Wednesday, June 22

An Antidote To The Frenzy of Modern Day Living........ 6/22/16

     Here I am.

     In a matter of time, you'll notice improvements here. In the meantime, I'm behind the scenes, making adjustments.  I am developing, en-hancing, my practice.  Also what I will offer at this site.

      I want this inn to provide greater sup-port than it already does.

      This requires mucho work from me.  There's a problem with this idea.  I haven't had time.

      Lately, I have had so many distractions they have exhausted me.  I can't think straight.  The unwanted demands are hindering my work.  Fortunately, I am gradually getting back on track.

      I am submitting this post because it explains what the innkeeper has been doing.  I have been in H.A.L.T.  It is one of the reasons for my absence.  I am also presenting this post because it has been speeding to the top of the sidebar to your right.

      It is worth taking a look at, again.  Here it is:

********

         It is reassuring knowing God cares for us.

         He does, more than we can ever love ourselves.  It is even better, appreciating this fact on the experiential level.  Not just cognitively.

        We are also fortunate when we enjoy the benefits of a support-ive network.  They are our Balcony People.  

      But, we also enjoy the richness of life when we take care of ourselves.  Ourselves.  It is easy thinking of everyone else's needs, neglecting our feelings and what we want.  Then we wonder why we are irritated or depressed.

        It helps remem-bering all negative feelings are a re-sult having an unmet need. This is today's subject.  In the midst of life's de-manding nature, it critical making time for ourselves.

      Continually run-ning at 9,000 rpms isn't healthy.

       Part of our personal growth is learning to do less during stressful times.  Less than we are capable of accomplishing.  We may not be as efficient as we want to be.  But we'll be more effective.

       Making time for us gives more bounce to our life.  We get through life with more energy, zest.  We are more likely thrive.

      We want to make time for personal growth.  One way is having Quiet Time.  For many, it is early in the morning.  We make time even though the urgencies of life scream for attention.  We invest in ourselves despite the e-mails awaiting us.

      We want to do this even when text messages keep piling up on our phone. These demands prod us, insisting we ig-nore our mental and spiritual needs.  But it is more vital, realizing the need to don the armor of having a Quiet Time early in the morning, before battling the demands of the day.

       Studying, praying, meditating, they are forms of having Quiet Time.  So is reading uplifting material, listening to inspiring music.   Going for a walk at a park keeps us fresh, too.  They are all ways of nurturing us.  Any of these possibilities are better than TV.  Or playing video games.  Yes, even better than surfing the internet. (You can shut down your computer. Go ahead and invest in yourself.  I'll still be here when you return.)

       You still here?  Okay, I'll continue.  Conversations with friends or doing community service. These activities are good for our mind, emo-tions and spirit.  The following quote is also helpful to keep in mind during stressful times.
HALT.  Don't get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  I use this reminder to help me set healthy limits for myself, which I never learned as a a child. In the past, I often believed I should be able to go for days without enough food or sleep.   I also tested the limits of my ability to handle enormous doses of stress and isolation without tending to my own emotional or physical needs. 
I've learned a gentler, simpler way of caring for myself.  I find it of great benefit to have a brief list of the most basic areas in which I neglect my own well-being: nourishment, emotional wellness, fellowship, and physical rest.   
First, is my stomach rumbling?   Then I need to stop what I'm doing and eat some food.  Am I too angry about the trivial details of my life?   If so,  I can take a break and punch a pillow or engage in some physical exercise [or process these issues with a trusted, emotionally healthy friend].  Am I lonely?  I could get together with friends or call someone [who accepts me unconditionally]. Finally, am I so tired that I can't keep my eyes open? Then it's time to lie down for a nap or a good night's sleep. 
When I feel stressed, I'll stop to check whether my basic needs are being met. We can watch for the need to HALT and give ourselves special attention when we are feeling  Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
        We have a liveliness, an excitement for life when we take care of ourselves.  When we do, we enjoy our time on earth more.  We will have an Attitude of Gratitude, along with greater sanity. 

Friday, June 10

The Only Way Out Is Through ....... 6/10/16

     I'm wiped out.

     For nearly two months my tranquility has been in-vaded.  By a persistent pest.  Circumstances never faced before are making the idea of spending time in a padded room attractive.  My privacy  has been overrun by others only thinking of themselves.

