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Families8“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 grateful, 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

Rippling Affect Of Stress 3“It is another’s fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.”

"Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost." Khalil Gibran

How underrated kindness is. It feels like we expect others to place us first on their agendas but we never reciprocate. Yes we are thinking, I am good to others all the time but truthfully, how quickly we forget about what others do for us. We do recall when someone lets us down. The pain hurts and the emotional scars we endure are sometimes of our own making.

 Like many others, I expect my family and friends to recognize and know when I  am over my head and require their help. I don't of course, mention my needs. I assume they should be aware of my desires. This rarely happens. I am let down and quite annoyed with them. After all, I believe, I am thoughtful regarding their plights, and I pay attention to what they want and crave. How come they can't do the same for me? ...continue reading "Rippling Effect Of Stress"

Perhaps this rings a chord with many of us. There are those times we need help but don't ask for it. There are other times when emotionally we require support, but very little comes forward. Why does this occur we ask ourselves as we nurse our wounds. Of course we might retaliate by alienating this person who is actually oblivious to the duress we are  under.

I think  we are so busy  scheduling and nurturing our own lives that we forget to notice what is going on in another person's life. We are not unkind, disloyal, heartless or without concern.  We are simply too busy dealing with our own problems. I am not saying this is the right thing to do, but we are not thinking deeply about it. I endeavor to say that most of us at times, rarely think deeply about anything,  because we just don't have the time or energy.

Stress is a killer in more ways than one. Perhaps when we are on overload, everything appears to be a tremendous task for us. Even the simple job that requires  very little time, can become the insurmountable  job that breaks our spirit. Somehow we have learned how to be hard workers but we haven't learned how to take the time out to chill. That appears to be too easy but actually, how many of us even know how to relax.

Our response might be that we take a vacation. Now we spend seven to fourteen days relaxing, and the rest of the year we are in fast drive.  I honestly think that in my case, that has some effect in my overlooking the quiet call to notice another's cry of despair. We wonder how so many people slip through the cracks in one way or another. Perhaps by the time we notice, they are traveling down the fast lane, and are ready to collapse.

I don't say any of this is our fault. I do believe that we could likely be in the same position as our now, off track friend. We all have different breaking points. It is hard to  say at what stage, we can't bend anymore. Seeking and observing what fork in the road we go off track is useless. It isn't planned but when we review an event, it is so easy to see the mistakes that were made. Perhaps we all should get out of the fast lane. It leads to nowhere.

We are expected to be strong, to make a good living, to protect the family, to help the family and neighbors, to be the thoughtful spouse, and to be willing to share whatever time is left over, with others in our community. How often do we receive mailings to give money or time to others. Of course once we start giving we are bombarded with more and more. The guilt jumps in and we are left with choosing the most sincere mailing with the saddest displayed picture. We run and promote causes but sometimes are left with little comfort and we ask ourselves are we doing enough? We all want to give but our distrust of the managers running the cries for relief funds overshadows our heartstrings.

Likely the numerous causes are beyond the human touch and although I would recommend supporting such causes, we still must watch that we don't deplete our own physical mental and emotional energy. We can stretch ourselves beyond the limit. Perhaps those people who are willing to give, can become the hardest hit emotionally, when they leave little time for themselves and their own immediate families. Work takes a huge chunk of our time.

Each spouse who is on overload, contributes to the end result of bickering, fighting and alienating each other. Maybe with a small amount of "me" time and together time, things will work out. Breaking our own sense of balance, for the sake of going overboard for others in demand,  is not necessarily a good thing. We are left with more people, including us, who desire attention. It really is okay to take a break. We all need it. Just because some of us are blessed with more material items and more supportive people does not mean we don't crave some down time. We will break as easily as the frailest in society.

On an airline, they tell you to put your mask on first, then your child's. This makes sense. If you are struggling to breathe, you won't be able to place the air mask on your child, if your air mask is not applied first. The same is true for your mental, emotional and physical body. If you don't take some time out for you, then you will be of little support to others.

When we have had enough we melt down. Then  we wonder, why those closest to us haven't taken account of our predicament. The trouble is that so many of us compensate, for such a long period of time, as well as keep the pain inside while  hurting silently.  That makes it difficult to notice someone's hardships. Immediately condemning others for their lack of kindness is a mistake. At those low moments all we can think about is what others have done wrong. We forget about how many times previously, they might have come to our rescue.

Focusing only on the slights, gives no room for the many kindnesses extended to us over the years. All we readily remember is the disregard we received. How sad is our focusing and recollection. Now we make another enemy of someone who used to be our friend or close relative. I always wonder at our lack for remembering the good, and our ability to readily recall the bad.

It appears to me that it is so important to take a break when needed and to ask outwardly for aid when support is required. Playing the "waiting game," or the "they should notice me game," always seems to backfire. Even in marriages, when partners don't readily state their feelings or ideas to each other without prompts, they are not given attention. Then what follows is anger at the partner, for not noticing their plight. Many of us do have a problem stating what we want or what is bothering us. Perhaps we are too independent.

I highly recommend helping others as much as we have the ability to afford to do in money, time and effort. I also highly recommend that we take numerous breaks for ourselves, so that we are not found in a similar position as those we are attempting to help. It is not weakness to accept help. Emotionally, physically and spiritually it happens to all of us. The reasons are numerous. Whatever succeeds in shedding light on our basic  requests is irrelevant. What is vitally important is that we recognize what we need, and we ask for it. In doing so we can breathe a sigh of relief for our genuine reprieve. The future will allot more opportunities to help others.

I don't think God ever wanted us to wear ourselves out. He expects us to nurture ourselves along with others. We are not supposed to build others up at the cost of tearing  ourselves down. No one wins and we resent those we attempted to support. Toss guilt aside and remember there are times in our lives when we have more problems and less time to give. There are other days when we have less problems, and more time to offer to others. Take notice of where you are at, and take charge of your life by asking and accepting help when needed. Reciprocate when you are asked in return. In that way everyone comes out a winner.

"And since the Law of Reciprocity is strong there is another upside. People will feel like giving back to you. And so the two – or more – of you keep building an upward spiral of positivity and happiness."     Seneca

“Life’s like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters. Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. Wisdom allows nothing to be good that will not be so forever; no man to be happy but he that needs no other happiness than what he has within himself; no man to be great or powerful that is not master of himself.”   Seneca

"God said, "Love your enemy." "And I obeyed him and loved myself." Kahlil Gibran

“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link. To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam. To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconstancy.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

RUNNING THROUGH DAYS & LIFE"Optimism is a kind of heart stimulant — the digitalis of failure."~Elbert Hubbard

Optimist: "Okay, we all realize that the situation is temporarily hopeless." Robert Brault

"If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want."    Oscar Wilde

"After 5000 years of recorded human history, you wonder, What part of 2,000,000 sunrises doesn't a pessimist understand?"    Robert Brault

Everyday I fight the urge as well as the attention towards racing through my day. As I look around at other people, listen to their quick speech, I realize they are probably doing the same thing. None of us acknowledge it likely because we are so unaware of it happening. Most times I become more conscious of it when I slow down and quiet myself for a few moments.

