Gifts for the Spirit

photo of smiling woman standing near tree leaning on stone railing looking out into the distance

Sometimes life’s most precious moments occur when we least expect them.

Is it because you didn’t plan it? You were busy with everyday events and not thinking about it..

Is it because you didn’t try to force it? Perhaps it was something you desired, put it out to the Universe and let go.

Is it because the timing was just right? The clock of the Universe can be difficult to decipher.

Regardless, cherish these lovely experiences. They warm and heal the heart. These gifts are fruit for the soul.

Photo by Hoàng Chương on Pexels.com

“Where the Heart Goes” is available as an Amazon Kindle Countdown Deal July 27-August 1st.

Change

     The necessity of change is difficult for many of us to accept. There is no doubt that sudden unexpected change such as the death of a loved one is devastating. Some are able to integrate loving memories of their dear one into a life that moves ahead. Others lead limited lives by failing to accept the unwanted change in circumstances.

     It’s often easier to accept less tragic, more gradual change, especially if you are younger. If you’ve lived more than a few decades you’ve seen numerous shifts in culture, ways of thinking and lifestyles. When we are young it seems easier to flow with these changes. As we age, however, flowing with change tends to become more difficult. When we get older, we sometimes nurture a desire to return to the safety or “sanity” of the childhood years, or the beauty and agility of our younger glory days. Too many past thoughts blind us to the present, and we fail to see and appreciate all that’s worthwhile right in front of us.

     A fully lived life necessitates a reasonable degree of adaptability. Accept the idea that nothing stays the same. It’s the only thing that’s certain in life. Learn to accept what you can’t change. If you have no control over the circumstances, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t change other people, only the way you react to them. Moreover, if you are unhappy, take the necessary steps to make the changes you can control. Don’t allow anxiety and fear to dominate your actions.

     If you seek more peace and fulfillment in your life, remember to live in the present moment. Every second is precious; don’t waste time reliving the past or dreaming too much about the future. Being grateful for all the good things in your life presently, will bring you even more reasons to be grateful down the road. Flow through the rough spots and live each day fully. You can’t move ahead, or live your best life, with your head stuck in the past.

Getting It Back

This is an article that I wrote as a guest blogger for Gilda Evans in April 2014. In today’s busy world, it is easy to lose oneself…to get so caught up in daily activites or the lives of others, that we forget what is most important – ourselves! A strong sense of self will guide you down life’s pathway to your goals and give you the strength and resilience to be available to others in a loving, healthy way.

The relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have. At birth, we know nothing other than to be our true selves and have little awareness of our surroundings as we begin to bond with those who care for us. Soon, however, we slowly begin to learn that we are not the center of the universe—that all of our actions are not acceptable and that not all of our desires get fulfilled.

Our self-image is gradually molded during our formative years. In childhood, parental demands and expectations begin to chip away at our self-concept. When we become teenagers, the desire to fit in often supersedes our desire and ability to be our true self. Some of us spend a lifetime trying to reclaim this birthright—the ability to be genuinely ourselves and to feel good about it.

Getting it back means taking a good look at yourself, pros and cons, and fully accepting “you” exactly the way you are. Recognize that you don’t need anyone or anything else to make you whole. Of course, this is easier said than done because we do need to have relationships with others. Too often, however, these relationships take too much away from us, and we lose more even of ourselves.

A healthy relationship is one in which two individuals, who are whole and complete in themselves, come together to delight and share in each other’s lives. These relationships are honest, supportive and loving whether they be friendship or romance. The fact is that you cannot be in this type of relationship fully with another until you first have it with yourself.

For those who need a little help, here are some tips to get you there:

1. Buy a journal or notebook and begin to write about your hopes and dreams, your feelings, your experiences during the day, etc. This is an excellent way to get to know and understand yourself better. You might even try writing a few love notes to yourself.

2. Make a list of your pros and cons without judging. Accept that this is the way you are and begin to love yourself unconditionally. Everyone else has their own pros and cons—no one is perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others; no one is better or less than another, just different.

3. Take note of what makes you unique and different from others you know. This is the treasure that you are meant to give to the world. Focus on developing and sharing more of your special qualities.

4. Take five minutes a day to look at yourself in the mirror and say positive affirmations such as, “I love and accept myself just the way I am.”

5. Remember to treat yourself as kindly and lovingly as you do the person whom you love the most. Take time out to be good to yourself. Make a date with yourself to do or buy something special.

