Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finding Hidden Gifts

Set Fire to the Rain ~ Adele

"We need to make friends with what we reject, what we see as "bad" in ourselves and in other people. We must not only tolerate what we find painful, but actually approach it more deeply, more wholeheartedly rather than trying to escape from it. The only way to do this successfully is with an open heart, letting it soften you. This way you are not attacking it or seeking to eradicate it, but instead embracing it. For only then will it serve the purpose for which it exists and can reveal to you the gift hidden within it.
Identify something you reject in yourself or in another and take it into your heart. Let it speak to you and reveal its teaching, blessing or energy." 

Source: The Soul Journey 

Well, it sounds easy, doesn't it?

Letting those irritating things in ourselves and others speak to us is one thing . . . they already speak volumes to me!  The trick is allowing it to reveal its blessing in our lives when it is painful or a major irritation robbing us of peace and happiness.

It seems to me that it is all in the perspective in which it is approached.  A positive thinker will embrace the hidden gift rather quickly, while the negative thinker will see it as an impossible task.  

The negative thinker will just want to sweep it under the rug and either ignore it completely, hoping it will just go away or complain about it, declaring that life is just not fair and hoping that since they are entitled to be happy, the situation or the trait will just go away.  Guess what?  It won't!

There are many levels and aspects of this concept.  While seeking the hidden gifts in our own flaws may be an achievable task, it is quite a different story when it comes to another person.  Disagreements in a relationship usually have so many layers, they get convoluted when combined with personality traits.

Perhaps the way to first approach the situation is to envision the end result in a compassionate and positive manner . . . peace and happiness.  Ask yourself the right questions . . . "how can peace and happiness be achieved in this situation?" . . . take each identifying factor individually rather than combined with everything else.

When it comes to evaluating and analyzing the irritating thing involving someone else, make sure that all bitterness and anger of the situation is set aside before even attempting to think about it positively.

All in all, I found this concept very interesting and can prove to be an insightful way to look at life situations and those special people in our lives.  We are all special and unique individuals with our gifts (whether they be hidden or not) that others find pleasant and attractive which also comes with those things that are irritating!

Love yourself and those you love enough to find those hidden gifts!


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sad season!

Janie's Got a Gun ~ Aerosmith

Being a news junkie with all the bad news of the world made for a very depressing holiday season.

Each year that passes holds the promise that "this will be the year" that I enjoy the holidays again.  However, the blue funk starts right around Halloween to coincide with Christmas being pushed down our throats earlier every year by the retail trade.  

You can't blame them, they are just trying to survive these weak economic times.

This year's news has been unusually disturbing to me.  Ugly politics, fiscal cliffs, a violent hurricane leaving unimaginable devastation and another sad school shooting has done me in.  But, as I sit at my computer writing this post, the news is on the television!

I was going to write a series of posts about the school shooting, gun control and the sad state of mental health . . . but I've seen too much ugliness at other blogs that I just don't want to deal with, so I have decided against it.  I'm not here to be controversial.  There is enough of that on the news!

Needless to say, I've taken a backward turn to the dark side and further away from peace, love and happiness than I care to be.  

I know I'm not alone with these feelings . . . the holiday season is not a happy one for many in this world . . . and I can't imagine anyone going through the season who have been affected by the tragedies we have heard about on the news!

Having said all that, the emphasis for the new year will once again be on optimism and attitude adjustment. I'm so happy the Christmas holiday is over and the symbolic new beginning of a year is upon us!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

A Time for Blessings

Flowing Rivers ~ Andy Gibb

Sometimes when I'm feeling down, I go back to my old blogs to revisit where I've been to appreciate where I am now.  The following writing spoke to me today . . . I need to go back to the basics of a simple abundance lifestyle.  

I didn't write it and I have no idea where it came from.  

Simple abundance is priceless . . .

Set your own pace........When someone is pushing you, it's ok to tell them they're pushing.

