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

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

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

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

We may not care for our kid's friends, boyfriend's, girlfriend's in-law's etc. We never ask ourselves why? Maybe they are receiving a different slant on the world or about people. Perhaps they are introduced into a different philosophy that we don't like. Whatever the reason, we like to keep the threatening people away from our kids even if it might be a good connection. It leaves one wondering how any of us can love anyone and maintain that love. Do you question why you love anyone? What is it that makes you like them? Do you forgive them? People who are just married will say I would forgive my spouse anything. I think if that were the case we would see fewer divorces.

Why are so many families messed up to the point of never speaking to each other? Do they hate each other or are they hating quickly  without thinking just as they love quickly without reflecting. I am not sure if I am superficial and not spending enough time on my relationships. On the other hand I question if I am doubting so many relationships. I don't know about others but I sense I have not thought enough about what and why I consider or sense what I do care for and reflect about. It may  be easier to simply get along and live in a blissful existence of make believe.

If I haven't lost you yet I want to explain if I can, what my take on this is. I believe we are expected to attain the impossible in the hope of soaring quite high. Every interaction we have with another person is hazardous to our tranquility. It drains us when we are the caretakers or the ones who are supposed to be strong and dependable. That role gets tedious and weighs on our shoulders. The martyr role is boring and makes no progress. The savior role is next to impossible because we all must play the biggest role in our own redemption. Perhaps we are disillusioned and defeated when we want to but can't solve other people's problems.  Being a person who requires attention can make one feel guilty. Nothing apparently brings us peace.

We may question our path and life frequently and we might try again but some insight into our own feelings must be added into the mix, especially if we want answers. I am sure we have all experienced those people who want sympathy, support, help of one kind or another. It can be mental physical or emotional support but when it happens consistently throughout our days it can render a person depleted. It is not a good state to find yourself  in. I know it is awesome to give of oneself but we can't forget to take care of our own needs. If you feel overwhelmed then perhaps you are forgetting to care for self.

Loving others is the hardest thing we can do because on any given day we observe weaknesses and negatives in people. That is annoying or impossible to overlook. That is perhaps why we end up loving people conditionally. It is like you help me and put up with my annoying attitude or remarks and I'll help you and put up with your faults and impatience. Now is that love? I question if there is a sense of forgiveness in our relationships because others  reflecting those horrible traits may be shining the light on those same traits found within us. Imagine if we discovered that we easily found bad habits in others to the extent we find them within our selves. Maybe that is the idea. If we see blame in others and notice then in us we can fix it.

I guess it gives us food for thought. Unconditional love actually means being able to love people enough that you can  forgive the person. It is the simplest thing in the world to love another. People likely could marry someone new every year.  Is that love or gratification for us? Does the person give us a positive sense of self? In the beginning it might be true but eventually we all need support of one kind or another and we all have those nasty traits we like to ignore. When  we discover honesty we just move on rather than confront the truth and the reality of living.

Many people that question long marriages or families that stay together never realize the amount of effort patience love honesty and forgiveness it took to keep the connections alive. Love is not easy and unconditional love is superhuman to develop. It means we tie into forgiveness. It means we accept another's negative words, thoughts and actions and then wrap our arms around them and squeeze until our doubts are gone. That is forgiveness. We know they hurt us, we accept the pain and suffering and we hold on tight and release the injury. When our being is devoid of the wound and pain we can fill our hearts minds and souls  with love. If you cannot release the suffering you have no room for the love and the hurt continues  while the wound festers.

I am no expert at letting pain go but I work on it. I know it is comforting to  have love in my heart rather than suffering the wounds others inflict without regard. That brings me to mindfulness which is something we ought to encourage at all age levels. If we see others as beings of light and deserving  love then we can understand they deserve our regard. That might mean placing their needs above our own at times. Of course it maybe placing our own needs first at times when we are depleted.

Unconditional love is seeing and focusing on the good we see in another person and accepting their bad notions with understanding. It helps us in two  ways. Their wrongs may reflect ours and their wrongs may help us to develop more empathy and tolerance. Either way we are  stronger in the end. Babies don't come with guarantees to love their parents unconditionally. Parents can't always love their kids unconditionally. Marriages break p for the same reasons as do friendships and sibling bonds. If we were capable of loving without conditions we would have the freedom to see and improve  our own imperfections, rather than pretend others have blame but we are perfect.