As usual I question why I and perhaps others, waste our precious present time for the unknown. Most of us are perhaps locked into the "good times" to come. This may happen especially when the present times are not so wonderful. In the end we are wasting the present when we don't attempt to filter out the good stuff. Even when our day is not fantastic, there are still moments that are worth recognizing.

So many times we skip over some happy minutes of our day, and basically forget about them in favor of recollecting some future event. Likely the affair could turn out to be a disaster, but we are not presently mindful of that. I'm not sure why our alertness is always about the future. Perhaps we do this out of disappointment at our current situation, or because the unknown always appears to be enticing and exciting. Whatever the reasons, we are truthfully running through our days. I plan weeks ahead, and then wonder where my time vanished so quickly. ...continue reading "Running Through Days & Life"

One answer might be to think more about what appears to be wrong with our present. Are we bored, disappointed, angry, upset, unsure, doubtful, anxious or fearful? Are all of these present in our reflective thoughts? At times the lives of others gives us the impression that we are not focused enough to make our own lives more worthwhile. It seems that if we contend with our own minds, send the vibes of contentment through, we sense a feeling of pleasure or accomplishment.

Comparing our lives to others only adds displeasure to the mix. Most people exaggerate their good times, and downplay their problems. A skiing tip, fishing experience, or hiking event may appear more awesome than it actually was. Likewise, a simple picnic or day at the beach may emerge with more tears of laughter than we ever imagined possible. How would we explain, that our happiest moments were simple events. Perhaps there are situations that are too perfect to put into words and must be experienced with the heart.

One could say by keeping the daily expectations lower, we might find more satisfaction. I don't see this as a great answer. I think we can keep our goals high but maintain a positiveness to every situation. By doing so we always see the goodness in all our endeavors, and we find gratification in every experience. Anger, fear and anxiety are alleviated due to our focus on the ease we have regarding the results.

It isn't necessary to continuously feel like we are floating in the clouds. It is vital for us to emerge intact and satisfied. Life is a mixture all of the time. If we thought long and hard we would remember that even the wonderful events had moments of displeasure and anxiousness. We relegate those ideas to the back of our minds and turn towards the happy memories. Likewise when we are having a bad or difficult day, we must make our focal point the happy moments, and concentrate on that.

Control is constantly in our own hands. perhaps it is time to acknowledge the power of the mind to sway our thinking towards pleasure in our daily occurrences, or throw in some negativity and seek the displeasure. The choice is ours alone. Leading with our minds, allows the body to follow. Skip the leadership of the body over the mind. I think the body can get us into more trouble. The reflection of the mind is in communication with the soul.

Changing the way we look at things, perhaps might alter our attitudes and opinions about the positive and negative attributes. If nothing else, it eases the burdens and lightens the mood, permitting us a softer review of our days. Letting the light shine forth instead of closing the shades, brings a new awareness to any occurrence. Basing our happiness on the future, leaves us emotionally and spiritually deprived in the present.

As we anticipate a happy occasion in the future, we must ensure our being attuned to the present moment. The gathering at a friend's house may be exciting to think about but the laughs and joys experienced with random encounters with friends, must never be underestimated, nor taken for granted. Perhaps if we reviewed our days before closing our eyes at night, we might find much gratification and serenity within our existence. There is tremendous gratification in helping others. If our day is spent in such an endeavor, perhaps it brings a very high level of contentment.

I don't want to race through the small stuff which actually may be the big stuff of which I will forever recall and remember for all of my days. The smudged kisses of a toddler, smirks which evolve into smiles from our teenagers, random hugs from our spouse, thinking of you phone calls from our parents and siblings can never be underestimated. You have today, but perhaps not tomorrow.

By focusing our attention on the present, we might have fewer times when we question where our years went. It seems to pass by so fast. Yearning will not bring the years back to us. Regret is useless as well as detrimental to our health in every way. What is done is done. Forget about blame. Think about forgiveness and move on by paying heed to your present. It is never too late to develop a positive attitude. After all is said and done, we still never know about tomorrow but we do have today and that is enough care and concern for the day.

Anticipate a happy occasion in the future, but never rely on it to make you happy or bring you serenity in the present moment. Count your daily blessings. Life's problems dissipate, worries evaporate, today's pleasures increase, and best of all your life becomes full of peace when you seek the positive in all situations. Today is satisfying and loaded with love to go around, if we observe it with our hearts and quiet our busy thoughts.

 "A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all — he's walking on them." ~Leonard Louis Levinson

"The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser — in case you thought optimism was dead." Robert Brault

“Life is a bowl of cherries. Some cherries are rotten while others are good; its your job to throw out the rotten ones and forget about them while you enjoy eating the ones that are good! There are two kinds of people: those who choose to throw out the good cherries and wallow in all the rotten ones, and those who choose to throw out all the rotten ones and savor all the good ones.” C. JoyBell C.

“A positive attitude may not solve all our problems but that is the only option we have if we want to get out of problems." Subodh Gupta

Acknowledgement 2Acknowledgement 3“We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.”    John Steinbeck

...What makes us who we are should be glorified personified and sung unto the stars!”    Muse

Perhaps we begin with the phrase, "I never wanted nor asked for anything in return." It is familiar to me. As much as any of us want to pride ourselves with our giving from the heart, without concern of any repay, we still like and enjoy some acknowledgement. Perhaps at times it is not necessary but at a Acknowledgement 4Acknowledgement 6 low point in our lives, or moods, we may search for some kind of acknowledgement of who we are and what we have done.

Most of us would be appalled to admit it bothers us when another doesn't consider our contributions. I have come to realize it has to do with a couple of things, which I know I am as guilty of doing as anyone else. My confidence level on any given day fluctuates. It drives me crazy and I am sure it makes others wonder just who I am. Another item to consider is our time, patience and effort given to another. That can't be given back so easily. Exhaustion plays a role in our attitude, when no appreciation is given.

Decidedly I believe as much as I might offer to help someone, I assume they understand just how much I am giving. Of course when they don't, and practically appear to ignore my good efforts, it leaves me wallowing in self-pity and sometimes anger. When we have put others first, supported, and comforted, then we might feel we deserve at least a thanks. We were needed and we came through. So now what?