Take nothing for granted........Watch water flow, the corn grow, the leaves blow, your neighbors mow.

Allow yourself time to be lazy and unproductive........Rest isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.

Listen to the wind blow........It carries a message of yesterday and tomorrow........And now.........Now counts.

Rest on your laurels........They bring comfort whatever their size, age or condition.

Talk slower. Talk less. Don't talk. Communication isn't measured by words.

Give yourself permission to be late sometimes........Life is for living, not scheduling.

Listen to the song of a bird........The complete song. Music and nature are gifts, but only if you are willing to receive them.

Slow down. God is still in heaven........You are not responsible for doing it all...yourself... right now.

Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past........Rest there. Each moment has a richness that takes a lifetime to savor.

Quit planning how you're going to use what you know, learn or possess........God's gifts just are. Be grateful and their purpose will be clear.

When you walk with someone, don't think about what you'll say next........Thoughts will spring up naturally if you let them.

Talk and play with children........It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you.

Create a place in your home...At your your heart...where you can go for quiet and recollection. You deserve it.

Take time to think........Action is good and necessary, but it's  fruitful only if we muse, ponder and mull.

Make time for play........The things you like to do. Whatever your age, your inner child needs re-creation.

Watch and listen to the night sky........It speaks.

Listen to the words you speak........Especially in prayer.

Learn to stand back and let others take their turn as leaders........ There will always be new opportunities for you to step out in front again.

Divide big jobs into little jobs........If God took six days to create the universe, can you do any better?

Direct your life with purposeful choices, not with speed and efficiency........The best musician is one who plays with expression and meaning, not the one who finishes first.

Take a day off alone........Make a retreat. You can learn from monks and hermits without becoming one.

Pet a furry friend........You will give and get the gift of now.

Work with your hands........It frees the mind.

Take time to wonder........Without wonder, life is merely an existence.

Sit in the dark........It will treat you to see and hear, taste and smell.

Once in awhile........Turn down the lights, The throttle, The invitations. Less really can be more.

Let go........Nothing is usually the hardest thing to do...but often it is the best.

Taste your food........God gave it to delight as well as nourish.

Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set........They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.

And as you ramble on thru life my dearest friend........Keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole.


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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Relate to yourself

Relate to yourself through your journal

Madonna ~ Voices

 "To write spiritually is to engage in a search for authentic language. You’ll find your truth by writing your way to it." 

-- Patrice Vecchione 

Who would allow you to totally ignore, abuse, laugh with, swear at, shed tears on, get angry at and be totally honest with him/her?
 Your journal does. 
Your journal is an unconditional friend. It does not reject, manipulate, judge, laugh at or ridicule you. It’s always there for you. So be honest with your best friend and it will help you discover who you are.
"The positive thing about writing is that you connect with yourself in the deepest way, and that's heaven. You get a chance to know who you are, to know what you think. You begin to have a relationship with your mind."
-- Natalie Goldberg

Source: Soul Journey

I've gotten away from writing in my journal, which could attribute to my lost feelings through another time of transformation and changes.

My journal is the one place I can truly be honest about everything, allowing me to be my true, authentic self.

Life is ever-changing.  Transitions can be slow, but continual . . . giving the illusion of standing still.  But nothing or no one stands completely still.  Time will eventually find you at a place you don't recognize, can't relate to . . . leaving that feeling of being lost.

Keeping a journal was the best tool found by way of my therapy sessions.  Even in times of change and confusion, I knew how I was feeling about everything, with a sketchy map of the path out of that place.

As The Captain and I define the rest of our lives professionally, I keep asking myself what would truly make me happy in the quest of a successful way to making a living.  Honestly, I really don't know . . . and once again, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to find out, but it is going to take serious soul searching to come up with the thing that will make me truly happy.  

All I know at this time is that whatever I end up doing will involve using my creativity and at the same time keeping in mind that the economy really sucks.  