It isn't easy to forgive when you have been hurt. It isn't easy to turn the other cheek as they say we should. Perhaps with reflection we might come to  a point of comprehending the magnitude of courage it takes to forgive and be thankful for the times others forgave us. It might help us to return the favors to others and learn to forgive other people. Love is not about perfection nor is it about who is more at fault than another. Love is caring compassionate and unconditional at its' best. Love is needy demanding possessive and jealous at its' worst. Strive for  releasing love so it can spread and gain us more love rather than caging it in attempting to keep it safe. We are capable of loving and in an unconditional way. We just have to add forgiveness.

"He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven."     George Herbert

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

"Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love." Francis of Assisi

Animals11“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” Rumi
“The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” Stephen Richards

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

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

I venture to say the power struggle seems to be caused by our inability to respect ourselves. That may seem an absurd answer but  really if a person valued themselves they would not have to prove they are great by winning everyday battles that are nonsensical. Have you ever recalled an argument and wondered why you or they kept such a stupid disagreement going?

Most of us don't like fights but we manage to get into disagreements of all kinds because  we like to win or justify our own opinions on everything. Sometimes others always seem to have the best answers or appear to be most educated. They are the people we hate to always have to back off from. Just once in while we would like to win the discussion no matter how ridiculous it is. I can laugh at some of the issues I know of that went back and forth for over an hour or more. I am almost ashamed that I spent so much time in a silly argument. They weren't giving prizes for the winner and no one was privy to the happening except me and the other person. Now it appears to be so childish that it happened.

When we listen to our child complain about a disagreement with another child we console them and question why it hurt them so much or why they had to continue the fight. We can't see ourselves doing the same things yet we do. If our child argues because they are having a bad day and just don't want to be considered inferior in strength or intelligence then perhaps we are doing the same thing on an adult level.

There are those who irritate us on a good day yet on a bad day they might be intolerable. You will always have those people who know everything and must have the last word and prove their intelligence with proof and sometimes degrees. They attempt to make it impossible for the other person to have an argument that holds water. That is when both may dig in their heels and be determined to win at all costs.

Why is it so important? I am the same way and I think it has something to do with confidence or insecurity. Those of us with little confidence get tired of always being the "child" in the disagreements. Sometimes we would just like to be considered the adult. We never give ourselves the credit we deserve for playing the adult role so often by simply allowing others to profess their self-aggrandizement. I have a lot of respect for those that don't advertise but rather exhibit their achievement by what they do for others.

Within a marriage you have one spouse who may sense they are the smarter one and can buy what they want when they want. There is the other partner who believes they must always run things by their spouse because they don't trust their own opinions. Maybe it should be mutual in the asking and decision making. It seems that many of us don't value ourselves. It is so important to stop placing everything that makes us the person we are available for evaluation. What are we measuring? Are we stronger, smarter, book learned, or life learned? Do we have more compassion, mindfulness, empathy hope or faith? Can we see things through, suffer the long run without giving up? Do we give in quicker, forgive faster or compromise or are we apt to fight for our own desires stand by what we want and hold others accountable no matter how sorry they are? So many more questions that don't always have answers can be added.

If we wanted to understand any one of us we would take a lifetime to find out. I suppose that is why so many people wake up one morning after a few years of marriage and wonder who they married. We are complicated and unique to state it bluntly. Discussing who or what we are is unfathomable especially when you throw in a miserable day or period in our lives along with stress and burdens and work.

Sometimes we have our fill and are determined to keep our own counsel and stand by what we believe to be the truth even if we stand alone and are laughed at. Of course those are likely the days we laugh later at ourselves. We have breaking points, sadness and anger thresholds   and emotional limits. We are also kind enough to give in to the mighty the strong and the intelligent. How is it we recognize the importance of letting some things go while these considered exceptional people walk all over others without any thought. I must question  a person's emotional intelligence when a person has no regard for the life in front of them except to constantly best them.

Exceptional people treat everyone with respect regardless of their backgrounds, education or position in life. They see all people as relevant and important and don't make distinctions. When we don't see  a color but a man, and we don't see a gender but a person,and we don't see a degree but an intelligent thinking person, and we don't see a bank account but a kind individual with a heart for sharing whatever he does have whether it be money, talent or time then we are truly exceptional.

