I was laying here last night watching a show on the Amish community. It was really interesting. One thing they said was that the schooling the children got was to prepare them for their lives as adults. They are talking real life skills. And I thought about the training we get and how we are so lacking in so many areas. And because people are not taught life skills, they can not teach their children either.
Sure, we get trained in a job skill and the basics like reading, writing, math, and science. But, where is the training in things that are so important such as being a parent. When I had my kids, I realized they came with no instruction manual. Oh, sure there were Spock books and other books I could buy but where was my training before I had the children? No one taught me what to do if my child had a temper tantrum or stuck a bean up his nose or became disrespectful.
The examples we have are our parents or people in our lives who are parent figures. My aunt I call Mama influenced my life a lot for I am a lot like her. They used to tease me and tell me I was hers and they were just raising me. But, her true enjoyment of her boys is so much like mine it is not funny. Sometimes our parents are the example, sometimes a friend but why are we not taught these things before we have children?
Learning to be a parent is not something that is just “there” for the majority of people when they have a child. It is a learning process. Learning what to do and what not to do. Learning how to discipline fairly. Learning what is appropriate for our child to be doing and how to take care of the things like them hanging with the wrong crowd, wearing clothes that are totally inappropriate, how to get our kids to talk to us or what to do when our young child strips off naked and runs outside. So many things and yet no one prepares us. Just like no one prepared us for what childbirth was really like. Oh yes, we heard lots of horror stories but no real facts.
Who teaches us how to know who to trust and who is not trustworthy? Who teaches us signs to watch for on business deals so that we know if it is a real thing or it is just something to get our money? Who teaches us that the world is not a place where everyone and everything is trustworthy? Too many learn the hard way and sometimes too late because they were never taught.
They sent us to Home Economics to teach us how to be a homemaker but I bet most of you are like me and remembered very little when it came time to actually being a homemaker. So, if this is a part of our lives and it is even if we work full-time, we still have to keep a home, make meals, clean, do laundry, keep a budget, etc…where is the training?
I made sure my boys knew by the time they were 12 how to cook, clean, do laundry, sew, buy groceries, the whole nine yards. I did not want them marrying because they thought they needed a woman to do all these things like so many men have done. But, I see many kids today who have no concept of any of these things.
I also taught my sons that life is not always fair but that we can go on and do great things. I never over praised my sons like I see so many parents today doing. If you tell them over and over and cheer and praise all the things they do even when done wrong is awesome and wonderful, when they get in the real world they are going to be in for a shock. And especially when they get a job and the boss wants a good job done. Those people are not going to praise you for a sloppy or bad job.
Something else I taught my sons was that not everyone is going to like or love you. It is just fact and so they need to back away from those who treat them badly. Life is hard and even harder as a kid. They make friendships in a world where there are cliques, they date and then break up and they meet people who are just hostile or bullying and they have to know how to deal with this.
I get a helper who comes to clean and help me due to my disabilities and the one thing I noticed on the other side of the mountain especially is that they had no idea what it meant to clean a house. I literally had to make a list that had dust the shelves, pick up the trash and empty the trash cans, vacuum, mop the kitchen floor, etc on it. I had one that had no idea how to change sheets. I asked her what did she do at her place and she was 20. She said…”oh my mother does all of that”. We do them no favors when we do it all for them instead of teaching them. Yes, doing it ourselves is easier but it is damaging to the child.
So, as I was watching the show on the Amish, I got to thinking about things we really do not get taught before we are adults and out in the real world. How to handle money is one. And with credit card companies knocking on our doors from the time we turn 18, is it any wonder that so many are in financial trouble. That was one thing son and I vowed to do in our dream for a simpler life in the country and that was get rid of all bills. And we did and that is what saved us in the economic crunch and when son lost his job. Now, he is a paid caretaker but during that one year, we were totally relying on faith and God always provided. But, that is another whole blog post for you all would not believe all the ways He did.
I am very mechanically inclined and always have been and so fixing things has come easy for me. It is harder now with my health but my brain still does work and son often comes to ask me about things that he has never worked on like the garage door on the other house. But, how many people are not trained how to do simple repair. I remember a time that a friend told me their dryer was not working and asked would I look at it. Want to know what was wrong? She never knew that you had to clean out that lint filter and it was totally blocked and a wonder that a fire had not happened. Why had she not been taught this when she was younger?