      One person, in particular, does not get it.  She does not see how her behavior harms

Friday, June 3

God Isn't a Spiritual Bell Boy, Revised 6/3/16

This is not God. I'm
sorry if you were
 mistaken.
        Recently, I was schooled in a lesson while laboring on a project.

        A suitcase of tasks related to it was lugged.  Up the steep stairs of unseeable results.  What I did was foreign to me and a challenge.  But I was confident in seeing this task completed.

       Others told me to give up.  Nope.  No can do.  Success often requires faith along with perseverance.

        Faith is going beyond the dictates of reason and circumstances.  When pushing ahead, if we need all the outcomes figured out, where's the need for faith?  How can it unfold its wings?

       Faith is doing what takes faith.(Read here, for more about this idea.)

       I'm not prone to throwing in the towel when circumstances aren't going well.  There's something to be said for determination.
"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins–not through strength but by perseverance.”                                   H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
        By phone, others were recruited.  Contacts were engaged face-to-face.  All efforts appeared for naught.  The lack of results didn't rattle me.

       What we do or don't achieve does not define us.

     We can be thank-ful  for the free-dom found when we leave our best efforts in God's hands.  It is enough trusting Him for the results. There is power in persis-tence.  However, endurance is best when born of prayer and meditation and faith.

       This is connecting to the God of our understanding.

       Seeking God's will.  This is not relying on our abilities.  We are not the end all and be all of any endeavor.  Seeking God's help, relying up-on His resources, works best.  It accomplishes greater works.

      God isn't our spiritual bell boy.

      He doesn't wear a goofy uniform.  Nor is he a lackey.  We know bellboys.  They work at hotels, toting our luggage to our room, hoping for a tip.

      God isn't to be bossed. We don't snap our fingers saying, "God, this is what I want to do (you name it), or need.  Now, bless my efforts. Give me what I want!"

       It is preferred asking for His guidance.  We commit our ways to Him. We let God establish our plans.

       Here's a quote that shines on this subject:
Remember that asking our Higher Power for help does not mean asking for specific results---that is asking God to execute [perform---not kill] our will!  Turning our will and our lives over to God means that we put the outcome in God's hands.   Paths to RecoveryAl-Anon's Steps, Traditions,  and Concepts, Virginia Beach, VA: (1997). 29, Print.
        Well, today it happened.  The results regarding my efforts and faith arrived.  It was lovely.  The  route to success was unexpected.  Basking in a vision fulfilled nourishes the soul.  It gives hope for the heart.   It strengthens our resolve, the next time when confronting a problem.

       God's humor was displayed as the vi-sion unfolded.  The payoff for my efforts was rewarding.  Fig-ures.  Things work out better when I "do the next right thing."  And then rest, trust-ing God for the outcome.

        Getting out of the way with this project was more productive.  Life is less intense.  There are fewer worries.

         One of the persons who prompted me to quit----when I struggled with this project----was with me tonight. When the glorious outcome was unveiled; she was speechless.  Little faith, produces small results. "According to your faith be it unto you," a spiritual leader, once said.

         Operating from God's point of view broadens life's possibilities. Big faith allows God to work.  When unfettered by negativity, fear, or a limited perspective much can happen.

          Exercising faith enables God to unleash His power.  It is humbling, remembering reality or results are not limited to our senses.  They are not dependent upon our abilities.  Nor are results tied to our capabilities or logic.

         Thank God for this fact.  Literally.

         It's emotionally satisfying knowing, at the cellular level----not just cognitive-ly----there's only one God and we are not Him.  God and us make a pow-erful team. This partnership enables us to do our best.

        We are unshackled from the limited resources when operating by our strength alone.  Confusion and apprehension and our weaknesses are placed in God's hands.  That's our best option.

        Worry avails little.  Yes, it provides a pseudo sense of control.  But it is still fake.

        When we think we are in charge of circumstances, it is important seeing this for what it is.  An illusion.  When we believe we have every-thing under control, we don't.

        Growth transpires when we realize we are powerless over all the nouns and pronouns in our life: people, places and things.  (Paths, p 13)

        Living with humility, seeing that much is out of our hands helps us sleep better.  We will worry less.  We become easier for others to relate with.  We make sure a "we" is left standing in our interactions with others. 

        Faith right-sizes us.  We are reminded it is best depending on God.  We can never be certain about outcomes.  It is best discovering what they may be as we connect authentically with others.  It promotes an Attitude of Gratitude.   We find relief.

