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I loved this when I saw it because I am a big believer in the fact that we do have choices and sometimes we do not always utilize them. I have heard people say “I keep making the same mistake over and over” whether in relationships, jobs, friendships, etc. The truth is it is only a mistake the first time. After that we are either choosing to make the same mistake or choosing to not take precautions so that we do not make the same mistake again.
I believe happiness is a choice. I wish I could bottle the process and sell it on the market or just give it away because once a person finally realizes that their happiness is an “inside job” not things on the outside, it becomes a whole new world. I wake up every morning choosing to be happy and if I am not feeling happy I look for things that make me smile. As my health declines, I continue to choose to be happy. As my world narrowed to the one room, I still was choosing to be happy. But, so many get the idea that things, people, places, money will bring them happiness. I watched my mother this way. She was always saying that if she just had this decorating project going..she would be happy. Truth was, the projects gave her joy but once the project was over, the joy was gone. She never really learned where happiness was which was in her heart.
Life is a constant learning process. Took me years to learn how to not let doctors mistreat me. I might not be as sick as I am now had I learned to stand up sooner but took me a while and so I kept making the same mistake over and over. And that mistake was choosing to keep going to the same doctors instead of looking for new ones. I did the same thing when it came to being chronically ill. I made my self miserable by choosing over and over to let people push me to “be normal” when I was not. I am chronically ill and can not do what others can do but would try to push myself to do things and then throw myself into pain crisis or a bad flair. But, it was still a choice I was doing. I was not making good choices for myself.
There comes a point in life where we have to be accountable for our choices. There comes a point that we have to quit blaming everyone for what we do, what we do not do, how we live, and mistakes we make. We can make any choice we want, but with those choices comes consequences. We can not avoid those. I chose to keep using the same doctors and the consequence was that I became sicker and sicker. You would think we would wise up when something keeps happening over and over. Sort of like when we eat a food and get the sick stomach and yet we will keep eating that same food again and again. Choices are the easy part….the consequences are the learning part. That is what teaches us what works and what does not work.
If we keep having the same issues in our lives over and over then we need to look at our choices because it means they are not “making the same mistake again” but a choice. Sometimes I have to stop myself and ask myself what is going to be the end result of what I am doing and do I want to deal with that. When I was much younger, I would as the expression goes..”cut off my nose to spite my face” .…acting on emotion instead of reasoning. As I have aged, I have learned that I need to think about my choices and when I see a pattern repeating itself, I need to find different choices. Many people do not like to hear that because it is so much easier to blame it on “another mistake” instead of assuming the responsibility and saying “I made a bad choice”.
We should learn as a child about choices and our parents should teach us. We should teach our children. For if we do not teach children how to make good choices, then they will end up in horrible situations. Wonderful children can get in trouble just from a poor choice. People say they are afraid to choose because they are afraid they will be wrong or fail. Know what? So what if you are wrong. You just learned something. Step up and make those choices and keep learning so that you learn how to keep life-like you want it.
“We interpret events based on our points of view, attitudes, opinions, beliefs, perceptions and assumptions, past experiences, memories and generalizations. All these shape our thinking maps and how we interpret events…positive thinking and negative thinking.”
Communicating is often one of the hardest things we deal with. It can be with those we work with, with family members, or just with people in general. I found Derik Mocke’s quote to be very telling. Everything we have in our heads. every experience we have filters what we read, what we hear and what we see and we respond accordingly. And the response can be a positive response or a negative one.
Son and I have learned to stop each other and say “Ok, let me tell you what I am hearing and you tell me if that is what you are saying”. It saves a lot of confusion for us. I am going to use a humorous point to illustrate this..but it is still the same for anything we do. What we hear is not only based on our experiences but on the definitions we have for the words used. Just think about how young people used to say “Oh, that is so bad” but what they meant was it was a really good thing.
Some examples of fights that did not happen because we asked the right question are me asking son why we defragged the volume on our computer. When he asked me why I asked that I told him and he laughed and said that the word volume meant quantity not volume of sound here.We all have different definitions for things and that can cause arguments because the other person does not know what definition we are using.
Another example was when a friend of mine was telling me about someone and I said “She is very dramatic”. Well, he stopped me and asked me what I meant by “dramatic”. And I explained that I was saying she was very exotic looking. He thought I was calling her a drama queen. See how easily misunderstandings occur. But the good thing was this friend and I have very good communication skills and we ask when unsure.
Another thing that causes miscommunication is that people often “listen to reply” instead of “listening to hear and understand” and so they miss all that is said and therefore do not fully understand what the other person said. I see this a lot and if you watch the person you are talking to, you can see it in their eyes that their mind is racing to figure out the answer and they have missed the important part of what was said. The same thing happens when people read posts and comments online. They will zip through all the writing just scanning it and then write some comment and have missed the main point of the whole thread.