Then we don't have to win an argument, or fight because of our pride or ego and we can be comfortable sharing the limelight with others and we can banish winners and losers and stop the assessments and judgements. We may all have more peaceful days of happy contentment safe in the arms of all people. Our world would be brighter. There would be no need to fight or win arguments because there would be none. All people would be empowered to live without fear or any kind of measurement. Our respect of self and sense of self-esteem would remain intact. Just remember that you are important and definitely more than you can imagine.

“Judgment is a negative frequency.” Stephen Richards

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” Ramana Maharani

“Write it on your heart you are the most beautiful soul of the Universe. Realize it, honor it and celebrate the life.” Amit Ray

 

 

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At a function if I approach a couple of people who appear to be laughing but then stop when I approach, I am sure they are not likely fond of me. It is as if I have ruined their good time and exchange. If I could leave it there it would be okay but this is not the case. I dwell on the event throughout the night and observe them for more signals of their lack of interest in me. I realize everything doesn't involve me but that s why I sense others are not impressed with me  so my confidence is shaken and I become quiet and start taking in the behaviors of others present. The more I see the more I begin attributing connotations for the words and actions of others. Of course my confidence is at an all time low.

It can be so devastating to the point of leaving the function with total insecurity. Of course the next day one of the two people may call me and begin stating their regret for having little time to spend with me. I begin thinking they are reading my mind. Of course I appreciate the basic apology and am happy to discuss the events of the previous day. Now it is the two of us discussing the events and that other person is on the outside.

Now I feel special, worthy and I realize I was mistaken in the belief that I was ignored and not liked. Now that I am older and have spent years observing and contemplating such situations, I comprehend how easily we are led astray in believing in our worthlessness. Another notion occurred to me. We are extremely fragile people. I suppose that must be why we fight and argue so much. Our feelings get hurt and we can't even explain why so we hide away until someone comes to our rescue.

Our next step is to desert those who we perceive as having hurt us for those who came to our rescue. One can see we change friends like we switch our clothes. We perhaps might get around to the same set of clothes just as we do a turn around with our friends. I guess we are a people who never truly trust in each other. If we really had faith in each other we would know without having to prove anything that we mean something to others especially those we love.

Do we still love those who we think offended us or do we stop loving them? If we stop then we must question if we ever really loved at all. We search for the fault in others yet we are the ones making the assumptions, drawing conclusions from these assumptions and basing our decisions on what we see as the reality of our situation. Do we ever ask ourselves how good are our assumptions? How much faith can we have in any of them? Are we wiling to toss over a marriage a link to our kids, our sibling relationships and friendships on assumptions?

As serious as these questions are the answers are sad. Most of us do make decisions without having real facts or reasons. Much of our illusions are fabricated. Our minds run the reel and the movie begins with us playing the lead role, being damaged in some way and retreating for cover. Those who have pained us are cut from our lives. One has to agree that this will make the relationship difficult to maintain. If we choose to believe in the hurtfulness of another then it is easy to understand why we want to severe the connection.

I for one have trouble with severing. As angry as I get I begin to remember the happy times I spent with others and then I question why someone would now dislike me. I change my mind about the cutting but I am still  wary of this person who has now lost some of my faith. I find this sad. I might be the one causing the dilemma. Perhaps this person was never ever considering me in any way and here I have assumed they wanted me out of the circle.

Most of us let our feelings rule our minds. In such instances and without any breaks we go over the bridge. Now I put such thoughts to the back of the mind and leave them there unless of course similar happenings cause me to bring them forward again at a future date. Man is so fragile. Those among us who are self-assured are still at risk of sabotaging our sense of self. All that is required is suppositions.

Children always assume mom or dad loves a sibling more than them. Parents don't have the time to perhaps even consider such a notion. They are to busy working and caring for the kids. Parents sense a feeling of loss when kids marry. They believe they are not loved as much because they don't have the same time or access to their children. Adult kids likely love their parents more but are leading their own lives and without the time to hand hold and explain their feelings. This is almost impossible to do.

Siblings  are so close to each other even if they are at odds with one another. They are closely bonded yet the quickest to be estranged. The jealousy over parental love and support is tremendous. Siblings compete throughout their lives and most parents don't even take notice. No one talks about it so the conjectures continue and truth is hidden. Friends engage in all sorts of rivalry for money position and jobs. They help each other but also like to outperform each other. People like to talk and anyone who is missing the discussions might likely be the topic of the discussions. When someone is absent they run the risk of being targeted.