This post just proved that by putting thoughts in writing, I have defined two starting points in my quest . . . what can I do creatively that will prove to be worth my while monetarily in poor economic times . . . the variables being creativity and poor economic times.  I feel a little less lost already!

As you find yourself in times of confusion, life changes and transition, try writing your thoughts in a journal or start a blog (they can be private).  In the past, my grateful posts were the most insightful for me.  It is important to just get in touch with your thoughts and feelings.

Lesson learned!  
Time to relate to myself again!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moving in real time

Sometimes ~ Britney Spears

Fast-Forward Button

We all go through times when we wish we could press a fast-forward button and propel ourselves into the future and out of our current circumstances. Whether the situation we are facing is minor, or major such as the loss of a loved one, it is human nature to want to move away from pain and find comfort as soon as possible. Yet we all know deep down that we need to work through these experiences in a conscious fashion rather than bury our heads in the sand, because these are the times when we access important information about ourselves and life. The learning process may not be easy, but it is full of lessons that bring us wisdom we cannot find any other way.

The desire to press fast-forward can lead to escapism and denial, both of which only prolong our difficulties and in some cases make them worse. The more direct, clear, and courageous we are in the face of whatever we are dealing with, the more quickly we will move through the situation.

Understanding this, we may begin to realize that trying to find the fast-forward button is really more akin to pressing pause. When we truly grasp that the only way out of any situation in which we find ourselves is to go through it, we stop looking for ways to escape and we start paying close attention to what is happening. We realize that we are exactly where we need to be. We remember that we are in this situation in order to learn something we need to know, and we can alleviate some of our pain with the awareness that there is a purpose to our suffering.

When you feel the urge to press the fast-forward button, remember that you are not alone; we all instinctively avoid pain. But in doing so, we often prolong our pain and delay important learning. As you choose to move forward in real time, know that in the long run, this is the least painful way to go.

Source: Daily Om

Escaping and running away is not the answer.  

However, there are times that I question God . . . 

how much do I need to learn?

Sometimes I wonder and start to lose my faith.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spirits having flown

Faster than lightning is this heart of mine.

In the face of time I carry on.

I'd like to take you where my rainbow ends.

Lyrics from the song
Spirits Having Flown
by the Bee Gees

It doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed.  Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of JR's death.  Ten years ago today, the nightmare began.  The sound of sirens, the house filled with EMS guys, the emergency room.  My sweet angel laying helplessly in the ER bed, all kinds of stuff hooked up to him. 

I was scared . . . petrified . . . my everything was breathing his last breaths and I had no idea what was about to hit me.  All seemed normal that night when he wanted to watch Monday Night Football.  

Normal?  Ten years later, I still don't feel back to "normal" . . .

He and I shared the perfect friendship, 
which is so important in a marriage.

I miss him even though I have moved on with The Captain.
How can you forget such a sweet spirit?  I never will.

His sweet spirit is still with me, 
which I'll take where my rainbow ends.

Rest in peace my sweet angel.

Spirits Having Flown | The Bee Gees

I never fell in love so easily.

Where the four winds blow I carry on.

I'd like to take you where my spirit flies:

Through the empty skies. We go alone,

Never before having flown.

Faster than lightning is this heart of mine.

In the face of time I carry on.

I'd like to take you where my rainbow ends.

Be my lover friend. We go alone,

Never before having flown.

I am your hurricane, your fire in the sun.
How long must I live in the air?
You are my paradise, my angel on the run.
How long must I wait?
It's the dawn of the feeling that starts
From the moment you're there.
You'll never know what you have done for me.
You've broken all those rules I live upon.
And I'd like to take you to my Shangri-La,
Neither here nor far away from home,
Never before having flown.
I am your hurricane, your fire in the sun.
How long must I live in the air?
You are my paradise, my angel on the run.
How long must I wait?
It's the dawn of the feeling that starts
From the moment you're there.
I'd like to take you where my spirit flies,
Through the empty skies we go alone,
Never before having flown.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guilt . . . how to get rid of it

~ Guilty | Barbra Streisand with Barry Gibb ~

When I read the following article on guilt, it sounded somewhat familiar . . . and one of my biggest problems. Feeling guilty often about everything and everybody, most of which make no logical sense at all, yet I can't shake it off . . . primarily because I am alive and my husband died young . . . it has haunted me.  

