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.

Core values and end of life

medical_business_partners_core_valuesThere are times when I reflect on someone else’s life and wonder how they manage. There are so many tragic stories out there. I have wondered how I would react if asked to live life as a paraplegic…if I could not longer feel anything but my face. What would be my reaction to being trapped in my body with only a mind to make me feel alive? Would I cope or would I seek to end my life?

How would I react if my husband required 24/day care and I didn’t have the money to hire someone to help?

In life there can be some living nightmares. Scenarios that we not only wouldn’t want to be in but also wouldn’t wish on someone else.

It is an ethical dilemma to make decisions when things like this happen. Would you be willing to help someone die? (Assuming of course that their life was full of nothing but pain and imminent death.)

These are core questions. The kind that we hope we never have to come up against but they are real.

What are your core values? If faced with this kind of decision how would you decide?  It can be difficult to envision this ever happening to you but this kind of thinking does help you to understand deep moral questions. For those of us with a faith underpinning we hope that we would turn to that for guidance.

decisionIn my time as a nurse I have seen families struggle with decisions that can tax their moral ground. I have seen them divided over the answers and sometimes torn apart by it. Many times we would like for the doctors to tell us what to do but that is not their decision to make. Most of them will avoid giving an opinion which makes it harder.

If you have never considered having a living will to take the burden off of those around you please think about this. We tend to think that this sort of thing is for older people but the worst struggles come when something happens to someone young. You are never too young to fill out this important document. It seems morbid but it is important.

If you don’t know how to get an advanced directive leave a comment and I will answer.

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.

 

 

What has been done has been done!

one day at a time
Jane Seabrook

Today I have been feeling stressed. I started obsessing about dec 18th through 21st when we have to go back to Mayo clinic for therapy for my husband. We have no one to keep the dogs and so if all works out will take my friend’s 27 ft, camper. It is a real luxury but easy to drive since it is not one of those ones that looks like a bus. It looks more like a truck and has all the bells and whistles that we need. She bought it recently and has not used it so we do have to check everything out and be sure it all works.

I can’t say that I am looking forward to those days with the dogs. I don’t know how two bassets will respond to the trip. However, bassets are not know for their energy but are know for their incessant talking. (read that as barking). I will also have no internet to blog unless I can find a hot spot.

carry onI should take this as “time out of time” and relax into it but I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet. Maybe I will after we get the camper all set up. I can spend time reading and walking the dogs. If it is not cold I would love to walk them on the beach.

Today I began something new and it really helped me to back down off my anxiety. I watched “the great bell chant” on you tube and another video that taught how to use the bell. Since I have a bell from Tibetan monks I used that and found that the sound is very calming for me. Another tool in my tool chest. Something I will continue to work with.

I have been so good about my meditation, prayer and writing time and that has helped also. The place I have failed utterly is cleaning my office and my house in general. I don’t do well with cluttered space and usually my office is my “sacred space.” Right now it is filled with Christmas presents that need wrapping. Oh well. My mother used to say that I don’t have to worry that the elves will come and clean it for me and that after I rest or go out it will still be there for me to take care of. A very wise woman, my mother. She lived to be 95 and was wise ’til death. I hope I am that blessed.

Advent continues to slide toward Christmas. I have decided to live by the prayer I use each night before I sleep. Hope you enjoy this prayer as much as I do.

From “Night Prayer” in the New Zealand Prayer Book

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Lord,
it is night.

The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.

The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.

In your name we pray.
Amen.

Can you live in mystery?

Can you live in mystery? For me, advent is a season of mystery. It is about waiting…something that most of us don’t do well. It is also about not knowing. When we wait for a baby we have no idea what the outcome will be. The baby may be healthy or not…fussy or not….cute or not. We just don’t know.

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We also won’t know for years what that child will be like when an adult. We may do everything we can to raise him/her and it still may not work out. We live daily in mystery but we think we are in charge. We think we are in control.

im not in chargeI learned pretty early on that I am not in charge. Anyone who has suffered with illness or mental health issues has that hit home. We have learned that life is about living each day as it comes.

If we have learned how to cope with unknowing then we make adjustments and move on to the next day. Strangely enough this is not a bad thing. Those who have not learned about life’s mystery have difficulty when something goes out of their control.

So, don’t bemoan the trials you have had. Take the things you have learned and use them to your benefit. You will be able to tackle challenges better and recover faster than those who have never faced the unknown that shatters their belief.

stronger

Know this—your experiences have made you stronger. You can live in mystery.

A wider God

This morning the pastor at our church said in her sermon…spoken to God….“Let me not confine you in the narrowness of my mind.” This is a very profound statement.

Whatever your belief, if you espouse any God, this tells us where most of us want to be. We want a God who is like us. We want to create God in our image instead of the other way around. We want a God who thinks like us. We want a manageable God.

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If God is like us then God has the same bias, the same prejudice and the same belief system. Then it is easy for me to point fingers at others and scoff at their beliefs. It allows me to pick and choose what God thinks. Aren’t I amazing?

This God can occupy a nice closed box in my mind and I will only let out what I deem appropriate. However, God is tricky and sneaks out of the box in and plants ideas that I don’t want to consider. He/she is constantly challenging me and widening my mind, calling me on prejudices and making me rethink my ideas.

It is abundantly clear to me that however much I could live with God in a box that is not going to happen. And in reality it would not be something I want.

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I see a God who is infinite and intimate. I see a God whose mind I cannot comprehend. I see a God whose thoughts are so far above mine that the universe can’t contain them. Maybe this is not at all comfortable but this, for me, is God.

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.