Pathways

After a recent trip to Cape May, NJ, I noticed that many of my favorite photos centered on this walkway from a Sunset Beach cottage to the Delaware Bay. Thinking back, I realized how I have always been drawn to photos of pathways.

Perhaps, the times I enjoy them the most are when I am examining my own life’s pathway. Following a new road can be exciting, scary, and wonderful. The uncertainty of it all can be very enticing. The opportunities it brings can be challenging and stressful. Nevertheless, there is one magnificent guarantee – it will bring change…change which is the driving force of life that frees us from stagnation and allows us to grow.

In Celebration of Introverts

It’s time for introverts to stop feeling like they should be more like them…extroverts, that is. It seems like there are many more of them than us, or at least it did when I was growing up. I was encouraged to be more outgoing, speak up and, “for heaven’s sake, raise your hand more in class.” Research is now showing that there are differences in brain chemistry and in the way these so-called personalities respond to stimuli and recharge energy. Extroverts are energized by being around others while introverts thrive when they are alone or spending limited time with a close friend. Too many people, loud noise or constant activity drains their energy. However, there is no such thing as a one-hundred percent introvert or extrovert; the majority of people fall somewhere in between.

Introvert-Problems-Infographic1

Introverts, give yourself permission to be you—the deep thinker, the intellectual, the writer, the poet, the artist or silent creator who looks at the world from a place deep inside yourself. If you are happy in your world, don’t allow others’ expectations to be forced upon you. They may perceive your quiet tendencies as uncaring, rude or stuck-up. That’s their stuff, not yours (unless you really are).  The only reason that some people may call you out is because of their own emotional response to you. They worry that you are judging, or thinking badly of them, and that makes them feel uncomfortable.

tumblr_m3cm59LfFr1qz9uer

Parents and educators, teach your children, introverts or otherwise, to love and accept themselves as they are. A little person who is made to feel “less than” will waste years trying to measure up. Sadly, some go on feeling defensive about themselves their whole lives. Those who learn to appreciate themselves as children are more likely to embrace their full potential as adults if they build upon a solid foundation that celebrates their special talents and uniqueness.

Introvert-Spring-Manifesto1

Introversion has graced us with many brilliant and talented people, i.e. Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and even, Christina Aguilera. It’s okay to be quiet—some of us need our silence and thrive within it. Don’t make us try to fit into a mold. That’s the quickest way to destroy our spirit.

slide_444886_5904616_free

For more information :

http://www.medicaldaily.com/brain-introvert-compared-extrovert-are-they-really-different-299064

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201008/revenge-the-introvert

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-power-of-introverts/

http://introvertspring.com/blog/

http://www.fastcompany.com/3016031/leadership-now/are-you-an-introvert-or-an-extrovert-and-what-it-means-for-your-career

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/15/famous-introverts_n_3733400.html

Desiderata

Forty years ago, when I moved into my first apartment, I came across a beautiful plaque and purchased it for my new home. The wise words written upon it resonated with me from the moment I read them. Back in the 70s, the author was unknown, but it was later discovered to be Max Ehrmann, an American, who had originally published this piece in 1927.

I hope you enjoy reading, or re-reading them if you’ve come across this before. 

Happy New Year!  May 2016 be one of your best!

Desiderata ( in Latin, “desired things”)

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’

Max Ehrmann

Growing Older – Forgiveness

The older I get, the less emotional baggage I want to carry with me, so at this point in life I have learned to pick my battles carefully and let go of those I no longer want to own. I have realized that some “injustices” need to be released because holding on to them is simply doing me harm, physically and emotionally. I value my own well-being more. It also helps me to remember that forgiveness does not mean that you have to forget.

In addition, my slowly-acquired awareness that the “injustice” says more about the perpetrator than about me, has allowed me to move on. Do I really want to “sink” to their level? Neither am I so quick now to “perceive” an injustice and attribute intention to another. I don’t really know what is going on in their head…perhaps it’s just my perception and they never intended it the way I took it.

I trust in my belief that God (the universe) is ultimately fair so why would I waste my time plotting some type of revenge? It will be dealt with in its own time and place. I am happier to live peacefully by focusing on the positives in life.

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_sean824′>sean824/123RF Stock Photo

Your Story Does Matter

I discovered the above metal plaque browsing through a shop in Punta Gorda, Florida back in April. It spoke to me so deeply that I knew I had to buy it and place it where I could see it often. It’s a reminder to me that what I have to say with my writing is worthwhile. It matters to someone and most importantly it matters that I share bits and pieces of me in my writing.

