Friday, September 27, 2013

The Gift of Serenity

Serenity can be described as the state of calmness and the sensation of peacefulness.  

Day to day life experience brings disruptions to peace of mind, taking many forms that can sometimes pile up, turning composure into overwhelm.

There are ways of coping with these moments in time.  

The one that always comes to my mind is the catchphrase "Take Me Away" generated by a marketing campaign for Calgon bath and beauty products.  One of their famous commercials, as described by Wikipedia . . . 

"A woman wearing a fluffy pink robe is seen in a chaotic home scenario. As tension rises, she utters the slogan "Calgon, take me away!" The next scene shows her relaxing in a bath in a quiet room."

Take a moment to see if you can relate to this commercial from the 80's . . .

For those who have never taken the advise of the commercial . . . try it sometime, it actually works.  There was a time in my life when a hectic day at work would lead me straight to the bathroom to prepare a bubble bath, light up the incense and many candles to set an aromatic, calm mood in the dark bathroom to soothe my stressed out soul the minute I got home.  It was a nice transition from the irritations of life to the serenity of a hot bubble bath.

Lunch break diversions from a hectic day you know is going to run into overtime . . . a quick trip to a park to enjoy nature and quiet time can work wonders, making the rest of the day much more tolerable.

Then there is my favorite prayer . . . The Serenity Prayer

"God, grant me the serenity to accept 
the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

Know when you need to give yourself the gift of serenity . . . 
even if just closing your eyes and momentarily
taking yourself away.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Stop Me

~ Come Undone (unplugged) | Duran Duran ~

An old love from the past had come back into my life.  It was an unresolved issue that haunted me most of my adult life.  He had joined the military and never came back . . . well, not until many years after I became a widow.  We had a second chance for a future together when he came back into my life through after all those years.  

To make a long story short . . . 
I walked away after determining that we were never meant to be.  

Although I was heartbroken, my wise decision brought the closure and resolution to one of the biggest heartaches of my youth.  At the time, I didn't see my decision as one of the greatest blessings of my life.

The song "Come Undone" by Duran Duran takes me back to that time.

The irony of life and holding on to hope and faith . . .

One door closes and another opens! 

The Captain came into my life shortly after my decision to just walk away from what I determined was not my destiny and I wrote the following post.  There were no expectations, The Captain and I developed an awesome friendship that eventually turned into love and forever.

I'm grateful that no one tried to STOP ME!

This post was originally
 published on 2/24/09

I have always held firmly to the thought
that each one of us can do a little to
bring some portion of misery to an end.

(Albert Schweitzer)

Isn't that the truth?
Don't we sometimes perpetuate our own misery?

I've caught myself midstream into a pity party and have finally been able to pick myself up in the midst of getting to that miserable place. It is an example of what we can learn to do in order to stop that vicious cycle of misery and finally bring it to an end.

Slaying the dragon . . .
it has been one of my biggest demons

In light of recent developments in my life that seems to be another vicious cycle . . . circumstances that make me deliriously happy and feeling as though I'm walking on clouds only to make my ascent from the heavenly clouds abrupt and painful. The disappointments keep happening.

Do I turn off that part of me that thoroughly enjoys expectations of happiness after such a long period of grief and misery? Every time I'm disappointed I go back and readdress expectations in my life. Next time I am going on about how happy I am . . . STOP ME . . . it is like the kiss of death.

Must I turn off that part of me that feels joy because romantic history continues to repeat itself and I always end up more unhappy than before the joy happened? Next time I am going on about feeling joy . . . STOP ME . . . it is like the kiss of death.

I'm learning to forget about great expectations . . .

and to me, that is so very sad . . . 

it is part of the beauty and allure of 
the quest for love and romance . . .

and so much a part of who I am.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thinking outside of the box

~The Logical Song ~ Supertramp~  

Thinking outside the box has become somewhat of a cliché, hasn’t it? I’ve heard it used often and have wondered where the term originated from and what the true meaning is. 

For as long as I remember, it has been a saying that I am rather fond of since I perceive myself as a creative thinker and can definitely relate to the saying. 

What does it mean?

It isn’t known who was actually the first person to use the term, but after some research, I’ve found an early example of the phrase:  Aviation Week & Space Technology, July 1975: "We must step back and see if the solutions to our problems lie outside the box."

