Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball.......

Originally written in July 2008, this has previously been posted twice on Cafe Mom.  It's time to post it here in my Blog.
 
To preface my second CM posting, I wrote: 
"What we need seems to find us, just when we need it.  Thought I'd post this again, in case there's someone who needs to hear this right now."

When Life Throws you a Curve Ball






One thing that breaks my heart is when I see a thought bubble that is negative or someone is expressing pain or sadness. It just hurts me to know that one of my friends is having a difficult time with something.





It's also particularly sad for me to read a journal post that is filled with anger or resentment. I understand that life is not easy, and often times can be downright miserable. But, even in the most difficult times, emphasizing the difficulty doesn't help make it any easier. We call it "venting", but in reality what we are doing is placing energy on that which is making us miserable. This, in turn, is only creating more pain.




There are simple answers - simple exercises - that can help alleviate the degree to which we are unhappy, helping us to move on into the next moment.




LOVE and GRATITUDE




We can begin by loving ourselves enough to search for the light and the bright side. There is always a positive piece in our puzzle of life. Sometimes it gets lost and entangled within our depression. Love yourself enough to know in your heart that you deserve happiness. Love yourself enough to remove the layers of suffering to help uncover the joy that is hiding deep inside.



Instead of wondering why you are experiencing distress - instead of wishing something good would cross your path - instead of saying "why me?" - peel away those layers that are blocking your happiness and discover the goodness that already exists.



It is there - I promise you that! But, it's your responsibility to see it. Become aware of it and embrace it with all the love in your heart. Once you realize that it's there, it becomes easier to focus on the goodness.



Whatever we give energy to is what will grow and blossom within our hearts and souls.



This brings me to gratitude. By focusing on all that already exists in your life for which to be grateful, somehow miraculously, the distressful issues seem to feel not quite as wretched as they did before.




Life is not easy for anyone, regardless of how this illusion might appear. Each of us has issues to face. When you notice people who seem to have it all - to have happiness all the time - to always be smiling - to never complain - it doesn't mean that they do not carry around sadness or suffering deep inside of them. What it does mean is that they have learned how to channel their energies into a more positive direction. They are the ones who have learned the gift of appreciation.


I mentioned smiling. Try remaining angry or resentful while you are smiling. Can't do it, can you? Keep that smile on your face and continue to realize how much exists in your life for which to be thankful. Then you will find that heavy load of misery lifting from you.



I understand that life is filled with difficulties. If you know me, then you already know that I'm speaking from experience. But, I've chosen to not allow all that crap to continue to hurt me. I won't allow the past to destroy my present moment. There is nothing I can do that will remove my past. But all that I choose to do in my present moment will help my future.



The past can be just the past minute or second, or it can be years of built-up junk. But, once it's passed, it's gone forever. So it won't help to dwell on it.




Life is ever-changing and is impermanent. Life is not all joy and happiness. Life is not all sadness and difficulty. Life is a combination of everything.



Life is an education, a learning experience. All that is placed in our path is there for a reason and gives us an opportunity to learn a lesson. Don't miss out on those remarkable opportunities.



If our thoughts and feelings are too occupied with our struggles and problems, we might miss out on the wisdom that's been made available to us.



It's okay to feel sadness when it is present in that one moment. Just don't allow yourself to ponder it too long. Instead, remember to move on into the next moment without carrying the baggage from previous moments. If we continue to carry that old baggage, it become heavier and heavier with each moment; and we risk missing out on the potential pleasures in the new present moment of NOW.


Sometimes life brings us unpleasant circumstances that we don't want - those "curve balls". It is what it is. So, although we cannot change some of those events, we do have the ability to transform our attitude toward those situations. This is called acceptance. And, that can help make all the difference in the world.





I prefer to label the horrific devastation that has entered my life, as challenges. Each challenge has presented an opportunity for me. I was not always aware of this, and wasted much time and energy on depression, sadness, guilt, resentment, etc. However, now I am so very grateful that I was able to learn the wisdom of gratitude and love. It has improved my life tremendously. And, it can do the very same for you.