Most of us look for the appreciation that may never come. For me to say it is a compliment, might sound absurd. But in a way, I have deduced that it is a compliment. Likely we need to rethink what our own feelings are regarding this dilemma. If it is important that we get the proverbial thank you, then perhaps we might consider picking and choosing what we want to do for others. It isn't an insult as much as it is knowing our own ability to give and not receive. ...continue reading "Acknowledgement"

It is one f the most difficult tasks to accomplish. Giving without receiving is weighing on a person. Many continue giving for a very long  time, until they break and crash. This occurs when one reaches the limit, and wants and deserves acknowledgement. At this point the  commendations are usually fruitless, because the receiver believes they had to ask for a thank you.

I see it as a break time. If we have reached our limit of doing thankless jobs, then perhaps we should relax a bit. The true idea of giving is when it can be done without any acknowledgement. I like to receive a thank you as much as anyone. What I reflect on now, when the pains of being unappreciated rise, is the reasons why I am doing whatever it is I am doing. When the reality of the situation roots in my heart, I realize that I don't require the thanks, and if I do need it, then I must immediately stop whatever it is I am doing. If one doesn't refrain from doing unacknowledged work, that they feel is worthy of acknowledgement, then it leads to major frustration, anger and a dislike of the person we are attempting to please. There is no winner in such a situation.

It isn't hard to believe that we might simply need a break. Perhaps we have placed ourselves so high on the pedestal of perfection, that we hate to admit we like a simple thank you once in a while. It isn't difficult to consider this. Being human we get caught up in our thoughts and our mind's take on issues. The further we go down that road, the sooner we reach the end of our endurance. If we want to continue, we must turn around our thoughts and go back to the original plan of aiding another without return.

It is a simple solution, yet it almost requires super human strength. There is no insults or degradation in our desire to not be taken advantage of. So many people in this world, are taken advantage of. Likely praise is not freely given and thanks is infrequently exhibited. Sometimes it is reasoned that this one has so much so they can afford to help me out. I find this perhaps the saddest answer. For anyone to think another should spend or give to them is absurd. The rich person, who spreads his wealth for the benefit of others, is extremely kind. They don't have to do such jobs.

Being thankful is as vital, as being aware and willing to support those in need. Both dispense of grace. The one acknowledges the empathy of the other through grace, while the doer is encouraged through thankfulness, to continue their good deeds. In the end the world is a better place with less frustration and anger. Tolerance is renewed and understood on a deeper level. Probably our ability to endure without thanks will increase to the point of not being necessary.

There are countless ways we help others daily. Few receive thanks. Children are too young to comprehend the tremendous amounts of help they receive from parents. The parents are giving many times without receiving. We all share those times when we were underestimated in our value. Accepting this without anger makes us stronger.  Continuing this attitude makes our world more compassionate.

We just have to get over our need of thanks. We must accept that the thanks is in the finished product which never really goes unnoticed. Take a break when you need to and settle your thoughts about receiving praise. You yourself know what a great job you have done. In the end it is how we view ourselves anyways. What others think of us is trivial compared to what we think and know about ourselves. We are the ones who must live with ourselves.

Stand strong, know your heart, mind and body have pure ideas, honest motives, and not looking for rewards or glory. When your mind heart and body work together, you become more god-like than at any other time. Accept those times you fail by remembering the numerous times you made a difference in the life of another person. After all, our thoughts have always been about giving, and have never been about getting anything in return. Trust that it has been acknowledged in more ways than we could ever imagine.

Remembering how far a simple thank you spreads compassionate healing,  is well worth mentioning. It triggers one to continue the path they are on, and persist in their work of providing for others. If that is all that is needed to inspire another, perhaps we should all frequently use the words "thank you" more often.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."    Voltaire

"Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts."    Alan Cohen

"The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship."    Amelia Earhart

"The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness."    Dalai Lama

See Beyond The ObviousThe highest form of intelligence is the ability to observe without evaluating."    Jiddu Krishnamurti

“It's funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope. This is a design of God that I appreciate and cherish.”    Steve Maraboli

“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”    Marilyn Vos Savant

Has anyone ever  wondered about whether the dream state is real or the waking state in the morning is the true life? It is weird when we have a vivid dream and feel like it actually could have happened. What arouses my curiosity is the fact that we go about our business everyday thinking we are accomplishing so much and living so much. Now I question if we are living at all or simply traveling in an enclosed dream-like state.

So many times it is safer and easier to "get things done." At the end of a day we can show all of our accomplishments. Nobody really cares except us. We feel complete and go to bed and begin again the next day. I question if that is life and what might really be expected of us. From the beginning we are taught to do our jobs, listen, learn and don't waste time. Are we giving any time to reflecting on what we are doing? Many times I feel so caught up in tasks that perhaps what matters most is lost in the multitude of jobs. ...continue reading "Seeing Beyond The Obvious"

As much as we invent more technology, we are further lost in a maze of false reality. We appear to have less time for the meaningful items as we venture forth to complete what we planned to do on any given day. Is completing jobs what it has come down to? Are we any more aware of what we are doing than the hamster in the cage? If we are told to think something over at work, so many of us are uneasy and squirming in our seats. We are likely thinking, we don't have time to just reflect. The scary thing is that maybe that is what we all should be doing.

Is it any wonder that so much pain and hurt has been at the hands of those who don't think about what they are doing. With more gadgets there is less time given to our own brain's ability to work things out with reflection. Our minds also have the added ability to figure in a dose of emotional input which we have not yet been able to insert into a man-made device. Without the human touch, reflection is lost. I know I don't want to have a world run by computers.

Perhaps our reasoning is becoming weaker and our emotions too relaxed. As they say, all of the stimulation on television about  hurting others and treating others with disdain appears to be producing a thoughtless breed of people who are more and more robotic. The fascination with technology  is taking over every free moment of our time. Less attention is being given to those around us who count for so much more. It is sad to be unable to put a device down in the presence of real people. Now if we ask ourselves about the dream state or the wide awake state we might be unable to distinguish between the two.

It is amusing that humans have the capacity to do so much and care so much yet we take things for granted and destroy the good in so many items and relationships. Our lack of attention may bring down a lot of worthwhile relationships. Sometimes I sense that we must wake ourselves up from a mindless wandering. I don't want to give so much of my attention to trivial tasks, at the expense of soul-searching. It is a unbalancing agitation that makes one sense they have forgotten to do something. In a way we do forget what counts.

Human interactions of empathy kindness and love wipe away anger fear loneliness and distrust. We underestimate the power of a smile or kind word. So much emphasis is placed on  what we can do, that we forget how human qualities can accomplish so much more as they move the mind-body and spirit. Focusing more on our souls health perhaps will spill over into our homes', communities' and world's health. If this sounds strange to anyone, probably it is due to the fact that our spiritual needs have long been overlooked.