Then I felt guilty since I've moved on with my life, fell in love again and now I'm someone else's wife.  It makes me wonder if other widows who have moved on have had similar emotions.  I'd love to hear from you . . .

This is the one area where guilt hits me bad, but not limited to this . . . no, I do have a conscience even though I continuously make others upset with me because I am true to myself and generally do exactly what I want to do despite what others think. But I do pay the price with guilt . . .

Everyone feels guilty from time to time, but being consumed with compunction can suck the joy out of life. I'm beginning to see it is one of the things in my life that needs to change like now.

What, Exactly, Is Guilt?

Guilt is a feeling of remorse that arises when you have done something wrong or think you have. As a rule, “people feel guilty when they feel they’ve failed or transgressed in some way,” says June Tangney, a professor of psychology at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia. Guilt pops up when a spouse says something he realizes is hurtful, when a parent loses her temper with a child, or when a guest breaks the host’s heirloom vase. “It typically arises when you cause someone else pain,” Tangney says.

That is why guilt is not all bad, says Mark R. Leary, Ph.D., director of social psychology at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina: “Emotions like guilt are essential to social relationships.” They motivate you to take other people’s feelings into account. In most cases, you simply register the feeling of guilt and that leads to some sort of attempt to make amends — to apologize, to behave with more care — which can help preserve important relationships.

When Guilt Becomes a Problem

There are times when guilt ceases to serve any purpose other than to make you unhappy. Some people even slide into exhausting self-flagellation. When you obsess about something you’ve done without any purpose or clear goal, “that’s when you need a reality check,” says Mark R. Leary, Ph.D.

But even a moderate amount of guilt can weigh on women, who tend to feel it more than men. The general view is that women are more focused on the caring role, and caring is the bedrock of guilt. What’s more, in a busy world, says professor June Tangney, women often feel that they must choose between shortchanging family and friends (guilt!), cutting corners at work (more guilt!), and ignoring their own needs (yet another type of guilt!). “For many women, the standards are impossibly high, and the world — and their inner voices — are telling them that nothing they do is good enough,” Tangney says. It’s all too easy to feel as though you’re always falling short.

How to Handle Your Guilt

1. Talk it out.

That unfortunate joke you told at the party sounds horrible when you play it over and over in your head. But if you tell a friend, it may not seem so bad. “Secrecy is the intensifier of guilt,” says Edward Hallowell, M.D., the author of Dare to Forgive: The Power of Letting Go & Moving On (HCI, $13,, because keeping it to yourself doesn’t allow for fresh perspective. “Once you’ve bared something that you find troubling and discover that your friend isn’t nearly as shocked as you thought she would be, the guilt begins to drain away and you feel better.” And even if your friend is somewhat shocked, just airing the topic can keep you committed to being more sensitive in the future. By discussing the issue openly, “you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, that you’ve done things that aren’t pretty,” says Hallowell. But that doesn’t mean you should punish yourself forevermore.

2. Try to make amends.

If you’ve done something that you truly regret, say you’re sorry and try to remedy the situation. Most people appreciate the conciliatory gesture because it’s a signal that you care about their feelings and value the relationship. And you may find that they weren’t all that upset. “Very often the things you are feeling guilty about didn’t have any impact on the other person,” says Hallowell, “and you’re suffering for no reason.”

