Tuesday, May 31

Creating a Better Today ............ 5/31/11

       Beyond pretense.

      A friend of sever-al decades-----a Bal-cony Person in my life, and I lunched together.  This is what we discussed. The freedom enjoy-ed when facing our vulnerabilities.More importantly, we talked about over-coming our weaknesses by replacing them with healthy alternatives. The following are a few suggestions:

      I. If we're angry:
          A.  We can go for a walk
          B.  We can process it by writing about it in our journal.
          C.  Go to a local sports event and scream like the dickens.

     It is a socially acceptable place to yell.  Fans next to you will think you're amazingly fanatical.  I have a dear friend in her 70's who does this. She goes to the Cal Berkeley basketball games.

         D. We can listen to relaxing music, to decompress.
         E. We can release our frustrations out by beating a pillow or throwing rocks in a body of water.
         F.  Anger reveals we're experiencing an unmet need. We can take action to resolve the unmet need by taking one step that allows us to empty out.

      For example, say that we're with someone who is judgmental.   And we're uncomfortable with their put-downs or how they blame us for their problems without taking responsibility. We can excuse ourselves:
"I'm sorry, but I have to go. I have something pressing that I need to do."
       No, not ironing a shirt.  Yes, we do have something to do. It's leaving that environment.  We don't need to be with someone who suffers from the toxicity of a bitter spirit.
Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.
                        Proverbs 22:24-25
      It's necessary if we want serenity. If we want to reduce the level of drama in our lives.  One source for sanity is being responsive to, but not responsible for the feelings of others.

      II.  If we're isolating, we can:
           A. Call a friend, see how they are doing. If we want to have friend, we need to be one.
           B. We can go to a movie with someone. We are connecting with others.  Not only the friend but the community of others watching the film with us.  It's a step.
           C. We arrange a time to have lunch with someone special.

      III.. If' feeling blue, we can:
           A. Go for a hike in nature. It lifts the spirit for many.
           B. Listen to music we like.
           C. Workout at the gym.  You probably know hard exercise produces endorphins, which are great                 for our moods.
           D. For some, chocolate does the trick, it has serotonin.

       The above are a few examples of healthy alternatives. You probably can add more. You get the idea.

      We may not have control over our circumstances but we do have control over how we choose to respond to them. We have many op-tions, healthy ones that are life affirming.  Difficult times remind me of the following quote:

      The only time we'll not have conflict is when we're dead; learning to process the challen-ges life offers is preferred to the alternative; I find a coffin a little confining.

       When we make healthy choices and take action towards solving our problems we'll find ourselves happier.  Life will be more sane.  We'll enjoy life more. We'll also have an atti-tude of gratitude because we're making the most out of our lives. We are also creating a better today.

How About You?
1. What are some additional alternatives that you find to anger, isolating, depression?
2.  What is one step you'd like to take today, that will move you towards the solution of your particular challenge?

                 Here's to encouraging one another,

Image: Countryside: Spring Sky by Tim Blessed, © all rights reserved, use by permission.

Monday, May 30

Moving Forward In Life ..5/30/11

Moving Forward
My gratitudes for Monday: 

1. I'm thankful for the power in releasing the painful moments from our past. When we do, we are able to move forward, unencumbered by the weight of ancient emotions.
Acting like a victim is a choice. It's not a destiny. 
2. I'm happy that when we accept the vulnerable areas of ourselves with compassion, there is a higher likelihood of those areas being healed. If we condemn them, our weaknesses usually go into hiding. Enjoying relationships with loving, supportive others is the first step.

    Receiving unconditional love from others is the first step that allows us to consider loving ourselves, faults and all. 
3. I'm grateful for the desire to want more out of life. I'm taking steps towards achieving my goals. As I've said before, the only difference between a rut and a grave is that the two ends have been kicked out. 
We cannot become the persons we want to be, by remaining the way we are.
What man should fear is not death. What man should fear is never beginning to live.       Marcus Aurelius
     For an amusing story with valid points about adapting when life is tossing dirt on us, click here. Thanks for dropping by. You open opportunities for connection when you leave a comment. It is your way of registering your visit to this inn of thanks. You're not alone. Life is a "we" program. We get our healing by bonding with supportive others. You'll find such people, here.  If you post, I'll reply.

Responding Not Reacting, Part II ( An Opportunity for Growth, Spiritual Weightlifting) ...................5/30/11

        Hi everyone,

This  post arrives a bit later than normal; I just got in.  Seeing friends, studying at Starbucks and getting groceries, kept me out of the house this evening. Lately, I've been quite the socialite. Sleeping in, earlier today was needed, after all the action of the past few days.  My body needed rest. Last night, my family and I played cards until 2:00 a.m., Sunday morning. 

Responding, Not Reacting to Emotionally Charged Conversations

       When I'm disagreeing with someone, being aware that my knowledge is limited, helps.  I don't know what's right in every situation.  During such times, I've grateful for the acronym THINK. I ask, "are my comments and behavior Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary and Kind?"

