Tag Archives: life skills

Life isn’t always happy. Plan moments of happiness.

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Happiness and hard times can coexist like cactus and daisies.

 

It may not be shocking news to many of you that life is not always easy. There are times when circumstances of life avalanche a person in challenges leaving them feeling overwhelmed. Many reasons are presented why not to be happy, at peace, to live instead in emotional pain. I am not suggesting that we must numb or hide those feelings. It’s just that at some point a decision must be made because why live a miserable life? To me that seems like wasted time. I don’t want to be miserable do you? To dig myself out of the avalanche I plan moments of happiness.

Plan a small moment of happiness everyday. Make it a ritual. The whole world can go to heck in a hand-basket with things that are out of my control but I will have 5  minutes of happiness darn it! For me I have my morning hug with my youngest daughter. She comes and gives me a big hug and we check in with each other and talk. This is always a moment of happiness for me. We both look forward to it. After a grueling week this week, I loaded up the kids in the car and my cousin in-law came along too and we went to one of my favorite places in Northern Arizona. A place I tend to always feel happy. The picture above came from that place and the idea came to me that life doesn’t have to be one or the other, happiness and times of great challenge can coexist like the cactus and daisies do in this picture. It is possible but sometimes you have to make that happiness happen with planned moments of happiness.

As a side note about this place I learned from a park ranger there that scientists from the local university found that this area is located on a lay line. A lay line is a line of electromagnetic energy in the Earth that causes the ions of the air to become positively charged. These positive ions react with the body and make it feel better, think better, and work better. There was work done to prove this, which I will go into more detail about at another time. The point I’m making here is that by taking action to go to this place, I knew I would feel better. Find a similar place that you can go to. Do an activity you love to do. Be with people that you feel accepted, comfortable and at peace with and hang out. Get some good vibes and create a happy memory, a happy moment. Just one planned moment of happiness can go along way.

Until next time…

 

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It’s really simple, but it’s hard.

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My house the night of the fire

My house the night of the fire

Some readers follow me on the social network scene may know that there was a fire at my house last month.

News coverage of fire at my house

My meditation brought me to the place in the Christian Bible, which says “Ye shall know them by their fruit.” and my fruit was pretty good. Because although something bad, scary, completely unfair and wrong happened to me. I was okay, no one was hurt, and I was able to go on thinking in a positive and healthy way about the situation. Now I can share with you what I learned.

Worry. When something happens that is scary, wrong, unfair, and often completely unexpected, a person can take this as an opportunity to worry the rest of their life away. Now here comes the simple, but really hard part about life, especially life after tragedy… (drum-roll please) Are you ready to take notes? Ok here it is…. Live in the moment. Live in right now.

Oh man! How many times have you heard that before? It even comes on cheesy little plaques and everything. The thing is, it’s true. It’s exactly true. And here is another little bit that came to me and this is how it goes:

Several years ago my high school Psychology teacher Mr. Mason asked us a very important question “If something really bad happens to you, how much of your life are you willing to give to it?” I am not willing to give my entire life to something that happened in 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 1 day, or 1 year. If the bad incident is actually happening in that period, then it is happening and it is out of a person’s control. The question is how much EXTRA beyond the time it took to happen are you willing to give the incident?

This is something a person has to ask themselves BEFORE a bad thing happens, so that when the fear, anxiety, anger flares up inside, when you are human it will flare up inside. The mental mechanism is there to say, “I won’t let it have any more of my life.” Take a deep breath and go back to now. Now is work. Now is hugging my kids. Now is enjoying a beautiful day. Now is doing the dishes. Whatever Now is I go back there and time moves on and things get easier, maybe not easier all the time, however life goes on I survive and even thrive with planned moments of happiness. This is how, despite bad things happening I can still live a satisfying life.

Planned moments of happiness is something I’ll talk about next time.

I wish you all the optimum of happiness in your experience.

Until next time…

Is imagination a good thing?

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Imagination can be a double-edged sword. On one hand it can make a not so nice world seem a lot better than it actually is and on the other hand it can make a not so nice world seem a lot better that it actually is. Confused yet? Let me explain.

This has been a topic of much contemplation lately. The down side of imagination is when a person paints over a dangerous or destructive relationship or situation with her imagination. Making something that she should run away from seem like a situation where everything is great. This happens a lot with people who have experienced abuse. They think that their partner who is abusive to them is actually something that they are not, for example that they are kind and loving instead of violent or demeaning. This kind of imagination is more of a curse than a blessing.

