I have been given the freedom to redesign my life, habits and thinking. I am going to focus on gratitude and honor each moment by resting in mindfulness. I am not going to waste a moment. Looks like a week to pull out the paints and canvas and see what develops.
Okay, so this special meal, Thanksgiving, is to celebrate the Pilgrims finding America? These days many people wonder what that means, that word, America. We've changed so much as a nation since those raw, pristine, wild days. I don't want to discuss people, politics or religion. I just want to poke fun of the hardship the Pilgrims endured, their cumbersome clothing, and their journey.
1.My daughter said she's grateful we have an oven instead of a pile of wood to cook over, like they had. Me too.
2.My husband said he's thankful he doesn't have to wear that big buckle on his pants because it doesn't seem you could loosen it easily after eating a large meal.
3.My friend said she's thankful she can come to my house by car and not boat because she wouldn't be able to eat; she'd be sea sick...
4. I'm thankful I don't have to gather, shoot, or barter for my menu; I'm thankful for Publix Supermarket!
I'm thankful for people with a great sense of humor and my ability to appreciate it and use it myself---it helps to get us through all of our days.
One of the most painful things anyone can go through is family division. Separation from a parent, a child, or sibling. From what I have experienced, many times the division begins with addiction at the core of the problem. A person's behavior is so incomprehensible they either reject us or abuse us so that behavior forces us to remove ourselves from the individual. I learned long ago to value my higher power, God, first, and I'm second, all else is in third place. We must have peace in or lives. That doesn't mean we will have a stress free life; it just means having a calm mind. If an individual wreaks havoc on your emotions- diminishing your quality of life- it is best to eliminate all exposure to that individual.
The scriptures of the Bible tell us to forgive, Buddhism purports compassion [as does the Bible]. When, in your heart you are solid in the knowledge that you have forgiven and you are compassionate but you have emptied your well of giving, it is time to be compassionate and forgive yourself. Simply, you have reached the place where ties must be severed; your overall health, your well-being is at stake. It is time to embrace yourself, recapture your peace and then rest in the fact that as an individual you have given all you can possibly give; and God understands and philosophy supports you; because you have compassion for their plight but can no longer be part of it.
The elderly population is explosive here, not just in their numbers but in their attitudes, toward those younger and in the sometimes crotchety way they navigate through life. Many [younger] people complain about their driving. "They think they own the road," they say, or "why doesn't that old geezer move," or "oh, look at her/him, they can't even see over the wheel!!" . It's also common to hear people complain that older drivers are wickedly impatient in their retorts and they are basically incompetent nimwits behind the wheel.
I was thinking, perhaps because they've been on the planet the longest, they are simply seeking a position; they need to feel treasured and respected in society and perhaps they seek a little attention in their vacant, lonely lives. Unfortunately, many do not treasure them, or respect them in our society [therefore; this will apply, one day, to each of us]. I wonder if the road gives them a place, in their heavy cars, to put themselves first, at all cost. They may grow impatient with those of us who want to more more quickly from point A to point B because they carry the knowledge, ever pressing upon them, that their lives could be completed in mere seconds; their trying to make what's left last (lol). Most older folks experience not only the anquish of this knowledge that their life is becoming shorter and shorter very quickly but many have physical pain as well. It could be that there are far too many prescribed painkillers on the road. Side effects are: irritability and slow reaction times...hmmm.
The scent of memory:
Wafting throught the air was the sweet smell of balsa pine
That clean scent pricked my memory like a needle full of the past; the fountain of my youth.
Suddenly, I was in Lenox, eight years old, sitting on a bed of soft, brown, in the tall and twisted stand of pines during a calm, drizzling spring rain. The openings in the heavy canopy revealing puffs of blue; places where the sky was clearing. Youth is a champion runner; its time is less than a season should be; but a transporting scent can become a fountain of youth that will stay as long as the thoughts visit.
Deep down, logic tells us we aren't truly safe anywhere. That's right, nobody is safe at anytime, anywhere. safety s an illusion that we must believe exists or we would all be crazy; paranoid. Faith too, is only real if we feel its exisitence. Why, then, do most people feel safe most of the time and lack faith more often?
