Have I?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you live—that is to have succeeded.”

That is my hope. I would like to think that somehow I have left the world better. That would bring meaning to my life.

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Have I done something to help someone?

Have I done something to make the earth cleaner?

Have I stood up or spoken out about abuse and injustice?

Have I showed kindness in the face of anger or hurt?

Have I helped the cause of injured or abused animals?

Have I listened when I should?

Have I followed my beliefs?

Have I showed love?

make a difference

 

And most important of all Have I done any of the above?

Imperfect

None of us is perfect. No matter how hard we try. We are human and humans make mistakes. In the Bible Paul says I do the things I ought not and don’t do the things I should. This is true of everyone.

imperfect

The things that most of us do wrong are usually not serious but can hurt others. Hopefully, we don’t really want to hurt anyone. The thing that is hard to take is that there are some who really do want to do harm. There are many explanations why this happens. Most of us want to believe that they are damaged in some way. Many of them are. The shooter in New Zealand may have been taught the hatred he exemplified.

There are those that were damaged by the treatment they received as children. The things that happen to us in the early years can leave some terrible scars. Some people are able to recover and make peace with themselves. Some are not and that past pain is reflected in their treatment of others.

In my lifetime I have had the experience of meeting a few whose earliest lives created true monsters. There are theories for why this happens… some about early bonding. One of my friends adopted two infants from mothers who were addicted to crack cocaine. One of them did well but suffers from some physical problems. The other was diagnosed as a sociopath. ( I think now called antisocial disorder) As early as preteen the rooms of the other family members had to be locked in fear of his actions. They tried everything they could to help but  to no avail. This very loving family was able to keep him until his teen years and at that point safety for the family required letting him go. I know he was in treatment for a while but I don’t know where he ended up. God help those where he is.

wired

Every one of us has done things we regret and wish we could fix. We would like to go back and change everything. We may not be able to do that but we can go forward with a desire to do better. Doing our best to respect and understand those around us can make a difference.

If you have things you need to let go confess them. Whether to God, your own higher power or even to yourself.  Acknowledge your mistakes and move on. Forgiveness heals.

Small things matter

maxineI am not fond of new years resolutions. I probably never kept one that I planned. If I did I would be surprised.  But…I have been thinking. Maybe  there is something else that we should due to usher in the new year. How would it be if we spent time thinking about life in the past year or years. Are there things that we can divest ourselves of? Do we own things that are no longer used or don’t matter? Can welighten our load and let some things go?

Also, how would you like to live in the new year? Not hunting for goals and major changes but what are some little things that may in the long run have a big impact? It might be some as simple as trying a new coffee shop  or stretching before getting up. Think of the things that are easy and simple. Put a smiling face on your mirror or splurge on a great smelling soap.

small things

It is amazing how simple changes can impact our lives. I bought a set of squeezable fidgets for my desk and I love them! I find myself defusing by just holding one of those in my hand. Those tiny animals have changed each day for the better.

Each year life changes in one way or another. See if you can find small ways to improve your days and give you something to look forward to.

A thankful day

thankfulforanotherday-2Thanksgiving will soon be here and today is the day I shop for the food. My wonderful daughter-in-law will make a lot. I am assigned turkey with stuffing and dessert. I have no choice in this matter as my family loves and demands the two desserts I will be making….real New York cheesecake and pumpkin chiffon pie. They love these and beg for them each year.

This is one time I enjoy cooking. I have someone to cook for and I am cooking my favorite things. As usual, there will be fun and interesting conversation. My son and granddaughter love to push each other’s buttons. A heated discussion will be verboten at my table. I want to enjoy my dinner and not get stomach upset so I will warn the two ahead of time. They really love each other but have fun making each other angry and this is not the time for that. “Grandmother” me doesn’t like it at a meal.

a familyNo matter what holidays there are always interactions among family members. Some are fun and some are not so fun. In my family in have found that setting down ground rules before hand can make the day fun and pleasant. Any disagreements get left at the door. I have sent a text to the two combatants requesting peace.

It is not always possible to do this but if you can it will help the day be truly a thankful one. I hope everyone is finding some way to help those who have no family or friends to be with. Our church offers a meal with everyone bringing something to share. The people who go love this and are excited about it each year.

Hope your holidays is joyous and thankful!

Animated-Charlie-Brown-Snoopy-Thanksgiving-Quote

 

There is love

graffiti_text_loveOne of the most important things to accept and understand is that each of us is loved. I am not talking about the love of another person but the love that surrounds us. For me, there is a love that pervades the universe. We learn to accept that each of us is unique and as such never to be again. Our time on earth is a gift. We have to make choices about how we use that gift. We didn’t seek that gift. It was given freely and without expectation of some sort of return.

If we can accept that we are loved then we have love to give away to others. Not just people but also to the earth that we inhabit. There are times when we don’t feel any love directed toward us. We feel alone, alienated, and abandoned. We must learn to pull away from this idea. Regardless of how unimportant or unnoticed we feel we must accept the fact that we matter.

where there is loveTo me this feeling of being left out, ostracized and without meaning is insidious and can trap us in depression. Sometimes it is hard to believe that love surrounds us. You can see it as God, or whatever form you accept but it is there.

When you are in a bad place and can’t see your way remember the love and know that you can reach out and find a way out of the darkness. There is always a way.

We have to keep on!

stress level imageToday has been a little hangover from the stress of IBSD yesterday. I am better but have not totally let go of the anxiety. It is incredible how it can get a hold on you and not want to let go. It truly takes positive action on my part to continue to push it away. Sometimes I think how silly it is to let anxiety take control when there truly is nothing to be anxious about. We surely can make our own distress. Unfortunately, it is not under my control. I keep working at it and it is better than it was in the past.

stressed-stress-relax.jpgLife will always be up and down. That’s just the way it is. It’s how we handle it that counts. In spite of struggles we have to keep fighting! Giving up is not an option as none of us wants to live that way. Life is such a gift. We can’t miss it.

Can we learn to really listen?

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf.   Native American Proverb

listenintg-dogFor an extrovert this is a very important statement. I am always ready to talk and I have to curb myself to really listen. Most of us instead of listening are thinking of the next thing we want to say. I still have to hold my tongue and let others share.

I once visited a convent where there was a rule about discussion. Everyone sat at a table and one person spoke at a time. After that there was silence for several minutes. Then it was someone else’s time to speak. That silence left moments for the digestion of what had been said and time to reflect on what you might say that had importance for the discussion. Many conclusions were easily reached as there was little unimportant information shared.

In social situations I can really get carried away but I am working at it. I am getting better at listening. However, I know that I am not always bad at it as people have come to me for solace or advice my whole life. I do seem to know when listening is critical.

The big difference I see at my age is that I am unafraid to speak about matters that are important and frequently avoided. I will speak out for those who are in need of a voice. There are times when this is not appreciated but I never do it in anger or an emotional state. Important things need to be spoken of calmly and rationally. Listening to others in this kind of discussion is also critical and not easy. Emotions can be triggered and I have had to learn when to just back away.

speak carefully

My father (who was amazing) used to say: put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion. 

Another good proverb