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Archive for August, 2012

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining & lessens adversity by dividing & sharing it,” Cicero.

Writing about how friends can be a shining light in a dark corner of our life is a way to remember the good parts of living fully. As we appreciate these connections, we honor our common human journeys. We are better for the giving and the receiving of love. So write about a time when you were low and how your friends came to your side. I found this to be so poignantly true when my mother died after months and years of declining health due to Alzheimer’s disease. Friends brought soup to provide sustenance, loving hearts to share the sad moments, and kind words to boost my spirits when shopping for groceries seemed like a mind-numbing task.

So seize the moment today and write about the value of your friendships! You will provide a soulful respite for your spirits!

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Gentleness is a sense of goodheartedness toward ourselves,” Pema Chodron.

 

We all have a tendency to be hard on ourselves. So I love that Pema Chodron tells us how gentleness of spirit is the key to instilling good heartedness. We all know that we shut down our options towards ourselves while angry, and don’t feel positive about the outcome of bullying ourselves into action. And we know instinctively that we can come up with a myriad of good solutions towards our challenges when we are light-hearted.

So this is my journal prompt for you today. Take one of your biggest irritations towards yourself–for me it’s wasting time watching television when I’m upset– and go a little deeper. View past the reprimand to see behind it. Explore what might be going on underneath the issue. For me, I have an old mantra that says, “Be productive  24/7, or you’ll fall behind in your work load and look lazy!” So I’m going to write from a softer focus and parse out how and why taking a break leaves me with a better attitude. Who knows where this will take me? Perhaps a good laugh at the absurdity called life. Or maybe, I’ll hit on an awesome solution for handling the frustrations of dealing with the idiocy of computer programs that often takes me hours to solve and keeps me running to the TV for solace. Hmm, I hear a little voice saying, “Hire an assistant. Keep your cool.”

How about you….

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“Trust in relationships can inspire new levels of intimacy, communication, and love,” Robert Holden PhD.

Wow! I find this idea about trust such a deep wish of mine, don’t you? To step away from our fears and seek deep connection is such a gift! And, this is sometimes truly hard to manifest when we are most angry, tightened up, and upset. Yet, this is the kind of communication that Robert Holden says can create a deeper, more intimate bond.

If there is a relationship in your life that seems to be challenging, try journaling about it mining more of your heartfelt energy. It’s best not to choose a relationship that provokes great difficulty. Before writing, relax quietly in a comfortable chair and breathe in a deep sense of love and trust in yourself.  Now journal about this situation and speak from your heart with this person without blame or shame. See if you can clarify your intent and desires to create a bridge of trust. From there you can cross over to meet the other person with greater understanding. This is the kind of trust that has the potential to create healthy relationships in our everyday lives.

My best wishes for your most wondrous relationships!

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“The challenge is to make calmness, inner balance, and clear seeing a part of everyday life,” Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Turn off your cell phone and walk away from your computer and all electronic devices. Find a place to sit and relax for fifteen minutes. It would be best to sit outdoors or near a fountain to breathe in some refreshing air. Listen to the lively sounds of people talking or birds chirping. Be thankful for the real world of wondrous life. Write about your sense of gratefulness for being in such an amazing world!

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“In summer the song sings itself,” William Carlos Williams.

Go out and sit in a beautiful place. Enjoy breathing in the fresh and sultry air of August. Now think back to the best day that you’ve had so far this summer. Write about it. Keep that record somewhere that you can read about it in the cold of winter. You will remind yourself of a significant moment of pleasure!

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“If you have not given up, then you are growing–you just may not see it until much later,” Garr Reynolds.

It’s hard not to give up when you face adversity. I’ve had times when giving up was the best option. But sometimes hanging in with the difficulty and trying even harder has led me to a new adventure.

While in my twenties many years ago, I had high hopes of becoming a registered physical therapist. After graduating from college, I moved back home and found a job as an aide to a PT in my community. During this period, I was blessed with numerous wonderful experiences getting to know my patients and helping them get back on their feet.

That first year I began sending out applications to schools with physical therapy programs. After months of waiting for replies, the responses came back with the message, “Sorry your application was very good, but….” I was devastated! My dreams seemed shattered. After a few weeks, I resolved that all was not lost. I’d try one more year.  I recognized that this would be a hard road because the ratio of applicants to students in most universities was at least 10 to 1 or more. But I wanted this opportunity badly. So I kept at my job, gained more experience and conviction, and saved money for school.

Then the next round of rejection slips–that included one or two notices of being on an alternates’ list–arrived at my door. I holed up in my room one weekend and cried. The next week, out of the blue, I was called in for an interview with the director of the program at Ohio State University. My jaw dropped and my heart nearly beat out of my chest. The interview went well and the director said that I was in if I took one more pre-requisite class during summer school. I jumped around and screamed excitedly, “Yes, of course!” And that was the start of my career that would span many years.

It’s fun to write about these kinds of events in your life recalling the excitement when you felt on top of the world. This helps you to explore your innate sense of purpose in life. So pull out your journal and write about one of your aspirations that took work and skill to accomplish. Afterward, relish in this story and remember your courage to keep going.

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“Some people chase happiness; others choose happiness,” Robert Holden, PhD.

Take your daughter, a nephew, or a grandchild out to the park and watch them play. Notice how they take on their obstacles. Perhaps after balking at a tunnel slide, they decide to screech down on their bellies and have a laugh attack on the way to the bottom.

As for my dose of happiness–gleaned after a few days of having my great-nieces aged 5 and 7 stay–my dog Sam learned how to do tricks for them. I was reminded of the cartoons when Snoopy tried to catch balls from Lucy and Charlie Brown, tumbling around the baseball field. My nieces took on the hopeless project of ordering Sam to stop gobbling up their crayons. I suggested they start by teaching him some tricks in order to learn the basics of obedience training. Their favorite past-time was balancing treats on his nose and then watching him snap it into the air and catch it. I have to admit: this is one of my favorites too! It’s an amazing feat that only a dog can do well. And I think that Sam was happy with the practice because he gained five pounds. I’m savoring that moment in my journal. In fact, I may start a journal just for them to read later on when they are adults. Then they will remember what fun they had each summer!

Now it’s your turn. Happiness awaits….

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