Archive | April, 2016

Biting Back

29 Apr

Recently there was a news story about a zebra in Africa who while crossing a river was attacked by an alligator.  The alligator bit him and another was circling to take him down but the zebra refused to simply surrender and viciously bit back.  Stunned, the alligator was disoriented for a moment which gave the zebra time to climb out of the river to safety.  This was newsworthy because evidently animals don’t usually bite back at alligators when they are being attacked and generally just try to escape.  But in this instance the zebra was having none of that and fought back to save its life.  In our lives we may never be attacked by alligators but we probably will find ourselves in situations where we feel we’re being attacked by others.  When that happens, just like that zebra, we have a choice to make.  We can simply try to escape the attack or we can fight back.  That doesn’t mean we have to bite anyone, but we can certainly stand up for ourselves and defend our positions.

There are all kinds of people in the world and throughout the course of our lives we will come into contact with a wide spectrum of personalities.  Some people are nice, some not so nice, some polite, some rude – the varieties and expressions are endless.  When we encounter someone who doesn’t like us or something we’ve done we may find ourselves in a situation where we feel we’re being attacked.  If that happens, how we handle it will affect whatever comes after the issue has passed.  If we run from the situation and try to ignore it we may not find a satisfactory resolution.  If we react by maliciously fighting back we may impact the chance for a positive relationship.  We don’t have to take any criticisms lying down.  We can defend ourselves and our positions and we can do it in ways that enable us to go forward with confidence.

If we quietly listen when we are faced with a confrontation and allow the other person to completely state their feelings and concerns, even if they are wrong, it will open the door to communication.  After the complaint has been clearly stated we may respond to the problem and explain whatever is needed to clear the air.  Perhaps we’ve made a mistake and if so, we can recognize that.  If the allegations are false and the attack unwarranted, we can explain our position.  If we are patient and remain calm during the attack our “bite back” will be more effective in clearing the way to resolution.  In all our dealings, resolving conflict will make the road forward easier than if we engage in an all-out battle of wills.  Like the zebra, we don’t have to take any attack without responding.  But if we respond with patience, and quietly explain our position, and if we maintain our personal control, we will move forward more effectively.

Today if you feel you’ve been attacked unfairly, take the time to listen to the issues carefully and respond patiently and calmly.  Ask questions if you are unsure of the problem and explain your position.  You are capable of managing any conflict that comes your way and resolving it.  Choose the best road forward.  Being the best you can be will pave the way for you.

One Tiny Boat

28 Apr

The world is a big place. There are billions of people and endless miles of geography. We comprise limitless cultures, languages, and experiences all at the same time. There is so much diversity and distance that our lives can seem insignificant in the large scope of things. It’s like being on the ocean in a tiny boat. The oceans are enormous, and one small boat is nearly impossible to notice in such a huge expanse. With the millions of people on the planet and the great distance it covers we might feel like that small boat, and that we don’t count in the big scheme of things. But we’re important, even significant. We are all here for a purpose. And we are the only ones who can live our lives for that purpose. We are essential and necessary. And even if our boat is very small we can have a great impact on the waves ahead. Every living thing makes an impact of some sort. Nothing is worthless. Everything counts. Even the tiniest organism makes its mark on what’s around it. Our presence here, no matter how small we believe it to be, will leave a mark as well. What kind of mark we leave depends on what we do.

Each day brings with it endless opportunities. We have the chance to serve, to help, to offer support, to be happy, to give back, and to extend ourselves to others. We also have the chance to be selfish, self centered, focused only on our own lives, and keep ourselves apart. We can live our lives any way we choose. If we only want to see ourselves and strive for what’s important to us, we can. We can shut ourselves off from others and live a solitary existence. We don’t have to reach out except to serve our own needs. We can be in our tiny boat with the doors locked shut and the hatches secured. But if we do that, the world will never gain the blessing of our presence here. We all have special gifts to offer. We all have unique and individual blessings to give. When we provide them freely, and allow others into our lives we change everything. Every interaction creates another, and every experience brings something new.