On the contrary, when times are tough in a way that a person has no control to change, an imagination can be a wonderful tool of survival. Being able to imagine something better in order to stay hopeful and positive can be a tremendous asset. Imagination can also be wonderful if a person has a talented imagination they can make a pretty good living utilizing it–or so I have heard.

Imagination, blessing or curse? It depends on the circumstances. It is never a good idea to detach too far from reality. Reality is a grounding point of reference that is a necessity. However, to take a few fleeting flights of fantasy away from reality in order to contemplate the what ifs in life can be quite productive. It can illuminate possibilities, help to develop goals, and assist in problem solving.

At the end of the day, it’s the results that count. If a person is living with her head in the imagination clouds too much there won’t be much in the way of positive results in her real life. However, if there is too little imagination, like an engine with no oil, the mind can begin to overheat. The balanced imagination offers time to dream and time to take the realistic actions needed to bring those dreams into reality. In balance, imagination might not be a bad thing after all.

Confidence v. Arrogance

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What is the difference between a confident person and an arrogant person? Confidence is inspiring and positive where arrogance generally turns people off and sends them away. The arrogant person is a talker. Often talking about what they have done, their various perceived accomplishments, who they know, what they know and the list goes on.

Confident people don’t feel the need to talk about their accomplishments because their accomplishments speak for themselves. Often other people will tell the confident person how good they’re doing because they are being judged by their actions, not their perceptions about the impact they are having in the world.

Simply put, the confident person is able to back up their talk with results. Arrogant people are often unproven, insecure and have a false sense of their positive impact on the world around them. Arrogant people have not paid their dues and this is what causes them to receive negative feedback when they tout their perceived accomplishments to others.

Confidence is built one successful result at a time. There is no way to cheat and get there it can only be earned. Each experience and event builds to the next until a person creates a strong foundation of accomplishment on which to stand and be judged at the end of the day for their contribution to humanity.

The arrogant foundation is false, weak and with holes that do not stand up to truth and scrutiny. In this case there is nothing of substance left behind of any real value and in many cases quite the opposite is true where the arrogant person was more destructive than helpful in their particular community.

Confidence has a power to it. It is magnetic and attractive. It is an inner light that shines through the eyes of a person who knows they are capable of accomplishing great things because they have actually walked through the fire and have done it. They have proof, people love a leader and a passionate person who is able to get things done.

Arrogance is like assault. Someone trying to steal power through a con job that they want to sell to appear to be more capable than they have had the ability to demonstrate in real experience. The interesting thing about arrogance is that the lie can be made true with work and diligence to task. If a person wants to they can trade in the false notions of what they would like others to believe them to be, take the path of those before them who have confidently accomplished such things and earn the confidence themselves. This takes focused action, work, sacrifice and determination to trade in arrogance for confidence. It is very possible, even more so when a person makes a plan and follows through on it.

From a distance confidence and arrogance can seem very similar in the end it’s about taking the actions, making the sacrifices and doing the work in order to be able to back up the claims to one’s abilities.

How to keep breathing after someone you love commits suicide

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How do you describe the feeling? The moment when the life is punched out of your gut and blows a hole in your heart at the same time? The moment playing over and over like a skipped record. The last moment you saw them alive. What could you have done? This is the reality of being close to a person who commits suicide. How do you go on living without them?

With any death deemed by the survivors to be premature, adds another dimension of pain to losing someone you love. There is this assumption that there was more for them to do, that they would be missing the best things in life, that they were denied accomplishments and life experiences. This is compounded when the person takes their own life. The feeling of senselessness of the death can sometimes be even more overwhelming than the knowledge that the person is dead.

The first thing a survivor needs to come to terms with when they are ready to heal is to look at it as though a person had cancer or some other terminal illness. There is a different mindset that comes from your loved one dyeing of a terminal disease however the depression that took your loved one’s life is much like a terminal illness. It is not that you didn’t do enough, or could have done anything, the same way it is when a person is unable to stop a loved one from dyeing of cancer. One must release themselves from the guilt of not being able to prevent the tragedy.

