Rituals“To me it seems that too many young women of this time share the same creed. 'Live, laugh, love, be nothing but happy, experience everything, et cetera et cetera.' How monotonous, how useless this becomes. What about the honors of Joan of Arc, Beauvoir, Stowe, Xena, Princess Leia, or women that would truly fight for something other than just their own emotions?” Criss Jami

“Everything ritualistic must be strictly avoided, because it immediately turns rotten. Of course a kiss is a ritual too and it isn't rotten, but ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.”     Ludwig Wittgenstein

It was interesting when someone mentioned the rituals we all go through daily without any thought. It really was inspiring because it brought many questions and revelations regarding our life as usual approach. Our repetitive words and actions appear to be mindless and without any depth. It made me wonder  how much of my day was actually lived.

Then I received a phone call from a person very close to me, who was concerned about certain areas of her life manifesting in the fashion she wanted them to manifest. She was distraught about the possibility of her strategies taking longer than she wanted. Her frustration appeared out of control yet ringing true for all of us. We have become used to attaining our wants immediately. We can receive an e-mail in seconds, as well as an invitation, announcement notification or doctor results. We can work from home and even run a business on-line without ever meeting the people we sell to. ...continue reading "Rituals"

I always kiss my husband before leaving yet there are times when both of us question the occurrence. Do we appreciate the significance of the gesture or are we performing a ritual without any meaning. So many actions throughout the day are done mindlessly and now I am reflecting on every word and action. It likely is true that when we say how are you doing that it is only a hello. We are not interested I suppose and no one ever responds with anything but good or okay. I love my husband and certainly I need to remember the reasons for our actions so that we can appreciate why we perform the action and how much it means. The effect of special actions should never wear off or lose their meaning.

I find it all a bit frenzied. Although we have more time to ponder, we lose it with our engagement with technology. People are being replaced with glorified machines of all kinds. Our best friends are cell phones, I-pads, computers and other devices.  Outings with spouses or friends or even co-workers can't  compare to our tech devices. Humans are now in competition with technology which appears at the moment, to be far more interesting.

I agree that the amount of information acquired through the computer is tremendous but how much of the information is irrelevant and not necessarily  even worthwhile. Some information is not worth knowing and actually hurts us emotionally and spiritually. Secrecy is easy when using such devices. The age of openness is over. People have their own lives when on the computer.

What is most annoying is the dismissal of real people who are right near us for a small unfeeling device. The majority of people give their attention to the small device enticing them with their pings to respond to some far away person. Technology began as a useful item to support us and offer us closeness to others who were at a distance. Now it is used randomly, without thought or respect for anyone, for the entertainment of the individual.

I am reviewing the fact that we revere technology because it gives us control like nothing else in our lives. We decide if we will respond to this person or that one. We can put someone off in a second, make distant plans quickly, find answers to questions from a machine rather than deal with the wordy response of a human, and not have to listen longer than we want to when we consider it a boring conversation. How much easier it is to put an out of sight person off than a teary eyed or anxious person facing and staring at us.

People have complained to me that their friends are always on the device when in their company. They find it annoying because they made the time to spend with their friend yet felt denied the company of their pal. As close and small as we have made our world, I believe we are further from attachments and intimacy than ever before.

I worry for the children who are perhaps unobserved as carefully by those too busy computing. When one is on the computer, lost in its attraction and entertainment, the world passes by unnoticed. Hours are lost in this scenario which occurs everyday. Our extension of rituals continues with our constant need for devices. We basically don't have to think anymore because there are better minds and people with greater intelligence, or so we surmise, telling us what we should do.

Of course it contradicts our notion of being in control. Maybe the joke is on us. We have button control and information control but decisions of all kinds are made for us everyday. We are constantly influenced by whatever information is sent over our machines. People today have more than  soap operas and television. We have a device capable of providing information  at any moment of any day and it is small, easy to carry and can be used at any time.

If we believe we have no control then we play and work in a ritualistic manner. Time is irrelevant and decisions are lost. We question how the time slipped away from us. Our ability to change or differ our  life's path is unrecognized. Power and independence seem to be lost in the shuffling. Feeling helpless to make a difference we refuse to try. Those who are attempting to escape the clutches of rituals and the attraction and temptation of electronics are waking up to an  awareness of the world. It really is crucial to ask ourselves how much of our lives we are actually living and how much is autopilot.

Living is embracing  life with attention and allowing your whole being to sense and process all that is around us including the people. Some things  are only deduced intuitively. Understanding some natural wonders can't be compared to wordy information. Explaining the sunrise or sunset will never compare to experiencing it. Discussing one's feelings in words can't always measure up to personal involvement with a living person. So much is lost in translation.

Refuse to have your life  become  a ritual of jobs and demands. Achieving confirmation of our purpose and meaning in life lies within us.  Others do not need to confirm our abilities or our worth. No one is like us nor can they do the jobs requested of us to accomplish. We are not at all easy to replace and deep down we know it. The dynamics within us are pure and unique. By taking care of what we can, we allow others to deal with their own share of obligations.

Limiting technology use is crucial to saving our own humanity and self-esteem. Spending so much time on the outskirts of our lives allots us little time for our own close up look at how we make a positive impact. Some rituals are expected, but  living with purpose takes courage. It forces us to choose every day. Positive decisions happen when we have all of the facts which comes from being tuned into our lives. Every sense has a vital role in our development.

Hiding behind technology can place our life on hold. I do not want to turn my life over to a machine which shares no human altruistic attributes. I want to live my life rather than view it from a distance. Looking back I want to see and sense  emotions  intertwined with my experiences even if it means letting go of control a bit. I know the last thing I want to do is to miss living my life, by  being too busy organizing and controlling it. I will gain time not lose it as one would anticipate.

Answering a child's simple questions might bring my own childhood to mind. There might be times I envy the young adults who have so much at their hands and support by their sides. I also at times feel sorry for the young adults who miss the emotional aspect of the numerous interactions with people standing beside them. You can't explain the agreeing voice of one with a tear in the corner of their eye. It makes your heart race a bit. Emotions alter people in a profound loving and positive way. Emotions teach and allow a person to pass on the knowledge that quite possible can't be passed on any other way. You learn so much from an encounter you didn't plan but which was planned for you by God. How can a person put that into words? I think that when we give up control, life flows easier and we see beyond the horizon. Of course  we must make sure we are not on the device.

