Archive | January, 2016

Heads or Tails

30 Jan

We have a lot of choices in life and make millions of decisions as we go along. What will we wear, what will we eat, where will we go, who will we see, what will we do, the list is endless. Sometimes the decisions we make are important and the way we choose alters our lives in one way or another. If we choose badly when there’s a lot at stake, we can lose a lot. If we choose well, we gain. But sometimes there is no one right answer. All the options are possible and appropriate. If all the roads we can take are good, how do we choose between one or another? It seems strange but at times like that, when every possibility is workable, those decisions can be the hardest to make. It’s like flipping a coin. There is no right side to the coin when we choose. It just depends on how it lands. If we’re considering which road to take and they all look good, perhaps it won’t matter which one we choose. But every road has an end, and every choice takes us somewhere. If we can determine exactly where we’ll be be at the end of the road, we will choose more effectively.

Ice cream comes in many flavors, and if we like ice cream, we probably like a lot of them. Chocolate is rich and deep, strawberry is light and fresh, butter pecan is creamy and incredible, mocha is amazing, and all the others have wonderful qualities as well. If we go to a shop with dozens of flavors, it’s hard to choose. It doesn’t really matter which one we pick because they’re all good. When we’re facing a decision with lots of possibilities, and they all look good at first, we can take some time to evaluate all the parameters of each choice, and we’ll be able to narrow the field. Then we can choose what most fits what we want to achieve. If it’s a decision we can only make once, we’ll have to weigh all the options more carefully. If it’s something we can change after we’ve started, and the first choice doesn’t work out, we can stop at any time and choose another road.

Our lives have no “re-do” option, like games we played as children. Once we do something, it’s done. It will always be done, and nothing we do can undo it. We can’t go back and edit or delete anything. It will stand as it happened until the end of time. That’s great if we always make the right choice. But mistakes happen and if we aren’t happy with a choice we’ve made, although we can’t go back and make it again, we can modify our lives, turn our course, and change direction. There are few things in our lives that can’t be adjusted or corrected. We can’t change what’s been done, but we can change ourselves, and where we’re headed going forward. We are in control of our lives and every decision we make. If we aren’t happy, we can do what is needed to change things. If we aren’t where we want to be, we can alter our course to another direction. There isn’t anything we can’t do. Making decisions will help us find our way. Making them well, will take us where we want to go.

Today if you’re unsure about a decision you need to make, and all the options look good, take a closer look. You’ll notice differences and find the one that fits the best. You already know where you want to go and what you want to do. Choose the choice that takes you there. You can do anything you want. You are perfectly capable of making excellent choices. Today you will do just that.



29 Jan

As we go through life, each experience gives us something to take forward. We learn something new, or gain a different perspective, or maybe discover something new about ourselves. We collect and hold onto these souvenirs each day and they color who we are and how we act and react. Some of them are beneficial and we use them to help us be our best and get where we want to go. But some of them are painful reminders of where we’ve been. If the memories hurt they may influence our decisions as we continue on, and may keep us from fulfilling our greatest ambitions. But we can choose to let them go. We can take a good look inside ourselves, see where our insecurities lie, look at how we lost our confidence, and we can change. Like exfoliating dead skin cells from the outside, we can remove bad reactions on the inside. We don’t have to hold onto the pain of bad memories any longer than we want to. The memories will always be there but we can scrub the pain away and keep the memory and the lesson learned.

We all experience good things and bad things. When we’ve had a very painful event, one that is etched deeply in our subconscious or something that changed our lives in a big way, it may be hard to overcome. If we’ve been hurt badly and had to learn a difficult lesson, we may hold onto the pain afraid that letting it go will make us forget what we learned. Although lessons are sometimes painful, the pain is not inexorably tied to the lesson. We can go forward with what we’ve learned and leave the pain behind. Holding onto feelings of sadness, betrayal, loss or distrust will not help us move forward. They may hold us in place, and keep us from advancing afraid of what will come if we let go. But letting go is the best we can do. Once we’ve learned all we can, we can set the experience aside, and look to the future.

