OUR STATE OF MIND? OUR CHOICE!

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Every election year the same thing happens. If the Liberals win the Conservatives bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. If the Conservatives win the Liberals bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. The four years that follow, the losing side posts divisive things on Facebook trashing the elected president and elected officials who are not of their persuasion.

I get so sick of this cycle and want to scream, “STOP IT!” We are all a part of this country. We need to pull together no matter who is president! What Norman Vincent Peale said in the above quote may seem simplistic to some, but it is true. We need to focus on peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes. AND we need to do this for our fellow Americans. If we must post on social media, then post affirming things. NOT repost hateful, divisive, fear-mongering things that may not, and probably is not, entirely true.

Let us be an instrument of peace to both ourselves and to others. Let’s guard our minds, focus on what we are absolutely certain is true (not rely on the media for truth for Heaven’s sake) and be grateful.

2017. What will our attitude be about it? It is our choice.

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WHAT DID YOU SAY????

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The message sent is not always the message received.
Virginia Satir

Years ago I visited a friend in Honduras for a couple of weeks. Their Internet service was sparse at best, so I could only contact my husband, Neal, every other day or so, via email. The night before I was to fly home I received a message from him that said something like, I’ve looked over our budget. We need to make some changes. Vacuumed the entire house. Changes need to be made there too. See you soon.

Well, I don’t mind telling you I was pretty darned miffed. All night I fumed. So, he thinks I spend too much money does he? Well, one look in my closet where only six dresses hang and three pair of shoes sit on the floor, will prove I don’t. So, I don’t clean house good enough for him? Well, if he wants to take over the cleaning, more power to him.

At the airport in Tulsa, I had plenty of time to marinate in my anger. When I saw him, I could have frozen him with my stare. Clearly confused, he followed me as I sped to the luggage pick-up, all the while asking me what was wrong. Believe you me, I let him have it.

Neal was so shocked by my inference of his email, he had to sit down. “Linda, I meant that our budget had to be changed to provide you with more money. I saw your closet when I vacuumed it and realized you clearly needed more clothes. And after using that vacuum, I realized we need a new one. I would have bought one already, but I wanted you to get what you wanted.

By the time he finished I was looking for something to crawl under. Since that day, when one of us says something that nettles the other, we answer, “This is what I hear you saying,” which gives the other the opportunity to clarify.

Emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are fertile seedbeds for misrepresentation, anger, negativity, and misunderstanding. Let us be careful. Yes, we are entitled to our opinion on our own page. Personally, I try to avoid controversial opinions even there. On another’s page, however, unless invited to do so, it is best to keep our opinions to ourselves.

That said, I violated this advice myself just a couple of days ago. A dear friend posted something that I had strong feelings about and I wrote a comment. Then I deleted it and wrote it again, edited and then posted. This violated my core value of peace and the nagging followed me like a whiney child. So I deleted it—again. What bothered me the most was the possible message she might have received from my comment. I would never want her to think that I thought of her as anything less than wonderful.

In my opinion it is best to send undeniable messages of peace, understanding, and love. AND yes, I was a teenager in the 70’s.

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WHAT MY OLDER SELF WOULD TELL MY YOUNGER SELF ABOUT LIFE

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Do a self-evaluation often. Things will happen in your life, giving rise to harmful emotions, which will have the potential of destroying relationships, causing you to make bad decisions, and could be harmful to your health. Evaluate the things causing you stress, making you angry, or offending you and ask yourself, will this really matter to me this time next year or will I be kicking up dust about something else?

It is not important that everyone agrees with you! If you feel the need to argue, then you, yourself, are not convinced. Peace and confidence comes from a made-up mind. You know where you stand and the opinion of others does not shake you.

Focus your mind and energy on things that really matter. To do this you must know you. What is your core value? What is it that you would miss the most if you lost it? Imagine yourself at the end of your life, looking back, what might you have done that would make you feel most fulfilled? What memories would bring you joy?

Make a list of these things and then do the things on your list. Don’t waste your time debating about things, which, in the end, make no positive impact on your life. Be very careful about politics. Be water. Reflect on all opinions. Give grace to those who have points of view different from yours. Go with your core value.

Regret can be good if it is a turning point in your life. Regret is unbearable if at the end of your life it is your constant companion whispering “If only.” “I wish I had . . .”  Life is fragile as fine crystal, but we treat it as if it were tempered steel, careless and without thought when we drop it. When you are young you think you have all the time in the world, but age doesn’t matter in the game of life. Death takes all at every stage. What would you regret if someone you know was suddenly taken from you? What are you putting off that you know you should do?

Fix it now! Do it now!

In the end, I pray you will be rich. Not necessarily with things, but with what you have done to help others. Be like a dandelion seed head. When someone blows on you, spread seeds of inspiration.

As the saying goes, we cannot take things with us, but the things we have done for others will take root and flower. And that is what really matters.

Enemies – R – Us?

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“We have met the enemy and he is us.” ~ Walt Kelly

Four years ago we built our home in the country and named it “Selah, ” an ancient Hebrew term found in the Psalms. It is believed to mean: “a pause” in the music, to “reflect & meditate” on the message, or a “transition” in the song.

That was exactly what Neal and I desired for all who visited our home. We wanted our guests to pause from their busy lives, transition from their hectic schedule in order to relax, reflect and meditate.

That said, every spring the peace of Selah comes under assault when a pair of red birds called Tanagers starts attacking the windows in our house. All day long they fly into the glass and peck as they slide down. Feathers fly everywhere. Sometimes they take turns, other times they fight the windows together.

It isn’t our windows that have them worked up; it is the bird they see in the window. A bird they perceive as a trespasser in their territory. They nearly knock themselves silly, but are determined to drive the intruders away.

From morning till night Selah’s windows reverberate with thuds from bird body slams and Tommy gun “rat-a-tat-tats” from resolute beaks. The problem? The birds they are fighting are their own reflections. They are fighting themselves! All that energy, all that time—wasted! Silly birds . . .

But wait? Don’t we do that?  Sometimes we perceive an enemy intruding into our lives, keeping us from success or putting stumbling blocks in our way. But what we often fail to recognize is that the enemy is actually . . . well . . . us.

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to time management. Not only am I guilty of over committing, I also procrastinate. NOT a good combination!

There are those who focus on the negative. It could be on their past experiences—missed opportunities, failures, unmet expectations—or on their self-perceived imperfections due to comparing themselves with others. Along with a negative focus is negative self-talk, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Most of us have a “bird in the window” episode at one time or another. What’s the solution? Recognize our self-sabotaging habits and do something about them. For instance, I keep careful tabs on my calendar and stay mindful of my commitments. I also write down a daily schedule that I follow even if I don’t feel like it. This habit was hard for me to develop, as most good habits are, but I can attest it was worth it!

Eventually, Mr. and Mrs. Tanager will wear out, give up and build their nest. Peace will finally return to Selah.

May peace return to you this week!