"He who becomes the slave of habit, who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace, who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience dies slowly. He or she who shuns passion, who prefers black on white, dotting ones "it’s" rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer, that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings, dies slowly.
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy, who is unhappy at work, who does not risk certainty for uncertainty, to thus follow a dream, those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, die slowly. He who does not travel, who does not read, who does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself, dies slowly. He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem, who does not allow himself to be helped, who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops, dies slowly.
He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, he or she who don't reply when they are asked something they do know, die slowly. Let's try and avoid death in small doses, reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.”
― Pablo Neruda

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

Answers Promote Questions"He who busies himself with things other than improvement of his own self becomes perplexed in darkness and entangled in ruin. His evil spirits immerse him deep in vices and make his bad actions seem handsome."    Ali ibn Abi Talib

"I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I've done that sort of thing in my life, but I've always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don't know why, Because they're harder. They're much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you've completely failed."    Steve Jobs

"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."    Winston Churchill

How easy it is to be judgmental of others. We all do it on a daily basis. Perhaps we don't see it, or even realize we are doing it. Many of us would be surprised to find out, how often we make assessments of others. We judge people right down to their walk, talk and attributes of all kinds. It is almost a pastime, and we don't mean any harm. Maybe it is time to question the habits and the reasons. We can't always change our personal attributes. For this reason, any disapproval from others is heartbreaking. Sometimes our critique is based on our mood, attitude or feelings about the individual. Our examination might be fruitless and subjective.

The dilemma arises, when we don't probe into some legitimate matters. Speaking against one's personal qualities is abhorring. When we call attention to matters that are critical to one's safety, and involves the growth of all of society, it demands our attention. No one likes analysis  of any kind. I envy and admire those, who can make a helpful point, without displaying any form of rebuke. In most cases, any disapproval sends us into a frenzy of mistrust.

I never plan on being reproachful, but at times the truth blurts out of my mouth, and of course feelings are hurt. I am so sensitive myself, and loathe direct remarks, yet to correct it in myself is not easy. Sometimes I get the laughs, like I can't believe you just said that. We all handle censure in various ways. I am working on thinking before sharing.

Whenever we find answers to our questions, it results in more examination. The reason probably is because we are searching within the psyche,  where the past, present and plans for the future blend. I suppose former hurts leave us more vulnerable, and truth is painful and sometimes devastating.

Confronting veracity probably solves some problems, but seems to be something we choose to do quietly and alone. Another person's interference is unwanted. When people burst in with obvious conclusions and reviews, they are ignored. It is easier to softly push truth, and be less offensive. Weighing every spoken word before attempting to speak, tends to downplay the facts. Actually, the truth is restrained in the process.

Most of us listen more to the kinder version of evaluations, but I have no doubt the impact is stronger when given the blatant compelling honest version upfront. The condemnation is devastating but inquiries arise quickly, and solutions are attempted.  If something is vital, do we get a free pass to speak immediately? Can we state our aim is pure and honorable, so overlook the bluntness? Maybe veracity is becoming hidden, because so many of us claim to fear truth. This unconsciously promotes the continuance of lies.

Of course it never appears to be appropriate to insult a person's attributes, opinions, or social, political or religious beliefs. Should we get involved with issues that  hurt others emotionally, physically, morally, verbally, or sexually? Perhaps most of us would agree that in those situations stepping forward is necessary. Interrogations arise regarding the truth, the reasons, the measurement of the right or wrong, and the rights of an individual to have privacy. We are all so  totally chained to being politically correct, that we end up saying or doing nothing.

Probably those times we did confront an issue head on, we were perceived as the bad guy and nothing got accomplished. Most likely that is why we waver about helping or staying in the background. Staying detached from actual answers spares us the questions. By being removed from uncomfortable situations we delay the effort to search for results and we maintain a façade of peace. I personally think that those  moments we spoke without support, are still vitally important. Nobody can erase the speech, and perhaps there will be some people who review what was said. Likely it can be the forerunner of change in the future.

The negative daily responses we give to others, perhaps are surface, and due to our own stress relieving need. They no doubt pain the receiver, but we think of them as harmless. They likely are more than harmless. We don't want to open the door to actual answers, that might result in more inquiries. Fearing the unknown  is difficult. We all must examine our own motives and fears about acknowledging truth of any kind when given a problem. Perhaps the hesitation that follows is the result of our own guilt, or that of some friends.

It is difficult  to face our own shame, and very harsh to admit fault in our friends or families. If we view the critical remarks as harsh, it actually keeps the truth covered up. Fact is then coated in a falsehood. Saving face or respecting only designated rights, allows one to pick and choose randomly.  The end result is loss of our humane code of ethics. Our hearts alone can tell us what is worthy of reflection.

The victims age, color, sex,  political or religious beliefs and economic status is irrelevant. All that is required is attention to the obvious suffering endured. Whatever  leaves people without options hope or love, demands our attention. Situations of the homeless, needy, and emotionally abused kids and adults, shouldn't be left on the shelf for softer replies. If we have pride in our toughness, then we shouldn't shirk at facing some honesty. It is never about shame or blame. It is about transforming problem situations.  Courage helps us confront the  difficult facts we encounter, when presented with some truths.

"The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others." John Locke

"In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same."        Albert Einstein

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."    Thomas Jefferson

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."    Galileo Galilei

Anxiety Commitments"Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They'll stay faithful as long as it's safe and doesn't involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going."    Charles Stanley

"When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you're making a commitment and difference in that person's life. Encouragement really does make a difference."    Zig Ziglar

"Love, above all things, is a commitment to your choice." ―Rob Liano

“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”
― Steve Hal

Commitment always brings on the fear. Just the word will make most of us cringe. I think women as well as men, are nervous when they hear the word spoken. As much as I am a spontaneous person, and always willing to go along with someone's agenda, I hate to be tied down to commitments of any kind. I even  end my doctors visits, upon receiving the card for my next appointment, with the words, "I'll call and change it if I can't make it." I can't remember many times I had to change it, but the  relief I feel, knowing I can switch it, is a stress reliever.