We prepare children for careers but we never prepare them for failure and we all fail at things during our lifetime. And if we are never taught how to deal with the idea of failing at something, what to do, how to overcome the feelings and move on and so we can remain there stuck in a rut. It is the realization that we are not perfect that is hard. We will have failures and it is not the failure that is important but what we do after that is the most important. So, how do we instill in children how to pick up and move forward in life after something goes wrong? How do we teach them that we all fail at things and that it is not the end of the world. First off, we do not praise them lavishly for things they do that are not worthy of praise. That does not mean criticize them and put them down. It simply means do not over praise.
One of the things I see today that we were never taught is how to talk and I do not mean the grammar. With the attitude that “it is my right to say anything I want” out there, we have people saying things and posting things that later will come back to haunt them in their life and work. And of course Facebook encourages us to put it all out there. And doing that may be the very thing that ruins a relationship or keeps us from being hired. The internet is forever. But, even more importantly, we must teach them that yes we do have freedom of speech but with that comes consequences such as people not wanting to be your friend anymore or people talking back to us in the same ugly tone we might be using. I believe in the old saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and that is to listen twice as much as we talk.
No one teaches us about relationships and I do not mean just the significant other relationships but all relationships like family, friends, classmates and co-workers. No one teaches us of the harsher things and if no one has taught us, then when things go awry, we do not know what to do. Relationships take work. They do not just happen like most people think. Oh the first meeting happens but if you want the relationship to last, you have to put some effort into it. And sometimes relationships fail. Who teaches our children what to do when someone breaks their hearts? We have to learn to listen and to hear what the other person is saying. We have to learn better communication skills and how to compromise. And people have to learn not to use their mouths and words as weapons.
And with everyone keeping their eyes on cellphones, I pads, computers, who talks face to face anymore? I find that so many today do not know how to carry on a meaningful conversation. Oh text them and you can talk for an hour but talk face to face or on the phone and it consists of “uh” ….”uh”…and silences. So many young people and adults no longer know how to carry on a conversation that does not include abbreviations like “ikr” which means “I know, right” or without emoticons. It is becoming a loss art.
We are excellent at making sure there is instruction on careers and the material you need to learn to get that degree or certificate but the other part of our life has been sadly ignored and it seems that now with the computer generation and high-tech I pads and phones, it is ignored even more. Gone are the days where families sat around at night and talked around the dinner table or played cards and talked while playing. Gone are the days where kids learn how to cook, sew, grocery shop, or handle money. And here and now are the days where people are so in debt, where houses look like a rummage sale, where cleaning is not done and kids are just left to their own devices. Children scream and talk over adults trying to talk, throw fits, act inappropriately, etc and no one is teaching them right from wrong or that when they get into the real world and school, people will not like them for that. Where the divorce rate is so high and where no one seems to have a lasting relationship. What has happened? Where did it go?
For a large part of my life, I was passive, took the path of least resistance, did not defy or stand up for things and especially not myself and I did not know how to defend myself. Now, when it came to those I love, I could turn into the most ferocious fighter of all to defend and protect them. And I still can. But, it took time for the inner warrior in me to arise from that sleeping state and become active to protect myself.
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We all have an inner warrior. Yes, even those of you that say “Oh no, not me. I could never stand up for things or fight battles”. Yes, you could. I have said many times on this blog that if your child, sibling, spouse, parents, pet, loved one were in harms way…even if you were disabled, you would find a way to get to them to protect them even if you had to crawl. That is your inner warrior. But, what happens in many of us is that the part that jumps to defend ourselves, that helps us stand up for things, etc…can still be dormant and has to be awakened.
I had to learn that it was good to stand up for myself, to assert myself, to say no, and to realize that I was also worth defending. It was a gradual awakening for me with the help of someone else. Sometimes we see people who have been passive all their lives and then their inner warrior awakens but it has not learned the difference in being assertive and being aggressive. Being assertive does not mean being the bad ass or being the bitch. Being assertive means a calm, quiet strength that looks others in the eyes and say in a strong voice “NO” or says “That is not right. Stop it” or anything else we need to do.
I have recounted to you all that I practiced this to give myself more strength to do it. And I practiced in front of a friend, too. I will never forget getting frustrated as this friend taught me that my “No” could sound like a question and not a statement and so could other statements like “Stop it” and “It is time for you to go”, etc. Saying no or that is not right must sound like we are stating it not like we are asking the other person’s permission.