3. Try a reality check.

Guilt often arises automatically, based on standards internalized during childhood. So before you reflexively accept guilt, take a minute to stop and ask, “Am I consciously living by my own expectations?” says Mark R. Leary, Ph.D. Perhaps your mother washed and waxed the floor twice a week. But you may not feel that’s the best use of your time and energy, so you choose not to. Still, you feel guilty about not waxing. Those are your mother’s priorities, not yours. And keep in mind that you may be the only one who is invested in the thing you feel so guilty about. “Worrying about your failings as a mother because you didn’t bake homemade cupcakes when the child doesn’t even care is guilt gone wrong,” says Margaret Clark, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Yale University.

4. Give yourself credit.

Remind yourself that what you did imperfectly is just part of being human, says Leary. Tell yourself, Everybody is late from time to time. Or Everybody says something stupid on occasion. That the behavior isn’t unique to you doesn’t make it OK, but it’s reason enough to stop beating yourself up about it.

Try keeping a journal of all the good things that you’ve done. “Typically, people who are susceptible to guilt have a hard time giving themselves credit for anything,” says Hallowell. So whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by guilt, stop and list five things you’ve done that are praiseworthy, whether they are small or large.

5. Break a sweat.

Instead of sitting around in a funk, go for a run, a bicycle ride, or a swim or play a few sets of tennis. “Working out is like hitting the reset button on your brain,” says Hallowell. “It’s hard to exercise and feel guilty at the same time.” Granted, this is not a permanent fix for an overwhelming feeling that you aren’t pulling your weight at work or you’re neglecting a friend, but it’s a perfect antidote for smaller, isolated issues that may keep you awake for a night or two.

6. Beware of guilt trips.

Guilt isn’t always something that you load on yourself. Some people (whether they intend to or not) induce guilt in others — often to advance their own agendas.

To avoid falling prey to this, assess whether the other person’s point of view is legitimate and if he or she is taking your needs into account. For example, perhaps your elderly mother doesn’t get out much and loves your visits. But your daily presence will not literally cure what ails her, as she none-too-subtly suggests. If making the long trip to see her every day means you have to neglect your own family and yourself, this is a setup for more guilt. In this case, your mother’s need is legitimate but her representation of it is exaggerated.

Talk to the other person about solutions that work for both of you so no one feels resentment toward the other. And if all else fails, bringing her a batch of cookies (store-bought) always makes things better.

Are You Too Guilty?

When you torment yourself over every little transgression, guilt can become toxic, even paralyzing. It can also jeopardize your health, contributing to depression, social anxiety, and eating disorders. “There’s a difference between a sensitivity to other people’s feelings and toxic guilt,” says psychiatrist Edward Hallowell. To help assess how guilt may be affecting you, see how many of the following statements ring true for you.

1. You can’t seem to stop saying that you’re sorry.

2. Other people keep telling you that you’re too hard on yourself, that you expect too much from yourself.

3. Your mantras have become “I should have,” “I wish I had,” “I must.”

4. You can’t remember the last time you did something just for you: a movie, a manicure, a nap.

5. You can’t say no, even if meeting someone else’s needs means giving up the movie and the manicure.

6. You avoid people or situations because you think you don’t belong or you’re not good enough.

7. You feel resentful when you do something for someone else.

8. Everything is your fault.

9. Everything is your fault because you’re stupid, bad, or unworthy.

10. You can’t accept anything short of perfection from yourself.

Results: If more than five of the 10 statements describe how you often feel, it may be time to take steps to get your guilt under control. “Talk to friends or family about how you feel,” says Hallowell, and try the other techniques in this article. If you still can’t rein in your guilt, consider talking to a therapist for more help, says Hallowell.

Source: Real Simple

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Works of peace and love

Every act of love is a work of peace 
no matter how small.
Blessed Mother Teresa

Everything I Wanted ~ The Bangles

In a recent blog post, I wrote about little things that are so important.  Since writing that post I have thought a lot about those little things.

The feeling of peace and contentment can be an act of love that is as simple as making your sweetie something to drink or surprise them with a snack when they least expect it.  For me, that awesome feeling of peace comes with the resulting smile and sparkly eyes that don't even need words.

