Thursday, August 31, 2023

August 31--It Is a Constant Effort

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. 
--Albert Schweitzer

    Because of his self-centered, narcissistic, addictive and belligerent personality, former President Trump caused an extraordinary amount of misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to flourish in our society. He tried to make it OK to make fun of the disabled, hurt those different from us, and cheat and lie, just to name a few of his legacy items. We need to evaporate these attitudes if we are going to survive as a free country and have a planet that will support us all in the long term. 
    Life is better for ALL when we accomplish with kindness rather than force. 
    Yes, constant kindness is a challenge for me, too!

Let us focus on LOVE and BEAUTY!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

August 30--Move, Move, Move

Nothing happens until something moves.  --Albert Einstein

    Einstein could safely say this about science and the physics of the Universe, but also as a general life principle. 
    I like to wonder about things. I'm a math nerd, but I don't remember any of the "higher" math I learned in school (except geometry, that was my favorite--remember I used the term "nerd"). My wondering the other day while swimming laps was this. The sun is moving through space. The earth is spinning and moving around the sun once a year. The moon is not spinning but it is moving around the earth about once a month. How was anyone able to figure out where the moon would be so that we could shoot a spaceship to land there!??!!?! It's a small target in the vastness of space. Like so many things, I am so grateful that there are folks out there who are much smarter than I am and using (moving!) their talents. 
    Keep moving!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

August 29--Doing Gets The Results

You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.  --Amy Poehler

    "Treat and move your feet." "Baby steps." "Do the footwork." All of these are encouragement for doing. Something happens when we do. Talking, worrying and thinking may be helpful but generally do not accomplish much. How often have we killed a good idea by worrying it to death? How many books have not been written because they are only talked about and no writing actually happens?
    In my decade-plus of MELT and yoga teaching, I have encountered quite a few folks who spend a lot of time "talking and worrying and thinking" about improving their health or relieving their chronic pain. They want the results without "the doing." They don't want to spend the money, or they want a doctor or similar to fix it for them. Alas, that ain't gonna happen. Results require doing.
    I thought about learning pickleball for many months before I actually bought a paddle and showed up for beginner time at the YMCA. I worried that I could play without hurting myself. Would I be so awful at it that no one would want to play with me? Then I just showed up and started on the drills and playing. And yes, "the doing is the thing." I've enjoyed playing more than I ever imagined. 
    What "doing" does today hold for you?

Monday, August 28, 2023

August 28--Beauty--Spread It Around!

Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.  --Anne Herbert

    There is a book by this title by Anne Herbert and M. Paloma Pavel (photo below). 
    I believe we are talking mindset here, encouraging kindness and appreciation of beauty as innate parts of us that we want operational at all times. I look to our local Saturday Farmers' Market as an example. There are a lot of folks there, sometimes standing in long lines to purchase goodies. People are friendly. I can't ever recall overhearing any cranky encounters. The offerings are beautiful--Mama Earth's bounty in so many forms--all the way from personal care products to flower plants to dog biscuits to a kaleidoscope of vegetables. I always feel good after being there because I have practiced and experienced kindness and was surrounded by beauty. 
    Let us live in kindness, truly seeing and enjoying the beauty that surrounds us,

Sunday, August 27, 2023

August 27--A Waste? I Think Not.

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.  --Auguste Rodin

    I love going to estate sales. Is that an essential part of life? No. I simply enjoy them. Just seeing the house is part of the fun. It may be a grand home with expensive stuff and beautiful artwork in a lovely setting, or it may be a former hoarder's paradise. Sometimes I find small treasures. Occasionally I make a great score (like the Miele vacuum). I've found a lot of useful craft materials at sales. What I always come home with is the reminder that I do not need more stuff just to have more stuff. That's using the experience wisely. 
    Some might consider my painting efforts a waste of time. I'll never be a rich, famous artist (this is mainly because I have no desire to be a rich, famous artist). However, I have learned that some form of creativity has to be active in my life to keep me sane. Painting opens my spirit like few other things can, and it pushes me "outside my box." 
    Then there's baseball. I spend hours each week watching the Cubs. Waste of time? Sometimes. But my love of baseball has taken me to 30 cities, on fabulous trips, meeting lovely people--the quest of a lifetime. I feel that I've used my passion for baseball very wisely. 
    Let us ENJOY however we use our precious time,

From an early acrylic workshop...

