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6th pic presentationThis is an article my daughter wrote about breast cancer which touched my heart. It is worth reading and better than anything I could ever write. It was written from the heart. It is important to remember that the hurts we bear and suffer are not always obvious. We will perhaps never know or understand fully what another person endures because we don't walk in their shoes and never will.

""Dignity is The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes. It 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."  Shannon L. Alder

I read another post about the poison of GMO, corn syrup, baby formula.  One more post in an extensive news-feed.  It is opinion, and I can scroll past, but it feels like another not so subtle reminder of the “breast is best” undercurrent that permeates everything baby related.   As a physician I feel that breast feeding is ideal.  When I was a third year resident and I had my first baby I was adamant about exclusively breast feeding.  I cried when my milk didn’t come in right away after a long induction.   I also relished the fact that my newborn grew into a chubby, giggly infant and it was due to my own body.  I pumped and breastfed, it was a blur of insomnia knowing that I would have to go back to work.  I took time off and managed to keep a freezer full of breast milk in case my supply dropped off when I did go back.  As a resident with overnight calls I knew I couldn’t be sure how often I could pump, pagers go off, codes happen, patients, admissions, rapid responses, they don’t wait for pumping.  I was determined, I continued to pump, overnight, sometimes in bathrooms, call rooms, it depended on how far of a walk, and which were occupied.   I was determined to make the one year mark. ...continue reading "My Issue With Breast Is Best"

With my second child I was an attending working part time and it definitely went more smoothly.   Somewhere around the fifth month I noticed my supply dropping.  I did everything I could but I had to supplement and I remember stopping around eight months. I was disappointed and heartbroken.  I resigned myself to formula feeding and when I felt lumps in one breast I chalked it up to milk ducts.

That was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The fear was overwhelming and paralyzing, I could only think about my babies, a nine month old and a two year old.  It was biopsy after biopsy, ultrasound guided, stereotypical, MRI guided.  They saw abnormalities on the other side, and I had additional biopsies.   I was waiting for surgery for final staging.  I thought about how precious our time is and our health is.  I opted for the bilateral mastectomy. It was a personal decision.

Fast forward almost four years, past a stage one diagnosis, a year of treatment and we were blessed with another beautiful healthy baby.  It felt like a gift, directly from God, I have living breathing snuggly, proof that a very difficult time was over.  Like all parents, I want the best for my baby, and I opted for formula.

The baby is happy, healthy, and then I have to question why the articles about poison formula make me so angry.  Why do I want to wear a sign that says “I breast fed two babies and had breast cancer.”  Why does it need an explanation, an excuse? Is it because I’m around educated moms that tend to exclusively breastfeed? I couldn’t figure out why I felt so much guilt taking out a bottle.

I thought about a particular conversation I had with a friend after diagnosis and her comment was “wow, I just couldn’t do it, make a decision and choose to have a mastectomy like that.”   That was when I realized that this wasn’t something I chose.  Everything was secondary to my family and health.  So much worse happens to wonderful people who didn’t “choose” the situations they went through.  With breastfeeding we need to stop shaming women for situations that are beyond their control.  So many women I know keep tally lists, they track things like how long they breastfed, if they supplemented, was it exclusive breastfeeding, bottle feeding , natural births, c-sections, epidurals, and the list could go on.   Being a mother is hard work and no one chooses less than their best for their babies.  Why do we compare so much? I doubt that fathers are asking each other how many games they attend, how many times they read before bed, or if their kids still crawled into their beds at night.  Yet it’s “best” to read to children before bed, and it’s “best” to have a sleep schedule with children.   If we want more moms to breastfeed, instead of assuming they made the choice to do less than “best”, and making them feel guilty for it, maybe we should analyze the barriers to breastfeeding. The majority of mothers in this country start off breast feeding and over time that number significantly drops. Why? Are there places to pump privately? Is there time off for breastfeeding, or does the day simply get extended? Is there maternity leave, paid time off, uninterrupted time, is it convenient at work?

How do we counsel moms in the hospital? Is it a one size fits all approach? Maybe a little formula before your supply kicks in, is really okay. Maybe nipple confusion isn’t as large of a problem as it seems.   I had a mother who breastfed for years, and if it wasn’t for her support I might not have breastfed as long as I did.  The singular statement of “breast is best” has finality to it that any alternative is giving your baby simply less.   What if you don’t have breasts? I might be a minority but there are numerous reasons a mother might not exclusively breast feed, medications, work schedules, supply issues, surrogates, mental health issues.  I still think they’re doing their best.  Not smoking is “best”, an hour a day of exercise is “best”, a healthy BMI is “best”, do we adhere to it?  So why are we making so many mothers feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed?

I know lots of great moms taking awesome care of their kids, free-range, tiger moms, gluten free, dairy free, formula feeding, stay at home, working, helicopter, paleo, vegan, breast feeding mothers.  I know they love their kids, I know they are doing their “best” everyday.

“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person's life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.” Shannon Alder

"There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”  Shannon Alder

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?” Shannon Alder

“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us."