Because I spend a lot of time contemplating my feelings, and the emotions of others, I do think about why we all worry about commitments. Maybe it begins during childhood, when we have to clean up our room, or we don't get to have a friend over, or we don't go outside. Even adults recall the set times they had for homework, as well as the struggle to keep grades within the free of criticism zone, .

I get the feeling that obligations conjure  fear and worry that we might fail. As we  mature we are anxious about maintaining friendships, preserving bonds of love for our spouses and  marriages. Those vows  become even harder to maintain and the stress increases. Maybe that is the point of time we begin to mention the transgressions  of others, so that our own mistakes diminish. We convince ourselves, and attempt to convince others, that we are not really as bad as the folks over there.

Children are a natural add on and break the bank with stress. Now we really have to grow up and become an adult. I find that many times one is catching up on duties and responsibilities. We listen to others,  and get involved  with many activities, to ensure our kids will be pleased. There  is a lot of importance placed on their fitting in  with their peer groups. We turn to the media to discuss our problems, and receive more advice, than we could  ever have time  to read. It appears that as soon as one person hits upon an achievable and worthy solution, everyone  jumps on the wagon. We breathe a sigh of  relief feeling that the answer has been given. Of course there are times when nothing works for every situation.

When kids get into a predicament of any kind, we step back, reflect, and hope one of the solutions works. When it doesn't, we must rethink. Now the stress which actually never left us in the  first place, renews itself and drags us down. I would venture to say that at this point we are discouraged and wondering what went wrong. We followed the  rules, and advice, to the best of our ability, and we took care of the kids and bills  etc.

Perhaps our spouse appears to have changed in numerous ways. When did this happen. Our kids seem ungrateful and disrespectful. Our parents are aging and  demanding. Our kids  are maturing and moving on, working or attending college. They hardly speak  to us. Now we are loaded down with responsibilities, which are the results of all of our obligations. We understand what promises  are,  what they mean, how they impact our lives, and why we hate them.

I can't leave myself at this place, so I contemplate the  whole ball of wax, up to this time in my life. It was a surprise to discover, that all of it was the  result of my own expectations, and ideas regarding commitments. Promises are not chains to bind us, restrain us, force us to pay bills, or suffer consequences. Parents don't have kids, so that they will be cared for in their old age. Marriages were never begun with a rule book, and consequences for failing to live up to expectations. Most of our vows or commitments were made out of love.

Now I am thinking what is the reality behind our lives, and how do we live, laugh, have fun, and find time for love. That almost  appears to be fantasy, but perhaps life is the way we see it. If we had absolutely nothing, the entire world would be a wonderful place, as long as  we  received love from others. Our hearts would be bursting  with pleasure and joy. We would feel care and empathy,  because the gift of love is without attachments. There is no necessity to repay. We perhaps keep our commitments to love, out of love and not force. It somehow makes pledges a pleasure to keep.

Basically,  by being more mindful of what we have, and what we receive, we increase our happiness. I suggest the importance of reflecting on what is right in our lives, and what is  precious and worth holding on to. Perhaps  we have forgotten the  real reasons our parents pressured us to study and do homework. They wanted us capable and ready to enjoy the world through our knowledge. Most likely a better job, or developing a talent, that would help us to survive in a difficult world, was high on their agendas.

I think when we fall in love, it provides us with the  profound feeling of worthiness. Another person convinces us that we are special, unique and worthy of love. Of course being spiritual beings should help us to be aware of all of that, but  somehow perhaps we lose the knowledge.  It can be rekindled, by someone who cares about us, and showers love upon us. We get so busy with our lives, we forget to nurture that fire of love. It is still there, but perhaps needs to be  rekindled, and stoked with compliments. Even children thrive on encouragement.

Kids are  awesome but they take our time, energy and love. Many times they take these precious gifts for granted. We accept the insults, because we love unconditionally and are loved unconditionally. As difficult as life can get, when we have kids, our life has great meaning. Raising kids is the most worthy, and powerful job, we will ever accomplish. We are sending our beloved children into the world, to spread more love. We have an awesome job. Love grows as it is given away.

Worry and fear make us dread sharing our friends. We believe they would prefer another over us. Deep down we must accept the truth, that we are worthy of another person's love. If we believe this, then it allows our friendships to be free and opened. Releasing our bonds encompasses more individuals. Parents might unwittingly pit one sibling against another. Upon maturity we can consider the fact, especially if we are parents, that all kids are loveable. The pain and stress occurs, when parents compare their  children. Competition hinders the emotional security of children, and causes jealousies and rivalries to begin.

Marriages require attention. I don't mean one must get  away for the weekend, although that might be nice. The small thoughtful gestures, and remarks, enhance the love. Money is not going to ever buy real love. Honest love must be cultivated, with emotional attachments of kindness through words and actions. Just being aware of someone's hurt and pain, brings comfort to them. Being  mindful is important in marriage. If we are tuned into the one we love, we become concerned with emotional states and mannerisms.  It generates understanding from every movement. If we are too busy to notice the innuendos, love diminishes.

It is not always enough to simply say I love you, to parents, kids or spouses. Others must sense the faith in those words. This comes from paying attention to each other. When we have accomplished that, we will have improved all of our relationships in a deeper way. The stress, worry and fear, will dissipate somewhat, and the sense of contentment and security will strengthen. We might find we enjoy so much more, and our senses will become alive with the wonder of the surrounding world. Our lives may continue to be busy, but we will leave room  always, for the important things in  life, which are free.  Focus on love, serenity, and mindfulness, rather than commitments and obligations.

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

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

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

Holiday Thoughts"I don't need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled."    Anonymous

"The Holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings, and seek out ways to make life better for those around us."    Terri Marshal

The holidays are coming and you can already feel the anxiety. We all have it yet think we are the only ones sensing the stress. Some of us hide our fear better than others but without a doubt none of us like being criticized or gossipped about  when the occassion is over. In truth our reality differs from what another experiences. None of us comprehend the  total meaning  behind words actions or gifts  and we fret about our own situation unaware of the bombs we drop on others.

