Archive | July, 2015

Into the Wind

31 Jul

As we go through our lives, there will be times of difficulty and hardship. Times when we feel unsettled and unsure, and times when going forward is difficult. This may be a reflection of changes in our lives over which we have no control. Perhaps a loved one passes away, maybe a relationship has ended, or we’ve had to face a disaster of some sort. Sometimes they come because we’ve changed. The person we were has grown, and now the things we were so sure of aren’t as clear as before. Difficult times come to all of us, and when they do, they are hard to face. But they are also opportunities for growth.

When heavy winds are blowing on us, it’s tempting to turn around, and try to move forward against them with our backs turned.  It’s tempting to look away and try to distract ourselves from the onslaught.  But we can’t find our way walking backwards. We have to turn around, put our faces into the wind, and push forward despite the discomfort.   As we push ahead, we have to look inside ourselves to find the strength and direction we need. We can ask for advice from others, seek counseling if needed, and we can turn to a higher power for guidance. We can get all kinds of support, but in the end, the way forward is determined by us. We are the only ones who can navigate our trials, and the only ones who can decide which way forward is right for us.

When we’re facing difficulties, there is often confusion, and disharmony, but there is also the prospect of a new beginning. Beginnings can be scary when we aren’t sure where they’ll lead, but they can also be exciting. When we begin on a new road the scenery is foreign, the path is uncertain, and because we haven’t been there before, getting lost is a possibility. But if we keep our eyes focused ahead, take each turn as it comes, and look forward with confidence, we will find our way. It takes courage to move through difficult passages, but we have all the courage we need to get through them. We must believe in ourselves, and remember how strong we really are.

Today if you’re going through a difficult time, if there’s a lot to adjust to, and you aren’t sure which way is right, have faith. This is just a passage, and although it’s rocky now, it may lead to the best time of your life. Be courageous. You have all you need to weather the storm. You are strong, and you will find your way. Beginnings are the best time for change. Embrace that. There is a rainbow just behind the clouds.

In the Circle

30 Jul

We all have a circle of friends and family that we spend time with. Our circles are filled with people we’ve come to trust, and share our lives with. They can change from time to time as people move in and out of our lives, but we enjoy those we keep close, and appreciate our association with them. Our circles are ours to design and fill with the ones we most want to be around. If we like, we can close the circle off and keep new people from joining us. Some of us like that idea, and the stability of keeping everything the same. But it’s important to think about keeping our circles open. Our lives change from day to day, and there are endless opportunities to meet new people and engage them. If we develop new friendships and allow new people to share our lives, we will be enhanced and enriched.

There are countless varieties of personalities and individual traits in the human race. And each and every one of them has something to offer. When we have dinner, it’s wonderful to have a delicious, savory meal, and then at the end have something light and sweet. If all we had were the sweets, we would miss the pleasure of the savory. The contrasts are what make the meal special. It’s the same with us as people. It’s the differences that make everything rich. People who are like us may make us feel comfortable, but those who are different from us enrich us with new experiences, and new interpretations. If we keep our circles open just a little, and allow new relationships to enter, we will gain a broader understanding of life.

It’s easy to close our lives up, and keep things predictable. We can stick with the same people, go to the all the same places, drive the same kind of car, etc. But if we are able to open up just a little and let new ideas in, let new people get close to us, and allow ourselves to embrace new points of view, our perceptions will deepen, and we will learn more than we may have thought possible. It’s wonderful to meet new people, and it’s interesting when they share their differing viewpoints with us. This life is a great experiment. The more variables we allow, the more we’ll learn.

Today if you feel you’ve kept your life closed in a little, take a chance and open your circle a bit wider. Get to know new friends. Exchange new ideas, and be receptive to differences. Your world will get more expansive, your perceptions will get broader, and you will be richer. Extend your hand. Be welcoming. The more friends and family you let into your circle the greater your life will be.

Doing Well

29 Jul

As we go through our lives there are countless things to do.  We have responsibilities to our families, our jobs, ourselves, our homes, our cars, and the list is endless.  There is always something to do.  We have tasks, and chores, and details that seemingly never end.  We’re busy much of the time, and when there is a lot to do we may try to finish quickly by cutting corners.  We might try to do the minimum required to get the job done so we can move on.  Sometimes that works and we get by, but other times it ends up causing us more issues to fix later.  We can rush, and we can cut all the corners we want, but in the end if we haven’t done the best we could do, it may come back to bite us.

There is a saying, “Any job worth doing is worth doing well.”  There is great truth in that.  If we apply ourselves to our tasks and do them as well as we can, we will be happy with our performance, and we can move on with confidence.  There is little gratification found in rushing, and trying to just patch things through.  When we look back at a task we’ve done poorly because we tried to do it as quickly as possible, there is no sense of accomplishment.  However, there is great value in doing our tasks well.  And when we do them well, we know we’ve done our best.

