Monday, April 30

Persistence, Patience, Practice and Perseverance: Progress, Revisited 4/30/12

  The Angel Oak on Johns Island in South Carolina.  The oldest oak
  tree east of Mississippi.  It is certainly one of the most beautiful.
  It's 1500 years old.  It's 65 feet tall, over 6 stories.  The crown 
  covers 17,000 square feet. It's longest limb is 89 feet long. It's main-
  tained  by the city of Charleston.  This tree grew from one little
  acorn.  Here's to our growth
         How are you?
I hope your week has started out well for you. I had a terrific day today. It was a day off.  I had time to process sev-

Sunday, April 29

A Full Weekend, Filled with Joy and Disappointment

I shaIl pass through this world but once. Any good I 
can do,any kindness I can show to anybody, let me
 do it now & not defer it. For I shall not pass this way
 again. Stephen Grellet Image: "Countryside: Mysterious Lane"
 by Tim Blessed. Copyrighted photo,  all rights reserved. 
         Good evening,

Whew!  I had a busy weekend.  I wasn't available, here, at the inn. Yesterday, there was a big event that extended beyond the sum of my

Disappointed and Disturbed

       Saturday, I went to a cultural event with seven others. It lasted from 6:00 p.m. until midnight.  It was a banquet followed by live music and singers. In retrospect, it would have been better if I had stayed

Saturday, April 28

Getting Through the Day, Revisited ........... 4/28/12

      Good morning everyone,

       I'm leaving the following post with you. I penned it May 31st, last year. I hope it provides new helpful options you might want to consider when going through a challenging day.

      Here it is: 

           The following spiritual disciplines help us get through the day, especially those days that present challenges and stress.

1.  Meditation.

    This spiritual exercise slows us down, a good thing. It lets us get away from the frenetic white noise of busyness. Meditation enables us to still our minds and wrap them around the events transpiring in our day, week or month. Seeking God's will in the midst of all that confronts us, is what we try to do. Praying for God's grace to carry out His will, not ours, is the next step.  Spirituality is humbling.
Yet, nothing is as satisfying as our enjoying a deep relationship with a loving, kind, gracious God. For those who may not know He is loving, forgiving and kind, I have two words for you: He is.

If we are going in the wrong direction, it doesn't help to run the opposite way, if we are on the wrong bus. Meditation allows us to reconsider what we're doing.  We're pausing, getting our bearings. We are not allowing the tyranny of the urgent to overrule the less urgent but more important parts of our lives.

Phone calls can seem urgent. We can permit them to consume our time. We tend to them instead of letting them go to voicemail, just because we hear the ring. I find taking time to invest in my needs first, provides me with the spiritual armor I need to hand the pressures of the day.

2. Prayer.

    "Prayer is," as Victor Hugo said, "no matter what position our body is in, our soul is on its knees."  This means we can pray while driving and keep our eyes open. (A good thing.) We are as strong spiritually as we are in our prayer. If we are weak here, we will be weak spiritually.

3.  Palms Down Exercise. I share this technique with my clients, those I mentor and friends.

     Try sitting, with our forearms resting on our thighs, our hands extended beyond our knees, facing downwards. Releasing to God whatever concerns us, is our focus.  It goes something like this:

         God, I release to you my worries, my anxiety, my pain, be it mental, physical, emotional or in any other form. I give to you my past history and the pain it contains.  Father, I release my resentments, fears, and doubts to You. You can do for me what I can't do for myself.  I turn these issues over into your loving care.

4.  Palms Up Exercise.  It looks like this:
Two hands, palms up Stock Photo - 2109122
        Dear God, I receive from You your power, strength, perseverance, poise, peace and prosperity. I receive the emotional safety, tranquility, hope, and harmony that you alone provide. I receive the joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control you offer. I receive the fantastic community, fellowship and celebration of life I enjoy with my family,  loved ones and friends.

    You get the idea. We give thanks for knowing a God greater than ourselves. He can restores us when we're frazzled. The sanity and serenity we seek is available, when we draw closer to Him.

5.  Reading Inspiring Literature
      It  helps us grow.  I believe in God. But, I've found that helpful literature is also a power greater than myself. Our best thinking and actions brought us the problems that face us today. We're more likely to encounter frustration, anger, anxiety and resentment, when we're not exercising restorative principles above those weak areas in our personality. Principles make it possible for us to respond to the challenges we face, including anger, being overwhelmed, etc.

     Literature gives perspective. Reading material that helps us expand beyond our old methods of coping makes us wiser. When this is the case, that literature is a power greater than ourselves.

