Today is what matters

It is so easy to forget that today…this moment….is all we have. The sky could fall on me right now and it would be all over. Yet, I can spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about tomorrow.

Those of us who are troubled with anxiety are so good at worrying about things which usually don’t happen. I tend to pick the worse case scenario and obsess about it. So silly.

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It is time to throw off the shackles of worry and enjoy each moment of life that is given to us. Tomorrow may never come and if it does then that when I’ll think about it.

Don’t fear

It is a funny thing about love. We really can’t experience the fullness of it unless we are open to it. Being open, however, puts us at risk of being hurt. That is the trade off.

vulnerableSometimes we choose to love someone and are hurt by that person. It happens to everyone. Sitting back in fear gets us nowhere. I know people who have spent their lives alone because they couldn’t accept the uncertainty. Love is rarely certain.

We take a risk when we choose to love. I have taken that risk more that once and been hurt. I also took that risk 56 years ago when I married my husband. That risk paid off. Not all of them do.

For me, a life without love is a barren life. Yes, I have been hurt by relationships. Sometimes even those we think of as friends can hurt us terribly. It takes time to know a person well and the person we see at the beginning may be wearing a mask. We may not find out until later what is underneath.

I know someone who was married for years only to discover the person she loved was a criminal. We can be fooled.

Is it worth it? Yes, yes and yes! If the love is lost we will experience pain. We learn from the pain and become someone who has more depth. If it lasts it brings joy.

Don’t stay away from love out of fear. It is one of the most fruitful things in life. You can’t afford to not live fully!

How will we cope?

Life can be so demanding. The things that happen not only to us but to others can be devastating. I have friends who have suffered with long term problems that are just there day in and day out. I honestly don’t know how some people manage to keep going.

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The friends that I know who are struggling still greet me with a smile and a sense that things are ok. I don’t see the stress that I know is under the smile. They are not putting a smiling face on as a false mask. Occasionally they will share the devastation that is part of their lives but they don’t allow it be in charge. I so admire that ability.

positive attitudeAttitude is everything. The ability to assess life and accentuate the positive is a gift and one that I hope I would have in their circumstances. We can be bombed by the things that happen to us but we have to learn to adjust out attitude. Life is for living not for bemoaning. We are entitled to spend some time asking ourselves “why me?” We need time adjusting to a new life but when that is done hopefully we can be like my friends, and no matter the tragedy, have some time for smiles.

Exploring the journey

win or loseToday I went back and read some of my original posts. I had a plan for this journey. I wanted to find a way to accept what comes each day and to learn new ways of coping. In some things I have done well in others not so much.

I have managed to spend more time in the “now.” I am more aware of each day than I have ever been. I have made daily prayer a habit. I have always prayed in erratic moments but now I also pray intentionally at the end of each day. This has worked for me and allows me to explore the events of the day in a different way. It is a time for contemplation.

I have not done as well with meditation. I can’t seem to get into a pattern or keep to any kind of a schedule. My past experiences taught me that meditation works best when it is practised consistently. This is something I want to improve.

Life is all about changing ourselves to better manage our place in the world. The world is not going to change for us. We are the only ones in our control. We have to continually work to understand how we react to what happens in our lives.

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It is so easy to say that I know what to do and so hard to actually do it. I will continue to fight the struggle that some things are for me and work to truly immerse myself in changing. The struggle will remain until I am no longer on this earth but that is being alive. There are always challenges but we can move forward each day.

Dogs are a joy

There is no question that I love dogs. My two bassets give me great pleasure. We never intended to have dogs this big. We have always had standard dachshunds. My son just showed up with the first one at the door. A friend of his had to let the dog go and he knew that we were suckers. We kept her (Tillie) and when the dachshunds crossed the rainbow bridge we got a rescue as a friend for her. The two of them are now a bonded pair.

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Tails hanging down as they monitor the yard

They brighten my day by their antics. Bassets are stubborn by nature and when called to come will do so….at their own pace which resembles a snail. Alternately if they don’t want to come at all will go behind a bush with the hope that you won’t see them at all. Strangely enough if I say “I see you” they come out.

