Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out with the old . . . in with the new

New Years Resolutions are something that I feel set me up for failure.

It's just another night . . . just another day, yet it is so symbolic.  In the past I've referred to the upcoming new year as a new chapter in a book.

Rather than set unrealistic goals and promises to myself, I like to take a look at the year about to end.  

What did I like about it?  

What did I hate about it?  

What would I change if I could?

It is also a good time to assess the daily routine and contemplate making it better.  Streamline the process . . . reminds me of the TQM business management philosophy taught by one of the best friends I have ever had, a professor I worked for many years.  I'll never forget his take on incorporating TQM (total quality management) into daily life.  It is all about continual improvement . . . that is what I always strive for.

The new years resolution posts are all over the blogs this morning with the typical lists of unrealistic goals . . . lose weight, quit smoking . . . blah blah blah.  Wonder what the scientific percentage is of those who actually stick to a new years resolution all the way to next Christmas?

Some of the topics I really liked for consideration in my life . . . some I already do, but need to change the way I approach it.

Identify the one thing that you can accomplish in 2011 which would allow you to call the year a success.
Keep a journal . . . be grateful about 5 simple pleasures every day . . . adopt the Simple Abundance lifestyle.  (I used to do this in a public blog that is now closed, but got away from it even though I am aware daily . . . but I need to get back to writing it down.  It helps to look back.)  The journal is like a conversation within yourself, discussing your feelings on topics of interest to you.  It is the ultimate ramble post . . .
Make a list of 10 simple pleasures you can incorporate into your life on a regular basis.  Examples . . . sitting out on the porch drinking flavored coffee in your favorite mug, visiting the park at least once a week to enjoy nature, give yourself spa days and pamper yourself . . . this one goes along with the journal, where you can discover what that simple pleasures are . . . if you ask yourself the right questions.
I love this one . . . Write down the names of 5 people you admire, whether you know them or not, and then write down why you admire them. Write down what you can do to acquire the traits or characteristics that you admire about these people.
My biggest challenge . . . Go through each room of your house and make a list of 10 items for each room which are currently cluttering up your home.  Get rid of them . . . or give them a new purpose!

The ongoing philosophy of my life is to focus on the quality of my life . . . and figuring out what it takes to make it the best it can be for me.  It isn't something that happens at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve . . . it all happens for me through incremental changes throughout the year . . . and throughout my life.

How about you?
Do you make New Year Resolutions?
Do you usually stick to them?

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blue sky day

~ Mr. Blue Sky | Electric Light Orchestra ~

Finally . . . a weather warm up in Central Florida.

If you read the last post, you will know that I am one happy person today . . . temps in the 70's by this afternoon!!  Now I can get to the mounds of laundry that has been haunting me this week.

It really feels like a blue sky day.  That saying originates from a soap I watched for many years . . . many of you probably still watch it . . . All My Children.  The character Ryan spoke of his now departed mom, who gave him his blue sky days in the midst of a horrific childhood.  He fondly recalled his happy days often on the soap and I never forgot it.  Happy days are like that . . . even if they are not memorable.

Today is my mom's birthday . . . also my cousin Vince's birthday and my friend Rhonda too.  It is also the day my sweet girl dog Betsy passed away 10 years ago.  The date is memorable and bittersweet at the same time.  Any day can be a blue sky day . . . it is what you make of it, despite the life circumstances that surround you.

Rather than think negatively about this day and the passing of the sweetest little baby I've ever encountered in my life . . . she WAS like a baby to me . . . I'm gonna have a blue sky day even though I still haven't gotten over her being gone.  She was my constant companion and gave me years of love and joy.

Betsy was the little girl I never had and I treated her that way . . . look at how I dressed her up . . . I would even paint her toenails.  And she loved it.  When I painted her nails, she would hold her little paw up for me.

She was my prissy girl!

My husband passed away two years after . . . while I was still grieving the loss of my little baby.  These days I celebrate having both in my life and experiencing innocent, unconditional love that I was blessed to feel.  

Thinking back, I realize why I had so many years of being lost and screwed up, wound up tight like a spring, ready to uncoil and crawl out of my skin at any minute.  They were my immediate family . . . here one day and gone the next.  It can be devastating . . . and it was for me.  But I've come back to life again.

