Learning what dogs know

tillie sleepingDogs know how to relax. It is evident in the two bassets that I have. Never lie down to sleep unless there is something soft to put your head on (not to mention your whole body.)  Nothing deters them from the comfort they deserve. Their relaxation is almost instant and complete.

If only we could learn to relax so easily. I know (at least I think) that their minds are not cluttered with all the garbage that we have floating around in ours. So maybe it’s easy for them. All the things that I try to unclutter my mind help but I don’t use them enough or even properly. Meditation helps at the moment but I can easily start right back with whatever was the worry at the time. I can distract myself with TV programs and that helps until I turn it off. I need to practice more and work at it to attain the kind of relaxation that they have. Maybe I can never get that good but it is necessary  to try.

Pets are a wonderful thing. I even had a goldfish for years in college that I carried back and forth to home during breaks. I love cats but my husband is allergic so we haven’t had them. I do love dogs. It is wonderful to have someone greet me at the door with wagging tails and happy faces. (yes they do have happy faces) They do sense my moods and are more affectionate when my mood is down.

let it goI will keep looking at my dogs relaxing and remember to continue my efforts to achieve calm and peace in spite of what is happening in my life.

 

Educate and illuminate

Community-Support-Banner-2Recently I read an article about the factors that helped people live longer. It was a study by a group of physicians  who found that the two most important things were not what I expected. The top of the list was being around people. Out and about doing anything that involved meeting with others. The next thing on the list was having a support system.

Usually the list is topped by things like exercise, diet, etc. It makes me think of how many people are completely alone. For people with social anxiety being with people is very difficult if not impossible. I home that some of the current research into anxiety and depression and the brain will find answers that will help.

revealIt also means that those of us who have some understanding of mental and emotional problems must do all that we can to create better communication with others and foster clearer understanding. For those of us who struggle with both emotional and medical issues connected to these problems more understanding will help us to be a part of society and feel acceptance.

We have to continue to educate and remove the veil that has so long covered mental illness and made it like AIDS and Leprosy.

We too can live among others, have a wonderful support system and have long and happy lives.

What to do?

graveyardEach day I become more and more concerned about the divisions occurring not just in the US but world wide. You would think that instant world communication would draw us closer together but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

In the US the congress is so polarized that nothing can get done. Members seem to think only of their own gain and not about the state of the nation. I hope it is not as bad as this in other countries. My first college major was history and I learned a good deal about the rise and fall of nations. The US for so long was a country for good (or seemed to be) but not only is the government dysfunctional but people almost seem unable to function well.

Today there was another school shooting. So far two killed and I think 12 wounded. I would like to boost the mental health screening in all schools with very competent help. Children who never before solved problems by killing other students now seem to see it as the only thing to do. Outsiders also come into schools and kill children.

Often we have talked about the lack of competent mental health availability in our world and it seems that it is becoming a critical need. Are the people in charge hiding their heads in the sand and not seeing the problem? It is difficult to get help in a consistent manner and for it to be available when needed. What do we have to do to get people to wake up and change things?

I wish I knew what is stressing us all….what has changed to make people more at risk for breaking apart? In other blogs I have talked often about the loss of silence, lack of personal relationships and our inability to relax. I know there is more than this but what are we to do? There is no question that if we can’t change life as we know it will be gone.

god help us

God help us!

Love matters

Some days are great. The weather is beautiful. It was today. Everything is going fine. It was. And then suddenly, for no reason, you are sad. I can’t explain it. Nothing happened. I am just sad.

Love_existSometimes memories crop up and you remember people who are no longer here and sadness creeps in. That is one of the hardest things about aging. It is possible to lose people at any age but it becomes more frequent as we grow older. Every now and then the losses catch up with you and you can’t help shedding tears and thinking about them.

Two great friends are gone. One several years ago and one just two years this month. She had been my friend since we were in grade school and she wasn’t supposed to be gone before me. She knew me the longest than anyone left in my life and I miss her. I miss the connection. I miss getting to call and just laugh about the past.

This is a normal part of aging but not one that is fun. I am grateful for all those years with both of those friends and I can’t say that I’m not glad to be alive. As long as I am here and others who remember then they are not forgotten. They live on in my heart and in the hearts of others. Love matters. Love didn’t die with them. Love lives on and I don’t regret any of it.

love lives on

Kindness

Today I went to church with my husband. Our favorite retired minister was there. I always love his services as he melds the liturgy in different ways and it is always beautiful and meaningful. His sermon was wonderful. It is seldom that I take notes from a sermon but today I did because I wanted to think some more about the ideas and to share them.

one kind wordHe started by reading a short excerpt from one of his favorite authors whose name I didn’t get. The story was about a man who brought a newspaper every day from someone who was grumpy and rude yet this man was always pleasant and kind. “He said that he had no control over the grumpy man but did have control over himself and he chose to be kind. To return good for evil is a prescription for our own emotional/mental health.”

Pastor said ” we were created in the image of God and are called to behave like him. Life is not about how we act with other people but how we react.”

I found this to be very powerful. Too often we do react to the mood or actions of the person we are faced with. We return rude with rude, sad with sad, etc. The interesting thing is that if we do the reverse things change.

My father was not only a wonderful father but a unique man. I never heard him say something negative about someone else. People who knew him said the same thing. He always responded with kindness even with someone who was very angry. He told me that two things would happen….the whole situation would defuse or all hell would break loose. Either way he remained calm and kind.

be king 2We do have control over our behavior. I visit a physicians office where one of the employees was always a little brusque and not really pleasant. I made it my intention to make that change and spent time complimenting things (only genuine things and getting to know her. Be genuine for false is easily detected) and we now have a great relationship. I enjoy her and she always greets me with pleasure. A little kindness on my part well spent and a new relationship formed.

How we treat people makes a difference. We have to be genuine but we can be kind. I hope this is a step toward becoming the person God wants me to be.

 

Choosing

choiceTo choose. We make hundreds of choices every day. We choose to get up, to eat breakfast, everything we do. Life is a matter of choices and the choices form our lives. It’s not something that we consciously see but it is life. We make bad choices and good ones. We make ones that we regret and ones that we are happy about.

If we stopped to think about every choice we made we would be paralyzed. We wouldn’t move at all. So some choices are automatic and reflex. The ability to move our bodies is not something we think about unless there is a problem. In cases like that our choice may be limited by circumstances.

What started me thinking about this is the fact that loving someone is a choice. Believing in God is a choice. These things are not just feelings they are choices. I can get up each morning and may feel that God is distant and I have no perception of closeness but I can choose to continue to believe. Circumstances don’t take that choice away. I can choose that even if threatened with death. It is my choice.

choose beliefBelieving and having faith is not a passive thing. It is not something that we own. It is an action that we take and a choice that we make each and every moment of our lives.

You have a choice!

A friend indeed

true friendsTonight I have been thinking about friendship. I think we all have many acquaintances but it is friends who change our lives. I feel blessed to have four amazing friends. They are with me through thick and thin. I hope that they feel they can count on me to do the same.

Life may not offer many opportunities to experience true friendship. Sometimes things intervene and don’t give us the chance to bond in “agape” love. In my life experiences I can see that part of having this kind of relationship depends on how much we are willing to give. If we are unwilling to share our true selves then deep friendship doesn’t happen. We have to learn to open ourselves knowing that we can be hurt in the process.

I share joy and sorrow with my friends. We hold each other up in the tough times an rejoice in the good ones. We have all had our share of pain and loss and that has bound us even more together.

I guess my hope is that I can continue to be the friend they need and have them remain mine.