Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The beautiful part of love

During troubling times, someone to wipe away the tears.

Someone to chase away the restless fears.

The following song is one of the most romantic
 and beautiful songs I have ever heard.

These lyrics in particular really touched me today . . .
It is what partners in love should be all about,
especially during difficult times . . .

"Baby, when I get down I turn to you,
And you make sense of what I do
And, no, it isn't hard to say.
But, baby, just when this world
Seems mean and cold
Our love comes shining red and gold
And all the rest is by the way."

If you have found this kind of love, never let it go!

Love this video!

Why Worry? | Art Garfunkel
Baby, I see this world has made you sad,
Some people can be bad
The things they do, the things they say.
But, baby, I'll wipe away those bitter tears.
I'll chase away those restless fears
That turn your blue skies into gray.
Why Worry?
There should be laughter after pain,
There should be sunshine after rain,
These things have always been the same,
So why Worry, now?
Why worry, now?
Baby, when I get down I turn to you,
And you make sense of what I do
And, no, it isn't hard to say.
But, baby, just when this world
Seems mean and cold
Our love comes shining red and gold
And all the rest is by the way.
Why worry?
There should be laughter after pain,
There should be sunshine after rain,
These things have always been the same,
So why Worry, now?
Why worry, now?
Why worry?
There should be laughter after pain,
There should be sunshine after rain,
These things have always been the same,
So why worry, now?
There should be laughter after pain,
There should be sunshine after rain,
These things have always been the same,
So why Worry, now?
Why worry, now?
Why worry? Why worry, now?

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Embrace the struggle and love it

~ Don't Cha Wanna Ride | Joss Stone ~

Many thanks to my Google+ friend Chad, who introduced me to the awesome wisdom of Mark Nepo.

"Fighting The Instrument" is one of his poems I discovered while checking out his website.  It is a reminder that we are strengthened by our struggles, while we fight "the lesson" all the way and curse the storm as it happens.

What is it about our human nature that finds it difficult to "embrace the change," even when we have been awakened to the fact that it usually leads to something better?  Why do we not love the struggle and open ourselves to the unknown changes to come?  

The conclusion I have reached in my journey through a lifetime of struggles is that change is scary since it is unknown.  We hold on to "what is" because we know what "it" is and have become comfortable with it, no matter how bad it is. 

The unknown is scarier than the storm itself until we can finally realize that the "calm" always comes after the storm.  The realization itself can be scary, or so it seems to me.  

It is a lesson I have yet to learn through all the storms I've experienced . . .

Fighting The Instrument
 by Mark Nepo

Often the instruments of change
are not kind or just
and the hardest openness
of all might be
to embrace the change
while not wasting your heart
fighting the instrument.

The storm is not as important
as the path it opens.
The mistreatment in one life
never as crucial as the clearing
it makes in your heart.

This is very difficult to accept.
The hammer or cruel one
is always short-lived
compared to the jewel
in the center of the stone.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Communication techniques for a healthy relationship

While there are disagreements that fall under the category of "agree to disagree," it is always the better practice to develop good communication techniques to resolve disagreements in a relationship.  

Leaving issues unresolved can lead to resentment that can turn into a big ugly monster.

Slay the big ugly monster before he even shows that ugly face by developing some great communication techniques.

The following is what my research found on good communication . . .

1. It is important to give your full attention with no distractions like the television or sitting behind the computer to really listen to what the other person is saying.

2. You should repeat back to them what you heard them say . . . "what I hear you saying is . . ."  Sometimes what we think we hear is not exactly what was said, so be sure to really know and understand what they are telling you.

3. Speak up and express your feelings. No one is a mind reader! They won't know what you are feeling unless you tell them.

4. Speak in a non-threatening manner in a calm tone. When threatened, the response is usually a defensive one that is counter-productive to good communication.

