Savor good memories but live in the NOW

chipmunk-clipart-transparent-background-16We were without power again today. A squirrel committed suicide at the transformer. So sorry. I actually like squirrels although a lot of my neighbors don’t. I’m not sure why as they seem to cause few problems. We actually put food our for them as the trees here didn’t make their quota of nuts and the squirrels have been hungry and getting ready for fall. My dogs love to chase the squirrels but very, very rarely catch one. (thank goodness!)

This is the first day here that has felt like fall and although the days are shorter I am enjoying the cooler air. The air feels good. We live on the salt marsh and have an 8 ft tide. For most people who move here the smell of the marsh is not pleasant. Having been here most summers of my life and lived here for 42 years it is a joy to me. I love the smell. It reminds me of summers going to the beach. Good memories.

Fresh oranges on wooden  background. Selective focus.

It is amazing how smells can trigger memories. My mother always wore the same perfume and when someone is wearing it I immediately think of her. Those kinds of things bring good memories.

There are also things that trigger bad memories. Recently a smell triggered memories of time spent in the hospital with severe bowel problems. Not a good memory. I immediately pushed that memory away.

I have found that it is possible to wallow in a good memory and accept all the pleasure that it brings. I have also worked on letting the bad memories slide in and out of my mind by mentally pushing them away. Usually it works. I focus on something else and drag my mind away.

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Memories are part of our lives. It is part of what made us who we are but we don’t have to live in the bad ones. Living in the past can become addictive. We would be wise to enjoy the good memories and then move back into the NOW. Dwelling in the past can stop us from experiencing the present. NOW is what is important.

Anger held close hurts only us

 

holding grudgesI am finally coming to the end of being the administrator of my best friend’s will. She died 2 1/2 years ago. You do not want to die in the county she lived in. This was a simple will but the judge there made it a nightmare to get through.

Mr friend’s life was not easy. She had two boys and much later on a girl who was born with major heart defects. Life was never the same after that. It is so easy to concentrate on the sick child and not be able to manage the others. She and her husband struggled and some events caused one son to be sent away. The other developed an unforgiving mode and when hurt (which has happened several times…badly) is unable to let go of resentment and anger.

The saddest part of all is that the two men are unable to even be in the same room. The anger goes too deep and has been there too long. It hurts me to see this as one of them has no one else.

let go of itHolding on to anger and being unable to forgive does not hurt the person we are upset with. It only hurts us. Anger eats away at our insides and prevents us from being the person we could become.Not being able to forgive affects us emotionally and physically. Not only does it make us miserable but it changes us into a person unable to accept relationships easily if at all. My attempts to express reasonable alternatives has landed on deaf ears.

I pray for these two and hope that something will change over time.

Finding meaning

What Gives You Meaning Concept

I read the daily articles from Richard Rohr who is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. Today he quoted the works of Viktor Frankl who was a respected psychiatrist. Frankl talked about how most of us seek for meaning at some point in our lives. I know this has been true for me.

I have found myself at several points asking “what is it all about?”

Frankl posited three possible sources for meaning: in work, in love and in courage. He talks about the possibility of being able to do work that has some meaning. There are jobs where this seems obvious….doctors, nurses, social workers. (there are lots more) In other jobs meaning may not be so easy to find. I am sure that those of us writing blogs have found some meaning in the response we receive and the assurance that we are helping others. This is very affirming.

The second idea…love…also seems fairly clear. Hopefully our love reaches out to others. It allows us to help others in our everyday lives. Again this allows for meaningful affirmation.

The third idea….courage…means being courageous in difficult times. This certainly includes times of suffering. He says that suffering by itself has little meaning. The meaning comes from how we respond to it. We have the ability to use our suffering to be an example to others. Our response can encourage others who are facing the same kinds of challenges.

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It seems to me that many of the bloggers I read can find affirmation that their lives have meaning as so many blogs help others. The community members need to see that this work can bring meaning to their lives. You are important!

“If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

sad charlie brown

Do you ever feel as if life is out to get you? I have felt that way lately. Superstitions abound about this….things come in threes, if you have too much good then bad is coming. Sometimes it is a self fulfilling prophecy.  When a lot of things keep happening you start to feel vulnerable.  You are having lots of bad luck. It starts reminding me of an old country/western song that says “if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

Ever since this knee surgery process was begun it has felt that way. The big good is that the surgery was successful. It seems that everything else surrounding it has been complicated and stress causing. I feel like “chicken little” running around saying “the sky is falling.”

When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida coast I felt such empathy for the people devastated by it. We only got the outside fringes as it went up the middle of Georgia and other states. We had some wind and rain. Very few areas lost power. Unfortunately, two houses away from us there is a vacant lot and some very dangerous trees. One fell across the power lines and we were without power for about 18 hours. This is nothing compared to what others are going through but it just seemed that the bad luck genie was striking again.