Fear is a natural response and nature’s way of keeping us from harm. When we feel it, we step a little more carefully and proceed with caution. There is nothing wrong with feeling afraid but it’s important to understand why we’re feeling it. Is it because there is real danger, or is it because we are unsure? Is it because we may be hurt, or because we aren’t positive we won’t be? We carry every experience of our lives with us every day. If we hold onto those that hurt us, we may be less confident, and more fearful. But we don’t need to carry painful experiences any longer than we want to. We can let them go and leave them behind. We are capable of facing anything that comes to us. And we are capable of recovering from any problem or crisis. We just need to be determined in our pursuits, and convinced of our abilities. We have everything we need to be strong and confident, and we can conquer any obstacle placed before us. Letting go of the heavy burden of pain will help.

Today if you’re struggling because of something that has already passed, you can turn around and let it go. You’ve learned all you can from the experience and it has not diminished you. It has made you stronger and more capable. You know more now than you did before and you’ll use that knowledge going forward. You have everything you need now. You can do anything you want. You are strong. Be confident knowing you will succeed. There isn’t anything you can’t do.

The Plague

28 Jan

There are times we may find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation with someone else. Perhaps angry words were said or exchanged, maybe somebody did something hurtful, or we simply cannot get along. People are complex and sometimes things don’t go as well as we’d like. Because it’s not pleasant and we don’t like the interaction, we may decide to avoid the other person as much as possible. If we see them coming down a hall we’re walking, we may take a sharp turn to get out of their sight. If they try to talk to us, we may mumble something and walk away, or if they send us messages or leave them on our phone, we may ignore or delete them. It’s painful to be near someone who’s hurt us, or with whom we can’t get along, and avoiding them seems like a good answer. Maybe we figure if we avoid them long enough they will eventually go away. That might work, but sometimes the exact opposite occurs and they try even harder to get our attention. The whole situation is uncomfortable, but we can get through it and we don’t have to avoid them like the plague to navigate the situation. We have other options.

If the other person is at our workplace and we don’t have the option to quit our jobs and must work with them, or if they’re in our social circle and we don’t want to give that up, we have to find a solution. If the situation is so intense that we feel physically ill at the thought of dealing with them, the first step is to understand why we feel so bad. Once we determine what is actually causing our pain we can find a way to address it. If we’ve been hurt by something that was said, we can understand that just because someone says something, even if they believe it, doesn’t make it true. We know who we are and those who know us will recognize falsehood when they hear it. If it’s something that was done, we can understand that nothing is permanent and any damage can be corrected. If we peel back the onion on our pain, and determine the root causes, we can address them and begin to heal.

Some people are disagreeable no matter what we do. Maybe they have bad attitudes, or are intensely moody and negative, or are continually angry. We can’t change anyone but ourselves and if we’re forced to deal with someone like that, we can choose to be true to who we are and do our best no matter what choices they make. If we are insulted, we may calmly state we don’t appreciate the comment, let it go, and move on. If they do something that offends us, we can bring it to their attention, explain why it was offensive and ask them not to do it again. It takes effort to think about a situation before we act, but when we do we’ll have better success at keeping our standards where we want them, and remaining positive. It’s never pleasant to be hurt or offended. It makes us feel bad, and we may doubt our worth for a moment. But we have all we need to hold our heads high, say what is needed when appropriate, and be who we are despite the difficulty. We can be cheerful in the face of calamity, and positive when others are disagreeable. There is nothing that is too hard for us. We can do anything we want even if it’s difficult.

Today if you’re dealing with someone who has hurt you, or insulted you, or made you feel less than you are, stand strong. Make the best choices possible. Say what is needed to feel confident. You are a priceless gift. If someone doesn’t recognize that, it’s their loss, not yours. Set the example for good. You are worth the very best of everything.

Smoke and Mirrors

27 Jan

It would be wonderful if everyone was honest with us and told us the truth. But there are all kinds of people in the world and sometimes that doesn’t happen.  Most people are honest most of the time, and try to choose the best path going forward. But there are some who aren’t, who don’t see any reason not to lie, and will do whatever it takes to get what they want. We can try to avoid people like that and sometimes we can, but unfortunately they look just like everyone else and sometimes we get tangled up in them before we know what’s happened. Trusting others is a noble trait and until someone gives us a reason not to trust them, it’s good to give them the benefit of the doubt. The catch is when we trust them at the beginning, if they aren’t worthy of that trust, we don’t find out until the end. And then it’s too late and we’ve already been deceived.