I volunteer some of my time in a downtown art gallery. It is a wonderful place to be inspired and have quiet time while viewing and being absorbed in total creativity. This month the gallery is featuring an extremely talented rising artist who works with iron, as a blacksmith would, to form the most extraordinary sculptures. Today is the second time I've met the 30-something artist. Today, he came in with his parents. As they viewed his exhibit, the mother proudly told me they owned the originals of two of the displayed pieces. I commented, "His art is organic, yet futuristic." She said, " I always knew what he'd do best and this is it. He'd make things that no other person would think of; you wouldn't believe what he'd do with Legos as a child." She explained how he would exasperate some family members because if he couldn't get it to look like he wanted it to look with those simple snappable squares he'd break them and attach them in creative ways. Hmm, how do mother's just know what their child will become by observing play? I think because how someone PLAYS defines them fully. Knowing this it should be our personal committment to make our work our play!!
My dear brother-in law is living with me and my husband. An accident left him physically limited and subject to his hip popping out of its socket (OUCH); which leads to needing anesthesia to knock him out to pop it back in place. He can't bend at all, he uses a cane and wears an uncomfortable, unattractive brace that he hates, but needs. We tease him that twirls his cane nervously, tell him he looks like a transformer or Joe Namath in the old days because of his brace! One morning, we were talking and he expressed how horrible he feels because he "puts us out" to serve his needs until his surgery which we hope will resolve this for him. I reminded him that unless we die quickly, by accident, or in our sleep all of us will be in his place, needing someone to assist us. Already knowing the answer I would get, I asked, "You'd help us if the situation were reversed, wouldn't you?" Then I started to think about how we really need the help of others every day of our lives and we easily accept it, sometimes thinking nothing of the efforts someone "puts out" for us ( something as simple as pouring your coffee or taking out the garbage). Being unable to reciprocate is the thing that changes when someone is injured and has to ask and receive from others all the time. I think this is why it is so difficult for them to accept help in their situation. I thought about how we need to tell others that we know what they have done and would do for us; then they feel a bit of relief. Rememering our good humor lifts spirits too, its a way to get through, and we shouldn't forget to use it.
Taking time to create my art has a similar benefit to those who indulge in Beverly Hills or NYC style therapy. Although my time spent creating is not comparitively expensive because they pay hundreds per hour to gain "insight" into themselves and I don't have to. When I have time to create I am in the process of discovery too, yet, all I have to do is head toward my paints and choose the colors that I am drawn to at that particular moment. I don't think about the color wheel. I don't think about a subject. I don't know if the colors I chose will be at the surface of the canvas at the end of the creative process. I just know for sure with some paint, a rag or two and a few embellishments, I create a representation of whatever lies deep within me. The final piece of artwork never lies.
When events in life are concerning I call upon my faith. Faith is built upon, grows stronger, as we come out of these situations because we see that there is always a way to find peace and there is always a resolution. We have no control of outcomes. Yet, for me, focusing upon the fact that no living being has an event that has happened only to them helps me center myself. Death, happens to all, sickness happens to all, and having unraveling feelings touches all of us at one time or another. Finding a way to help someone cope, praying or thinking positively, helps me to create calm through chaos. Faith in something more after this life seems intrinsically true. When I am simply worn out I have often pictured laying my head on Jesus' lap and I imagine him stroking my hair, as one would a child who is upset. This brings me to a peaceful, coping place.
Pausing to notice our surroundings is a grounding and rejuvinating experience. There is intricate beauty all around us throughout our days; noticing and appreciating these things will soothe and refocus the mind.
My husband will often tell me that he sees all that I do for the people around me. He'll say, " C'mon, no cooking or cleaning or ironing or going anywhere to help anyone for a few hours. I'm taking you to breakfast and then you can call to get your hair done or get a massage; whatever you like." Being shown that I am appreciated and taking the initiative to show me, is just the most loving thing that I can think of. It seems that anyone in a relationship would and should be treated the same considerate way but often this isn't the case.
My favorite quote sums up both the fantastic joy and the tormenting pain of life:
Nothing comes to stay; everything comes to pass. Recognize the impermanence of every single thing and it helps make a happier spiritual existence.
Be vigilent; people will know you through and through when they see what you surround yourself with; do you want just anyone to be familiar with your passions? I believe it is wise to invite only positive, loving people into my home.
I can't count the number of times someone has repeatedly claimed that they are "in love" but the person they are in love with contributes absolutely nothing to the relationship. Instead "the loved" disappoints them and disrespects them. This is not love, love is not one-sided. Unless the person you love shows you actions that prove the too often spoken phrase " I love you, " they do not love you. If it's one-sided move on and improve your spirit.