Another good example, and this one almost ended in a bad argument. We were talking about the electric bill and how high it was. Son said “Well, I know it is not the electric company.” And I got upset and we said a few things back and forth, and then I threw my hand up and said..”Wait a minute son. Let me tell you what my brain heard and you tell me what you were saying. My brain heard you tell me I was wrong and I was being ridiculous.” Son got the most shocked look on his face and said….”No no no mom..that is NOT what I was saying. I was trying to say it was not the Electric company so it must be something wrong in this house.” We could have had a really ugly argument had I not thought to ask him to explain.
I think when we read things, we need to realize that what we get out of it is from our own experiences. This is why they do not like people who have been robbed, for example, to be on the jury for a robbery trial because it might influence their thinking. And sometimes, we need to read things three or four times to make sure we are getting what the person is really writing and not our own slanted view from our past for both positive and negative things influence how we read things.
image from beyondthinkinglikealawyer.com
When you are talking, before getting upset…take the time to stop and say to the other person…”You know, this is what I am hearing in my head…is this what you are saying to me?” I think you might be surprised and find that many an argument might not happen with just that one step. Son and I communicate so much better now that we have learned to do that. And if someone uses a word and it has a negative connotation to you…stop the person and ask them to tell you what the word means to them.
If you lived in a controlling situation in the past, you might find yourself sensitive to someone trying to explain how to do something and take it as they are controlling you. If you lived with abuse, you might be sensitive to statements that sound harsh and react to them. If you have had trauma such as being in a dangerous storm, etc, you might find yourself getting upset when someone tries to say something is not serious.
We all have a head full of experiences that affect how we view things and can make us touchy when someone is talking to us. If you feel your emotions rising when talking to someone, try stopping and asking them to explain. We all have our own way of talking and saying things. We all have our own mannerisms that others may not be used to as they may have mannerisms we are not used to. Some people use their hands a lot when talking and that can make others feel pressured or threatened. Communication is hard enough but if just asking someone what they mean helps stop a fight, it is worth it. And making sure to really listen..to listen to hear what they are saying…helps avoid confusion too.
One of the things that I taught my sons as they were growing up was to own their actions….. whether right or wrong. I taught them that if what they did was not right or turned out to be bad even with good intentions, to own it and to not try to blame other people for their actions. It shows our character by how we do this. We can either stand up and say “I am sorry. What I did was not the right way to handle this or that” or we can try to turn it on the other person and begin attacking them and blaming them.
Honesty is a huge thing with me as you all know and if we do not own our own actions and blame others because they disagree with us, then we are not being honest with ourselves or with everyone around us. And what people can fail to see is that while they are trying to blame others for inappropriate behavior, everyone around them sees what they are doing. Some people love to do this via the internet thinking that gives them more credibility. It will give credibility if you are owning your actions and your words but if you are via the social media trying to place blame on someone else, it shows your character to the world.
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When someone shows you that they are not all the nice and sweetness they try to portray and act in a way that says they have a manipulative or ugly side..believe them. And when someone shows you that they are honest and good…believe them. No matter what it is..a person will eventually show you their true side. Usually the ones that are pretending to be this sweet and loving soul but have the ugly darker side will eventually slip up and you will find them doing ugly things.. They are showing you who they are.
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I have found through the years that there are those who will set out to get you if you dare to criticize or disagree with them. I know you all know that kind of high school behavior. They have even made movies on it but it is not just high school people who will do that. Just take a look around social media. We will never have people agree with all we do and that is normal but many will only have around them ONLY those people who agree and go along with what they do and say. And sadly, there are people who will agree just to be part of the group. Just like in high school, you will have people who will follow people, will not stand up for what is right, will not tell someone who they are friends with that what they did was not right but will go along with the person who is leading the pack. And that person will never admit that they were wrong and will continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over all their lives.
I also taught my sons to stand up for what is right even if you stand alone. Own your behavior. If you have researched and know that you are right then stand up for it. If there is injustice, stand up for what is right. If someone is being hurt or mistreated, stand up for them. And, if you are wrong, stand up and admit it. Do not blame someone else. It is so important to own our words, our actions and our intentions if we are going to be people of integrity and honesty and good morals. But, I am sure that you all know too that there are people who do not do this. We have seen it from the highest office down to just people we know personally. They will never admit that they may have made a mistake. Instead, they will try to promote hatred and anger towards whomever disagrees with them or if they apologize it is what I call a “false” apology. We all know them. They use words to divert the apology onto the person that was offended or hurt. They will say things like ”I am sorry but…”. There are no “buts” when you hurt others, even if it was unintentional.