If we pretend that our waking life is all there is then we are blocking out truth. We may want to see what is in front of us but there is so much more that we have covered our eyes from seeing. Perhaps the fascination with false extraneous objects has clouded our minds. Truth can be found if we look beneath the surface of our lives. Those aha moments lead us to undertaking on a deeper level. What is important  becomes more obvious to us. All of the frills and extraneous trappings of our lives fall by the wayside as we view our surroundings with new eyes.

For me it is like waking up. When we go through our day accomplishing tasks without reflection, we are not aware of our lives. No wonder we are shocked at the pace of our lives and the swift passing of our lives. We perhaps are role-playing more than living. Attuning ourselves to our surroundings and becoming aware of everyone and everything is a necessary objective if we are to reach our goals.

Improving our spiritual selves takes time and effort. If we have no time and give it no  effort we are locked in a stalemate. Observing life in all of its forms brings enlightenment in every way. We are so much more than the worker at the store or the teacher or hairdresser. None of us is stuck in any form of a name. The power we have is beyond belief. Learning to value what is important is a paramount goal. Once we do this our lives lighten up and we see and understand beyond what our eyes behold. We suddenly become aware of living a more purposeful life.

“What is important is not what you hear said, it's what you observe.”     Michael Connelly

“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Remember yourself. Deep inside, you have an observer, a constant neutral witness to your posture, gesture, facial expression, breathing, taste, impressions of light and sound. Don't leap to interpret. Just be there and observe.”    Jonathan Price

"Ignorant people see life as either existence or non-existence, but wise men see it beyond both existence and non-existence to something that transcends them both; this is an observation of the Middle Way."    Lucius Annaeus Senrca

Speaking Frankly“Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable; be honest and frank anyway.”     Kent M. Keith

"Frankness is not a license to say anything you want, wherever and whenever you want. It is not rudeness."    Dick Warren

“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”    Friedrich Nietzsche

A straightforward speaker, or honest discussion is becoming outmoded. It is difficult to exchange words with anybody, without contemplating every word and facial expression. Even our facial manifestations might tell a  conflicting story from our words. There are times when I retreated from an encounter, utterly confused as to where the other person stood in their convictions. I must admit that many times I am not even sure of the message I professed, during my engagement with another. Confusion regarding beliefs and truths is common. It leaves us all wondering where we stand on numerous issues.

As a teacher it is impossible to perhaps offer a negative argument  about a child. Teachers search for the positive compliments first, but eventually must get to the meat of the matter, which includes negative problems that must be addressed. How else do we correct  anything  if we can't confront it. Parents love their children but must learn to accept the less than honorable qualities, that are sometimes displayed outside the home environment. Upon delivering some painful insights, most teachers hope that parents will work with them, to support healthier outcomes. A lot depends upon the way the parents interpret the information and advice.

Loving kids unconditionally should make accepting their failures easier. Faults should never cause us to love our kids less. Pretending the kids are never to blame is ludicrous. It only magnifies the issues and postpones finding answers. Why is it we are all so convinced  of the necessity of hiding our faults. We  even conceal our children's blame. Honesty has been overcome with pride. We leave no room for truth anymore. Distrust permeates the atmosphere and keeps veracity crushed. ...continue reading "Speaking Frankly"

When things go wrong in any area of society, even those at the top of the pile, cringe and lie if need be. We want to appear to be blameless. Hidden secrets, false agendas, cryptic language, and fear remain powerful tools that cover up honesty and integrity. It is not like we want to be evil or do bad things. We just don't want to be caught or perceived in that manner. Our ego is at stake and our reputation. Instinctively we tout our reputation as if that covers everything. I suppose it does shroud a lot of hidden lies and falsehoods.

My biggest fear about all of this, is how little we cherish honor and reliability. So many of us trip over answering questions, because we are trying to think what we should say and what we should avoid sharing. morality is lacking, along with integrity. We can't jeopardize our character or the pride of our family. So these little indiscretions appear to be nothing in comparison to our life's work and family's decency. We choose to bury our secrets.

Choosing right from wrong is taught at a very young age. As kids mature they learn that it is okay to bend the rules a bit, if your heart is in the right place. This extension of truthfulness stretches as we find glitches in our paths. The bending and stretching continues, until we don't recognize truth from falsehood. Some of us may come to believe we are doing it for the good of others. The fact that it also  benefits us and our good name is irrelevant, so we falsely believe.

The end never justifies the means, is a powerful statement that seems to be forgotten. We almost pride ourselves about how we accomplished so much by disregarding this rule of thumb. Most of us will agree when we observe the positive outcome. I wonder how many people are disheartened at the way animals are used to discover cures. Of course someone will testify that you or a family member, with an illness that is controlled with medicine, are fortunate enough to have received the cure because of animal testing. I still have a problem with this because the end really doesn't justify the means. Mankind always has trouble drawing lines, and I wonder how far we are capable of going.

Thinking out of the box is praised, but if that means anything goes, we must protest and reflect on our actions. Perhaps we have stopped questioning motives or actions, because the situations get too confusing. We can't mix up our misconceptions with what are truly mistakes. Probably our anxiousness to shadow untruthfulness, is our own confused state of mind regarding the matter. We likely would rather pretend we don't understand or we haven't all of the facts to voice an opinion. This alleviates guilt and emotional pain.

Dare one to accept a forthright person searching for honesty. We perhaps dislike these truthful speaking people because they fire up our own consciences. Our government is at times, not honest with us. They feel we can't face the truth or wouldn't understand it. Our families hide facts out of pride, or again with the attitude of saving us pain. One must guess how much truth we actually acquire in the course of a single day.

No wonder we have no faith. If we believe others are always out to get us, then life becomes a harsh, cold battlefield. Judgements abound, lies are professed, and faith is questionable. We all learn to distrust the teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and workers of all kinds. I sometimes feel like I am on an island, with only myself to depend on. Why I question, is it so difficult to listen to a blunt person who states facts.

Deep down do we want to keep the knowledge at bay? I suppose our morality may come into question and we certainly don't want to deal with that. So it leaves us with the option of pretending everything is okay, and allowing life to move along as it always has, without doubting or trying to ask those meaningful questions.

It seems as though the questions that entertain a straightforward answer, may promote integrity and alleviate blame. Likely the parents who genuinely take the truth and work things out with their child, are giving their child more values to call upon when required. Perhaps all of the reflection may produce more thought processes and allow us to travel down unused paths. We may find that truth is easier to deal with than all of the lies or bending of the truths.

