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5 Jan

In an orchestra, every instrument has an integral part to play. Each is needed to make the piece being performed complete. If even one instrument’s part is removed or quieted, the entire sound is affected. If one section is more subdued than another, the main melody transfers to whichever is playing the most prominently. Directors use this to manipulate the performance and create the sound they seek. They choose the most beautiful parts of the piece to sing out above the other harmonies in order to bring the greatest beauty and depth to the music. But every instrument has it’s place and is needed to create the entire sound. Even the triangle has a role to play. It’s a small instrument with a very tiny voice. But when it is called on to sound out, its perfect placement makes the entire piece more complete. We are like the orchestra in many ways. We are all different and each of us has a voice that is unique and important. Even if we’re like the tiny triangle, and don’t say much or aren’t loud, what we have to offer is valuable and needed. Our contribution, no matter how small is integral in our lives and the lives of others. It’s important and precious.

We all have different ways of expressing ourselves. Some of us are clear and direct, and even forceful when talking with others. And some of us are more reserved, waiting until we are sure of what we want to say before speaking up, and then speaking more quietly and modestly. But our messages are all important. Whether we are loud or soft, each of our voices is necessary for our world to be complete. When we think of all the people around us and their contributions in our lives, it’s hard to imagine leaving even one of them out. None of them is perfect, and we sometimes wish some of them would fade into the the distance but when we look at the whole picture we can see that each is a necessary piece of the puzzle that is our lives. Each has a voice in our personal orchestra and we need to hear them all.

If we lack confidence we may find it hard to speak up and share our comments and thoughts with those around us. But what we have to say is important. Even the things we think are insignificant could be something someone else really needs to hear. We can feel empowered enough to share our thoughts and feelings with others, and recognize that we have an important role to play in our own lives and the lives of those around us. We are all far more connected to each other than we realize. If we open up, share our thoughts, and become part of the conversation, we will be embellished and we will bless those around us in ways we cannot possibly know. Sometimes one word from us changes everything for someone else. It’s possible that our one comment could change someone else’s perspective from lonely and unsure, to one of inclusion and acceptance. We have so much to share. We can be brave enough to share all we have, and be an integral part of the complete picture adding our own instrument and voice to the world around us.

Today if you’ve kept to yourself and not spoken up when you had the chance, determine to share who you are. You have so much to offer and your perspective is valuable and desired. Open up and let others know you more deeply and become part of the orchestra around you. Your voice is needed and we all want to hear it. Tell us who you are and let us grow from your influence. You are an amazing gift to those around you. Share yourself with them today.


Voice Over

25 Nov

We all have our own impressions of this life.  The things we go through, and the experiences we have give uniqueness and color to those impressions. We interpret things our own way and we make personal choices based on who we are and what we want. As we go along we develop our own voices, exclusive to us, and different from anyone else. The impact we have on the world is ours alone to make, and we have both the privilege, and the responsibility to ensure it is heard. We all have something to offer and we can be brave and bold in presenting ourselves. This life flashes by in an instant. It’s important we recognize who we are, and what we want to share, and then go about doing just that. There are some who might try to silence our uniqueness and make us conform to a model they prefer. But we have a true, clear voice, and it needs to be heard.

When painters compose a painting and they want a strong image and excellent texture, they often choose many colors to bring it to life. There are warm, rich tones that bring light to the painting and deep, dark shades that give it foundation and depth. They might try white here and there to add shape, and black for darkness and shadow. Rarely is a remarkable painting made using only one shade or hue. It takes all the colors – all the voices – to bring life to the composition. Like an artist’s palette, it takes all our voices for life to be complete. We need to hear from the realists, the optimists, the pragmatists, and even the pessimists. We all have a version to share, and opinions that bring depth and challenge to our everyday experiences. We have the right to express our voices, even if they are different than what the choir is singing. Our part counts, and needs to be heard.