        Our manipulations only make others angry with us.  They create distance and distrust.

        Applying faith we no longer need to rely on our resources alone.  The heavy luggage carried up the stairs of our concerns and future no longer rests upon our shoulders, but His.

How About You? 
How is your connection with God?  Where would you like it to be?  How do you define the God of your understanding?

Sunday, May 29

Kisses For a Son 5/29/16

         Some friends and I visited this morning.

        We stood in a circle.  The cool breeze wafting around us, a wonderful respite from yesterday's hot weather.

        Someone new to me walked by, then dropped in, joining us.  Everyone knew each other.  The odd man out was you know who.  That's okay.   The unknown woman had heard about me.  She checked me out.

        No.  Not that way.
      Her pain robbed

Monday, May 23

10 Benefits When We're Gentle Towards Ourselves 5/23/16

         “The six most important words:'I admit I made a mis-
take.' The five most important words: 'You did a good 
job.' The four most important words: 'What is YOUR 
opinion?'  The three most important words: 'If you
 please.'  The two most important words: 'Thank You.' 
The one most important word: 'We.' The least
 important word: 'I.' ”   Author Unknown     

 Image: The California coast: Point Reyes 
        Showing grace
towards ourselves. 

      We are lucky when there are opportun-ities to practice patience. Especially towards ourselves.  Driven and highly motivated, we may be.  Even more than most.  We want to make our life count.

      We don't care to be a loafer. 

     For many of us, much of our drive since youth was prompted by insecurity.  We had a strong need for approval.  With time, we learned we can enjoy peace and serenity instead.  This happens when we realize we are not circus animals. 

     We do not need to jump through hoops.  We don't have to impress others.  We are good, just as we are.  Our faults do not define us. 
    
     Knowing God's love empowers us.   Often it is demonstrated through a community of  emotionally and psychologically healthy others   These are our Balcony People.  They undergird us.  They grow our confidence.  They prove support we can lean on, when we are pressed.   Hurray!  

       Recovery allows us to see areas needing growth.  We accept our vulnerable, undeveloped parts graciously.   No longer are they viewed with frustration or despair, as the ugly parts of who we are. 

       We want to view these areas positively.  They are areas where we can grow! 

       Emotional maturity happens when we start treating ourselves with kindness.  We see our lives are getting better.  It's going in the direction we've dreamed.  Looking back at the past month, six months or year, progress has taken place. 

       We want to be patient towards ourselves.  It helps to remember growth happens in millimeters, not inches or yards. 

       Recovery allows us to be gracious towards our character defects.  We now say, "That's okay, sweetie," as areas needing characterological growth come to view.  That's a big improvement from the hateful, critical voice that once condemned us. 

         Such times were before we started using healthy, affirming alternatives to heal tortuous sabotaging thoughts and behavior.  

        For many, sinister, condemning voices were born from the judgments at home, school and church.  They are now muted by the ongoing affirmation we receive from a loving God.   The hateful voice of self-loathing has been muted.  How?  By relating with caring, supportive friends. 


       We want to be kind towards our Hunchback of Notre Dame vulnerable selves.  When we are, this wounded part of us comes out from the shadows of shame.  It emerges from the belfry of isolation and self-judgment. Our deform-ed self experiences healing.  It enjoys transformation.  Why because it is tended to by the loving Esmeralda of grace. 

I know it's hard to see, but she has a water
skin bottle in her right hand. Please click on
 the link below to view this scene.
      We can be unlov-ing towards our warty, unattractive, frail and flawed inner selves.  Sensing condemna-tion, our real, vulnera-ble selves hide.  When that happened, no healing transpires. 

       Our experience can be different.  Looking at areas where we want to grow can be a time filled with love.  Removing splinters from our soul is now a time of tenderness.  Towards ourselves.  We may now see many coping tenden-cies of youth are no longer valid. Hope abounds. And, we become better persons.  Ya ay!