Saturday, August 26, 2023

August 26--I Am Me and You Are You

Begin with that most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.  --Anna Quindlen

    My husband really likes to stay busy. He is always looking for more projects to work on. I am very grateful for this. I, on the other hand, feel as though I am generally lazy and would prefer to do as little as possible. I know I am not lazy--I do get things done. But I thoroughly enjoy my daily hobby of napping, and it is a bonus to have no evening commitments so that I can chill and watch sports on TV. 
    I had my first session of physical therapy this week for my left shoulder. It has been sore for several months, and I finally decided to see if I could get some help to heal it. The therapist poked and prodded and tested the area in various ways to find exactly what to target. Then he gave me three exercises to do daily at home. I'm tickled that one of them is accomplished with my regular MELT practice. The therapist said several times, "I'm so glad you exercise a lot, it makes my job so much easier." 
    OK, so I'm not totally lazy, 
The shoulder--a complex and awesome joint!

Friday, August 25, 2023

August 25--Kindness, The Best Option Always

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. 
--Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales

    My days begin with my husband bringing me an excellent cup of coffee--his sweet morning act of kindness. 
    There is much nastiness in the world. When I witness an instance of unkindness, it inspires me to be even more kind. Why does anyone think that rudeness, violence, name-calling, yelling, etc. are helpful or appropriate? We all have our triggers, I know. It takes a mature person to be kind in a stressful situation.
Let's use airports as an example. Because I travel a lot, I've seen many instances of rudeness in airports. I get it--traveling is tiring and there are delays and mechanical and weather problems. Just because things are not working out smoothly is not a reason to be rude. The workers are doing their best (whether we think so or not), so it behooves us to put our "best foot forward" as customers. I personally have had much better results when I practice kindness rather than allowing my frustrations to overcome me. 
    As the Dalai Lama reminds us: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."

How about we ALL practice THIS religion!!?!?!?!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

August 24--Keep After It

If the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied to what there is close at hand, everything is still possible.  --Robert Fulghum

    Barney is quite excited this morning because he has heard the phrase "ride in the truck." Little does he know that he is headed to the groomer. I'm not sure he likes the process much, but the end result is great. 
    "What there is close at hand"--this sounds to me like baby steps. With a dream, taking small actions close at hand shows the Universe that we are serious about accomplishing the goal. 
    This quote applies to most everything we do in life... keep the goal in mind, do the next right thing in front of us, keep plugging away without becoming discouraged. This is how our new deck appeared over the course of five months last summer. This is how my paintings happen. This is how I completed my 30-stadium MLB quest. Our "accomplished dream" lists are quite long if we would take the time to give ourselves credit. 
    Keep dreaming!
Old deck
New deck

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

August 23--Love.

To love another human in all of her splendor and imperfect perfection, it is a magnificent task... tremendous and foolish and human.  --Louise Erdrich

We think fear, anger, divine intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to love. We cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest.  --Richard Rohr

    Love is hard. It is especially hard to love those who trouble or disagree with us. I was raised in an "us vs. them" mentality that covered all the bases--race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. I was fortunate to have friends in all of the "them" groups, helping me to understand that there is no "them," only "us." I know this intellectually, but my ego still wants to create "them" groups. 
    Let's reinforce "us" with loving kindness, and yes, it is a practice.

