Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are there Limits to Giving?

"No matter how great the desire is to please another, let it be no greater than the desire to be yourself."  (tut.com)


There's nothing wrong with doing things for others.  With making other people happy.  As long as it's not at the price of not being yourself.

It's when we do acts of service as ourselves, in love, that those acts become magical.  Pure love in action.

I think it's fun to do things for other people.  When I'm doing them out of love, that is, and not out of obligation.  The whole "random acts of kindness" thing is brilliant.  Paying for someone else's parking fee.  Buying the car behind you's coffee.  Paying for another table's dinner tab.  




If I'm being honest, and the #1 thing I want to be here is honest, I haven't done any of those things.  Yet.  I think they'd be totally awesome!  But I don't think about them at the time.  I need to condition myself to think more outside my little world.  

If I'm buying myself a coffee, it's usually as a treat.  I tend to think, "I don't have money to buy other people's coffee too."  But that's not true.  If I can afford to buy my coffee, I can afford to buy someone else's.





As I sit here now and consider this, I'm seeing how I've been living from a state of lack.  From a fear of not having enough.  

This is a revelation.  Honestly. 

I always believed I had good, positive feelings about money.  I'm never afraid of running out... as long as I take great care with what I spend and am choosy about where my dollars go.  

Maybe that's the key.  Maybe I need to give more.  Be more generous.  

With love, they say the more you give, the more you receive.  

I think it's similar with money.  Granted, it may not be wise to give away every last dollar you have, and then sit and wait for it to come streaming back.  But then again, who am I to say? 




I have always donated money to causes I believe in.  I donate regularly to the animal shelter I volunteer at because I believe in the work they do and know it's a good place filled with very good people.  I give in love.  But in the back of my mind is a little voice saying, "Ok, now that's enough.  That's enough giving."  

I also have always received more than I've ever asked for.  I've always felt taken care of, financially.  Whether it's coming from surprise gifts from my aunt or grandmother, completely unexpected inheritances from family members I hardly knew, or finding a dollar on the ground.  Money has always come, in some form, in some amount.  

I wonder, now, if I'm not so specific with what I give, and so "Ok, that's enough," if that'll open my door wider to receive even greater.

Does giving with limits equate to receiving with limits?  

I'm guessing probably so.  

Hmmm....

Of course there are limits.  There is a limit to the amount we all have in our bank accounts at this very moment.  But the Universe is limitless.

I don't have the answer to the question you're all probably asking.  I'm asking the same one.  But it's certainly food for thought, no?  

Perhaps I'll do a little experiment.  Give more and see what happens.  Pay for that other diner's bill, anonymously.  Don't be so afraid of running out of money.  Have even more faith that I will be taken care of.  

I'll let you know how it goes.

I do want to make a final point before I go.  Or a final reminder.  The giving has to come from love.  Not fear. 



Love doesn't require anything in return. 
Love doesn't require recognition or praise. 
Love is generous and kind, not boastful and arrogant. 

I'm sure we all know people who give a lot who don't give out of love.  They give for the reasons I just mentioned.  For recognition, for something in return, to show others how "giving" they are. 

That is not real giving. 




That's why it's essential to first love yourself and first give to yourself.  Because if you ARE Love and already feel that you have all that you need, then the giving that you do can come from a place of true generosity and true love.




It's the whole "Put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting other passengers" deal.  Give to yourself first.  Love yourself first.  Then go out in the world and give as much love as you can!

Hey, since we're all connected, we're all One, giving to others IS giving to yourself, right?    





Quotes of the Day:


"We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give."  (Winston Churchill) 


“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”  (Kahlil Gibran)   http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/giving


“Give, but give until it hurts.”  ( Mother Teresa)   http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/giving




         

    

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Stop and Enjoy the View

I was at my local humane society yesterday for my weekly volunteering.  I walk dogs (and clean out kennels as needed) for at least two hours straight.  More often than not, it stretches into three hours, or longer.  Walking dogs has long been a favorite meditation for me. 

I say "meditation" because it always helps me get present.  The dogs are present, simply enjoying where they are right now, taking it all in.  Many are not happy in the shelter (who would be), but as soon as we get leashed up and out on the wooded trails behind the shelter, or even as soon as we get outside the doors of the building, it's like the dog forgets they were even in the shelter moments ago.  They're just happy, blissful, to be outside in nature.

They don't hold onto the past.  They don't use their walking time to stress out about being in the shelter or about past experiences in their life.  They enjoy where they are at that exact moment.  That's it. 

When I'm with them, I pick up on their energy and it transforms me.  It reminds me to get present and enjoy where I am right here, right now. 

Yesterday I was walking a dog, one of my first for the day, and we were out on the trails.  I was all go, go, go... it's time to walk.... let's keep moving... We walked down a particular path and came to a huge puddle -- one I didn't want to wade through in my tennis shoes -- so I stopped, turned around, and tried to lead the dog back the other direction. 

The dog, however, didn't budge.  She stood there, facing the puddle, looking out into the trees and the dog park we could see beyond.  She knew we weren't crossing the puddle.  She didn't try to pull me forward any.  She just wasn't ready to turn around and go a different direction.  She wanted to stand there for a moment and take in the view. 

That was the moment yesterday that got me.  That reminded me to be present.  Enjoy where I am right now.



There was no need to hurry.  No reason to turn around immediately and continue walking in the opposite direction.  So I let the dog be my guide, my reminder.  I stopped too, with her, and just took in the scenery.  When she was ready, she turned around and we proceeded on with our walk.

In life I tend to have the same mentality.  Go, go, go!  Keep moving forward!  Be productive!  Don't waste time! 

There's nothing wrong with drive, ambition, and being efficient.  But sometimes we should just stop and enjoy where we are.




This reminds me of a song by Darius Rucker, "It Won't be Like This for Long." 
You can listen here if you'd like:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_lUnFjXg8

And another song, "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins.  (Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGeFblfQI1o).  (I'm listening to it now and it's making me cry, yet again.) 

Both songs remind us not to rush through life.  Each moment, each experience, is special.  It's ALL for our good.  And once we pass certain times in our lives, we tend to miss them.  I know I was ready to get out of high school, but now I think it would be fun to go back (as the person I am now) and relive a few high school days.  Same with college.  It took me five and a half years to graduate (I was certainly in no hurry there) because I kept changing my major (trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life... which I'm no longer doing). 

It's been the same all through my life.  Even the trying times, even the jobs I didn't like, they're all over now.  There's no going back. 

 

I came across the image above on google yesterday and it made me cry (I know, I cry a lot...lol). 
It's just so moving to me because that's how life goes.  The stages, the seasons, feel like forever when you're in them, but before you know it, they're gone. 

I can certainly dwell on this, and make myself a sobbing mess, or I can choose to accept that that's just how life is, and enjoy each season, each experience, each phase of my life. 

