Too special to use?

In my generation we were so much more formal that things are today. We had special china and silver that we used on special occasions. There were always things that we put aside.

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I am so glad to see that much of that has changed. Now I use whatever I want whenever I want. Each day is special. Each moment is important. We need to celebrate that by enjoying the special things that we have. Don’t let them just sit in a cabinet or drawer. Will the special occasion when they will be used be your funeral?

Tangled up

dog-tangled-up-in-blue-1Today I was knitting a top for my adult granddaughter. The yarn I’m using is very tricky to work with and gets tangled up easily. It did! I realized that I had done something wrong and had to back up several rows. No way did that work. The yarn became so tangled that I ended up cutting it and pulling it all out. Now I will start over. To say that I was frustrated is an understatement.

I thought about the saying “oh what a tangled web we weave.” I didn’t practise to deceive anyone but I sure wove a tangled web and had to fight my way out.

dont get stuckWe can get ourselves into messes from time to time and some of them are more complicated to get out of than others. Sometimes we volunteer to do something and discover that it not only it too much but also that we don’t like it. The getting out gracefully may not be possible.

When I got married 57 years ago the only advice that my mother gave me was “start out the way you intend to go on.” I asked her exactly what she meant and she said: “if you plan on getting up at  4 am every morning to fix breakfast just be aware that it will set the pattern for the rest of your marriage.” I have found this advice to fit so many situations. Take a good look at anything you are getting into and see if you want it in your life before you are stuck with it.

Mastering Silence

There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.

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There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.

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The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.

I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.

Find your path

College freshmen are people running around with their umbilical cords in their hands looking for some place to plug in.    unknown

This can be true of college freshmen but also a lot of young people. There are also those who don’t know what they want to be when they grown up and are at least 30.

ApprenticeWe have developed a society that thinks everyone should go to college. We have also equated intelligence with college. So untrue. What a mistake. There are many people who are so much better working with their hands. We have devalued physical work to the point where no one aspires to it. There is also the thinking that no decent living can be made that way. So untrue. We have friends who are plumbers and electricians who started out as apprentices and now own their own business and make a very lucrative living.

There was a book a while back that talked about two different types of people: farmers and hunter/gatherers. Farmers are content to work in areas where patience and consistency are needed. Hunter/gatherers are more physical. Initially they were required to keep multiples things in their minds at once in order to survive. Active people fit into this. We have created schools that force everyone into the farmer pattern. This may be why so many people have trouble in school.

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Somehow we need to go back to the medieval method of apprentices who study to be skilled workmen and are appreciated.

Demolish the wall

Sometimes we build walls around ourselves to stay safe. We wall out anything that hurts us…whether physical or mental. An extreme example of how the walls work is the patient written about called Sybil. Dividing yourself into separate people puts up walls between the root person to help her. Another example is Howard Hughes who physically walled himself in.

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Our various forms of mental illness can be walls. Ways that we have adjusted to the world in order to survive. The illnesses seem negative but at some time they may have been essential. (this may not include some types of illness)

The walls are hard to pull down. They are worse than masks. Masks seem more temporary but the walls have been built with bricks and mortar. Our anxiety can cause us to retreat from the world. We only seem safe if we stay under the covers on our beds.

When we are suffering it is very difficult to pull down the walls and move out of our comfort zone. When I am anxious I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I curl into a fetal position mentally and physically. I have erected a wall around myself.

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I have been working on the things that help me to remove the wall one stone, one piece of mortar, at a time. Meditation, remembering to breathe, focusing my mind, distraction are all things that help. With persistence these tools help me to keep the wall from growing and even begin to keep sections down. Progress is happening which gives me impetus to keep on keeping on.

Don’t give up. That wall can be knocked down a little at a time. Just keep on!

Words

Why do people say terrible things!  Why would a nurse in a doctor’s office say to a patient “we don’t know what is wrong with you. You may have cancer?” If it really happened that sent someone on their way in a panic.

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I don’t know whether the above story is true or not but that is my point. We hear stories every day about other people and we have no idea how far they are away from the original. It may have floated through 20 people and been changed by every one.

Gossip. It can be a killer. It may start out as a fact but it really can evolve as it goes. I heard that a husband and wife were very sick. His illness was not specified but it was told that she had serious cancer. Both were on their death beds. On checking facts I discovered that she did in fact have cancer but is finished with treatment and doing well. He has a problem that he has had for a while and things are no different.

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A friend’s son is going through a divorce and I’m sure by now he has been tarred and feathered and run out of town.