In all the years she has been gone, I have not replaced her.  We had another dog, who was my husband's dog, but that little bugger totally hated me, especially after my husband died, but that's another post that I've already written that is buried somewhere in this blog.
My nickname for him was Cujo . . . not a cool dog.

The Captain informed me this weekend that it is time for us to get a dog.  I agree wholeheartedly!!  Now that I am not working away from home, I have all the time in the world to give another baby dog all my love.  So it was decided . . . we will be on a quest to find another baby girl for me to love after the holidays.  I can't wait!!

"Our perfect companions never
have fewer than four feet"

Animals can be living proof of a simple abundant source of love . . . 
we just have to let them into our lives and allow them
 to be our creature comfort.

Dogs are definitely my creature comfort!

Hope you all have a blue sky day :)

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Journey

The journey that you are making now is most wonderful. 

It is called human life. 

This life, as you have manifested a body, a career, a dwelling place, a mate, co-workers, experiences of workshops and places of gathering, this experience of life is most wonderful, because you have created it. 

You are creating it moment by moment. 

Enjoy the journey. 

This lifetime you will never live again, so make the most of it. Enjoy the journey of this lifetime. Allow yourself to come completely truly alive in this lifetime, to be able to speak to other ones from the heart, not fearing that you are going to fail or have some other tragedy befall you. 

(Author unknown)
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Serendipity . . . fate and destiny

~ When You Know | Shawn Colvin ~

accidentally discovering something fortunate
while looking for something else entirely

The word derives from an old Persian fairy tale

“life is not merely a series of meaningless
accidents or coincidences . . .
but rather it’s a tapestry of events . . .
that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan . . .
if we are to live life in harmony with the universe . . .
we must all possess a powerful faith
in what the ancients used to call fatum . . .
what we currently refer to as destiny.”

dialogue from the movie “Serendipity”

Sooner or later, most of us
encounter “love at first sight”

we know it isn’t love, it is intense chemistry
. . . or is it?

The movie Serendipity is one of the most unusual romantic love stories I have ever seen . . . what a concept . . . I think about all the time since serendipity has happened for me several times in my life . . .

Here is a synopsis of the movie:

It was a busy holiday rush shopping day . . . two strangers among the masses in New York City . . . Jonathan meets Sara in a busy department store when both try to buy the same pair of gloves . . . their paths collide and they instantly feel a mutual attraction.
Despite the fact that each is involved in a relationship, Jonathan and Sara spend the evening traveling Manhattan and are quickly forced into pondering the question “what is the next step?” when the night reaches its inevitable end.
When Jonathan suggests exchanging phone numbers, Sara proposes an idea that will allow fate and destiny to take control of their future. 
If they are meant to be together, she tells him, they will find their way back into the life of the other.

The movie is about their seven year journey back to each other . . .
a beautiful story of fate and destiny that asks the question . . .

“Can once in a lifetime happen twice?”

The Greeks didn’t write obituaries . . .
they only asked one question after a man died . . .

“Did he have passion?”

Passion, romantic chemistry and “love at first sight”
is all that . . . it is everything, a beautiful gift!

This post is an update of an older post.

The update answers the question "can once in a
lifetime happen twice?" . . . the answer is YES!

If you've been reading my blogs, you'll know I strongly
believe in fate and destiny.  When I had given up on
ever finding love again and embracing my solitude after
 becoming a widow, a 
wonderful online friendship turned
 into finding that 
"twice in a lifetime" love.

What are your thoughts on
passion and romantic chemistry?

Do you believe in fate and destiny?

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Abundance

As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday,
my theme for this week is simple abundance
 and being thankful for our blessings.

~ Simple Things | Amy Grant ~

“Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. 
Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, 
we sense that something is missing in our lives and . . . 
fruitlessly . . . search “out there” for the answers. 
What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected
 from an authentic sense of self.”
Emily Hancock

The simple abundance lifestyle is a spiritual and practical course in creative living leading to contentment that comes from within. One of the fundamentals is the awareness that we all possess the inner wisdom, strength and creativity needed to make our dreams come true.