Flowers bloom extravagantly for ALL.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

August 22--Don't Worry About It

Don't worry about it. The right thing will come at the right time.  --Danielle Steel

    "Don't worry about it." Holy cow, I need to hear that and to chant it over and over as a mantra. I would say that I am generally not a worrier, but worrisome things have been a bit overwhelming lately. Most distressing is my brother's health situation a thousand miles away from me. He's in rehab, which appears to be the "right thing at the right time." I'm concerned for his children having to deal with the situation. 
    I am well aware that worrying does not help anything, that it is focusing one's thoughts in the wrong direction. It's a constant practice to drag my imaginings away from troublesome, frightening outcomes. I have a multitude of great manifestations to remind me that all is in divine order whether or not I can see that order. It's a good practice for me to take a momentary break with a deep breath and remind myself that Something Bigger Than Me is in charge. 
August is the right time for magnificent 
Palisade peaches from Colorado...
candy from Mama Earth 😍

Monday, August 21, 2023

August 21--Tired? Still We Press On

One may go a long way after one is tired.  --French Proverb

    I experience this every time I walk our dog Barney. I don't enjoy walking him unless the weather is perfect, which happens, I think, about a half-dozen days a year. It is either too hot, too cold, too humid or too windy for my liking. Because I don't enjoy walking him, I tire quickly, but still we trudge on. 
    Another place to use the quote above is traveling. Sightseeing surely is tiring, but if there's one more thing to see, I'll go a "long way." 
    It's a good thing that human life involves fairly consistent daily rest and sleep time. Imagine if we were wired such that we only slept once a month. That would be weird. It is easier to go a long way in a tired state if one can anticipate rest and relief soon to follow. 
    The quote above also describes parenting perfectly. 😉😉

Barney in my lap at the drive-thru excitedly awaiting
his "Andy's pup cup" mini ice cream cone.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

August 20--Life Requires Hope

Hope springs forever.  --J. K. Rowling

    Hope is the reason we come here in the first place--hope for an interesting life, a break from the monotony of eternity. There's something to ponder--we exist forever, we choose to come here, we do it multiple times, sometimes we pick a different planet for variety. It's the game of LIFE on a cosmic scale. That may all be silly imaginings, or it may be what really happens. We don't know, and that's where "hope springs forever." 
    Hope is the reason we learn to walk, go to school, fall in love, have children, develop careers, make friends, learn hobbies, travel to new places, and live in a healthy manner. Without hope, nothing gets accomplished. 
    Hopeful about today,

Saturday, August 19, 2023

August 19--Encouragement Is the Key Ingredient

Instruction does much, but encouragement everything. 
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    I think back on the years I was in school. One developed a "reputation" as he/she moved through the years. If you were smart, hard-working and well-behaved, you received plenty of encouragement. If you were not all those things, encouragement seemed in short supply. Tolerance was more the attitude in those instances. Fortunately I was one of the encouraged ones, all the way through grad school. 
    I look back on my many job experiences, and the better ones were those that included bountiful encouragement from my boss. I was smart enough to learn the "what" of my jobs, but it was the encouragement that made it a good place to be. Those jobs where encouragement was lacking are ones where I did not choose to stay for long. 
    Consider professional athletes... they have learned through years of instruction how to play their sport, but without the confidence that comes from encouragement, they don't make it past the minor leagues. 
    Encouragement is good for both the giver and the recipient.

Giant flower pot in downtown Fort Collins,
encouraging appreciation of Mama Earth's beauty

Friday, August 18, 2023

August 18--The Choices We Make

It's your life--but only if you make it so.  --Eleanor Roosevelt

    "Be yourself--everyone else is already taken." I don't remember who said that one. The gist of these sayings is that we create our life experience whether or not we are conscious of the choices we make. I do believe that conscious choices are probably more satisfying in the long run. 
    There is great uncertainty in our world and also in my life. This is a "chicken and egg" thing. I don't know if there is much uncertainty in individual lives that is creating more widespread uncertainty, or if the general malaise of uncertainty is trickling down into individual lives. What I had thought was going to be happening in my life is not, so I am at a point of figuring out other ways to be useful. I am discovering that being useful is a key part of living for me. Feeling unneeded is a paralyzing state. My prayer is to be at peace with the uncertainty and be open to new options to live fully and use my time well. 
    We shall see what develops,
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:
they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
(Matthew 6)