Just like the dogs I walk, it's good to remember to stop and enjoy the view every chance you get.  Whatever that view is, enjoy it.  Because it'll change before you know it. 

Cherish the moments of your life. 



Make sure those that you love, human or animal, know it (yourself first and foremost). 



Find beauty in everything. 

Stop and just Breathe. 

Sink into your Spirit and relax there. 



When I do that, I find that it quiets my mind and I feel grateful.  For everything.

      


Quotes of the Day:


"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."  (Earl Nightingale) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/earlnighti159029.html#1W4tw2M6UohfBH85.99


"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted."  (John Lennon)   http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon108522.html#DwRBUeMVadiJY2Lc.99


"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness."  (Charles Spurgeon)
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/charlesspu131342.html#amUiRzS5ZOAxKd0z.99
 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

THIS is your Life

THIS is your life.  Walking the dog, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, going to work.... this is the life you have built. 

Whatever season of your life that you're in, this is it.  This is the only time exactly like this that you'll ever have.  Are you happy with your choices?  The ones you've made in the past and the ones you're currently making?  Are they taking you down the path you want to be headed down? 

If not, what are you doing about it?

Every year at Thanksgiving my family (my parents, two sisters, and me) take a picture for Christmas cards and a calendar my mom has made.  This past year my youngest sister looked at every picture on the digital camera and complained that she looked fat.  We tried different set-ups, different positions, and every time she was dissatisfied. 

I was like, "Well, what are you going to do about it?" 

I realize that may sound harsh, and mind you, while my sister could afford to lose some weight (by her own admission), she's still a very pretty girl.  She's also an athlete and has been involved in sports her whole life.  And now that her college playing days are over, she doesn't have that "forced" physical activity anymore. 

The cold, hard truth is we all choose our lives. 

We choose our reactions to stuff that happens around us.
We choose the jobs we have and the people we get involved with. 
We choose what to eat and how to spend our time. 



Your life at this moment is a product of all your previous and current choices. 

Your feelings right now are also your choice.  If you're feeling depressed (perhaps not clinically... I realize there are more serious degrees of depression), sad, blue... it is in your power to lift your spirits. 

Likewise if you're feeling jealous, angry, hurt, or even just annoyed... it's in your power to change that.  At any given moment it's in your power to raise your vibrational frequency and alter your state of mind.  Improve your mood.  Granted, at some times it will be more difficult than other times -- depending on how entrenched in the negative emotion you are.  But still... the power is there.  The choice is yours. 

All emotions fall in the range from Love to Fear.  Each feeling is more one or the other. 
And at each circumstance of your life, you can literally choose to live in Love or live in Fear



Do you love your job?  Or are you going to it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year because you're living in fear?  Fear of not finding another job.  Fear of what people might think if you quit.  Fear of "taking a step backwards." 

Are you happy, content, and at peace in your current relationship?  Or are you sticking with that person out of fear?  Fear that you won't find someone else, or someone "better."  Fear of being alone. 
Fear (again) of what people might think if you leave this person who everyone else seems to this is perfect for you?

Are you happy with your body and your health?  Or are you making choices out of fear?  Choosing to eat unhealthy foods because that's what everyone around you eats and you don't want to stand out.  Choosing not to exercise and lose weight because then you might get more attention and you're not sure you want that.  Or choosing not to exercise and eat healthy because people might laugh at you. 

You can do this for all aspects of your life.  In fact, I encourage it. 



Your life as you see it right now -- your work, relationships, body, home, lifestyle -- is a direct creation by you. 

Do you want to be unhappy?  If not, then choose to be happy!  It really is that simple.  Simple, but not always easy. 

It all starts with your thoughts.  Affirm yourself every chance you get.  Never put yourself down.  No matter what anyone else says to you, names they may call you, or comments they might make, you can choose to leave it.  Just don't pick it up. 

And any thoughts you have swirling around in your head that are negtive towards you in any way... drop them.  The next time you notice yourself saying something of a put-down about yourself, stop yourself, and gently and lovingly redirect your thoughts to be more positive and affirming. 

"I'm so fat."  ------  "I choose to be healthy and look and feel good." 
"No one loves me."  ------  "The Universe adores me and love is pouring into my life right now." 
"I'll always be poor and have no money."  ------  "I am following my heart, doing what I love, and the abundance of the Universe is pouring into my life." 

Man, just writing those positive affirmations makes me feel better! 

I was struggling yesterday with the "final" break-up with my boyfriend.  I realized when he moved out a month and a half ago, it was a separation, for sure, but the potential of getting back together was always on the table.  We didn't go more than a few days without talking.  And we didn't go more than a week without seeing each other.  I knew he still wanted to be with me, and I was figuring out how I felt. 

Then on Sunday when he left, it felt more like a final break-up.  And though I knew that's what  I wanted and needed, it was still hard.  I spent most of yesterday in a low haze.  As in, I felt low (depressed, though I hesitate to use that word, again, because I know there are more serious cases of depression than what I was feeling).  I also felt very unmotivated.  Just as I had felt for a few days after he moved out.  If you recall, that's the time when I didn't write any blog posts for a few days.  Or I was very sporadic about it.  I also didn't write much of anything. 

It was like a part of my life, of myself even, had been ripped away and I needed to heal.  Regroup. 

Yesterday was much the same, though thankfully, didn't last as long.  I wrote in my journal a lot yesterday and that, along with talking with (and emailing) good friends, helped right my ship. 

Sometimes we may choose to be in a depressed state.  It may be what we need for a time.  But sooner or later, we need to choose to be happy again.  Choose to move on with our lives.  Knowing that while we're disappointed that _________ (that relationship, that job, whatever) didn't work out like we wanted it to, we ARE ok.  In fact, life will be even better from now on! 

If we choose it.

I do.  Do you?            




Quotes of the Day:


“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” (Rabindranath Tagore) http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/choice


"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."  (Wayne Dyer) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/waynedyer165697.html#hgp0EfRwtcjGRkVx.99



"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."  (Buddha)  http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/happiness-quotes.html

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stop Disappointing Yourself!

So my (ex)boyfriend came over yesterday.  We went out to a bar to watch the first half of the Daytona 500, get something to eat, have a couple drinks, then came back to my house to finish the race.  This was the fifth, I think, time we've hung out since he moved out. 

The first couple of times were my doing.  The first two weeks after he moved out I doubted myself, whether I made the right decision or a huge mistake, and I missed him.  So I initiated contact and asked if he wanted to get together. 

It was those post-move-out dates that further cemented that I did, in fact, do the right thing.     

I still didn't have the courage, or perhaps meanness, to tell him the raw truth.   

After he left I felt oddly sad.  Sad and hurt.  I had no idea why. 
Isn't this what I wanted?  Yes.
Do I secretly want to be with him?  No. 
So why the feeling that I want to cry? 