 

Animals10"Good intentions  are not enough; commitment and sacrifice are necessary." Laurence G. Boldt

"Just because I am strong enough to handle pain doesn't mean I deserve it." Pix

"When our actions are based on good intentions, our soul has no regrets." Anthony Douglas

"No man ever steps in the same river twice cause it's not the same river and he is not the same man." Heractitus

"Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking." C. S. Lewis

Our intentions regarding any matter are mixed and hidden because we are trying to fathom ourselves and others. It may not make sense but if you ask someone why they performed a certain act of kindness or meanness they usually give a group of responses for the one question. It made sound like, "I wanted to help them and they supported me and I felt like  I owed them." The list continues in a confusing way and you wonder why you asked the question in the first place.

Does this mean we don't know ourselves? We perform kind acts due to payback? We support others because we feel others are  watching us? Lastly I wanted to Help. I surmise that the majority of us would rather not think about it and just take the credit. It makes us feel better if we can say this person helped me in the past and I owe them or I helped them in the past so they owe me. I wonder if we hate  to feel we owe someone in any way. I am always on watch myself to come to the aid of a person who helped me at another point in time.

It is funny how it  weighs on our conscience to settle the bill. We worry about settling a bill yet we don't worry about settling an unkind word or action. It seems unsettling to think this person somehow is above us because they performed a kind service to us. We want to come to their aid  even if they don't want it nor request it. I had a friend who needed to repay any  service I did for her immediately. It didn't matter if I did not want the repay at that moment or ever. In her mind if she did something for me the debt was paid and her conscience was clear. Another friend I had done something for repaid me far into the future at a time when I truly needed help. I appreciated the second repay far more because she obviously noticed my need and jumped in versus the first repayment of helping when there was no demand.

I thought to myself maybe that was the crux of the issue. It is easier  to avoid facing the necessities  of others with a myriad of  excuses than to observe someone's hardship and requirement of help. As usual, I am as guilty of this as anyone. If I don't stop to think over my intentions then I might overlook someone in need. I might choose to ignore someone who requires support and ignore any possible good intentions of helpfulness on my part.

There are times when we do things at work in order to get the promotion or the eye of the boss. We like to receive the great reputation so we extend to others out of our wants rather than the other person's privation. There is also the guilt factor which leads many of us to repay a debt because it looks good or aids us in some way. So many times good intentions are must do things. Being coerced into doing things happens every day. There are those people who volunteer to do something and force others to jump on the wagon. Of course these actions are many times worthwhile but again the good intentions may not be present.

I sometimes wonder if by going along with good actions we are picking up good vibes and learning to care. I certainly do hope so. It would be nice to see a world of compassion where all of us thought about the next person and their welfare. If every intention was compassionate and full of empathy we would have a better world to live in.

There are times others let us down because they  are thoughtless to our needs and feelings. Recalling those times we did the same to  others helps us to overcome the self pity. I am not saying to stop loving the self as most of us find little time to think about self yet we should. I am saying how easy it is to hurt others without intending to do so. The wrong look, remark, laugh or action can send us reeling for cover. The intention wasn't there to cause pain but the hurt rang through loud and clear. I suppose we could wear some armor.

Our hope is to always have the best intentions. If we can't do that perhaps we might attempt to think about others in a sincere way. When we come to realize we are all people with feelings maybe we will stop to think before we do or say something that is painful to another. There are those times our intentions are hurtful and we are now remorseful. There are also times when our intentions were totally honest and without any harm meant.

We don't have to analyze every word or action done. We just have to try to do our best and observe any need we see that can be fulfilled. The kindness may never make the newspaper but it is always felt within the heart. There is nothing more revitalizing than experiencing that feeling, especially when it is performing an action that likely will never be repaid. That is when it is unconditional and not ever meant to be repaid. That is an unconditional act of love that will endlessly travel around the world.

"Think the best of each other especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad." Jeffrey R. Holland

"Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly." Anonymous

"I will not die an lived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me. To make me less afraid and more accessible. To loosen my heart until it becomes a wing a torch a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom goes on as fruit." Dawn Markova

language kills like a sharp knifeHave you ever been the victim of humiliation and felt like leaving a place , conversation or person who is victimizing you? I know there are degrees of everything but subtle or intense humiliation makes no difference to the victim because they know they are the subject or target of abuse. Now that is a ridiculous  word to use some people might say. However when a person experiences humiliation they don't stop to think about degrees and if they are in a lousy mood to begin with, they feel the humiliation even more.

"Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification." John Donne

"Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation the opposite of abuse and humiliation are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully proclaim to be loving when behaving in such a way."    Bell Hooks

"Humiliation of one person over another is often used as a way of exerting power over them, and a common form of oppression or abuse."

I remember reading about manners one time and I was surprised to read that manners did not consist of proper etiquette or being rich or well educated. Manners they mentioned was making every person feel comfortable and relaxed no matter what their race, religion, economic or educational attainment was. It was amazing and I thought about it for a long time. There are those people who can tell you how wonderful you look even if you misjudged an occasion and wore the wrong attire. They pretend they don't even notice. They are special people and a pleasure to make acquaintances with.

Then there are those people who make it a habit to target certain people and make their life miserable if they can. I must admit there are some people who appear to make better targets for the humiliations. Over the years I have had my share of tormentors and I remember often wondering why I was chosen to be their victim. Sometimes I felt like I had a bull's-eye on my  back or unwittingly applied for the role in life's play.  I bet most of us have been a victim at one time or another.

