Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What do you wish to say no to?

     When I read the prompt that Jaime Ridler posted this morning for her Wishcasting Wednesday blog, it almost seemed like an oxymoron to say that I want to say no to negativity.  I was reminded of one of those Star Trek/Spock logic circles... "Everything I say is a lie.  I'm telling the truth."
     But I have been trying to focus on bringing more positive thoughts into my life, and so the truth is that there is no room, or use, for negativity in my life right now.
     Even the smallest negative thought can sometimes cloud my entire day, which can suck the joy out of my week if I give it power.
     So with that in mind... I wish to say yes to the power of positive thinking and all that it brings into my life!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Treasure Maps...

Image Source
     I've been reading an incredible book by Shakti Gawain called Creative Visualization.   One of her techniques that she writes about is creating a "treasure map" of the things we want to visualize and manifest in our lives.
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      It isn't a new technique for me, although I had never called it a treasure map before.  Ever since I was a child I would keep journals and notebooks in which I would collect pictures of things I wanted one day in my life.  
     I also wrote my "bucket list" in one of my journals back when I was still a 'naive' 26-year old.  Twenty years later when I found the journal while reorganizing my home office, I was amazed to see how many things I could check off the list without even having made a conscious effort to accomplish any of them.
     Finding that journal was like finding a treasure... and a map showing me how much I've grown and achieved over the years.
     Once again I am reorganizing my home office... and working on new treasure maps for the future...
     Life is good...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Manic Mondays...

     The air conditioner died yesterday.  I couldn't find my badge to get on post... then I couldn't find my car keys to get to work.  The car made a scary noise as I was backing out of the drive way.  It was one of those Mondays when I wondered why I even bothered to get out of bed.

     But then when I came home at lunch to check on the dogs, and found a perfect rose bud in the yard... I realized that sometimes... even the worst days can be perfect days.
     I found my car keys... and my badge.  And the car made it to work and back.  The guy came out to fix the air conditioner and in less than ten minutes I was on my way to imagining I was in Alaska again.

     Life is good.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Listen...

     Listening seems to be a strong message to me lately.  Everywhere I turn, there is something I see or read that reminds me.
"When a group of professional people asked a group of 4-to-8-year olds, 'What does love mean?' one replied, 'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.'"
~ Warren McLaren
Encarta World English Dictionary defines "listen" as:
VERB   
1.  make conscious effort to hear: to concentrate on hearing somebody or something ("We listened for the sound of the geese overhead.")
2.  pay attention: to pay attention to something and take it into account ("She wouldn't listen to my advice.")
NOUN
1. act of hearing: an act of making an effort to hear something ( informal )
     Listening is the conscious act of hearing and paying attention.  All too often we get caught up in our own small worlds and we don't hear or pay attention to what is said... or heard....  Even the act of listening to our lives can be ignored when what we hear isn't what we want to hear.  If I'm dealing with pain ~ physical or emotional ~ then my life... my body... my soul is trying to tell me to pay attention to something.
     I'm going to start spending an hour each day just being silent so that I can listen... and pay attention... because I need to hear what God is trying to tell me... time spent in meditation... and manifestation.
     Life is good... and getting better...
    

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Listen to your life...

     I picked up an angel on clearance the other day.  It was of course the right price (practically free) and while I probably don't need another thing to dust (as if I did anyway) I loved the reminders that were embellished on it.
     "Dream Bigger"
     "Unleash your joy"
     "Embrace vulnerability"
     "What is calling you?"
     "Love with abandon"
     "Get quiet.  Just be."
     "Rediscover your passion"
     "Nurture your soul"
     "Allow the blessings to sink in and stay awhile"
     "Surround yourself with good people"
     "Honor your intuition"
     I plan on putting her in my home office where I will write and meditate... while I listen to my life, rediscovering my passion, and nurturing my soul.
     Life is good.

Friday, August 26, 2011

T.G.f. Silence

     I've been growing the past few months.  Thankfully not "around" since I can't afford a new wardrobe right now, but in ways that are helping me to become more in touch with who I am and what I want.  The solitude I've had in my life recently has drawn me closer to myself... time for reflection and introspection. 
     I've blogged a lot about that big birthday coming next year, and about my isolation and solitude lately.  Some of it from summer heat, but most of it from finances and just trying to catch up on bills.  Being without Internet for a week, and without television for two weeks has given me time to finish projects, start new ones, and relax more.
     I've connected with friends... old and new... and have found encouragement from them.  Not so much in words they say... or don't say... but in just the fact that they are a part of my life.
     I've blogged about success and abundance... and have come to realize that I have both.  My life is rich, and I am blessed.
     In the silence I've been surrounded with lately, I've heard a lot.  It has given me the opportunity to hear the Universe... and my soul.
"We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature ~ trees, flowers, grass ~ grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence...
We need silence to be able to touch souls."
~ Mother Teresa ~

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fortune Cookies...