6.  Friends.
     Our  needs are God's way of extruding us into relationship with emotionally healthy others.  Character discernment allows us to invite others into our life who help us be a better persons because of their presence in our lives. Though not perfect, these friends are "good enough" in  their own character that the net effect of their presence in my life is positive.  They are accepting, honest, and present, and they help me to bear good fruit in my life.  (These comments are adapted from Drs. Henry Cloud's and John Townsend's,book, Safe People.)
     Calling a friend when we are at wit's end is a sanity saver. It's good remembering that "two are better than one, for they have a rich reward for their labor."   Ecclesiastes 4:9

7. Gratitudes.
     I have a hard copy of my gratitudes. I use one of those marbled, spreckly composition books with a black spine. I keep my daily record of thanks in it. I try writing at least three.  At last count I have over 41,000 gratitudes in the several notebooks I've filled up. They help change the direction of my thinking.
The optimist sees the opportunity in every problem. The pessimist sees the problem in every opportunity. It is only the optimist who soars and it is the pessimist who will try to clip his wings, to prevent him from flying.
      There are several other things I do that help me to get through the day.  I'll have to share them later. Please let me know your thoughts, I value them. Please do so, even if it's months after this post was written. If you do, I'll respond, I promise. Today's subject is a great topic to bring up at any time.

Friday, April 27

Relating With an Angry Man ...............................4/27/12

Boundaries, like the ones I exercised Thursday morning, are like
this door. They allow me to keep out the bad and let in the good.
It's late. I just got in from going to the movies with friends. I'm tired, so I'll go straight to my gratitudes. Just a reminder, I believe you'll enjoy checking out the Alphabetical Inndex (click here) or Favorite Post Inndex (click here).
     They provide

Wednesday, April 25

A Special Night With Others: Enjoying a Fuller, Richer Life, With Increased Joy ...................4/25/12

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts,
 and we are never, ever the same.  ~Flavia Weedn, Forever, © Flavia.comImage:
"Countryside: Windswept" by Tim Blessed.   All rights reserved. Used by permission.
A Transcendent Evening

       Tonight, speaking before a group, felt good; it's wonderful to self-express.  The subject: emotions.  The strength and perspective I've developed in this area makes me the happy guy I am.  As a kid, the gremlins of fear, dread, sadness where at my side and kept me company.  As a youth,  these little monsters entered into my emotional neighborhood when I was taught---by school, my family and church---that the needs of others were more important than mine.  Then, I ignored my feelings.  More about this, in a moment.

      The occasion tonight was transcendent.  Afterwards, there was time for others to respond to what I said.  Eleven spoke up.  The dialog was so intense that the group ran out of time.  Taking a vote to see if we wanted to allow extra time, permitting everyone an opportunity to share, was suggested.

      The vote was unanimous: yes---a first.  Witnessing their flexibility, doing something counter to their traditions, was inspiring.  They realized that those attending, not the clock, was the priority.

       The reaction by the eleven who shared was heart-felt.  I wiped away tears when one person spoke.  She mentioned that neither of her parents ever told her that they loved her.  It was sad, not once did they ever muster the vulnerability, letting her know how much they cherished her, the youngest of four kids.

       I am friends with this lovely, gracious woman.  She works in the helping profession, too.  She joked that, in relationships, she once controlled others; it was her way of loving them.  Now, as a part of her personal growth, she lets them be, requiring less effort.

      It's a privilege, connecting with others who share openly, with authenticity.

The Silent Scream of Depression 
Filling Our Love Bank

        I learned later in adulthood the importance of paying attention to my feelings, needs and behavior.  Depression, I said---last night---is a silent scream.  My psyche is shouting that I'm not paying attention to----me.

        This negative emotional state reveals I'm running in the red.  I'm emotionally bankrupt, needing to focus on making deposits into my "love bank".

        I told the audience I am responsible for my feelings, not others.  I disagree with those who say, "you make me feel........." you fill in the blank.  No one can make me angry, sad, happy or another feeling without me giving them permission to do so, I said.

Coming to Terms With My Feelings Affectively, Not Cognitively

        I went on, saying how vital it is, coming to terms with my feelings.  And I need to do so in my gut, not just using my head.  Until I do, my emotional baggage will not be resolved.  Now, I own my feelings, honoring them, giving them deserved attention.  I discharge negative emotions healthily, by cycling, talking with an empathetic friend, or journaling, for example.

         As a result, I'm happier.  Life is serene, richer, more fully bodied.  I attend to what is alive within me.  My friendships are deeper, having greater honesty---I let others know what's troubling me,  if something is stuck in my craw.  Laughter has replaced fear.  Now, transparency without judgment are hallmarks with those I connect.  There's less drama.  Mutuality and reciprocity thrive in my relationships, allowing for greater balance.

     I continue to care about others, like I did as a kid, but now, I equally care about me.