If we struggle with self-doubt, we may believe our voice isn’t good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to be heard. But we don’t have to be perfect to sing out. We don’t have to know a certain melody, we don’t have to sing in the same key, we don’t even have to sing the same song. The important thing is that we share who we are, and express ourselves. Nobody else knows everything we do, or sees things our way. Our contribution is important. We can be bold in speaking out, and we can be confident. Each voice has depth and color that will bring richness and texture to life. We all have a lot to offer, and our contribution is priceless. Nobody else can offer it but us.

Today if you’ve been keeping quiet, if you’ve let others convince you that your contribution isn’t worthy, don’t believe it. Your voice is needed and valuable. You have so many incredible thoughts inside you. Share with those around you. Open your heart, and let your voice be heard. We need to hear your perspective, and your perceptions. You are a wonderful gift to the world. Sing out. You have a beautiful voice.

After You

6 Nov

We all want to do things well and shine in our accomplishments. We may want to impress others with our talents and abilities and in order to do that we have to get their attention. Getting attention is generally easy, and if we’re focusing exclusively on ourselves trying to get noticed, we may not even see others around us. We’re honed in on the task at hand and can only see our particular way forward. But others are around us, and sometimes they are working hard to be noticed as well. It’s great to be first, but it’s also good to let others go ahead from time to time. If we take a step out of the limelight once in a while and let someone else step up, we can learn a lot about them, and about ourselves. If we’re used to steaming ahead to the front of the line it may take some thought to step back, but when we do, there is a lot to be gained.

When we’re rushing around from place to place and task to task we keep our eyes trained on the way ahead. As we grab the door and rush into where we want to be we might not see someone standing right next to us. Slowing down just a little and allowing them to pass teaches us patience and helps us remember we aren’t the only person in the world. We can learn to say, “After you,” open the door for someone else, and let them go first. We all have a lot to offer, and if we pay attention we can learn from those around us. If we are so focused on our personal goals and what’s happening in our lives, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to learn anything from anyone else. But we can step back, we can slow down a little, and we can take notice. We can let someone else lead.  Letting them go first doesn’t diminish our accomplishments, and will give us a broader view of who we are.

It’s easy to be selfish and concentrate only on what we want to do. It doesn’t take much thought and we can ignore everyone else if we want to. But extending ourselves a little and allowing those near us to share our lives is important. We can give a little space, offer a little time, and let someone else go ahead of us once in a while. We don’t always have to be first. We can share the light and we can expand our focus. When we do, we build relationships and make connections that will bring us contentment in the long run. Our lives are enhanced when we share them with others, and learning to say, “After you,” is one way to start.

Today if you’ve been pushing ahead, and rushing to get to the front of the line, look around and notice who’s next to you. You are great and have a lot to offer. You don’t have to prove how terrific you are by being first all the time. Everyone will notice you even when you let others go first. Share the road as you go forward, and build relationships. It’s far better to be with friends than strangers, and taking a moment to share with those near you is the first step.

Out of Bounds

4 Nov

Sometimes in our relationships with others, we discuss or share things that are personal. We tell them very private thoughts about certain areas of our lives, or talk about our hopes and dreams with them. When we do, unless we say it’s okay to share our comments, we may expect them to keep them to themselves. But sometimes, those close to us tell others what we’ve said and it makes us uncomfortable. If it’s something very private, it may hurt us that they told someone else. If we share something confidential and ask that it not be repeated, and then discover others have been told, it’s a very personal betrayal. It can be embarrassing and painful to learn that our private thoughts have been tossed around. Those who betray our trust sometimes think telling others is okay, but if we’ve asked them to keep it private, their thoughts mean little.  It’s appropriate to trust a boundary with a friend. If that trust isn’t honored, it can be very hurtful.

There are some people who have no filters. They repeat everything they hear to everyone they know. They don’t believe there should be any walls around information, and they often don’t care what others think. They may give their word to protect what they’ve heard, but then are unable to keep it. When we have someone like that close to us, it can be devastating to discover our inner most thoughts and feelings have been broadcast. We can feel humiliated and exposed. Everyone has the right to make any decision they like, but if those decisions hurt us, we need to evaluate our relationship with them. If they can’t be trusted to keep our confidence, we must protect it.

