Wednesday, August 9

Being A Swami Is Not Our Job, Revisited ............ 8/9/17

A great way to avoid etching lines in your
 face is being internally referented. 
      I see the fol-lowing post, "Being a Swami Is Not Our Job"  is climbing the sidebar to your right.  I am leaving a copy here for those not acquainted with it. Here it is:

    We don't ex-perience an inter-pretation.  

 We imagine them.  Speaking my feelings without interpreting is being present. Whenever we state what is alive without judgment or presump-tions, we let others know the real us.

     These authentic words are more likely to be heard and felt by friends than con-trol-oriented pro-nouncements. We hurt the relation-ship when we say, "Oh, you are doing this because..."  Or, "I feel attacked." Or, "Once again you are ignoring me."

        All of these statements are faux feelings.  They are judgments about the other person's behavior.  We are not expressing our feelings.

        Judgments and assumptions are a form of Life Alienating Com-munication (LAC).  Using LAC only drives a wedge in the relationship. Treating an individual this way is disrespectful.  We are not meeting their need for dignity or equality.

       The best part about being present is not that others are more in-clined to listen when we eliminate our "mind chatter" and judgments.   We are saying what we truly feel.  We are not caught up with that word again, interpretations (or imaginings).

       We are connecting with what we sense and feel when with that person.  We are authentically expressing what is happening within. When we do, we are more likely to heal and forgive.

        That occurred a few weeks back.  I had a difficult conversa-tion, crying three times.  But, I was real.

       The next day, cycling with my son, I felt emotionally cleansed.  As if awakened from the coffin of despair.  My impassioned vulner-ability the previous day helped me soar from a bank cloud of turbulent feelings churned by the intense conversation.  It helped me emerge into a clearing of san-ity and serenity, providing peace of mind.

       I was happier, too. In my body and spirit, I was.  I was not in my mind, the old unhelpful refuge I ran to when mistreated as a little boy.

      What made this possible?  When the trauma happened, in that painful conversation, I was present.  I expressed my anger and resentment.  Quietly.  Tearfully.  Respectfully, but honestly.

       I was true to self.  I was not the nine-year old Pablo.  I was not panicking, stuffing the anger or resentment I felt within.

       It was fulfilling.  I was with someone who respected my authenticity.

       When we do not inter-pret or judge others, the other person is more likely to hear.  They will not be defen-sive.  Why?  Because we are speaking about what we heard them say instead of why we think they said it.

    It's not our job, being      a swami.

        Our imaginings are not a crystal ball, allowing us to judge.  We can be entirely wrong with our interpretations.  We are not God.

        We don't know the heart---the motives---of others.  As much as we assume we may, we do not know what another person is thinking.  It is absolute arrogance, believing we do.

        This is true even with those who have harmed us severely.   Often, their behavior had nothing to do with us.  It wasn't because we were bad, deserving their mistreatment.

         Their actions were the result of baggage they had before we were ever around, a result of their insecurities.

        Do we really want to be angry because of our interpretations, the mental static that bombards our mind?  When that happens we are not responding to what really happened.  These negative thoughts and emotions may make us feel wronged but righteous.

        But, is it worth stirring up misery, harboring bitterness within?  The only good in living by our interpretations is validating the story in our head. And it can be entirely wrong.

        It may be as genuine as a wooden nickel.

        Authenticity sets us free from self-imposed misery.  Being in touch with what we are experiencing, our feelings, and needs allow us to live in reality.  We are able to speak our truth gently, without fear.

        Being genuine allows to say our no as gently as our yes. We will know equanimity, healing, and that peace of mind that can be gotten no other way. 23

Monday, July 31

Hope For Our Past 7/31/17

     I am posting again.

     This is the fourth post in two-and-a-half weeks.  I am glad.  Writing meets my need to self-express.

     It also allows us to be together. Thank you, for dropping by.  It fills the rooms of this inn, which makes the innkeeper happy.

Saturday, July 29

Tested, Not Found Wanting................ 7/29/17

Take a guess. Who is the colorful penguin? 
     Good evening.  How are you?  I'm resting today after an intense week.

     I did something different over the past four days, in-between seeing clients.  I negotiated with someone on the East Coast.  It required

Wednesday, July 26

Rolling With Manipulative Punches, Enjoying Life.................. 7/26/17

     Good after-noon, everyone,  I am getting back to the vision of this inn of gratitude. This is the place where we can share what we are thankful for.

     I would be happy, if you could join me, by adding your gratitudes. I only ask for three.