Attempt to experience a good time without negative thinking before it begins. Don't poison your holiday with negative expectations. Setting yourself up for a  lousy time will already define your experience. Remember that as much as you want a good time so does the rest of the family. Hurting your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law creates a disastrous happening for the son or husband. It takes only one person to make or break the happiness. It is your choice so choose wisely. It reflects on all of us. Every Holiday is different and can't really be repeated. Love can always be present and repeated time and again. Following are a few hints derived from  my books and my  thoughts on the subject and others feelings about it.

AFTER THE DIVORCE, DON’T THROW THE FAMILY OUT WITH THE EX-HUSBAND
1. Take control of the situation at the beginning. Trashing your MIL in front of the kids will fuel distrust in your kids. If you stopped loving dad and grandma you just might stop loving them one day.
2. When your marriage has ended, the kids are dislodged and dealing with many changes. The grandparent relationship becomes more significant to them, offering some stability.
3. Put aside fear, doubts, anger and especially revenge. It only leads to dumping more hurt upon yourself and your kids.
4. Talk to your MIL and explain to her how much your kids value her. Allow her to continue her relationship with them. In this way you avoid revenge which is a contagious disease that infects everyone
5. Your child’s happiness is more important than convincing your MIL she is wrong. There are no winners or losers in any confrontation. Kids suffer defeat every time a family member is absent from their lives.
6. Generating bonds of respect with your MIL will keep your ex-husband more involved with the kids. Bonds of love are always more difficult to break.
7. Your MIL loves her grandchildren and she will treat you with respect if it means her connection to her grandchildren will continue.
8. Be patient and give your MIL time to heal. Being non-judgmental allows you to heal and have some support from your MIL. The MIL, DIL relationship is like any other. It requires time and effort.
9. With tolerance and acceptance, the barriers both women have constructed will break down. We can’t fight with someone who is just not taking the bait and fighting back.
10. In the end it is wise to remember you, your ex-husband, MIL, and children are part of a large quilt which includes all of you. Your kids have roots that are tangled with each family member. Damaging any parts of their roots destroys pieces of their foundation. Keep kids healthy and strong in mind and body. Do what it takes and strive for peace.

Kids can be jealous of step kids and especially half siblings. Kids resent step parents disciplining them and one must question fairness when their own kids are involved. Kids exhibit more anger due to numerous stresses of mixed homes, many parents and disciplinarians and more kids to compete with. Be consistent, don't compare, attempt to be on the same page, and always give respect time and love. Don't fight in front of kids and never talk about the other parent or allow the step parent to do this as it will only hurt the child. Instill rules with meaningful consequences and provide choices. Willingly accept support from extended family members; You don't want to cut your kids roots and thus destroy the plant. Kids are sensing a loss of family otherwise.

Reflections for Mothers-in-Law
Remember your daughter-in-law has a family, too. She cherishes spending time with them holiday central, and be thankful to share it with people you love.

Your daughter-in-law may anticipate visiting her family on the holidays. She might be more anxious to see them if they live at a distance. Try to give of yourself. When all is said and done, we remember who did what for us quicker than who gave what to us. It is fun to visit with someone throughout the year. The holidays are only a short period of time. It is the people who make the holiday special.You cannot compete with your daughter-in-law‟s mother. You can become a significant ally to your daughter-in-law. Promote your own relationship of family love with her.

Each holiday is unique in itself. It is not possible or necessary to repeat a holiday experience. Embrace each holiday. They have their own distinct moments. Give unconditionally, and you will not be disappointed. Equating the gifts from your daughter-in-law or mother-in-law to the value she places on your worth is a mistake. Most of us choose a gift we would prefer for ourselves and one we can afford. Holiday traditions change, and are a part of life. When a child starts school it is change and when a child marries it is  change. Bear with each other regarding the changes. Join in the festivities.

Reflections for Daughters-in-Law
Lend a helping hand when possible, and remember to value the person who donates his or her time and effort for you. Make an effort to visit with your mother-in-law at other times during the year. This is especially important if you do not get to spend the holi-days with her.

Remember to cherish your mother-in-law‟s traditions. They were developed over numerous years and possess profuse memories. Be fair in dividing your time and your husband‟s with your respective families. Your mother-in-law deserves equal attention. Invite your mother-in-law for a holiday as you would your own mother. She is your husband‟s mother.

Do not equate your mother-in-law‟s or daughter-in-law's gifts to how she cherishes you.
Do not anticipate quantity from your holidays or from your gifts. Search for quality.
Accept your mother-in-law‟s invitations to holiday meals whenever you are able.
Your family‟s traditions and your husband‟s family traditions will differ. Accept and enjoy these differences. Have faith that love is shared and celebrated every day, not just on a holiday.

"Having somewhere to go is HOPE, Having someone to love is FAMILY, having both is a BLESSING."    Anonymous

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" Bob Hope

"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it''s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

“Don’t spoil Christmas Day by anticipating how it will be. Let is unfold as it does, and be grateful for whatever comes.”     Toni Sorenson

“The spirit of Christmas is found when we lift the load of others.”     Toni Sorenson

Chained"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."    Dalai Lama

"When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others."    Dalai Lama

"When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need."    Dalai Lama

"All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives."    Dalai Lama

We are so controlled by our thoughts that they might as well  be chains. I am inclined to believe that our bad habits are due to our inability to stop, alter or even think about them. We can't stop or won't because as long as we keep our summary of what is within our ability to change, it allows us to keep repeating and doing whatever is a bad habit or action becasue it isn't in our power to stop it. It gives us the green light to do as we want because we can't help it so  we profess.  Somehow it requires some special force to alter situations.

In a way we are chained by these reasonings because we make no attempt to switch things up. I look at it as an unending get our of jail free card like we play in the game monopoly. No responsibility is needed and no reflection of what we say or do is attempted and no guilt is dispersed. It definitely makes life easier but then again I am not sure about that.

If we remain convinced we are powerless to replace anything then no attempt to modify things will ever be made. So why do we convince ourselves we can't transform thought. I would guess  perhaps it has to do with our secret desire to keep things the way they are. We don't have to expend any effort nor thinking on the subject. We are also exempt from blame and continue down the same path performing or judging in the same manner. Technically we are not disturbed nor troubled about any wrongs that are occurring.

