges with honor, dignity, and courage.”     Laura Schlessinger

Pride is having arrogance, egotism, self-importance, vanity and superiority. Those are n ot exactly the qualities most of us strive for. As a matter of fact we try to alleviate these from our own self. There are other definitions for pride such as self-esteem, respect, dignity, honor and self-respect. Now that list is one I would love to place my name on. Both lists refer to pride but certainly one list honors it while another appears to be disgraceful.

I believe at times we may appear  to be proud because we are looking for respect. Perhaps the way we go about it makes others disdain us. What we see as self-esteem, they view as vanity. It is difficult to actually pull off dignity without sounding superior. Most of us  do not have a sense of arrogance. I think it seems so because we are angry hurt in pain and demanding of respect.  We offer it to others but at times can’t receive it for ourselves.

Maybe we try too hard and others see through the facade. The more unbelievable we appear, the more people ignore us which leaves us crushed. Being ignored is worse than being disliked. We might guess at the reasons people don’t like us but if they disregard us we feel unworthy and lower than low on the scale. There we go again with the measurement.

If we tossed out the measurements we probably would feel better. As I peruse the idea I admit that we could be looking at it in the wrong light. Maybe others dispense with us because we pose a threat. If we reflect on this we can appreciate the possibility of the truth of the matter. None of us is threatened by those we believe we are superior to. We get nervous around those who seem arrogant. They don’t have to act egotistical with us it is our own assumptions and wisdom that incenses us with the knowledge. When we view another human being as self-important,  we dislike how they make us feel and so dislike them. They don’t have to be guilty of anything.

Our judgments on us are harsh. Some of us see ourselves as worthy of being dispensed with. By appreciating our talents and inner qualities we insure a more accepting attitude of the goodness and virtues in others. It is only when we can’t find much in ourselves to like that we throw that anger and anxiety into the world as jealousy of others.

It appears to be extremely relevant to see ourselves in a better light. If we can do that we might find we have less issues with people and more confidence in our own abilities. Instead we study people and think I could never be or do that. Perhaps not but what other things can we do that are impressive and important. I view raising kids as the most important job in the world. Pride is not a bad thing. We can turn it into a defect or an  asset depending on our own behavior.

There are times when we have a sense of being correct. It floods our mind and body and we shout out what we know as we wait for the acknowledgement of honor. There in none. When we search for the respect it is not forthcoming. It might be due to another person’s inferiority in the situation. Pride can be fleeting and hard to maintain if we use it to overshadow others. If we provide our talents for the sake of helping then the pride that comes to us is more in the form of respect.

I know that when one receives respect, it the highest form of praise and pride of the person. Perhaps this is a result of our attempts at  just being supportive. The aftermath leaves us with approval and pride. Seeking approval and attention leaves us in the shadows under-appreciated. You can’t grab force or demand pride. You can feel it but be pushed down quickly. It hasn’t anything to do with one’s ability as much as it has to do with another’s fears and our own appraisal of self-worth.

I know I am a bit confused at this point because it appears challenging to win approval without hurting someone’s sense of self-respect. But then again there self-respect has nothing to do with mine. I can appreciate their virtues without losing faith in my own. I can even acknowledge and admire them and not take anything away from my own worth. The value others place on them is from measurement. My ruler might be different. I am not bound by any man-made laws or rules. I must see myself as whole and completely intact. My  pride comes from within and is not arrogance but dignity. I am not filled with vanity but with self-love and respect. I am not self-important but  I have self-esteem. I am capable of doing certain things and am willing to learn others. I am not superior but I strive with honor. I as well as all people deserve respect.

I know I can’t speak for others but I believe we all sense days of intimidation and inequality. Likely some of it is from our own deductions. Now it is time to face the truth that we deserve respect. I have met so many people and children and I have never felt anyone was lacking in a variety of virtues and qualities.

I think if we gave respect to all especially those who appear vain we will be surprised when it comes back at us. Those of us who appear more fearful demonstrate more pride. We cover-up our lack of faith in ourselves. It is as if we are attempting to prove our superiority. When we gain confidence even in small doses, we acquire the courage needed to face a fantastic person within. We fear seeing it as if it would run away upon being found. Having some pride in us doesn’t mean we are perfect we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to keep striving to be and do our best. Our best is always something to be proud of.

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”             Saint Augustine

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”    Jane Austen