There are a few key phrases people use when trying to divert attention from their doing wrong. One is that if a person dared to disagree with them, then that person must be such a “lonely, sad person” or some phrase along those lines, or will talk about how the person that dared to say something must be of a certain mentality. They will hint at inappropriateness in those who do not agree with them but will never admit that anything they did is inappropriate. They will not own their own behavior or words. Most of us recognize people like this instantly but some will be so blinded by the person who acted inappropriately or will be a person that stands up for nothing and will just be a sheeple and go along with the wrong deed. We have minds and we are smart enough to have opinions even if they differ from what someone else does. And we should have courage enough to stand up for what is right.
Many people will not want to get involved, will not stand up for anyone because they do not want to make waves, will allow ugliness to go on instead of saying “You know, that was not the thing to say or do. I love you friend but it was wrong” and that shows the kind of character they have. There comes a time when you need to stand up for injustice, stand up for what is right and make a stand because if you stand for nothing, then no one will stand for you. Own your actions and own your words because they will follow you all your life. Standing up for what is right is not creating drama. It is standing up for the truth and for justice.
And the last line that should be on the quote above is: Or you will fall for anything
I have learned from my older than dirt wisdom that saying “I was wrong” or “I am sorry” does not mean you are a bad person, it means you realize that you are not perfect and will make mistakes. People will eventually see tour mistakes because we do not live on an island by ourselves. I learned how to apologize a long time ago when I have said or done something that was not right. And many times I have eaten my words and said “I am so sorry. I did not mean it how it sounded but it was still wrong”. And that friends, gives you a life of peace and joy because you know you have owned your words and actions and you have taken responsibility for them and righted any wrongs. I am proud of my sons and I have tried to emulate standing up to injustice or wrongs in life for them.. They have the courage to stand up and make a difference in their corner of the world. It all comes down to choice. We can choose to own our actions and our words or we can choose to make excuses, blame others and denigrate others to cover up our own bad behavior…the choice is ours to make.
I believe in the quote “stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone” but what I find sometimes is that people will get so ingrained in what they think is right that they no longer see the real facts. If anyone dares to disagree they are attacked, belittled and called ugly names. That shows the lack of maturity of the persons attacking but also shows that they are not as secure in what they are fighting for as they think. Real adults fight for the facts and not for the “dream” of what they want to be true.
I see this when people get into battles about religion. They are so ingrained in what they are fighting for that they do not research their own facts and so invalidate what they are saying. They become so focused on convincing everyone that what they say is true that they are unwilling to admit that there are fallacies in what they are saying. A good example is the “religions” who are always condemning people for drinking and yet no where in the Bible does it say drinking is a sin. It only says to beware of and that over indulgence is the sin. I am wary of a stove for I do not know if it is hot or not until I put my hand over it. Over indulgence of any thing is a sin be it drinking, eating, sex, etc. But you will not hear certain religions say that. And thus they invalidate themselves. I do not drink and have no desire to drink but when it comes to my faith, I want what the Bible says not what man has decided. And so, I study the Bible to know what it says.
Another area that I find people who have adopted what I call “cult like” mentality is those that “follow” others such as stars, famous people, groups, etc. If you can not see what is wrong and deny that anything is wrong or is not being done by a person, group or party, then you are not realistically look at things. These type of people will never admit that their beloved person or group does anything wrong and I mean NEVER. They will defend even the worst decisions vehemently. Those that use their abilities and study and research people will begin to see the discrepancies in what the person they are following says and does and then are able to make decisions on facts not emotions.
This happens with those that follow singers, stars, famous people, etc. And if you dare to disagree, you will be demonized and attacked vehemently. I saw this when Carrie Underwood did “The Sound of Music” television show. I love Carrie Underwood and she is an awesome singer but I thought she was a little less than stellar on her performance in the show. Now, I think if she took acting lessons she could be awesome in acting too so I was not denigrating her. I was stating a fact that many expressed on feeds. Those that follow with cult like adoration could not stand anything being said that was not complimentary to their star and attacked in a way that was shocking.
I have been attacked viciously and even told by certain people from a group that I used to belong to and believed in at one time that they hoped I died when they knew I was going through treatment. Sorry, but I did not die and I am doing good and writing a book and actively involved in my little church. I am not sitting on the internet whining , complaining and attacking or making assertions I have not researched to see if true or not. It shows the mental state of people who are attacking others. It is an all over the internet problem. Just read news feeds and read the comments of those that just sit there waiting on something to attack a person on.