How would you feel if you found a beautiful envelope (that wasn't an invitation) containing a letter written by hand by a friend on lovely paper? Everyone loves to find a letter from a friend in the mailbox--so send one!
The wisest advice I had came from my daughters pediatrician. He was an Indian doctor. I was worried that I wouldn't be a good parent and I asked him what I could do to be a good parent. He looked at me squarely and took both of my hands in his. He said, " There are only three ways: example, example, example."
Simplify your expectations of life; live it where you are. It's good to remember the old adage " Too much of anything isn't any good." Money in excess gives people headaches and being loved to suffocation is no longer loving.
Knowing we cannot reach the level of any of these saints or prophets, just try to do the right thing and forgive yourself when you don't. I often feel frustrated with my dad who has dementia and then I feel horrible that I feel that way---then I remind myself that I am not Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa.
Think about the last time someone wrote you a note to give special thanks. Remember the last time someone shook your hand and said, " Nice to meet you." Think of the last time someone made a request and prefaced it with a "Please." Manners enrich the spirit, yours and others.
Solitude is healthy; lonliness is dis-ease. Gather around quality people who'll help us grow into people who choose to evolve; over the course of a good relationship or friendship, they will reveal things to us which teach us where we should seek to improve.
Oh, to realize the feeling of hope and new beginnings that a baby holds; we see that they are fantastic reminders of our own core being where joy lives and faith in better days exist. Playing with a small child gives us the eyes of a child as we watch them find such happiness in every little thing.
Find someplace quiet. Sit up with your spine aligned. Breath in and out naturally focusing on only your breath. Let thoughts come but don't dwell on them; let them go as fast as they come. After ten minutes I am reenergized. Help yourself, try it.
Evident in the closet was her meticulous order, her cleanliness, and her taste and style.Standing inside, I could smell the light scent of her brand of detergent, and her favorite perfume; Red Door.All tops and pants hung by hues of color and were placed a certain distance apart.My stomach turned over several times over a couple of hours when I pushed down the urge to burst out in tears. I clenched her trinkets in my hand and hugged a bathrobe and one of her shirts she often wore; I guess hoping to feel her.A clips-reel of memories played continuously as I pictured her; remembering the times and places where she wore each piece of her clothing.I found a stylish, slightly old, softly used pocketbook that was carefully wrapped in tissue; I am left wondering why she felt compelled to take extra care of that one since she had so many others.Some of her size seven shoes were worn; yet none were worn out.Many more pairs were never worn at all; to me these were reminders of her long incapacitation.I am left numb by what we like, care for, hold on to, desire and need in life --and how it is all simply divvied up or discarded when we go. I'm so happy I helped her while she was here and it made her smile.
It made me angrier than I can confess when I suddenly became caregiver for both of my elderly parents. Yet, as time went by, I came back to words I had stated long ago: We are only here to learn and to help other people. Really, what else is there? Sometimes it is not appreciated but I consider what I do alms for the karma basket and I'm trying to ease the angst of others; while I still can.
Color therapy is used by psychologists and designers to create a mood. When I look at flowers I examine them closely. Each one is as complex as each of us and the delicate nature is as fragile as our breaths. The colors of nature are healers, get lost in them; it will carry you to a new and refreshing place.
Oh, how many times do we yell and shout at people on the road? I know I have had my share of times but recently I am consciously not engaging in that behavior anymore. I experienced a paradigm shift: I just received a call that my mom died and I had my father in the car with me, her husband of 64 years, and I had just given him the news. We were stopped at a red light and my father was wailing and flailing his arms, I reached over to hold him, to calm him, and the light turned green. The cars behind me began to honk and looking in the rearview mirror someone shot me the bird for not moving when the light turned. I wondered if they knew what happened would they have reacted the same way?
Service to others is a marvelous way to reach outside of ourselves. I find that when I surprise someone with a gift of food the pleasure is multiplied because we are all so fullfilled by a simple gesture.
In January I lost my job because my parents became ill. The overwhelming feeling of losing my career less than midstream was nearly unbearable...then I asked what can I become now? I have discovered my creativity and self worth is truly not from one thing. Through my art, which I have displayed, wopn awrds for and sold I am born again. I became what I never was and so can anyone else. Change IS good because the doors and wondows open IF we reevaluate what we are.
More often than not, because I am such an unervingly candid person, I say things without thinking about a person's reaction to my words. I am trying to be a better person. I have a long road of practice ahead--but being conscious of areas that need improvement is the only way to become a better spirit.