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F – The Real Skinny on FORGIVENESS

 

Capital Letter F Free Scrapbook Alphabet Purple Flowers

When we forgive, we intentionally undergo a change in our feelings and attitude.  The feelings and attitudes that we choose to alter, stem from our having first regarded another human being as being an offender, or if it is an action we are forgiving, we have first had to deem the behavior as offensive. The change we undergo transforms the original negative feelings such as vengefulness, anger, resentment, to name a few; into feelings where we once more have good feelings and well wishes rather than harmful ones.

I remember when I was working on my college degree, choosing to do a project / paper on forgiveness and its power of transformation. Quite a number of years and experiences later, I no longer view bestowing forgiveness on others as holding the power, but rather the process of me releasing my condemning thoughts and ceasing my condemning behaviors.

condemnation

Yes. Once again, I am finding how much that seems wrong with others, begins with something that is not all that right with me. I have determined that someone did something I judge to be wrong or hurtful or in some way, shape or form, bad. Truth be told, it is none of those things. What has happened is that I have allowed myself to stand in judgment of another human beings behavior. My ego has permitted me to deem myself worthy of knowing better and blaming or holding another person responsible for what I believe should or should not happen.

judge1

 

I have come to believe this to be true.

I have come to realize when I consider forgiveness of another human being I need to ask what is wrong within me. What about me is out of balance and off center enough to cause my thinking so intently focused on another human being rather than what is going on with me? More than likely, I need to take a closer look at my own actions and thoughts. For if I have condemned another, feeling self-righteous and superior to them in any way, the forgiveness needs to be considered for myself and my own imperfections.

I have behaved in a way that I do not like because of my own imperfections and for now, that is a good enough place for forgiveness to begin.

 

 

E – Emotions and How to Cope

Letter E

They can be extremely powerful, powerful enough to overtake us and also powerful enough to render us paralyzed at times. We all have them.  About pretty much everything, all the time. We all have to deal with them although many of us choose to push them away, hoping if we shove hard enough, we will rid ourselves of the ones we don’t want.

But not too many of us have managed to figure out the best way for us to cope with them.

Inside-Out-Characters

What’s the big deal about emotions anyway? They’re only feelings.

Yet, at some point in our lives, we may find ourselves ruled by them. And we thought we could ignore them or make them disappear.

Why are they so baffling?

The 9-year old we are about to adopt doesn’t cry often. But earlier tonight, he reached across to get something on the bed and one of our “skiddish” dogs was hidden under the cover. He reacted to the movement around him quickly, jumping up, snarling, growling and darting toward our little one. No damage was done, but our son was caught guard and briefly got very scared.

He began to cry and immediately ran out of the room. So not only did he experience fear due to the sudden threat he felt, but he was also flooded with embarrassment and shame that he felt for crying and being scared. WOW!

Without simplifying things, THAT is why EMOTIONS are so difficult to manage. They are complex and confusing and intertwined. And they happen without much warning sometimes, having been triggered by something that isn’t even on our present radar.

What’s a human to do?

There is no fully correct answer to that question, but it makes sense to start by identifying the feeling. By naming it, we are no longer facing an unknown entity and that makes it more manageable in and of itself.

emotional

 

We then take this knowledge deep into our true self,  face the feeling, breathing through it and ground ourselves, knowing that in this precise moment, we are okay.  Breathing into that sense of being okay, we can then consider what it is we need to do in order to make ourselves feel even better.

Feeling Better

D – Discovering our True, Inner Selves

capital-letter-dAn old re-made television game show, To Tell the Truth is known for the resounding question posed after all the celebrity votes have been cast for the contestant they believe is the one honest person. “Will the real (fill in the blank with the full name of the contestant) please stand up?”

To Tell The Truth

Each of us lives our lives every day and portrays many various versions of our selves. There is the mom version of me, the wife version of me, the professional version…on and on the versions of me pop in and out of my life depending on where I am and what is expected of me at the time. And all these versions, when put together make up the singular true version of who I am.

In order for me to connect to the true inner version of myself, I have to move these partial versions that. although very necessary in my day to day interactions and events, block the pathway. I cannot reach my true, inner self unless I consciously make the concerted effort to unblock the path so I have a clear and unobstructed view of the genuine me.

That genuine self is where my true essence can be found. That is the part of me where all my answers lie…all my true abilities and knowledge of what is best can be found. If I don’t get there, I act on what I believe others expect of me. I haven’t tapped into all that I am and all that I know. And I come up short. I come up flustered. I come up disingenuous and on some deep level, I prevent myself from achieving completeness, from wholeness.