My Gratitudes for Wednesday: 
1. A wonderfully satisfying evening with others. I love experiencing community 
2. I rode my bike for ten miles with a friend. Our time was limited. We had issues to discuss so we didn't scoot around town as much as we usually do. 
3. The weather was warm---there was the luscious humidity that occurs before a storm.  For the first time this year, no windbreaker was needed when I cycled. 
4. Gathered with friends later in the night, at the restaurant Juanita's.
5. I'm thankful knowing that analysis does not change our emotional or mental problems. We need to deal with them at the affective, primal level. 
6. Someone tonight wanted a quick answer to their problem with self-loathing, depression.
         Enjoying life is not the result of an easy fix, I told him, before the group. I told them there are no linear, three-step actions that solve long-term characterological issues. Legacies that have existed for generations will not change by investing one hour a week in addressing them.
         I'm thankful for speaking the truth, rather than offering false hope, even though I was pressured by the requesting person to do so. I'm happy I stand in my integrity---that I did not attempt to do something that was contrary to what I believe, just to please him and the group. They wanted a quick solution.  
7. It is very fulfilling, making my life count. 
So, How About You?
1. In what ways has the Silent Scream of your inner self been trying to get your attention? What are some needs that it wants you to take care of?
2. How do you fill your "Love Bank" when you feel yourself getting emotionally or spiritually bankrupt?
3. What are gratitudes?

Looking for Good in Unpleasant Situations

“Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-
time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly 
look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your
 experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” 
— Marelisa Fábrega
      Good evening everyone,
How was your day? In what way were you grateful for Tuesday? I'm getting

Monday, April 23

Handling Conflict: Responding, Not Reacting 4/23/12

        Hi everyone,
I'm leaving this with you. I wrote this last year, on May 30th. I revised it a bit. It deals with an issue we sometimes face. I'd love hearing your thoughts.
Responding, Not Reacting to Emotionally Charged Conversations
       When I'm engaged in a difference with someone, being aware that my knowledge is limited, is helpful. I don't know what's right in every given situation. During these times, I've grateful for the acronym: THINK. When immersed in a difficult conversation with another, I ask, "are my comments and behavior Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary and Kind?"

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

Saturday, April 21

Transported to Another Time, The Innkeeper Got Away In More Ways Than One ..................4/21/12

      Hello fellow denizens of this inn,

The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco
How was your end of the week, day?  For me, it was sunny, invigorating, diverse and entertaining. I'm still dressed up---my sports coat is on---having just got home after being in San Francisco. I was disoriented while there: the

Friday, April 20

Life For the Innkeeper Has Been Unmanageable ...........................4/20/12

Image: "Cumbria: Windmere Dawn"
      Good evening everyone,
Just got home from an evening out.  I've been a social butterfly this week, attending events nearly every night.  Normally, that's not a routine I care to have. 
        I need time alone in order to nourish my soul and process my thoughts. That's not possible if I'm out late every night. After Sunday, I'll have to say no to future invitations.
       I have two special occasions tomorrow. A lunch date is scheduled with someone I met last Saturday.  Tomorrow night, a jazz music soiree at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco is on tap; I'm taking a dear friend there to celebrate her birthday.  I love the pianist, Eric Shifrin.  The locale is magnificent. I love going to this place and listen to Eric play---he's brilliant. 
      Tonight, I was happy being in a different city, seeing friends that I've neglected for more than six months. But, because I did so, I got a new client. I went because a friend  needed to get away from the stress.  Otherwise, I would have stayed home. 
       Later in the evening, a couple I dearly love surprised me by joining the seventeen of us gathered.  Catching up with this couple met my curiosity as to what was going on with them.  I even got to practice speaking Polish with the wife. 
       After the evening wound down, the woman I brought to the event treated me to dinner at a Thai restaurant. I liked the time we shared but I asked if we could leave.  I needed to get home. I'm bushed and need rest. 
My Friday Gratitudes: 
1. Sleep. It's calling me. I'm glad I'm respecting my body. 
2. Music. I love music. It's a language that soothes my soul. I look forward to hearing music tomorrow. 
3. I'm thankful for taking care of my body by saying I needed to get home, when I was with someone this evening. 
4. I lost my keys last night and I found them. I left them in a city 14 miles away. Someone drove from that city and delivered them to me. I'm a lucky guy. 
5. I found another expensive item that I lost. I'm glad I didn't stress over it. I turned over my concerns to God in the morning.  The item materialized.  I'm happy that while with three clients, I did not distract myself, worrying about losing this item. I let go and let God handle the problem. He did. 
6. Losing things let's me know my life is reaching the unmanageability stage. When that happens I need to slow down and take care of my basic needs.  I'm grateful for awareness. 
So, How About You?
1. When do you know that your life is unmanageable?
2. What do you do to restore order in your life, when it is unmanageable?
3.  What plans do you have for this weekend. What needs of yours do they meet? (Your answers are gratitudes that can be shared here.)
        Good night everyone.