Crash, so named by foster family as he was hit by a car) will bark at the door. Thinking that he wants to go out (they have a dog door in the back) one of us will get up and open the door to discover that he doesn’t want to go out. He wants us to let Tillie in.

When we are gone excitement ensues. Towels are pulled from racks. Laundry is removed from the basket in the laundry room and all couch pillows are pushed to the floor. None of these things are damaged…just rearranged.

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At 5:00 PM play time arrives and they chase each other around the house, in and out the dog door and around the yard. Barking commences and when Crash catches up to Tillie she lets out an ear curdling screech. The sound penetrates every room in the house. We need ear protection.

Without them things would be boring.

For them and us Life is good.

In the midst of life we are in death.

In the midst of life we are in death. This phrase is often heard at funerals. What does this mean? It is a reminder that life and death are linked. From the moment we are born we are dying. That is not morbid it is just the truth. In fact, from the moment we are conceived we are dying. We are set into motion like the winding of a clock. At some point it will wear down and stop. In our world it can be snuffed out by an illness, accident or crime but nevertheless we each have an expiration date.

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Some cultures accept this fact easier than those of us in the western world. We worry about death. We can feel fear and panic just thinking about it.

Before I was a nurse I had ideas about death. I never wanted to think about it or be with someone at their death.  After being at many deaths I have changed my feelings. I have seen people in so much distress that death is a friend.

Most of the people I have been with just slipped quietly away. No anxiety, no visible fear. Some spoke to relatives on the other side. Whether they really saw them I don’t know but I would like to think they did. Some expressed peace.

A long time ago I complained to a minister friend that I was upset about the death of a child in an accident. I fumed that her life had been cut short. He said he had a different perspective. He viewed each person’s life as a candle that burned until it went out. That could be when the candle is completely burned or just after it is lit. Each person has a life span that is different. This view was a comfort to me and still is.

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Death is not something to fear. When we remove that from our minds life becomes brighter. It is not easy to do and we may waver from time to time. It is difficult to imagine not being alive and can produce sadness when we wish we would still be around to see grandchildren or great grandchildren marry and have children of their own.

 

No matter our age and the length of life no one wants to be gone. Life is beautiful in spite of any trials we face. The important thing is to treasure each moment and when we come to the end say “I have lived!”

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Let Joy Abound!

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The winter solstice is past. Darkness will be gradually fading and the light will win.┬áChristmas is upon us. The things that we haven’t done will not be done. It’s time to take a deep breath and relax. I hope that most of us will not be too exhausted to enjoy the day. It can be a day of joy or a day of frustration and challenges. I hope that the latter will not be true for you. I hope that each of you will share a day of love and peace. See the beauty that Christmas brings…the smiles on the faces of children, the magic of twinkling lights, and the smells of favorite foods. Have a happy and Holy Christmas!

 

Scrooge’s Ghosts

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This is the time of year when the Scrooge story is on TV. I started to think about the ghosts that visit him. Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. I always think about Christmas Past. I think about the time when we had small children and Christmas was so joyful and exciting. Seeing the children as they opened their presents was wonderful. That time is gone for me. I’m not sure I completely appreciated it. I didn’t lock it away and say to myself “remember this, it won’t come again.” We don’t usually think such thoughts when we are experiencing life. I don’t know if we have to or should. It might bring sadness into the picture….the thought that time is moving on and this moment will be gone.

Each phase of life is different. Years ago I studied Hindu thinking with a practitioner and liked the idea of the eight-fold path. We have important things to accomplish in the different ages we live. My age should be concerned with understanding life in all its aspects. I think that is what I am doing. I can look back…not to bemoan my faults …but to glean the wisdom I gained. I want to accomplish this and share what I discover.

I do miss the joys of Christmas Past but it was a different time and I can’t go back. I don’t think I want to. I just wish some of it would stick around. Instead we have another wonky Christmas. We will be gone next week for Hap’s therapy and my daughter will come the Friday we arrive back to celebrate early with us. She will be working Christmas week. We celebrate with my son and his family Christmas week. My other daughter and her family we will not get to see.

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It is life. I will concentrate on the reason for the holiday and enjoy the family time that we will have. I don’t have time for regrets and wishing the past was back. I have too much living in the now to do. After all, who knows what Christmas Future will be.