Mothers-in-law assume their daughters-in-law are attempting to steal their sons away. Daughters-in-law assume their mothers-in-law want to control them and their husbands. No one gets the fact that nobody wants to be left out of this mix and all are bound by love for the other. Playing fields change but love always remains.

I am not suggesting we are mean and vicious. I believe we are opportunist and when a time approaches for us to get closer with someone we care about we take the opportunity.  It feels like we have enclosed ourselves in a tight circle and we sense the love and belonging. It brings such comfort. We don't want anyone near it because we cherish it and want it all to ourselves. In the end we lose it if we hold on too tightly and make the conditions too difficult to abide by.

So in all of this I believe we all desperately want love. When we have it we fear losing it. We panic and worry so much that we assume too much and begin to believe false accusations about family and friends. Likely marriages fail due to jealousy and competition.Oother relationships break from too much tension. One answer might be to accept everyone into our sphere of love which will render no one alone and lost.

Maybe our fear of losing love is the reason for many transgressions. Some might lie because they believe the truth about themselves will not make them worthy enough. Some steal to enhance their lives which don't appear to measure up. Some  are jealous because they have no confidence in their own value.Even marriages are threatened when we can't believe we are good enough to maintain the love for each other. Believing there is always someone better around the corner gives us little time to enjoy and praise what we have.

If we could ever read each others mind we would be so surprised at what each one of us was actually thinking about when we are being accused of so many other wild ideas. A young woman is thinking if she is actually pregnant because she is late and so anxious to have a baby. She is a bit testy with worry and tense from her lost thoughts of wonder. A young man is trying to impress his new wife and her family by doing it all. He is becoming overwhelmed in the process and angry at them all who he perceives as being impossible to please. The truth is he is placing the burdens on his own shoulders.

Of course the in-laws are thinking wow, what a nice guy she married. He is trying to do everything. How impressive he is. The mother-in-law is thinking I must look stupid because I ask dumb  questions only because I don't want to insult my daughter-in-law or do anything she doesn't want me to do for the baby. The daughter-in-law is reflecting, how can my mother-in-law not know what to do? She raised kids why is she appearing so stupid? The wife is believing my husband has spent so much time talking with that woman. I bet she is listening to his work stories and I always have no time to do that. The husband is actually thinking, I wish she would stop asking so many questions. I don't even know why this woman is so interested in my work and my wife has already given me the evil eye. The young woman might be thinking, I hope my boyfriend is observing how easily I can control a man's attention. If he isn't nicer to me I could leave him.

Trust is important in any relationship. Faith in who and what we are is paramount. By stopping our ruminating over what others think and feel gives us more time to enjoy the moment. So many moments are lost in needless worry about losing love. It seems like it is important to love during the moment and don't let the time be wasted. What is crucially important is to love ourselves, because  we all appear to be having trouble loving ourselves. By observing our own merit keeps the filter system going so we won't let our confidence seep out with our wrongful conjectures. We will save our loves, bonds and moments of enjoyment that could have turned into nightmares of our own creation.

“When dealing with critics always remember this: Critics judge things based on what is outside of their content of understanding.”    Shannon Alder

“We never look beyond our assumptions and what's worse, we have given up trying to meet others; we just meet ourselves.”    Muriel Barbery

“Problems don’t actually exist. They’re just the hallucinogenic effects of people being weirded out on what they think life is supposed to be.”    Richelle E. Goodrich

Stress Within Or Without"The truth is that stress doesn't come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances."     Andrew Bernstein, author

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."     Bertrand Russell

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

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

We all discuss stress everyday and at any given moment we are wiling to either offer sympathy for another person's problems or we want to divulge our own issues and garner support. Perhaps that is why social media is so intriguing because it offers all kinds of aid. We can dump problems on the pages of social media and await a generous supply of replies from  others. Likewise we hope to offer them the same kind of help when they are feeling the pressures of life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath." --Amit Ray

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."     Sydney J. Harris

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

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

4

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

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

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

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

How many of us believe or even think about why we find ourselves treading water at times or even going backwards at other times? Perhaps we view this as big problems  and ask ourselves why it happened to us. None of us would say "Well I am glad for that set back  because now I have time to review what it is I am doing."