I am one of those people pleasers which I suppose makes others want to crush the "Goody two Shoes" person. I don't mean any harm I just like to keep things happy and comfortable for everyone. In the end I am demolished and made to feel inferior, stupid and out of touch with reality. It isn't a great place to be and it keeps the mood sad. After feeling sorry for myself I began to think of the many people who are the victims of humiliation in a variety of ways every day. One's religion, race, skin color, education, economic wealth, age and anything else anyone deems as less than perfect can make them a victim.

I remember some people at work who appeared to have all of the correct answers. Instead of others being happy with receiving the answers, they ignored the advice outwardly yet followed it behind closed doors. I attribute this to possible jealousy, or envy at the ease at which some people  think and find answers. Boys or girls who are shy might become the targets as does anyone with a physical or mental challenge. We might like to think it doesn't happen but in truth it does.

Anger and frustration also appear to be culprits of the birth of humiliation. Students get angry with a child who has all the answers and gets good grades. They please the teachers and gain praise and attention. That is another thought. Attention and consideration is what a lot of us strive to receive. Sometimes we just don't know how to go about doing it and the ways we see it done are not appealing to us because we deem those people the losers we humiliate.

I do believe that anger about anything triggers a need to strike out at someone and make them the scapegoat of our pent up rage. If a hapless victim is nearby it becomes easy to blame them and humiliation is on the rise again. Parents bully humiliate kids which is not a far step from bullying someone. They get frustrated and yell scream and belittle their kids in words and actions. This is the beginning stages of one's entry into the world of humiliation.

Boyfriends and girlfriends as well as pals have the ability to insult and put down others with words and actions. The humiliated feel terrible, question why, and dwell on it longer than they should. Of course when the friend needs someone they call the person back into the fold. Most of us go back thinking they just had a bad day but did they or is this a habitual occurrence? Those who escape humiliation are the ones who appear strong and more of a challenge so they are left alone. The elderly are victims due to their possible inability to think  clearly or their lack of strength to accomplish much work. They are fearful as children are and they do not complain.

Actually complaining may be another reason why people are chosen to be victimized. The victims tend to take a lot of punishment or abuse for a long time before they may strike back or depart from the union or friendship. When people are not wanted at a job or club they sense the feelings of others. When someone questions whether or not  they were harassed  into leaving they might have to say no yet they are aware of the humiliating atmosphere and animosity of the group. We are not fooling anyone when we behave in a bullying way and block others from the simple  pleasure of conversing and being accepted in a group of people.

I recall instances when I or someone I know  was ignored or slighted long enough during a group discussion that they quietly walked away. No one appeared to acknowledge their presence nor their departure. How sad is that? I am sure no one lost sleep over it nor did they likely think they did anything wrong but if we were honest with ourselves we would admit to the alternate ways we all use to intimidate or put someone else in their place so that they will be quiet. It happens so often that I would admit we have all probably witnessed it in one form or another.

What makes it worse is when someone comes back with the thought that they didn't mean to cause anyone any uneasiness yet they did and deep down they are aware of it. Like anything in order to understand something we must acknowledge it's existence. We can then come to terms with it and attempt to do better. The less athletic boy or clumsy girl or less abled child doesn't need ridicule in their life. Don't we all believe we have enough to deal with as we reflect on what life throws at us? Do we really want to make life harder for others when all we have to do is be respectful? Nobody said we had to listen to someone all day or make them our friend. We just have to respect their life and value and include them in whatever is going on.

If you have ever suffered a humiliation of any kind, you remember it and the pain it caused you. The time frame of the hurt varies but can be a long remembered incident. Treat your kids with respect and everyone else you meet. You will be the epitome of a well mannered person if all people feel comfortable in your presence. That means that any interaction they have with you will never leave them wounded but instead empowered to be better because you have set the example and made them at peace.

"It's okay to dislike someone or to dislike someone for no reason. But it's not okay to disrespect  degrade or humiliate that person." Spirit Science

"The reality of another person lies not in what he reveals to you but in what he  cannot reveal reveal to you. Therefore if you would understand him listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say." Khalil Gibran

"On this path let the heart be your guide for the body is hesitant and full of fear."    Rumi

When It Isn't Enough“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass... get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them.” Steve Maraboli

“In everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.” Haruki Murakami

So we are feeling really low and our spouse or close companion doesn't appear to understand the depth of our sadness. There is no place to begin to explain how awful we feel. With every attempt we become mixed up in our thoughts and the words tumble out in a confusing fashion. The spouse gets annoyed with our attempts and we get off course in relation to what we are trying to explain. In the end we attribute it to their inability to understand how deeply we are hurting inside. As a matter of  fact, nobody quite gets the angry depth of our despair.

This perhaps resonates with many or most of us at any given time in our lives.  Sadly, we may give up trying and hide ourselves  away into the gravity of our sorrow. It is as if the world is against us and has never before seen the horrendous situation we find ourselves immersed within. Perhaps we haven't noticed that those we love are functioning  in their own spheres at the moment and unless we relinquish more of our sentiments they will continue to remain on the outskirts of our pain. As much as we desire to have our loved one involved with our dilemma, we tend to push all people away. Likely it has more to do with trying to outrun our problems. If we venture down another path, try a new activity, go out with friends our issue might disappear. Of course that never happens  but we had to try.