According to Wikipedia, “The term is thought to derive from management consultants in the 1970's and 1980's challenging their clients to solve the "nine dots" puzzle, whose solution requires some lateral thinking.”

No wonder I think and analyze everything to death the way I do . . . I worked for a business management professor who was also a management consultant for over 20 years . . . and raised by a family who asked the question “what if” about everything.

It occurs to me that “the box” signifies traditional ways of thinking. However, like the term “normal” . . . who is the judge of what the definition is or how either is measured?

What is 
outside of the box for me, may be “normal” for another person . . . or the other way around. It all has to do with the perception of what conceptual constraints of creative thinking are . . . thinking “inside the box” and accepting the status quo.

To me, thinking outside the box is all about creative thinking and pondering a situation in a different way, like through a different set of eyes.  Since knowing The Captain, I realize he has influenced and is changing the way I think . . . the difference being positive vs. negative thinking whether it is creative thinking or not.  The major change being perception.

Seems to me that the way we think is a learned thing whether it is inside or outside of the box, which is why there are different perspectives for different people. Throwing emotions into the situation can make it a complicated mess!

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Know What You Want?

So many days within this race
I need the truth
I need some grace
I need the path
To find my place

lyrics from the song
Breathe Your Name - Sixpence None The Richer

The following post reflects my thoughts on "what I want" from two different phases of my life.  Here I am at a third phase!

I think that our personal history determines our current wants and needs.  Speaking for myself, it can change daily, although my basic wants and needs will always stay the same.

Now that I'm married and currently retired, I just want to be free from money concerns and live our lives in peace, love and happiness.  The drive for security from money no longer fits into my wants and needs at this stage of my life.  This may change tomorrow, although I really feel as though I have reached my destination.

Originally posted on January 26, 2008

What a difference several months make when you have major decisions to make in your life. Since I have been moving older posts from my personal blogs to their permanent home on Blogger, I can see the progress in my thought processes and decision making as time got closer and closer to the deadline I had set for myself.

The major question that needed to be answered was "What do I want?" . . . back in September, "it" was what I had before with JR. After much more realistic thinking about life in general in the times we live in, the emphasis was switched to taking care of myself financially. The more I thought about what I wanted to do to make a living and what would make me happy, for the longest time my thought processes leaned towards having the freedom of my own business as I have done for a very long time.

As the decision making process progressed, I came to the realization that online sales are not what they were at one time . . . and the biggest thing that I kept putting on the back burner, my social life. With no single friends, how do I progress to the next level of my life, the social aspect, without other people to do things with? A real job was starting to look more and more attractive . . . then I started to think that instead of surviving and just being comfortable in the way I live, why not have MORE THAN ENOUGH and the security it brings . . . along with employee benefits like paid vacations, health insurance and tuition reimbursement.

My thoughts started going back to a time in my life before I met JR, when my career came first since that is what brought me happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction and the way to take care of myself financially without having to depend on a man for anything. A broken heart from my long time first love did that to me . . . a disappointment that stung me so bad that I didn't want to get bit again, so I focused on my career and I was extremely happy for the first time in my life.

The disappointments in love have history repeating itself in my life . . . could a happy and satisfying career be the thing to give me the fulfilling feeling that I have been missing in my life since JR died? It is the answer . . . and I'm going for it . . . yeah, I've come a long way since September . . . now I know what I want and I finally have the peace I have been looking for.

Originally posted on September 24, 2007

This song is really speaking to me at this moment in time. It is about leaning on God for direction. If only he would provide us with a map to our destiny, huh?

On the other hand, I've been thinking about this since a friend commented on my personal blog that the fun is getting there . . . the excitement of the journey itself. That thought makes perfect sense to me. What fun would life be if everything was clearly written and decided and the outcome known? Challenges and anticipation are an awesome part of life, so is making choices. We just have to know what we want and work toward achieving or looking for what we want.

A great deal of time went toward chatting with friends this weekend, catching up with old friends and getting to know some new friends. As a result of discussions with various friends, my thoughts have drifted to love relationships and what I really want. Some of us really don't know what we want or are looking for. My generic statement is that I'm looking for what I had before. hmmmm have I ever defined "it"?