Try it sometime with a friend. Ask them to listen to you tell them that it is time to go. And ask this person if you sound like you are asking them “Is it time to go?” or telling them that “It is time to go”. Some of you will be surprised to hear that you can sound like you are asking their permission by the tone of your voice and do not even realize it. I actually tape recorded myself doing it and after it was over, I could hear the difference.
Ever noticed how some people seem so self-assured and full of strength. It is amazing but I have people tell me that I seem so strong and just a few years ago, they would have told you I was a shy, timid person who hid in the background. I do not fight over everything. I have learned to pick my battles because of my health but if something is really important to me, I stand up for it. And that includes standing up for those I care about, the weak and defenseless, children, etc. I have learned that among the list of those I care about that I would fight to protect, that list now includes me too, for I am worth it. That took me a long time to realize.
I was laying here thinking about the surgery coming up. I thought “how will I ever do this? ” and I begin to feel overwhelmed. And from deep inside me came this… “You will do it like you always do it. You will lay on that table, close your eyes with your mojo going and it will be over before you know it”. That is inner validation I was doing but it also was a reminder that I can and have done this before.
Pain has kept me down and I have felt poorly. And is that not when our weakest side comes out the most and we become unsure and wonder can we do this or that. Or we just want to lay in the quiet and not hear about any thing bad. And it is these times, if our inner warrior has awakened inside us, that inner warrior will carry us through.
If we never learn to stand up for what is right, to defend ourselves and others, to tell people even family that what they did you do not like and not to do it again, then we will forever be caught in that limbo of doing and tolerating things that we really do not like. Where is your inner warrior today? What would it take to awaken your inner warrior?
Dreaming is one of the most enjoyable pastimes one can have but many dreams never come to fruition and the reason for that is what I call the “what if” card.
Even as children, we can pull the what if card. A child can say things like “What if I fail?”, “What if I do not make the team?”, “What if she turns me down?”, “What if I do not like it?” and I could go on and on with the what if’s. I personally believe until we can answer those what if questions in a fairly reasonable way, we will hold on to that card and never step out and try to go for our dreams.
Ok, “What if I fail?”. Well, if you fail, you get up and try again and again. If it just will not work, you change to something close to what your dream was. “What if you do not make the team?” Truth of the matter is not everyone that goes out for a team makes it and we have to accept the loss and learn to deal with it. “What if he or she turns me down?” Well, then you know to ask someone else. Life is about learning to deal with the good things as well as the painful things. “What if I do not like it?” Well, now you know. You will never know if you do not try.
image from orientalspiceandsomechocolate.com
As adults we tent to focus more on the financial when it comes to following dreams. “What if we go for it and we can not reach our goal?” Well, then you keep working for the goal. “What if we lose everything?” They are just things and can be replaced. “What if those around me get mad if I go for my dream?” They can get glad in the same pants they got mad in. And I am talking circular family not the immediate..person and their partner.
Working towards your dreams comes down to one basic thing. How much are you willing to give up to have your dream? We were lucky in that son and I both had the same type of dream..to simplify life, to move to the mountains and to live with less stress. What if we lost everything? Truth be known, we lost a lot of money selling the house on the other side of the mountain due to the economy, but were fortunate in that we had just enough to get this little house we live in and we love it. The important thing was that we did not let things keep us from dreaming. Anything we had could be replaced at some date but our dream never could be.
As you go through life and think about things you want to do, think about your dreams or that bucket list and ask yourselves how many times do you pull the “What if” card? And if you find you are doing it a lot, sit down and write those “what if” questions down and then start answering them. Life is not a dress rehearsal and we do not get a second chance. Do not let the “what if” card keep you back from having your dream(s) come true. Do not let the “what if” card keep you from doing things.
Words are probably one of the most powerful things we have in life. Truces are made with words. Wars are started with words. Marriages are dissolved with words. Marriages are formed with words. Friendships are ended with words. Hearts are healed with words. People survive by words. Victims are made with words. Love is shared with words. Hatred is spread with words. And I could go on and on. Words are more powerful than most people realize.
image from www.okyday.com
Our words make us and shape us. People will form opinions of us by our words and how we put those words into action. Our words will tell people if we are people of integrity or people willed with lies. They will show people if we are winners or losers and if we are survivors or victims. They will show people how strong we are or how weak we are. They will show people if we are spiritual or have no faith. They will tell people a lot about us.