Freedom From the Tyranny of Other People's Feelings, Revisited ............4/20/12

“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.
A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Elie Wiesel
        How are you?
I'm bumping this up. I originally wrote this October 14th of last year. I updated it this morning.  Let me know what you think. This is worth discussion. It addresses a problem most people

Tonight, My Heart Was Sung To ........................ 4/20/12

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it
 to me when my memory fails.  ~Donna Roberts
      Good  morning,
I just got in from spending the night with friends. I'm thankful for how it worked out. Here are my gratitudes for yesterday, Thursday:
1. I slept in.  Ya ay!  I'm thankful for resting my body.  However, I mistreated my body by

Wednesday, April 18

Dealing with Difficult Others, A Reply to a Comment 4/18/12

A view, from Crown Beach in Alameda, of a portion
 of the SF Peninsula.The City is on the right. This 
view continues to the left, for miles. 
       Good evening,

I'll get to dealing with difficult others in just a minute. I just want to check in and let you know how I'm doing. Was I tired. I took a nap late tonight. I just

Tuesday, April 17

The Innkeeper Can Be Stubborn, Especially When Pushed. But He Felt a Lot Better After Riding His Bike for 21 Miles and Having Pizza.

My Gratitudes for Tuesday: 
1. My bike ride. (See previous post for details) I survived a rigorous but invigorating ride.  I'm reliving my second childhood. :)  I'm grateful for the many years of running that my legs have.  I was in track and cross country in school. Used to run 10 Ks years ago and have run four marathons, my first, when

Making Amends Revisited ........ 4/17/12

Things work better, when repaired. In my Left-Coastal thinking, I find
this repaired bowl has a unique beauty.It definitely has character.

The esthetics of kintsugiKintsugi (金継ぎmeans "golden joinery" in  Japanese, and it refers to the art 
of fixing broken ceramics with a lacquer resin made to look like solid gold.  Chances are, a vessel fixed by kintsugi will look more gorgeous and precious, than before it was fractured. The same is true in a
 relationship with a safe, healthy friend. After processing "ruptures,"instead of looking good, the
 relationship will be even more gorgeous. "Friendship is a plant of slow growth," George Washington said, "that must endure many seasons of adversity, before it is worthy of

Monday, April 16

Gratitudes and Removal of Clutter

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the
 completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist
 merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.
Henri Frederic Amiel    
     Good evening, everyone,

I don't know why, but I'm writing this post earlier than normal. It's good hearing from so many of you lately.  I like it.  Communication, community, fellowship and openness are fantastic qualities for any inn. Thanks for helping to improve this place with

Sunday, April 15

Meeting Someone New 4/15/12

Image: "Field and Country: Spring Shine" by  Tim
 Blessed.All rights reserved. Used by permission.  
My Gratitudes for Sunday
1. The weather was terrific. Great weather lifts my spirit. I feast on the stimulation that Spring brings to my senses.
2. Lunched with friends. There was plenty of laughter. A few who normally don't join us, joined. Fellowship, intimacy, and love are always a

Defensive Hope Revisited ........4/15/12

     Good evening everyone,
I'm bumping this up. It's the fourth all-time most popular post, written last July. Some of you who are new may not have had a chance to read it.  Go ahead. Stretch your legs by the fireplace and check it out, I'll pull up an easy chair for you.  Let me know what tea you would like.
Defensive Hope
The following material is from page 97 in the book, Safe People, by the authors, Drs. Cloud and Townsend, published by Zondervan.
Defensive hope is hope that [we think] protects us against grief and sadness. sometimes simply hoping a person will change keeps us from the pain that we need to face. (See footnote 1) Humans are incredible optimists when it comes to destructive relationships. 

Saturday, April 14

Blissful Solitude: Creating Space for My Soul ...... .............................4/14/12

      Yesterday, Friday evening, I bicycled in the rain.  It was not pouring enough to get me soaked, nor was there lightning or thunder.  The uninviting weather provided blissful solitude, as I

Seizing the Pleasures of Life

    I got together with friends this morning.  A time in which my soul was nurtured by

One Second of Response Time for Every Year Invested in Personal Growth ..............................4/14/12

A smile of encouragement at the right moment may act like sunlight
 on a closed flower. It may be the turning point for a struggling life.
Image: "Wetlands: Day Is Done" by Tim Blessed. (Caption by the photographer.)
All rights reserved, copyrighted photograph. Used by permission.
  "I find the concept of Verbal Aikido quite fascinating-thanks for introducing me. Also, I completely agree with the concept of detaching yourself emotionally while in adversarial scenarios-a sort of "emotional compartmentalization.: so-to-speak.”
      I'm giving this important subject---that can greatly contribute to our happiness---the attention it deserves. So,