NOW is the time to be mindful of each and every moment, each and every emotion within us, in each present moment. Instead of becoming stagnant in that moment, continue moving on your life's path, going with the natural flow and be present with each experience.




Consciously choose to place more energy and concentration on the favorable moments and discover contentment with all that crosses your life's path.





I choose JOY






I choose LOVE






I choose GRATITUDE






I choose all of these for my present moment of NOW. I hope you will, too.
























Sunday, November 15, 2009

What were you conditioned to believe? Eliminating the Distortion of Perception...





Just as the new bud





transforms into a beautiful flower,










so too, does the morning awaken into a beautiful new day.




How do you define "beautiful"?  What specifically is a "beautiful" flower or a "beautiful" new day?  How do we recognize beauty?




Isn't it true, we are conditioned to believe that a beautiful flower looks something like this.....




or possibly like these.....







Or, maybe..................








BUT, what is it that makes it so beautiful?  From where did this requirement come?

It's perception from what we've been conditioned to believe. 

Sometimes perception comes in the form of deception.

So where is the rule that demands beauty look like that?




Isn't it possible, just maybe, that beauty could look like this....................... ?




















or like this................................?



















or, even this ?

This is my Great-Grandma (and me).  She lived into her late 90's.  I’ve never seen a photo of her when she was younger, but I’m sure she was beautiful, because I can see her beauty even in this picture.

Look into the eyes of everyone you see. The eyes are the window to the soul. You will discover true beauty in everyone.




If you remove the distorted automatic training from your mind, and learn to view everything in a new and different light.......... you will discover that beauty appears in many different forms........ beauty is in everything. 


Just as age is just a number, beauty is simply a word.  However, when you add love and gratitude to your thinking, the word "beauty" takes on a whole new meaning.


It's possible to look at this............











and know that it came from this......





It's all about whatever we have been conditioned to believe.  And, it is possible to transform our perception into seeing beauty in new and exciting visions, and open up a whole new world.






Think of the new bud as a newborn baby. 











Watch as the bud gradually grows into a mature flower.






















Just as the flower grows, the newborn baby grows into a beautiful young girl or a handsome young boy.

 


Then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, he/she suddenly realizes that the inevitability of "age" has caught up with them ...

....................with you
................... with me
....................with each of us. 



We cannot escape it.  Oh, some people will attempt to halt or slow down the process.  But, the reality is that everyone who lives long enough will age.  The youthful external beauty diminshes and soon we are looking at a vision in the mirror that reminds us of our mother or father, or grandmother or grandfather. 




Instead of perceiving age as something ugly, why not simply embrace the process and be grateful for whatever your beauty looks like.



Each of us is beautiful, regardless of our outward appearance or our age. 



Bodies that we've been conditioned to believe are unattractive, are actually quite beautiful - even the flab, the pouches, the limps, the aches and pains, the wrinkles, the sags, discoloration of the skin, thinning hair, missing teeth, fading eyesight --- all of it IS beauty.


In less than one month I'll be celebrating my 62nd birthday.  Yes, I said "celebrating".  Life is a beauty to celebrate, not only on our birthdays, but every day.

If we are blessed enough to still be alive with wrinkles, sags, flab and all that other stuff, then it should be embraced and appreciated. 
(It sure beats the alternative!)




I am GRATEFUL for my life and for it's beauty.  I've learned to see all challenges as beauty to be embraced and appreciated.




Next time you look in the mirror, instead of focusing on your flaws (hey, we all have 'em - yep, even the young) - - - take a really good look at the beauty of YOU.


Be grateful for your beauty, in whatever form it is.