5. Take a break from the conversation and give each other space if the conversation becomes heated to prevent further escalation which leads to saying hurtful things to each other. Do you really hear what the other person is saying while yelling? Calm down and step away before it gets to that point.

6. Eye contact and giving the other person your full attention is very important since great communication can also be non-verbal.  Back to #1 . . . turn off the television and computer . . . no distractions.

7. Allow enough time to have your conversation without the feeling of either person being rushed which helps put all of the other communication techniques into practice.

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How to Stop Worrying

~ Feels Like Fire | Dido/Carlos Santana ~

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”

Swedish Proverb

Isn't that the truth?

As much as I hate the robbing of my peace of mind that worrying brings, I can't stop.  Sometimes it feels like an addiction, other times I feel cursed.

There are times the serenity prayer works, you know, don't worry about those things you can't control.  Somehow, the mind can trick you into believing that you DO have control about the thing, so off you go on your worry journey.

In my case, I truly believe it is a learned thing since both my grandmother and mother have had the affliction since I can remember.  My experience with them has shown me how ridiculous and to what lengths the worry emotion will take you, but I convince myself I am not as extreme.

One of my favorite blogs, The Positivity Blog, posted an article "How to Stop Worrying: 9 Simple Habits" that really hit home and made a lot of sense to me.  What follows is an excerpt of that article.  The source link follows the post.

1. Most of things you worry about have never happened.
I love this quote by Winston Churchill:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
I have found it to be very true in my own life.
So when you feel worries starting to pop up ask yourself this:
How many of the things I feared would happen in my life did actually happen?
If you are anything like me then the answer will be: very few. And the very few ones that actually happened were mostly not as painful or terrible as I had expected.
Worries are most often just monsters you build in your own mind.
I find that asking myself this question regularly and reminding myself of how little of the worries that actually came to life makes easier and easier to stay calm and to stop a worried thought before it becomes a big snowball of negativity.
2. Avoid getting lost in vague fears.
When fears feel vague in your mind, when you lack clarity then it is very easy to get lost in exaggerated worries and disaster scenarios.
So find clarity in a worry-inducing situation by asking yourself:
Honestly and realistically, what is the worst that could happen?
When I have answered that question then I follow it up with spending a bit of time on figuring out what I can do about it if that pretty unlikely thing happens.
In my experience, the worst that could realistically happens is usually not as scary as what my mind could make up when it is running wild with vague fears.
Spending a few minutes on finding clarity in this way can save you whole lot of time, energy and suffering.
3. Don’t try to guess what is on someone’s mind.
Trying to read someone’s mind usually doesn’t work too well at all. Instead, it can very easily lead to creating an exaggerated and even disastrous scenario in your mind.
So choose a way that is less likely to lead to worries and misunderstandings.
Communicate and ask what you want to ask.
By doing so you’ll promote openness in your relationship and it will likely be happier as you avoid many unnecessary conflicts and negativity.
4. Say stop in a situation where you know you cannot think straight.
From time to time when I am hungry or when I am lying in bed and are about to go to sleep I can become mentally vulnerable. And so worries can more easily start buzzing around in my head.
In the past this often lead to many minutes of time that where no fun.
These days I have become better at catching such thoughts quickly and to say to myself:
No, no, we are not going to think about this now.
I then follow that up with saying this to myself:
I will think this situation or issue through at a time when I know that my mind will work much better.
Like when I have eaten. Or in the morning when I have gotten my sleep.
It takes some practice to apply this one consistently and effectively but it also makes a big difference in my life.
5. Remember, people don’t think about you and what you do as much as you may think.
They have their hands full with thinking about what other people think of them. And with thinking about what is closest to their hearts like their children, pets, a partner or the job or school.
So don’t get lost in worries about what people may think or say if you do something. Don’t let such thoughts hold you back in life.
6. Work out.
Few things work so well and consistently as working out to release inner tensions and to move out of a headspace that is extra vulnerable to worries.
I also find that working out – especially with free weights – makes me feel more decisive and focused.
So even though working out helps me to build a stronger body my main motivation to keep doing it is for the wonderful and predictable mental benefits.
7. Let your worry out into the light.
This is one of my favorites. Because it tends to work so well.
By letting your “big” worry out into the light and talking about it with someone close to you it becomes a whole lot easier to see the situation or issue for what it really is.
Just venting for a few minutes can make a big difference and after a while you may start to wonder what you were so worried about in the first place.
Sometimes the other person may only have to listen as you work through the situation yourself out loud.
At other times it can be very helpful to let the other person ground you and help you find a more practical and useful perspective on the situation at hand.
If you do not have anyone to talk to at the moment about the worry bouncing around in your mind then let it out by writing about it. Just getting it out of your head and reasoning about with yourself either on paper or in a journal on your computer can help you to calm down and find clarity.
8. Spend more time in the present moment.
When you spend too much time reliving the past in your mind then it easy to start feeding your worries about the future. When you spend too much time in the future then is also easy to get swept away by disaster scenarios.
So focus on spending more of your time and attention in the present moment.
Two of my favorite ways to reconnect with what is happening right now:
  • Slow down. Do whatever you are doing right now but do it slower. Move, talk, eat or ride your bicycle slower. By doing so you’ll become more aware of what is happening all around you right now.
  • Disrupt and reconnect. If you feel you are starting to worry then disrupt that thought by shouting this to yourself in your mind: STOP! Then reconnect with the present moment by taking just one or two minutes to focus to 100% on what is going on around you. Take it all in with all your senses. Feel it, see it, smell it, hear it and sense it on your skin.
9. Refocus on the small step you can take to move forward.
To move out the worried headspace I find it really, really helpful to just start moving and taking action to start solving or improving whatever I am concerned about.
So I ask myself:
What is one small step I can take right now to start improving this situation I am in?