I remember in a college study there was an experiment on accountability and the distance a person will go to, as long as they believe they are not going to be blamed. People in the study were to press a button and render a shock to a person in another room upon the request of the one in charge. The one pressing the button could hear the  scream of the individual receiving the shock. Their were over one hundred people tested yet only two stopped pressing the button on their own. The rest kept giving the shocks as directed knowing that each time the shcok was a bit stronger and at one point considered lethal. In their minds they were absolved from any guilt  because someone else told them to do it.

We are kidding ourselves  because we can all think and reflect on what it is we are doing. We should be thinking about what we are doing before we do it. Maybe we are absolving ourselves so much that we have given ourselves a blank check to say and do as we please. Life becomes simple without accountability. In the process we become chained to our  fears, wants, desires, thoughts and habits. If we believe they can't be helped then we continue onward making no attempt at a transformation.

I see this as locking ourselves in with the key in our pocket, but as long as we don't make the attempt to unlock the door we will stay contained. If a person enjoys eating, smoking, drugs, shopping, socializing or anything else that is carried to excess,  it can be hard to change especially when it is comforting to do. We perhaps trick ourselves into believing it is not in our power to modify the situation. Only by shifting our thinking can we vary the results. Making the attempt is vital otherwise we remain chained as we  coast through our lives. That is not living.

When we feel trapped in a marriage, habit or any other situation it weighs on our minds to the point of running  away or deviating from the path. Probably we aren't even aware of our honest feelings but we might try to become drawn to things that are a worthier choice. The grass is guaranteed not to be greener. As tremendously knowledgeable as our minds are we trick them into believing we couldn't help ourselves. Guilt is washed away blame is absent but problems and hurt bubble up to the surface of our lives. As much as we attempt to  defend our situations we succumb to the truth in the end because the truth sets us free from the chains.

We are never as stuck as we think, nor are we as innocent as we profess. I do think we are unsure of ourselves and life throws in many monkey wrenches. I guess we have to stop trusting in 'they say' and start hearing our conscience. Once we do that we begin taking account of our choices. It is like waking up to the knowledge that we are living our own lives. We shouldn't  dream, pretend or lie to ourselves and others. It is at that point we unlock those chains keeping us bound.

I am aware that profound understanding does not happen overnight but taking the first step to enlightenment is like opening the book of that knowledge. It is the grown up stage of development when you can't blame other people  for your mistakes. Maybe we are in an arrested development when we choose to believe we are unable to alter bad habits thoughts actions or situations and when we place the fault on others.

The fact that we are taking responsibility for what we do and say fosters spiritual maturity. By ignoring veracity we never own up to our mistakes. Although admitting our faults may be difficult and painful, I think it makes us whole instead of a shadowy figure. We become tangible and pliable and capable of understanding and learning. We actually see the entire forest and we lose the tunnel vision. I believe we become part of the whole and observe the connection we have.

You can look at every situation as if it were one that keeps you chained or one that requires your effort to overcome. See it in the light rather than in the darkness. Don't think about the nighttime, rejoice in your daytime in all areas of your life. Babies and or marriage are work but the comfort and love received can't be matched. Choose the way you want to perceive this. Recall that you always have freedom and a huge amount of worth. There is no competition except what we foster in our own minds. There is no race for the finish line. There is only a learning process that allows us to become whole. We know we are making progress when we become more serene within our own lives.

By supporting others along the way we actually promote our own soul growth. As with baking, all of the ingredients are important and not one is more so than another. To prove this all we need to do is leave one small ingredient out and the result is terrible. All of us are necessary to the making of the whole, while one loss results in casting a shadow over us all. Unlock your chains and strive to make the necessary changes in your life. Together we produce everlasting light .

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
Atisha

Correct thought: avoiding covetousness, the wish to harm others and wrong views (like thinking: actions have no consequences, I never have any problems, there are no ways to end suffering etc.)

Correct speech: avoid lying, divisive and harsh speech and idle gossip.

Correct actions: avoid killing, stealing and sexual misconduct

Correct livelihood: try to make a living with the above attitude of thought, speech and actions.

Correct understanding: developing genuine wisdom.
(The last three aspects refer mainly to the practice of meditation)

Correct effort: after the first real step we need joyful perseverance to continue.

Correct mindfulness: try to be aware of the "here and now", instead of dreaming in the "there and then".

Correct concentration: to keep a steady, calm and attentive state of mind.    Buddha

What We Do Know"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." ~Erma Bombeck

"Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded."    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up."    Albert Schweitzer

I'm sure we have all heard the phrase, 'What you don't know won't hurt you.' Of course there are many ways to look at that. If we don't know we are ill then it might hurt us. We could debate this for hours, but I believe that what we haven't stopped to consider, will affect us in profound ways.

We are not far removed from the squirrels, birds  and other animals we study as they search for  food, mates, homes and security. I laugh at  the birds visiting my feeder, as they fight to gain access to the food. One morning I remember saying out loud, "There is enough food why are they fighting instead of waiting?" Of course at that moment, I realized they were behaving  just the same as people.

From the time we are born, our parents strive to get us into the best schools they can afford. The search begins to enhance our chances, and our lives. We don't question what does enhancement mean. We are told the  bigger house, fancier car and multiple material  gains are equivalent to success. Not having any other options or opinions available, we carry the myth forward, and work hard to gain more of everything. Few  of us stop  to consider why. Perhaps the questioning might lead us to question, what we don't know and are not told. ...continue reading "Finding Truth"

When I was first married, I had the tiniest place, but I was thrilled with it and with my life. I planted about two flowers, in the smallest area anyone  could own. The place was rented, but the simple gadgets we bought, were our own. It was home. As the years passed, we needed more room for the expanding family. We searched for a new place to live. That is when reality set in. It became paramount, according to the rules of society, to buy in the best town we could afford. Upon seeing the houses, it was clear that the more we were able to spend,  the greater the quality of the house, and the more features it had. This seems like a simple economic lesson, yet to me, it felt like I was joining the human race and I mean race.

We bought  a  home, still live in it and happily raised our kids. I can recall numerous people bemoaning their stepping stone homes. Their dissatisfaction  with their current place was obvious. It appeared so sad to me. How did they get up in the  morning with a smile of contentment. Of course they didn't. They were living in a fictional future world. They wanted certain items that they didn't yet have and their whole energy was focused on the acquisition of such items. They were unhappy people. The end to the story is the marriage ended in a divorce, before the future house was bought.