Friday, April 13

Something Gives With My Blog

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not,
but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus
I'm pretty sure my computer has a virus. Often, I'm unable to access this place or other places in cyberspace. I view moments like these as an opportunities to practice patience.  I'll see about

Emotional Aikido: A Great Way to Handle Stressful Moments ........ 4/13/12

       How is everyone? 
I'm happy you dropped by. I wrote this April 27th last year. I want to share it with those of  you who haven't dug around in the dusty boxes-----the archives of this inn. 
Taking Care of Ourselves 
       I just got in from giving a talk.  I spoke on growing in our power and integrity versus

Thursday, April 12

Tried, But Not Overcome By Anger

      I wrote a story for this evening and my computer crashed. I'll try again tomorrow. I'm pooped so I'll leave you with my thanks and call it a night.
My Gratitudes for Wednesday:
1. I did not get irritated when a neighbor keep me awake until 6:00 a.m. with a tirade she had with her young adult son. I'm thankful for the equanimity we can have, even during trying times. No one can

Tuesday, April 10

Upgrading My Community of Friends, Acknowledging My Son's Abilities

    Hi everyone, here I am again,

 This is that special time when the day changes it's name. By now, you know this is when new entries for this inn of encouragement, reflection and thanks pour forth, fresh from the little dances my fingers do upon my keyboard.
    Today, I got rest, publicly challenged a local writer, supped and spent time with my son.
My Gratitudes for Tuesday: 
1. I got a normal evening of sleep. This has been difficult lately, something I'm working on.  I'm thankful for balance in my life and a long-term perspective. I know I live more fully when I treat my body with the respect it deserves.
2. My community of friends is growing---the good news is that it's a continual upgrade.  As I continue to grow, my taste in companions is refining.  I'm happy that I'm relating with others who enjoy great discussions, challenge my mind, are considerate, spiritual, love nature, exercise, stay in the solution and have a sense of humor.

    Someone wanted my support. She struggles with her past. After a brief conversation I realized she really doesn't want to move beyond her history. What a sad state that is. She's comfortable with moaning and groaning, not wanting to do the work necessary to see progress.
    Too bad.
    Coming to terms with our issues and letting go of them does not deny they've happened. But it allows us to put them where they belong---in our past. This allows us to move forward unencumbered by the weight of ancient emotions.
     I prefer staying in the solution. Every time I use healthy alternative to overcome areas where I struggle, I allow myself to create a better today. Now, that's more like it! Don't you agree?
     So, I gave this woman a pass.
     It's important remembering that we want to care about, but not for others. Click here for more on that. Unfortunately, some people need to experience the consequences of self-sabotaging behavior before becoming motivated to move on,  using more constructive ways to overcome their pain.
      It helps being mindful that I am the average of the five people that I hang out with.
3. I had fun writing something in a local paper. I disagreed with a columnist. I held my ground. I stood against the sarcasm and judgment he had towards a public figure, Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Miami Marlins baseball team.
    He replied, publicly in the paper. I still disagree with his position. I find sarcasm is not necessary. It's better to state our needs than to indirectly get them at the expense of a person's dignity, by putting them down, calling them a moron. You can click on the link above to see my comments.
4. Time with my oldest son.
    Wonderful, inspiring, happy and helped was I, during our time shared. At length we discussed his work. Afterwards, we did marketing work on my business, using his expertise.
     Each time we're together, I see him pulling further and further into the realm of adulthood. His life is intense, he's excelling in his career and he's a wise man. How could I not have an attitude of gratitude??
At times, tonight, in a good way, it was a positive battle/interchange between two Pablos.
     I enjoy the way his expertise challenges me. When we parted, I hugged him and  told him, as much as I hated to admit it----being a former cross-country runner, wrestler, and track athlete in school and still competitive----- that he can do things that I can't.  That put a big smile on his face. :)  I'm glad.
     Thank you for dropping by. I hope life is treating you well.  Remember to keep looking up. You are loved and loveable.  We want to remember to thank those who are our Balcony People. The following is one description about these important members of our community of friends.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”          — Albert Schweitzer
Related Posts: 
Balcony People
Restoring What The Years That The Locust Have Eaten
Seeing My Son Soar