This is the core philosophy of the book
“Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathmach

At the heart of Simple Abundance is an authentic awakening, one that resonates within your soul. The way you reach that is through an inner journey that brings about an emotional psychological and spiritual transformation that produces inner peace, well-being, happiness and a sense of security. It all starts with gratitude and knowing we have everything we need to take that inner journey within ourselves.

For me, part of it is being true to myself, being my authentic self. I believe in the philosophy that “you must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want” . . . the quote comes from the book “Simple Abundance.”

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't Settle For Second Best

We wonder why the divorce rate is so high

Why there are so many miserable
people walking this earth

Sometimes it is as simple as making
the mistake of settling for second best

Good things come to those who wait and we
should be absolutely true to ourselves and share
our life with the person who makes us deliriously happy.

Don’t settle for second best

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Bridges of Madison County. Aside from the wildly romantic storyline, it is about settling for second best in your life . . . not being true to yourself, sometimes for the sake of others.

This beautiful love story features Robert Kincaid, a traveling photographer for National Geographic who arrives in Madison County, Iowa to photograph covered bridges. He stops for directions at the home of Francesca Johnson. She is a disillusioned Italian war bride whose husband and children are temporarily out of town. The next four wonderful days awaken a deep, fulfilling love between Robert and Francesca. All too soon, Francesca must make the hardest choice of her life . . . stay in the life she settled for or leave and live happily ever after with the man of her dreams.

Why do people settle for “better than nothing” to begin with? Sooner or later “better . . . the one” will come along . . . and if you settled, like Francesca did in the movie, you are left to live a life of daydreams and wondering “what if” since most people do the honorable thing and stay in a less than happy situation because of obligation and circumstances . . . most often “for the sake of others”.

In the beginning, when there are no children, no husband . . . are we so afraid of being alone that we grab at the first chance that seems like contentment . . . hope it is true love, or will turn into it . . . then come the kids, and ultimately . . . regrets. Why not just wait? Is it the biological clock that is ticking? Everything that is meant to be is in God’s time . . . that is my belief.

My philosophy as far as relationships go is like this . . . commit yourself to someone you have intense chemistry for, someone you know you will never want to take your hands off of, someone who feels that way about you. I’ve blogged about my philosophy before, but it is too important to not say over and over again. Chemistry is the glue that holds two people together. It is not shallow to want this in a relationship. It does not always have to do with physical appearance . . . romantic chemistry is strange that way.

Everything about Robert became erotic to Francesca . . . they had that intense animal attraction chemistry for each other . . . it was electric. When she was with him, she felt like another woman, yet she was more herself than she ever was before. That is how the right one feels . . .

As a spiritual person, I believe in signs . . . if too many obstacles are put in the way of love, it is not meant to be. Impossible situations should be taken as not meant to be . . . love happens even when it is not right . . . sometimes love is not meant to be forever, but for a season and for a specific reason.

What a beautiful movie . . . I was in the mood for that type of story to feed my romantic side.

Those electric chemistry romantic feelings are worth waiting for.

Have you ever had a
Robert or Francesca in your life?
Did you give them up?
Or are you living your dream relationship?

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Today I Saw a Butterfly

Today I saw a butterfly,
as it floated in the air;
Its wings were spread in splendor,
Unaware that I was there.

It was such a thing of beauty,
It was a sight to see;
It was the perfect masterpiece,
Full of grace and majesty.

I found myself thinking,
to what can this compare?
And then, of course, I thought of you,
And I wished that you were there.

God sure was extra careful,
When He formed and fashioned you;
You too, became a masterpiece,
Yet God is still not through.

He's daily making changes,
that other folks can't see;
You're already true perfection,
At least you are to me.

~ Author Unknown ~

There is a saying that I can't remember the exact words, but the gist of it is you can find perfect love with an imperfect person.  What makes the person perfect is love and adoration.  Unconditional love may see the imperfections, but it has no affect on the degree of love you have for this person.

Love truly is a thing of beauty when you find someone who feels the same about you.  Being the romantic that I am, nothing compares to it . . . to love and be loved is the most important thing to me in this life.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

The allure of material things

Material Girl ~ Remix | Madonna

Sometime in the human experience we are all seduced by the allure of material things. Back in the day the love of money and the stuff I could buy had such a grip on me that I forgot how to live in pursuit of making more money. Even spending the money as fast as I could in order to gather even more objects could not fill the emptiness of not enjoying the gift of life.