Just a little added information from Psychology Today from a study they did on those that attack people on the internet:
“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”
“So next time you encounter a troll online, remember a few things. (1) These trolls are some truly messed up people and (2) it is your suffering that brings them pleasure, so the best thing you can do is ignore them. “
If you are positive of what you believe in you do not have to attack people to make your point. I do not care what these type of people have to say like that because people do one of two things. Some people will attack and try to pull you down to where they are and others try to lift you up to where they are..which is what I try to do with this blog. Always remember this when someone attacks, demeans or is a bully towards you. They are the miserable ones and can find nothing better to do than to belittle others. I pity them and do not allow them to bring me down at all.
In politics, I am neither a democrat nor a republican nor an independent. I am an American. I vote by the person and research the person. You would be amazed at the information you find and the misdeeds you find on ALL politicians if you actually research it. My point being that just because you are of one group does not mean all they do is perfect and if that is what you are saying, you need to step back and look at all so that you can say “well they did this that was not good but they did this that is good”. Saying that anyone, even in a relationship, has some behavior or habit that is bad does not make them all bad. We are all humans and we all do things wrong. No one is perfect. Being realistic means we are capable of seeing both side.
Again I will use an example that has become ingrained in my mind. Clinton did a lot of good things as president and I happen to like Clinton but when he had sex in the oval office and then lied under oath…that was wrong. It was a stupid move. Many said “Sex is not something we should judge. It is his personal life.” I agree that one’s personal life is no one’s business but when you do it in the oval office, then it becomes something that should be condemned for that is our White House and if he had been a superior in a corporation and had sex with a trainee, he would have been fired.
Now, I do not base my judgement of Clinton on the sex act. I base my feelings about him on the fact that he lied under oath and to US, the people who voted him in. The point being here is that I can still tell you the good things about Clinton and what he did in office and for the economy, etc and when someone says “yes but he lied under oath” or “he had sex in the oval office”, I can admit that yes he did and it was wrong and then tell them the good things he did. We have to learn how to see both the good and bad in people, businesses, etc so that we can make valid judgments about them. I can tell both good and bad things Bush did or any president did.
I find that if we are sure of our beliefs than we can state the bad things not attack someone who disagrees. We are using our own reasoning and our minds to make rational judgments. If you find yourself defending everything someone does even when the majority of the people condemn it, sit back for a few minutes. Start listing all the good and the bad that has been said about the person, star, group, etc and see if you can then still support them in spite of the things wrong. Weight things by their importance: was there deception, was there lies, was there manipulation, was there mistreatment, was there inappropriate actions, etc. For example, sex in the oval office held less weight for me but lying under oath held a LOT of weight for me because honesty is one of the values I hold dear.
Decide what your values are and support what is right based on values such as honesty, trust, morals, etc and not what you want to be right because you are so enamored with a person, group, singer, etc. We have a lot of cult like mentality going on around the world. People will follow people even if what they do is immoral, destructive, manipulative and even down right murderous as we have seen in the world recently and that is sad. And I believe it is because we are not teaching children who grow up to become adults how to reason for themselves. Learn how to accept that there are things wrong with whomever you are following or admiring and decide if those things change your view of them. If you realistically look at the wrong things and decide that yes, they were bad things but not bad enough to change how I feel, then you have learned how to make rational decisions about others. But if you still vehemently defend someone when they have done something wrong and attack others for stating the wrong things, it might be time to sit back and re-evaluate.
And that my friends is simply danLrene’s opinion. I hope that it at least makes you sit back and look at things and see if you are blindly following someone or if you are making true assertions about someone you follow. And if it makes you think about blind loyalty and the dangers of it, then I have at least done that.
I used to love to sit in the coffee shops and sip my coffee and just read the paper. But also, I loved listening to all the talking going on. People would be expounding on how they would run the government, how they would do this or that and basically talking about what they wanted to see the country be like. It was always interesting to hear different opinions. And then I began to notice as time went on that most of what I saw people do was talk. No one was willing to step up and do anything to make a change or step up to correct something wrong happening around us. Many would not even register to vote and yet would tell all they would do to change the country. Registering to vote would be the first step.
image from www.bemagazine.org
I believe and always have believed that we must stand up for what is right no matter who else stands up. Sometimes we are standing alone. But if no one ever stands up, then wrongs will never be righted. I have friends that have animal rescues and they stand up against the abuse of animals and try to rescue and find homes for all they can. Some people work to stop the mistreatment and exploitation of wild animals. If no one ever did this, just imagine the horrors all the pets would be going through and all the abuse and exploitation that wildlife would endure. It takes courage to step up like that and take on the battle when most people would not. But if you want change you have to be willing to take the battles that come with it.