     I was scrounging around in my wallet for some change to get something for breakfast and found a fortune from a cookie that I had stashed in there a few months ago.

"Use your talents.  That's what they are intended for."

     What a good reminder that was then when I first opened the cookie, and when I found it again.  Often we don't spend time nurturing our talents because they may not be what pays the bills... yet.  Yet.  A word that holds the promise of things to come.  Manifesting success and abundance.  Yet.  To imply that there will one day be a time when my talents not only pay the bills, but provide for me and my loved ones a life with all that we need, want, and more.

     My talent is writing, and I've been nurturing it this month by setting a goal to blog daily.  To stretch my mind.  To think outside the box.  In the process, I've learned more about myself.

     Yes, use your talents.  Nurture them.  That is what they are intended for...  May your talents manifest abundance and success for you...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Winnie Wisdom...

“You can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count.” 
 ~ Winnie the Pooh

     I love the wisdom of Winnie.  "There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count."  How true.  There are days spent with family.  Days spent with friends.  There are days spent in bed, listening to the rain or the wind.  Days spent just laughing.  There are days when projects are completed and a sense of accomplishment sets in.  Days spent just relaxing... my dog's head on my lap, his legs pumping and tail thumping as he dreams of chasing squirrels.  There are days when suddenly all seems right in the world.

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”
~ Winnie the Pooh



What do you wish to enjoy?

     Today's prompt is much like last week's.  I could say that I wish to enjoy success... but I have already chosen to have success in my life so that would seem a little redundant. 
     The last few weeks have been times of growth for me.  Communication is key... not just talking, but sharing.  Not just listening, but hearing.  I've not had television in the house now for a week, and one more to go before I get service again.  So I've finished some craft projects, started working on a new book, and have been reading another ~ "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain.  Such power in her words and suggestions!     As my life has begun to "de-stress" I have begun to enjoy success at work, home, and in my life.
     So to answer today's prompt... I wish to enjoy abundance in all aspects of my life.  The abundance the Universe creates for me in health, financial prosperity, love, friendships, and in my career choice as a writer.
     As I wish for myself... so I wish also for you...
    
Jamie Ridler Studios posts a weekly Wednesday Wishcasting prompt.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What do you value most...

     There is a blog that I get email updates from... Daily Integrative Divination that lately has been very insightful to parts of me that I need to focus on.  Today's posed two questions...

     What do you value most in the people you meet, your friends, your loved one?  Do you value these things in yourself?

     The things I value most in myself and in those I surround myself with are what I consider the 4 H's:  honesty, humanity, humility, and humor. 

     Honesty for obvious reasons.  Life is just so much easier when you are honest with yourself and others.  There is less to remember, less to ask forgiveness for, and less to dislike.

     Humanity... compassion for others and our companion plants and animals.  For our environment, and for the planet that we call home.

     Humility because there is nothing more annoying to me than someones arrogance and self-centered importance.  We all walk this earth the same way; crawling on hands and knees to start, and if we are lucky we will leave it standing tall and not crawling again.  I am no better... or less... than anyone else on this earth.  The things I experience and the knowledge I have to share aren't more or less than another person's experiences or knowledge.

     Humor... because life has to be enjoyed, and there is nothing more pleasurable than being able to laugh with family and friends... and nothing more humbling than being able to laugh at myself.

Friday, August 19, 2011

T.Goodness.I. F.

     Thank goodness ... Fridays will be my gratitude days.  Today I'm grateful for businesses and citizens who were alert and suspicious enough to raise a red flag in July when a disgruntled Army PFC was planning on attacking his fellow soldiers.  As if the attacks of 5 November 2009 weren't horrible enough, this man was planning to attack restaurants off post ~ restaurants where civilians and children may have been killed or injured.

     I'm not going to give him any more publicity by putting his name here, he has been in the news enough.  And I really don't want to talk about him, or the things he was planning.  It is sad when things reach a point where someone wants to lash out in violence just to make a point, even worse when the media plays up those events and gives someone else the encouragement they need to take up the cause.

     Violence isn't the answer... or the solution to anything.

     "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

     "If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another."  ~ Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

     Two men from two different worlds, two different times, with the same thought process.

     Today, I am grateful that there are men... and women... who want to give peace a chance.  Who speak words of peace.  I would say "fight" for peace but that almost sounds like an oxymoron... but there are people who strive for peace.  I'm grateful that there are still some who believe in peace and because of their beliefs, I can believe that one day there will be peace.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rubber~necking

     Microsoft Outlook offers a "recall" option after you've hit send on an email that you later realized you shouldn't have... usually one of those sent in error to "Reply All" that should have just been a "Reply" to one.  But you still risk that email being opened by the wrong person.  Everyone has a first impulse to open the email being recalled to see what it is that was so bad you had to recall it.