Appreciate, embrace and love the beauty of YOU




P.S. In the past I would removed aging flowers from the plant.  I was conditioned to believe that the aging flowers zapped the new buds of their energy.  But, I've learned that the aging shriveling flowers add character and a beauty of their own to the garden --- just as aging people enhance the lives of the young.





Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Change your perspective with mud and flowers

-
oh, but it's really so much more.................



It lives, grows and thrives in the mud.





The Lotus Flower







We cannot deny its beauty





Let it be an example


We live and grow in mud -



the muddy crap that takes up residence in our lives


............. our disappointments, our sadness, our pain, our tears, our grief, our struggles, our sorrow, our heartaches, our body aches........................


all of it


the crap of our lives


the muddy crap of our lives

 



Take a lesson from the beautiful Lotus Blossom


the more muddy, the more beautiful it becomes








Learn this lesson well.................


Open your mind, heart and soul up to welcome the muddy clouds that seek to destroy


Don't focus on it


Don't allow it to damper your spirit


Don't drown in it


And, for heaven's sake, don't resist it


for what we resist, will persist.






welcome it - embrace it


Be grateful and appreciate it - all of it






Life will include happiness - just not all the time.


Life will include suffering - it is what it is - that's a "given".


But, when we just allow the natural ebb and flow between suffering and happiness, without expectations, with acceptance, the mud becomes more tolerable

 



For it's from the mud that we will thrive and become beautiful, too


............just like the Lotus flower






Look in the mirror and recognize how truly beautiful you really are..............



Monday, September 28, 2009

Weeding the Garden of Life, with Gratitude

Weeding the Garden of Life with the Miraculous ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE





Our life is like a garden. It requires nurturing and love.




When you remove the weeds from your garden, the flowers become brighter, stronger and healthier.




When you remove toxicity from your life, you become brighter, stronger and healthier.


Have you ever noticed that when you have plants and flowers growing closer to each other, they look more beautiful and plentiful?




So it is too, when you allow others into your world of friendship, you become richer, too. Love and friendship grow with honesty, trust and appreciation.





Your garden needs nourishment and love, along with the sunshine and the rain. And, so do you.







Even if you try to remove all the weeds from your garden, they manage to sneak back in somehow. There must be a purpose for these weeds or God would not have planted them there. Just as weeds sometimes invade the flowers, our lives become tainted with sadness, frustration and difficult moments. Although we may not know what it is, just as there is a purpose for weeds in our garden, there is a purpose for the pain, sorrow, tribulations and misfortunes that invade our lives.


Years ago I discovered my first purpose for the hardships, problems and misery. I thought about it one day, at one of the darkest moments in my life. Suddenly I realized - how would I know the happiness, pleasure and joy, if I didn't have the troubles with which to compare it? That was my very first revelation. Although I didn't welcome the agony, troubles and misery into my life, I recognized they were there for a reason.


Then my real "AH-HA" moment came when I learned that those moments of difficulty must be welcomed and embraced. We must feel the pain in order to get through it and move on to something more rewarding.  We must have rain for the flowers to grow, just as we must have challenges to gain strength and to grow.

            




It was then I began to understand GRATITUDE. True actions of being thankful have helped me to transform my life and turn around the difficulties, allowing them to be a part of me for whatever time they are meant to be, and then moving forward with whatever crosses my life's path. It's almost impossible to be able to get through the challenging times without love and gratitude. Okay, maybe it's possible, but not probable. And, without acceptance and appreciation, it takes longer to work through the misery.


I've discovered that there is nothing in this life that is so devastating that we cannot find something for which to be grateful. It's contagious. The more you focus on your blessings, the more you will find. They are there. They are with you always, but sometimes you just need to recognize what they are.


When you choose to place emphasis on your hardships and suffering, you will give them power over you, and they will remain attached to your life. But, by diverting your concentration from your lack to the miracles and wonderment in your life, you give power and strength to the blessings that are already in your life.

Instead of using your thoughts to dream of what you desire and do not have, use your mind to be grateful for what is already there. By doing this, you will attract more into your life for which to be grateful. It's contagious, I tell you! It works!