I began to understand the race, when my child did not get accepted in the preschool of choice. I apparently did not apply soon enough. The place I sent him to was wonderful and I was blessed that  he went to it. The struggles of maintaining the correct teachers, and staying abreast to make sure my kids were not overlooked, took a toll. People infringed on others sons and daughters. At long last I gave  up the control, and went with the flow. I decided that everything was in God's  hands, and whatever happened was for the best. That was a liberating day. I continued to monitor my kids, and their work, but left the micromanagement to others.

I was not accepted into the  top social circles in my area. I didn't care, because with four kids I was too busy to care. I had to make an extra effort to find things out on my own, but somehow it always was okay. One of the teachers, considered to be horrible, unbeknownst to me, became one of my  son's best teachers. He still remembers her name.

Perhaps what I  didn't know hurt me, in the area of associating with people, who were considered the ruling group in town. My kids were also, not on the guest lists of the favored ruling school group. That is a truth, and people don't like to hear it, but there has always been a division of players. We all know it, and know our place. Nobody tells you, it just happens.

My life raising kids was awesome. I spent time with my kids, and enjoyed being with them. I didn't need others to confirm, what I thought was right or wrong. It was a long road, but I eventually trusted myself. We  instilled virtues and values uncommonly mentioned. Taking myself out of the race, meant a certain amount of exclusion and missed celebrations. It also meant no pressure to be and act in ways I didn't want.

If we had never seen another way of living, or viewed the  material gains of others, we might never have even thought of their existence. When we are all bombarded with so many things we might purchase, it can leave us envious of others and without contentment. If we are constantly looking for more, to satisfy  some uncontrolled desire, then we never notice what is in front of us, that is very cherished. In that case what we do know  hurts us. We tend to be influenced by others. This leads us into devaluing, what we have within reach.

Some of us get caught up in the tidal wave of living unconsciously. Others encourage us,  prod us, or flaunt in front of us. The resistance is hard. It requires some soul searching, to discover what is real, about us and our lives. When we cut the puppet strings from our lives, we learn to treasure the intangible possessions, that we cherish the most. Living is not aimlessly receiving more and more. Living is nurturing, loving, caring, respecting, displaying kindness, virtue, morality and spiritual  growth. We have the choice to get off of the wheel, or keep running towards what we don't know, that will hurt us in the end.

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."    Albert Schweitzer

"The highest proof of the spirit is love. Love the eternal thing which can already on earth possess as it really is."    Albert Schweitzer

"Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier." Albert Schweitzer

"Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach."    Anonymous

"Don't  ask if you are happy, ask yourself if your life has meaning."    Anonymous

Coping"I can't stop the waves but I can learn to surf." Unknown

"When life's problems seem overwhelming, look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself fortunate." Unknown

“Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.”     Eckhart Tolle

How pompous it is to assume we know what another is feeling or dealing with in their lives. I for one have done that  so many times that I am drowning in my thoughts of regret. I never said anything hurtful to the people who were suffering with situations but I never totally understood the depth of their problems. Suffice it to say that I now realize there are perhaps many issues others must face that are much more difficult than they appear on the surface.

Maybe it has to do with competition. We have faith that we love the most, work the hardest and suffer the worst. The truth is there are many paths of suffering we endure. It is paramount that we don't attempt to underestimate another burden sorrow or worry. We can be so off the mark yet assuming we are on target and know exactly what is going on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I suppose  that is why there are support groups for a variety  of problems. Who else would understand what one is going through except those who have walked the road.

How many times one hears someone without kids mention that mom and dad must be so tired from coping with the baby or children. As much as they mean well, they can't grasp the all consuming job parenting is. They will only comprehend it when they become parents. Of course the perks of the peanut butter kisses and muddy hugs far outweigh the burdens of parenting. Parents of teens likely will confess that their lives with kids are even more difficult than the constant wake up calls at night from babies and toddlers. Parents of babies and toddlers might disagree but time will prove the answer. ...continue reading "Coping"

Dealing with empty nest  syndrome is a profound enlightenment. Parents  are more aware of their own mortality and are forced to confront tremendous transformations in their lives. The further away their kids move, the harder the emotional distancing becomes. Many of us try to comfort friends and some acquaintances with our casual remarks about the changes. Unless one has been through it personally in one way or another, it can't be explained. It is like being tremendously happy yet profoundly devastated. We are glad our kids have wings but we miss them.

Those who deal with sick or injured children are in a class by themselves, Their burden is so powerful, they can only cope with divine intervention. Most people offer their sympathy and shy away from any kind of advice. Divorce and death of spouses' brings a total transformation. Most of us refrain from giving comfort to the divorced because we believe it is a mutual dissolution which it might not be. Their loss can be as close to a death as one gets without the actual experience. Even if it was desired, one is still experiencing a transition and many alterations.

Alzheimer's and dementia are the secret problems we talk about in whispers. So many are affected that  we choose to pretend it suddenly just happened, this unusual circumstance, yet is is very prevalent especially due to the longevity of peoples' lives. Many people don't like to hear it and would rather deny it because it may bring their own fear out in the open. What we do fear we isolate ourselves from it and express our sorrow to others without really comprehending what another is facing.  I can't say it is anyone's fault. I do think that when we don't understand an issue we should at the least refrain from the judgements of those  caregivers who are dealing with it.

Those who don't have kids shouldn't pretend they know how to raise them or assume they could do a better job. Kids are different and require a variety of parental attitudes for nurturing them. I remember a good friend who admitted how critical she was of other peoples' kids. Her daughter was quiet and easy to handle. Then her son was born and she said one day, "If I hadn't had him I would never have known how hard it was to raise a child. I assumed all those people with unruly kids just didn't know how to manage them correctly.  Now I know kids are not the same and it isn't easy." I admired her truthfulness along with her awareness.

Parents love unconditionally.  That means they accept the tantrums and heartaches kids dump on them. I see parents as taking the place of God  on earth. They must suffer without retaliation at times. They suffer the pains of their kids even more than their kids are hurting. They feel what their kids feel. Nobody can explain that kind of love to another person.