Thursday, August 17, 2023

August 17--Encouragement--A Gift

One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.  --John O'Donohue

    I was able to encourage myself enough to complete the dreaded house-cleaning project this week. Yippee! I don't have to do it again for another year. Just kidding.
    As I am pondering the quote above, I note that much of what I do is about encouragement. It is a joy to see new folks come into my MELT and yoga class or a coaching session. They are typically tentative about what will happen, can they do it, will they do it "right." (Note that I never tell anyone they are not doing something "right." It's  a matter of doing something safely or more effectively for their body and life circumstances.) It is great to see folks afterward feeling better about themselves and their bodies. 
    Certainly good parenting is all about encouragement. One of the things that pleases us so much about our adult sons is that they can talk easily to anyone, and they do. Our little grandson lives in an environment full of encouragement, and already at 1-year-old, he is not just walking, but running, on the move. 
    Encouragement creates thriving, much better than surviving,

Encouragement creates beauty, too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

August 16--Get 'Er Done

It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness.  --J. M. Barrie

    I'm thinking that I am extra-fortunate in that I get to do what I like AND like what I do. In my full-time working days, I held several different jobs in the computer/technology field. I was doing what I liked, but there were definitely instances wherein I did not like what I was doing, and I was not happy. 
    What would my blog be without the occasional anti-house-cleaning rant?!?! This week is D-day, or should I say C-day---I am committed to cleaning the house this week. It is way overdue, and I just want to get the effort behind me. I must say that the new Miele vacuum is quite awesome. I don't know that I can elevate myself to the point of "liking what I do," but I can at least think of the happiness I will feel when the cleaning is done. 
    Scrub them floors, dust them shelves!

Nasturtium leaves enjoying 
the sunshine, CSU Gardens

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

August 15--Endings Lead to Beginnings

Every limit is a beginning as well as an ending.  --George Eliot

    This kind of sounds like the standard pronouncement at any graduation--yes, this is an ending, but also a beginning. Most folks eventually end their student days. There is often a limit to how much schooling one can take. That limit pushes us into beginning adult life with the potential for a satisfying career and family life. 
    In my early 30s, I reached a limit ("hit bottom") on my addiction, which led me to the beginning of lifelong recovery. For this I am forever grateful. 
    By 2020, I had reached the limit of the pain I could tolerate in my left hip. I went through the joint replacement surgery and began to experience moving and sleeping comfortably once again. I was surprised after the surgery to see how much mental and physical energy I had been losing to pain. Chronic pain is a powerful drain on life energy. 
    Where has an ending brought a new beginning of good into your life?

Row after row of geraniums,
CSU Gardens

Monday, August 14, 2023

August 14--Home Again

Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.  --H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

    I had a fun 9-hole round of golf with my younger son yesterday, then drove home. It was a windy drive.
    Now it is time for "re-entry," back to regular life. I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed at the moment, with too many things to do and not enough time. It would be nice to have someone push me around and tell me what to do because my brain feels a little fuzzy. Alas, I must do that for myself, and simply stay focused on the next thing right in front of me. A swim will clear my head, so that is my first mission today. 
Begonia blossoms, CSU Gardens

Sunday, August 13, 2023

August 13--A Great Visit

There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.  --Lemony Snicket

    Today I am not staying put; I am returning home to Kansas, but not until after playing golf with my younger son. 
    I spent part of my morning yesterday roaming the CSU Gardens, at the peak of color and beauty right now. I met my son, d-i-l and grandson at a bakery for treats and coffees. My son and I took my grandson to the park. What a treat to see him motoring around for the first time with shoes on. And his fascination with sand was a delight to watch. He kept picking up handfuls, running it through his fingers and throwing it in the air. Some of it nestled into his curly hair. He was also fascinated by the other little ones there. 
    I had a lovely supper with the family, stopped at Culvers for dessert, and settled into my airbnb at a reasonable hour due to today's early start. 
    I'm off to the golf course,
The CSU Gardens--a glorious riot of color!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

August 12--Happy Birthday!