The Longest Journey Most of us are not taught concepts such as to go deep into the rich, warm waters of who we truly are, to find a comfort in the stillness of our very  being. We look outward for our happiness or for our sense of approval. We are traveling emotionally in the wrong direction and end up filled with frustration, confusion, anger and disappointment. And most of us spend a very long time, not even knowing why.

 

confusion and wrong way

It has been said that it is necessary we each take one time every day to be totally still and look inward and if one finds that they cannot find or make the time to achieve this, then they require it twice daily.

Make the commitment today to begin and maintain a life long journey to your true innermost self.

C – Need for Connection

Everywhere you look, people of all ages and sizes, from all walks of life, are spending more and more time with some type of hand-held devise, their eyes trained intently on some type of screen.

WELCOME TO THE CELLULAR AGE!

If you look closely and deeply at things (something I am guilty of doing too often perhaps, you will see that although these children are together, CONNECTED to their devises, they are not CONNECTING with each other whatsoever.

Again, WELCOME TO THE CELLULAR AGE.

This lack of CONNECTION is becoming common and pervasive. And although we are progressing into the future with newer and more advanced technologies surfacing faster and faster all the time, our ability to CONNECT with each other and equally important with ourselves, is something fewer of us are able to do effectively.

How often I find myself out to eat with someone and we quickly become captivated at people sitting at a close-by table with each person captured by their hand-held devise rather than engaged in face-to-face interaction and communication!

Dinner Conversation 2019

What exactly are we CONNECTING to?

Clearly, not each other.

We have found something(s) much more interesting than the people we choose as the ones we want close in our lives.

What are we teaching watchful eyes?

On an even deeper level, are we truly fulfilling our own needs by making sure our devises are fully charged and always at the ready or are we under the illusion of making CONNECTIONS? Are we confusing “Likes” and “Followers” with caring and human contact?

When we search beneath the surface, and take a moment to CONNECT to our inner selves, are we better off or are we slowly depriving ourselves of real relationships and genuine CONNECTIONS?

Are we exchanging watching for experiencing? Are we so caught up in our hand-held entertainment/information machines that we are losing sight of what is right in front of us? Confusing virtual life for real life?

Bringing BALANCE into this electronic world engulfing us requires a conscious effort to maintain CONNECTION with our inner selves, in the form of quiet moments to sit and breathe in quiet, without diversions from the outside world. It requires practice at CONNECTING our thoughts with our feelings so we complete our own circuit and recharge ourselves when life drains our energy.

We need to bring ourselves back in touch with those special people in our lives and encourage moments of belonging to each other, not to our videos or email or phones. We need to face each other and talk to each other, not text or tweet or poke.

Lets make a commitment to CONNECT with what and who really matters before its too late.

B is for BALANCE

Capital Letter B Free Scrapbook Alphabet Purple Flowers

I’ve never really thought about the symbolism in the way the letter B is shaped…Despite its curves and arches, it balances perfectly upon itself. And I ask myself, what better way to represent today’s B post than with BALANCE.

It is one of those things that has become increasingly important in my life over time, without my having noticed. Truthfully, I spent many years never giving it much thought at all, yet it plays a major role in my life and continues to become ever more important in a variety of ways.

Perhaps the best way for me to state my case for the significance of BALANCE is to allow myself to focus on what I would be like without it. While I don’t practice fancy aerial activities on a regular basis, maintaining a sense of balance allows me to feel somewhat more secure in any of my ventures.

Sometimes it is quite tricky to achieve and at times, even more difficult to maintain.

Losing Balance

Regrouping from a loss of balance can be a real tough road to travel too. So, it stands to reason that developing and practicing a way to maintain balance is pretty much the best option we’ve got.

Breathing grounds me whenever I lose my footing… in a physical sense but maybe more importantly, in an emotional sense too. It give me the opportunity to take one tiny step back where I can remind myself that I am still okay. And I need to remind myself I am okay because when I lose my sense of balance, I forget that I am.

BALANCE is where I find my sense of “okay.” In a world as insanely wonderful as the one we live in, I need to find and maintain my balance.

Here’s wishing you all a sense of balance today and every day.

A – About Acceptance

 

As I sit to contemplate how to begin, I feel as if there is something extremely appropriate in starting with ACCEPTANCE. Somehow, it seems not only applicable to the blogging challenge I am undertaking, but to something wider in scope, more of the bigger picture on a grander scale.

So, lets go there – to this grander scale, together, just for a few moments and look at what ACCEPTANCE has to do with anything.

Actually, I am finding acceptance has to do with everything!