Generating pride in honesty and truthfulness may promote values worth establishing throughout society. Evolving into a society ridden with integrity, is challenging, and it takes courage. Transformation can be worthwhile but is never easy. Staying in the state we are in promotes stagnation. Having the strength and courage to attempt something inspirational and emotionally satisfying, lifts us out of the darkness and into the light. Spreading decency throughout our daily lives gets rid of the clouds of doubt. The fuzziness is gone and we can work together for solutions. The fault-finding and fear are alleviated while a candid open living emerges.

The festering anger is openly discussed, and treated with care. The lies and distrust are turned into a tolerance and respect for failure, and support of a renewed effort. The false pride of ego connected to power, is transformed into  humility in accepting our flaws with grace. After all, we never let our guard down with those we believe to be better.  I'd like to see trust, honesty, integrity and humility incorporated into my life. If those virtues were returned to me, how comforting it would be to be able to be myself at all times and with all people.

"Life is too short to be little. Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor."    Benjamin Disraeli

"We write frankly and fearlessly but then we "modify" before we print."    Mark Twain

"Frankness is a jewel; only the young can afford it."    Mark Twain

"One  must have chaos in oneself to be able  to give birth to a dancing star."    Friedrich Nietzsche

"In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow."    Friedrich Nietzsche

Perils Of Judgment"Love is the absence of judgement."    Dalai Lama XIV

"Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion.Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world."     Sharon Salzberg

Everyday I find myself irritated with so many people, that  I wonder if they are living in a fog. Of course if I think long enough about it, I realize I am a bit impatient with these people. It doesn't make their annoyances any more acceptable, but I manage to hold my criticism in for the most part. I never consider myself impatient. My tolerance level  has always been commendable, but there lies the secret. I do endure the trivial complaining of others but deep down I resent the issues people complain about. I guess I am a secret judge.

The revelation of my estimations, took me by surprise  one day. Outwardly I keep most of my opinions to myself. I may join a discussion but I attempt to remain neutral for the sake of keeping peace and also to keep from hurting someone's feelings. There are times when the disagreements turn into a confrontation, but being set in my ways keeps me strong in my viewpoints. This allows me to stand firm in my sentiments.

One day I began noticing people behaving in a similar fashion towards me. They appeared to quickly change the subject, didn't look me in the face when talking, and cut me off mid sentence. When I spoke about a subject I was more than interested in, they stopped listening before I was finished, and never asked  questions. I quickly came to the realization that we all  irritate others in all kinds of ways, and are not privy to this knowledge, most of the time. The more I investigated my theory, the more confirmation I had that I was correct in my sentiments. ...continue reading "Perils Of Judgement"

Now to totally believe that you are courteous to others, respectful of their opinions and tolerant of their quirks makes this new-found knowledge of your fraudulent manner, a huge revelation. I would say it came as quite a shock to me. I am not saying I am perfect but I never considered I was ever an irritation to others. After getting over the shock, and contemplating the why and meaning of it all, I concluded that it was likely true that I could be annoying to others at times.

Of course as misery likes company, I came to understand how much we all tolerate others on any given day. The person who jumps in to speak before others are finished is a pest. We have the authoritative person who states statistics on their side in order to confirm the winning argument. There is the person who wears you down with talk until you yell uncle and give up. The loud people always get their ideas across and the impatient people are scary.

I know there are those with bothersome habits that make one want to scream stop tapping the table or running your finger over the cup. You don't do it. All you do is look away and take a deep breath. Some people whine and complain about everything and anything to the point that you'd like to say go back home and go to bed. Certain people arrive with a negative attitude before they open their mouths. Others always have an ache or pain which is possible, but on those days you want to say it is my turn to complain so be quiet. I love those people who  say an outfit isn't new when you give them a compliment. Some people believe they have the hardest life, the most difficult circumstances to  endure, and the saddest story to tell. I let them win for sure because I don't want their problems. You have the complainers who appear to never be content nor pleased. For some people we speak too slowly and don't finish quick enough to suit them. Others dislike vulnerability, openness and gentleness. It is as if they distrust these virtues.

Most of us believe strength is power and endurance. We don't think of quiet suffering as endurance. We almost dislike these people for not complaining. We tolerate other races and people from different economic groups yet we frown upon our own siblings who appear to be boastful. The question is why, because who cares about our possessions and accomplishments. The list is endless for what we find exasperating. Most of these bothersome occurrences are never brought to light and we must all be thankful for that.

The majority of people keep their touchiness about others under wraps. Now if the truth is out in the open, we are all attempting to tolerate each other. We just don't perceive our own annoying traits. It is a good thing we cannot mind read each others thoughts. We might behold a totally different picture of how others perceive us.

Being vulnerable and accepting our weaknesses is actually a reflection of strength. Only a strong person has the power to expose their weaknesses without feeling threatened. We are not superhuman and we all experience the same loves hates and annoyances. Perhaps our pretenses ought to be removed and our defenselessness witnessed. None of us enjoy being made fun of or becoming the butt of the joke. We hang on to our  pride, to the point of exhaustion. It would be a relief to really become tolerant in reality rather than in secretive resentment that we hide.

Of course by being more open, we might stop some of the gossiping which frequently occurs behind the backs of others. By stopping the criticisms, we stop measuring our own hurts against the pains of another. Age, sex, economic status, and other tools of assessment are not as important as the fact that pain and aches resonate with all of us. When we say we are all in the same boat, nothing could be more honest. Most os us feign good fortune as well as the extent of suffering. Some exaggerate while others pretend they are invincible. In the end the conclusion is clear.  We are all defenseless when it comes to the sorrows of life.

Probably the ways we choose to endure life and those irritating quirks we pick up along the way, may drive people undercover. Lifting the blanket of impatience, we discover an actual person who has feelings, loves, desires, sufferings, pains, and opinions. They are quite similar to us and they witness our faults as well as their own. Human nature should cause us to pause and reflect on that annoying mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, parent, friend and even enemy. At some future time we might find ourselves making the same mistakes as we find so annoying in others at the present moment in time.