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.  --Maya Angelou

    Today is my older brother's 84th birthday. He's had an extremely rough couple of weeks due to health challenges and hospitalization. He's been called a "tough old bird," and I'm praying he hangs in there. He has always been a rainbow in my life.
    I had plenty of rainbows yesterday. I visited my younger son working at Starbucks, and he treated me to a fine coffee. I roamed around Old Town Fort Collins, shopping and enjoying the beautiful flowers and artwork all over downtown. The play fountain was loaded with squealing wet children. I went on a successful quest for Palisade peaches--they are in peak season right now, and they are heaven on the taste buds. The day then got even better, playing 18 holes at Collindale Golf Course with my older son. We laughed a lot. A younger man was paired up with us, and at one point he said to me, "I wish my mom would golf with me." That was a definite rainbow. 
    Hopefully I was a rainbow to someone yesterday. I had good interactions with all the folks who served me. I stayed in a good mood on the golf course and didn't drop any F-bombs. I had a fun time with my kids and grandson. I supported the economy by circulating some cash. 
    Shine bright, rainbows!

Fort Collins sculpture and flowers

Friday, August 11, 2023

August 11--"Loving Awareness"

Wonder. Go on and wonder.  --William Faulkner

    I believe that in our endless pursuit of busyness, we have sacrificed to our detriment the time spent in imagination, daydreaming, and self-understanding. 
    Let us spend a bit of time in wonder at our true nature with these words by Buddhist meditation teacher and author Tara Brach describing our true nature as “loving awareness”:

Increasingly over the years, my trust in this loving awareness as the essence of who we all are has become a guiding light. No matter how wrong or lacking we may feel, how caught in separation, or how trapped by the messages, violations, and inequities of the society we live in, this basic goodness remains the essence of our Being.

A beautiful story holds within it this truth. During the mid-1950s in Bangkok, Thailand, a huge clay statue of the Buddha began to crack due to heat and drought. When some monks arrived to investigate, they shined a flashlight into the largest of the cracks. What they saw surprised everyone. Deep under the gray clay was the gleam of gold.

No one had known that inside this popular but ordinary-looking statue was a solid-gold Buddha. As it turns out, the statue had been covered with plaster and clay six hundred years earlier to protect it from invading armies. Although all the monks who lived in the monastery at that time had been killed in the attack, the golden Buddha, its beauty and value covered over, had survived untouched.

Just as the monks disguised the beauty of the golden Buddha in order to protect it during dangerous times, we cover our own innate purity and goodness as we encounter a challenging world. As children many of us were criticized, ignored, misunderstood, or abused, leading us to doubt that gold within us. As we grow up, we increasingly internalize the judgments and values of our society, further losing touch with our innocence, our creativity, and our tender hearts. We cover over the gold as we seek the approval of others, looking to them to measure our worth—to determine whether we are good enough, smart enough, successful enough.

Adding layer after layer to protect ourselves, we become identified with our coverings, believing ourselves to be separate, threatened, and deficient. Yet even when we cannot see the gold, the light and love of our true nature cannot be dimmed, tarnished, or erased. It calls to us daily through our longing for connection, our urge to understand reality, our delight in beauty, our natural desire to help others. Our deepest intuition is that there is something beyond our habitual story of a separate and isolated self: something vast, mysterious, and sacred….

Even though the gold of your true nature can get buried beneath fear, uncertainty, and confusion, the more you trust this loving presence as the truth of who you are, the more fully you will call it forth in yourself and in all those you touch. And in our communities, as we humans increasingly remember that gold, we’ll treat each other and all beings with a growing reverence and love.
(From Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, August 11) 
It's lovely in Colorado. There's golf in my future today 😀

Lots of trees at Collindale Golf Course

Thursday, August 10, 2023

August 10--Valuable and Deserving

Never doubt that you are valuable and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.  --Hillary Clinton

    Today's opportunity is the long drive to Colorado to see my kids and grandson. I wonder what dreams the little guy will have? At one-year-old, it is easy to see and encourage infinite potential in him. He is a perfect little human. We all have that perfect little human inside us. Where did we lose our sense of being valuable and deserving? Many of us had that hammered out of us in assorted ways--well-meaning family, religion, peer-pressure, abuse and trauma, unfortunate life events. I repeat--we all have that perfect little human inside us. Loving that Spirit-essence within can give us the courage to pursue our dreams. 
    On the road again 😃