I believe it’s important for all of us to be aware that who we are and how we arrived at this point in life are crucial. Our stories and perspectives are unique because we are all as different as our fingerprints. This is the richness of our lives that deserves to be shared as we learn from and teach each other.

What is your story? Much of it is about the things that matter most in your life and why. They largely define who you are. Perhaps it’s an undeniable talent or a calling that directs you to a specific career or hobby. Whatever it is that characterizes you as your unique piece of the whole of humanity truly needs to be expressed and shared.

Why are you here?  Write it, sing it, create it, talk about it and most of all, love it. Your true essence matters to us all!

How’s Your Self-Esteem Doing?

28430926_s

         “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

                                            —   Eleanor Roosevelt

These are great words, attributed to a special lady. Do you believe this or do you frequently allow your self-image to be colored by the world around you? Are you aware of your own truth and goodness? Do you realize that what you think of yourself, good or bad, is always more important than what others think of you?

I truly believe that we all are born with a healthy dose of self-esteem. In our early years, however, it often begins to be chiseled away by normal childhood experiences. Dysfunctional parents, as well as the well-intended ones, contribute to this in addition to most school systems. During teenage years the desire to conform takes us a step further away from knowing and appreciating our true selves.

If negativity and self-doubt are allowed to gain a solid foothold, this snowballs until we are old enough to reflect back on our life and wonder what went wrong. Why am I not happy? Why do I always try harder to please others than myself? When will there be time for me?

If you find this happening, take a moment to reflect on your own self-worth. First of all, no one is “better” than anyone else. We are all different, but equal as human beings. What are your special gifts and talents? What do you like best about yourself? What are you doing when you are truly happy?

Most importantly, you don’t have to own anyone else’s opinion of “you.” What they think of you, is not your business; it’s theirs. Mind you own and appreciate yourself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

To Flow or Not to Flow

Butterfly

It’s happening again. I have an hour now to either write a blog post or do promotional activities. I struggle with this repeatedly, sometimes doing neither. For the most part, I don’t enjoy promotional activities. I can’t believe that someone who really loves to write truly does. Meaningful interaction with fellow writers, bloggers or fans is great, but it seems pointless to repeatedly promote my work on Facebook or Twitter and do all the other tasks that so-called professionals tell me I should do to achieve success.

I grew up driven, thinking it was important to have goals with carefully outlined steps to achieve them…maybe even a timetable. In some cases, this worked very well; other times the path was fraught with difficulty. I’ve noticed along the way that resistance, obstacles and delays seem to occur when the goal I’ve chosen, or the pathway designed to achieve it, may not be the right one for me. Or, it could be that it’s simply not the right time for it to happen.

I’m older now and have realized that often things work better if I relax and go with the flow. The original goals may adjust or even change, but the end results I am guided to are even better. I believe that in following the path of least resistance and doing the things that make us happiest, we are listening to the wisdom of our inner being, or the soul. Our inner self knows our deepest desires and what is best for us, even though we may not be consciously aware of this.

Sometimes ideas and thoughts need to be nurtured by the ebb and flow of life until they are ready to burst forth at the right time. As the amazing caterpillar transforms itself into a butterfly, it goes through a period of inactivity. In actuality, much is happening within the security of the cocoon. As with us, a powerful transformation may go on inside us during a period of quiet time or relaxation.

I am feeling happy that I’ve chosen to write this post and not spent the time on Facebook or Twitter. This tells me I’m heading in the right direction because even though it’s sometimes difficult, I find that writing brings me satisfaction unlike any other. It teaches me more about myself that often others find interesting or helpful.

I hope that some of you will reflect a bit and not feel that your time has to be filled with meaningless activities that someone else tells you to do to achieve your goals. If the “someone else” is your boss, you might want to consider another line of work. If the goals you have in mind are right for you, you will enjoy the path that guides you there.

Keep in mind that what is right for another, may not be beneficial for you. If your life is not moving in the direction you would like, it could be time to re-evaluate your goals. Spend some quiet time at home or in nature thinking about what holds meaning for you in life, especially meaning that celebrates your uniqueness. There’s a place inside of you that has all the answers…you have only to tune into it.

Photo Credit: Copyright: dagadu / 123RF Stock Photo