Understanding is a necessary act of love which leads to a peaceful and happy relationship.  It takes time to break old habits that can be very irritating to another in a new relationship, but once conquered, the resulting peace is worth it.  I'm still learning!

Mutual respect should be on the list of high priorities . . . it works hand in hand with understanding.  Broken respect can turn an otherwise peaceful and loving relationship into a battleground.  Dagger beams replace acts of love . . . not a good thing!

As normal human beings, we learn how to push the buttons of another person.  Why not push the buttons that result in peace and love?

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stress in high gear

Restless ~ Elton John

Racing through life is very stressful. If we stay in high gear too long, we lose our ability to shift down. And when we're stressed, we can't access happiness, appreciation, fun, compassion, generosity, awareness of beauty and other wonderful qualities. High stress also triggers negative emotions like frustration, impatience, anger and fear. Life has so much to offer if we will slow down and truly experience it. We must always remember that we are the ones in control of the accelerator. We CAN choose to brake. (John & Patrice Robson) - 

A racing mind with thoughts and fears running swiftly through one emotion after another can be just as exhausting as physical demands and activities.

Times of change and transition take me through the myriad of emotions, resulting in high anxiety and restlessness.  Sleep will escape me and then capture me, begging to catch up.

At the same time, it is a period of appreciation for everything I have been blessed with in my life.  Our approaching one-year wedding anniversary brings so much joy, but at the same time, the frustration of this self-imposed stressful time counteracts the good vs bad thoughts racing through my mind.

The result is that dreaded ride on the roller coaster that doesn't stop.

The above quote hit home for me today as I try to shut down those racing thoughts that have recently consumed me.  Although I know that I am ultimately in control of my thoughts and reactions to those thoughts, sometimes it is difficult to "shift down."

Can you relate to the quote?

How do you "shift down" back to "normal"?

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Things

The little things? 

The little moments? 

They aren't little.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

When I read the above quote this morning, my thoughts immediately went to a song from my childhood that I have not heard in years, but the lyrics and melody of the song rang through my mind like a whirlwind.

The song is about little things being so important in a romantic relationship, but it applies to any relationship.

Sometimes in the midst of everyday life, we get busy and forget those little things.  I'm guilty of it like everyone else.  

It is so important to remember those little things, those little moments . . . they are what make great memories and great relationships.

Random acts of kindness show that you care.  It doesn't have to be a big thing that takes lots of time or even money.  A simple smile "just because"  can go a long way.

I have a particular soft spot in my heart for old folks.  Many times you see them alone at the grocery store, pushing their cart down the aisles, looking so sad.  I seek them out, make eye contact and smile.  The smile that is returned . . . a twinkle in their eyes that acknowledges appreciation that someone cared enough to notice them . . . it can make my day.  It was just a little thing, but it really wasn't little.

My husband makes my day every time we go somewhere and reaches out to hold my hand or gives me a kiss out of nowhere, for no reason.  Just a little thing that means so much to me.

Little things are awesome.  
They are what makes life special.

The song took me back to my childhood and wonderful memories of one of the most important people in my life . . . my nana.  It made me smile as I remembered some little things from my past that were so special.

Little Things | Bobby Goldsboro

Little things that you do make me glad I'm in love with you
Little things that you say make me glad that I feel this way
The way you smile, the way you hold my hand
And when I'm down you always understand
You know I love those

Little things in my ear that you say when there's no one near
Little things that you do let me know that your love is true
When we walk, you like to hold my hand
And when we talk you tell me I'm your man
You know I love those

Little things that I hear, the little things you whisper in my ear
I know there ain't nobody else like you
No one could do the little things you do-oo

Little things that you do make me glad I'm in love with you
Little things that you say make me glad that I feel this way
When we walk, you like to hold my hand
And when we talk you tell me I'm your man
You know I love those

Little things that I hear, the little things you whisper in my ear
I know there ain't nobody else like you
No one could do the little things you do-oo

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