In order to do our best, we need to focus.  Recent studies show that there really is no such thing as multi-tasking.  It turns out we can really only focus our attention on one thing at a time.  So if we want to do our tasks well, we need to zone in on one at a time, and make it a priority.  It may be something small, some errand we have to run or some menial chore that needs addressing, or it might be something really important.  Whatever it is, if we put our complete focus on it, and don’t try to do three other things at the same time, we will be happier with the result.  And in the end, a job done well done may prevent additional complications later.  And nobody needs more complications.

Today if you have a lot to do, and you’re rushing around trying to complete everything, try to focus on one task at a time.  You’ll get things done more effectively and because you have eliminated all the distractions, you’ll get them done more quickly.  Do one thing, and then move on to the next.  Before you know it you’ll have completed everything, and looking back you’ll be happy with what you’ve done.  Remember, “Any job worth doing is worth doing well.”  You can do everything well.  And when you do, you’ll be happy with the result.

All or Nothing

28 Jul

Most of the things we do in our lives require flexibility. Generally there isn’t much that is written in stone, and we compromise a lot. Despite that, we can get stuck in an “all or nothing” mentality. We can get lost in trying to make things exactly like we want them before we commit, and move forward. There are some things that draw a hard line. For instance we may not allow someone to be hurt physically, we may require fidelity in our intimate relationships, or there may be some personal requirements we must have. But mostly, we need to compromise. Most things won’t be exactly the way we’d like them. There will be some give and take. A pattern of requiring perfection in our ideas, or needing things precisely the way we think they should be before we act can work against us.

Living with an “all or nothing” attitude can prevent us from participating, and keep us from fun and valuable experiences. If we decide to wait on every decision until things are lined up our way, the opportunity to participate may pass. Rarely will the timing for everything be perfect, the plans exactly as we want them, or the situation ideal in every way. If we wait for those things to happen before we move forward, we may find ourselves stuck.

This attitude affects our personal relationships, as well as our routine activities. No relationship is without disharmony from time to time. People disagree and agree, they argue and they get along, and there is tension occasionally. If we decide a relationship has to be completely perfect or we won’t have it, we will, in all probability, find ourselves alone. People don’t operate that way. Life doesn’t work that way. Perfection is, in most situations, unattainable.  It’s great to have a goal to be the best we can be, but the expectation of everything going without a curve or bump is unrealistic. And it’s self-defeating. Life is a wonderful gift. And the real perfection comes when we realize how wonderful it is – warts and all.

Today if you’ve been struggling with trying to make things absolutely perfect before you go forward, think about it from another perspective. If everything were perfect all the time there would be no reason to grow. We would have no reason to learn. Accept the bumps as they come along. Navigate them, and go right over them. You are capable of handling any complication that comes your way. No matter how things go, you’ll figure them out. Don’t wait for perfection. You don’t need it to move forward.

Changing Channels

27 Jul

Studies of the brain show that it takes very little energy for us to change our minds.  In fact, it’s miniscule.  It takes virtually no physical effort to do it, but the emotional or mental effort is another story.  When we’re in a situation we don’t like, when we’re uncomfortable and want to change, it seems like a simple solution – just change it.  But when others are involved, and there are feelings to consider, the solution becomes complicated.  If we want to change a situation or a relationship we’ve had for a while, we want to do it well.  Often no matter how we try to make that happen someone gets hurt, and it doesn’t go as smoothly as we may have hoped.

We are in charge of our lives and we get to decide what we do and don’t do.  If we need or want a change, we are entitled to it.  But usually just waiting for the change to happen doesn’t work.  We have to initiate it.  We have to do whatever is needed to facilitate it, and make it happen.  If others are involved, that may mean a difficult conversation that we may dread.  But we deserve the life we want the most.  We deserve to be on the path that’s best for us, even if it means leaving others behind.  If we take some time to plan, we can do our best to make the change as easy as possible for all concerned.

Sometimes the changes we want to make don’t involve other people, but situations in our lives that aren’t working.  We may want to move to another location because we aren’t happy where we are.  Or change careers to something more fulfilling.  Or we may want to get more involved in some activity we’ve been putting off.  It doesn’t matter what change we are seeking, they all require action.  If we want to change our lives we can do it.  We can change anything we really want to.  We just have to decide when we’re ready, and move forward.  Once we’ve determined to go forward differently, once we’ve had the conversations and made the plans, we can start again.  We can create a new situation where we’re happier.  Change is rarely comfortable, and sometimes not as easy as we’d like, but we can manage it.  We deserve whatever we need to be happy.

Today if you’ve been struggling with wanting a change in your life, whatever it is, begin now to do what is needed to make it happen.  Be confident.  You are in charge of your life, and you can determine what makes you happiest.  Today take the first step to turn things around.  Your life is precious and you deserve to have it your way.  It’s exciting to change things up.  It’s all there for you.  Don’t wait another minute to get to it.