It occurs to me that I spend a great deal of time entertaining aimlessly drifting thoughts, which can be a good thing . . . to let your mind go where it wants to go, letting your subconscious take over and take you where it feels your thinking needs to be for the moment.

However, it is like going on a trip without a map if you really don't even know what you want to think about. Those times of feeling fragmented and scattered thoughts and losing control have a definition in my vocabulary . . . I define it as "spinning your wheels" . . . and "going in circles" . . . where nothing is accomplished. Those are the times I sit outside in my jungle paradise and listen to the birds sing and watch the squirrels freely run through the trees.

"Know your needs and speak up for them clearly. A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people, men as well as women, fear stating their needs and, as a result, camouflage them. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unstated) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader." Source: Psychology Today

Long before I was ready to move on to another relationship after becoming a widow, a friend asked me a question that got my "perfect man" wish list started . . . "who is your perfect man if you were to start looking for him tomorrow?" Several years later, I'm still compiling and refining that list as I'm aware of what my heart really desires.

At least I have one aspect of it worked out, his general characteristics. It takes me five minutes of talking to a man to determine if we have a chance of ever getting together. I've been asked if I have a script . . . actually, I do have a mental script.

It may sound arrogant, but this is honest reality . . . why waste your time with someone beating around the bush on the issues that are absolutely important to you . . . unless you are just looking for a friend to pass time with. If you get past "the scripted stuff" you are working toward an awesome friendship that could possibly lead to that someone who will rock your world and ultimately become your life partner.

Now I need to define "what I had before" . . .

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Be Myself Again

At this time in my life, I can look back and see how far I've moved forward.  I've learned that it is good to look back as you are moving forward . . . it answers the question "What I gained, what it'd cost?"

This post is another that looks back at a time of confusing life circumstances.  Looking back makes me realize that I am almost myself again.

Donna Summer ~ Be Myself Again

"'Cause you could spend your life
Lookin' for your own reflection
Time could blur the lines
Between what's real
And what's projected
Had I known what I lost? 
What I gained, what it'd cost
I'd still give what remains
To be myself again"

This post was 
originally published 
on May 28, 2008

Another day has passed and I'm feeling so much better after more thinking and pondering on the following concept. Yes, I think way too much, but it helps me get to the root of what is bothering me.

The featured song "Be Myself Again" from Donna Summer's new release, Crayons, seems like it was written for me at this time in my life.

Often the strongest decisions come out of the worst situations.

It's those bad circumstances that often give the fuel of desire the greatest power.

Unfortunately, with many people, once the desire is born, they continue looking back to justify the desire by pointing out how bad things are - and when they look back, they are not moving forward and focusing upon the way things should be.

Then the inner struggle begins and the fuel of desire loses its power . . . we do it to ourselves.

What actually goes wrong? Not the situation itself . . . it is what is done with it.

You imagine it, dream it, amplify it, look for evidence of it, talk about it, find the feeling place of it, hold yourself in the vibration of it and you keep "it" alive.

The practice is known as the "pity party" or "dwelling in the past", has no value since the lesson should have already been learned. The harder the fall, the more difficult it is to let go . . . why?

Is "the fall" a prize to be held up and adorned like a trophy?

Of course not! Throw it away . . .

Donna Summer | Be Myself Again

Let me introduce myself
I'm a woman that you've never seen
You might know me from somewhere else
As someone that I've never been

I gave everything to play the game
My soul fell apart at the seams
I fell down like a house of cards
When somebody pulled the queen

'Cause you could spend your life
Lookin' for your own reflection
Time could blur the lines
Between what's real
And what's projected
Had I known what I lost? 
What I gained, what it'd cost
I'd still give what remains
To be myself again

You must believe me when I say
Don't live someone else's design
Turn it around like a photograph
The writings been there all the time

Now you can have all
These hopes and dreams
The ones I can't use anymore
I don't know what it is you lost
But I hope you got what you came for

Sometimes I want to leave right now
Sometimes I want to cry out loud
I want to let it all hang out
But I don't want to let you down

Sometimes I want to just lay here
Sometimes I want to disappear
I want to show you all my fear
But I don't want to let you down

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Inside out

There are grateful phases I go through lately that find me so happy I could burst, although I still haven't found my true purpose in life.  In these times, I give God all the glory for taking me through those bad times in my past . . . I had to go through them to arrive at where I am today.  They were stepping stones to my future.