Sometimes we might think we don’t have anything to offer. We’re just ordinary, average people going through our lives. But there is no such thing as ordinary or average. We are all unique and have special gifts only we can present. Each of us has our own perception of every situation and sometimes our perceptions are the ones that will change things for the better. Maybe our thoughts are the very ones that make a positive push forward. Sometimes what we offer is exactly what is needed to move ahead. If we keep to ourselves, our suggestions and comments will go unheard. Nobody knows how much impact they have on those around them. A simple word may change someone’s whole perspective or lift a burden that beforehand felt too heavy to carry. We are all connected to each other in ways we can’t possibly comprehend. Each gift we offer, each time we help, every word of encouragement is valuable. We are a priceless gift to the world. Yes, our boat may be small but it may be the one thing that turns the tide. We have so much to offer. The world needs us all and everything we have.

Today if you feel insignificant and unimportant remember you are the only one like you in all the world. You are unique in every way and we need you. You have things to share we all need. Your influence is vital and essential. Share it and show us who you are. The world is better because you’re here. We’re all better because you’re here.

Not This Again

27 Apr

We learn a lot as we go through our lives. Each day brings opportunities to learn new things, develop new skills and new behaviors. Sometimes trials come upon us and we try to overcome them, or solve them, or just try to get through them. But we all have lessons to learn. If we learn what is needed to get through a situation, we can move forward. No matter what problems come upon us, they aren’t permanent and will eventually go away again. However, if we didn’t learn anything from the experience, and only endured it until it changed, odds are good we’ll get to go through it again. Life has a way of looping our problems back around when we don’t figure out how to solve them.  If we never change our patterns or response to an issue, it may become a recurring nightmare. Given that, it’s in our best interest to try and not only endure our problems, but take the time to figure out why we have them, and then do what is needed to solve them once and for all.

Practice is the key to proficiency in most cases. When we’re learning a new skill the more we do it, the better we get at it. Repetition helps us remember how things are done and effectively teaches us new patterns. But repetition in our problems isn’t always pro-active. Having the same problem over and over doesn’t make us better people. It doesn’t make us proficient at anything but going through the same thing again and again. If we find ourselves in a familiar situation that is unpleasant and difficult to manage, the familiarity is our clue that we have something to learn. If we look at the situation objectively we can identify what we need to do to prevent it from returning.  Identifying the underlying issue is just the first step though. After we see what needs to change to prevent the same problem from recurring, we must adopt the change to end it. Just understanding what causes the situation is never enough. If we want to stop repeating the same behaviors, we actually have to stop repeating the same behaviors.

We are in charge of our lives. Sometimes the difficult issues we face over and over again come to us because of our associations with others. Perhaps they aren’t the best influence in our lives, maybe they have personal issues that impact us, or maybe they exercise authority over us in unproductive ways. If contact with them brings us hardship we may choose to distance ourselves from them or eliminate our interactions altogether. If the relationship is important to us, or has been in our lives for a long time, that decision may be difficult. We don’t want to hurt others but it’s important to recognize when our relationships are hurting us. If they are, we can modify them so we can move forward. We know what we need better than anyone else. If we need a change, we can make it. We are completely capable of managing our lives in positive and beneficial ways that bring us happiness and peace.

Today if you’re facing the same problem you’ve faced before and want to move forward, look at the situation clearly and see what you need to do to change. You can make any change you need to be happy. You are capable of understanding what needs to be done. Learn everything you can this time around and solve the problem once and for all. Look ahead and see where you want to be. And then, do what it takes to get there.

Happy or Sad

26 Apr

We go through a lot of things in this life. Sometimes all runs smoothly and we feel happy and content. Other times things go wrong and we’re stressed and unsettled. There is no way to predict what each day will bring and even if we try our hardest to ensure things go well, sometimes there’s a ringer we didn’t plan on and we fall flat. We can’t control a lot of what comes to us but we can control how we react to it. If we’ve had a disappointment it may impact how we feel and what we do. But we can control our behavior and our attitude can affect how we see things and how we go forward. If we want to fall into despair and believe that things will never be right again, we can. Or we can see our disappointments, no matter how great they are, as passages leading to something new. We may not feel content, and we may be unsure, but we can still find joy no matter what we’re going through. If we want to, we can choose to be happy despite any disappointment. Happiness doesn’t just come to us. It’s often a choice we make. No matter what comes we’ll handle it, and as we do, we can find comfort. Since there isn’t anything we can’t manage, we can go forward with confidence and grace, and we can do it with joy.