 My Grati-tudes for Today:
1.  I am sleeping better.  I am getting more hours of it.  This is progress in the right direction. When I sleep more, my thriving and equanimity increases.

Friday, July 14

Signs We Are Toxic 7/14/17

    Many of us strug-gle as we hurdle through major is-sues. We experience conflict. We try to find ways to over-come them.

      A pattern emerges, however, that, when present, halts progress.  We refuse to acknowl-edge our contribution to a problem. When this happens it can be difficult finding resolution.

      We all struggle with being negative from time-to-time.  It's a part of life.  But we can fall into toxic behavior that prevents our life from thriving, from being authentic----revealing the best of who we are.

     One of the toughest challenges is identifying the signs that surface when we are toxic.  We lack discernment about ourselves.  (See here.)  It can be painful admitting we often create the very hardships we bewail. Frequently they are the result of holding on to false beliefs created in childhood.  

      Once we take ownership and are aware of patterns that don't serve us, we can turn things around.  The following are signs we have become toxic:
I. We Blame Everyone Else For Our Problems
      A.  Rarely is something               ever truly just one 
              person's fault.
        1. Usually, we play a role              (even if it's minor) in                whatever problems 
             that may arise in our                  lives.
         2. It may be possible we                might have a unique                  kind of conflict with 
             one person.  
         3.  It's a red flag, how-                 ever, if you feel 
              everyone in your life is out to get you.
       B.  Let's say we are surrounded by people making our life miserable.
            1. A toxic person will stay in that situation. Does that sound like you?
             2. They happily accept the role of victim.
       C.  We blame others for our problems. 
"Freedom comes from taking respon-sibility; bondage comes from giving it away."  Henry Cloud, Changes That Heal
            1. This way we don't have to address our part in it.
            2.  A healthy-minded individual, however, makes every effort to get into a better                                position, to relate with emotionally healthier people. 
            3. It's better taking responsibility for our feelings, attitudes, and behavior. We do this by                     being present, expressing the needs beneath our feelings. 
               a. We learn in recovery, that: 
"If we feel like a doormat, we need to get off     the floor."                 Courage to Change, 361. 
               b. We stay in the solution, looking at what we can do to find the peace and happiness we                     want.  See the difference?
  So, How Do We Take Action?
1.  Think about everything that is going wrong in our life.
2.  Evaluate the ways we contributed to the problem.
           a. Write it all down.
           b. Come up with a plan for making things right, using amends. 
3. Use Nonviolent Communication when someone else irrates us.  
           a.  You will feel empowered, and best of all — no more blaming or complaining!
           b.  Instead express what is alive within you, the needs beneath your negative feelings. 
4.  Do not take the "Poor Me Victim" position.  
           a.  When we do that we are blaming the entire problem on the other person. 
           b.  We are giving a blind eye to our part regarding the conflict. 
II.  We Talk Behind People's Backs
      A.  From our earliest days in grade school, we've been tempted into conversa-tions that can hurt others and malign their character.
  1. Gossip is a part of life.  It        will likely continue to            exist until the end of  time.
  2. That being said, we have a choice about whether to be an active participant.
     B.  We don't want to be the hub for the juicy tidbits circulating throughout the office or within            your circle of friends.
        1. Make a conscious effort to walk away from conversations that could potentially hurt                    someone else.       
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear."  Ephesian 4:29
           a.  Talking negatively about others never contributes towards the common welfare.  
           b.  It is not constructive. 
           c.  It robs a group of the unity it can have. 
           2. We don't want to be associated with that kind of negativity.
    C.  It's understandable you might need to vent, following an argument.
           1. It's one thing having a confidante we can trust.
           2. It's another issue if we engage in "trash talk" about someone with whom you've had a                    disagreement.
           3.  If something bothers you, take a few moments to gather your thoughts and speak to the                 other person directly and privately.  Keep in mind the passage cited above. 
 Taking Action
1. Get honest with yourself about hurtful things said about others.
         a.  Determine the needs beneath our judgments.   
              1)  Express them. 
              2)  This is being authentic.
2.  If someone has confronted us about our actions.
         a.  Take a deep breath and take ownership of our unacceptable comments.
         b.  Acknowledge to the other person your error. 
                 "An admission of error is a sign of strength,  rather than weakness."  Goethe.
       c.  'Fessing up reveals we are teachable.  We are demonstrating humility, admitting we are                            less than perfect.
         d.  Make amends, if needed. 
                   1.  Ask what you can do to make things right. 
                   2.  Apologies are not helpful or effective.
         e.  Commit to being more respectful in the future.