Although it might require a little more focus to make it effective in dealing with the huge devastating issues, it easily manages the little nuisances we each face almost daily. You know those little nuisances - the little ant hills that we sometimes turn into overwhelming mountains, simply with the distortion in our minds. This is a great place to begin a journey in GRATITUDE.

As I said, it's contagious, so the more you are able to diffuse the ant hills, the easier it naturally becomes to place your attention on that for which you have to be grateful. And, this helps create a habit of being grateful for even those mountains that surface. They do have their purpose, even if you don't understand them.


Someone who doesn't know me might think that I value this way of life, because my life is already easy. But, for those who really know me, already know that is not true. My life has been filled with 60 years of struggles, sadness, depression and moments, which I wouldn't want my worst enemies to ever have to face. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. Not all 60 years have been filled with challenges, but there have been many.



Everyone has weeds in their garden of life. It's not about the weeds, but it's about how you choose to deal with them. I choose GRATITUDE. And, I hope you will, too.







written May 25th, 2008 G.G.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What "stuff" are you made of ?





What is it that determines who YOU are - really ? 
  1. Your age?
  2. Your race or ethnicity
  3. Your religion?  (or lack of...?)
  4. Your income?
  5. Your education?
  6. The home you live in?
  7. If you're messy?  Or tidy and clean?
  8. The car you drive?
  9. Your job?  (or lack of...?)
  10. Your friends?
  11. Your family?
  12. Your sexual preference?
  13. Your political party?
  14. Your ancestors?
  15. The way you dress?
  16. If you're skinny or fat?
  17. Male?  or Female?
  18. How powerful you are?
  19. How successful you are?***
       *** Success is subjective and may be defined differently for each of us. 
              Do NOT base YOUR success on the success of others.
              Be the very best only you are able to be,
                  without comparison to others.


Think about these answers carefully? 


Now, review again......................
DO ANY OF THESE REALLY DETERMINE THE REAL AUTHENTIC YOU ?


 Absolutely NOT 

Those are simply exterior particles of what you are attempting to show the world.  They are NOT the real YOU.  We too often hide behind the mask of those elements.  Take charge of YOU and proclaim who you are.

Possibly, there is a little minute speck of something of each of the above that "may" have some slight influence on who you are.  However, that does not necessarily create who you really are, or who your authentic self is.  Your genuine authentic self is within YOU.

   
Search deep within your heart and soul to find the truth, and to discover the real YOU.



The truth is.....................
  1. You are your respect of others
  2. You are your respect for yourself
  3. You are the smile on your face
  4. You are the sadness within
  5. You are the amount of sincerity you display
  6. You are the love you share with others
  7. You are the love you have for yourself
  8. You are the honesty within yourself
  9. You are the amount of gratitude you express
  10. You are your generosity
  11. You are your level of compassion

You have the unlimited potential to be all of these.  It's YOUR choice.

Conversely, you also have the potential to be...........................
  1. filled with hatred
  2. disrespectful
  3. deceitful
  4. dishonest
  5. selfish
  6. ungrateful
  7. ignorant
  8. rude
  9. angry
  10. stressed
  11. frustrated 




Who YOU are, and what creates the authentic YOU is completely in your control.  It's YOUR choice, and no one elses.  YOU are responsible for who YOU are.  It is your sole responsibility and no one else's.  Your environment or your circumstances do not dictate who you are.  So, don't use those as a crutch or an excuse.  You're only fooling yourself.


 


REPEAT - your past is NOT you.  Although you cannot change the past, you do have the ability to change who you are TODAY, this one NOW moment. 