There is nothing wrong with owning prized possessions that are a reflection of our emotions and memories. What is wrong is the intention of that desire to possess that stuff when it becomes a compulsion, creating an imbalance of trying to fill empty emotional spaces with those things.

On my path to peace, love and happiness, I have learned to find joy in the little things in life that truly bring a smile to my face and are filling those empty emotional spaces. All that stuff that cost money now clutter my house and little by little I’m clearing those spaces. In my case, the imbalance of my compulsion was filling the wrong spaces.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Freedom and success . . . the other side of fear of failure

~ Sweet Freedom (Child of Freedom Mix/Radio Edit) | Michael McDonald ~

Fear of failure . . . despite rational thinking, education, talent and ability . . . makes the exhilaration of victory and success impossible. Fear can cause a potentially successful person to accept mediocrity . . . if you don’t take the risk, you’re guaranteed not to face failure.

The other side of that fear
is freedom and success . . .

Henry Ford stated, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

Thoughts are powerful and fear is irrational . . . it is the thought of the fear, not the actual experience or “failure,” but the dread it inspires. Obsessive dwelling on the matter reinforces one dark thought after another until success is no longer a reality.

The weight of the dread and fear builds and grows, slowing down progress and cluttering the mind. If the fear is thought of logically, we find they have no rational basis.

Just do it . . .

Smart educated engineers laughed at Henry Ford’s dream of building automobiles, who no doubt perceived him as illiterate and ignorant since he was just an uneducated man with a dream.

Ford was "ignorant" of the fear he overcame due to of his lack of education. His dream was greater than his fear and perceived “limitations” . . . positive thoughts of his dream drove him to success.

How unfortunate would it have been if he let his fear of failure conquer him?

Success is action and bold, courageous movement toward your goals and dreams. Action dispels fear . . . giving fear the time to occupy the thought process is giving it permission to paralyze any efforts and actions, leading to ultimate failure that was feared to begin with. Fear is not rational and is a vicious cycle!

Boldly moving toward your goals a little at a time, embracing the smallest of victories along the way, can start chipping away at that bondage of fear.

Success knows no boundaries!

Understanding how these fears affect us and learning how to cope and manage ourselves in the midst of the fear is one of the most important steps to freedom from fears.

When you miss out on an opportunity due to fear, you will never get that moment back . . . then the floodgates of regrets open up to mingle with the fears.  The pity party is then on its way . . . it is a vicious cycle.

We can’t prevent bad things from happening in our lives, but we can learn how to suppress or eliminate the obsessive focus fear places on us and not live a life of mediocrity with regrets.

We only have one life . . . and we CAN control the quality of that life through our thoughts and attitude.

You can conquer almost any fear if you
will only make up your mind to do so.
For remember, fear doesn’t exist 
anywhere except in the mind. 

~Dale Carnegie~

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Quality of Life and the Adventurous Attitude

~ Dangerous Type | The Cars ~

What is adventure?  

Adventure could be defined as an activity that involves the possibility of risk, danger or exciting experiences. For one person, it could mean jumping off a bridge attached to a bungee cord, feeling the rush of rising and falling as the bungee cord does its thing.  Yet another could perceive adventure as a serene day at the beach.

Adventure could simply be seen as an attitude . . . a journey towards finding our unique potential . . . sometimes hidden by fear and worry.  It is how we approach the day-to-day obstacles of life, how we perceive and act on them that determines the level of adventure and quality of life.

Attitude adjustments that involve backing away from fear of the unknown and embracing the new challenges as an exciting adventure allows us to seize those new opportunities that present themselves with a positive mindset.  

Embracing adventure is acknowledging faith . . . a testing that faces the unknown without fear.  Stretching past the comfort zone allows us to find that unique potential within ourselves.

The adventurous attitude perceives everything in a positive light . . . life is awesome until it isn't . . . then you confront, face and solve the problem.  Until then, it isn't a problem . . . so why worry about the thing unless it has happened.