     Kind of like people slowing down to stare at a traffic accident.  You feel helpless to control it.  Reality shows are the same way.  Everyone talks at the water cooler the next morning about the worst contestants or the sometimes cruel comments made by the judges.  I wonder at times why the show producers even bothered to put some of the acts on the air, but then realize that it is all for the audience's entertainment.

     When did we become a society that enjoys watching someones pain or humiliation?

     Stephen King's novella "The Running Man," published under the name Richard Bachman in 1982, was later turned into a movie.  It was about a "reality" game show at a time in our future (2025) when the economy was in ruins and world violence was increasing.  I wonder if he knew that he wasn't writing a science fiction novel, but was predicting a future not quite as distant as he imagined.

     We become fascinated with those wanna-be celebrities seeking their fifteen minutes of fame and tune in to watch their lives, pain, and problems.  We laugh, poke fun, and criticize... as if we are so much "better than" them.  We judge and condemn, and when we see their lives spinning out of control, we call our friends to watch the meltdown with us, rather than reaching out a helping hand and saying "Enough!  Stop the cameras!"

     So why are we so surprised when one of those wanna-be reality show wanna-be celebrities kills themselves?

     Enough.  Stop the cameras.

What do you wish to choose?

     There is just one word that sums up all that I wish to choose:  Success.

     Success in my relationships with friends and extended family; that unresolved rifts are healed and forgiven; that friendships are renewed; that broken ties reunited.

     Success as an author; that my writings and books will give me financial freedom and security; that new doors will open as a result of my passion for words.

     Success in my health goals; that I learn to relax and exercise more and eat healthier so that the next 50 years I will just get younger.

     Finally, I wish for success in my most intimate relationship with my Higher Power and with those I love deeply.  That the home and sanctuary I create and decorate for my family will become a place of healing, security, and serenity.

Jamie Ridler Studios posts a weekly Wednesday Wishcasting prompt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hope...


Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
~ Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

     Texas is in the middle of the second worst drought in its recorded history.  But here in the middle of my crackling brown grass is a persistent plant.  Where it is drawing water from, I don't know but it has hope... and blooms regardless.
     I'd seen it for about a week now and finally went over to see what it was.  I thought at first it was a branch blown from the neighbor's bushes, but curiosity got the best of me and I'm glad that I stooped to enjoy the hope this flower held.
     Hope is something that washes like a wave over me.  I've been isolated from friends and family for almost a year now, keeping in touch by phone, emails or facebook, it isn't the same as a face-to-face conversation.  For the past two months, heat has kept me confined to the house when I get home from work, alone with my thoughts to reconsider choices and decisions made in the past.  I heard a sermon once, many years ago, that still sticks in my head.  It was a sermon about "what iffing" your life away wondering "what if" you had made different choices.

     What if I stop thinking about the past and start hoping for the future?

     What if I plant seeds of hope... like my miracle flower in the midst of a drought... and know without a doubt that no matter what happens today... there will be a tomorrow.

     Hope... springs eternal.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Words...

     I've never watched the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" before but tonight it seemed like the only thing on that wasn't a painful reality show.  Unfortunately, it was more of a reality show than I thought.  The show centered around one of the main characters dealing with the death of his father and the "last words" his father spoke to him.

     "Rent 'Crocodile Dundee 3'" doesn't seem like much to remember someone by, although it is better than the 'pocket dial' that he initially thought was the "last words" from his father.  "My dad was my hero, he was my teacher, my best friend, he always came through for me and now he's gone."  Fortunately after hearing garbled conversation for five minutes, his father realized that he had pocket dialed his son and his real last words to his son were "I love you."
    
      My father's last words to me were "I wished we had talked more."

     Me too, Dad.  Me too.  I love you.  I miss you.  I wish we had talked more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunrise...

     When I lived in Florida, I used to watch the sun come up over the East Bay as I walked the dogs before leaving for work.  Now there are times when I see it coming up over the hills here in Texas.

     Sunrise... the time of day that reminds us we have been blessed.  Son rise.  The time in history that reminds us we have been blessed.

     I love history.  It amazes me that a book written thousands of years ago has survived all these centuries virtually unchanged.  While there have been many interpretations of what those words mean to man... the book itself has stayed the same.

     I've wandered through cities and streets in Europe that have been the same for centuries.  Certainly modern buildings now dot the landscape here and there.  But when you look at some of the older parts of a town, a narrow cobblestone path through buildings built hundreds of years before you, a church with saints and angels that were carved by hand from stone, it is easy imagine that you are standing where those men once stood.  Men and women who struggled for survival, and the things we take for granted that they never imagined. Men and women who clung to hope that a book written thousands of years before them gave them.  A hope for a better future.  A brighter tomorrow.  A hope that their children's children would have a better life, and that when their own lives were over that there was something to look forward to that was better than what they had then.