Some people don’t believe it makes any difference if everyone knows our private thoughts, and if we cherish our privacy and hold it dear, we need to protect ourselves from sharing with them. If they are someone close to us, and we love them, that can be difficult. We may forget their inability to hold our comments to themselves and in times of distress, open up to them. Boundaries are important and we are the only ones who can protect our own. If we share and are betrayed, it hurts. We must define who can and who can’t be trusted with our private thoughts. Once we understand who they are, and accept that even those who love us may not be trustworthy with our boundaries, we can make wiser decisions. Protecting our privacy is our responsibility. We can define our boundaries any way we choose, and we can do whatever is needed to protect them.

Today if you’ve been exposed in ways that have hurt you, and if your boundaries have been betrayed, you can protect yourself going forward. You can have close relationships with others who don’t understand your boundaries and still ensure your privacy by guarding what you share. Understand the limits of the people close to you, and you will be comfortable going forward. Your boundaries are sacred and should be honored. You are entitled to them, and you may protect them.

Number One

24 Oct

We live in a world with billions of people and there are more and more of us each day. Unless we live somewhere in the wilderness or someplace so remote that we are the only one inhabiting it, we will see others around us all the time. They pass us on the street, in our cars, in the store, and everywhere we go. Having compassion for them, helping them, and acknowledging them makes the world a better place. But some of us have the idea that we need only look out for number one – ourselves. They make sure all their needs and wants are met before they are willing to extend themselves, and when they do, there must be something in it for them. There are benefits to looking out for number one, and we certainly are responsible for taking care of ourselves. However, if we become the primary focus in our lives all the time, and if we have to benefit every time we do something, we might forget how important our connections are to those around us.

Most of us have a lot to take care of each day. We have our personal needs, our jobs, our schools, our families, and a dozen other things that require our attention. If we wanted to we could make sure not to commit to anything unless there is some bonus for us. We could ignore the phone when it rings because we don’t want to be bothered, pretend not to hear when others call our name because we don’t want to interrupt what we’re doing, and just focus on ourselves. If we do this routinely, we will be effective in making our lives the most important part of our days, but we will probably alienate everyone else who is close to us. There is nothing wrong with doing things we enjoy or making our choices a priority, and we should do everything important to us. But there needs to be a balance. We can do those things and still extend ourselves to those around us, and participate in the group.

Belonging to a community, interacting with others, extending our hands in friendship, and helping out, bring us great satisfaction and contentment. We learn about others, we exchange new ideas with them, and our lives are enriched because of the experiences we share. If we isolate ourselves from them, determined to just look out for number one, and see only what’s important to us, we miss the valuable experience of connecting. Feeling connected is important. It gives us a sense of foundation, a base, and makes us feel stronger, and safer. When we take the time to share ourselves, we develop relationships that brings us happiness, and we build a network of people who care about us. Others we can depend on, people who will help us when we need it, and buoy us up when we feel down. It’s a wonderful blessing to have the care of others, and we get that care when we extend it ourselves. It’s true that no man is an island. We’re all in this together. Remembering that will help us stay connected and find our place.

Today if you’ve been focusing on yourself and getting what you want, don’t forget those around you. They need your influence and welcome your attention. Extend yourself to them, care for them, and let them care for you. You have a lot to share, and they want to share in return. Be connected and reach out. The rewards will be great, and you’ll be happier.

Different Versions

22 Oct

There are a lot of various situations in our lives, and in each experience we react in a different way. Sometimes we’re having fun and it’s easy to play along. Other times we have to think about a situation to figure out how to navigate it. And sometimes, we may have no idea how to react to something that catches us off guard. While we’re always the same person, different versions of our personality come into play depending on what we’re going through. We have a lot of reactions, expressions, emotions, and displays of affection we draw from every day. We try to always be the best version of ourselves, and often we’re successful. But if the situation really pushes our buttons, the version we display may not be the one that shows our best attributes.