Now, I could write every day about how I feel, how much pain I am in from muscle pain which is bad, joint and arthritis pain which is bad and from nerve pain from neuropathy and spinal stenosis which is horrific. I could tell you about being so sick that I can not think or eat, how I can not roll over without son to help me, how I live my life in a hospital bed with a gel mattress hooked to an oxygen hose and my room is my world and how I will be this way the rest of my life. But, I choose not to because I refuse to let all of this take my happiness and joy from me.
Words are powerful and the more you speak them, the more you give power to them. I do not believe in giving power to negative words or thoughts. Our minds can affect our health. They can cause us to have increased anxiety and make ourselves feel worse. They can set the tone for our whole life and can actually make people turn away from us instead of be there for us. People do not like constant negative anymore than I do. After a while it gets old when there is a choice we can make. We can choose how we deal with life and what it has given us.
I prefer to write about surviving, about finding the funny things in life, about the blessings I still have in my life and the things I can do and it is those words I prefer to give power to. I want my words and actions to be something that motivates someone and makes them say “OH heck yeah…I can do this”…and they keep fighting.
This is how powerful words are. I tried this as an experiment a couple of years back. It is human nature to group with those that think and talk like we do. So, first I started off doing the moaning and groaning about all that is wrong, how much pain I was in, how bad it was, etc. And you know what I got? I got a group that would comment back to me with the same words. “Oh yes, I know just how you feel. I am down in bed too. I have nothing to live for. There is no good left”. I was giving power to the negative and reinforcing the negative in others.
So, then I started writing about being a survivor and learning that you have choices and one is the choice in how you deal with life. And what did I get? I got those that are survivors too or on the brink of being fighters and my words inspired their feelings of being a survivor and fighting to keep the joy in their lives and not the negative. So, our words attract those that are just like what we are saying. And I decided I would rather motivate those that are fighters to keep fighting, than motivate those that are victims to keep on being a victim.
Whether we like it or not, we are a role model for someone. We may never know the person but there are people who watch what we do and look to us as a role model. What do we want to be modeling? Do we want to model being a victim? Or do we want to model being a survivor? Do we want to model someone who has chosen to handle life with joy or do we want to model someone who complains all the time about how bad it is? That is how powerful words are. We can inspire and motivate but what is it that we are inspiring or motivating? I want to inspire and motivate people to keep fighting, to not give up, to realize they have choices and one choice is to deal with what life hands us in a positive way.
And this is why I watch shows that have people who are worse than I am because it keeps me in perspective. And that is where “at least it is not the sixty pound tumor” phrase came from. People with sixty pound tumors are in way worse shape than I am here right this minute. People dying of cancer are in worse shape than I am now. People who have been mangled in car wrecks are in worse shape than I am. And so I look around me and I see that if I look at what those worse than me are going through, then I am able to keep my health issues in perspective and not allow myself to go into victim mode and try to make everyone see how bad I am. I do not need to prove to anyone how bad I am. I only need to prove what a survivor I am. And with my words, I hope to send out the energy and healing that positive words can do to others that are in bad shape.
image from www.okyday.com
I am a big believer in laughter and how it lifts the soul and makes the whole day seem so much better. I use laughter for part of my pain management because it helps me with my pain. I tell others often “Find things that make you laugh and laugh hard four times a day and call me in the morning.”
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Laughter is healing. I learned a long time ago that laughter releases endorphins into your body that help you with pain. Chocolate is good for that too. Laughing helps you to relax, relieves stress and just makes you feel better in general. It lifts our moods and when we feel better from laughing it promotes wellness in our bodies. Laughing does not mean that nothing is wrong. It is a physical response to something that we see or hear that hits that button inside that makes us laugh. Don not be afraid to laugh.
Have you ever laughed until you literally cried and thought “Oh, that felt good!”. The reason is because it relaxes you, it releases some of the stress and that makes you feel better. When I can not sleep, I reach out on my table here and turn on a video that makes me laugh and it helps me get past the pain crisis enough that I can go to sleep. I loved the Reba Show for that reason. I would lay here giggling and laughing so hard that son would come to see why.