     No matter what your faith or religion is, what you believe in as a "Higher Power," where you live  or what you imagine happens to us when we die... there is one thing that remains constant for all of us.

     Hope.

     We wake each morning, filled with hope for a better day, a chance again to make better choices, wiser decisions.  A hope that today will be the day for all that we dreamed of yesterday.  Hope.  Happiness.  Opportunities.  Peace of mind.  Exhilaration.

     "Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always To be Blest." ~ Alexander Pope (English Poet, 1688-1744)


 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude...

     I was reminded tonight of the things that are most important in life.  It was one of those moments when I was feeling overwhelmed by choices and decisions... feeling as if my life was floating in limbo, between "here" and "there" and not really sure which direction to choose.

     There are people in my life that I call when I need that sanity check.  That smack in the face that says "Snap outta it!"  The ones that ground me.

     After talking to her about everything I felt I had on my plate, she calmly proceeded to tell me what I needed to take off of it.  And she was right.  I don't have to make all the decisions today.  I don't even have to make some of them this year.

     In a sense it goes back to that desire I have to control my future... because I'm still in denial about not being in control of anything.  But her calm voice reminding me that sometimes, not making a decision is truly a decision... made it easier for me to relax and accept the things that I do have control of.

     I'm so blessed to have friends like that.  The kind that don't judge, don't condemn, and who listen and offer an alternative perspective on my situation.  The kind that make me realize that it is okay to think outside the box.  The kind that remind me - in a gentle way - that I need to practice what I preach.

     My life is richly blessed by the people that are in it... the things that I do... the "things" that I have.  And even without that money tree in the back yard or those winning lotto numbers... my life is priceless.

Life...

     "Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat." ~ Anais Nin

     We all struggle at times through life.  We may pretend we have it all together, but when we get behind the closed doors of our homes... bedrooms... only then do we admit that life isn't as easy as we thought it was when we were five... or ten.

     I saw a photoblog of children's bedrooms the other day and one of the most startling photos  (there were many) was one of a seven year old girl in Nepal, holding a hammer.  She has been working in granite quarry since the age of three.

     Three.  I've been working since I was sixteen and I thought that was a long time.  But for a three year old to enter the hard labor work force of a quarry... she is lucky to still be alive at age seven.  Her life will be difficult, and most likely short.

     With all of the advanced technology we have in some of the "first" and "second" world countries, we tend to forget those we call "Third World Countries."  I'm not saying that we need to rush to bring them into the 21st century... I believe in starting to help those in our own back yards... we have too many hungry, homeless just in our country to continue to send financial aid to foreign governments.

     But I think that sometimes, when I'm whining about all that I don't have, I will stop to sit on my comfortable bed, surrounded by all that I do have, and be grateful.  I will think about those children who will grow up never knowing the comforts that I sometimes take for granted, and I will be grateful.

     Life isn't about wanting more.  Life is about being grateful for the things that you have and the people you call family and friends.  I'm grateful... for life.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Secret Angels...

     For the 2nd time in almost as many weeks, an "angel" has left a financial gift for me on my car windshield.  It has been difficult for me to open up to friends, neighbors, co-workers about how much I've been struggling to keep my head above water since moving to Texas.  I was unprepared for the expenses of the move.

     I was talking with a co-worker the other day about another woman we work with who is on family leave now.  Leslae's mother is dying, and the emotional toll that it is taking on her... not just for the 24/7 care that she must now give her mom, but for the mixed emotions she is feeling knowing that her mom is dying... it has all been difficult for her to accept.  Family has come and gone, and apart from the occasional visit from a hospice care worker, she is alone in her watch... and wait.  She is a strong woman.  Proud.  As a result it has been difficult for her to ask for help... let alone admit she needs it.

     A hard lesson I had to learn several years ago after my father died was that sometimes the gifts and blessings we give to another are our willingness and acceptance to receive the same.  By refusing help when it is offered, or refusing to ask for help when we need it, we deny someone the opportunity to be a secret angel.  A blessing in someone's life.  I was used to always being the one who gave... and gave... and gave.  Never admitting I needed, or wanted, even when I was forced to eat brown rice for a week because I didn't have money for groceries.

   Be a secret angel to someone this weekend... and be open to receiving when those secret angels appear in your own life...  Blessings to you...

A fork in the road...

     Career?  Dreams?  Joy?  Stability?  Fulfillment?  Security?  Sometimes the choices that we have to make as adults are driven more by financial requirements than what our heart desires.  I remember a time when I couldn't wait to grow up, and now... now I wish I could turn back time and make different choices that would have lead to the fulfillment of more of my dreams.
     Once upon a time I wanted to be a veterinarian... then a physical therapist... then special ed teacher... but never just a contract specialist. 