I have been pretty free of IBS issues for a while but of course this kicked the whole thing up again. Some medicine has helped but made me tired and cranky. I just want this to stop. I seem to be complaining when lots of people are so worse off. It makes me feel guilty.

emotional reactionSometimes it is so hard to control our emotional reaction to events. They hit and our minds and bodies respond before we can slam on the brakes. I can see more work on my part tending my coping skills.

I hate a messy, dirty house but have not felt like cleaning and the mess just makes me feel worse. I need organization and I have to work hard on that right away. I can’t even call someone to give my house a one-time clean as I need to pick up first. It is really bad when what you need to do is clean before someone else can clean.

I know this will all resolve and I am ready for that. I will put on my big girl pants and get to work and I know things will be better. I know that bad luck is not the only kind I have. God will make sure of that.

 

Who is responsible?

work-quotes-loyaltySometimes I worry about where society is headed. It seems that we have moved in the direction of everything being acceptable. Most everyone is focused on themselves. We have lost the idea of being “our brother’s keeper.” In fact that phrase is most often used in a negative way.

Our government is a perfect example. Each party is only concerned with forwarding their own objective. There is no concern about right and wrong. There is no concern for the people who elected them. The only concern is for “what it can do for me?”

This is not the only place where we see this thinking. Shifts in parenting styles have led to many children feeling entitled. Again a “me first” modality.

Religion has also taken a hit with leaders who have profited from the people to the point of absurdity. There is little trust in “religion” and so many young people see it as an unnecessary idea. They can only see established churches as a home for hypocrites. For them, most churches exist to perpetuate themselves and not for real ministry to the outcasts and needy. It is hard for them to see that churches are formed by people and people are not perfect.

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Media has made us numb to entertainment and we seek more radical spectacles to keep our interest. It takes us back to Rome and the horrors of the Colosseum. When we have “seen everything” more is required for satiation.

Those of us whose view is different may be ridiculed for our thinking but we persist. Somehow we have to learn that not only are we responsible for each other but for everything that exists on the earth. If we don’t wake up we won’t be here. God didn’t guarantee that mankind would last forever.

Life in balance

Expectations. Something that can really send us  into a tail spin. It seems that there are always people expecting things of us. We can spend our whole lives trying to live up to someone’s expectations.

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Too often those expectations are not appropriate. Sometimes they are actually too low because we are thought to be damaged because of mental health issues. That prejudice can make us feel “less than” and sets us up for problems with self esteem. Labels can be so damaging.

The other side is when expectations are too high. They may not be logical or reasonable. We are set up for failure and again threatened with low self esteem.

their way

Challenging expectations that are too high may require discussion regarding what is appropriate. Too often anyone can find themselves pushed by overwhelming expectations. It is part of the society we live in. Sometimes it’s hard to bring it up, as for some, jobs could be on the line. The most important part is to recognize when it is not your issue but someone else’s. Don’t let the situation affect your own sense of self worth.

Somehow we need to find a path down the middle. There may not be anything that can be done about other people who give us labels. Until things change just consider the source and move on. If it is just an education problem that can be solved. Continuing to work within your own abilities solves many issues.

life in the balance

Watch out for people who want you to fail or who want to put you down. These people are toxic and need to be avoided.

We also have to be careful in setting our own expectations. Setting them too high or too low can make us feel inadequate. We have to find a reasonable path.

 

Remember you count! Your life matters too! Seek the place where you can find success and self affirmation.

You are important

pused over the edgeLife can be difficult at times. It may not be one big thing but many little ones that push you over the edge. In fact for me that is usually the case. If there is a big crisis I seem to do well until it is over…then I crash. Many little things nibbling away at just push you closer and closer to the precipice.  You don’t notice it is happening until it is too late.

We want to be strong and able to handle the things that life brings but sometimes it is just not possible. When this happens I have to take a step back and realize that I am over the edge. It’s time to back away from the things that I can and handle only the most important. Sometimes I struggle to prioritize and don’t know which balls in the air to let fall. Sometimes some fall while I am not looking. It can’t be helped. None of us are Wonder Woman or Superman. We just aren’t.

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I spent much of my life trying to be all things to all people and the stress took it’s toll in anxiety, depression and physical symptoms. We have to learn that we are vulnerable too.

The sad part is that when you spend your time saving everyone you become expected to do it and sometimes you receive no thanks or appreciation. When you stop it is a tremendous shock and you may have some upset people.

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We have to set boundaries. I think our struggle with self worth is part of the reason we fall into this trap. The more secure we are with ourselves and our own self respect the more we can choose wisely. Logical decisions about what we can do are critical.

You are important. You are just as important as anyone else. You deserve to have pride, dignity and self regard. Don’t throw yourself away.