For me it is time to fess up to my total vulnerability in all areas of life. There are those times I profess to be stronger and more powerful than I actually am. I hide my pain and my sufferings and fears. Actually most of us hide fears even from ourselves. We wonder why we are nervous and stressed yet can't see the issues may be related to our haunting fears. If we can overcome our vulnerability, and tolerate ourselves, we then might be able to put up with others. Bringing tolerance into the situation sends some honesty and understanding into the equation. We are more alike than we are different. We stop seeing failures as making us less than acceptable. We end our  regard of weakness as defeat, helplessness as childish, defenselessness as failure, and susceptibility as deferment of our own abilities. To be human is to be weak, helpless defenseless and at times, a failure. What we can't forget is that being human permits empathy, kindness understanding  acceptance and tolerance to become a part of a humane life-style. That is the essence of true tolerance.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”    Dalai Lama XIV

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways--either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”    Dalai Lama XIV

“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.”    Dalai Lama XIV

Going Back"The things two people do to each other they remember. If they stay together, it's not because they forget; it's because they forgive."    Demi Moore

It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an ever stronger person to forgive."    Unknown

"Apologizing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego."    Unknown

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."    Gandhi

How many times have we heard the phrase, "You can't go back." That is the saddest group of words to hear because many times we need and want to return to a person place or thing. It is like something that suddenly springs out at us like gotcha and you're finished. The sadness can be overwhelming. Most of us think back  to choices we made and actions we committed. Contemplating a more innocent time in our lives will always bring longing.

As we grow, most of us learn from the mistakes we made. Of course we can't admonish ourselves too much because we can't always recall every second of our reasoning at that time in our lives. I am not giving any of us excuses but life is not about counting the wrongs as much as it is about acquiring knowledge. There are such tough lessons, that perhaps we might have absorbed sooner, but actually we must be content that we made the finding at all.

Life sends us forward full speed ahead. We plan to accomplish so much. We strive to keep up with others if not totally surpass them. We are out to conquer the world, make our mark and show others what we are capable of. We yearn for respect, love, attainment and contentment. The funny thing is that most of this can be found at any age and within any area of society as well as any socioeconomic group. That is the discovery that sometimes takes years to ascertain. ...continue reading "Going Back"

Regret is useless and pointless. If some of our picks were poor, we need to come to  terms with it and continue onward. We can't change the past. Perhaps some situations may have turned out the same even if we had moved in another direction. We can't know the truth. It is questionable if we should have married another person, who is to say things would be better. If we changed our minds on a job choice, maybe it still  would not be any more glorious or satisfying.

Believing everything in the past was a mistake is a mistake. Most likely it was an experience that brought enlightenment to our lives. If we treated our spouse shabbily, I have faith in the notion that we can switch it around. Unless we have given up on our marriage it is time to fess up to our misgivings and ask for forgiveness. Of course those of us in the position to forgive have two choices. We can continue the animosity or offer the absolution. If we can just look at life in terms of gaining knowledge, and accept the fact that most of us are slow learners, then we may be more than ready to exhibit mercy. Can any of us admit we have never needed exoneration from anyone?

You would be my hero if that were the case. We just don't always think clearly enough, or think far enough ahead, to appreciate the gravity of our errors. We plunge forward with half a story, and a tenth of an idea, along with a fifth of a truth and then create our reality from that point of view. No wonder we find ourselves making errors. Some mistakes are not so easy to mend. I bet on any given day, each of us has said or done something stupid or hurtful. We are late for work so we insult and blame the spouse when we can't find something. Of course it is their fault. Later when we discover it was us who put the laundry away, we simply forget the incident and don't bring it up.

If we can perceive our own faults perhaps the faults of others won't look so bad. I know there are degrees of wrongdoing but there are also degrees of wisdom before one makes the errors. Our deductions are dissimilar and incorporate feelings attitudes and burdens at that present time. Forgiveness has to be one quality we acquire at the youngest age possible. Life would be so much easier to deal with if we were free to begin again without strings attached. Perhaps that is why we give up on our marriages. We believe we can't go back to that clean slate and innocent thinking. If we showered each other in mercy, by tolerating mistakes, the likelihood of guilty baggage would be eliminated.

There again is the crux of our problem. We are told over and over again, we can't go back. But suppose we could. We may not be able to choose a different spouse but we might be able to handle our chosen one in an alternate manner. By bringing happiness to another individual, brings it to us. The person is full of joy and it spills over us. It seems like a good idea to keep a better mind frame.

Some choices we can't change but we can alter the way we perceive them and the person we blame. If we can even accept our own interference in the occurrence, we have some grounds to pardon. I think that forgiveness is the key to our being able to go back. We can all return if we bring forgiveness to the table. Those we love or once loved don't  need expensive gifts or food,  they need the nourishment of love and clemency. That washes away a lot of the pain but not the knowledge. We really do live and learn. The cost of the learning can be tremendous. Our participation in the price can be devastating. We must ask ourselves if we are going to make it about pride, revenge, anger, or if we can encompass empathy love and forgiveness. I know in the end result the later brings serenity, while the former cements stress, worry and rage.

Perhaps our attempts to grade the level of our injuries is a wearisome task which serves no purpose. It only succeeds in calling to mind more hurts and pain. We all experience pain and heartache. Did we enjoy the feeling? If not then let's not keep it going. Release it and go back to a kinder period in your life. Recall the disagreements, accept the person's mistakes and empower them with compassion and exoneration. It might be a daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, parent, brother  sister, child, friend or even a neighbor. If you have ever needed forgiveness yourself, endow it to another. Perhaps the person we forgive will not necessarily be the person that we want forgiveness from. We bring the gift of going back. We all like to go back to the simpler version. We have the power to do it for one another, all we need is the courage.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”C.S. Lewis

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.”    Joel Osteen

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”    Martin Luther King Jr.

“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.”    Steve Maraboli

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

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”    C.S. Lewis

“The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either -- or both -- when needed?”    Gordon B. Hinckley

“When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear.... When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.”                   Gerald G. Jampolsky

CourageCourage 2"It takes a  great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends."    Dumbledore, Harry Potter

"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare."  ~Mark Twain

"People are made of flesh and blood and a miracle fiber called courage."  ~Mignon McLaughlin,

"Sometimes even to live is an act of courage."  ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one."  ~Lauren Raffo

In order to accomplish just about anything in life, you need courage. Surprisingly, we all have varying degrees of it at any given time. When young athletes are anxious to play rather than always sitting on the bench, they must muster the courage to approach the coach and also be able to take the rejection. The important thing is they stood up for themselves. Speaking to a teacher regarding an academic issue can render the same kind of frustration and anxiety.

Teens who are forced to make decisions going against peer pressure require a lot of guts to do so. They likely don't receive the amount of credit they deserve in such situations. As parents, we don't stop to think of the multitude of situations that required our teens to stand strong against the coercion of friends or classmates.  In a similar incident, many teenagers are anxious to enter the dating scene and the demands and awkward situations that arise force some teens into  critical spur of the moment, decisions. Courage in making the correct choice is again a necessity. Even those teens attempting to request dates are wandering into an untraveled realm. It calls for a brand new type of bravery. ...continue reading "Courage"

Throughout our lives we are called upon to make choices that are really testing our mettle. As much as we want to be strong, succumbing to the demands of others can leave us wallowing in worry and  our failure to overcome the hassle from other people. Many of us resent ourselves  for surrendering our own decision to the hands of another. Parents beat themselves up over losing patience with kids. They never consider the times they held their patience.