My son came in one morning and said “What in the world were you doing in here last night? I could hear you laughing all the way to my room on the other side of the house.” And when I told him what I was watching and that I was laughing so hard that at times no sound came out of my mouth, he totally got it. And I was able to finally drift back to sleep after watching the show and laughing until I cried. The laughter releases endorphins that help with pain.
Laughter also helps during times of extreme sadness and loss and can come at the least expected moment. Many people simply will not allow themselves to laugh or smile if something sad is happening or they are in extreme pain. They will clinch their jaws tight with corners of the mouth turned down and allow all that feeling to blaze across their face. It is good to laugh even when you are facing the loss of a loved one. It is a way of coping. And when in extreme pain, it is important to find things to smile about and laugh about for it helps send the right message to our brain.
Both of my sons and I have positive personalities. My son here knows when my pain is screeching because he knows me well. I may be smiling or even laughing but he recognizes the pain. If we really pay attention to people, we can tell when they are hurting, exhausted, sad, etc just by little signals. Of course, the obvious ones who frown all the time and will not laugh if their life depended on it are easy to see. But those that try to carry on in spite of the pain take us paying attention to recognize that they are trying to enjoy their life in spite of the pain or sadness.
There are things to bring joy, laughter and smiles if we look for them. That does not mean we have to laugh all the time. It means allow ourselves to laugh and smile so that it releases the endorphins that help our pain. Laughter is healing in many ways and if we pass on that laughter or those smiles, we unknowingly help someone else find the comfort of laughter and smiling and that helps what ever extreme stress or pain they were under at the time melt away for just a few minutes.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you can be making good choices and then things go wrong or you find yourself getting upset and do not follow through with the choice? I call that “brain bombs”. It can happen at any time and can change things in a very short amount of time. Our thoughts can affect our reality.
image from thesecretbyrhonda.blogspot.com
Our thoughts can pull the rug right out from under us and hinder our progress. For example, you may have just gotten hired for a new job, or are going to a new school and are all excited at the change. Then the old brain bombs start dropping. Your mind races and you start thinking things like: What if they do not like me? What if I can not do the work? What if my clothes look bad? What if I do something wrong? What if I make a mistake? And so your worrying starts putting the negative vibe on a wonderful opportunity you are about to embark on. And the more you try to get ready, the more upset you get and the worse you think you look. You have let your thoughts create a different reality than what it really is.
Another scenario is you are expecting your first child and have been so excited and have fixed the nursery and are due any day. Suddenly the brain bombs start and the race is on. What if I can not take care of the baby? What if I drop the baby? What if the baby hates me? What if the baby will not quit crying? And you become so nervous that when you have the baby, the baby feels your stress and cries and cries. You have just created your own reality.
I have done this to myself many time in the past. I have let the brain bombs win. And then one day, I learned the value of answering my own brain bomb questions. And when the brain bombs start dropping, it goes a little like this:
What if no one likes me? And I answer myself ” Someone will like me.”
What if I can not do the work? I answer myself “I know how to do the work.”
What if my clothes look bad? I answer myself “I have beautiful clothes.”
What if I do something wrong? “Then I will redo it or fix it.”
I think you get the idea. For every negative, I answer myself with a positive to the negative. It is sort of like playing those computer games where the things zooms at you and you shoot it down. Shoot down your own brain bombs and reinforce yourself with positive.
image from www.pinterest.com
Our thoughts can create a whole scenario in our heads and before we know it, we have sabotaged something good from happening. And once the brain bombs start, if we do not shoot them down, they will soon be raining on us so hard that we may even give up and not even go to the new job or new school or date the new person, etc. And those thoughts become reality before we know it. This is why we have to change our thought process and replace the negative with something more positive.
I have seen people do this with their health. They allow the brain bombs to control how they feel and they give up before they even have a chance to know if this or that will help. I tell myself all the time that I WILL walk again. My brain bombs try to tell me I never will and I shoot them down immediately with the words “I will do this.” Our thoughts, our brain bombs can affect us so dramatically that our reality becomes our thoughts and if we think we will never get any better, we will not.
The only way to counteract the brain bombs is to shoot them down as soon as they start. I get teased for being such a Pollyanna but I can tell you this. I am still here years later from when I could have let all these health issues take me out just from my brain bombs. I am still here fighting, never giving up and still finding joy in my life. How about you? Are you fighting the brain bombs?