I was writing in my journal by this point, trying to figure out my own feelings.  And it was through writing it out that the answer came to me. 

I had disappointed myself. 

I had continued to spend time with this guy who, while I still liked him (as a friend), I knew full well that I was leading him on (I knew what his feelings towards me were). 

I was ready to cut ties, wish each other the best, and go on with our lives.  But I ignored that (a shout out to my blog two days ago) and continued to spend time with him because that's what he wanted. 

I was so focused on not disappointing him and not hurting his feelings, that I totally put that above my own feelings. 

I even wrote in all caps and underlined in my journal yesterday:

DO WHAT I NEED AND WANT TO DO FOR ME!

He will be just fine.  He'll get over whatever disappointment or hurt I may cause him.  I need to
STOP DISAPPOINTING MYSELF!!!  (Again in all caps in my journal, and with the three exclamation points.) 

Once I wrote that, I broke down.  I knew, then, that I hit the nail on the head.

I can choose to live my life, do what I enjoy, follow my heart, and be true to me! 

Since I do believe everything happens for a reason, and if something happens repeatedly it's because we still haven't gotten the lesson (though we often think we have), I have to believe that even these past couple of weeks and yesterday with my ex-boyfriend were for a reason.  That reason was (embarrassing as it is) to show me that I'm still pushing my feelings aside for someone else's benefit.

I was upset yesterday because I had disappointed myself.  *sigh*  Apparently I still have more work to do in that aspect of my life.  But I am choosing to be grateful for the opportunity to practice it, and for it to be brought to my attention, yet again.
This reminded me of a post on facebook yesterday:       

                    


So, I go into today having learned yet another (or the same) lesson. 

Be true to me!

Don't disappoint myself! 

Listen to that inner voice, and respect it! 

*I love the first quote below!  Hm...maybe I'm not doing as bad as I thought in the self-respect category...

Quotes of the Day:


"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character."  (Dale Turner) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/daleturner121034.html#YVuCmLI3FM4PeGgd.99


"He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that none can pierce."  (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)  http://www.quotegarden.com/self-respect.html


"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence."  (Frederick Douglass)  http://www.quotegarden.com/self-respect.html

        

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Live for an Audience of One."

"You have to live for an audience of one," Rick Warren (from Oprah's Lifeclass). 

I was struggling with finding inspiration or even an idea of what to blog about today, so I opened up Facebook and perused the recent posts.  When I read the quote above I knew that was it. 

The "one" can either be yourself or God, however you choose to look at it.  But the point is obvious.  Live YOUR life for YOU, no one else.  Only YOU have to live with the consequences, after all.  And only YOU will reap the rewards. 

You know those people who seem like their on stage in front of an audience at all times, right?  It's as if they truly believe their daily life is a performance.  They talk a little louder, act a little bigger, and are constantly looking around to see who's watching.  Those people are living for an audience of millions.

Those types of people may seem happy, maybe even happier than you, but are they?  Maybe they really are, but I highly doubt it. 

The thing is, when you get quiet, go within yourself, focus on the love that is inside you, and then act from that love, that is where real peace and happiness are found.  Our true natures, our inner Love, doesn't need an audience.  It doesn't need recognition.  Except from our own selves. 

In fact, the more of an audience you bring in, the louder you try to be, the quieter your true spirit becomes.  Because you're not really listening to your spirit if you're so focused on everyone and everything else around you. 

If you're living for someone else or something else outside yourself, you're not living for YOU.  For your Spirit.  So that Spirit sits inside, patiently waiting.  Waiting for you to quiet the masses, tune everything else out, and tune into you. 

This applies to every aspect of your life.  Jobs, relationships, family, where you choose to live, activities you choose to participate in. 

If you live for a larger audience, living for others, you may likely choose a job or career because it's expected of you.  It may be what your parents and grandparents did before you, or it may simply be your parents' dream for you.  Or you may choose a job because of the status and what you believe other people will think of you if you have that job and work in that field. 

If you live for an audience of one, you'll choose a job or line of work that you feel in your heart.  You'll like what you do (the vast majority of the time).  You won't dread going to work.  Your work will ignite a passion and happiness within you.  You won't care about status because it's what you want to be doing.

This occurred to me a few times since I've been working at the florist.  I've had the thoughts that other people will think I'm "not doing so well" because I'm working at an entry-level, no-higher-education-required job of merely getting flowers and plants for people.  In fact, since working there, a couple people that I went to high school with, and haven't seen since high school (we weren't friends in high school, but our class was small enough that most people at least knew who everyone else was)... Anyway... A couple people I went to high school with came in to get flowers.  For a split second I felt the wave of embarrassment.  Embarrassed that here I was, someone who was considered "smart" in high school (in fact, I graduated 4th in my class of over 250), working at a florist, more than likely earning less than many of my peers.

But then I remembered why I'm working there.  I'm working there because I choose to.  Because it provides me with an income to supplement my writing income.  And most importantly, because I like the job.

There's no shame in any job if it's something you like and want to do.  I've heard garbage collectors make pretty good money, and they get a good work-out...no shame in that!

The truth is, there are so many jobs out there.  If you're doing one right now that you don't like and don't want to be doing, at least know that you don't have to do it.  You don't have to.  You choose to.  Maybe you're choosing to do it for very good reasons.  That's fine.  But it's still your choice. 

That's what it means to "live for an audience of one."  Everything you do is ultimately your choice and your choice alone.  Others may try to persuade you one way or another, but it's your choice what you decide to do. 

This reminds me of a song.  I can't remember if I've mentioned this song on my blog yet or not, or posted a link to listen to it.  I know I mentioned it in posts on other people's blogs and in response to other people's comments.  Anyway, this song has been an anthem of mine for years.  It's what I listened to nearly every day on my way to work when I worked as teacher.  It played a part in me finally believing and accepting that I didn't have to continue to work as a teacher, and that is was my choice what I did. 

"The Ride of Your Life," by John Gregory. 
Listen/watch here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uCYtZXdhuA
(That's actually a YouTube video for a high school.  It's the first time I saw that particular video, but the song is the same.  I actually thought the video was REALLY good, so I decided to post it instead of the "official" video for the song.  Granted, it's geared towards high school kids, but the message is undoubtedly still the same, and they did a great job with the images and scenes in the video.  I still find it inspiring!)  :) 

A specific lyric of the song gets to me every time:
"In your heart you know what you must do.  You've only got yourself to answer to." 

I reminded myself of that every time I drove to a job I hated.  And at the end of the school year, I walked away from that job and never looked back or questioned the decision. 

The entire song is just amazing, seriously probably the best lyrics of any song ever, as far as inspirational songs go, in my opinion (clearly).  Take a listen, or look up the lyrics yourself.