     The other night I had dinner with a co-worker, her daughter and four of her daughter's friends.  Her daughter and friends were all recent high school graduates heading off in a few weeks for new directions.  Some will stay here and go to community colleges.  Others off to universities... others will postpone college to work and save money for a while.

    The average high school graduate will change their college major several times before settling on a direction for the rest of their life.  Some... like me... will not only change directions several times before getting a masters degree, but will change direction again several times even as an adult.

     I like to think that I am multi-talented... rather than being "flighty."  All of the career fields that I have experienced so far... I've been a success at.  I think that makes me more of an asset to a company than a liability.  My curiosity and desire to learn have helped me to accomplish my goals, and then some.  It has also given me more versatility in a position... an ability to think outside of the box.

     There is a saying of "use it or lose it" and when I worked for a time as a marketing representative for a medical group, I saw that first hand.  The senior clients who had continued their education beyond high school, or who had worked outside of the home, were more coherent and cognizant of things well into their 80's and 90's than some of the clients in their 60's who had never pursued any other education or career goals outside of the home.

     By constantly changing directions in my life, changing my goals, chasing my dreams.... I've actually been exercising my mind and keeping it young.... so maybe saying that I'll be five next year and dyslexic isn't so far from the truth!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Purple Thursdays...

     Purple Rain.  Purple Haze.  The Color Purple.  One Eyed Purple People Eater.

     I used to work with a woman in Florida whose favorite color was purple.  Thursdays became our days to wear purple shirts.  When she arrived at work, she would stop at each cube to "inspect" our purple-ness.  Her cube was an overwhelming array of purple... from Mardi Gras beads to pictures  of babies dressed as purple posies to blankets, masks and feathers.

     I remember being an age when I was in young love with Donny Osmond and insisted that my father paint my bedroom purple.  I must have owned two dozen pairs of purple socks.

     Another woman I knew through work years before in California insisted that purple was the color of angels, and she opened a gift shop that specialized in only angel themed gifts and decor.  All of the ink pens she purchased for us to use in the store were purple, and our paychecks were printed on purple paper.

     Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker here in Texas whose favorite color is also purple... and her name is Angel.  She is from New Orleans, and aside from the obvious reasons for loving purple, the color suits her.  She has been blessed to have overcome a recent bout with cancer and chemo treatments.  Purple for her has been a "robe of royalty" and a celebration of her health and survival.

     Whether it is a color, a favorite sweater, or just realizing that we beat the odds...  sometimes it is all we need to remind us that we are loved. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What inspiration do you wish to follow?

     When I think of what (or who) inspires me and who I would want to be most like... the people that cross my mind the most are people who never give up in the face of the worst that life throws at them.  Helen Keller.  Christopher Reeve.  Michael J. Fox.  Lori O'brien.

     Lori who?

     Yes, Lori O'brien.  She and I became friends in high school some 30+ years ago.  Over time, our friendship has survived my moves back and forth across the country and more than once, Lori has shown up to support me even when facing her own challenges.

     Lori was a teen mom, who still finished high school and later became a single mother, and grandmother when her daughter also became a teen mom.  She's raised her grandchildren and fought to get them the care and support they need.

     Lori also lives in Pleasant Grove, Alabama.  The town that was very nearly wiped off the map by a tornado this year in April.  She lost her home, her car, and everything thing she owned.  But she survived.  Her daughter and grandkids survived.  The things that she lost were just things.

     I want to be like Lori.  I want to face tornadoes and survive.  I want to be able to laugh and smile with the faith that comes from knowing that no matter what happens... things are still just things... and the most important "things" in life are the people I love.  She inspires me.  Her smile inspires me.

     Lori's new home will be finished soon... a home with a safe room for her and her family.  I'm going to try to be there for the housewarming party... because she inspires me.

     A "p.s." from Lori: 
From: lobrien
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 09:05:31 -0500
Subject: Thank you
I was finally able to read your blog, but technology failed me whenever I tried to post. Thank you so much! However undeserving I am, I am appreciative. I have always wished to be more like you – you are thoughtful, kind and caring. You see the good in others. And you are much stronger than you know. You have faced your own “tornadoes” and survived. We all have storms in our lives – just different kinds. You have traveled to places you wanted to go, you’ve written and published books. You take chances. And you express your emotions very well. I’m so very fortunate to have you as my friend.
I love you!
Lori

Jamie Ridler Studios posts a weekly Wednesday Wishcasting prompt.
Click here for more info on Jamie Ridler Studios and Wishcasting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Unspoken...

     Right after I graduated from high school one of my classmates died in a tragic car accident after arguing with her boyfriend on the phone.  Angry words had been said, probably by both of them, and she died before either of them had the chance to apologize.  The affect it had on his life changed him forever... and mine also even though I wasn't in their social circle.

