Waiting for what?

waiting isnt punishmentThe other night I had the strangest dream. I was in a situation where all I did was wait. I won’t explain the whole dream but it was obvious waiting was the point. I was with others and waited for hours. I got very upset and angry because the wait was due to poor management.

I don’t like confusion, poor planning, and waiting.

Years ago I learned the response to poor planning: “poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine.” I actually used it once and then felt so bad that I have never said it again.

I think the dream was trying to remind me that there are times when we have to wait and we need to do it patiently. We also have to remember what we are waiting for, This season before Christmas is Advent. The dictionary says that Advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. If you are Christian then the wait is for the Christ child.

I am not sure in this day and age how seriously we consider this. There is so much else….shopping, parties, baking, decorating and sometimes traveling. We are so busy that there is not time. I doubt that those who are celebrating other holidays do any better at paying attention to the meaning of the holiday. I hope some do.

what does it mean

During this time before Christmas I plan to  concentrate on the meaning of it all and try to move away from concentration on gifts and gatherings. I hope that my times of meditation and contemplation will help me to focus on what I am waiting for.

Too busy?

busy lifeThis quote set me to thinking. We can easily be too busy about nothing. Does the busy-ness cover our inability to stop? Are we busy about things that have no meaning?

It is so easy to get caught up especially in this season. Shopping, baking, decorating seem to take up all of our time. Our minds are on overloaded trying to juggle everything. We don’t take time to stop and think. Unfortunately we have turned this holiday season into a nightmare. Many of us spend more than we should on things that may not even be appreciated. We need to rethink this season and find a middle ground that works.

In the last few years I have backed off from some of the stress I created during the holidays. I have a much more relaxed attitude. Things don’t get done as fast and if they are not done at all that’s ok. I used to be  whirling dervish…running everywhere….making sure everything was perfect…driving myself crazy. When the holidays actually arrived I was too tired to enjoy them.

We can set ourselves an impossible task. We can end up exhausted and burned out. Try to decide the things that really matter and let the rest go. You will reap the benefit of enjoying a joyful season.

Thoughts can bring good days

What is thinking and how do we handle it? Being able to think is such a good thing but we can really get off track. Our thinking can make decisions about how we live each day. I want as many good days as possible, don’t you?

monkey thinking

We get up each morning and without conscious thought may make a decision about how the day will go, This early morning idea can make or break our day. The thoughts may be a follow-through from the day before. It could be leftover feelings from a dream. Sometimes I wake up with a dream in my conscious mind and the related feelings foremost.

Knowing what is scheduled for the day may set the path even before we really have our eyes open. If we dread the day and let that be paramount we will start off with that underlying thought. I don’t think it will be our best day.

Feelings influence our thoughts and can take over from our rational mind and start us off on the wrong foot. When this happens I have to shake myself, like one of my dogs do, and push that feeling away.

basset shaking

If we want the day to go well it helps if we start off that way. If you can find something that gets you up to a good day use it. Someone I admire opens her eyes and says “God be on my right hand, God be on my left hand, God be in my heart and God be in my mind this day.” She says it brings her desire for the day into focus even before her foot hits the floor. Someone else has the things she is most thankful for taped to her bathroom mirror.

good actions

Whatever we can find to get those thoughts started off right will make a tremendous difference in our day. Make it a habit and plan for good days.

Practice!

Yesterday I was missing something very dear to me. Something my mother gave me. I was upset but shortly after realizing that it was gone I went on Reader and was given the word peace to think on. It was just what I needed. I was drawn to the phrase from Mark “Peace, be still! It made me stop my obsessing and turn to meditation to calm myself. It turned me around completely. I was able to adjust my thinking and my day went much better than it could have.

learn

I learned a valuable lesson about approaching a problem with a different attitude. One I have known all along but didn’t use. My day could have dissolved into anxiety (which was where I was headed) but the day moved in a totally different direction. Lesson learned.

It is so important keep on track and it is so hard at first. Old habits want to return. I learned as a piano student that practice is the only thing that works. Note to self: the coping skills only work when practiced routinely.

boy-on-piano

The struggle of role changes

Feminist-1I have never considered myself a feminist. At least not in the sense of Gloria Steinham (sp?) and others of that era. My father always told me that I could do anything if I worked at it. When I was younger it never occurred to me that there were people who felt that women should not leave the roles of the past. I spent 20 years as an Army Wife and never encountered that kind of prejudice there. I suppose I was out of the ordinary world.  It was a shock to me when we left that world to discover (sorry, but especially men) who saw me out of my place… people who tried to fit me into the box they envisioned. Someone once asked my husband if he couldn’t keep his wife in her place. He replied he had spent all his time encouraging me. This was in the 1970’s.

The women’s movement in the 60’s denigrated the role that I was living. I resented that. I never felt my role as wife and mother was lacking. I read widely, volunteered  in social work and other areas and had a full and rewarding life.  It made sense to me that women who were in the work world should receive proper compensation on an equal footing with men. I knew the inequalities should be removed but I expected there to be room for each of us to find our own path and fulfill ourselves as we saw fit. That was not the plan of most of the early feminists.

mom_and_wife-2096

Later my own role changed as my children grew and I chose to become a nurse. (still a feminine role but also changing.) I had a full and enriching career of more than 30 years.

It is gratifying to see things are better in some ways. I think that women who raise children have more respect than in the 60’s. The downside of this change is that it has played a role in changing families drastically. Most children now grow up with both parents working. This is hard for the whole family. Everyone is juggling time spent in different roles. Changes in the economic climate have made this the norm.

The other side of this is the role of men. It has been a difficult adjustment for men whose roles have also changed. With children growing up in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed as if boys were showing signs of pressure in school. They were not automatically assumed to be the best at math and science. The competition with girls redefined their roles. More girls were now heading for careers in what was male dominated areas. Boys in high school and college seemed to be struggling more than in the past.

culture changeThe whole era was a shake up of culture and a difficult time for both sexes. I can see some of that leveling out. There are still problems but being able to look at things from my viewpoint I can see positive changes. We will continue to struggle with changing mindsets and coming to terms with injustices but things are better. Some of that will disappear as generations change. Let’s hope we keep moving toward the good things and people are free to choose their roles without bias.

 

Stay with what works!

hit on headToday has been one of those day where you could say “I shudda stayed in bed!” I doubt it would have helped. I have been doing so well and just chugging along in spite of the total chaos of my life at this point. Well, as you might imagine, that didn’t last. Again struck down by an episode of IBSD. Just when I think I have it all under control….WHAM!

Of course the problem is that I haven’t been doing anything I should. My diet has been awful, no meditation, insomnia, and whatever else can mess up. Today I went over the edge and realized this has to stop. When you are afraid to go anywhere because of IBSD it is time to rethink.

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So, back to real food, a good schedule, meditating and being sure to keep as much as possible stable and ignore the rest. It is amazing how easy it is to let all the things learned about keeping stable go right out the door.

It’s terrible when you know how to stay well and you just let it go. Life is always better when we do the things we should.

Stay on the right path and keep going!

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.

live-in-the-present

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.