I'm also pondering "living for an audience of one" in regards to my diet for some time now. 
About three years ago I decided to go vegan (for the second time, but that's another story).  I was all gung-ho about it.  I had seen Alicia Silverstone on an Oprah show, read her book, "The Kind Diet," read "The China Study," I was convinced that I couldn't not be vegan.

Flash forward three years, and I'm now "the vegan" everyone knows.  It's my label with my family.  It seems to come up at nearly every family get-together where food is involved.  The thing is, I'm no longer 100% vegan, and I find myself often feeling like a hypocrit or like I'm putting on a false front.  I'm feeling the pressure to "live up to my label" and be how others see me:  The healthy, conscientious one. 

I would say I still eat 95% vegan.  But over the past six months or so I've relaxed about it.  I still read labels and choose to buy vegan when I go grocery shopping.  But have occasionally "let" myself have non-vegan food items from time to time when eating out.  And I'm still struggling with it, to be honest.

I won't go into all the prolific details here, but it's hard when you feel others are watching you, and see you in a certain way.  I get that.  And that is the precise moment you need to tune them out the most, and tune into YOU! 

I'm still working on this, so if you are too, know you're not alone. 

None of us wants to be a hyporcrite.  None of us wants to feel fake.  How do you not do that?  By being true to you.  No matter what.  No matter what others might think.  No matter what others say.  Be true to you.  If I can do it, so can you!

Be your own audience of one!  And make that audience cheer and hoop and holler, and demand an encore! 



Quotes of the Day:


"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection."  (Buddha)
 
 
"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."  (Earl Nightingale) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/earlnighti159029.html#2DoeIeGRo3ycLyW2.99    
 
 
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."  (Friedrich Nietzsche) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/friedrichn134044.html#cFY1kaKb401Ubcjq.99      

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Don't Ignore What You Know

I was (yet again...or still...) reading my old journals last night.  I came across the entry I wrote after I first met one of my ex-boyfriends from my mid-20s. 

This is what I wrote:
"He's nice, but I don't feel a mental connection." 

What did I do?  I proceeded to go on further dates with them, which developed into an on again off again relationship for two years! 

I also recall my feelings for another ex, who I dated in my early 20s.  A good friend of both of ours was trying to set us up.  We finally met and I felt no spark.  I remember everyone else thinking he was so good-looking, but I was not attracted to him at all.  He was nice enough, but again, I didn't feel a connection. 

You can guess what happened there too.  I let a relationship happen anyway, though we were only together about three months. 

I did this same thing with my most recent ex too.  That's the sad part.  I did like him from the night we met, but even after one, two, three dates, I wasn't sure I felt attracted to him.  I liked spending time with him, but beyond that, I didn't know if romance would ever spark. 

Why do I do this?  I have a few theories. 

One.  I live too much in my head and not enough in my heart and my gut when it comes to relationships.  It's funny though, because with work, I'm way more in my heart.  I follow my gut and my heart and quit jobs all the time, in search of something that "calls to me."  Yet in relationships, presumably more a matter of the heart, I'm in my head.  Go figure. 

So when I meet these guys, I talk  myself into liking them.  Or at least convince myself that I could be in a relationship with them.  With my most recent ex, I saw what a good guy he was -- truly the best guy I've dated so far.  He has a good heart, good intentions, he's financially responsible, and we had a lot in common.

I knew he was the type of guy who would stick around.  Who I could count on.  Since that has been a lifelong issue for me, and a problem in past relationships, I thought I was definitely moving up in that area, so I could make a go of it.  The relationship that is.  I thought I was ready to "settle down" and I'd never met anyone more stable than him.  Who better to settle down with? 

Two.  I don't like to hurt people.  In relationships I tend to put up with stuff for the sake of the other person's feelings.  What about my feelings, you ask?  That's a whole other issue...

Three.  If he likes me, that's more important than if I like him.  Now I wouldn't go out with someone repeatedly who I detested.  Who I'm absolutely repulsed by or who's mean to me on a regular basis.  But if I feel anything at all towards a guy, and he likes me, then I convince myself that my feelings could grow over time.   

Four.  The heaviest of them all.  I haven't felt that I deserved anything better. 

I use the word "haven't" instead of "don't" because I'm working on this and I'm finally learning that I do deserve better.  I deserve the best.  I deserve to be loved like I want to be loved.  I deserve to be respected, cherished, and valued. 

But I haven't always felt this way.  I felt completely unvalued for most of my life.  Like I wasn't worthy of real love, wasn't worth sticking around for, wasn't important.  I know why I felt this way too, but that's a whole other blog, for another day.  Too much to go into right here, right now.  Suffice it to say though, that's how I felt, and what I believed, and what I let guide me into relationships. 

I will always be grateful to my most recent ex for helping me work through many of my issues.  He showed me that I am worth sticking around for, that I can count on people (namely men), and that I am important.  I know for me, that was the point of our relationship.  I believe all people come into our lives with a purpose, and that was his. 

Anyway...

Up until this point in my life, in all of my romantic relationships, I ignored what I knew.  I ignored my feelings of not being attracted to the guy, ignored my feelings that he wasn't right for me, ignored my feelings that there wasn't a connection, etc. 

Life is nothing if not a constant learning process.  "The Earth School" as Gary Zukav coined it. 

Will I "do better" next time?  Will I listen to that feeling in my heart and my gut when it comes to relationships?  Will I have the courage to end a relationship when I'm not feeling it, instead of letting it progress until either I get dumped or I just can't take it anymore?

Only time will tell.  But I'm hopeful.

I'm learning.  I truly know more now than I did before.  And I'm starting to believe that I can have what I really want and I don't have to settle.   


Quotes of the Day:


"The place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning."  (Ivy Baker Priest)    http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/encouragement-quotes.html#sthash.QWDR8n3R.dpuf


"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."  (Edmund Hillary)   http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/encouragement-quotes.html#sthash.QWDR8n3R.dpuf


"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life....Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."  (Steve Jobs)    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stevejobs416854.html#5ZgRULOsLhhECrOK.99





                 

Friday, February 22, 2013

There's No Hurry

The Universe flows in perfect harmony.  Everything happens at the perfect time.  It's like nature.  Nothing is forced or pushed or demanded.  Trees bud and flowers bloom when the time is right. 

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished,"  Lao Tzu.

We should try to be more like nature.  We are a part of nature, after all.  Why do we think we know better?  Why do we push things, force things, and try to hurry things along? 

Because we want something.  We want it now.  Success, fame, money, marriage, what-have-you.

"Imagine all you'd like to experience in life and then let go," Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

A little over a year ago I wrote on this subject in my journal.  I just reread that day's entry.  The two areas I was uncertain about were my writing career and my relationship. 

I'll share what I wrote here.