Being gracious towards ourselves has benefits:
1.  We are happier.
2.  We experience less depression. 
3.  Condemning ourselves diminishes.
4.  We are more motivated. 
5.  We sleep better. 
6.  We draw better friends into our lives.  How can we have others who respect us, if we don't respect ourselves? 
7.  We are less defensive.  
       a.  We are more comfortable in our own skin. 
       b.  We get along with others more easily.
"Condemning my imperfections has never enhanced my appreciation of life nor has it helped me to love myself more."
                              Courage to Change, p 19

8. We have an Attitude of Gratitude because we are kinder towards ourselves and others.  
9.  Grace permeates my life.  
    We learn to ask, "How important is it?"  Circumstances that once would have irritated are now are seen for what they are: not worth losing our serenity. 
10. As I'm gentle towards myself, I've become more compassionate  towards others. We give only what we have received ourselves.
 How About You?
a. How are you when the dragons of despair raise their heads in your soul? 
b. What do you find as healthy alternatives to frustration, disappointment or self-loathing? 
c. What do you do, that allows you to be gentle towards your weaknesses?
d. What silences the critical parental voice that screams at and condemns you? 

       I will work on this post tomorrow, Tuesday.  This is my best for today.  I am exhausted.

Wednesday, May 18

Moving On With Life: The Three A's Revisited 5/18/16

"You can't undo anything you've already
 done.  But you can face up to it.   You can tell 
the truthYou can seek forgiveness.  And let
 God do the rest."            Unknown
 The Value of Awareness

       We celebrate the sanity en-joyed when we look at life real-istically. 

      This is aware-ness.  It's a good start, but incom-plete.  It's eighty-eight percent of the answer when deal-ing with problems.   There's no remedy without first seeing the issue.

       Awareness helps us overcome life's challenges and disappoint-ments.  It helps us see progress.  When our learning curve spikes upwards there's no better encouragement.

       With greater awareness, circumstances that once lingered, for months----perhaps years---are now dealt with quickly.  We begin to thank God for quicker personal growth.

Rooting Out the Problem
The Vital Need for Acceptance

      It's vital going beyond awareness, seeing the problem.  Acceptance takes place next.  This is taking the perspective awareness provides.  

      Acceptance is dealing with its emotional impact.  This step is often ignored.  If we don't take this action, we are only trimming the shrub of our problems.  We are not rooting it out.  The problems will grow back.

       Acceptance is getting in touch with the issue at the visceral lev-el. It involves five steps.  It is:
1.  Seeing the vexing area.
2.  Feeling our re-sponse.
3.  Taking our feelings a step further. We grieve the loss involved.
4.  Letting the negative sentiments go---often through forgive-ness.  Forgiveness is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt.
5.  Seeing what steps we can take next. This is looking at our options.

      Acceptance helps remove ten percent of the problem.  Did you notice?  Acceptance is not acceptance with resignation. "Oh, this is my lot in life.  I'll have to tolerate it."

      Here's a critical point: many go straight from awareness to action. "I see the problem, and now, this is what I need to do....."  and design an action plan.  Bad idea.

      When we respond this way we are only operating mentally.  We are going rational.  The heart level is not addressed. With-out acceptance, the problem isn't rooted out.

      When was the last time we made time, determining why we isolate?  When have we done an inventory of  a perturbing area?  When have we made the time to root out festering resentments?  When have we looked at steps that overcome the torture of self-loathing?

      We need to connect at the gut level. If we want to heal our pain.  That doesn't happen if we go rational, as most of us do.  Negative feelings just don't disappear, if ignored. 

      It is wise looking for the payoff for our unhealthy behavior.  When have we investigated our thinking, checking for false beliefs?   It's emo-tionally healing, uncovering our motives.  We don't do anything if there isn't a reward.

       There's a key point regarding acceptance.  We don't have the psychological or emotional distance to clearly see areas needing growth.  We need friends who accept us.  When we fail, they are compassionate.

       We thrive when surrounded by friends who loves us.   Yet they challenge us.  With hard questions.  This is what's needed if we want to dig out problemed areas in our lives.

       We cannot experience healing if we go it alone. 

The Shoe Leather of Personal Growth

        Awareness of what triggers us is helpful.  Handling the emotions that surface---meeting the needs beneath them is critical too.  That's acceptance.

        But next step is critical.  It is applying the shoe leather of practical action.  We want to make efforts that support meeting our need for thriving, balance, and peace of mind.

        Donning the shoes of practical principles and actions help us.  They protect us when we are out walking in the street of life.  Principles assist us in handling life's demands.

        They enable us to overcome the vulnerable, co-dependent parts of our personality. We want to apply healthy alternatives.  We want to move away from unhelpful default modes.  We want to replace unsuccessful former approaches with new and better behavior.

        Practical principles permit us to tread upon the gravelly aspects of life without being harmed.