Monday, April 9

This World Is In A Better Shape Than the Media Declares

The person who sows seeds of kindness enjoys a perpetual harvest. (Photographer's caption.)
Image: "Countryside: Wheat flower" by Tim Blessed. Used by permission. I'm a lucky guy.
What a masterpiece of light and color, isn't it? 
    How was your day?
I'm squeezing in this post. I'm tired.  I feel wonderful, however. A good day was had. I was fortunate to have many drop by today and say hi. I love it, when you comment. For each of you who did, I replied.
     I wrote two posts, earlier today.  Now is when I leave the gratitudes I have for this fine evening.
Time With a Son
1. I'm meeting with my oldest son tomorrow. Today, we spoke in-depth, over the phone. I'm so proud of him. Working with him has been one of the greatest experiences in my life.
2. I respect the amazing young man Pablo Jr. he is. His kindness, wisdom, practicality and discipline is remarkable. He's perfect proof of why I needed to get out of the way, as a parent. God did for my son what I could not do.
3. Tuesday, my son, Pablo (he's the sixth, I'm the fifth), is coming over to Alameda, where I live.  I can't say enough about the tremendous job he's done with his life. I'm privileged to be one of his support people. I love the rapport, openness and easy communication we share.
    When he and my other sons turned eighteen, I told them they were no longer my children. They were now God's.  They were now my sons.
     In the Greek there's a big significance regarding this title that we don't convey in English. When I'm not tired I'll elaborate. Probably tomorrow. These blogs are like lasagna. They taste better the second day, after you've heated it a second time. I'll re-work this post Tuesday.
4. I rode my bike for 12 miles today. It felt great.  I love exercise. The wind spoke to me as I pedaled away my frustrations through the island town where I live. It pushed and prodded me, demanding my attention.
Simple Pleasures
5. I changed my sheets.
       The fresh smell of linen is lovely.  I also like tucking in my bed tightly. It makes me feel more secure when slip into a nicely tucked in bed. I'm thankful for simple pleasures. Abundance is not in how much we have, but in how much we enjoy.
6. I am encouraged by each of you who stop by.  I'm am happy to have met some amazing people, as a result of being an innkeeper. It just goes to show it's true. When we perform service, it benefits us more than the people we tend to.
Taken to New Worlds
7. Lately, I've been humbled. I've dropped by several blogs. My, what an uplifting experience it has been. The news media reminds us how the world is going to hell in a hand basket, whatever that means.

      I disagree.

     I've met amazing individuals who people the blogs I've visited. Amazing thoughts, encouraging, inspirational postings, seeing things in ways I've never dreamed, is what I've uncovered in my cyber journeys. Thank you, you who put in the effort and blog. Thanks for opening up yourself to me and all those who visit your cyber homes.

     Your work let's me know that there is hope for this world.  Please give yourself credit.  I know you lift my spirit.  You do the same with others who visit you blogs.

     As Red Skelton, a comedian of yesteryear used to say:  "Good night, and God Bless"

    I know I'll sleep well tonight. Thank you for making my day, afternoon and evening.

Like Calls to Like. A Late Morning Surprise----Thank You

The energy of gratitude in our lives draws more and
more of the things we desire to us, almost by magic.
Image: "Cumbria: Hardknott Pass" by Tim Blessed. Copyrighted
 photo, used by permission. (Photographer's caption.)
      Good morning, one and all,

Writing about vampires in my last post made me one this morning.  I busily

My Personal Resurrection and Emotional Vampires

    Good morning everyone,

How are you? As always, take what you like and leave the rest.

    What a lovely day yesterday was. Seeing many dress up for the Easter holiday as they attended church was a nice change of routine. I took time today to reflect upon the significance of this day. I spent it with loved ones and am glad for it.  It's amazing how holidays can evolve with time.
My Gratitudes for Today.
1. The message of Easter. Nope, it's not about

Saturday, April 7

Having My Voice and an Interesting and Disturbing Date 4/7/12

      Yesterday, there was a date with a young lady.

       We had lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant for two and half hours. It was totally unexpected.  She wants to visit again.

      I'm not sure about that.

     I need balance. Pressing practical con-cerns I'm wrestling with make me hesitate.  I'm thankful looking at circumstances from a broad perspective, not being impulsive, helps maintain my equanim-ity.

     I was troubled by several things this young lady interjected when we chatted. Not a few times, she told me, "You're wrong."

     That concerns me.  I am uncomfortable relating with dogmatic or judgmental people.  Those with black or white thinking scare me.

     Other than the desire to run away from her when she did that, she was okay.

     Seriously, such people "know" what we think.  They put life in con-venient boxes of inaccurate conclusions.  It gives them a false sense of understanding life----a sense of control.

      What is actually happening is that they are operating from fear.

      Life isn't safe for them.  It is for me.  That's what emo-tional resiliency offers. When we have it, confidence is born.  We know regardless our circumstances, we can surf them.

      We own our feelings.  We don't hide from them.  If we disagree with someone, we voice our concerns.

      Firstly, we separate from what is unsafe. We  have our armor of boundaries.  We clearly know who we are.  We are in touch with our thoughts, feelings and desires.  We also know what we will not tolerate, our limits, what is not us.
       And we express our position.  To. Those. We. Oppose.  We are not passive. We train others how to treat us.