"That's where I'm at and what I need to remember to do.  Let go and flow with the current of life.  My current is perfect for me
"The books I'm writing, I haven't felt like writing at all (except here) for a couple weeks now.  So I haven't.  And I haven't felt like there's any need to.  No need to rush.  Go with the flow.
"With [my boyfriend] -- I still wonder at times if we're right for each other.  We have different expectations of life.  I know anything is possible, he doesn't believe that.... Time will tell though.  Let it flow its natural course.  No need to push or force anything.  I'll know in time."

That was January 19, 2012.  I did finish that book I was working on, and it's out now on Amazon.  Will it reach monumental success?  The jury's still out on that one.  I'm still "going with the flow" there.  I also knew what to do with my boyfriend, in time.  I needed more experiences with him, but eventually I knew.  He moved out about a week shy of one year after that journal writing. 

It's ok if we don't know everything right now.  If there's a certain area in our life (or all areas of our life) that feel like a big question mark.  Just keep going.  Keep following your heart.  Readjust the tuning into your spirit.  Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, one experience at a time.  And in time, all will unfold naturally. 

At times I still get flashes of worry about whether or not I'll "make it" as a writer.  Will I make enough to support myself through my writing alone?  Will I achieve the success I dream of? 

Initially I wanted to respond, "I don't know."  But I do know.  I will achieve that success.  I just need to continually remind myself that there's no hurry.  (Granted, at times it may likely feel like there's a hurry... like when my savings eventually run out and I'm bringing in less than I need... but I'm not to that point yet.  And I may never be.  So for now, there's no reason to worry or hurry.) 

The Universe provides for us all, at all times.  I truly believe that.  Of course, sometimes that provision comes from sources we never saw coming, and in such a way that we didn't expect or think we wanted.  But we are provided for.  We are taken care of.

A year and a half ago I decided to quit my full-time job to making writing my full-time profession.  I had enough money in savings to last me, if I didn't get another job, about six months, give or take.  So I took the leap. 

And something completely unexpected happened.  My grandfather passed away.  My grandfather who I only recently reconnected with, about seven or eight years ago (long story...but my parents divorced when I was little and when my mom remarried, my "step-dad" legally adopted me -- my biological father gave up all rights -- and since then, I (still a young child) lost contact with my biological father's family for the next 20 years or so). 

So I fly to Florida for my grandfather's memorial, which is also somewhat of a reunion for me with that whole side of my family.  (The only other time I'd seen them was at my biological father's memorial, eight or so years ago.) 

At one point my aunt and uncle pull me aside and tell me my grandfather put me in his will.  I had no idea.  Instead of saying the exact dollar amount I was to inherit, since dollar amounts mean widely different things to different people, based on the part of the country or world in which you live and your current financial standing... I was to inherit enough for me to live on for at least two years! 

I wasn't made an instant millionnaire, or anything like that, but I suddenly had more financial security than I had just moments prior.  I was given the gift of peace.  I no longer had to "make it" as a writer in six months.  I now had over two years.  I no longer felt the pressure that I had before to "hurry up and get some stuff out there."  I could breathe. 

Another funny twist in this story is that the inheritance didn't come through (thanks to lawyers and court proceedings) for about six months.  Six months.  Precisely how long I was able to live on my own current savings.  I was literally down to having a month or so left in savings, when I got the check in the mail.  Talk about being provided for!    

The Universe is watching out for all of us in that same way.  We can't see around the corners, but some wonderful stuff is there for us. 

So know that, sit back, and relax. 

Well, ok, maybe not entirely.  There still is work to be done.  If I want to be a successful author, I need to keep writing.  And keep publishing my stuff.  But there's no hurry.     

As long as we're holding our dream in our hearts, believing in it, and taking steps towards it, that is enough.  We'll get there.  Or rather, it'll get to us.  At just the right time.  And it'll be perfect!


Quotes of the Day:


"Patience is the companion of wisdom."  (St. Augustine)  http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/


"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."  (Saint Francis de Sales)   http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/saintfranc131350.html#smffaPfgE1DMfgGB.99    


"Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him."  (Lord Chesterfield)   http://www.quotegarden.com/haste.html


       

 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ride the Waves of Life

Change is the only constant.  I know you've heard that before, but how true it is! 

Today I'm taking Lulu (the puppy I've been fostering two and a half weeks now) back to the shelter.  She's scheduled to have her spay surgery tomorrow and then she'll be up for adoption.  Even though I don't want to keep her forever (well, sometimes I do), I'm still sad to let her go.  She's frustrated me many times since she's been here, so maybe that's why I feel a closer bond with her than I have with many of the other (easier) foster dogs I've had. 

It's not the letting go that's bothering me as much as not knowing what will happen in her life after I let her go. 

Ok, maybe that's part of "letting go."  Letting go of the control. 

I just want her to have the best life, find an awesome family, or person, who will play with her, love her, and treat her right.

"Change is the only constant." 

Back to that. 

Everything is in constant motion - coming, going, ending, beginning.  By observing this cyclical nature of life, it frees us. 

Life is a beautiful wave.  Constantly flowing, always moving. 

We need to let go and enjoy life more.  Ok... I need to let go and enjoy life more.  Maybe you do too. 

Life is under perfect control.  By the Universe.  By the Nature of Life and Love.  It's all in perfect harmony.  Let GO and let Life BE! 

I'm also reminded of a saying (I don't remember where it's from) about how we can't hold water.  If we stick our hand into a flowing river and clench it into a tight fist, trying to grab ahold of the water, it won't work.  Our hand will be empty.  But if we open our hand, and just let the water flow, we'll actually experience it much better. 

Life is much the same.  When we try to control life and grasp ahold of things so tightly that we don't allow for change, we're missing the best part.  We're missing the gentle flow of life.  We're not experiencing life as fully as we would if we release our hold, let go of our perceived control, and open ourselves up to the experience of it.     

Having Lulu here the past two and a half weeks has been great.  At least that's how I'll always remember it.  In reality, it's been up and down, full of challenges.  I actually wanted to take her back to the shelter and give up on fostering her about a week in, when she was still peeing and pooping in the house multiple times a day!  I was at the end of my rope.  Then I found more rope. 

I'm really glad I didn't take her back at the height of my frustration.  I'm glad I stuck it out.  I got to see her improve and learn and open up.  Of course, I also bonded with her more through that time, making it harder to give her up now.  But that's the way it goes. 

As my ex-boyfriend reminded me last night, even though I'm sad to take Lulu back, that'll open up the "foster spot" in my home, to take in another dog in need.  Help someone else who needs it. 

I know I'll foster more dogs after this.  Maybe not more puppies, but more dogs for sure. 

This is the wave of life.  Constantly moving, changing, flowing.  All we need to do is ride the wave.  Relax and enjoy it.  Open up our hands, our hearts, and our lives.  Let the joyous experiences rush in! 

And know that when some rough waves appear on the horizon, and then crash over us, they, too, will pass.  It's all part of the same ocean of experience.  The same ocean of life. 