Colorado beauty

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

August 9--Life = Adventure

None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward.  --Paulo Coelho

    What other choice do we have? To be paralyzed by fear? Our society is clearly showing the ravages of a fear-based mentality. We have to keep going forward. 
    I was, and continue to be, shaken by my sister-in-law's sudden passing last fall. One minute she was with us, the next minute she was gone. I know this happens on a regular basis but this one really "hit close to home." 
    Rather than going down the fear path, how about taking the adventure trail? We don't know what the next minute holds, but if we go into it with a spirit of adventure rather than fear, I expect we will have a lot more fun. 
    Going forward into Wednesday,

Still on my bucket list...

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

August 8--Good Is Good Enough

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.  --John Steinbeck

    Whew! What a relief! Growing up with a controlling, demanding mother (who had her own issues, I now see), I learned perfectionism "at the feet of the master." I was certainly far from perfect, but the pressure was always there. It has been a lifetime practice to release perfectionism and be comfortable with simply being good. 
    Perfectionism is a common character defect among addicts. "All or nothing" thinking leads to the idea that if I can't do X perfectly, I won't even try. Attempting "perfect" recovery often leads to addicts abandoning the effort in frustration. 
    Perfectionism leads to judging oneself by unreasonable standards. This is often projected onto others in criticism, fault-finding and an "us vs. them" attitude. Perfectionism does not make for good and comfortable relationships with others. 
    Let us be kind in all we do. That is good enough. 

Flowers in the southwestern dessert

Monday, August 7, 2023

August 7--BIG Fun

There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.  --Nelson Mandela

    A couple of nights ago, I was at an outdoor concert where my husband's band played. It was held in the backyard of a band member, one who has frequent musical events there. We had a merciful break from the heat. The large crowd and band members were all having a great time. There was a tree loaded with pears that the owner was encouraging folks to pick. Many heavy sacks of pears were carried away. As I sat and enjoyed the performance, with my shoes off and my feet tapping on Mama Earth, I looked at the clouds, the stars, the greenery, and the folks around me. I imagined how our Mama must love this simple joy rocking out on Her. Later in the night She showed Her stuff with another mighty storm front flowing through our area. I believe there is consciousness operating within Mama Earth, She supports and loves us and delights in joy happening upon Her. I love these moments when I feel both oneness and wonder.
    Regarding Mr. Mandela's quote, I get it. However, questions arise: Am I settling? What am I capable of? What do I really want? All these can only be answered on an individual basis. One person's huge life may seem like playing small to another. It's a good idea to avoid the trap of comparison. 
    Please take note of Mama Earth's beauty today, wherever you may be.

Her beauty in the southwest U.S.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

August 6--Less Violence Please

It's universally accepted that children need love, but at what age are people supposed to stop needing it? We never do. We need love in order to live happily, as much as we need oxygen in order to live at all.  --Marianne Williamson

    In the mode of encouraging less violence (both internal and external) and more love, I offer this from the August 5 Daily Meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation:

Nonviolence trainers Veronica Pelicaric (1946–2022) and Nina Koevoets offer what they call “the four A’s” as guidelines to help us become more aware of our feelings and emotions, so we are better able to respond compassionately rather than react violently:

Acknowledge: When you notice a feeling, acknowledge its presence. First simply name it. If you are not alone, it can also be good to verbalize what you are feeling so the other person knows what is going on with you. “I am feeling irritated right now,” is an example of acknowledging a feeling.

Allow both your feeling(s) and thoughts. If violent images or words come to your mind, you can observe them. Take a deep breath and realize that this is not what you really want to act out. Breathe out and release.… If scary images or thoughts come to your mind, do the same. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if your thoughts are realistic…. Do a reality check. Breathe out and release. Tell yourself you can deal with it.

Ask yourself what is the reason for your feeling. Where does it come from? What need or value do you hold that was not met? For example, did you need care, appreciation, or understanding? What would you like to hear in this situation? Investigate with curiosity and care. Try to have a compassionate dialogue with yourself.