The other day my son said “I keep wishing I had done things differently back ten years ago” and many people say this and even cry over things from the past and it holds them back. I believe hindsight is 20/20. It is not to keep us bogged down and burden us with guilt and sadness. It should be 20/20 hindsight to help us do things differently for the future.
Forgiving is an essential part of leaving the baggage of the past behind. This means forgiving those that hurt you whether they have asked or not, whether they have apologized or not. AND it means forgiving yourself for making mistakes for we all make mistakes.
We really should not carry our past around and hold on to it with both hands and keep putting it in our present. Our past is to teach us not hinder us.
I love this quote and picture above for it is a very visual thing by using our past and the mistakes we make to learn from by using them as stepping stones. Not as something we keep in the present all the time to make us feel bad but as something that inspires us to do it a different way. It took me a long time to realize this because I held on to the past and probably had steamer trunks instead of baggage. When I learned to forgive, I learned that first you forgive others for what they did to you. This is not saying they were innocent or right. It is forgiving and letting it go and not letting it be a burden on our shoulders and it is learning to forgive ourselves for all the mistakes we made. That was the day I went from victim to survivor. And as time has passed and I continue to work on myself, I have moved from survivor to thriver.
I believe our lives are made of choices but I had to learn that. Most of us were never taught how to make positive choices in life and instead we just stumbled through the best we could. And after much work, I started making choices for my life. Some were good choices and some were not but as I learned, I begin to make better and better choices. This does not mean that I never make bad ones even now because I still do make bad choices but I am quicker to recognize it now. And one of the first choices I made was to resolve my past. Once I had come to terms with, forgiven, and owned the story of my past and decided it was not going to be my present or my future, I was able to start living and not be bogged down with baggage from the past. I want to be the bus driver of my present and future and of course, being a person of faith, I want God as my pilot.
I believe that we hold on to the past because it is familiar even when it has bad in it. We know what to expect so we take a death grip on it and it stays in our present. I think it is fear that makes people hold so tightly to the past because they are afraid of what the future will bring that they might not know how to handle. We do that in relationships. We keep dating the same kind of person that treated us badly because it is what we know and trying to do it differently creates anxiety and fear. But, I can tell you from experience that once you let go of the baggage of the past, you never want to pick it up again. Once you start making better choices, life becomes this wonderful buffet of experiences just waiting for us.
It is like dreams. Many people are afraid to follow their dreams because they worry..”What if it does not work?”….”What if we lose it all?”, “What if…what if…what if?” …and the truth is, the things we worry about are failing or losing possessions. And possessions are just things that can be replaced. You can not replace your loved ones. And when we hold on to the past, we are affecting our relationship with our loved ones. I have told the story before of the two 70-year-old sisters who had been angry and hurt with each other and did not speak for 50 years. Just think of all the time lost as they held on to the past instead of forgiving and letting go. And when asked why they quit speaking, they could not tell you but they remained estranged.
Today is a new day and offers so many possibilities; the possibility of renewing relationships, of healing your heart, of forgiving and of making choices for you that help make your life better. Only you can grab on to those possibilities. No one can do it for you. People may try to drag you along to reach this goal but after a while, they get tired of dragging. So get on the bus and be your own driver and deal with all the baggage from the past and then drop it off somewhere and reach for the future. You can do it. I know because if I can, so can you.
“Will today be an “I Want” day or an “I can” Day?”
Sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday, I saw this quote on an ad in a magazine and thought what a great quote. It is one of those perception things as in how do you perceive your day. Do you see your day in terms of all the things you want to do and can not have or do you perceive your day in all the things that you can still do?
image from www.pinterest.com
When I first started losing my health, all I could think about was all the things I still wanted to do and could no longer do. I wanted to run and play. I wanted to keep teaching. I wanted to do things with my kids. I wanted to be normal again. And I struggled with acceptance that this was it. And of course down through the years, more and more things came to be on that list of things I wanted to still do as I lost the ability to do so many things.
One day, I realized I needed to change my focus to the things I still could do and instead of saying “I want” to do this or that, or want this or that, I needed to change it to “I can” still do this and this and this. And as time passed, I realized what I was going through was grieving the loss of the things I have lost the ability to do.