I venture to say none of us enjoy obstacles of any nature and perhaps we question why obstructions had to happen to us. We do move and get beyond what occurred but we build up our anxiety over it, feel frustrated and angry, and basically either take it out on ourselves or those who are close to us. That leaves all of us burdened with issues of all kinds, because we are all dumping our dilemmas on each other constantly.

Suddenly light dawned as I observed a young three-year old messing around with toys. He worked hard to build something which eventually came crashing down. He observed it and then  laughed and proceeded to construct it again. There was no loss of activity nor tears of remorse. He was surprised that it had happened but to him the surprise was worth the destruction of his creation.

If adults could only accept the twists and turns in the road as the small child did our anxiety and fear would decrease.  As I continued to watch the child he began building the tower in exactly the same way and he watched again and again as it toppled to the ground. What was he thinking I reflected. I would be in tears and thinking how I could build something that would stand against any kind of destruction. He obviously was greatly amused and had discovered in his own mind, how to make the occurrence happen all over again. That was his reward. When he got tired of it he turned to a totally different activity and became engrossed again.

What I took from it was his ability to remain pleased and content with his world. He didn't try to control it but instead he let things happen at their own will. He was satisfied with every new discovery. He was the investigator of research even though he didn't likely know what that meant. Most kids do appear to use the hands on method of discovery until we guide them into ways of doing it "right" so we believe.

I wonder if adults lose the power to think not only outside the box but outside of their own heads. I know how much I re-examine everything I say and do and what others say and do. I spend so much time within the walls of my head that it allows me little time to be present in the moment.  Kids are our complete opposite. They simply tell you like it is right down to the fact that they need to poop in the middle of a movie. It is a fact of life and they are not ashamed to admit it.

Is it adults who begin blocking kids in with our taboos and ideas of right and wrong? Of course we should teach morals and values but do we actually teach it or just explain the repercussions of not obeying rules. Do we blindly follow guidelines everywhere and from everybody without questioning why we are even doing it? Kids appear to keep a simplistic version of behaving.

They are not afraid to tell you they don't like something,  and they will refuse to act on something that scares them despite our prodding. They quickly admit when they are afraid of things that we would assume they shouldn't be afraid of. Some kids  are timid in making friends. They are shy around adults, and close their mouths tightly when an adult is forcing food they don't want to try or medicine they don't like.

They keep it simple and trek forward at all times. They see the positive in things and will use boxes, dirt and a stick for a shovel when necessary. They make do and laugh at so many things we fail to see the humor in. An anxious expression on our face may send them into a roar of laughter. Hearing us say we have to go to the bathroom can send a  five-year old howling. Most times adults miss the humor and only smile to acknowledge the child's happiness.

How did we come to take so much so seriously. Are we teaching that to our kids? Are we flushing away love, life and laughter from our own lives and the lives of our children? We put up signs about living laughing and loving yet we don't follow it most times. Perhaps we appreciate what we should be doing but can't seem to go against the crowd and do it. Kids have no problem being themselves at all times. Adults ought to imitate the kids and do the same. If only we could admit it when we are hurting, disgraced at least in our own minds, unhappy, scared, sick and numerous other emotions we keep hidden from others.

We treasure strength, ability, power, and sometimes the skill to squash our emotions. We place humility, compassion, love and weakness under wraps as if it should be hidden. No wonder we can't be ourselves anymore. Kids will cry and then admit they can't do something. We stand in resolve to accomplish what we likely are unable to accomplish never asking for help which would be cowardly we believe.

I see kids as grouping together and running in all directions in happiness and squeals of laughter. Adults scurry to their jobs attempting to please a relentless boss and perhaps a spouse who is expecting more than we can possibly deliver. The camaraderie and cooperation we experienced as kids is slowly drained from us and we are left alone within our minds in doubt about how where and why we are navigating anyplace.

Now we re following silly rules we don't really care about. We have stopped attempting to understand the why's anymore and just do the jobs that need attention. We have in essence given up more of our own power of control than we should have given up. Understanding the reasons of life and living, is a more profound goal than buying a better home or trumping our friend or neighbor. We are not separate entities but actually one in our world. We  can help each other support each other and allow each other to be who they are. We can let go of the judgments and embrace the pleasure of each others company. This brings a profound enlightenment and a peaceful co-existence

I have faith that if we all opened up our hearts, our minds would follow and a deluge would ensue. We might find all the support and love that had been bottled up within each of us, spill out in all directions. The  falseness would disappear and the masks and costumes we display daily would fall. We would and could feel like the young child who could enjoy his blocks regardless of failure with the understanding that failure is a myth. None of us fail we just make mistakes that can most of the time be corrected. We can try again because nobody is keeping a tally and we can admit failure and victory because we are on the same team. We don't have to win alone. We actually don't have to lose alone. We can technically win all the time when we share the victories of life with each other.