At some point we must come to terms with the master plan of life. Something we cannot always understand, nor do we need to understand it, just know that if any other outcome was possible at the time it would have occurred. The suicide happened because at that particular point in time, with the specific circumstances that were happening, that was the only thing that could have happened. It is a difficult thought to take in, however it is necessary to be open to the idea that it couldn’t have been any other way at the time. This frees the mind from the broken record thought pattern of playing out the many ways the mind thinks that moment should have happened in order to have saved the individual from themselves.

Finally, there comes a reality that happens with anyone whose loved one dies, whether naturally, by foul play or by their own hand. That reality is that to heal we must find another way to have the needs met that the person who died fulfilled for us. Although a person can never be replaced, there can be a surrogate found to give the hugs, to be there in the physical world the way a survivor of suicide needs someone to be there. One can always send love to the person who died and that is healthy. However, there are times when there is love to give and sometimes having someone the same age as the person who died to nurture instead helps fill a hole that would otherwise cause more pain.

It is important to take each day after a suicide one day at a time. Although like having a scab or a limb removed there is always a reminder. The fact is there can be life after suicide. There still can be happy moments and a life worth living for. A survivor is here because they have more living to do and although there is pain there is also love and a lot of other really great things to look forward to as well.

How to get through hard times focus, breathe and move through it

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Just about everyone I know has been going through some difficult times recently. Difficult is an understatement actually, more like earth shattering, my life is completely different now types of changes. How does a person make it through a reality that shakes their very foundation of what reality used to be before that point in time?

There is a saying that is very true that thoughts are things. It is important always to keep a positive and solution oriented thought stream going yet that becomes ever more difficult when profound life stressors come into play. The more stressed a person is the more likely they are to want to panic and panicky thoughts are rarely productive.

When it becomes difficult to control one’s own thoughts because times are tough the best thing to do is to borrow someone else’s thoughts. This is when it is good to have positive materials around. Spiritual texts, quotes from others who have been there before, motivational texts, or even literature about the issue causing the problems. Inspirational songs, funny shows or even such tools as meditation cards and the like can be helpful to focus negative stray thoughts into a calmer more peaceful stream of consciousness.

It is important to try to keep a personal routine up as well as is possible. These life landmarks are the things that give peace-of-mind, the little things. A favorite morning ritual, hobbies and meetings with friends are the types of things that though they may be modified to fit the situation are important to give the emotional recharge needed to make it through difficult times.

Create a collection to inspire you during difficult times. For it is not a matter of if, only when, some form of hard times will come to call. Humor is also an effective tool for dealing with challenging times, especially those that are currently out of an individual’s control.

Make sure to rest and give oneself care during difficult times and also to expect less productivity during emotional ordeals. So many times there is the unreasonable expectation that life should be able to go on at the same level of productivity. Yet, that is simply not true. Emotional ordeals such as death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, personal illness or the illness of a loved one are all mentally and emotionally taxing and that can drain personal energy tremendously. Sometimes just making it through a day seems to take up all personal energy reserves. As such, it is important to have realistic expectations and not to over-schedule, leaving time to just be still and recuperate.

Keep thoughts focused on the possibility of better times. Take time educate yourself about more effective methods of dealing with the problem at hand. Perhaps go back to school to learn a new skill or some new form of self-improvement and when there is nothing that can be done for your personal situation take time to help others. Volunteering can take your mind off of your problems for a while and can offer a way to stay positive and hopeful for the future while making a difference and being the answer to somebody else’s prayer.

Just remember that although a problem may not be able to be solved right away it is important to keep moving forward. To have a daily goal, to do something any action even if it is small to continue to work toward your ultimate potential. When a person is moving forward they are less likely to get caught in the pit of quicksand that is self-pity and despair. Ultimately that is the difference between those who make it through the difficult times and those who do not fair as well.

Z is for Zuzwang

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The final installment of the A-Z series. Z is for zuzwang.

Zuzwang is a chess term. The first time I heard it I fell in love with it, both the novel sound of the word and the truth in its meaning. Zuzwang comes from the German word meaning “compulsion to move”. It is a quandary, the uncomfortable situation a person can get trapped into by opposition where no matter which move they make, it’s a bad move and inherently makes the situation worse. The best move in this type of situation is to stay still and do nothing.

In the tarot deck there is a card called the hangman. The picture is a man strung upside down with a rope around his ankles. This card illustrates the point that there are times when a person is metaphorically strung up they have no control over the circumstances, forces greater than them as an individual are in play.