As parents perhaps  it is crucial we observe the numerous pitfalls our teenagers face every day. They are heroes often even when we are not aware of it. Adulthood brings its own set of problems. A nagging wife or inattentive husband can cause spouses havoc at work. Other people searching for a good time or their own love, may find these vulnerable souls and set the stage for affairs. Probably it begins innocently but once started, may develop into a situation that eventually blows up in everyone's face. That is the crazy part. Sometimes we don't look to see where the decisions we make, will lead us until it is too late.

These kinds of circumstances demand our resolve which begins with courage and all the muster we can call upon. Most of us think of guts as running into a burning building, or facing an enemy in battle. We discount without a thought, the tremendous amount of moments in our lives that command guts and daring action. The moments we want to do the right thing like not eating the cake when we are dieting, require all the resolve we can muster. It takes courage to act in a moral way. It takes mettle to accept and deal with health problems of our  own or those close to us. It takes bravery to patiently wait for pregnancies, dates, jobs, money, and other mainstream desires. Guts is paramount in dealing with losing a loved one.

How about those times we lie to save our own skin, or when we blame others because we don't want to face the trouble. Times we want to get ahead so, we cheat in some manner. The list can go on forever but the fact is we compromise our values frequently throughout our lives. It isn't like we plan to do it. It just happens when we least expect it and we have no time to think things over so we fall. Picking ourselves up and trying again takes resolve. Forget about the mistakes, focus on the mindset of mustering the guts to do it better the next time.

How often do people get jobs based on who they know or the money they can offer through grants. Some people in small towns as well as cities, influence those who make the decisions to hire their sons and daughters for jobs beating out other candidates who may be more qualified. Nobody sees this as cowardly. I look at this as providing strength to those who have no connections so they  work even harder to enter through the front door.

The courage it takes to ignore the petty behaviors of others makes us stronger. At the time it may not feel like that. There is courage in receiving as well as in giving. We admire those who have the audacity and daring to speak up about the wrongs committed. It is also courageous to be able to sit down and listen to the reasoning and woes of others. Those seeking understanding and peace are not as impressive in their actions. There is still just as much bravery in speaking up about injustices at any level in society and for any group, large or small. Even one person's pain makes it worth the effort.

There is courage in all of us.  Most if not all of us muster our bravery daily. Our countless acts perhaps are performed without much thought. We likely take no notice of those moments we decided wisely. I know we exhibit so much more bravery than we give ourselves credit for. Courage is within all of us. It is an unique attribute of the rich, poor, powerful or needy. It is within everyone great or small young or old.

At any given moment we have the capacity to make a difference in our own lives as well as the lives of others. Lives are changed by our ability or inability to use our courage. The fact that we refrain from speaking or doing the right thing during one episode in our lives, cannot render us incapacitated to demonstrate audacity and nerve in another situation. Life takes courage to survive every day.

Fear is not something to be ashamed of. It may always be present, but it should not deter or defeat us. Fear just makes us more resolved and alert to problems. Without fear animals don't survive. The smart animals are full of fear, which technically fills them with the courage to successfully survive another day. At times, fear may win over courage, but just search again for your bravery and let it take root.  Remember the countless times you may have forgotten, when you exhibited great strength against the odds. I would guess that may have been today.

"The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy."  ~John F. Kennedy

"One man with courage makes a majority."  ~Andrew Jackson

"Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if you have to dig a little."  ~Tori Amos

"If there's one thing that I pray for, As I live my daily life, It's that I may be courageous When I'm faced with bitter strife!... So, I humbly pray for courage To be with me morn and night,  Through the coldness of the Winter And the Summer's bright sunlight! "   Gertrude T. Buckingham,

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.  When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."  ~Mark Twain

"Courage ought to have eyes as well as arms."  ~H.G. Bohn

"Perfect courage means doing unwitnessed what we would be capable of with the world looking on."  ~François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Kids Blossom With Love And Two Parents“My husband and I have never considered divorce... murder sometimes, but never divorce.”     Joyce Brothers

“But in the real world, you couldn't really just split a family down the middle, mom on one side, dad the other, with the child equally divided between. It was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two: no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right again. It was what you couldn't see, those tiniest of pieces, that were lost in the severing, and their absence kept everything from being complete.”    Sarah Dessen

“The problem of unmet expectations in marriage is primarily a problem of stereotyping. Each and every human being on this planet is a unique person. Since marriage is inevitably a relationship between two unique people, no one marriage is going to be exactly like any other. Yet we tend to wed with explicit visions of what a “good” marriage ought to be like. Then we suffer enormously from trying to force the relationship to fit the stereotype and from the neurotic guilt and anger we experience when we fail to pull it off.”    M. Scott Peck

“Those who divorce aren't necessarily the most unhappy, just those neatly able to believe their misery is caused by one other person.”    Alain de Botton

There is an onslaught of advice regarding parenting skills. If one attempts to find information, they will likely be inundated with more than they wanted. Sifting through all of this information is next to impossible. I must admit it is interesting and it provides so many interesting views on discipline and nurturing and ways one should go about it. The limitless supply of help leaves one confused regarding the implementation of any of it. ...continue reading "Kids Blossom With Love & Two Parents"

The problem is we have so many "experts" in the field attempting to promote their own version of good bad and indifferent. They have many degrees, years of providing information, and a following so numerous one would immediately including myself, agree they are truly experts on the subject. They are book learned and many work with families. However, at times they forget to rethink old ideas and incorporate new ones instead of constantly standing by the delineated modes.

Many perhaps could find one of these "experts" to agree with your discipline rules and your nurturing abilities. You might also discover many who disagree with your actions. There are many things and notions that we have in both categories of good and bad. On any given day, perhaps we have a mixed variety of both types of conducts. Who do we trust? How much advice is overload?

From my own perspective, I throw in my own take. I have raised four kids and have many grandchildren. I have taught for many years and have always held jobs related to children. I have observed and listened to a tremendous amount of children's stories and sufferings. I have shed tears with some, encouraged others, offered comfort and hope, and guided all with love. I even wrote a book on the subject because of the overwhelming hurt I felt inside. It is strange but I never considered myself an "expert yet my college credentials likely match up with most if not all of the educated people on the subject.

There are Hollywood stars and media people willing to confess their understanding of any situation pertaining to kids. It amazes me that if anybody truly had the answers, we would find a decline in negative parenting and a rise in positive skills. The opposite appears to be true. We have more children that are physically, mentally  emotionally or spiritually abused within the family environments. Somehow all the advice is going nowhere. I ponder the poor outcome as a result of too much information combined with losing focus on whose welfare is mostly at stake. I realize criticism is not what anybody wants. I also understand that if we fear facing or hearing the truth, nothing good will be accomplished or changed.