Whether I am liking what life has thrown my way or not, I am faced with the ability to act in acceptance. Either way, it has been thrown…by some event or occurrence, by some person, part of the rhythm of life…it really doesn’t make any real difference. I look up eventually and THERE IT IS.

My choice, as I see it, is to find the willingness to accept or to try and fight and resist what already is. Almost always, resisting doesn’t accomplish a thing other than delaying the inevitable. I have invested energy, thought, and most often a lot of strong feelings into fighting what is not even mine to fight in the first place. I just didn’t know it at the time. I falsely believed that I had some say or control that was never mine at all.

And while, this may not sound like a big deal… I begin to realize, actually, it is a pretty big deal, because not only did I go down the path of illusion, off on a wild goose chase that ended in frustration at best, but I zapped my energy and focus away from a place that it could have been put to much better use and effective.

It has taken me a long time to get here, but I am now better able to appreciate and understand limits, even my own. Thankfully, there no longer seems to be as strong of a desire to put huge pieces in myself into efforts that don’t offer any return on investment. In the past, that is how I spent an awful lot of my time…investing in things that offered me pain.

It took me a very long time to understand the difference between FEELING okay and BEING okay.

 

ACCEPTING ACCEPTANCE

I had no idea that I could not like something, not feel okay about it at all, and still BE okay.

I never stopped to think that there was something controlling ME, and maybe the world was controlled by something greater or bigger than I was.

But mostly, I was too afraid to feel that I was okay and would continue to be okay no matter what the outcome.

Practicing ACCEPTANCE made my world a much better place. I hope it does for you too!

A to Z Blogging 2019 – Happy 10th Anniversary

Without further ado, let me introduce my renewed commitment to blog with this wonderful challenge this year.

This challenge encourages bloggers or would-be bloggers to try their hand at discovering something new and hopefully interesting to blog about for the duration of working through topics of interest that correspond to the letters of the alphabet.

I am quite fascinated with the tremendous effects of finding the best version of ourselves and focusing on living our lives based on that version as completely as possible. So stay tuned as we discover where this journey takes us, together.

Where I’ve Been

Beautiful PlacesOne of my favorite sayings of all times (and please excuse me if I don’t get it exactly as penned) is from the lyrics of the brilliance that was John Lennon. The song is called “Beautiful Boy” and can be found on the “Double Fantasy” album.

In the song, John sings to his son Sean:

Before you cross the street take my hand
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

I don’t usually relate it to the first sentence about holding hands and crossing streets, however. For me, it is almost always about having things turn out much more differently than I expected or imagined; and most of the time, HOPED they would.

This summer which has been characterized by continuous days of grueling heat, even in what should be the less-populated and remote areas of the coal mountain area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. It also serves as my real-life reminder that my plans to devote focused energies to further develop myself as a writer, need to take a back seat to unforseen and unexpected exits and entries,  taking children into our home unexpectedly and even a return of a ‘graduate’ who has found truth in this saying as it applies to his own attempt to start a life on his own after spending years in the foster care system.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful; I really don’t. I know how much worse things can be – and actually are – for a lot of people. We have a nice home in a beautiful part of a wonderful country, great pets, wonderful foster children…we are all in good heatlh….even the pets! We have a lot going for us and overall, a good life.

And, I want to write. I NEED to write! I was hoping to have the chance once summer rolled around and we settled into our off-season routine. But as Mr. Lennon reminds me….such is not the case. And my writing is on a catch-as-catch-can basis, at best.

I have taken on the roll of pee-wee football mom, taxi driver, co-pool-pass holder and necessary guardian, and the one that I realy never saw coming was on-line educator/teacher. Two of our boys, although of 5th and 6th grade age chronologically, came to us from a home where education was ignored entirely. As amazing as it may sound, these brothers lived lives that were so inconsistent, they did not stay in any one area long enough to make it on someone’s radar as not attending school.

Yep. In our country, two English-speaking boys, aged 11 and 12, born in Brooklyn, NY, were never taught to read. They were never taught basic math. So, this summer, I am working with these boys myself, to try and bring them to a point where they will be able to develop into productive, successful young men.

I did some searching on line and found Adapted Minds, http://www.adaptedmind.com/failedpmtstudent.php,  a program that helps parents work with their children to practice reading and math skills. So far, the boys are kieeping with it and working their way through 1st grade. I get daily notices of any progress they make and the number of questions/problems they work through and also can see any of the areas where we need to focus in more. So, we’re tackling illiteracy, here in the United States of America, in the year of our Lord, 2016.

Now you have a little idea of where I’ve been…but I’m still working on getting myself into a routine where I can write because I still NEED to write!