Observing it from the other spouses' view we see confusion about why their special someone can't shake what is bothering them. Even when we have all of the facts we assume they can overcome the obstacles in time and we sit back and wait. When the waiting produces no results we attempt the discussion which leaves us with more items to think about and a lecture on our insensitivity. Even if we believe this is far from the truth, our ability to  change the way things are unfolding is fading.

...continue reading "When It Isn’t Enough"

I find that when I need to find someone to blame for my despondent feelings I accept no support  from others. Then I fault them for not  helping me find a way out of my emotions. I am clearly trying to come to terms with my own thoughts about my family, my world and my life. If it appears to be crumbling for whatever the reason, I refuse to take any part in the blame. Of course this is a mistake but at the moment I may not be willing to deal with any blame.

There are those moments when life is not as clear or straightforward as we would like it to be. Perhaps we have visions of the perfect day which ends up being a confusing mess. How many times have any of us gone home from work thinking how did I create the dilemma I am currently finding myself in. It may be due to poor decisions, the need for attention, a cry for help or being overwhelmed with burdens. Of course we believe the world revolves around us so everyone we care about ought to notice how desperate we are feeling. In reality nobody sees nor hears our voice.

Probably most of our friends or family are involved with their own problems and are focusing on that. If we openly asked for help we might receive it but when we hope for another person to notice our pain it is very possible we will not be acknowledged. If we come to understand why we sense that we are alone, it makes it easier to cope. I believe we care about each other but we get caught up in our own lives. Even those closest to us can become shadow figures when work, health or family issues get a hold of us.

Sometimes people willing to commiserate with us are dealing with their own problems. Now that I understand that it is not from carelessness or neglect that others take no notice when I am hurting, it provides me with more optimism. So many people on any given day find so much to feel sad about that it can render many motionless as well as emotionless. After all, if we can't cope with ourselves, how do we help others cope?

My point is that when we are quick to notice someone's negligence towards us, we are just as quick to not notice when they are giving or offering support. Perhaps those who are offering the aid are not the ones we want to receive it from. I see this as rejecting what God sent. If we look for  aid we must be willing to accept it from those earth angels who come our way. Maybe this one time our spouse or special friend has too much on their own plate to play our hero. Blame will not get us anywhere. The times days and problems are so different that comparisons of any kind make it impossible.

Wounds of the body cause tremendous pain depending on the deepness of the cut. Likewise those injuries to our spirits and emotions also promote enormous pain depending on the depth of the slice. Our bodies scar and so do our spirits. Most times we survive injuries of all kinds and we are left with the scars. I sometimes look at body injuries with pride as I recall how difficult they were to overcome yet I conquered them. Nobody else could heal the injury except for myself. I know that although we depend on the support of others for our emotional healing, there are many times when we must look at it with our own eyes and then allow  ourselves to heal. It is ludicrous to assume another should do it or understand our pain. That is asking the impossible. A close friend can feel like a sister while a sister can feel like an acquaintance. The dimensions of connections can leave all of us guessing as to the extent of the pain. Certain times can make things more or less difficult than other times. Spouses can be nervous about any attempt to alleviate pain when they are not sure how to do it, what the extent of the pain is, or where it is. Being angry at others for failing us is something we need to get over and forgive. Keeping someone at arms length for something they could not fix is a terrible place to put someone. If we haven't dealt with a long term illness we can't understand the aftermath of it. Dealing with abuses of all kinds can diminish a family. Divorce, death, critical conditions of all kinds and more render us helpless in many ways. None of us would choose to have any of these problems in our lives.

The best any of us can do is offer support and understanding as best we can and forgiveness for ourselves when we fail to provide what the hurting individual needs at the moment. When they are back on their feet, they will reconnect with us but perhaps forget the pain they caused us when they were in agony. There is not one person walking among us that does not require forgiveness. At our lowest or highest points in life, we are the most vulnerable at creating a situation that will render us needy for forgiveness. It is at those points that we cause the most heartache for others.

I know that the more attuned we are to others the more we can jump in and offer help of any kind. If we can alleviate someone's pain we have altered the course of a life. Although we will never be superheroes, we can be someone's hero for a day. Relief of any kind is always a blessing. Comparing pain or wounds is always a mistake. There are too many variables to consider. It isn't necessary to compare. The next time we are the giver or receiver of help, remember to accept the apology or say thank you when the situation is over. We all have various paths to tread but we are all traveling in similar directions so have mercy always on each other. none of us want more stones tossed in our pathways.

“The key is this: Meet today's problems with today's strength. Don't start tackling tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow's strength yet. You simply have enough for today.” Max Lucado

“After every storm, there is a rainbow. If you have eyes, you will find it. If you have wisdom, you will create it. If you have love for yourself and others, you won’t need it.” Shannon L. Alder

SPANKING"Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory."    Will Durant

"Spanking and verbal criticism have become, to many parents, more important tools of child rearing than approval." Phil Donahue

"Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak."

 "Infliction of pain or discomfort, however minor, is not a desirable method of communicating with children."     American Medical Association

How and why did the state of Massachusetts hinder the advancement of our human evolution? I truly was shocked to hear of the Massachusetts, Justices decision to promote the guidelines for the use of physical punishment by parents. As a teacher, I am aware that loving a child and displaying kindness works far better. How is there anything LEGAL in guidelines promoting physical punishment by anyone? I suppose it sounds good and appeases parents who choose this form of discipline.