       In the heat of an emotionally charged conversation, it easy to

Sunday, May 29

An Evening to Remember ..5/29


      I just got in from being out last night, Saturday. I had a marvelous time with friends. Tonight's post shall be brief.

My gratitudes for Saturday.

1. Fun with friends and family was my delightful experience this evening. My birthday was celebrated at my favorite place, the Fairmont Hotel.

Friday, May 27

Armida, Part I. Counting Our Blessings: A Reminder That Tomorrow or Next Month Is Not Guaranteed ................ 5/27/11

      How are you?  I'll discuss today's topic after my gratitudes.

I've been on the go for several days. Thursday, I met with friends.  Afterwards, some of us took in a movie: "Thor."  My oldest son is a manager at a twenty-five screen theater and I get to see first-run movies for free.  It makes me a popular date. :->  (Free large bag of popcorn and soda too, if desired.)
My Gratitudes Before Saturday Rolls Around:
1. I rested today. Nice. I stayed home this evening; I'm gearing up for Saturday, which will be eventful and will carry on until late into the night.
2. I visited with my oldest son,  Thursday. I'm proud of him: he's working hard: he's completing college, works a job and now has been elected as president of the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. (He's a business major.)

     The honesty and openness we share is heartening. It was good hearing him laugh, while we visited.  Stress is an ongoing part of his life.  Sharing light-hearted moments was good for both of us.  Connecting and discussing any issue is easy for us; our bond makes my heart smile.
3. I purchased a book to replace one of the seven vital books I lost recently.  I've been eking out my studies for my personal growth.  I now have three; I borrowed two others from a friend.

      The ones lost are irreplaceable. Hundreds of cross references I hand wrote in each.  300-500 added entries to the indexes, I also had in them. Not to mention my marginalia, which was microscopic and copious. I've studied these books, daily, for years, close to a decade. They each had more than a three thousand+ hours of notes in them. They are what contribute the bulk of what you hear from me, when you visit me, here.

     These books stirred my personal growth, offered wise perspectives and provided inner healing and clarity.  I suffer, not having them.  It's tough opening up "naked" unmarked books. They're not the same.  Insights captured over the years, embedded in them are gone. It's hard starting all over, again.  But...........
4. I'm glad that I'm gradually rebuilding the vital, integral core of my library.

Making the Most Out of Our Lives
Tomorrow is Not Guaranteed
       Seeing friends last night was a great way to conclude the week. They're wonderful people. What I like best is that everyone is emotionally healthy.  They've worked through their issues.  I value their warmth, insight and the kindness.

      There was a shocker to this week's gathering.  One person blithely shared she recently visited the doctor. Armida fell and thought she cracked a vertebrae. The hospital did an MRI, finding out that was the least of her worries: she's severely riddled with cancer.  They've given her 3-6 months to live.  This voracious disease is in her bones, lymph nodes and lungs.  It may travel to her brain.

       Tears streamed down my face as she calmly shared the news, with an bright, sincere smile. Gosh.  In shock, unable to comprehend what she said, I was. "This could not be??" I thought. What she shared was incongruent with her calmn and positive demeanor.

        Speaking with her, one-on-one, later, culminated in giving Armida big hug----a request of hers. Visiting her, bringing mutual friends, I intend on doing.  I'll act soon, while she's mentally clear, and even after, when she isn't. My guitar I'll bring. I find music comforts the soul, don't you agree?  Her illness strikes an emotional chord, I've been assisting someone since last July who's recovering from cancer surgery on her leg.  Also, my dad died from prostrate cancer not long ago.

        We want to let our loved ones know we love them, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
How About You? 
1. Who is someone you feel strongly prompted to visit?  My encouragement is, do it.
2. What has been a big shock you've experienced lately?  If you feel comfortable sharing it with us, that would be great. If not, you may want to get it out of your system by sharing this disturbing news with a caring, empathetic friend.  It works. I know from personal experience
Update: 8/4/11 My dear friend Armida died Monday, 8/1/11, at 12:55 p.m., surrounded by family and loved ones.  I was fortunate enough to serenade her twice this month.  Most recently, Sunday, the night before her departure.

        Her death is my loss, and that of those who knew her.  Armida's irrepressible spirit left an indelible imprint on this writer. You can read the story about the innkeeper serenading her, her dancing eyes and an unexpected, but comforting guest, here.

Wednesday, May 25

Happiness is a Choice; Gratitude is a Choice. Better staying in the solution than dwelling on problems. 5/25/11

      Today is wonderful; the weather is lovely.  This morning, the skies showered the region, scrubbing the air and refreshing it.  I'm mindful of a quote:
 "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."  
Abraham Lincoln echoed this when he said, 

Tuesday, May 24

Slowing Down: Taking Care of Self 5/24/11

My gratitudes for Tuesday:

1.  I slowed down by staying home tonight. Some of my commitments I'm easing up on. Focus on other priorities is what I need to do. A client wanted to see me later this week. I scooted it to next week. I need to make sure to take care of myself. Part of my sanity and serenity requires me doing less than I normally do. My worth is not established by what I do; it's based on

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.