This, naturally, reminds me of my surfing experience in Barbados this past October (2012).  I had never surfed in my life, and honestly, didn't have any desire to.  I'm not afraid of water, I'm afraid of what's IN the water.  But, I was in Barbados, and hours with amazing surfing instructors was part of the trip package, so I was going to do it.  At least the first day.

And I LOVED it!!  It probably helped that they took us to a calm area, with pretty shallow, crystal clear water.  I ended up surfing three or four days during that week. 

Just as in life, I'd be out in the ocean, with my surfboard (crazy thought, even as I type it, knowing that was my reality for a time), and now and then would see huge waves building ahead of me.  I not only learned how to surf the "good" waves, but learned how to take the rough ones. 

Such is life.  There will be incredibly awesome, fun waves and rough waves.  It's all part of the ocean.  It's all ONE.  The rough waves pass, and sometimes mellow out into decent waves.  And sometimes a wave will come along that looks like it'll be a great one, then it fizzles out.  Accept it as it is.   

The trick is staying in the ocean.  Riding out ALL the waves.  Letting some pass by, that "just don't feel right" and having the courage to go for others. 


Quotes of the Day:


 "A lot of people get impatient with the pace of change."  (James Levine)   http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/change-quotes.html


"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." (Anatole France)   http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/change-quotes.html


"Change brings opportunity."  (Nido Qubein)   http://www.wonderful-quotes.com/change-quotes.html  

   

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trust Your Own Inner Nature

Today's reminder is from the chapter, "Living with an Independent Mind" from Wayne Dyer's book, "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life." 

It's crucial to remain independent of people's opinions of us - whether those opinions are good or bad.  When we seek the favor of others and pursue status, we're not in alignment with the Tao, with the Universe, or our true selves. 

We each have a "basic nature that is uniquely ours," (Dyer).  We need to "learn to trust that Tao nature and be free of other people's opinions." 

Easier said than done. 

"The Tao doesn't force or interfere with things; it lets them work in their own way to produce results naturally." 

We should strive to be the same.  Let things unfold naturally, and then marvel at how things unfold!

When we do things, whatever approval or disapproval we receive is in perfect alignment.  It's what we need, at the time.  The Universe designed it that way. 

Yet, if we value other people's opinions, when they show praise or favor, we become like a slave to them.  And when they show disfavor, we try to change their opinion -- working our life around and for them. 

This is a very ego-centric way of thinking and being.

All of our troubles come from the ego.  Without the ego, we have no troubles at all because we are living in perfect alignment with our Spirit, in Love.  All the opinions of the world don't matter to us and don't affect our path. 

"Practice trusting your own inner nature," (Dyer). 

Whenever you have a passionate thought about something, it's coming from that inner nature.  That's why when we follow our passions, we're following our inner nature and are being true to ourselves. 

If we feel insecure at times because other people disagre with us, remember that Lao-tzu said, "Seeking favor is degrading."  "It will lead you out of touch with yourself," (Dyer). 

Other people will think what they will.  Regardless of what we do.  What they think is none of our business.  Our business is what we think and do.  When we busy ourselves with other people's business, that's when we get in trouble and lose our path.  We give up our true nature for someone else's opinion of us and what we're doing.  What they think, whoever they are, doesn't matter.  If you feel that something is right for you, do it.  If you feel a pull down a certain path, such as a career path that's very different from anyone in your family, pursue it!  Your passions inside you are your spirit speaking to you.  Calling you to be who you are.  Encouraging you to reach your highest potential. 

By focusing too much of our precious energy on what others think, we're literally wasting that energy.  That energy could be put to much better use in following our passions, our heart, our inner self. 

Besides, "other people's opinions about what we should or shouldn't be doing probably aren't taking into account your true, eternal being," (Dyer).  They're telling you what to do or not to do based on their ego.  Or perhaps based on their path.  Not yours.  Even if they have the best of intentions, only you know your inner nature and have the power to follow it. 

"Your worldly self isn't your true identity, so trust your eternal self to communicate with you.  It will do so through your inner nature, where you'll honor it through an independent mind.  Respect your vision and trust your natural, passionate thoughts that are aligned with the loving essence of the Tao," (Dyer, 62). 

"Your worldly self" is your ego.  The part of you that's on the outside, that others see.  And that's not the real you.

The real you is your inner Spirit, or "your eternal Self" as Dyer calls it.  The Love that's inside you.  That's the real you.  And that self will speak to you through an "independent mind," that is, a mind that doesn't concern itself with the thoughts and opinions of others. 

Have the courage to be your own self.  "Respect your vision."  "Trust your natural, passionate thoughts."  That's the real you coming out. 

Imagine if there were no outside forces weighing on you.  No one telling you what to do or who you "should" be.  No one trying to talk you out of doing something you want to do.  However good-intended these other people and other voices are, imagine that they're not there.  It's just you.  You and the infinite Universe.  What speaks to you?  What direction do you feel your heart pulling you? 

That's your inner Spirit! 

I realize sometimes it's scary to listen to it, not to mention follow it.  What if your parents are doctors, and expect you to be a doctor, but you want to be an artist?  Or what if your parents are blue-collar workers, yet you feel the drive to become a lawyer or business person?  In either scenario, your parents (or those closest to you) may not understand your desire to branch out and be different.  They may take it as a slap in the face, like you're rejecting them and what they taught you. 

As an aside, though it's related, my parents didn't understand when I went vegan over two years ago.  I was raised eating "meat and potatoes."  We'd have steaks every so often, that my dad would cook on the grill.  Meat was the main course, with a couple vegetables as "side dishes."  I used to love prime rib as a kid.  Not to mention cheese.  Oh, cheese.  I loved cheese!   

So when I became an adult and stopped eating that way, my dad especially took it as an affront.  I could sense the rejection he felt.  He felt threatened.  Like I believed that the way he raised me was "wrong" and "bad." 

I felt bad that he felt this way (and my mom did too, though she seemed to at least try to be more understanding from the beginning).  I tried to explain the reasons behind my new diet choices.  But they didn't get it.  It wasn't coming from their inner Spirit.  Plus, they were living in their egos and weren't able to lovingly accept my new, changing diet as my path. 

Now they accept it more.  My dad actually read the book that really convinced me to be vegan, "The China Study," and was blown away by the findings presented there.  Still, he eats meat and consumes dairy, so it must not have affected him too much. 

For a while, when I went vegan, it was difficult for me to watch other people, especially my family and people I cared about, not be vegan.  I felt I'd learned all this incredible health stuff, I wanted to share it, and I didn't get why no one was interested. 

Now I get it.  Not only were my parents living in their egos and on their path by not understanding my being vegan, I was still in my ego and focusing on my path by not understanding why they wouldn't go vegan too.

All any of us can do is what WE can do, with ourselves.  Follow our own inner nature.  Our own Spirit.  Live in the Love that is inside US.  And accept that everyone else has their own inner nature, their own Spirit, and different ways to express their Love. 