They say it is permissible to discipline by spanking, so long as “Reasonable Force” is used, and the child is not harmed. Is this not ludicrous? How does one use force of any kind on a child, and then decide how much the child has been harmed physically, mentally emotionally or spiritually?  Who are we kidding? I am sorry if we are leading such busy lives that we anger quickly, have more burdens which frustrate us, and have little time to discipline because we have no energy, time or effort remaining by the end of the day. The quick fix of a Spank, which is also defined as a smack, slap, hit, strike, paddle, thrash, beating and paddling, is the solution which fits in nicely with our busy lives and perhaps uncontrolled tempers.

The justices of the court issued this Framework, while reversing the assault and battery conviction of a man who was seen spanking his almost three old daughter. Now the question comes to mind regarding the force of a grown man against a less than three old child. How angry was he? Is he very strong? Is the child little for her age? The Framework that was construed by the Justices also includes a parental privilege defense. How convenient that is. No more liability towards smacking our children, except our consciences which have apparently gone on vacation.

Does this mean if we strike our neighbor’s child for their ill behavior, we will be charged with battery? I know if we hit any adult, we will face consequences, yet our children are fair game with the courts blessing. If we can’t hit our neighbor, then why is it okay to hit our small helpless children? I have an issue with the degree of the smack, as well as the judgement of how harmful it might be, especially when the person making these decisions is the one doing the hitting.

One Justice, stated that two very important interests needed to be balanced. We must protect children against abuse, and not interfere with the parents in the way they see fit to raise their kids. Now some people may falsely believe this has made it easier to solve some court cases. It appears to me,  to be at the expense of our kid’s welfare. I also can’t understand how it will be easier to protect the children from child abuse when parents have just received a legal right to assault them. Using tame words makes it more palatable for the general public.

I use the word assault because how can we limit the extent of the spanking, if we are not present when it is given and only have the perpetrator's version of the incident. A hard smack to the back of the head may not display any discoloring. If one was brought up on charges the defense could be that the parent swung a bit harder than they realized, the child turned and the strike was given in a place the parent did not mean to hit. The list can go on. We don’t want to look at the details. We want something that works fast, easy and makes everyone comfortable. Kids don’t question or vote.

I am confused about the “Force being okay as long as it is reasonable,” "it is used for safeguarding the child", "it is promoting the welfare of the child"," or "it is punishment of the minor’s misconduct." So I think we are teaching the kids that it is okay for the ones they love to hit them, yet we don’t want our kids striking others. How are we actually making any sense? Do we see the paradox? Now we tell the children they can  thrash their own kids when they are adults. We have gone back to the old rules of do as I say but not as I do.

I think we have given offenders a free ticket at least for the first offense, if they used too much force. They can offer the defense that they did not feel it was that strong a hit. How can we judge these personal and subjective opinions? Has anyone thought of the emotional scars of the children who are beaten? No one is supposed to cause lasting emotional or physical harm. How are we going to fix this one? Do we wait for broken bones? Down the road do we blame the emotional problems the child is having on the spankings or do we call upon other issues in our defense? Balance of any kind has been tossed under the bus. It certainly isn’t balanced towards the children.

There is supposed to be respect for parental decisions. I profess that there should be respect for children and all life in general. It seems to me that we have disregarded the welfare of the children in favor of solutions, be they right or wrong. The end never justifies the means. I don’t see how anybody can come to the defense and protection of children with such a law in effect.

As I continued the reading I was confused upon hearing an officer of the Massachusetts Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children, credit the justices for balancing views on both sides. Did anybody get the reviews of the children? Have we asked them how pleasant demeaning painful embarrassing, and at times terrifying it is to be at the mercy of an angry intimidating adult? There is always emotional and physical pain in this situation in my opinion. She also credited the Justices for their strong position on “Child Protection.”  I am shocked at that statement and really have no words to fit my shock and deep pain for the complicated lives the children are forced to experience.

Somehow in my opinion, people were sleeping on the job. Have we spent any time with kids lately? They are the ones who love parents unconditionally. They are concerned immediately when we are in any kind of pain. They accept everything we dish out and come back smiling and forgiving. If we love our children unconditionally, perhaps we might reflect on the plight of children who are going to be abused, in my opinion, because of this Law. It makes hitting legal. Adults are arrested when they hit someone. We are taking a big step backwards in becoming a more humane society. We are choosing brute force rather than talking, explaining, negotiating, providing understanding feedback tolerance and compassion to a dilemma.

If we want our kids to forgive and love others we must demonstrate this behavior. If we demonstrate force, control disrespect and intimidation, we will promote a society that reinforces these attributes. We have no right to complain at the world we are creating. The choice is in our hands. Parents are not bad people but if under duress, they must learn how to deal with their stress and anxiety problems rather than take it out on the kids. Model and teach the ideals you wish to observe in your children. Make no mistake; they will become what you teach. If you want compassionate, kind, tolerant, loving empathetic children, begin by showing them what that looks like and be that kind of person.

A transformation sends out sparks of love and enlightenment.  A wildfire burns relentlessly without remorse. We are burning away our problems.  I hope God doesn’t tire of us and our world. The simplicity of it is that love can perform miracles,  while fury succeeds in burning anything in its path.

"If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start."

"Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children."    Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School:

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

Voice Transformation“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.”    Aristotle

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”    Ambrose Bierce

“The best fighter is never angry.”    Lao Tzu

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.”    William Arthur Ward

I was listening to a young friend talking the other day and couldn't help but smile. His voice which normally had an air of youthful authority, was suddenly direct even and just a tiny bit faster than normal. Of course he had an important message to give so I could see why his words were swift.

What surprised me was how different he sounded. You could hear his maturity in his speech. There was no need for his usual pushy and aggressive attitude. His voice had changed to a deliberate straightforward mode. I smiled just recalling how just a few years had passed and he had definitely matured.

It made me understand how our tone, loudness, tempo, infractions, emphasized letters, drawled words and pitch made any sentence more than a sentence. It was as if it told our thoughts, age dilemma fear and mood. I believe that is why computers and technology in general will never replace the human voice. Somehow feelings, emotions attitudes and thoughts go into our every monologue and spoken interaction. We can't hide our emotions.

Children know immediately when parents are angry about anything. The stern clipped sentences that range a bit louder than normal,  at least at the beginning of the episode, tell the kids to scatter. Dad or mom is searching for something or upset about anything and they don't want to be the unwilling victims of a parents' foul mood. ...continue reading "Voice Transformation"

When parents review a bad report card they hesitate and one can envision the anger rising up their necks and into their angry red faces. Of course the child is waiting for the explosion. The parent may begin with an even slow voice but the pace picks up quickly as fast as the loudness increases. Within seconds like a rocket the words tumble out so fast the child is unable to comprehend the meaning that is being delivered. What the child does know is to simply listen and refrain from interruptions. This is accomplished and the child is at times punished grounded and sent to their room.

I remember listening to the arguments between my older brother and our father. Of course my brother had the mouth that would not remain still. As much as I admired his courage, to this day I never understood his inability to learn the importance of silence. I would watch my dad's face sternly focus on my brother while words of wrath tumbled from his mouth. Whenever there was a pause my brother chimed in with some sort of retort then blast off, my dad was furious.

I could observe my brother almost chuckling at the power he had to send his dad to the moon so easily. I on the other hand held my breath and hoped the incident would be short-lived. Otherwise life would be difficult for all of us until the next day. I remember my father's almost breathless words stumbling out.  The voice was almost inaudible. My dad's body was always rigid at this point and his neck muscles stood out pulsing. How my brother thought this was funny is beyond my comprehension.

I recall being at the beach one day and watching a family in front of us interact. The young teen was asked to get a drink for his father from the cooler. The boy went to retrieve the item. When he came back his father was enraged. The boy had brought a soda rather than a beer. The man swatted the boy on th back of the head almost sending him crashing to the ground. The man snarled like a dog at his son. I remember not understanding the words but the snarls came through loud and clear. The tone was strong and gruff. I remember glancing up at the man from my head down position. I was afraid to make eye contact with this man. I was young but he instilled fear with his voice.  In one quick motion the teen scrambled back to the cooler and grabbed a beer. He handed it to his father having to stretch his arm to be within reach. I couldn't blame the young man because he didn't want another hit on the head.

One day  as I walked to school in Boston, I was behind a young mother and her two young girls hardly more than four or five. The mother was in a hurry. Her sturdy fast paced steps, swinging arms, along with her grip on her handbag gave one the impression of someone on a mission. The kids were obviously having trouble keeping up. The woman kept urging them to walk faster and she increased her rate of speed. Her voice was loud and her words were curt.

Inevitably the youngest child slipped and fell on the concrete drawing blood to both knees. The mother was angry and started to scream at her youngest daughter. The crying child immediately clammed up while the older child stop attempting to help her sister to her feet. The three continued their walk with one change. The youngest child was limping and trailing behind. I had to make a turn and lost site of the three individuals. I won't forget the intense look of the mother and her terse words spilling through her clenched teeth. No wonder the child just got to her feet and continued to move on.

I wonder at adults who are parents or work with kids. I hope they realize how much of an impact both good and bad, they have on  kids. The impressions  they leave are carved into the spirit in a good or detrimental way. Children are the helpless recipients of anger frustration, regret, and much more. They have nowhere to run and no escape. Living in fear for some kids is a normal state of affairs.

We put people in jail for simple infractions yet we allow serious harm to happen to kids before we  step in as a society. I will never understand this. At the sake of embarrassing parents, we should come  to the aid of families in need. Unless we find the root of problems there will be no remedy. If one requires an antibiotic but is only given cough medicine, the infection continues. Answers at most times are simple.

I know the voice has the power to crush, disintegrate, relieve, or bring comfort and love. The words are not as important as the tone, loudness tempo distinctness emphasis on words and expressions on the face of the person delivering the message. Perhaps we should think about the messages we are sending to our kids and to other people. Probably we never thought about the changes in our voices nor the facial changes and bodily changes expressed by our built up emotions.