Taking A Better Look
    Just a moment ago, a passage was cited.  We are going to zero in on it.  The quote reminds us that there four qualities we want to observe when we talk with others:

            "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth." 

     Firstly, this passage informs us we want to make sure our words are wholesome.  

     In this Ephesians passage, the word for unwholesome referred to maggot-infested fruit.  The writer paints a picture.  When we gossip, it like maggots pouring from our mouth. 

     Not a pretty image, is it?

     Much better is having a conversation that is restorative.  The following steps share how that is possible. 

     "[Say] only such a word as is good for edification."

     Secondly, the writer encourages us, that when we speak, let it build up, not tear down. We get the word building---edifice---from edification. We'll need to remove judgment and gossip from our conversation. 

    What can we say that is constructive?  What can we share that makes people feel better, because of the time spent with us?  This a terrific way of focusing what we say. 

       "According to the need of the moment."

     Thirdly, the passage tells we want to speak that which is timely and relevant for the moment. 

      This means we do not dump the truck on a person, bringing up all the hurtful things in the past that bother us about them, when are upset with them. We stay focused, present, stating what is the vexing issue right now.  We are neither hysterical nor historical when talking to someone who troubles us. 

      "That it may give grace to those who hear."     

      Lastly, the result of our conversations should bring grace.  What does this mean? We don't use the word grace anymore.  

     Now, grace means a quick prayer before a meal.  Or it is a girl's name. 

     Grace used in the quote refers to leaving a healing, restorative impact with the one we are relating with.  This is to be our goal regarding the impact we want to leave after being with a person.  Normally, when we are perturbed, this is the exact opposite of how we want to be. Right?  

    When angry, we want to verbally stab the person who bothers us. The idea of being gracious when irritated is quite a rebuke to us, isn't it?

     This idea of grace is keeping with a comment made by Oprah Winfrey: 
"We may not remember what a person says after we were with them.  But we will remember how we felt after we spent time with them."
      Do people feel they are a better person because they spent time with us?  Do they feel more at ease? Do they feel loved, care for?   If so, then we have dished out grace during our time spent with them,  We have given grace to those who hear (from us). 