The negative aspect of this type of situation is the uncomfortable and helpless feeling of being strung up. What may be more difficult to see is that this type of situation is also freeing. Because the person is unable to do anything about the circumstances of the situation they also have no responsibility to that situation. There is nothing they can do. In this freeing oneself from responsibility for a situation in which nothing positive can be done. It allows one to take a deep breath and detach emotionally from the situation.

It is very possible after detaching from the situation at hand to gain a different perspective. As time passes and the world inevitably changes, the situation has potential to resolve itself, the opportunity through time opens up new possibilities to make a better move, or it becomes clear that this game is over and it is time to move on in some way.

Zuzwang teaches that living life can be like moving through traffic, Life is going to have some red lights. There are going to be time when cross traffic needs to resolve before successful forward motion is possible. It is time to rest during such times, to recharge, and to absorb information and develop new skills so that when it is time to move again a person can do so as a stronger more prepared human being.

As the cause and effect of life plays itself out in our world. It is good to know when to move with confidence and just as importantly when to be still.

Y is for Yield

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The twenty-fifth installment of the A-Z series. Y is for Yield.

I believe in synchronicity. It wasn’t something I had to be cajoled into, it has simply happened way too many times to be able to ignore it. For example this morning when I was walking toward the computer to contemplate a ‘Y’ word for the day and my daughter walks up to me with a small sign from her train set that said “Yield” and asked me what it meant. That was Divine intervention.

See many times we look for Divine intervention in life as the burning bush, the staff turning into and asp, show me something great we demand of the Universe, to prove there really is something there. However, the miracles happen all the time. They are all around us, they show us the important lesson of yielding.

The term yield itself has many meanings. They range from surrender to return on investment, it speaks of flexibility and of when to be persuaded by other opinions, and it talks about allowing another to have their turn in order to avoid the pain and suffering of a collision.

Surrender

To give in to the flow. This can be difficult for many people. We have this sense of manifest destiny. We are going to go out there into the world to force it to yield to our will. Where it is true that action is needed to make things happen there are different ways of going about taking action, because a lot of what goes into successful action has to do with timing. When a person tries to force an issue and finds themselves to be unable to yield the type of results they want. It may be because they refuse to yield to the overwhelming force of timing.

Many times it is not just about determination, it is about many moving pieces coming together as they need to in order to create the circumstances needed for success and that process often takes time. We must be always ready for opportunity, and at the same time wise enough to recognize when the timing is off.

Return on Investment

The term yield in financial terms has to do with ROI or return on investment is a financial term that speaks about the money made annually on an investment. Yield also talks about crops and reaping the harvest of what has been previously sown. These aspects of the term yield caused me to wonder how much thought a person puts into return on investment. All the time, love, energy, life force put into the day to day living of one’s life. Is it yielding a healthy return?

Many times people get so involved in the actual actions of the day that they don’t really have time or energy to ponder whether the return on investment is worth the effort. What results are yielded from this endeavor whether it be a relationship, a career choice, or anything else that a person gives parts of their precious life to.

Being Flexible

Bend like the reed. So much about surviving the difficult patches of life depend on one’s ability to bend and not break with the changes of the world. Being flexible, attempting to understand the perspective of others in order to be true to yourself, yet to also be able to bring harmony to an environment is very important. Those who are able to successfully assimilate into many situations are the ones who ultimately have the most success and fulfillment in life.

As the old saying goes a person cannot control all that happens to them. What they do have absolute control over is how they react to that situation and that can make all the difference. Stop resisting and make the best of each moment, flexibility is key. Always be open to the idea that there is always more to learn, more to do and see. No one can know everything and being set in your ways only gives people more incentive to pass you by, not that you will be able to influence them.

Yield also speaks about the change from old to new. The old paradigms that made sense in the past now yield to modern thinking, new information, the changes presented by time and society. The best way to influence others and have a higher yield of happiness and fulfillment is to live through example. Live a full and joyful life. This is magnetic and is the most efficient way of bringing what you desire into your sphere of influence.

When not to yield.