All of life though can be seen through this quote. If we are constantly focusing on what we want and not on what we can have or can do, we can become filled with discontentment. What can I do in life? I can choose to be happy no matter what happens in our lives. I can choose to love and enjoy those around me. I can choose to enjoy the things I can still do. All of these are positive things.
I can also choose to be miserable and choose to complain about everything. I can choose to be discontent because our lives are not what we want and can choose to push others away. When we choose either list, we have to be ready to accept the consequences.
We have learned to be happy no matter our circumstances and to feel blessed with what we have. Do we live in a fancy mansion? Not hardly. We live in a small cottage house that slowly we are fixing up. And yet, no matter who comes to visit, no matter how wealthy they are do you know what they say to us? We just love your house because there is so much warmth and love flowing through this house and the way you have it fixed makes it feel like we have come home. That is the greatest compliment that people could give us. And this is said as we sit in our tiny living room with everyone scooted up close or crowded around our table. We may not have fancy furniture and yet it does not seem to faze anyone that comes to visit.
So, we wake up every morning knowing we can feel love and warmth here,. We can enjoy cooking in this little kitchen as the smells permeate our home and we can enjoy the gardening in the back yard or sitting in the living room around the puzzle table working on a jigsaw puzzle.
We should not wake up thinking about all we want but should be3 thankful for all we have and can still do. Keep remembering folks….happiness is a state of being not an emotion. Joy is an emotion. Find your happy spot in your imperfect world for it is there.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to talk in the dark. Whispering and talking to someone, there is no facial expression to put us off, no feelings of either condemnation nor praise. It just IS. I find that when I have the middle of the night contemplation times, the feelings are the same. Some things are easier to think about when the senses are soothed by a blanket of soft darkness. When the lights are low it is easier to let the tears fall for we feel hidden.
Tears that seem to come in the light, do not feel the need to wash away hurts or pains like in the dimness of night. It is in this dimness of night that we feel safe enough to think about those painful things. And tears that fall in the darkness feel like that quote about if a “tree falls in the forest and no one is there..will it make a sound?” If I cry in the darkness will anyone hear my tears because we are so often afraid to cry in front of others? (Do not worry, I am not crying. I am trying to talk about how the darkness affects us when we are contemplative.) The ones that needs the washing and cleansing that crying in the night can bring usually find it in the dark.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving
I think that sometimes we spend so much time looking back and doing the “what if’” thoughts or wishing things could have been different that we lose the moments happening now. This is even more so when we are chronically ill because people want to look at all they lost from their illness and all that is wrong instead of seeing all that is right.
“One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.” Ida Scott Taylor
I have to smile as I think about those wonderful memories stored inside me from the past. I rely on memories in the really hard times for they fill my senses and help me endure. I am tired and exhausted from pain and have been really sick the past several months. And oh how I have relied on those wonderful memories to sustain me: memories of loved ones, of times with precious friends, of funny things, or loving moments. It is then those wonderful memories help me cope with the extra pain and fears.It is then that the beautiful memories come to life and the ones you love you feel their presence the most. And for me that is the night time when the lights are dim and she shadows hide all the ugliness.
A song I heard once was called “I lost it” and it said “no memory can replace it”. I thought about the happy times and how those memories just seem to stick with us, even in dark times. We can still conjure them up in our hearts and heads. It is not like recording over an old VHS tape where one supersedes the other. These wonderful memories just keep filling up that tape inside. This song just makes me smile.
video by selahwestful
As I lay here in the semi darkness, I find my mind drifting to this memory and that memory and each memory brings a smile to my face. I think our brain automatically knows what kind of memory we need to have in the “play” position of our brain. It is not that any event in our head is overwritten but rather shuffled around depending on what our hearts can endure. Perhaps, the painful memories are marked in our brains with a big H for “HOLD” when our tears are falling and the world seems to be closing in on us. And the good memories have a rewind button so we can play them over and over and over.
I find laying in the semi dark is kind of like that commercial showing the couple sitting in the woods looking at the stars and talking about how beautiful it is and the husband says “Here let me light the fire” and he strikes a match. When he does, sitting looking a them is all the “wild beasts” of the forest staring at them. And he says “maybe not ” about lighting the fire and blows the match out. The night time or semi=darkness in my case since my room is never totally dark, seems to allow me to put the things “worrying me” over with the animals, out of sight in the darkness. That way I do not have to think about those things until “day light” hours.