 

 

 

One Man’s Trash

Credit to Freefallintoreality

Credit to Freefallintoreality

It has been said pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Is it just me, or do those few words speak volumes? Anyone who knows me, at one time or another, finds themselves in the midst of onslaughts regarding the connection between how we live our lives and how we see things.

I have been known to go as basic as the half-empty half-full images, all the way up through heavy philosophical meanderings. But all these roads, with their many different twists, roadblocks, pitfalls, scenery and assorted pavement compositions, await travelers. And we, in our imperfect human condition, are those travelers.

It is now time for a collective exhale, better known as a sigh of recognition but more gently known as acceptance.

Pain and Suffering 2

Pain is necessary. OUCH! Unless there are those among us who fit masochistic descriptors and wear them proudly, this is not provoking happy thoughts. We humans don’t like pain. In fact, we go to great lengths and agree to spend ridiculous amounts of money in order to avoid it.

When we face reality, most of us are honest enough to admit pain is not something we can avoid. We may postpone or lessen it. We may delay it or deny it, only to have it re-enter our lives at times when we don’t recognize its return. Sadly, it is inevitable.

Credit to commonfoodle

Credit to commonfoodle

Now for the good news. It revolves around suffering. And although this clearly sounds quite ridiculous, upon deeper inspection, it is anything but crazy. In order for suffering to exist, it has to be perceived as such. My aunt Trudy used to love hot soup. I mean HOT soup; where most people would seek medical assistance upon having it come into contact with their mouths. They might question why she suffers through such an experience. To those who love hot soup, it is not suffering at all. Quite the contrary; it is something they enjoy, something pleasurable. Perception, in its purest form, magnifies these contrary emotional responses. The way we perceive things, the very element of our lives over which we do possess control, is uniquely ours. It is entirely optional.

Credit to Forbes

Credit to Forbes

You may have heard of a similarly polar situation with regard to people who conduct and visit yard sales. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Those of us on the outside looking in, able to clearly see both the forest and the trees, are aware of the same mechanics at play; steered by perception. Both the soup and the item found at the yard sale remain the same, it is the individual’s thinking, their perception that causes the difference, that lies behind any change.

It says in the bible as a man thinks, so he becomes, or words to that effect. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Someone else very wise and honest explains how nothing changes until we change the way we look at it. These messages are all the same. At some point, each and every one of us, has the ability to turn things around, to alter the direction we are headed in, to change our lives and possibly, even our little corner of the world.

A NEW MEANING FOR BEING WORN OUT

Credit dreamstime

Credit dreamstime

Have you ever sat down to write something because you know it is the thing you ought to do, and not have a clear idea whatsoever what it is you want to write about?

Oh wait. You’re a writer. Of course you have!

Most likely, there isn’t a single writer on this planet, with prepared, detailed outlines and thousands of dollars in writing courses behind them or not, who hasn’t had this exact experience and isn’t extremely well-versed in this moment. In fact, I’m willing to bet many of us have been here more than once.

credit Community Spark Notes

credit Community Spark Notes

It’s a pretty awful feeling…telling yourself that you have something to write, yet knowing, at least on some level, you have no idea what to write about. And no…I refuse to consider, will not permit to cross my fingertips or my lips the dreaded two-word phrase that begins with the letters “WB.”

credit twaldron blog

credit twaldron blog

I choose, alternately, to believe in the slogan made famous in the movie Field of Dreams. So here I stand, or sit, as the case may be, ‘building it.’ And, although it may not win me a Pulitzer, ‘they are coming;’ “they,” of course, referring in this case, to ‘the words.’

The words are coming. They are slipping through my fingers, stumbling across the keys and magically, creating words. These words, in turn, create phrases which of course turn into sentences and then even paragraphs. But the amazing part of it, occurs when this process actually begins to form logical concepts and thoughts spring forth. I mean, who knew?

Actually, I think I did. I suspect it must have dawned on me at some point, that just forcing my bottom into the chair in front of the keyboard would be the catalyst for something considered prose on some level. And I suppose the worst thing that might occur, is that I really would think it entirely unworthy and delete the entire piece.

credit to purewoolslippers.com

credit to purewoolslippers.com

But that isn’t the case this time around. I can’t explain why, but I feel a desire to share this, in its entirety today rather than keep it within the confines of my mind. Today, I have decided is a flare out day – a day in which I am going to wear whatever I want, whether it matches, coordinates or flaps in the breeze or not; out in plain sight. Today I feel the need to be nobody else but myself, in my complete sense of self. Without refinement of any type, without makeup, even in my woolly slippers if I happen to find them. I am pretty sure the last time I saw them, they were in the dog’s mouth as he ran under one of the children’s beds. At least that’s pretty sure where I saw it the last time.

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