     For me, it was my first lesson in how short life can be at times, and how sometimes words spoken in anger can haunt someone for the rest of their life.

     The nursery rhyme "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me" was never really true.  Words it seems can often cut deeper than knives, especially when spoken by the ones we love, and they can take a long time to heal.

     Bullying became something that gained world-wide attention when it resulted in teen suicides.  It wasn't even the physical act of shaking down a kid for their lunch money either.  It was simply posting pictures, videos or comments on the Internet, or spreading vicious lies and rumors.

     In my life there have been people who have used words of hate and anger to hurt, belittle, or control me.  There has even been times when silence was used as a weapon.  Telling the turned back of someone you care about that you love them, and not getting any response can eventually kill even the strongest feelings.

     Because of that, I supposed I am a little more sensitive to the spoken words of another.  How something is said, or how loudly it is said can often mean more than the actual words themselves.  I have ended friendships and severed relationships because of words spoken ... or unspoken.  I try to avoid conflict, anger, arguing... and the negative emotions that can consume all positive and rational thought like a marshmallow in the path of a lava flow.

     Yet for most of us, the words we need to say the most often go unspoken.  Words that can change the direction of a life... or a love....
     "I'm sorry."

     "Please forgive me."

     "I love you."

     What unspoken words would you like to hear? 

     What unspoken words do you need to say?

     Think about it.  What if you never get the chance to say the words that could heal someones hurt?  What if you never heard the words that could heal your own hurt?  Maybe instead of waiting to hear the words ... you should say them first ... or say them to yourself.  Sometimes all it takes to begin to heal is to look at yourself in the mirror and say ... I'm sorry.  Please forgive me.  I love you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Be the change...

     At some point in our lives we may wake up and realize that we want more.  Whatever that more is... it can cause us to stop and realize that in order to get it, we have to change.  Not to try and change the rest of the world.  But to change ourselves.  The only thing that we truly do have control over enough to change it, is ourselves.

     Whether we want more money, more work,  more love, more intimacy,  more friends, more respect... it is up to us to make a change in order to get "more" in our lives.  We can't sit by, twiddling our thumbs, and expect the world to just know what it is we want more of.  We have to take action.  Speak up.  Get out of our box and take the steps to make it happen in our lives.

     If we want more money or work... then we have to work more, work harder, work longer, save more, spend less.  We have to speak up to our supervisors and ask for more responsibility, or if we are self-employed, then we have to market ourselves more.  Shake more hands.  Become a "self-interest" politician so to speak ~ as long as we keep it honest and follow through on our campaign promises.

     If we want less work and more time with our families, then we have to make that choice to make them a priority in our lives.  We have to give them our time... make time for them.

     If we want more love in our lives... then we have to give more of it to others... and the same with more intimacy.  If we want more friends... then we have to make the effort to be a friend, to not hide in our house or our cubicle at work and interact more with other people... and just friending hundreds of random people on facebook really isn't building friendships.

     But if we want more respect... we often have to learn to respect ourselves first.  Which can mean putting a stop to unacceptable language or behavior from another person.  It can sometimes mean ending relationships, defining boundaries, and realizing that we will survive the pain that comes with the loss of a love.

     "I can't change what I believe about right and wrong, about honesty and trust.  I can't be someone I'm not.  Someone who looks the other way anymore.  Yes, I've done things wrong and made mistakes.  I'm not perfect.  But I was also very lucky that no one ever got hurt by my mistakes.  I'm accountable for all that I do in life, and I want to be a positive change in the world.  I can't go on pretending that the things that you say and do don't hurt me or that they are acceptable." 

     Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world." 

     I say... be the change you want to see in your life.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh Good Grief...

     It was Charlie Brown's favorite saying... but in reality I'm sure most of us would find it difficult to find any good in grief.  It is heart-wrenching, indescribable, and drop-you-to-your-knees painful to most of us even if we manage to hide it from the rest of the world.

     Whether you are grieving the end of a relationship, a death, the loss of a job, or the realization that dreams sometimes don't come true... it is probably the most painful experience we ever have to go through.  While the experts tell you that there are five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), they don't tell you that you may repeat those stages over and over again until you finally heal.  You may skip a stage in the beginning only to suddenly get hit with it years later when an emotional trigger reopens that wound.

  Grief isn't just a human emotion either.  Animals have been known to grieve the loss of a mate, a companion, or their owners.  It is by far one of the cruelest emotions that we can feel because it is often the one that makes us feel the most alone and isolated.  While it is an emotion we all share, each of us feels it like no one else can.

     "The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief.  But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love." ~ Hilary Stanton Zunin

     I risked it all again... and lost.... and the grief is immeasurable.  But I am richer for the experience of having known love, even if it did not turn out the way I had dreamed it would.  There can be no regrets in life for we get but one chance to live it.  Every day we must make the best of what we are given, then cherish the memories and lessons that come from it.