So, how do you get this courage? I think we learn it from watching others. We also learn what and who to invest our time and energy on. Some people will never change and so you must move on in life and find those that are in harmony with your beliefs. There will be haters and those that criticize you for standing up but if you believe strong enough in what you are doing, then they will not matter. It is by far better to be a leader in righting wrongs than it is to be a mindless follower of something that is wrong. Those people only perpetuate the wrongs and do nothing to help create a way to correct the wrong or at least stop the wrong. So, when the haters start attacking you, feel proud that you are doing something right.
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I have people ask me all the time where my strength comes from. Let me first say it comes from my faith in God for I know He carries me when I can not carry myself. He lifts me up and gets me back on my feet. Being courageous does not come from physical endurance. It comes from mental endurance and the ability to separate things that matter from things that do not. I have been knocked down many times and yet, with God’s help, I manage to get myself back up and going again. Being courageous requires you to exercise your mind, study and know what is right and what is wrong, have faith in yourself and what you believe and then make that effort to take that first step.
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The reward comes when you see something that is wrong stopped or fixed. What a feeling of accomplishment that is. It will not matter if others did not agree with you. What will matter is seeing abuse stopped, mistreatment stopped, laws changed that need to be changed, companies held accountable..whatever it was you were standing up for. Be proud of yourself when you stand up for something or someone. In a world where many are too timid, too self-absorbed, too busy or anything else to stand up for something, I believe that makes you heroic when you do stand up to help right a wrong. What you stand up for could affect your loved ones in a positive way. It could help lift someone up that was beaten down or help make the world a safer place for all. Are you the change you want to see in the world?
I admit that I am a big believer in the theory that our choices are what makes our lives what they are. I also believe that children should be learning about choices from the time they are small. I used a method with my sons that gave them a choice of what would happen. For example, if one of my sons was hitting on the other son, I would tell him that he had two choices. He could choose to stop hitting and get to stay and play or he could choose to not stop hitting and he would have to go to time out. The choice was his and I then asked him what did he choose. He had been told the consequences so he made the choice. The first time I did that with my sons, one of them continued on with the inappropriate behavior and was sent to time out. He was so upset because he said that was not what he wanted. I told him that he made the choice and I had told him the consequences. Once they learned that I meant what the consequences were, they learned to normally choose the right one.
As we grow older and life offers so many choices to make, we learn that each choice has a consequence and that consequence could be good or could be bad. As I acquired “older than dirt” wisdom, I began to make many choices about my life. It was not just a choice of do I want to go here or there but was choices about how I wanted my life to go. Below is a list that pretty much says what I believe in and I choose to live this way daily.
I am a survivor by nature and am always working on ways to make my life like I want it to be. Many people will be passive and not make choices they need to make. They will let someone else make the choices for them. And the result of that is that you are not living the life you want but the life someone else chooses for you. I say this often because I believe it to be true. Survivors focus on solutions and victims are still talking about all the problems. When problems arise, I believe we should find a way to fix the problem. If we can not fix the problem, then we must either move ourselves away from the problem or accept it. I believe in standing up for what is right even if I am standing all by myself and there have been times it has been me against whatever.
Work to create the life you want. Begin by asking yourself are you happy and if not, find what it would take to make you happy. I believe we choose whether we are happy or not. This does not mean you snap your fingers and say “Ok, I am happy.” It means that we make the steps necessary to be happy. If I am down about something then I make steps to lift me up. It could be music, it could be visiting with friends, it could be holding my grand baby or playing with my dog. But I choose to do something to lift myself out of the slump. That is what choosing to be happy is. If I am unhappy with my job then I find another job. I am responsible for my own happiness. We can not rely on others, places, things, money etc to make us happy. We have to find our own happiness.
Make the choices in your life. Nothing I hate worse than to ask someone what they want to eat or what movie they want to watch than to have them say “I do not know. You choose.” They are giving away their voice to someone else. One day, I actually told a person that said that to me “Ok, then we will not eat or see the movie. We will just sit here and talk.” I wish I had my camera to catch the look they gave for I knew they were hungry and I knew they wanted us to watch a movie. What I wanted was for them to give “their” wants and we could discuss it. This is a prime example of the quote box above. If you do not choose for your own life, then you will live someone else’s life and that may not be the life you want.
Choices are everywhere. We choose to sleep in or get up. We choose what we eat, what we wear and where we work. We choose who we are friends with, who we do not want to be around, whether to marry or have children. Life is constant choices. What I notice though is people will give away their choices and then are miserable but will not choose to step up and change it. Use your voice. Do not become a victim who gets used, misused, taken advantage of and after a while becomes someone people do not like to be around.
Being assertive about your life is not the same thing as being a bitch about things. Being assertive simple means you step up and say your views. You do not have to argue with anyone but if you do not say how you really feel then you are the one to blame when things do not go well. Choose the life you want and keep making choices that make your life better. If things make you unhappy, then get away from those things. Use your gift of choice. And most of all, when you make bad choices….go back and correct things. Do not just sit there and whine about how bad it was.