      Secondly, what enables us to speak up is that our emotional health is ongo-ingly fed.  By bonding.  No, not superficially through Facebook. But with others with whom we can be our authentic selves.

     We know and enjoy an environment where when we are vulnerable, we receive compassion. We are not judged.  We live in a community that is safe, where we can reveal the vulnerable parts of ourselves and are still loved and supported.

     We separate from what violates our boundaries.  We do not need the support of those we oppose.  We already have it, from those who care about us. We are bonded with safe, emotionally healthy others.

     In fact, because we have this support, we can oppose others without fear of rejection or ridicule. This enables us to separate from values we disagree with. A good network of friends emboldens us to boldly stand our ground with manipulators, controlling people, or individuals not good for us.

     We are shielded by our boundaries.  We will not surrender chunks of our values because we fear those who oppose, intimidate us.  And we are covered with the love of a healthy community when we face the hurricanes of life.

      It is the best of both worlds.

Gratitudes for Saturday: 
1.  I'm thankful for rest. I slowed down today. My emotional equilibrium was out of whack. I paid attention to my body and took it easy.  I napped.
2. I met with friends for lunch. I enjoyed their stories. It's amazing how you see a person and have no idea regarding the journey they've had. Such was the case today with a young woman who was with us who enduring cancer. 
3. This morning, I was with many people I didn't know. There were twenty-four people. That is an daunting environment for an introspective person.

    That type of setting once intimidated me. Not long ago, it was hard expressing my point of view in front of so many strangers.

     My default controlling nature, which rears its head, when I am not living by recovery, is checking out the lay of the land. To see if the group I am with is safe. I didn't do that today.

    In fact many appreciated what I said.  I'm thankful for increased boldness that allows me to express my opinion, my voice.  I am now internally referented.

    I clearly know who I am and who I am not, what I don't agree with or what disturbs me. (There can't be any "yes" if there isn't any "no.")
4. I enjoy seeing those I help getting better. I love when others find that zest that was lost due to self-loathing or experiencing abuse in their younger years. 
5. I'm glad that I am comfortable in my own skin. It helps the authentic me to appear.  I can disagree with others.

      Albeit gently, with kindness and courtesy. Recovery taught me I can say my no as gently as my yes. 

Extricating Ourselves from Enmeshing Legacies and Difficult Circumstances 4/7/12

He's in a bog. Care needed when enmeshed
in a bog of circumstances that don't serve us.
This fellow is a codependent. That's why he's
happy. He's accustomed to being stuck in a
mess.  Life offers more: peace of mind. 
      Below, is a letter written to someone enmeshed in an destructive, emotionally abusive, addictive relationship.  I'm sharing it with guests to this inn.