     Healing comes from within....

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Love of Self...

     A question was posed recently from one of the websites that I follow (Roots of She)... What soothes you when your heart's aching, when you're grouchy or cranky or sad, what helps make things all better?

     I think most of us tend to forget to nurture our inner self... that child within us that keeps us young.  As our bodies have aged, we've often become so caught up in the demands of being an adult that we forget who we are... or who we were.  We let work stress or money stress ride heavy on our shoulders and as a result we become stooped over with the weight of the world, beginning to feel the physical, emotional and mental effects of trying to be Atlas or Wonder Woman to the people in our lives.

     Been there... doing that.

     But lately I've started to pay attention again to that little girl who wants to deny that she will be 50 in a year.  She is insisting that she is really only five... and dyslexic. 

     She wants to dance in the rain, stomp in mud puddles, write out make believe stories about how her life will turn out whenever she does decide to "grow up."  She wants to get her hands sticky with glue or paint as she creates works of art from her heart.  She wants to experiment in the kitchen, adding new recipes to her collection of favorites... or her list of "don't ever try that again!"  She wants to get her hands dirty in the thick clay of Texas as she plants a garden so that she can harvest the fruits (or veggies) of her labor and can them, smiling to herself at the sound of the lids popping as the jars cool.  She wants to go to expensive clothing stores that she could never afford and try on hundred dollar dresses and spin around in front of the dressing room mirror as if she is waltzing at a fancy ball.

     I think I'm going to let her...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Facing Fears....

"I think it is an opportunity for me to look at that fear and maybe let it go — this fear that I have been carrying around with me for some time." ~ Amanda Lindhout

     Her name may mean nothing to you.  She is a freelance journalist who was kidnapped, abused and held captive in Somalia for 15 months before being freed.  During her time as a hostage, she thought about what she would do if she survived.  She decided that she would return to Kenya to build schools for the Somalia refugees to teach them how to have a better life, free of violence.  After being freed, she raised funds to start a foundation, but once she went back to Kenya to see the schools get started she saw the starving children and that changed everything.  Now she has been free for a year and a half and instead of still being held captive by her fears, she confronted them to return to Somalia to help feed the children.

      Fear.  It can control us.  It can motivate us.  It can allow us to look at areas in our lives that need change.

      Lately I've been forced to confront some of my own fears.  Things I thought I had conquered 32 years ago but apparently just stuffed them away in the back of my mind.  Now they have surfaced again and I realize that they have been holding me back all this time.  Keeping me hostage.

     I'm not sure yet how to deal with them.  How to confront them and beat them once and for all.  But I do know that as in everything in life, growth begins with that first step.  I must identify my fears.  Call them out by name.  Confront them.  Take away their power by bring them into the daylight and realizing that they are nothing more than shadows of my past that no longer have a part in my life.

     Let the warmth of the sun take away the chill in my heart... revive me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What door do you wish to open?



Basel Town Hall, Basel, Switzerland ~
a Rhine River Christmas cruise to find some of my childhood
memories again after Dad died in March that year.
     Many doors have opened and closed in my life.  Some have become windows of discovery, others walls of pain that I have built around myself.  Regardless of what they turned out to be, I have learned and grown with all of them.

     The door that I wish to open now is one that I've already started working towards manifesting into reality.  To be an author.  Full-time-self-supporting-quit-the-day-job-demanding-editors-with-deadlines kind of author.  To see my words reach more than just a few people here and there.  Not necessarily to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer, but to be ... me... in all my creative glory.

 Jamie Ridler Studios posts a weekly Wednesday Wishcasting prompt.

Facing Challenges...

     Often when we are facing struggles in our lives we can sometimes fall into a pity party of "why me?"  It is so easy to try to ignore the honest answer of "why not you?"  When we really step back out of the box, get off our pity pot, or accept that the world really doesn't revolve around us... it is easier to see that our "mountains" are often just mole hills in the big scheme of the world's problems.

     If you are reading this blog, you obviously have access to technology and electricity, whether or not you are reading it on a personal computer, cell phone, or library computer.  The World Energy Outlook estimated in 2010 that there was 20% of the world's population that did not have access to electricity.  Roughly 1.4 billion people.

    Did you wake up in a home this morning?  On the streets?  In a shelter?  Hundreds of millions are homeless.  Did you enjoy a fulfilling breakfast this morning?  Billions went without food yesterday, and will again today.  Are you healthy?  If not in perfect health (few of us are these days), do you at least wake up feeling more alive than dead?  My co-workers would question whether or not I could answer that until after my first few cups of coffee, but I will say I managed arrive at work without being the brain-eating zombie that I sometimes feel like when I wake up.  I have my share of aches and pains... but I am grateful to be alive.

