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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.

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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.

Changing Directions

6 Jan

Being in control of our lives is something most of us strive for. We want to make our own decisions, and live the way that makes us feel happiest and most authentic to who we really are. We have a lot of connections with those around us and sometimes we find that although our relationships start out with a dynamic of give and take, sometimes they change and we feel we are giving more than we are comfortable with. If that happens, we may feel we’ve lost some control over our lives and it can be uncomfortable. If the relationship is important to us we may be concerned about trying to change it or even discussing the issue openly. But just because we may need to modify something in the situation, doesn’t necessarily mean we must abandon it. Being in control of our lives doesn’t always mean we have to stop what we’re doing. Sometimes it just means we have change direction.

Interpersonal relationships are made up of people, and people are complicated. We have all kinds of ideas, emotions, plans and dreams constantly rolling around in our heads. Those complications can make even small adjustments seem bigger than they really are. If we’ve decided our life needs to go a specific way and are adamant about those parameters, relationships may become difficult for us. There is not one true way to live a life happily or successfully. There are limitless varieties, each worth as much as the one next to it. If we decide there is only one way to do things, it may be difficult for us to give in our relationships. Success with others is often directly related to our ability to compromise. After all, the other person’s ideas, emotions, plans and dreams are every bit as valuable and worthwhile as our own, even if they are very different. It’s important to remember that. We all want to feel cared for, respected, and have our ideals honored. Nobody wants to be in a situation where they must do everything somebody else’s way.  There must be both give and take if we want to succeed.

It’s fair to ask for what we want and what we need in our lives. It’s appropriate to make adjustments when we feel those parameters aren’t being met. We can modify our relationships and still succeed at them. We are entitled to live our lives in ways that make us comfortable and if we’re giving too much away, if we aren’t being valued, if we’re being ignored, or if we feel uncomfortable, we can make whatever changes are necessary to create a better situation. Sometimes if the other person is unwilling to change and we are struggling, or if they refuse to compromise, the relationship may fail. But it doesn’t fail because we want the change. It fails because it’s not workable the way it is. We deserve to be happy. If we have lost some control, we can change directions. If those we care about really care about us, they will want us to be comfortable and happy. But we must tell them what we need. When we do, we may be amazed at how quickly things improve, how much better we feel, and how much closer we are because we worked together to go forward.

Today if you feel you’ve lost some control over your life and need to change direction to regain it, you can do that. Tell those involved how you feel. Speak up and explain clearly what you need to be happy. If they truly care about you, they will work with you and help you change things so you are facing the direction that takes you where you want to go. This life is all about adjustments. You can make them and you can be happy.

Untethered

16 Sep

A balloon floating freely up in the sky, tossed by the breeze and rolling around as it flies has no attachment to anything secure. It is untethered, and completely disconnected from anything but itself. It has no control over its direction or destination. Although we aren’t balloons floating away, there are times when we may feel disconnected and lost. We might feel like we’re being tossed here and there, and have no control over what’s happening or where we’re going. It’s unsettling when we feel our lives are being carried away by the decisions of others or things happening around us. Perhaps a significant change we could not control has occurred that has affected us deeply. Maybe the company we work for closes up unexpectedly, or a relationship we value ends suddenly without warning, or our health takes an unexpected turn. Lots of things happen to us and when great changes come without warning they can knock the air out of us, and leave us feeling lost and unsure of how to proceed. We don’t know which way to turn, and we can feel that our foundation has slipped away.

Unexpected and difficult changes can be stunning and we may feel nearly paralyzed at first. The shock of the change may leave us disoriented. It takes a while to process events like these, and it takes time to adjust to the change and determine how to navigate through it. It helps if we can confide in someone we trust, and whose guidance we respect. If we can talk about the situation, we may begin to formulate an action plan to begin moving forward. If there isn’t anyone to talk to, it is sometimes helpful to write down the feelings we’re having. Just writing everything down, with no concern about someone else reading what we’ve written, can give us a great release and help us think more clearly.

Change is normal in this life. Big difficult changes that surprise us are not easy to get through, but if we take our time, and give ourselves a chance to process everything we will find our way. If we are hurt it may take longer, but no matter how long it takes, we have everything we need inside us to get through. Nobody wants to go through hard and difficult situations, but it is those situations that teach us the most. While we’re figuring out how to adjust and move through them, we refine our abilities to cope and learn. We become stronger as we figure out how to turn the situation around and more flexible as we accept the differences that have come upon us. And when we’re on the other side, having successfully survived another trial, we will be wiser, stronger, and more capable. We really want to be the best we can be. Going through the hard times will help us achieve that goal.

Today if you’ve had an experience that has left you feeling lost, if you’re drifting in uncertainty and unsure about how to go forward, give yourself time to think. This is just a passage and even though it’s difficult it will not last forever. You will find your way through. You’ve been through other trying challenges and conquered them.  After you’ve navigated this and you’re on the other side, you’ll be stronger and more confident. There isn’t anything you can’t do. You are invincible.

Making It Happen

15 Sep

There are times in our lives when we really want something to happen. It consumes our thoughts, and we try our best to make things work so it’ll come to pass. Oftentimes the things we want to occur involve others. Sometimes they agree with our plans, but sometimes they don’t, and when they don’t we may try hard to convince them to change their minds. We might try pleading with them, cajoling them, and at our worst, even threatening them in an effort to sell our idea. When things work out the way we want them to, we feel satisfied. We’ve accomplished what we wanted most of all. But when they don’t, when whatever it is doesn’t happen, we may feel angry, defeated, and disappointed.