Loss of a spouse brings about changes in our lives. Nothing is the same and new habits must be formed. Nobody can discuss the simple small things that are now missing. One perhaps misses the rolled up towel on the floor or the dirty socks by the bedside. They miss the smell of the Saturday morning coffee. The list is endless. Dementia can be similar because the things someone used to do they can't do anymore. They are really not the same person and that can't be explained in fifteen or twenty minutes on a phone call. The closer one is to the truth, the quicker the recognition, and the feeling of loss.

Sickness forces the healthy to take on more responsibility with new jobs added to the overburdened. I now understand how a simple, 'you must be so tired.' is so off the mark. I would now venture to say "I can't really understand or appreciate what you are experiencing but I am sorry for your difficulties and admire your strength."

The last thing I would want to do now is judge or gossip. If I am not walking in your shoes how can I state what I would or wouldn't do. I can accept you,  wish you comfort and support in any possible way you deem appropriate. How prideful we are when we assume we can handle a situation so much better than the person attempting to do it. Instead I would be thankful I am not tested in that manner.

We all face our problems. Isn't it time we simply smiled and in that smile admitted our limited knowledge about the situation. Probably understanding that the person is coping the best they can is all we must acknowledge in order to provide peace and serenity for that person. Many times in our lives we can appear strong and capable. Many other times we might feel desperate, vulnerable and helpless in a given situation. A kind hand, smile or gesture of goodwill will do more service than all the criticism of the proper handling of a dilemma. As they say, people won't remember what you did but they will remember how you made them feel.

Perhaps the most damaging thing we can do is underestimate another person's burdens. What we perceive as simple may  be far more hurtful and damaging to them than we will ever know. We all live in our own prisons. What we endure cannot be measured or quantified. We should be thankful we are not experiencing  what we see another suffer.  Offering our empathy, and giving our support diminishes pain.  We don't want to inflict more sorrow with nasty gossip. Lighten someone's load today and perhaps tomorrow they will be there  for you.

"Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have." Unknown

"Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends." George Muellar

“Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”     Eckhart Tolle

Discouragement“Never say that you can't do something, or that something seems impossible, or that something can't be done, no matter how discouraging or harrowing it may be; human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds. We are each the masters of our own reality; when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible."     Mike Norton

“Never let someone who draws a line and say you can't cross it intimidate you. Don't be discouraged when someone says you can't do it. You might have been the only one sent to do it.”     Israelmore Ayivor

"Belief is truth held in the mind; Faith is a fire in the heart."    Unknown

"The christian life is not a constant high. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes and say oh God forgive me or help me."    Billy Graham

It is getting closer to that time of year when everyone begins thinking about what is wrong in their lives. It is the holiday season, the time of year we quantify our happiness by how our gains measure up against another s. The spouse is in jeopardy and the kids though we love them, can be disappointing. We wonder if we created the mess or if the chaos simply arrives around the holidays. We spruce ourselves up and have faith we'll get through it without too many obstacles. How sad to have to 'get through' some enjoyable times.

All I can say is if you begin the holiday season convinced it is  going to be hurtful and depressing, then most likely it will be. The thing is we search for what we believe is there. So if you have faith it will be a disaster then you will eventually find it in people's attitudes with you or with the many issues that evolve from being together with family.

In order to have a good time one must go into it with the approach that I will have a great time regardless of any pessimistic people. You have to embrace the good that you see and attempt to understand the bad. If you come to terms with the injuries others have cause you, you become aware of why it happens. This provides the option of laying it to rest. You see it isn't always about us although we most definitely believe it is. The alternative is to find blame in us.

People's thoughts and feelings influence their every mood. The trouble is sometimes we already have our reasons and mindset before we even come up against any oppositions. If we are attending aunt Deirdra's dinner and start thinking about what a horrible cook she is and how loudly she talks and how many comments she makes to everyone, then we already have a negative outlook for the occasion. We plan to have a bad day.

As much as we deny it we might be sabotaging our own good time. Recall something about the dinner you like even if it is the bread, rolls or desert. contemplate the guest list and plan on sitting beside some people you like. Switch the game plan and instead of remaining quiet and frowning and pouting, offer a compliment about the meal, table setting or decorations. Maybe aunt Deirdre puts effort into creating an atmosphere of welcome and nobody takes notice. Perhaps she will be pleased with the compliment and settle down to a more pleasant tone of voice.

So many times we blame others for our own foul mood yet  never comprehend our degree of fault. After any gathering we go home and review the entire evening and make constant judgements. We can recall spoken words, gestures slights insults and other negative issues that occurred. Including myself, I don't  understand why we don't remember the kindness and gentle retorts and laughter from that day. It just has to do with our focus and where we are placing our concentration. Picking apart the day for the rotten pieces is pessimistic. Why not cherish the good laugh.

Anybody who is already assuming a certain outcome will likely receive that end. We have created our own reality. If we want to get along with others we have to search for those things in them that we like and or admire. That will create a happier environment. How simple it is yet not very often acted upon. I suppose when we asses the issue others can't measure up to us, our friends or family. We must find fault. Reflecting on it long enough would make one laugh at the silliness of it. Jealousy, competition and calculations rear their ugly heads again. Trouble is we are the losers before we play the game.

If we poison our thoughts, expect the worst, and shut our senses down then no light of pleasure and good will is able to enter. Later, upon contemplation, we really must blame ourselves. Baiting our opponent and causing disagreements is our offense. We can't lose our way as we travel through a myriad of roads and challenges. We can't spend so much time observing others and their gains. The happy person is the one who depends the least on what he has. Even when we love we must not hold tightly and hang on. We should be thankful for the love received and be aware that it is a treasure bestowed but not acquired to be kept restricted.

If love is kept a prisoner in a box  then it will become infected and die. If it is allowed to freely travel it will encompass many others and will grow to unlimited heights. Fear is the crippling culprit. We all fear releasing what we love, worrying it won't come back and we will lose it. Hence we can understand why mothers-in-law fear daughters-in-law and why daughters-in-law have so much anxiety over mothers-in-law, why siblings fight with siblings, and why friends separate their friends because they  worry about the loss to another worthier person so they believe.