Probably we spend too much time on adult needs. Yes many will say you must love the parents to help the kids or you must treat the parents so that they can deal with their own children. I softly mention there is some truth but the crux of the problem is ignored. That is the most confusing part for me to come to terms with. Why we never attempt to proceed in a different fashion especially when our previous attempts have failed miserably.

I know truth hurts but without it there is no moving forward. Pretending it doesn't exist or focusing on other items that also need attention is a ploy that has been used for too long. I strongly believe we have to listen to our kids and find out their stories. They are the ones living it along with the parents. They are the people without a  say and the ones who are the guinea pigs for the various ideas or skills promoted by experts in the field. This likely appears helpful on the surface. However, although it is relevant to learn new ideas for disciplining  and nurturing, unless we add in the emotional pain and issues kids endure, and are related to it, we will not see any improvement. Coming up with yet other ideas is pointless. Our actions and choices on a daily basis impact our kids for better or worse.

We can't teach kids like we are training a dog. They are not robots and actually what works for one child is not successful for another. Parents are varied and have various modes of behavior attitudes skills temperaments burdens and original homes they were raised in. Their previous knowledge impacts their current behaviors.  Parents have their work cut out. Parents may be required to have insurmountable patience and tolerance. Some kids are tempermental and need encouragement while others are insecure. The premiss is kids are as divergent as snow flakes. So to are parents. They are just as much a diverse group of people. They bring a wide-ranged background  to the marriage.

None of us has degrees in multiple fields or there are few who do. It renders all of us at the mercy of working together to find solutions. I have my own answers which never rule out other critical thinking and support from others. Cooperation and collaboration help us achieve more than holding the belief, we have all the answers to questions we haven't even asked yet.

It isn't easy to manifest these qualities when we are at the end of our rope. We all fail at times but how we react to it is paramount to finding healthy relationships with our kids. If we feel shamed and refuse to accept our indiscretions, we will not work on improving them. It is far better to acknowledge our mistakes, no one is perfect, and work on improving them. Hitting of any kind in my opinion should be ruled out. Listening to our child everyday is important. Our kids know more than they appear and acknowledging their attentiveness is important.

I know how deeply kids are hurt emotionally when parents ignore their physical, mental or emotional needs. Kids are also  devastated when parents argue and fight consistently. Divorce brings anxiety to all kids.  They have a realistic fear as they watch  their worlds tumbling. Many of us are dealing with our own pain and are unaware of the trauma occurring in our kids lives. With divorce extended family is obliterated. The world becomes full of fights and taking  sides. Parents insult each other and form new relationships while the kids are left agreeing to whatever terms the parents decide. Life is Topsy turfy and parents are busy. Kids observe about  the new people in the parent's life. They have learned to hide their feelings and agree with the parent they are with at the time.

Kids accept step brothers and sisters as well as half siblings on both sides. They have four disciplinarians eventually, who have varying amounts of patience and ideas on discipline. Nurturing is many times overlooked due  to parental exhaustion. I realize it is extremely difficult for parents but kids can't wait. They must be nurtured and disciplined regardless of whatever else is going on in our lives. Yes we might take a short break here and there but basically constancy in caring for kids is critical.

Kids are expected to be happy when the parent remarried and when they have another child with a person the child hardly knows. Kids are jealous of their step siblings who get to enjoy mom or dad's company all or most of the time. They feel replaced and lost. Their grades go down and their misbehavior increases. They are insecure and crave attention. Probably none of this information is relayed to the parents. Kids hide their feelings and emotions.

The idea is if we focus on truths we might have better solutions that are meaningful. Teaching parents to respect their marriages is helping kids. Unless there is an impossible situation that is harmful, parents ought to seek counseling and be taught the implications their choices may inspire. Believing life goes on as soon as the parents are happy and settled is like believing in Santa Claus. Remember, if you left your husband or wife for an insignificant reason, kids won't trust that one day you might stop loving them. This is not my idea or rule. It is a fact. Just connect the dots.

By understanding, the vital job we have in raising kids, perhaps we will work harder on our marriages and let the trivial  go. Every couple  has those times when they feel like tossing in the towels. Overcoming and working through those difficult moments is crucial. Teaching parents parenting skills is vital but along with that is the necessity of teaching the pitfalls of endowing our kids with the pain of divorce. Never take a marriage break-up as transforming your life to something better. Many times it becomes the opposite. Divorced parents can do a good job provided they choose to work together in harmony without criticism of each other. It is not easy but it has been done. If one can alleviate having to go this route it is even better.

In order to teach parenting skills, one must teach life through the kids eyes. We must venture to observe what the kids see when they look through the lens at the home environment. Kids may pretend they don't notice anything but actually they miss nothing. Listen and keep communication open.  Don't be afraid to hear words you did not anticipate. Give kids the freedom to freely state their honest thoughts. Love your kids and tell them so every day. Don't compete with a divorced spouse and never degrade each other. It only diminishes your child. Think about the extra  time energy and money involved when the decision of dissolving the marriage is considered. List your pros and cons and see clearly by taking off the rose-colored glasses.

Kids only come with the instruction to love them and nurture their minds hearts bodies and spirits. Be gentle with them in speech and action. Recognize their frailty. Kids cannot wait for us to decide we are ready to be parents. They need our attention from day one. They need nurturing and positive discipline from the start. Whatever issues we accumulate are our own burdens. Don't place them on your kids shoulders. By spending time and discussing things with your kids from the beginning, you will create an atmosphere of trust that will not be easily broken. There is no magic solution or rule book to follow. You must love treasure and enjoy your priceless gifts. The absolute crucial, key item to remember is love your kids unconditionally. Regardless of anything else, that is the one thing that cannot be denied. It is above everything.

“When mom and dad went to war the only prisoners they took were the children”     Pat Conroy

“You don't know when you're twenty-three.
You don't know what it really means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there. You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten - in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
She didn't know at twenty-three.” ( Nor did she know the effect on the kids)    Rainbow Rowell

“The remedy for most marital stress is not in divorce. It is in repentance and forgiveness, in sincere expressions of charity and service. It is not in separation. It is in simple integrity that leads a man and a woman to square up their shoulders and meet their obligations. It is found in the Golden Rule, a time-honored principle that should first and foremost find expression in marriage.”  ― Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

“It was one of those ridiculous arrangements that couples make when they are separating, but before they are divorced - when they still imagine that children and property can be shared with more magnanimity than recrimination.”    John Irving