       It deals with externally referenting  (another view of codependency), low self-esteem, the need for character discernment and defensive hope.
     Dear _________,
A big part of our disease is that, without working on healthy alternatives in the areas where we are vulnerable, using the resources of a mentor, or connecting with emotionally mature others, we allow those who disturb us to own big chunks of our mind and heart. We give away our serenity.
      We are easily externally referented. [Yes, that's a word. For more about this concept, please read here.] When in the grips of this malady, our conversation and thoughts are consumed, dwelling on the person we want to please, usually due to us not having intrinsic sense of worth. 
       Often these individuals are emotional bullies.  Upon meeting us, they can smell our codependent qualities----through lead.  They abuse us because of our deep-seated need for their approval. And low self-esteem.
       Externally referented, we focus on the needs of others.  We wonder why we suffer from depression, self-loathing and anxiety when the answer is we are neglecting our needs, behavior, thoughts. Our options are overlooked. (Courage to Change, p 359)  We assume the victim role.  That's what I notice about those who relate with narcissists and emotional bullies. 
"Acting like a victim is a choice, not a destiny." 
          Hope For Today, p. 189.  
      When we view ourselves as victims, we don't see our contributions to the troubled relationship.
Looking back, I can accept that plenty of unacceptable behavior was directed at me, but I was the one who sat and took it and often came back for more. I was a willing participant in a dance that required two partners. I felt like a victim, but in many ways I was a volunteer.
Today, as a result of my [growth] I know that I am not helpless.  I have choices. When I get that old feeling that tells me I am a victim, I can regard it as a red flag, a warning that I may be participating (with my thoughts or my actions) in something that is not in my best interest. I can resist the temptation to blame others and look to my own involvement instead.  That’s where I can make changes.                         Courage to Change, p. 361
      We deserve better than tolerating abuse.  Allowing it speaks volumes about our low self-esteem.
      Often we don't see reality. We live in a fantasy. Defensive Hope.  [For guests to the inn, more about this subject can be found here. You'll be glad you did.] Insanity is not doing the same thing, again and again, seeking a different result. 
      No, it isn't, despite what many in recovery say.
      Such behavior is a symptom of insanity.  What causes us to do so is the insanity: we don't want to face reality. We'd rather believe fiction, a fantasy about the relationship, how the relationship will be if we only try harder, give more and please these unpleasant people who are emotional vampires
      This is is the tell-tale, screaming indicator that we in the grips of the disease of external referenting.  We don't get better by isolating----healing ourselves by our efforts alone.  Characterological growth requires a different consciousness than the one that created the problem---our own thinking and feelings---our distorted values. [To read more about this, click here. ]  
       Seeing things through the prism of damaged self-esteem, due to growing up in an unhealthy home---perhaps one harmed by alcoholism, verbal and/or physical, emotional abuse---is a chancy proposition.  Often the ideals learned there, aren't. Other conditions that make a troubled home include perfectionism, raging, mental illness or emotionally unavailable parents.  
       This is where Al-Anon Family Groups extremely helpful.  However, this organization is not for those who need it: it's for those who want it.  I know it has a great source of help for me.  The best I've ever found. [Please see note at the end of this post.]
      I'd encourage you to return to meetings. Of course, that's your choice.  For me, I'd rather stay in the solution and learn alternatives rather than emotionally staying in the funk of depression and battered self-esteem.
"A situation in which the lives and sanity of an entire family are at stake is not so easily solved, but the super optimist resolutely clings to the illusion that Al-Anon Family Groups can fix everything. It "fixes" nothing. That is up to us. Not in the once-a-week meeting alone, but with plenty of in-between reading, constant recall of the principles, and constant use. Al-Anon does have the formula, but it is we who must use it."  One Day at A Time, p. 351.
       Legacies created by generational abuse and neglect will not be overcome by only investing one hour a week in overcoming these areas. (One Day, same page.)  No, transformation requires hard work, learning better principles and getting help from supportive others.  Growth and recovery does not happen without effort.
       I believe happiness and a better future is worth the struggle. Don't you?
Related Post: 

Innkeeper's Note: Al-Anon Family Groups is not Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a separate, entity for those who relate or have lived with an Alcoholic. Even if you didn't, you qualify if you live with or grew up in a home marked by emotional drama, perfectionism, controlling or emotionally unavailable parents.

Friday, April 6

Happiness Is a Choice

      Good evening everyone,
I'm tired. I am bumping this up. I wrote this last year on May 23rd. It a message that is still worth hearing. I trust that you will enjoy it.
      Today has been 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 sentiment when he said happiness requires very little, it's all in our way of thinking.

         I choose to be grateful, full of hope, looking backward with thankfulness and looking forward with eager anticipation. I'm thankful because I know I'm not alone.

Priorities That Contribute to Our Sanity and Serenity ........4/6/12

      I just got in from spending time with others. I followed up that time with watching a movie in Union City.  I'm bumping up the following post. I think you'll enjoy it.
     I hope it adds perspective as to what is our responsibility and what isn't. As always, I ask you to take what you like and leave the rest. I'll write more tomorrow. I need sleep as I'll meet with two clients in the early afternoon.


"Amidst the constant turmoil and drama that surrounds us, as we live life, many stop
 noticing what is going on with themselves.Something more important and life threaten-
ing always seems to intervene....When we acknowledge a situation as it is, we want
look at our options instead of looking at the options available to other people."
                                                                                   Courage to Change, p.359
            It Is Never My Responsibility To: 
ive what I really don’t want to give
Sacrifice my integrity to anyone
Do more than I have time to do

Wednesday, April 4

Taming the Dragons Within. Have You Ever Heard of Al-Anon Family Groups? It May Tame Your Dragons, Too.

”The best way to pay for a lovely 
moment is to enjoy it.” — Richard Bach
    Good evening,
I just got in.  How was your day?
My Gratitudes for Wednesday:
Paying Ninety-nine dollars for wisdom
1. I found out what's wrong with my car.
     I'm going to fix it at a $avings of $500.00. That's a pretty good deal. My mechanic used his diagnostic machines to let me know the problem and a bang of the hammer to temporarily fix it.
     I thought it
 “There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude,
 a quiet joy.” — Ralph H. Blum
 Image: "Tulip" by Ddsnet
       Good morning everyone,
I got carried away with my studies and missed my usual deadline. How was your Tuesday? Mine was good. I'm seeing progress----my car will be fixed in a few days. My mechanic is popular. He was not able to see my car until today.
My Gratitudes for Today:
1.  I took care of practical duties today. It always reduces mental clutter when I do.
2.  I visited with my youngest son.  I was disappointed

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.