Parents teach their kids, and siblings teach and inspire each other. Relatives of all kinds aid prompt and encourage each other at any point in time.  Friends are quickly here and gone but each leaves a mark on us regardless of the length of time of their involvement. Getting out of our heads allows us to live and begin each new day with high hopes of doing some awesome positive support for others.

Before we hang up rules or signs we should contemplate the reasons they inspire us. Understanding what it is about them that makes them valuable is crucial to our understanding life. Like a puzzle we have broken apart into a zillion pieces. The picture of our lives will become clearer as we place those pieces together and actually and finally look at the real picture. Alone we are a shining light for a moment until the light is turned off. Together we create an awesome bright luminosity  gathering all into the comforting serenity of love in action.

Kids love everyone and their love is unconditional. They  forgive everything and forget transgressions as they begin playing with a friend the next day after having fought with them the previous day. They don't judge who can or can't climb up the ladder they just send out the cry, "Let's do it." Together they work, play, live, laugh,  and love. There is a message here for us to witness.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I'm not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” C. JoyBell C.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” C. JoyBell C.

Giving And Receiving

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

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

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

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

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

The reasons are likely numerous and perhaps surprising in nature. I suppose it gets tangled up in love. Everyone is searching for love. It is the easiest thing to find, but the hardest thing to keep and maintain. It probably has to do more with attitudes about what love is and isn't. ...continue reading "Giving And Receiving"

When we first get married, we glow in the presence of our spouse. Our love is pure, deep and feels good. The world is at our feet, and we honestly believe that our love for each other is unlike any other love, that ever was. Like a fresh bouquet of roses, it shimmers in the light of the sun. As any divorced couple might say, they don't know when things were going south, and by the time they noticed, it was too late.

I think if we are not sure how, why or when our feelings turned sour, perhaps we were not paying enough attention to our love life and our marriage. If we observe the important elements of our lives with caution, and keep attuned to the small inconsequential acts, we will be aware of problems coming our way a lot faster. What this has to do with unconditional love,  is the fact that almost every couple believes in it at the time of their marriage, yet can lose the feeling a short time down the road. The goal becomes how to keep love alive and healthy.

Friendships run the same course. We cherish our friends but there are moments when they let us down, insult us, make us jealous and envious, or simply make us feel bored. In reality we were just as guilty of the failed relationship, but it is harder to see our own fault. How much easier it is to judge another over ourselves. It is human nature. I don't think it is boastful but perhaps the opposite. We are so lacking in our own worth that we fear facing our own faults. We place  a small amount of blame on ourselves, and the large bundle of guilt on our spouse.

Getting back to the love issue is vital. So many of our relationships with spouses, kids, family, friends coworkers, and parents may end in estrangement. There is likely no one walking around the earth, who has not experienced an estrangement of one kind or another. Now if we are courageous enough, we will admit that not so long ago we would have professed the impossibility of such an occurrence happening. So how did it happen?

How is it we alter our thinking, change our minds and attitudes, and search for and find blame rather than love. If we can remember at one time we saw love within a relationship of whatever kind, maybe we can ignite it again.  Now we look at these people we once cherished, with disdain. They are not worthy of our bonds of love. Is it that they just don't measure up anymore? Did they let us down or hurt us in some way? Do they appear to have changed? Have we changed? Does it have more to do with our egos, jealousies, or competition, rather than our loss of love?

There are perhaps more questions than answers. Of course the end result is confusion, few answers, and lots of pain and suffering in one form or another. We probably don't stop to think of the effect on so many others. We always assume it is just about us.  Changes affect everyone around us. What we do has a domino effect and it continues on and on. Spouses who divorce are likely going to have an effect on a child's future mate who will be forced to deal with the complicating issues of visits, talks about estranged family members and more. Who would think a total stranger would feel the impact of such a course we have taken. None of us ever think about the impact we cause on others daily, as well as far into the future.