Everyone gets angry from time to time and people disagree. It’s hard to trust those who say they never argue or fight with others. If that’s the case, it seems they either have no opinions that are important to them, or they just go along with whatever is happening. Of course, there are a few who are so evolved they are able to navigate any situation without disharmony, but that is rare. We are all individuals and nobody is exactly like us, so it’s likely we’ll have disagreements with others now and again. When we get upset and something really bothers us, if we jump on it instead of taking a breath and taking time to collect our thoughts, we might say something rude or act out in a way that doesn’t work in our favor. When our emotions are high and we’re angry, if we want the best version of ourselves to come forward, it’s wise to step away for a time until we feel in control.

Defining who we really are, and what we really want takes time. We have to decide what we really believe in, and what defines us. If we are easily influenced by others and impressed by trends, we may just go along and mimic those around us. If we’re timid and shy, instead of expressing ourselves we may choose to be quiet and try to blend in. But determining who we are is important and although others may tell us who they think we are, it’s up to us to decide what’s right. Once we determine what we believe, what we want, and who we are, we can live our lives according to those dictates. We can hold fast to things that are important to us, and be exactly the way we choose. The best version of us is always the honest one. If we live true to who we really are we’ll be happy, and if we stay true to our principles, we’ll be trusted and respected. We can offer our best every day, and we can do it our way.

Today if you’re being pulled one way and another, if you’re being influenced and feel confused or conflicted, think about yourself. Be honest and present who you really are to those around you. You are perfect just as you are. You are unique and valuable. The world is a better place because you’re here. The real you is your best version. Be confident in sharing that.


21 Sep

There is an elderly couple in my neighborhood that walk together every day.  When they go out they both wear gloves and carry plastic grocery sacks with them.  As they walk along, they pick up any litter they see.  The neighborhood is in good repair and most people take care of their property but there is still some litter blown around and they take it upon themselves each day to pick it up.  They are part of our community and this is their way of helping out.  Community is something most of us appreciate but seems to be getting lost in this day of technical overload.  It’s the feeling that we belong to a group where we know one another, and look out for one another.  More and more it seems people are forgetting to converse with their neighbors, get to know those around them, and build a sense of community.  A lot of us are stuck on our smartphones or computers and neglect personal interaction.  But personal interaction is important.  We all want to feel like we belong, and the only way that can happen is if we look up, and speak up.

There is great worth in getting to know those who live and work around us.  If we take the time to build relationships with them, they become our friends and are no longer strangers.  Then if something happens that affects us, we can support one another, help one another, and be there when needed.  Working together toward a common goal can help build those relationships.  If we get involved and extend ourselves to help out with regional and area projects, we’ll have the opportunity to meet others who are joining in.  The more people we meet around us, the more we build relationships, and the more sense of belonging we’ll feel.

There is a saying that no man is an island.  It’s true.  None of us is alone throughout our entire existence.  People come and go around us, and if we take the time to interact with them, say hello, and get to know them, we will feel more connected.  When we feel more connected our sense of belonging increases.  Of course, if want to we can certainly keep to ourselves, look down when we pass others, look away when someone looks at us, and keep our focus just on our own lives.  But if we do that we miss the great opportunity to share who we are with those around us.  We all have personal gifts, and special behavior traits unique to each of us.  Those gifts and traits can embellish the lives of those around us.  Even on our worst day, if someone smiles and says hello, we are lifted.  And we can offer the same to others.  We’re all in this together.  It’s a great blessing to share ourselves and allow others into our lives.

Today if you’ve been focusing on yourself and your life, try to remember those around you.  You have a lot to offer, and your smile and simple “hello” may lift someone else’s day, and open the door to a new relationship.  Take the time to get to know those you see regularly, and extend yourself to build those relationships.  It’s better to be surrounded by friends than strangers.  You have the power to make that happen.  Share yourself with those around you.  You have a lot to offer and they’ll be happy to know you.  Make it point to belong and include others in your life.