Then I focus on just taking that small step forward. After that I find another small step and I take that one too.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Declaration of Love

If you love someone,
let them know.

It’s easy to take our feelings for granted and to assume that the people we care about know how we feel about them. But while those we love are often quite cognizant of our feelings, saying “I love you” is a gift we should give to our loved ones whenever we can. Letting people know you love them is an important part of nurturing any kind of loving relationship. Few people tire of being told they are loved, and saying “I love you” can make a world of difference in someone’s life, take a relationship to a new level, or reaffirm and strengthen a steady bond. Everyone needs to hear the words “I love you.” Three simple words – I - Love - You. When you declare your love for someone you admit to them that you care for them in the most significant way.

It can be difficult to express your love using words, particularly if you grew up around people that never expressed their affection verbally. But you should never be afraid to say “I love you” or worry that doing so will thrust you into a position of excessive vulnerability. It is important to share your feelings with those that matter to you. Part of the fulfillment that comes with loving someone is telling them that you love them. Besides, love exists to be expressed, not withheld.

If you love someone, let them know. Don’t be afraid of the strength of your emotions or worry that your loved one won’t feel the same way. Besides, the words “I love you” are often best said to another without expectation of a return investment. As each one of us is filled with an abundance of love, there is never any worry that you’ll run out of love if your expression of love isn’t said back to you. Saying “I love you” is a gift of the heart sent directly via words to the heart of a recipient. Even though it may not always look that way, love from the heart is an offering that is always unconditional and given without strings attached. That is the true essence of the gift of “I love you.”

Source:  Daily Om

Happy Valentine's Day!

It is that one day that the special gift of love, the declaration of love does come with strings attached.  The declaration of love on Valentine's Day is expected to be reciprocated.  Isn't it?

Withheld love is a hopeless romantic's most horrific nightmare, just a thought that crossed my mind as I read the above quote from Daily Om.

Everyone deserves to be cared for in a significant way, declared not only in words, but in actions.  Not only on Valentine's Day, but every day.

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