Most parents never lose love for their kids and vice versus, but they may become disillusioned. Maybe all of us give so much time to making a living, that we forget about making a  life. All relationships may start out as unconditional love, but end up shattered when people begin experiencing feelings of neglect. Distrust leads to doubt, fear and eventual loss of love. As much as we try, we can become discouraged. We lose faith in ourselves but also in our relationships.

Of course an answer is to work harder on all relationships. Next to that I would say it might be time to reevaluate the pros and cons of any relationship, and our expectations. Are our expectations so unrealistic that a partner or loved one can't help but step over the impossible line? we then consider them failing. If we set our own parameters, but forget to inform our loved one what they are, then we have set the grounds for them to be unsuccessful. Perhaps we must question how much we have planned to make this relationship flourish or flop. Is the relationship about tolerance growth and love or is it about Us?

Our expectations may be unreasonable. We are all aware that the little things count the most. Are we also aware that counting will always create disappointment? Paying more attention to the kindnesses rather than the deficiencies may ultimately support a positive effect. There are those times when we all make mistakes,  overlook sensitivities, and generally lack concern. If we choose to bring attention to these errors constantly,  we will eventually erode any relationship. By monitoring only the absence we are focusing on finding the mistakes in another. An alternative approach is to focus on the good, acknowledge it and most definitely remember it.

We are likely boxed in at times, going round and round. Because we are caught within this box, we are not seeing elsewhere for another view. Choose to look for a positive version of this person or relationship. The alternative is exhaustion, running around in circles, and in the end, breaking and running away from the relationship. Our minds of course support our thoughts. They are also traveling around but going nowhere. The constant reminder of blame, makes it always present, and continually draining. Unless we have the courage to step out and take a different approach, we will destroy what was once a good relationship.

Many times our thoughts sabotage our love. If we can't control our thoughts, we become the slaves to them as well as the victims. We have technically lost control of our choices and decisions. In order to take back control, we have to seek a new way of viewing issues, and dealing with each other. By using a different lens, perhaps a favorable picture will emerge. We in essence allow new ideas and concepts to enter.

Love has nothing to do with money. Expensive gifts do not denote greater love as many may think. The larger ring does  not mean a larger love for the person. By taking so much judgment out of any situation, perhaps it will alleviate the stress. Love does not have to die. We can always choose to keep it alive. Any relationship can survive. Of course there are always others who are insecure and who make it their job to sabotage our relationships with others. These people have their own insecurities and agendas which affect our bonds to others.

 I surmise that those who are less judgmental, more secure in their own worth, and keep their unconditional love alive, will have a greater chance of happiness and love. Love does not need to be tested every day. Love does not need to be hidden from others. Love does not need to have a closed circle. My idea of love is a trusting heart, an open loving attitude, and a line that continues and captures all into its embrace.

Taking love and placing it into a cage, creates anger and darkness. Freely spreading love around transforms the world in all kinds of ways. Just because we have a bad day with our friend or spouse doesn't mean the bonds are broken. They are just stressed at the moment. The worst thing we can do is dwell on these thoughts over and over. Instead we should attempt to push them from our minds and consider the good. Never take the smallest act of kindness for granted. As a matter of fact, perhaps we should never take any and all love for granted. Love when someone deserves it. Love when someone least deserves it, and you will keep love strong and safe.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”    Brent Brown

“When you know that everything matters—that every move counts as much as any other—you will begin living a life of permanent purpose.”    Andy Andrews

“When you suffer, you are being conformed to the image of Jesus. When you pray, you are being made holy in the image of Jesus. When you quietly serve a person in need, you are being shaped into the image of Jesus. When you generously give, your heart is being remade into the image of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.”     Allen R. Hunt

“Theologians talk about a provenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a provenient courage that allows us to be brave - that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. And therefore, this courage allows us, as the old men said, to make ourselves useful. It allows us to be generous, which is another way of saying exactly the same thing.”    Marilyn Robinson

“If the people of God were to transform the world through fascination, these amazing teachings had to work at the center of these peculiar people. Then we can look into the eyes of a centurion and see not a beast but a child of God, and then walk with that child a couple of miles. Look into the eyes of tax collectors as they sue you in court; see their poverty and give them your coat. Look in to the eyes of the ones who are hardest for you to like, and see the One you love. For God loves good and bad people.”    Shane Claiborne

If you give, expecting something in return, it's not really giving at all.
If you love, expecting something in return, it's not really loving at all.”    Donald  L. Hicks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"All cruelty springs from weakness.”    Seneca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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