The world is a crazy place of late is it not? Wars, rumors of wars, political adversity, poverty, death and disease are in the news daily. Just turning on the television is enough to cause you to become stressed to the hilt. So, what do we do to bring serenity back into our lives? How do we get away from it all when we live with the daily threat of attack by terrorists and Ebola outbreaks that could come to our country?.
image from photoquoto.com
Serenity is not having no worries but rather the ability to soothe yourself when things are stressful and scary. I believe in serenity and believe in having a place in our homes where we can go to rejuvenate ourselves. The storms are still there, we just have to learn how to not let all the things going on in the world affect our serenity to the point of keeping us filled with angst.
Our lives are filled daily with choices and with those choices come consequences. We choose what we believe, we choose how we feel, we choose what we do and no matter our choices, we have to be willing to take the consequences that come from that choice. I learned a long time ago to not let others determine my happiness for my happiness lies inside of me. With all the trials and hard times I have been through, my happiness remains intact. So, if we are looking for serenity…for peace…then we have to realize that our choices affect our emotions. If I sit and watch the news all day long and listen to the terrifying rhetoric, then I would be tense and upset all the time. I choose to look at things with this thought in mind: what can I do to change things? And if I can do nothing and it is out of my control, then why should I stay upset?
Now, back to finding a place of serenity. I used to help people create serenity places in their homes. People come into our house talking about how peaceful it feels and we worked hard to create this safe haven that we live in that is a place of serenity. I learned a few things reading about Feng Shui and other serenity ideas and applied them to our home. And with much studying I learned things that would cut down on the things that increase our anxiety. Some of the things that I learned were that loud noise, bright lights, high or low temperatures etc all trigger our senses and then our anxiety rises.
These are just some hints and I hope that you find them helpful for it is tense times in the world today. Metals, glass statues and plants are great sound absorbers. Plants also give more oxygen in the room which in turn soothes the senses. And so we created a safe haven room in the house for people who had lots of brass, copper and other metal statues, glass statues and lots of plants and a lot of these were put in front of windows to block outside noise and along walls with rooms beside them. The windows had treatments that allowed light in soft hues and not bright sunlight. We created off set lighting so that the room was lit up but not with bright lights. If we needed brighter light to read we had small lamps near the seating. The walls were painted in soft hues and pastels and no bright colors for bright colors can affect the senses. Televisions were fitted with small speakers that sat beside the chairs so that the tv had no sound just the small computer speakers. That removed a lot of the loud noise. There were fans in the room to circulate the air to keep the temperature uniform. Keep thinking about your senses here. Lots of pillows were on couches as they absorb the sound too. This is a serenity room and the family members knew that this was a room to come in and be quiet. There were no dinners eaten in there…just a place to relax, talk quiet, sit in peace or even take a nap.
I find that when my senses are overloaded and I feel like I am about to fly apart, I lay down in my room of serenity, dim the lights, and lay there with nothing but the fans blowing. No television, radio or computer is turned on…just peace and quiet. I may or may not doze off but just laying there in the quiet helps calm the senses so that I can relax. The world is so hectic today and so many horrible things happening around the world that we need our spot of serenity in a world gone mad.
Many mothers used to say they would lock themselves in the bathroom and take a bubble bath to get some serenity but today that seems to be more the mother laying in the tub and all the kids and the dog or cat are outside the door calling to her. Try creating a serenity place in your home and see if it helps you find that peace in a world gone crazy.
I was sent this picture by a friend who often sends me quotes and pictures for my blog but it also triggered a memory and I realized it was just the quote I needed for my blog. Healing is something we all search for whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally.
Healing means to restore. There are times we are hurt so badly by others and pray for our hearts to heal. We use the phrase our hearts are broken. I have had people ask me how to heal a broken relationship, how to heal a friendship, how to heal from trauma or devastation, how to heal physically from an illness or accident and how to heal our faith. If you replace healing with restore in all of those it seems to broaden what people are asking such as how to restore a relationship.
I think the problem comes in that when something is “broken” or damaged, people just do not seem to grasp that it will never be the same again. That does not mean it can not be good. It simply means that if we spend our time trying to restore what once was, we will be disappointed time and again.
Being chronically ill and physically disabled, healing is very important. I think many go into this quest wanting to be what they were before they became chronically ill or disabled and it will not happen. We can improve but our age and our bodies have changed through the sickness so we have to be sure and realize that healing does not mean be made perfect. It means to restore. It does not mean that the damage done will disappear but that we become restored in the sense of accepting our limitations and embracing life in a new way.