After growing up with a multifaceted person I have learned how to  read most people. I get a sense of their mood. We all get angry but  allowing it to take over our minds is inexcusable. The next time we feel our fury rising,  we might think about the changes taking place in our own bodies. Take some deep breaths and count to one hundred if need be. It might help us to better control our own rage. It is  always within our power to change things. We simply need to be aware of how we affect others and the impact of our anger. Making happier and brighter days for our own families and those of others is crucial to everyone's well-being.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”    Mark Twain

“Don't hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love.”
Leo Buscaglia

“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you're allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.”    Shannon Alder

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

“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.”    Cherie Carter Scott

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

Gratitude"Throughout history wise men and women have encouraged us to feel grateful for what we have. Why? Very simply because gratitude makes us feel good."   Richard Carlson, Ph.D

“We need to regularly stop and take stock; to sit down and determine within ourselves which things are worth valuing and which things are not; which risks are worth the cost and which are not. Even the most confusing or hurtful aspects of life can be made more tolerable by clear seeing and by choice.” Epictetus

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

As we review our lives since the beginning or even over the past year, we might think of the happy times, but I fear most of us dwell on those moments of pain. It seems to be human nature, to want to make all things perfect in our lives. No matter how wonderful the year might have been, we review what went wrong during the difficult times.

Told to do our best from the time we understood what that meant, programs us to strive for goals, attainment, wealth and achievement. This leaves us working hard, for those who dare to take up the challenge. We have become "A one" personalities so to speak. We find as much fault in ourselves, as we  find in others. It leaves us with feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, distrust and a damaging notion of dissatisfaction. ...continue reading "Make Thankfulness Routine"

The eager barrage of incentives, to keep working towards elusive dreams and ideas, overshadows reality, inner beauty and truth. We don't have time to think about what is going correctly in our lives, because we are too busy with what we are trying to fix,  make better, or evolve into. I find it strange that our  inner feelings and nature, come in second, to our achieving acknowledgement from the world. Of course this world may consist of our boss, coworkers, parents, spouse, siblings or any combination.

Leading a thoughtful, calm and gentle life is not enough for most of us. Somehow we must prove ourselves, make our mark on the world, or within our own circle. This defines us and proves our success. We should question how  we define success, and how does our success define us. Being a new year, I thought it appropriate to consider resolutions, and thoughts about life. Considering what we value may explain to us,  who we are by what we treasure.

I easily forget how much I have to be thankful for. I worry about the work I accomplish, the money I require to survive, the people who have lost my trust, the people who have hurt me or dismissed me time and again, and those who seem to be able to make so much more than I will ever be capable of earning. The envy and jealousy feelings creep in, when I believe I am as good as they are, so why do I strive while they coast. I loathe the health issues I deal with, and resent the good health of others. I ask myself why me.

I assume this sounds familiar on one level or another. Some of us let it sink in and fester, while others let it drift in, linger for a bit, and then we send it packing. In short time, we pick ourselves up and again, and step along the path of our journey. We  tell ourselves to work harder, give more time, and focus. We even give up our free time with friends and family, to accomplish the tasks we have set for ourselves. Our life gets busier and busier but it is okay. Now we don't have time to review what we lack, when we have filled our lives with obstacles to overcome, and goals to reach. This appears to work, except for an unusually quiet moment, when we again review our state of mind, and find we have dropped even further into the well of despair.

There seems to be no answer. We have done all we can, and the dream is elusive and further away than ever. We have become so defeated, that we don't recognize who we are any more. Family and friends seem to mean less to us, and as a matter of fact, we don't have the time to understand them anymore.

Honestly, this year it is time to get back to the basics of your life. It is totally more relevant to recall what your treasures are, and how much they mean to you. As easy as it might be to say, I don't care about this one or that one anymore, you would miss them if they  were gone from your life. People are our gifts. They are the irreplaceable items in our lives. They are not dispensable. Once we come to deduce their relevance, other ambitions we set and try to accomplish, pale in comparison.

Counting our blessings actually uplifts our emotional state. Just as over-thinking your dilemmas can induce anxiety, casting special relationships into the background of our lives reduces emotional well-being. He who is rich has the love of friends and family. Focus on that for the new year, and have faith you will be relaxed in your burdens. Love relieves pain. People experiencing hospital procedures always want someone they love nearby. Even people with Dementia, prefer to stay close by someone they have always trusted. Somehow love supersedes everything else.

If a person had to keep only one thing, his fortune, fame, youth, beauty, prowess, accomplishments, intelligence or people he loves, I would bet the love would always take  first place. We can all function without the former but we die inside without the later. People are downtrodden, even if they believe falsely that they are unloved. How strange to worry our whole lives about everything else, except what is vital to us all.

If we have love in our lives, then we already have much to be grateful for. Instead of thinking about the items we are lacking, count your blessings, by counting the people you love and care about. That should make all of us smile. During this year, vow to spend time with those you love. If you can't do it in person, use the phone or computer or Skype or whatever. Promise yourself you will stop putting  people off in deference to things.

When we are feeling pain, it is people who push our clouds away. Have a fantastic new year full of enlightenment about what we should appreciate but have been taking for granted. Watch as your happiness is  guaranteed to soar. The more we come to know what is to be cherished,  the greater our increase of love, companionship, empathy tolerance,  and joy.  More attention to loved ones fills our hearts with love. The rest of our workload of striving towards outward goals, will be a piece of cake.

"It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” ~   Naomi Williams

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Cicero

“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”      John Wooden

“It isn’t what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.”  Author Unknown

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you.  To express your appreciation,  sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you,  and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” ~ Ralph Marston

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

"When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter say thank you and grow." Unknown

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."   Cynthia Ozick

“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not figures on a dial.  We should count time by heart-throbs.  He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.” ~ Phillip James Bailey

"Say NO to the demands of the world. Say YES to the longings of your own heart."   Jonathon Lockwood

"Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work...Sacredly, Secretly, and Silently...And those with 'eyes to see and ears to hear' will respond."    Unknown

Continually attempting to please others, is likely the most difficult job we all work at constantly. All our boasts about  not caring if someone likes it or not, are just nonsense. Deep down we want to make others happy. All of us work at making the grade, and becoming number one, in the eyes of another. What I have found is that it becomes impossible, to be the number one for any length of time. As hard as we work at it, eventually it wears us down, and I am not even sure others are totally aware of the game we are playing. They are too busy playing their version of it.