You CAN create the person you desire to be - TODAY.  By transforming your energy into a direction of acceptance, you have the ability to create a future, filled with more  - 
  1. more happiness
  2. more satisfaction
  3. more love
  4. more compassion
  5. more smiles
  6. more fulfillment
  7. better friendships
  8. better feelings within yourself, about yourself
  9. more self-respect
  10. more self-confidence
  11. less stress
  12. better health 
  13. peace and serenity
  14. the ability to accept difficulty, learn from it and know it's only temporary
(or not - it's your decision) 

Begin today - begin right now, at this very NOW moment -
As each NOW moment passes, know that it's gone forever, never to return.  You will NEVER get that time back again.  Make the most of each moment, with a fresh renewed attitude.



  1. See the world from a different perspective
  2. View others in a different light than you've ever seen them before
  3. Understand each other's differences and know it's okay to be different from each other
  4. Feel love for everyone whose path crosses yours
  5. Find compassion for others - realize you don't know what's going on inside of them, or what could possibly be hurting them
  6. Learn to express gratitude - - - - -
Find gratitude in EVERYTHING that crosses your life's path - EVERYTHING - even the crap of life - It's there.  It will surface, often when we least expect it.  We cannot avoid it.  It's a "given".  But, we do have the ability to transform our attitude toward it.








Know that each difficult moment in life is a potential for education.  

Instead of asking, "Why me?", when something unpleasant or even devastating enters your life; ask "Why not me?  and "What lesson can I learn from this experience?".


Whatever it is that your choose, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks
 IT'S YOUR CHOICE 

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

FOLLOW YOUR HEART



Remember ~~~  Perfection does NOT exist.  Embrace your imperfections, as well as those of others.  Know that there will be challenges.  Allow yourself to feel emotions as you experience them.  Then move on into the next moment.



P.S.  Some random thoughts.........................
  • The goal is not to HAVE more, but to GIVE more
  • Generosity is contagious - Pay it Forward
  • The more we share with others - the more we have

If I could put the wisdom of gratitude, attitude and generosity into a bottle for sale .........

I would not sell it, but I'd give it away to anyone who wanted it, in hopes they would pay it forward.






With Gratitude,
G.G.
.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

INDIVIDUALISM - PART 2 - FOLLOW YOUR HEART - REMAIN TRUE TO YOURSELF

If you haven't read Part One, I suggest you read it first.

....and now, Part 2......
(I wrote this in November 2007, shortly after writing Part 1.)
This is not meant to be religious, nor is it meant to judge, criticize or convince you that my beliefs are right. They may not be right for you, but right now at this time in my life, they are right for me. This is simply an introduction to my personal beliefs. It is not my intention to offend anyone, so please read this with an open mind.


Some people believe in one specific organized religion. This is okay. Some people believe that they must attend regular services at a church or temple, or some type of brick-and-mortar building. This, too, is fine.



Many people believe that only their particular method of worship is the right one. Many people believe that the entire world should be converted to their own religion. In my opinion, this is where those people are invading other’s territories. This is where they are infringing their personal beliefs on others. To me, this is not right.



Many of these biased ideas are based on guilt and fear. “If you don’t do it MY way, you are wrong and will suffer.” What I say about this, is “Why is any one way right?”. It’s not. It may be right for you, but not for me or anyone else you are attempting to persuade. I say – stop trying to change the world – stop trying to change other people – and simply do what you believe is right. It is right, but it’s right for YOU, not for everyone.



I, personally, do not need a building to go to once a week to be a good person. I do not need to follow specific religious rules to be a good person. These rules have been made up by human people, who are interpreting what they think their God meant to say in the Bible or whatever religious book they read. I’m not knocking this. If it works for you, then by all means, continue following what is best for you. But, please do not keep trying to convert everyone else. And, even more importantly, please do not criticize or judge others for not following your path. We each need to discover what is best for us on our own, with whatever knowledge we are fortunate enough to grasp.