Trust your own inner nature, and follow it!  It'll lead you where you need to go.

And do your best to let others do the same.   


Quotes of the Day:


"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. "  (e.e. cummings, 1955)    http://www.quotegarden.com/be-self.html



"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away."  (Raymond Hull)   http://www.quotegarden.com/be-self.html



"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was na├»ve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself."  (Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal")   http://www.quotegarden.com/be-self.html


    

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cast off your Labels!

Today's past journal entry I reread was about Jill Bolte Taylor.  If you're not familiar with her story, to put it as briefly as I can, she's a neuroscientist and had a stroke.  She not only lived through it, but remembered most of the experience!  She wrote a book sharing that experience and what she learned, "Stroke of Insight."

Jill's stroke was in her left hemisphere -- the side of our brains that processes language and relationships.  Also the side of our brain where our ego resides.  So Jill lost all that.  Lost her language ability, to understand or speak coherently.  Lost all her "relationship statuses" -- who people were to her, even her mother.  And she also lost her ego! 

The right hemisphere, responsible for pictures and feelings, was still intact and functioning normally for Jill. 

Jill recalled a particular experience when she was in the hospital, shortly after the stroke. She was lying in the bed and a woman came in.  She had no idea who this woman was, but the woman laid next to her in bed and held her.  All Jill felt was overwhelming love.  She knew the feeling -- love, but had no idea this strange woman was her mother.  Still, Jill felt love in return for this "stranger."

Jill explained how we all can choose our thoughts and we need to be responsible for our thoughts.  Our thoughts don't just stay in our heads.  They permeate outwards, affecting everyone around us, via our feelings, emotions, and energy.  This energy is what Jill picked up on, even though she couldn't understand what people were saying (still had no language) and didn't know who people were in relation to her.  She felt the energy coming out of the people, regardless of what they were saying.

Whenever we have self-talk, especially negative self-talk, it's chatter coming from our left hemisphere.  After her stroke, Jill said she couldn't care less what anyone thought because her ego and past emotional baggage had all been cleared! 

How nice would that be?!

Jill no longer identified with her titles either -- who she was, who she was supposed to be, what she'd done, or what she'd had.  All she had now was to focus on the positive energy around her.

Sometimes I feel the weight of my titles.  Vegan.  "Good girl."  Responsible. 

I'm sure there are parts of me and things I've done that certain people who think they know me would be shocked to find out.  We all have beliefs and perceptions about other people.  We believe our perceptions, and that's how we think that other person is.  But are they really?  Sometimes, yes.  But usually there's more beneath the surface.  More to their story.

We are all changing, evolving individuals.  Some of us change at a quicker pace than others though.  And some people have a hard time accepting that other people change.  They want to put them in a box.  "This is who you are."  Stay that way. 

This is where I have a problem.  Personally.  As a naturally quiet, introverted person, I've always felt like people don't really know me.  With very few exceptions (my sisters and closest of friends).

They see me as this "quiet, good girl."  While that's not a bad label to have, it's annoying.  It's annoying to be put in a box, and then people act on the assumption of who they think you are, instead of taking time to really get to know you.

For example, I have seven tattoos.  Most people who find this out, strangers or family, are really surprised.  Why are they surprised?  Because apparently having some tattoos doesn't fit their mold of "quiet, good girl."  But it doesn't change who I am.  That's the thing.

Another label I'm finding particularly heavy is that of "vegan."  I've been fairly health-conscious for a good while now.  People view me as "healthy."  And since going vegan about two years ago, now people applied that label to me.  And honestly, I accepted it.  I was proud of it.  I even put it on myself.   

But here's the thing.  And I'm about to share something with all of you that I find difficult to share.  Why do I find it difficult?  Because of the weight and importance of the label, even to me. 

I'm not 100% vegan anymore. 

There, I said it.  It makes me feel somewhat hypocritical, and I hate that.  I don't want to feel that way.  And I feel that way because of the label!  Because I know people SEE me as a "vegan" and when they discover I'm not, then what will they think? 

I do still eat a mostly plant-based diet.  Probably 90-95% of what I eat, or even higher sometimes, is still vegan.  But since I'm not 100% vegan, I don't feel that I can call myself "vegan" anymore. 

That's the problem with labels.  They're so black and white.  So one-sided.  They don't have gray areas.  Either you are or you're not.

Then people make judgments of you based on your labels, either self-imposed or outwardly-imposed.  And if you ever contradict one of your labels?  Oh boy! 

Does anyone else struggle with this like I do?  If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below! 

I'm still, in fact, learning how to live regardless of my labels.  That's why I find Jill Bolte Taylor's story so fascinating.  One day she had all these labels, and then suddenly they were gone.  She no longer cared what people thought of her and had no idea who she used to be anyway. 

We live in our left hemispheres too much -- the side of language, labels, and our ego.  We need to learn to exercise the right hemisphere more often!  The side of feelings and energy. 

The next time you're feeling particularly ego-driven, or feeling annoyed by a label someone's put on you or an expectation someone has of you, tell yourself to "Get out of the left hemisphere!  Move over to the right side!"  Live there for a while.  Focus on energy.  Focus on love.  Focus on how you feel, not what you or others think.

I remember after I first heard Jill's story I did that.  When I'd start to feel my ego taking hold, I'd shift my mental focus to the right hemisphere in my brain.  Sounds silly and like it wouldn't make much of a difference, but it did.  It's all in our mind, and where we direct our thoughts and therefore our energy. 

Let's practice living in our right hemispheres more, and living in love!  Cast off your labels and titles and just BE YOU!  Be who you are IN LOVE.  Make no excuses.  Offer no explanations.  Just be you.  Others will think what they will, but that's really not your concern.  No matter what you do, you can't control what others do or think.  Even about you.  So forget about it.  Don't worry yourself with it.  As Jill did, focus on the energy.  That's what's really important anyway. 


Quotes of the Day:


“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.”    (W.C. Fields)


“Words can be twisted into any shape. Promises can be made to lull the heart and seduce the soul. In the final analysis, words mean nothing. They are labels we give things in an effort to wrap our puny little brains around their underlying natures, when ninety-nine percent of the time the totality of the reality is an entirely different beast. The wisest man is the silent one. Examine his actions. Judge him by them.”   (Karen Marie Moning)

“As long as people are going to call you lunatic anyway, why not get the benefit of it? It liberates you from convention.”  (Gregory Maguire)  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Today is a GREAT day!

I'm sitting here thinking of all the tasks ahead of me today and feeling like I don't want to do them. 

Monday is my "errand" day, typically.  Monday is also the day I'm responsible for going to my grandma's house and getting her breakfast, then returning to get her lunch.  In between I often go to the gym to work out and go to two different grocery stores (a health food store and the regular grocery store). 