Why do we enjoy passing on things told to us? Is it because we can gloat that we are not in the same predicament? Does it make us feel better?

The answer is both are true. There is something so fiendishly fun gossiping about someone else’s misery. We are not sick, not evil, not in trouble like them. We can walk away with a smile leaving the trash talk behind. And on the story goes on changing with each telling.

no gossipMy father used to say “put your brain in gear before you put you mouth in motion.” A wise saying. We need to think about the pain our actions can cause. At a new kind of mediation I observed recently the leader said “think about the ABC’s. Action, Behavior, Consequences.”  Every one of us needs to think about that. Words can hurt, words can kill, words can ruin someone’s life.

Be careful what you pass on.

No labeling

I was reading an old journal of mine today and come across the statement “Labeling is easier than compassion.” I don’t know if this thought is mine or a quote so forgive me if I err.

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It is so easy to label people. It is also easy to make snap judgments about who they are. How many times have I met someone and “assumed” what strata of society they come from or their level of schooling or intelligence. How often I have been wrong.

My son, when a teen, worked at a golf course’s shop. A man came in browsing. He was dressed in somewhat crumpled clothing and sported a battered hat. Fortunately for him my son just took it in stride and sold the man the things he wanted. Later someone told him the mas was Sam Walton…the founder of Walmart. How easy it would have been to think the man didn’t have the money to buy anything.

Labels are “odious” (Madeleine L’Engle). We have not walked in the shoes of the person we are labeling. We don’t know what kind of life they have had. Someone who seems angry man have been abused as a child.

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Having compassion for those we meet is the way to start out. Even if we don’t know what is behind their behavior or mindset. We can’t go wrong in setting our own behavior to believe they deserve our compassion. Maybe we can change lives.

 

Defeat anxiety

Once again I am fighting frustration. I just can’t seem to get my health back on track. I know that it will happen but in the meantime it is such an aggravation. I hate the anxiety. It saps my energy and enjoyment. I found this quote and it is so true.

“Anxiety is a thick stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”     Arthur Somers Roche

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This is so true. When anxiety creeps in nothing else matters. Your mind disconnects from everything else. Absolutely not a good way to live. We miss so much. We have to learn to turn those thoughts off and return to real life. Sometimes distraction works— sometimes not.

Regardless it must and can be defeated if we work at it. To allow it to rule life is not acceptable.

It’s the little things

Why-I-do-What-I-do-to-Spread-the-Joy-of-Creating-with-your-HandsLately I have an increased love of baking. It has resulted in extra bread at home and the problem is making sure that we don’t eat all of it. I am giving a good bit away and plan to keep doing that. There is something therapeutic about kneading dough. You can beat out all of your frustrations. Then there is the smell you get in the whole house when it is done.

Creating something that works out is a real boost. Just to be able to say to yourself “well done.” There are so many things in life that we can never see the results or have someone tell you it was a good job.

There are a few things that I like to do because they provide instant gratification. One is mowing the lawn. There is something about seeing the neat rows where the lawnmower has been that give me a lift. The smell of new mown grass reminds me of my childhood. My father mowed in the summer evenings when the days were long. As a child I was put to bed early but the open windows in my room brought in the smell of the mown grass. It brought a sense of peace and comfort to me.

happiness-quote-its-the-little-things-in-life-2065I also like making a bed. Just looking at the neat covers when done gives me satisfaction. I can leave the room knowing that it is completed. It doesn’t matter that usually no one else sees it. It is done for me.

Some things that give us pleasure are simple and it is so easy to skip them. Just taking the few minutes to make something look better can boost our mood for the day.

Find the small things that increase your joy. Don’t skip them out of laziness. They can make a huge difference in your whole day.

 

Worlds are there in books

readI have been a reader my whole life. I don’t know how old I was when I started reading but I do know that books have always been my friends. I still have a lot of books in my house. My husband told me that if I brought another book into the house I had to take one out so I bought a Kindle.

For years reading was how I remained sane when I was on the verge of panic. I could lose myself in a book and escape. I have some books that I have read over and over. I put them on the shelf for a few years and then pull them down and read them again. It is like visiting an old friend.

I love my Kindle but I still like holding a book in my hands. There is something about the feel of the page that is special to me. I hope that with all the electronics we don’t do away with books. It would be terrible not to have libraries to browse in. It is so different from looking up books on line.

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I read everything from fiction to the orange juice container. I think one of the best ways to learn to write is to read. Reading increases your vocabulary and your knowledge. I want to keep reading and learning until my life ends.