I have spent too many years fighting to be “whole” again and then a few years back it hit me that all the time and energy I had poured into what is not possible could have been spent with my loved ones and doing things in a little different way than what I could 34 plus years ago. I have fought my way back up to something like what I was but the damage that was done will always bring me back down if I push too hard.
I discovered that one of the biggest factors in healing is forgiveness, This includes forgiveness of others, forgiveness of ourselves, forgiveness of our bodies, etc. With forgiveness comes acceptance and with acceptance comes healing or a restoring of what is the part that truly makes us the person we are.
I can remember being angry at being so sick in the prime of my life and angry that my body would not do what I wanted. And it was about that time that I learned about grieving. When something needs healing or restoring, it means we have lost something…lost a loved one, a friendship, a partner or spouse, lost the ability to do, lost our strength, lost our health, etc.
When we learn how to forgive what a freeing thing that is. It takes the weight of the problem off of us and helps us look at things with compassion and understanding. This old vessel of mine has been broken and cracked and mended and patched and the biggest thing it needs is acceptance and love and understanding.
I have worked hard to get back on my feet again. In the past few months I have gotten to where I can sit in my power chair again without being in such agony that I could not stand it. And I got there from doing what my godfather taught me which was to forgive my failing body and to treat it like I would treat my dearest friend…with love, compassion and understanding so that I could restore my self. I needed to bring harmony to my heart and my body so that even though the damage is still there my heart, mind and body were working together.
I had to decide what was it that I really wanted? Did I want to be thirty again? Were looks more important than healing? Did I want to be exactly like I was before I first got sick? And the answer is no to all. What I truly wanted was to be able to enjoy my sons and grand baby and my family and loved ones. I will never be thirty again and I do not want to be. I like the me that I am inside. And evidently something is working right for me now and has been restored because people I see face to face tell me that they do not even see me as sick or chronically ill. They say my personality and my heart shine through so brightly that they do not see the hospital bed, power chair or forearm crutches or even the oxygen hose on my face.
The healing that had occurred was of my heart and soul so that I had finally reached acceptance of how I am. I quit letting my health and chronic illness control my life. I took control and like the words from the song “Live Strong” that inspires me so much, I told my health that it might take my body but it would never take my soul…my faith…my heart.
.If people are always searching for what they once had before things were broken then they spend their lives unhappy and always looking for that elusive healing that does not come. We can not go back in age. Oh yeah, we can have surgeries to make us look younger and do things that enhance our looks but the body does not lie. We are still the age we are and will never be the age we were before we got sick and our bodies know it. I see people who are always searching for the relationship to be like it was before the breakup, the health to be like it was before the illness, for a complete restoring to what it was and that will never be. And in this state, they will forever feel discontented and will miss out on the real healing that comes with forgiveness, compassion and acceptance..
image from trendsphotos.net
I have sat here today thinking about 9/11 and remembering how I heard about it. In life there are certain events that will stick with you forever. The Vietnam war is probably the first as I watched the draft and my friends sent off to war. Another event seared into my brain was the Kennedy assassinations. I was in Junior high school when it happened and our principal announced it over the intercom. The day that the shuttle “The Challenger” exploded and all those on board died is another one. I was teaching kindergarten and the principal rolled televisions to the hallway on each end of the small school so that teachers could look out and see what the news was saying. There was a teacher in that explosion and so it hit teachers hard on two levels. And 9/11 I remember because we were coming in from the cancer center and I turned on the answering machine and heard my mother’s voice telling me to turn on the TV as we had been bombed.
It was almost like slow motion as I watched the videos being shown on the news and life seemed to be surreal. I remember the shock and horror as I felt sick to my stomach. And my mind raced with the unanswered questions. I wanted to know why, how this could have happened, what will we do, and where would it happen next. We were supposed to be so strong. I believe 9/11 forever changed our world. Our secure feeling was shattered.
The most positive thing I remember about 9/11 was that in spite of the horror, our country came together in a way I had not seen in my lifetime. Political bickering ended and people seemed to work in harmony “FOR” the good of our country. We were no longer divided by politics, religion, race or anything else. We were coming back strong. The sad part was that as time moved on and the memories seemed to fade for many, that harmony began to dissipate and people forgot that our safety on our home front had been attacked.
I remember watching Mayor Rudy Giuliani as he worked tirelessly trying to coordinate things. I was so impressed with how hard he worked to bring the city together into some sort of calm so that hunting survivors, cleaning up, giving support to the families who had loved ones that were missing, going to ground zero and talking with those first responders were all being covered. I have to give kudos for he did an amazing job. This does not mean that nothing went wrong. It simply meant that Guiliani was fully invested in taking charge and orchestrating the work needed to be done in such a horrible time.