We all have those things that lay heavy on our hearts and I have learned that the best things I can give those I love (the family, extended family, and family of choice) is to be there, to have the listening ear but more importantly the listening with our “inner ear” which means listening with our hearts and minds, and the gift of never giving up on them. People do not need us to say we understand or that it will be alright, though those words are soothing to the heart. Most people in hard times just want someone to listen, to hug them and to let the person know they care. Physical touch means so much when someone is scared, lonely, devastated, or troubled.
“Don’t ever give up on something or someone who you can not go a full day without thinking about.”
Have you ever noticed that there are people in your life that you can not go a day without them coming to mind, without seeing something that makes you think of them, without a wonderful memory rolling across your mind and making you smile. Give them the gift of never giving up even when angry at them or even when you feel like they should be acting one way and they are not. I can not begin to tell you what it means to have someone tell you they believe in you, that they know you can do this or that, that they hear what you are saying, that they are there for you. No money can buy those gifts.That is love. And if you go through life and all you find is one person that does this for you please know you are really blessed and loved.
“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” Judy Garland
Have you ever thought about love? Think about it in the dark when you can not see anything and the one thing that will hit you is that it is the fact of “HOW someone loves us” that sticks with us the most. Words are just that but actions play the symphony of love for all. Do you love with kindness, with tenderness, with joy, with compassion, with trust, with laughter? For those are the things a person will remember even in the darkest of times. That is the music they will hear in their heads and their hearts when the lights are out and they can not see.
video by limva123
And thank you Gary for the second version below:
video by jGracePro
So love like you are whispering in the dark. Let your love shine through in a way that even when it is dark, the love still penetrates and touches the heart and you light up the world for the other person. Love changes us all and changes those around us.
“I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.”
“Live for something. Do good and leave behind your monument of virtue that the storms of life can never destroy. Write your name in kindness love and mercy on the hearts of thousands that you come in contact with year after year. You will never be forgotten.”
Write you name in kindness. What a concept when so many want to be famous and have great wealth. Kindness should be a simple thing. I will always remember the kindness people showed me while the rest would go by the wayside. I think about my student in my third grade class, who was at the hospital when I had surgery many years ago because her Dad had surgery. She saw I was alone in my room right next to the room her Dad was in and so she sat with me most of that day and put cool cloths on my brow and held the glass for me to sip water. Such kindness and the memory is as fresh today as the day it happened twenty something years ago.
Kindness goes a long way. I have sat and watched people do something so kind and it would touch my heart even when the kindness was being shown someone else. These things seem to stick with us for kindness is such a great gift to bestow on someone.
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
Charles H. Spurgeon
Kindness, mercy, and love are a universal language that everyone can understand even if we do not speak the same language. Are we becoming a cynical society? Do we see the bad so vividly that we no longer see the good and those that need a kind word or kind touch? I read on different places on the internet and the anger and hate by some are palpable. What has happened to our world?
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
I can think of times in my life when all I wanted was kindness, a gentle touch and soothing words and I know many others in this world are the same way. Being kind cost us nothing but time and a little effort. We should try to be kind as often as we can. I hate the expression “random act of kindness” for it implies random should only be occasionally. What about having kindness all the time?
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Have you ever thought about the effect you have on others. Think about how many people you come in contact with daily, even those you never speak to but just are seen. How has your behavior affected them? Have you ever thought about what your behavior or lack of behavior or action might do to those you come in contact with? Are you writing your name in kindness? Are you being kind anyway even when you do not feel like it?
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, are you writing your name in kindness? Are you writing your name in mercy and love for others? Are you leaving behind a monument of love and caring that has made a mark that can not be forgotten or washed away? Gone are the days communities come together to help families build their homes or raise their barns, but the days of reaching out in love and helping others in time of need or just giving comfort and love need not be gone. We need to be kind anyway.
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.
When was the last time you carried dinner to someone, called someone to see how they are, visited a shut-in, drove someone to a doctor appointment that you knew had no transportation, did something for someone just because you knew they needed it? When was the last time you smiled at strangers and had a kind word or smiled and spoke back when they spoke to you? When was the last time you wrote your legacy on a monument called a legacy of kindness? Sad to say but most people say “call me if you need me” when if we just used our eyes, we would know when someone was in need and would know to just offer to help.
As for me:
I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.