       Action is the remaining two percent needed for handling painful areas. There you have it, the Three A's.  Awareness deals with the head, acceptance with the heart and action with the feet (what we do).  Applying healthier alternatives---staying in the solution---helps us move beyond what were once monuments of our past pain.

       We will enjoy better relationships, sanity, serenity, emotional health, and ease.

How About You? 
Which of the three A's are you using to deal with a rocky area in your life?

Sunday, May 15

Inventorying The Past Week ........... 5/15/16

       Highs for the past week.  This is an inventory of the last seven days.
Highs:
1.  Confronted fears.  I did not allow emotions to overrule common sense.
2.  I ran five miles on Monday and walked for another six on that day.  It has been years since I have run this far.  Good news: didn't feel sore at all, afterwards.

     I walked for six miles for four days.  I ran for 4.5 miles for the remaining two.  It feels good.  It is de-stressing me.
3.  Enjoying teaching a couples workshop.  Last week was the fifth week.  This week it ends.   I love what I do.  Even better, I am thrilled for how the workshop is helping others to draw closer to their partner.

     They are learning how to truly be intimate: being present, authentic, and saying what they feel and want.
4.  I took charge over an area that was overrunning me.  A manipulative person was affecting my serenity.   I detached from the situation.  I looked for my options.  I felt much better, not letting her to disrepect me by her controlling behavior.
5.  I was texted by someone.  Not replying right away makes me happy.  I enjoy not letting social media consume my time or dictate when I will reply to texts or e-mails.  I love the freedom and autonomy I exercise when I do not measure up to the expectations of others.

    I live my by internal standards.  How others consider me or what they expect from me does not determine what I will do.  I am internally referented.

    Monday, I will update this and share my lows for the previous seven days. 

Wednesday, May 11

Agitated .............. 5/11/16

        I'm growing.

        Against my will, I am encountering a lot of instant learn-ing.  This happens when we are assault-ed with many demands.  It occurs when we experience a multitude of failures.  Being the Attitude of Gratitude guy, I see things from a positive point of view. Even during the roughest times.

        Failure and disappointment do not define us.  Instead, resilient people look at setbacks and learn from them. Then move forward.

        If thrown back once again,and they fail, IT IS NO BIG DEAL.

        I don't care for it, but I am facing disappointment and pressure.  Taxed---emotionally, mentally, physically, as I have been, for two weeks.

        An awkward and wobbly elderly person leaning on a walker to get around paints the picture of the steadiness in my present world.

         Topping it off, I was sucker punched Tuesday.  Shocked.  After-wards, throughout the day, I reeled.  And mourned.  As distraught as a cat caught in an alley jammed with feral dogs, I felt.  Couldn't think straight.
        Fear filled every pore.

         I am worn-down.  The result of hard work.  There is much to do besides sessions with clients.  Poor sleep breeds weariness, too.  I have demands shout-ing for attention.  Including improve-ments that will take place here.

       Gearing what I offer in new ways----in a fabulous direction, is taking its toll on me.  The laundry of my life is being re-sorted.  Making me disoriented.  All this is happening as I am taking steps that will help me better serve those I work with.

      Tuesday, for several hours, visions of doom took over.  Not my usual state of mind.  Making it worse, there appears to be no answers for my troubles.

       Except for two.

1.  Slowing down.  I need to be deaf to what clamors for my attention. I need to take care of me.

     I am in HALT.  I need to slow down. I will dictate how I spend my time.  Not the e-mails that assault me daily.  Nor the text messages and phone calls that barrage me throughout the week.

2.  Realizing I am powerless.  I've no control over any of the pronouns in my life: people, places, and things.  This is Step One, in recovery.  It hits hard.  Life is unmanageable.

      Growth happens when I embrace negative realities.  It is a mark of resiliency.  In the meantime, I am curious what wild things are wanting to hug me.

Saturday, April 30

The Man Who Would Not Move 4/30/16

      Experienced drama last Sun-day.

      Spent the morn-ing with friends.  Afterwards, a chum and I drove to the Englander Restau-rant in San Leandro.  Everyone squeezed into the place, sitting shoulder-to-shoul-

Saturday, April 23

Celebrating Life, Enjoying Abundance ...... 4/23/16

The Fairmont

      Just got home from visiting San Francisco.

      We made a birth-day person feel special.  Celebrating life packs a positive punch.  It invigor-ates the week. It transitions it from ho-hum to sublime and fun.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.

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