The First Responders were amazing. People came and volunteered to help. Some came and brought their trained dogs to help in the searches. People were fully invested, fully involved in finding every person they could and in cleaning up the damage that was done. When there is a strong leader like Guiliani, people feel a small percent of that safety that we used to feel for at least someone was leading and helping to distill the panic and fear and organize all the different segments that needed taking care.
As I sit on this anniversary, I am struck by the fact we are once again in a precarious position with the threats against our country, our government and our people. I see some people putting aside personal feelings and trying to work together. And I see some that are still polarized and fighting over things that are just not that important. It scares me that our borders are still open. It scares me that we have no plan…no real plan…of what to do. And it scares me that many of our future leaders…the young people in college…do not even know what is going on over seas or even remember 9/11.
I love my country and believe in my country. I believe that as long as people are divided, we will not conquer. What is that quote “United we stand….divided we fall”. If there is no real unity throughout the country, through our government and no real plan other than air strikes, then my question is “Will we be united enough?”
My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all those that died in 9/11 at the towers, at the Pentagon and on the plane that crashed in PA. There is nothing that can replace them. This is why it is so important we not ever fall into that complacency again so that this does not ever happen again. We owe it to all the victims of 9/11 and their families to make sure this never happens again.
My thanks to all the First Responders, to all the firefighters and rescue people, to all the medical people, to all the Therapists that came to help give support to those so traumatized, to all the government employees, to all the people of religions who set up places for people to come to, to all the people who helped people in finding their loved ones and to all who volunteered to help us through this time…just everyone that was there. You are heroes in my eyes: People pulling together and fighting for the common cause.
It has taken me all day to write this because I wanted to give justice to what happened but my mind would go back to that day and relive it and relive the emotions. To all those lost in 9/11 ….you will never be forgotten in our homes and in our hearts..
image from illakiyaa.wordpress.com
Am I meant to be a writer? I asked myself this many times before I started sharing my writing. And yet, I could not give it up because every day all I could think of was writing….writing poetry, writing novels, writing books. It was as much a part of me as my heart beating.
Sometimes we can become lost wondering what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. From the time we are in school, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. And you know what? I am 65 and still have not figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I know I want to write but beyond that I do not know.
Take your dreams and hold tight to them. You know the dreams I am talking about. The dreams that seem to haunt your night and days. The dreams your heart holds tight that you just can not let go of no matter how healthy you are (or are not) nor how old you get. The kind of dreams you wake up dreaming about and you find yourself day dreaming about. I do that with returning to Italy and getting where I can travel easier. Will I have my dream come true? Maybe not but I still can not quit dreaming about it.
Sometimes we are afraid to follow our dreams. My son and I wanted to move out here to Colorado and it took us over a year for our dream to come true. We had to do our work to make it come true and had to keep our dream alive. And then one day, we had to step out on faith and believe that it would all work out and it did. We still find it hard to believe that we are here living our dream. Does that mean we do not have other dreams? No, it does not.
I dream of publishing my writings and work hard to try to get them organized but right now I am too sick to do it. But, I do not give up on that dream. Maybe it will be something I leave for my sons to do. I just know I dream of it over and over. And no matter how sick I am, that dream is still there.
No matter what you dream or want to do, if the dream is strong enough you will find a way to at least get part of the dream. If you want to sing, write, dance, teach, live with self-sufficiency, whatever and it consumes you with passion. Keep working for a way to do it. Yes, it means stepping out and taking a chance and it could mean a total change in the way of life. But, if you want it bad enough…you will find a way to do it. Think about the artists who lived in tiny apartments with little money to follow their passion. How bad you want something goes along with how much you are willing to give up.
This post is about being a writer, but it could be about being a singer, a dancer, a teacher, a lawyer, a mother, a father and the list goes on. If the dream is with you every day and constantly in your thoughts, then you are meant to do it. And once you realize that, then you must have the courage to step out and go for it. If you do not go for it, you will always wonder what would have happened if you had. Does this mean we never fail. No, it means we step out and start the path to fulfill our dream of what we want to become. Do not let people talk you out of it for then you will spend the rest of your life regretting that you never tried. It may not turn out exactly like you thought, but the dream will be in there when you are done.
I remember visiting my cousins and one of them was a lineman for the electric company. He told me what he always wanted to do was become a lawyer. My response was “Well, then go for it.” He offered all sorts of reasons why he could not such as he was too old, it had been to long since he had been in school, he did not know if he was smart enough, etc. I told him if he really wanted it then go find out what he needed to do and start working for it. A few years after that he told me that he had done what I suggested and was about to graduate. He was so happy that he had stepped out and gone for it. What are your dreams that keep haunting you that you really want to do? Why have you not stepped out to go after those dreams?