If we are anxious about attending a family even or hosting one, we must consider the fact that others might be fearing the event as much as we are. If we let go of the preconceived notions we have which most likely have a bit of truth and a bit of embellishment we just might release a lot of unnecessary troubles. I would hate to face some judgement calls on myself. So unless you are without any blame transform your irrational attitudes and remember what is really important and meaningful about your life.

If you  enjoy drama then you will create it with negative emotions entering the happy environment. Perhaps you will win and manifest the worst holiday gathering ever. Is that your mission, to make others unhappy and destroy everyone's good time? If you want instead to just have a happy moment of peace and serenity transformation is in order. Set your thoughts on the amount of people in your life that you are happy about. There is no need to rate them into classes. They all serve a purpose and we find as we travel through life many times our appraisal of them  changes. It makes no difference,  because it is all about love and love has no measurement and no conditions it simply loves. We can love more than one person and we wont' deplete the love but increase it.

Perhaps we need to believe in our own worth. We are lovable. We have meaning as does our lives. We probably are the maker of our own troubles or triumphs. So I suppose it is time we made a solid effort to promise ourselves we will have happy holiday times. Let go of grudges and you release mounds of stress. Hang on to it and you are bound so tightly nothing will penetrate. Love without chaining it and you will find so much more of love out there than you ever thought was possible.

"Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement."    Joyce Meyer

"I think a big test we all face in life on a regular basis is that discouragement test. Life's not always fair, but I believe if you keep doing the right thing, God will get you to where you are."   Joel Osteen

"Not only is our love for our children sometimes tinged with annoyance, discouragement, and disappointment, the same is true for the love our children feel for us."    Bruno Bettelheim

"Nobody else can make us discouraged; it is a choice that we alone make when facing disappointments."  Dr. Charles Stanley

"(Discouragement) Can be temporary–or it can destroy our life. The choice is ours. If we refuse to deal with discouragement head-on, we are opening the door for it to completely dominate our life."      Dr. Charles Stanley

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 "Self Discovery"

Are we fooled by others or by us?  That might be the real question. I know I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and people. So much time doing that that I forget about my own agenda and focus on others, their problems and the way they and the world sees me. It resonates with truth. Again I define myself by what others see. I simply find it so hard to see what they see when it is positive, yet any critical knowledge given to me about myself is processed quickly and sticks like glue to the brain. I can remember hurts from childhood that have stayed with me.

Talking to others has made me aware of the fact that so many people are suffering the same feelings. They fault themselves as much as I do and when I listen to a rendition of their beliefs about themselves, I hear me in their words. As much as I defend them against their own opinions of themselves, I always lose the battle. They smile at me and thank me for the kind and encouraging words but then they walk away with the same opinions of self. I sense that I have hardly made a dent on their soulful situation.

I ask myself what does it take for any of us to be comfortable with self? How does one learn to like never mind love self? Why is it  difficult if not impossible to like oneself? The questions are troublesome and very intense. I think that is why they don't get answered. It takes a lot of time and effort. We don't cure our country's problems or world problems for the same reasons. We want truth but not really. Uncovering the veil and viewing reality is brutal. We are not ready and likely never will be without confronting many more areas than we want.

Does a society want to learn the ways they must change in order to have peace? I would venture to say no. Does the government want to change the infrastructure of its' economy to improve lives? No it is way too complicated, involved and disruptive to everyone. We all long for changes but not transformation which is probably what we would be looking at. So we bereave our lots, attempt change, continue to dislike ourselves at times and wonder at our total confusion.

I am the same way. I end up feeling overwhelmed and just too busy to make the attempt and too tired for the endurance level it calls for. So it leaves us in defeat and at times despair. They say we have more young adults and teens as well as older people  committing suicide. It is almost easy to see why. If one is always concentrating on what is wrong about themselves it is no wonder they can't find what is good in them. Our game of working on self leaves us losing and disgusted. I'd like to make it work for me and I know others must feel the same way. There are no sure instructions on self improvement and self-love. We use the books attempt the therapies but most times believe we have made progress but haven't fixed the problem totally.

It is hard to view ourselves through another. They are in the same position we are. if they are having a bad day then what do they have left to give to us. We need to find it within because nobody can do the searching as good as we can when it comes to self evaluation. We sometimes enjoy wallowing in our own defeat. We sense we somehow deserve it. This analysis practically encourages our own defeat. By thinking we are not ever good enough,  gives blessing to our fears. We live up to our own low expectations and the low expectations of others.

If someone believes in us, how much harder we  work at living up to that image. I would almost venture to say maybe we are afraid to see the good positive qualities within ourselves  because that would make us understand how much good is in us. We couldn't sit back waiting for others to fix things if we recognized the power we had within ourselves to fix it. We might be forced to appreciate us. That is powerful and troublesome. Now we might have to act.

Maybe it really is the moment to have faith in ourselves. No we are not perfect. yes we make many mistakes. There are times we get hurt due to not valuing ourselves. If we are rejected so what. We are still worthy people. Believing in self allows us to comprehend the big world and the whole picture. Young adults have options to meet many other people. To believe that we can't be loved truly by someone is not so. Many others find us loving and worthy. Giving up on us is not an option. Trusting in us is the choice. We can fix and nurture ourselves and do the best job. We know we are capable. We are hiding if we say we can't do things. We can. Own up to your own worth. By doing so you will improve yourself.

No matter how difficult it is to find things we admire in us  find them because they are there. We have all performed kind acts and offered helpful advice to others along our journey. Don't ever underestimate your worth to yourself or your ability to make a difference to the human world at large. I may not be present at a crucial moment in time that you are there. You are the chosen one to make a difference even if it is in a strangers life.  I might be present at  a time when you are not.

I would suggest we all stop looking outward at the courageous things we see going on around us. Suppose the few peoples' lives we touch make a difference in their ability to influence a herd of others. This is that rippling effect that carries onward. As I mentioned before we never delve too deeply because it is fearful and requires intense and fierce probing and examination. In the end we find how much better a person we really are, because it leads us to focusing on the positive. This gives us the stamina to resolve the negative.

“Never REJECT yourself due to the sins you have committed. REGRET will do nothing; REPENT and do something!”  Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."    Confucius

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."    Confucius

"The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large."    Confucius

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."    Confucius