     I face challenges, just like everyone else.  But I'm choosing to think of them more as "lessons in positive empowerment."  The challenges I face today teach me how to be grateful for the things that I have... and sometimes the things that I don't have.  For my family, friends... and even those who don't like me.

     Whether or not you believe in a Law of Attraction, I have learned from my "challenges" that what I give, what I accept, what I carry on my shoulders will determine what I get in life.  If I choose to be negative, that is what I will find in my life... negativity.  I'm making a choice to be positive...  what is yours?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where were you when...?

  Each generation grows up with their own history.  For the most part, we don't think too much about where we were when insignificant world events happen, but it seems that with each decade, each generation, the significant events become larger and more personal.

  On of my past grandfathers-in-law was born in 1912, the year the Titanic sunk.  For him, even though he had just been born, that was a significant event he always remembered.  When the [first] Great Depression started in 1929 with the Wall Street Crash of that year, he was working for Western Union, delivering telegrams in San Francisco on his bicycle [he never did learn to drive a car].  He told me of seeing people jump from buildings after receiving some of the telegrams.  He died in 2001 at the age of 89.  Cordless telephones continued to be an amazing miracle of technology to him every day.

  The day I was born, twelve East Germans escaped by tunneling under the Berlin Wall, twenty-seven years before it would fall in 1989.  Today there is a generation of people who never even knew that Germany was once divided between East and West.

  I was alive when John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.  I was alive when the last Americans left Viet Nam and when Woodstock took over a farm in New York State.  Today there is a generation of people who will Google or Bing those events just to know what I'm talking about.

  The first significant event that became personal for me was in January 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart.  I had once dreamed of being the first student journalist on a space shuttle and wrote to NASA in 1977 to volunteer.  I followed Christa McAuliffe's training and aspirations as if they were my own.  Now the space shuttle program has been shut down, and there will be generations that won't even remember the Challenger.

  On September 11, 2001, I was flying to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a business conference in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  I didn't make it to the conference, and drove home from Atlanta, Georgia in shock as I listened to the radio.  I had just been in New York City the weekend prior for Labor Day, and had been to the top of one of the World Trade Towers.  It is hard to believe it has been almost ten years since that day.

  When I was born, the world population was just over 3.1 billion.  Today they estimate it will exceed 7 billion in just a year.

  In November 1962, the term "personal computer" was first used by the media.  At that time a computer took up rooms (yes, plural) in office buildings.  Now they can fit one in the palm of your hand.

  Our world is both expanding and shrinking at the same time.  Technology advances have made it easier and faster for us to talk to our friends... and enemies.  Wars that once were fought hand-to-hand on distant battlefields can now be won or lost with the flip of a switch or push of a button.  Peace negotiations that once took weeks or months with letters carried by horses, trains, boats or planes... now done instantly bouncing off of satellites.

  Populations are growing, but as a result of crowded cities natural disasters are larger and deadlier.  More people are starving, homeless or without proper medical care.  While technology has made it easier for us to connect, we have become more disconnected.  We once ran to the aid of a person in need, creating 'bucket brigades' to put out fires.  Now we stand to the side and take pictures with our cell phones so that we can post them to Facebook or Twitter before anyone stops to call 911.  Our connections with the world have become confined and isolated to our laptops, iPads.  People walk or run with earphones on, or eyes averted down as they text, tweet, or update their status.

  There are more people in the world today than ever before and yet we make less eye contact.  We've become more environmentally conscious about recycling and conservation, and yet most of the time we never spend any time enjoying a spring rain, a summer breeze, or the beauty of the world around us.  We've kept threatened and endangered species from becoming extinct, discovered new species, but yet we seldom stop to listen to the sounds of those species... whether the song of a bird or the howling of a wolf.

  What are you going to do today to make this day your significant event?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Raw Diamonds...

I saw a raw diamond today.  Not just a lump of coal anymore, the pressure of the world has turned it into something more.  With some refining and gentle care and attention, it has potential to become something rare and valuable; although even in its raw state it is still exceptional and precious.
It is hard to imagine all that it once was, before it was even that lump of coal.  When it was “born” I’m sure it never imagined one day becoming a lump of coal, or even realizing that it could be something that is unique and priceless.
Comprehending the amount of heat and pressure that it takes to make a diamond can be difficult.  Diamonds are generally formed between 87 and 120 miles beneath the Earth’s crust.  The Grand Canyon in Arizona is only just over a mile deep in some places.  Imagine standing at the bottom of 120 Grand Canyons.
It can take one to three billion years of pressure to turn a lump of coal into a raw diamond.  But in this case, it only took 50.
I smiled at my reflection in the mirror today.  I am that raw diamond.  Rare.  Valuable.  Exceptional.  Precious.  Unique.  Priceless.  No longer a lump of coal, I see the potential I have to become more.
Look out World.  Here I come.