Everyone gets to make their own choices. We all understand that but when we want those choices to agree with ours and they don’t, accepting it is a little harder. Sometimes our choices are going to be different than what others want. It’s frustrating to be told “no” when we want something very much. It’s hard to accept that our dream isn’t going to happen, especially if it’s a good thing that would benefit others. But if we can’t bring others on board, even if it’s the best idea ever dreamed up, we either have to change it, or we have to let it go.

Sometimes when we fail to get the support we need, we can revise the plan in a way that will bring the results we’re seeking. Maybe we have to wait a little longer until things fall into place. Maybe we need to involve a different group of people, or change the plan to suit the needs of those we need support from. There are no guarantees in this life. We can only try to do our best, and sometimes our best can’t make it happen. Sometimes nothing we do can make it happen. When that occurs, we have to redirect our course. There is nothing wrong with changing our plans. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed. It means we are capable of understanding the situation, and modifying our direction. And those are two very commendable attributes.

Today if you’re up against a brick wall, if things just aren’t working out the way you want them to, or the way you think they should, it might be time to revise the plan. If there is nothing you can do to make things go your way, change lanes. Turn a little to the right or the left, and redirect your course. Modify your plans so you can succeed. Be flexible. Don’t let a setback hold you up. You know what you want, and you’re creative enough to figure this out.

Five Years

5 Sep

As we navigate our lives there are lots of ups and downs. We’re happy, sad, frustrated, weary, angry, and many other emotions. As human beings we feel everything. We sense when things aren’t going well, we celebrate when they do, and most days we do our best to get through whatever comes. Sometimes we get worried about things. We worry about the future, we worry about today, and everything in between. But as we’re worrying, we’re not thinking about the present. Our minds can’t be in two places at once. So, if we’re thinking about what might happen or what has already happened, we can’t be thinking about what is happening now.

Most of what we go through is transitory. We are passing through our experiences day by day. Everything changes as we go, and what’s worrisome today may not even enter our minds tomorrow. In five years, most of what we’re worrying about will be forgotten. Of course there are some very serious and long lasting things that may happen, but for the most part, our worries are for the moment, and when it passes, it’s gone. That being the case, the worry can be set aside. If we can put things into perspective, if they really are transitory, as most things are, worrying is a waste of energy. Whatever is bothering us is going to pass. We’re going to walk right through it to another day.

Sometimes we worry over indefinable situations. We worry about our families and the decisions they might make. We worry about the economy. We worry about the future and what it will bring. We worry about worldwide situations that may evolve. There is plenty to worry about if we sit and think about it. Nobody knows what today will bring. It may be a perfectly fine day, or the bottom might fall out of our plans. All we can do is our part. If we do that, and things go wrong, we will face it. We are able to face whatever comes to us. Worrying won’t change anything. It has never prevented or caused anything to happen – it just takes us out of the present, where we’re living. And being in the present is the best we can do to make things go well.

Today if you’re worrying about something that might happen, or has already happened, let it go. We can’t control all the things that come to us, but whatever they are, we will face them. You have all the courage you need to face whatever happens. Today is all you need to be concerned with. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow will come when it comes. There isn’t anything that will come to you that you can’t face. You are strong and capable. Concentrate on that, and just focus on today.

That Flower Thing

28 Aug

In Greek mythology the story is told of Narcissus.  There are a few different versions, but the basic idea is that Narcissus’s mother was told he would live to an old age if he didn’t look upon himself.  Sadly, he fell in love with his own reflection, and died.  The Narcissus flower grew up on the spot where he died.  Narcissistic behavior gets its name from this story.  If basically refers to people who only see themselves, who only do things that benefit themselves, and believe they are the most important person.  If we have someone in our lives who carries these types of traits, it can be difficult to deal with them.  And because they only recognize their own needs, it’s hard to have a relationship with them.

To build healthy and beneficial relationships, we have to be willing to give and take.  We need to compromise, and carry half the responsibility of making things work.  If we have a relationship with someone who is only interested in serving themselves, it’s nearly impossible to move forward, and build anything that will last.  If we only see what’s in it for us, we will fail.  Relationships are complex, and if we want to make them strong and happy we have to do our part.  That means we have to be willing to give to the other person, and not just take what works for us.  Because the relationship is important, we have to accept that sometimes we will not get things our way.

Probably all of us have known narcissistic types of people.  They tend to be the ones who have to be first, who have to do things their way, who have to be comfortable, and who need a lot of attention.  It’s exhausting to be around them for long, and if we try to build a relationship with them the path is often filled with complications.  If we have these tendencies ourselves, we may expect too much from others.  We may be frustrated that others don’t see things exactly as we do.  But if we want to be successful in our relationships, and if we want to be happy we have to learn to give, and let go of our need for things to go exactly our way.  We have to be willing to concede from time to time.

Today if you’re dealing with someone who only sees themselves, try to be patient and explain what you need from them.  Set the example by extending yourself and including them.  If you are struggling with the need for things to go exactly your way, try to remember that others have great ideas, and working together is very rewarding.  We all have a lot to offer, and we all need to be heard.  Today offer your viewpoint and then listen to others.  Give and take.  That’s what it’s all about.