Speaking from experience, fear and worry is an obstacle from living life to its full potential . . . isn't life without adventure merely waiting to die?  

Readers of my blogs will understand what I am saying . . . since becoming a widow, my life was one of waiting to die, locking myself away from the world . . . get it over with, I didn't even want to try to be adventurous since I may get hurt in one way or another.  Warped thinking plays into the scenario . . .

Of course depression plays a huge role in attitude . . . but you can deal with it, fight it . . . turn it around no matter how many times you have to get back up when you fall down . . . find adventure in life again.  I did . . . although I still have to deal with the fears, some days better than others.

Love this quote . . .

"Most of the important things in the world 
have been accomplished by people who have 
kept on trying when there seemed to be 
no hope at all."  

Herbert Myer

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Great moments

It will happen on occasion, a great moment that was least expected, simple in nature, yet never to be forgotten.

Working in the mental health industry brought me many of these moments in recent past and those moments taught me many life lessons.  The most profound lesson is similar to the following story.

You can't buy great moments . . . they are gifts from God.

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am, when I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.  Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. 

But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.  Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. 

So I walked to the door and knocked.  "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice.  I could hear something being dragged across the floor. 

After a long pause, the door opened.  A small woman in her 80's stood before me.  She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. 

By her side was a small nylon suitcase.  The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years.  All the furniture was covered with sheets.  There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.  In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. 

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said.   I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. 

She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing," I told her.  "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" 

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly. 

"Oh, I don't mind," she said "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice." 

I looked in the rear-view mirror.  Her eyes were glistening.  "I don't have any family left," she continued.  "The doctor says I don't have very long."  I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 

"What route would you like me to take?"  I asked. 

For the next two hours, we drove through the city.  She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. 

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. 

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. 

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired.  Let's go now." 

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.  It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. 

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.  They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.  They must have been expecting her. 

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.  The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. 

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. 

"Nothing," I said

"You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.  She held onto me tightly. 

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.   "Thank you." 

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.  Behind me, a door shut.  It was the sound of the closing of a life. 

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift.  I drove aimlessly lost in thought.  For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? 

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. 

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. 

But great moments often catch us unaware . . . beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. 


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coming out of a fog

When we experience those hazy days, unsure of which way to turn, feeling unfocused and running into things hidden in the mist that seem to surround us, we are said to be "in a fog" . . . visibility is limited and slows us down, just as when driving through a fog.  When driving, it is usually best to pull over and wait for the mist to clear . . . it is unwise to move quickly.

Sometimes in life, we may need to slow down . . . the fog could be a gift.  While most of us would prefer to not encounter life obstacles, being in a fog gets our attention and allows us to stop, do nothing . . . be still in that moment and get to the source of the haziness.  It could be an emotional issue that needs attention . . . looking within ourselves can teach important lessons in order to safely proceed.  Perhaps the fog is a reminder to simply slow down.

The fog is unpredictable, not knowing when it will creep up and when it will lift.  Slow down and wait for guidance that may come from within or the lights followed to get out of that fog . . . allow it to lift naturally, like a gentle breeze or the sun that burns it away.  The fog can lift as fast as it creeps up . . . a certainty is that the fog will lift, making it possible to move forward with clarity and inner wisdom.

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Faith and the darkness of the unknown

"When you come to the edge of all the light you know
and are about to step into the darkness of the unknown.
Faith is knowing that one of two things will happen.
There will be solid ground to stand on or
you will be taught to fly."

Author unknown

Life and society as we know it has been changing and in transition . . . the economy, the political scene and unemployment that has run out of control.  Each decision we make is just a part of the cycle of cause and effect, approaching the decision-making process having the faith and knowledge that there are always possibilities and choices available empowers the process of exploring what is most beneficial for each of us as individuals.  

The optimum word is faith.

In the darkness of the unknown, there is one thing that remains constant . . . if we are not happy with present life circumstances and the choices made, we have the power to make different choices.  There are always choices . . . take the time to consider those options and ponder the possible outcomes with heightened awareness rather than make rash decisions based on emotion.

Faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket, 
then counting your blessings before they hatch.
  ~Ramona C. Carroll

Faith has never let me down . . . fears do.

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