In addition, today I need to go to the pet store for more dog and cat food (and poop bags, aren't you glad I shared that), and I've decided I'm going to buy new tennis shoes for walking (all my tennis shoes are "running" shoes and since I'm not running lately due to a few physical issues I'm trying to work out, I felt I needed more cushioned, supportive shoes).

So, that's the day ahead of me.  Not only do I have all those places I need to go, I feel like I "have" to do them by a certain time.  I have to be "on schedule."  Even though there is no schedule.  It's the Type A personality coming out of me right now.   

I slept later than I normally do, therefore I'm "behind."  I'm usually at my grandma's house at such and such a time for breakfast.  Then I'm usually at the gym by such and such time.  And all the other errands would fall in line after that.  But I'm already over an hour behind "schedule."  I haven't even finished this blog yet.  Then I like to read and comment on other blogs, before starting the rest of my day.  It makes me feel like I'm starting off the day on a good note.  I'm productive already.  But now I'm behind. 

I was starting to stress about this, and still would if I let my mind go there, until I remembered it's my day.  My day to spend as I wish.  I have no appointments, per se.  Just tasks to accomplish.  No hurry.  I can relax.  It'll all be ok.

The kind of day I have is up to me.  I can choose to have a great day!  Or I can choose to be in a foul mood and begrudgingly go to all the places I need to go to.  Hmm... would I rather spend my day grumpy and annoyed, or content and peaceful? 

I'm also reminded of a church song (from my college years when I attended church regularly and was even in the choir). 
"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad."

Of course you can change "Lord" to "Universe" if you prefer (which I do now).  But that's besides the point.  The point is, this day was given to me.  Given to all of us.  Let us be grateful and glad for this day! 

Let us approach whatever tasks lay ahead of us today with enthusiasm and love!  It's really our choice! 


*I especially love the second quote below.  Life really is a beautiful painting.  Each day is a work of art.  Why do we focus on the tiny annoyances when we have such beauty and love around us all the time? 


Quotes of the Day:


"It's so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to."  (Annie Gottlier)

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” (C. JoyBell C.)



“Life is a bowl of cherries. Some cherries are rotten while others are good; its your job to throw out the rotten ones and forget about them while you enjoy eating the ones that are good! There are two kinds of people: those who choose to throw out the good cherries and wallow in all the rotten ones, and those who choose to throw out all the rotten ones and savor all the good ones.”  (C. JoyBell C.) 

 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Think Small

I opened my journal today to the entry from Wayne Dyer's book about verse 63 of the Tao:  "Living without Difficulties." 

I thought, who wouldn't want to live without difficulties?  So I reread my entry and was reminded of how to go about doing that. 

The key is avoiding the inclination to magnify tiny events or worry about a future that may never arrive. 

How many of us do that?  I know I do.  All the time.  I try to decide what to do today based on how I might feel tomorrow, and all the ripples that may come from whatever it is I'm contemplating doing today. 

For example:  "A latte and bagel bites from Einstein's Bagels sounds pretty good.  Ooh!  Yeah, that does sound good!  I think I'll walk down later today and get some.  But wait, that would mean I'd have to spend money.  Do I really want to spend the money on that today?  Money's tight right now.  If I get the latte from Einstein's, then I won't have that money to get a drink from Starbucks on Tuesday, and I'll be out and driving right by Starbucks on Tuesday, so I might want to do that." 

Obviously that's a pretty unimportant decision - whether or not to spend $4 or whatever on a latte.  But those are the thoughts that go through my head, even on small choices.  Imagine the conflict in my brain on actual big decisions.

Like when I was trying to decide if I should break up with my boyfriend or not. 

"He's a great guy... I might not find someone as good as he is. 
But I feel a little held back... I'd like to be free. 
I'm getting older now... do I really want to grow old alone?  Shouldn't I just stick with him?  He's here after all.... and a good guy.
But I wonder if someone wouldn't be a better match for me.   
And I miss living alone.  I thought I was ready to give that up, but I'm not sure....
Maybe we could live apart, but still date.... Then what if he meets someone else? 
Or what if I meet someone else?  I don't want to hurt him! 
Maybe I should just cut him loose altogether so that if I meet someone else, I won't hurt him and have to tell him then." 

All stressing about future events that may or may not come.

Instead of all that worrying, weighing of options, back-and-forth argments in your head, why not just focus on the present moment?  See it as simple and small.  It is simple and small.  It's just now.  You can get through anything in the next second.  Right now what do you want to do?  Then do that!  In the next "now" do what you want to do then, too. 

The future is not guaranteed to anybody.  That's the thing.  None of us have any idea how we'll feel or what we'll want on some future day.  We can guess, postulate, and figure -- based on our past actions, consequences, and current state of mind.  But it's all theoretical. 

We can plan and plan and plan, make charts, lists, meditate, and think for hours on end.  We can decide upon the absolute best course of action.  Then when we're actually in the moment, we may surprise ourselves to find that that's not what we really want after all.  Or it simply may not happen.

Let go of the over-planning of your future!  Release the tight grip you have on it.  It'll come, you'll make decisions in the moment, and it'll pass.  Plain and simple. 

"You have no problems, though you think you have," (from A Course in Miracles). 

"Though you think you have."  Think is the key word.  It's all in our heads! 

Wayne Dyer proposes to think small!

Don't think big! 

Don't "focus on the big picture." 

Do the opposite!  Thinking small and being in the now is where the real happiness and peace are! 

When we "think big" and "focus on the big picture," that big picture can appear very daunting. 

I'd like to be a highly successful author.  I'd like to bring in way more than enough money than I need, from my book sales, so I'm free to do and have whatever I want, whenever I want.  Including donating large sums to animal rescue groups. 

That's my big picture.  Is it scary and daunting?  Hell yeah!  It's way more than I can do right now

But what I can do right now is write this blog.  I can work on my current book.  I can publicize my other books that are already published.  Those are all small things that I can do right now, today.  Those are not daunting.  I don't stress over having to write this blog every day.  I don't think, "Oh my gosh, I have to write over 300 blog entries!  That's SO MANY!  How will I ever do that?"  I just write the entry for today.  That's it.

The thing is, the big picture isn't important.  We all like to think it is, but it's not.  That's our ego talking.  Our ego wants to have control over everything.  It's very self-involved, the ego.  It thinks very highly of itself.  But the only thing that really matters is being love.  And love is right here, right now, in this very moment.  Wherever you are, that's love.  You are love, those around you are love, the situation itself is a representation of love. 

Focus on the love.  Right here.  Right now. 

The "small" loves of today will add up to "big" loves.


*Check out the quotes below.  They're some of my favorites!  :) 


Quotes of the Day:


"Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen."  (James Russell Lowell)


"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."  (Leo Buscaglia)          


"People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross."  (Author Unknown)


"I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal - and soon they'll forget my number."  (Edith Armstrong)