This life has a lot of ups and downs. Situations and other people affect our lives continually. Those influences can be both a benefit and a detriment. When things go wrong and we’re struggling it can be hard to find joy. But we can be genuine in our disappointment and still look forward with confidence. We can go through hard times, face them head on, and find peace knowing we’re doing the best we can. No matter how difficult the trial, no matter how upset or sad we are or how disappointed we feel, we can still decide to find happiness going forward. No problem is permanent and everything shakes out eventually. We may end up on a completely different road than we thought we were headed for, but that just means the journey has taken a turn. It isn’t over, and we’ve only modified our direction. The twists and turns in our lives take us to new places we may never have dreamed of and wherever they take us we will find our way.

We are often more capable than we think we are. There really isn’t anything we can’t do. When we face difficult trials and serious disappointments, we have the resources within us to manage them. At first we may not believe we can get through but as time passes we’ll see we are coping and moving forward. If we focus on the goal instead of the journey, and the destination instead of the rocky road we’re on, we will get through more easily. And if we determine to find happiness in each day no matter what comes, the journey will be brighter and easier to navigate. Happy or sad, it’s often up to us. Our shoulders are strong enough to bear whatever burdens come. And the sun will continue to shine. If we focus on our strength instead of the heavy load we’re carrying, we will find joy and comfort.

Today if you’re feeling sad or disappointed, if the road seems impossible to navigate, look up. You’ve come so far already and there isn’t anything you can’t do. You have more blessings than you can count. Think about those and focus on the road ahead. Take control. There isn’t anything you can’t do, and you can do it with joy.

City Hall

25 Apr

There are times in our lives when things don’t go like we want them to.  Sometimes it’s because we haven’t accomplished something, sometimes it’s because someone else is involved, and sometimes it’s for reasons we can’t figure out.  When we want to do anything, often there are a lot of parameters that must come into play and be considered.  If it’s possible to get everything lined up and ready, we can succeed, but there are times we can’t control what’s going on.  There are situations that block us no matter what we do, and things just won’t work.  Even if we know what needs to occur to fix the situation, we may be powerless to make that happen.  It’s very frustrating to want something badly and face a road block so wide and high we can’t get over it.  If the goal is good and we’re motivated, it’s very disappointing when we can’t make it happen.  But if there is no way forward we have to make a new plan.  There is an old saying, “You can’t fight city hall,” meaning sometimes there is no way to succeed where we are.  We know we can do anything we set our minds to but sometimes we may have to change our course and go the long way around to get there.

Planning for success is important.  We can set a goal, look at what’s needed and make the best plan to achieve it.  We can start out and begin moving closer to the goal and with each step learn something new.  If we’re on our own and the achievement depends only on what we do, it’s just a matter of persistence.  But few situations in our lives only touch us.  Most of the time other people and other parameters will have some influence over what we’re trying to do.  We can sometimes work around them, but not always.  If the goal is something we really want, a road block on the path we’ve chosen doesn’t mean we have to give it up.  It just means it’s time to look for an alternate route.  There are limitless ways to accomplish anything.  If we are motivated to continue forward, we can find the road that will take us there.

There may be a thousand reasons why we can’t get to a goal, and we may never know them all.  We can keep trying despite the resistance for as long as we want, and we might make incremental movement.  But if the goal is unattainable right now, we can set it aside and try again later.  We can accomplish other things and return to it.  When we do, we will have more experiences from which to draw, more information to use going forward, and more keys to open the lock.  Sometimes it’s all about timing and what is out of reach today may be within our grasp tomorrow.  We don’t have to give up on a goal we can’t get to today.  We can continue on with our lives and revisit it when things are different.

Today if you’ve been striving for something you really want to accomplish and it’s still out of reach, perhaps set it aside for a time.  Move forward in other ways and try again later.  You can return to anything at any time.   You have everything you need to accomplish anything you choose.  Work with where you are and continue to grow.  Soon you’ll have the right key and the door will open for you.