It’s like a game of smoke and mirrors. In a very smoky place, it’s hard to see and discern details. We can make out large forms but have to be careful where we step because we can’t see what’s in front of us. Things may appear to be one thing but upon closer inspection are something entirely different.  And we all know how mirrors may distort our vision. The best magicians in the world use them in their most amazing tricks because of their ability to bend what we see and how we see it. People who lie are like that. Some can look us in the eye and tell us something completely untrue, insisting it’s fact. Or they may convincingly make promises they have no intention of fulfilling. If what we’re being told is something we really want, or the person telling us the story is someone we love, we may believe them. As time passes and the promises don’t become reality we may question them, and try to find the truth. But if they are intent on keeping the lie, they may talk in circles and spin stories that sound reasonable to keep us on the hook. It’s confusing trying to find our way between what we’re being told and what is really happening. No matter what we ask them, if they are determined to keep the lie going, they will find an answer to keep us locked in.

Human beings are very perceptive by nature. We can discern what is real and what is false. If we get emotionally caught up in a lie, it may take us a little time, but eventually we’ll figure it out. And when we do, we must determine how to go forward. If the liar is someone very close to us who we really want to trust, even though we’re sure they aren’t being truthful, we may stay in the game. Emotional attachments can be very strong and hold us even when we know we need to let go. But we are important and deserve to be treated with complete honesty. If we remember that, we will find the right way forward. Dishonesty never brings lasting happiness. It can never make us noble or honorable. We may find immediate gratification by lying, but it will always bring us sorrow in the end. If we want real, lasting happiness, we must choose the higher road and be truthful in all things.

Today if you’ve discovered you’ve been lied to, think about your way forward. If you are the one deceiving others to get something you want, stop. You may get to your goal, but in the end it will cost the trust and respect of those you care for. Honesty is a noble choice. Strive to be your very best today, and require honesty from those near you. You are worth more than you can imagine and you deserve complete honesty in everything. Strive for that and demand it in return.

Leave and Take

26 Jan

There is a famous line from the movie “The Godfather,” that says, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” It’s given just after someone has been murdered and the killers are leaving the scene. Evidently it didn’t matter if the gun was found, but the connoli was treasured and not to be left behind. Although we will probably never be in a situation where we’ll use this same phrase in the same way, there will be times after an experience when there’ll be something we’ll want to leave behind, and something we’ll want to take with us. Every experience in life teaches us something. Sometimes the lesson is easy, and sometimes it’s hard and difficult to navigate. When we’ve been through something difficult, something that shakes us and makes us sad, worried or regretful, it helps to think about what we can learn from the experience and take with us. We don’t need to take the pain and disappointment, and can leave that behind. Every lesson we learn gives us something going forward that will shape us into who we become. Since we’re constantly changing, those lessons are continuous. If we learn all we can each time we struggle and take that with us, chances are we won’t have to learn the same lesson again.

Nobody wants to suffer or be in pain. Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. Physical pain can often be treated by a physician and medication can take the edge off and make it bearable. Emotional pain tells us something is wrong as well, or that we’ve made a mistake. Unfortunately, there is no medicine that will eliminate emotional pain, and generally we must endure it until we find a way around it. Our friends and family may try to comfort us, and sometimes that helps, or we may try to shake it off and let it go, and sometimes that helps too. But when we’re hurting, if the pain is intense, it can be hard to get through and see that it will end. During those times it’s helpful to think about what we can take away from the experience that may help us going forward. There is always something to be learned, and something to be gained when we’ve been hurt.

It seems that life would be so much better if nobody could hurt us or make mistakes that bring us discomfort. But we are human beings and we aren’t perfect. There is no way for us to be perfect and we’re going to falter. We will all hurt ourselves and sometimes we’ll hurt others either intentionally or accidentally because of choices we make. It’s unavoidable. We don’t know everything, we can’t see the future and sometimes even our very best guesses are wrong. Getting hurt is part of life and although it’s uncomfortable and we don’t want it, if we are wise and try to learn everything we can from our experiences and take all we can learn away with us when we go forward, we’ll be in a better position to prevent the same pain from returning. There isn’t anything we can’t handle. If we focus on what we’re learning when we’re managing problems, we will find something positive in the end. And finding something positive in the depths of sorrow will bring us comfort.

Today if you’re going through a hard time and you’re suffering, try to see the situation objectively and find the one good thing you can take away with you. You will leave this trial behind you in time, and all the pain that went with it. Take away the best part – what you learned from the experience. You’ll become wiser and you’ll feel stronger knowing you have gained something new. You can handle anything that comes. You’re strong and capable. Be confident and go forward learning all you can.