There are certain things that one simply must not yield to, violence and intimidation for example. One must never allow either into their sphere of influence. Hate and lies should also not be something a person yields to. Compromise to the point of becoming something you are not in an attempt to be a better match for a person or group should not be yielded to. We need to keep our core self in tact. For like the old country song says ” You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

Weak force and strong force, knowing when to yield and when to stand firm. These are important life skills to have in today’s ever changing world.

W is for Waiting

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Twenty-third installment in the A-Z series. W is for Waiting.

Like the song says, “The waiting is the hardest part.” It seems so with life. Waiting for the good stuff to happen, waiting for the bad stuff to be over, waiting in transition from one stage of life to another. The waiting is most definitely the hardest part.

Patience is a virtue. Knowing there is a time and place for everything. How much pain is caused by rushed decisions. I have made many. Some turned out rather well, while others cause a lot of extra work and heartache. Patience is certainly not one of my strengths, so I can hardly talk about it. I just know it is a good idea. I wish I had more of it.

The thing that is tricky about many things in life is that it’s not just about us. We have to wait for other people to be in line with the game plan as well. People with their own thoughts, free will, perspectives and game plans. There is a time when that comes in to alignment and we have an opportunity.

But its the waiting. Often I think of kids jumping rope, double-dutch two ropes swinging. You have to listen to the rhythm of the ropes to know just the perfect time to jump in. If you don’t listen you end up tripping or getting smacked in the face with the rope, and that HURTS! Much the same with life. Being prepared and being open to that perfect opening in life for career, love, family, or whatever one wishes to attract into their world. We must be prepared and patiently wait.

When the synchronicity of life aligns for us it is such an exquisitely magical time. When everything seems to flow the way we’d like. Gratitude for the blessings in life. I am reminded of another song lyric as well with Sheryl Crow that says “It’s not getting what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got” this is also a good sentiment to keep in mind. Sometimes waiting through a tough time is the right choice as with time things sort themselves out and one finds no action was needed.

Other times the time spent waiting reveals without a doubt what the next step in life’s journey should be. There is a lot to be said for waiting for the Universe to catch up with our desires. To manifest them in its own perfect time.

Yet without a doubt the waiting is the hardest part.

U is for Unlimited

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Twenty-first part of the A-Z series. U is for Unlimited.

To be truly Unlimited. What would that even look like? Can you picture it? What an experiment like a child just learning to walk that huge beaming smile that comes from finally having a taste of being in control of ones destiny. I can go there. I can move over there what joy sparkles in the eye of a new toddler.

Are we able to be much the same way? To take a moment to breathe to free up the personal schedule enough, to be out in an open field and just be? What are the possibilities of being Unlimited? The movie Limitless addresses this question. One thing I find in my personal experience is a disappointment at times in the lack of creativity of my thoughts. These are the materials for which to build my dreams and many times they feel so restricted. For example this question…

What would you do with 24 hours if money were no object and you could manifest any reality?

What is your answer to this question? I go over it time and time again starting from my own limited reality and expanding my mind to encompass larger and more outlandish outcomes. Just to do it. Just to explore what is possible. It’s a great big universe out there who knows what is able to be tapped into. What great adventures there are to be had.

So often it is easy especially in the state the Earth is in now to consider that which is not so great about humanity. Yet now I strive to ask questions about the best tastes, the greatest pleasures, the most mind blowing beauty. Unlimited happiness and joy. What does that look like? How can I manifest that? If only in my imagination where all great visions start? This is my great goal for my remaining time in this life. To create and enjoy as many of these moments, these memories of the future as I can.

To live an Unlimited existence. To live to my ultimate potential. This is a worthy goal for anyone. What does this picture look like in your life? What obstacles are in the way of this ultimate existence and where do they come from? Some are self inflicted when trying to fit a mold we say “Oh I can’t do that, that’s silly I need to be…(a grown up, serious, a career person, just fill in the blank with appropriate excuse). Sometimes it is an outside source you are a mother/father, of a certain religion, you are a male/female or whatever label makes it not ok to be what you would be if all the rules and labels were removed, all the shoulds taken away.

Oh how glorious. I just want to bask in that possibility for a moment. If all the barriers and restrictions were taken away. What a weight lifted off! Often times this is why many people dream of that uber rich lifestyle. What they are really craving is this Unlimited possibility that comes with being able to afford to do anything. It is Freedom that humans crave though many are afraid to embrace it. I would like to know what it is like to embrace it.

To truly be Unlimited. What does that reality look like to you?