Accept that you are not perfect and forgive yourself. Offer reassurance with a sentence such as “I am patient,” or, “I’m able to handle this.” If it helps, you can also bring to mind a loving being, family member, friend, or pet. Alternatively, focus on your body to release any tension through your breath or by relaxing your muscles and letting your thoughts go.

Breathe! Remember, it is the most important thing we do!

The ocean always calms me...
Sunset in Jamaica

Saturday, August 5, 2023

August 5--Go For It!

You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.  --Tina Fey

    A couple nights ago, my son did a video chat with me to enjoy my walking grandson. The little one is just a few days short of one year old. He is not standing around, he's moving. He climbs up on stuff and tumbles off and gets up and goes, smiling all the way. There's no overthinking; he is fearless. 
    I remember many years ago in Mexico when I was standing on a 15' high cliff, trying to get brave enough to jump into the sink hole below. Our guide said "Uno, dos, tres!" probably a dozen times while I stood there overthinking it. Finally I jumped. Lo and behold, I fell into the water and came back up and that was it. There was nothing to fear.
    All my trips "down the chute" have been successful so far, as I am alive to write this. Every now and then, I go down the waterslide after lap-swimming at the YMCA. It's a good reminder that I can still have "kid fun," even at my age. WHEEEEEEEE!
    Let's worry less and go more!

Friday, August 4, 2023

August 4--Take It Easy

All of us are just holding it together in various ways--and that's okay, and we just need to go easy with one another, knowing that we're all these incredibly fragile beings.  --Alain de Botton

    I think of this idea a lot, especially when I am in a people-watching situation such as an airport concourse. We never know what is going on with another--maybe she just lost a loved one, maybe he just received a frightening diagnosis, or maybe she is simply having a rough day. 
    That said, it is often a challenge for me to feel kindly toward someone who is rude (see July 29 post). I take it personally, not a good practice, rather than chocking it up to a rough-day incident and letting it go with a blessing for the person. 
    Kindness is a practice--let's keep working on it!
"We are all leaves of one tree." 
Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, August 3, 2023

August 3--Darkness and Light, Both Serve Us

Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light. 
--Madeleine L'Engle

    Speaking from personal experience, I have to agree with this one. In general, I don't think kids realize how good they have it until they are out in the world "on their own." This was totally true for me. I went through some very dark times after my mother passed. Her death when I was in my early 20s made me appreciate the rest of my family much more. I've been through the deep darkness of addiction. More recently I have been through the darkness of depression and anxiety. I'm coming out of that, and I most definitely appreciate the light--both the light to see and the returning light-ness of my spirit.
    Let us not curse the darkness.

"The Path between Darkness and Light"
by Scott Norris

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

August 2--Grace

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.  --Anne Lamott

    I am grateful for the many evidences of grace in my life. I was born into a mostly loving family, and I was given a good education and encouragement to be curious, learn and follow my intuition. I've had good jobs and the opportunity to raise a family and be in a long-term relationship. My extended family and friends are loving, caring and supportive. I have enjoyed adventures all over the world. I've had decades of recovery in a 12-step program, probably the most profound example of grace in my life. 
    I believe we are loved no matter what. We don't have to perform in a certain way--there is nothing to prove. I promise you that I do not at all understand that mystery, but it does make me feel powerfully grateful. 

My favorite baseball stadium...

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

August 1--Gratefully Home

Beautiful things are difficult.  --Plato

    Hopefully during July our patience levels rose to new heights, and now in August we focus on the theme of encouragement.
    I am home from the Arizona golf trip. An excited smiling Barney-dog love-licked me, his way of saying "welcome home, Mom!!!" My sweet husband welcomed me home with a lovely pasta and salad supper. The pasta sauce was made from our garden-grown tomatoes--fresh, whole, yummy!
    After two weeks of nothing but fun, being back home for "re-entry" is a challenge. There is paperwork to catch up on, commitments to fulfill, and the regular exercise routine to reestablish. I encourage myself to take it easy. What is the next thing in front of me? Take care of that, then move on to the next thing. I can easily get overwhelmed if I drift into the land of "all the things I have to do." 
    First mission--an early morning walk with Barney. 

One of our much-enjoyed 
eating establishments in AZ