       Do people feel more lighthearted?  Have they laughed during their time with us? If so, we have given grace to those we have spent time with. 
III.  We Take More Than We Give
  A.  Problems arise if we have a never-ending string of requests.  But we do not return the favor.
            1. Do we find ourselves hiding when others ask for help?
            2. Do we make excuses for why we don't lend a hand, offering assistance?
              a. If so, it won't be long before people stop responding to our pleas in times of need.   
"He who has friends must show himself friendly."   Jewish proverb
            In other words, if we want friends, we need to be one. 
Taking Action
1. Think of someone having a hard time.
       a.  Offer a few ways in which we can help.
2.  Be realistic and honest, if we are struggling or strapped for time.
       a. We can say something like, "I wish I could do more but, right now, I'm able to…"
3.  Start small, if you have to.  Anything is better than nothing!
IV. Our Friends Have Disappeared
   A. When people leave us,            they tend to do it qui-            etly.  They want to                  avoid an uncomfor-                table confrontation.
        1. They are, after all,                 pulling away for a                 reason. It's not until a             special occasion, cri-             sis, or significant                   event occurs that we               realize how alone    we've become.
    B. If our birthday rolls around and no one offers to celebrate with us, we might have to                      acknowledge our friends have jumped ship.
       1. It can be tempting to get mad.
            a. We might feel like sending angry messages, demanding an explanation for their                             behavior.
        2. But if we want answers, the wise thing would be to reflect on our recent behavior.      
            a. Have we been negative, demanding, overly dramatic?
            b. More than likely, we have pushed people away without realizing it.
 Taking Action:
1.  Be honest with ourselves about why our friends have gone into hiding.
2.  Reach out to them, allow them to express their frustration with us, our behavior.
3.  Decide whether the friendship is worth saving.
     a.  If it is, make amends for our actions, not apologies.
     b.  Commit to making improvements.
V. Our Life Is Constantly Full of Drama
   A. Everyone can go through some pretty intense moments in their lives.
       1.  Sometimes, we truly can't help what's happening to us.
       2.  All we can do is stay strong while                     focusing on how we can improve our                 situation.
   B.  It's entirely different, however, if we                  thrive when things are going wrong. For            many of us, it was our normalcy                        while growing up.
     1. Drama can be addictive.
         a. We might have become hooked on the                     attention received when our life is in                       tatters. 
          b.  We might be on the precipice of being                    the boy who cried wolf too much.
     2. But your loved ones will grow tired of listening to endless complaints.
         a. We want to find solutions to our problems.
         b. If we relish the hopelessness of a                            dramatic existence, we've probably                        allowed toxicity to enter into our lives.
 What Can We Do?
       1.  Explore the reasons why we might be attracting drama.
       2.  Identify any negative patterns that keep things on the crazier side.
            a.  Like, do we hang out with toxic people?
       3.  It's possible that we feel ignored and neglected by loved ones.
            a.  If so, communicate how you are feeling and then find new, productive ways to                                          keep in touch.
VI. We Can't Let Go
    A.  It can be really hard to move on when we've been hurt or disappointed by someone or something.
       1.  Most of us, though, find our way through these tough moments and begin looking forward to the happier times that lie ahead.
    B. We may refuse to cut ties with people who hurt us or we are determined to hold a grudge.
       1.  It might become very difficult for those around us to be supportive. One of the main                     reasons for this is that things will never improve as long as we stay in a toxic situation or               mindset.
       2.  If we aren't willing to take the necessary steps to better our life, why should we expect                   others to stick around and listen to us complain?
Taking Action
1.  Accept someone's apology and work hard on forgiveness.
2.  Remember that "Forgiveness is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt." Also, "That we               cannot keep a person down without staying down with him."
2.  Stop obsessing over, and throw away, mementos from a failed relationship.
3.  Find a new hobby where you can make new friends.  
      It's not easy — moving on takes effort — but if you keep putting one foot in front of the               other, one day you will look back and be able to see how far you've come.
VII. We Have An Intense Need to Be Right
  A. There's a saying: "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" Wouldn't it be great          if we could be both right and happy all the time?  Sure!  Is that possible or realistic? Abso-            lutely not.
   B.  Besides, in most situations, there will be more than one way to be "right." It's all about                  compromise and seeing other people's perspectives!  This is Tradition Two perspective.
   C.  You find yourself irritated. You made a mistake at work, or one of your theories was proven          wrong by someone else. 
       1. We might need to ask if these arguments are worth damaging our relationships or hamper-            ing our ability to be happy.
       2. It might be hard conceding to others.  But life will be easier once we see how much more              peaceful our life becomes.
 Taking Action
       1.  Resist the need to jump in with a fact or detail that proves you are correct.
       2.  Learn to be content with allowing others to find their own answers, especially if it means               keeping the peace.
       3.  Learn to say, "You might be right."  After all, how important is it, to always be right?
            a.  All we are doing is making ourselves annoying to others when we are unable to budge.
VIII. We Tend to Focus On the Negative
     There are positives and negatives to every situation in life. While it's important that we consider any poten-tial consequences to our actions and choices, life is far more pleasant and pro-ductive when we adopt an optimistic outlook.
    A. When you find yourself          focusing on what could          go wrong in a situation          or if you constantly                  feel the need to give              those around you a "re-ality check," you have begun to place a higher value on negativity than all of the positives that exist around you.
    B.   After a while, this behavior attracts other toxic, negative people.  
         1. You may find yourself struggling to feel good about anything.
 Taking Action
  1. Surround yourself with positive people.
  2. Be honest with others that you are trying to be less pessimistic.
  3. Create a gratitude journal.
        a.  Before bed, list five things that happened during your day for which you are thankful. It's             a game and perspective changer!
IX. We Dominate the Conversation
    A. Think about the last time you sat down and talked with a friend.
            1.  Did the conversa-tion volley back and forth between you or was it more one-sided?         
            2.  If you determine that your issues and interests dominated the discussion, extend your reflection to all of your interactions. Are you regularly hogging the spotlight and cutting people off?
       B. There are few things more frustrating and toxic than going through the effort of meeting a             friend for a lunch date and then spending the next hour trying to get a word in edgewise.               It's inconsiderate, selfish, and sends the message that you aren't interested in anyone else's             life but your own.
Taking Action
1.  If you realize you are dominating the conversation, make a date with a friend.
    a.  Let them do all the talking.
    b.  Get things back on an even playing field, learn more about what's been happening in their            life.
    c.  Show them they are important to you.
    d.  Going forward, make an effort to keep the conversation balanced so that you both walk                away feeling heard and valued.
X.  A More Positive Future
     A.  So don't feel bad if we identify with several signs of being toxic.
            1. Commit to making healthy changes, make amends with those offended.  
            2.  It's no fun realizing we are responsible for bringing negativity into our life as well as                      those around us.
      B.  We may find we are running in circles, repeatedly fighting the same battles.
            1. We alienate friends.
            2. We are overwhelmed with pessimism. 
      C.  When we find ourselves in such a place, we need to step back and evaluate what is truly               causing our problems.
        The good news is that, the sooner we take ownership of our role in our unhappiness, the quicker we kick toxic, alienating behaviors to the curb.  This list of negative qualities show up in the best of us.
        Commit to making healthy changes.  When we do, we are creating a better today and tomorrow.  When times are tough, we'll feel stronger. 
        Consider using the action steps suggested above.  When we do, we create and attract a positive, supportive community.   It will help us during times of trouble.  We will move from singing the blues to enjoying a life that is exciting because of the close, authentic relationships we now share. 