I have difficulty understanding how some people can attend church services and go through all the outward motions expected by their religion to be a good person and do what they believe God wants, and then immediately upon leaving the building, (a church or temple), go about their lives treating others so badly. Being a good person does not stop when you leave that building. It’s important to continue the path you’ve chosen whether you’re in your place of worship or not – whether you worship in any way, or not. Being a good person is meant to be a way of life, at all times.



To me, it just seems hypocritical to be kind only when someone thinks others are watching. If one believes in God, then it would seem they would believe that He is always watching; not only while one is in church.




Briefly, these are just a couple of reasons I have made the choices I’ve made in my life.


I do understand that not everyone who is involved in organized religion is hypocritical. There are many who do follow the path of being kind and considerate to others at all times, whether they are in a church or not. I was simply pointing out that there are also some who are deceptive, because they are simply in it for the show. These are the very ones who believe others will judge or criticize them if they don’t make their weekly appearance in church. These are the very ones who will criticize and judge you for not attending. These are the ones that are so preoccupied with other’s lives that they forget to take care of their own lives.



I would prefer to associate with people who never go to church, but are good people and who are kind to others, than to associate with church-goers, who are rude and uncaring to others. It’s NOT important to me what your religion is, or if you attend church services or if you are an atheist. None of that affects my life. What is important to me is the person you are and if you are compassionate, honest, loving and kind to yourself and to others. Those are the people with whom I choose to surround myself. And, this is the type of person I wish to be.



Preaching to me and imposing guilt and fear will not change me. This type of behavior only pushes me away from whatever you are trying to convince me to believe. Of course this is strictly my own personal feeling, of which I’ve learned I have a right to believe – exactly as each of us does. I will take care of my life, and you should take care of yours. Thinking this way helps create harmony in my relationships with others, allowing us to be more compatible. I respect other’s feelings and beliefs, just as I expect other people to respect mine.




That being said, if you are a part of my life, you are here because I have faith in you. I respect you and love you unconditionally, regardless of your beliefs, and regardless of any other differences we may have.

I appreciate the uniqueness of who you are.  Remember to always remain true to yourself.

I'm grateful for you, just the way you are.



.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

INDIVIDUALISM - Part One






Grateful for Individuality and Uniqueness




The beauty of this world is that it is comprised of so many different types of people, each with different beliefs, each with their own personal perspective, and each very special in their own unique way.

Why is it then, that there are many people who consume so much energy on attempting to convince others to conform to one type of belief or to view only one side of an issue?

Personally (and I can only speak from my own personal place), I do not wish to live my life looking into the eyes of my friends and see only myself. I want to experience new ideas and fresh perspectives on life and all there is to discover. I do not wish to limit my experiences based on only my life and my beliefs. I want to expand my knowledge to that of as many different options as possible during my life. The only way to do this is to allow myself to be accessible to new things, and to be willing to expose my mind to all possibilities.

Each of us has valuable opinions to contribute. Instead of trying to influence the world to be a mirror image of myself, I find it absolutely refreshing and educational to learn about others, and what makes them tick and why they have the beliefs they have. There is such an appreciation to be felt in being open and receptive to others.

To me, it seems close-minded and selfish to believe that everything I have to offer in this world and to myself is only what I know and what I believe. How inflexible and rigid is that to believe that I know it all? Well, I can say that I do not know it all and neither does anyone else. That’s why it’s important to allow ourselves every chance possible to learn and discover more. We do not necessarily need to agree with all the information we are able to gather. What we do with that knowledge is a personal choice. But, it’s valuable to have additional information with which to help in making new choices and decisions in our lives. Without being exposed to new ideas, we are missing new opportunities.

If you stop to think about the numerous different people in this world, each with different perspectives, you can become aware of the potential you have for opening up your mind and your world to new and exciting phases of your life. By listening to others, you might gain a new healthier perspective and your life could improve, allowing you to be a happier person. You may also gain insight as to what you do NOT wish to have in your life. It’s all so invigorating and rejuvenating. But, you must maintain an open mind.


Enjoy your day, keep smiling and keep your mind open.





.