The following post is from one of those bad times.  It occurs to me that this was my "normal" . . . a time of healing, acceptance of where I was in life, feeling "inside out" and lost in time.

This post was originally published on May 31, 2008

George Micheal ~ Jesus To A Child

It has been one of those nights where it is difficult to concentrate and work although I have a ton of stuff to do. After all this time I know better than to try to force my brains to think and be productive, so I allowed my mind to wander through my email box that is overflowing and do some inspirational reading.

Seems like I always find the right words to complete my thoughts and the emotions that I'm feeling at the right time. I'm feeling so down tonight. Disappointment has reared its ugly head and really bothered me, along with a family situation that really has no resolution. And it also could be I'm spending too much time behind the computer getting my online stuff ready before I make a commitment to another "real" job.

As time heads into the wee hours of the morning, treading on Vamparella territory, I realize that I have succeeded in going back to my old ways before I started working. Drifting in time with no schedule and no discipline . . . just lots of hours behind the computer.

My restless mind tormenting me won't let me settle down long enough to concentrate and focus on writing either. I'm ready to hibernate back to the cave and not come back out until the end of summer. People keep hurting me and I let them . . . I'm inside out.

I found this inspiration writing tonight which made me feel somewhat better . . .

Don't give up

When it hurts so bad, call on Him (God), take a deep breath, and let it out.

I know you're hurting and confused, and you just don't know what to do. You're walking around wondering why your life has been turned inside out. You're trying to figure out why you have to go through all of this hurt and pain. Some things will never be explained.

I know you trusted him and your sisterfriend to be there through the good and the bad. When all hell broke out, they were the last people to show you that they cared. That's why God said to put your trust in Him, not man.

The storm won't last forever. Trust me, I've been there before. All you have to do is call on Him (God) and ask Him to help you through it. He loves you, and unlike people, He will never leave or forsake you. You don't have to be ashamed of your past. God forgives and forgets.

Stop allowing the enemy to come into your mind and tell you all of the bad things you've done and said, and how no one cares if you are dead or alive. The devil is a liar!

God has a purpose and a plan for your life. You have to surrender your all to God, and ask Him to be the head of your life. Tell God you need Him to lead and guide you. Ask Him to remove anyone and anything that comes to hinder your walk with Him, and to give you the strength to endure whatever may come your way.

Don't you dare give up!
You have a purpose in life!!!

The key to my being normal again is finding my purpose in this life and it can't be a person. People keep disappointing me. The quality of my life is at zero. I have not been right since JR died and I lost my purpose . . . I can't let that happen to me again. Ironic how I found the right person for me who never disappointed me and God took him from me. God forgive me, I can't stop asking why . . .

I'm so blessed to have gone through that time so I can appreciate what my life is like today.  Heaven sent me another angel . . .

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Troubled on every side

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are
perplexed, but not in despair, Persecuted, but not
forsaken, cast down but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Sorrows and troubles are part of this life, sometimes coming in waves that threaten to overwhelm us.

They alter our life and our thinking, and we find them flowing in the quietness of tears. Alone with our grief, and pain, we find it darkening our days and hearts.

Grief and pain can come from many areas other than death. The losses, the grief, the sorrow mount up and become heavy upon our spirit. Friends come and go, and it changes our feeling of security in this world.

Our heart cries out within us: Oh God, Help Me quickly. I am at the end of my rope. And He says, my child . . . at the end of your rope is where I want you. For in those days, you turn to me, and you find that I am your strength, and your hope.

You find that I bring you joy, and that I have answers to all your needs. For it is when you are weak my Child, that I can be strong within you.

As we gaze out the window . . . we suddenly see the flowers blooming in the neighbors garden. Their faces are lifted to the sun. Soaking up the sunlight, and the nourishment it brings to their leaves. Our perspective is broadened beyond our internal pain.

It reminds me I am to turn my eyes unto the hills. To look above. Not at the things of earth. Not to let my spirit get entangled with the cares of this life, but entangled with the word of God, till it seeps in my spirit and casts away all shadows, all tears, and restores my strength.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence comes my help;
My help comes from the Lord
which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

copyright Millie Plastaras 5/10/2003

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Nonsense Barometer

Love this attitude and had to share!

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