     How are you?  It feels good, visiting with you after a long absence. 

     This positive place in cyberspace is more than an inn of gratitude. It is a treasure chest, too.  It holds 1,221 posts and more than 500,000 words. That is enough material for six books.

    Please visit the different rooms---the posts. There is plenty to browse through.

     The Inn is about celebrating life.  There are discussions about the dis-cernment needed to enjoy safe, fulfilling relationships. There are posts on how we can thrive.

     Using recovery, this can be true even while enduring life's storms: betrayal from others, judgment, dealing with situational and inter-personal drama. The material shared within these walls reveal how we can remain strong.  We learn how we can remain calm, while under pressure, experiencing adversity.

  I know I have been silent. Connecting with you, I've missed. Really.

    However, I see in my absence we've crossed the 800,000 views mark. I hope time spent at this inn increases your gratitude.  May it guide you in how we can be simultaneously kind and authentic while standing in our power when relating with others.

Tuesday, June 6

Making It Through Storms: The Instrument Panel of Healthy Principles 6/6/17

You'll notice my knees are not shaking. 
An Attitude Check
  Innkeeper's Note: 
I see this post, written years ago is climbing the sidebar on your right.  I am presenting it again for those who haven't read itHere it is:

      How is your attitude?

      Like an airplane, is your attitude nose up, and climbing, or is it nose down, heading for a crash?

       Mine?  You know the answer.  Hopefully, it's one reason why you drop by.  The thing is, our disposition can be positive----even when times

Sunday, May 14

A Tribute to A Special Woman 5/14/17

     Good early evening, on this Mother's Day.

      Please notice the request at the end.  It would make me happy, hearing your responses.

      May you have a terrific day.  I know I will.   The Innkeeper

      A special thanks to all the mothers reading this today. Your work is unending.  Often not appreciated.  Thank you,  for your role.  Your

Tuesday, May 9

Bonding and Separating, The Best of Both Worlds.............. 5/9/17

       I noted this post was climbing the sidebar to your right.  I revised it.  About 80%.  It was fun seeing how much I've grown since this was written years ago.  I hope it helps you.

     A key point I leave out in this post.  How we create the healthy supportive network essential for us to stand firm with our boundaries.

Here's the post:

      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.

Wednesday, April 26

Codependency: Getting Enmeshed In Unhealthy Relationships

    No, I am not dead.

    I recently got my laptop back from the repair shop.  How are you?  Are you glad to see me?  I am speaking somewhere tonight, so I have to leave the inn.

     But, not before I leave a post with you.

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 a 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.

Friday, March 24

Gratitudes ............... 3/24/17


     My computer remains broken. It's been a few weeks now.   I'm using a borrowed laptop to make this post.

My Gratitudes for Today:
1.  I love what I do, my profession.  I am thankful I am able to serve others.  I help them become the person they want to be.  They learn how to find the direction needed to have the life they want.
2.  I look forward to resting tomorrow.
3.  I will spend time with family tomorrow and next week. We'll have a special occasion next Friday.
4.  I ran this week.  I love taking in nature as I run in the hills at a local regional park.
5.  I love my home and the peace of mind I enjoy after and before a hard day of work. 

Monday, March 13

Special Day.............. 3/13/17

      Celebrate with me.

      Hello there, friends, guests and passersby.  Today is special.  I'm publish-ing this post before the day changes its name, for good reason.

      Six years ago, on this day, this inn

Thursday, March 9

Overview of Nearly Six Years............. 3/9/17

The Attitude of Gratitude Inn
        My computer is broken.  Now, for several weeks.  Not working is the space bar.

        The last post was a pain.  In between every sing-le word, I added a letter.  Then colored it black, thereby

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.