Most likely it begins at childhood, when we compete against our siblings for attention. Some of us find it easier to be people pleaders, but we all do it to some degree, even if we don't admit to it. If our parents like something special for dinner, then that is what we cook when they are coming over. We bask in our ability to please them, and we beam, when they compliment us. Of course we get a bit  rigid when we hear about their  pleasure at another siblings house. How petty of us we think, but the feelings creep in, or is it the threat of losing love.

Young kids depend on mom and dad, and so the ability to accept sibling rivals, is important. Maybe we never evolve out of that position. Instinctively we continue to strive to please.  This perhaps continues with our jobs and the boss. Technically the boss is also a provider for us, and important figure in our lives. Husbands and wives play another role, and without knowing it,  demand more of our attention.

We all like to satisfy, receive praise, and feel that we make a difference in the lives of others. I know it is probably impossible to be in first place, all the time. It is extremely difficult, to  maintain a level of denial, in order to cope with the pleasures of others. Simply stated, we can't be the perfect child forever. Finding our own lives is relevant. We can't be the need fulfilling spouse every second. Our own needs must be taken care of. We are never the perfect parent, sibling or friend. Those times when we fail, are the times we beat ourselves up, for not satisfying another.

Perhaps it is time to ask if it is so important to always gratify. Likely we have degrees of how much importance we place on this attitude. It is paramount to accept the fact, that we cannot always placate those we love. If we only see ourselves through the eyes of another, then we lose ourselves in their perception of us. How they view us is how we rate ourselves. Now we are under pressure to come through. It is far better to appreciate  who we are. Our version of self, is the most important measurement we can accept.

Most of us probably are not aware of the importance, another person places, on what we think about them. As much as we attempt to keep parents happy, our children are doing the same thing with us. Every time we produce a guilt ridden situation,  we have endorsed a "striving to please" job. It only leaves us distraught at our attempts to gratify. Perhaps parents are not placing such burdens on us. It may possibly be us, who desire to constantly gratify those we love.

I honestly believe that in the end, we are so beat down that we give up. This is sad, but sometimes a blessing. After coming to terms with the limits of our capacity, we begin to discover ourselves. We also realize that we start doing things for others out of love, real love, rather than to attain a false belief of love. Most likely parents are not forcing kids to please, and may not be aware of the power they hold over their children. Adult children might become aware, that their parents are also not theirs to control. Kids need to learn independence, and thankfulness for the favors parents bestow.

Once this is accomplished, we can live our lives in honesty, and in a more relaxed state. We stop striving to constantly delight, and begin paying more attention to needs and support. It perhaps also gives us time to aid others, outside our circle of family and friends. If we dwell constantly on what we must do for someone, in order to maintain a tenuous sense of position, it allots  little time, to helping another, out of charity.

I know there were many times in my life, that I did things out of duty. There was some love intertwined, but for the most part, it felt more like being compelled to do it. Maybe it was my own sense of duty, or maybe it was guilt put on my shoulders. Likely it was a bit of both. I guess it is a good thing when a person comes to the realization sooner, rather than later, because pressure is relieved and living begins.

We strive to be the perfect parents, or grandparents. Then we discover how effortlessly, another parent or  grandparent assists our child in a profound and important way. Accepting this is crucial, to our own peace of mind. We all want what is best for our kids and grandchildren. If we love them truly, then there is no problem in accepting and being grateful, for the support of others. Loving can mean allowing our most treasured gifts, the freedom to be liberated. Letting go is difficult, but upon release,  peace is acquired. We also might find the loved one returns often. There is a comforting revisit, due to the lessening of restrictions.

The more we hold on tightly to what we perceive as ours, the more they struggle for autonomy,  and to please us. We leave them in turmoil. The expectations others have for us, as well as the ones we place on others, can consume our lives. It is so strange to have the independence, and knowledge of the love of others, without strings attached. Love is so gentle, that it is without physical attributes, and thus can only be felt within the body and mind. It is impossible to enclose, or keep love confined to oneself. By allowing love the freedom to expand, it draws back to us and gives thanks.

Even at work, there can be many who deserve credit for their abilities. We are one of many on the job. In no way are we depleted by someone's fullness. Mothers and wives can love sons and husbands, without jealousy. Sisters-in-Law and brothers-in-law can love each other without competing. Siblings can understand that their parents love can be divided many times without any loss of love to them. Friends can accept the differences between each other, and the needs each individual fulfills. Grandparents can give unconditional love, without envy. I for one comprehend that letting go of demands, and competition, brings serenity. The empty space left from the lack of worry, is filled with more love. Serenity is far better than constant striving to please others. Life won't always make you happy, but living a meaningful life will bring you happiness.

Strive For Happiness"PEACE It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things, and still be calm in your heart." Unknown

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow  bring out the best in ourselves."    William Arthur Ward

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."     Cynthia Oziek

 

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