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Posts Tagged ‘being positive’

I have spent a great portion of my life allowing others to make my decisions for me.  When I was a child, I did everything according to what my parents dictated.  As I grew older, the peer pressure kicked in and off and running I went with the pack.  Then it was in the work place where I acquiesced to all of the rules and regulations of the office.  And at the same time, my social life was governed by all of the usual ways of meeting and getting to know others.  That was until I started to see that all of the tried and true methods of existing with others didn’t work for me.

The first thing that I had decided to tackle was religion.  I had been raised to believe that God was someone/something to fear.  This worked for all of the time that I was under the thumb of my parents and religious studies but once I was on my own, I started to question this premise.  That wasn’t my God – my God loved me and helped me and I was made in his image.  Ding, ding, ding!  So what everyone else had told me was true was not my truth. 

That wasn’t the end by a long shot.  As I moved through the work place, I worked very hard and was able to work my way up through the ranks in a segment of government dealing with taxation.  When I reached the top position that I could attain without a political appointment, I knew that it was time to move on but that did not happen until I learned another very important lesson.  There were rumors going around that said that the only way that I could have achieved what I had was because I was “sleeping” with someone higher executive.  I was having a really hard time dealing with that and I chose to discuss it with my dad.  His response to me was that at the end of the day, I had to answer to myself and if I wasn’t doing anything wrong, then it didn’t really matter what anyone had to say.  Now that was something that fitted with my thinking.

Well, I guess I still hadn’t learned my lesson because the next big event in my life was my marriage to a controlling and abusive man to whom I gave my power for 10 years.  It took me that long to understand that I did not deserve the abuse that I was receiving and that all of the things that I was told that were wrong with me just weren’t true.  I believe that that was my true turning point.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I still do ask for people’s opinions especially when I need to make a decision in an area where I don’t have any expertise.  But, I will take that information and do my own research and if something doesn’t make sense to me or doesn’t feel right, I will not stop until I can reach a decision that feels like the right thing for me.  This has ruffled more than a few feathers along the way but if my relationship with another person has to be based upon what that person thinks about me, it won’t take long until we part ways.

So to anyone who comes my way in this lifetime, I don’t care what you think about me.  I will appreciate you for exactly who and what you are and I expect the same in return.  I will support you in any decisions that you make and I will accept nothing less in return.  And should you choose to talk negatively about me or do things that are harmful to me, I will not do anything in retribution but will quietly remove myself from your sphere, knowing that what goes around comes around and you can set up any karma for yourself that you choose.

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For as long as I can remember, I always believed that whenever you have a situation with which you need to deal, the answers can be found inside of you and not from others.  In one of the lyrics that are contained in the “Let Life Happen” CD, the words are “the answers are inside the mind, they’re really not so hard to find”.  I have since learned that the first part of that lyric is still correct but the second part is a totally different matter.  Let me explain.

I currently weigh the exact same amount of pounds that I did when I was 18 years old and a senior in high school.  I want to lose weight.  I have tried just about every diet in the book and even when I successfully would lose some pounds, I always managed to gain back that weight.  Believe me, I can empathize with Kirstie Alley.  I have read about “set points” and metabolism and the need for exercise and counting calories and counting carbohydrates and fat and the not eating after 6 p.m. and the need to drink more water, etc.  until I am blue in the face.  And I tried all of the variations and still end up in the same place.

Then I went to my collection of books that all indicate that everything that is occurring within you physically is mentally manifested.  That made sense to me so I decided to get to the bottom of this issue with this unwanted fat.  Everywhere I looked, I found the same thing – that the fat is being retained as a means of protecting me.  But from what am I seeking protection? 

Over the years, I went back to all of the hard times and addressed each one of them, one at a time.  I reviewed how I felt about each individual issue, discovered what I had learned, forgave anyone to whom I may have directed responsibility and released it.  I truly believed that I had covered every possible issue, situation, wrong, whatever and I still hadn’t gained any ground.  Then out of the clear blue sky, something really hit me two days ago.

Whenever I was discussing my weight with anyone, I always said that I had been thin until I was 7 years old when I had my tonsils removed.  I have believed all of these years that the tonsils must have been the cause of my not having a big appetite as I remember my parents forcing me to eat when I had no desire to do so or didn’t like what we were having.  And then I had to go to the hospital to have those tonsils removed.

I finally went back to that time and the only thing that I remember of that surgery was that I woke up in the middle of the night in a very dark room with my throat feeling like it was on fire.  I knew that I had a button that I could push to call the nurse but I was so scared that I could barely move and never did find that button.  The other thing that I remember is that I was told that I could have all of the ice cream that I wanted when I had those tonsils out.

Ah, ha!  What did I learn from that experience!  It was the ice cream that was the only thing that could soothe my pain and that I was alone and scared when I was in the dark hospital room and I would do anything to protect myself from going to that darkness again. 

I have continued all of these years to protect myself by soothing myself with comfort food whenever I start to get stressed.  After my three recent surgeries, I managed to find my way out of not staying over in the hospital for even one night, thanks to the kindness and understanding of my cosmetic surgeon.  And two days ago, when I went to a fund raiser event for breast cancer research at the offices of that same cosmetic surgeon and was walking through the hallways past the various treatment rooms, I had the feeling that the experience was a bit scary.  That was the trigger.  There should have been nothing that was scary about it but that was my feeling.  But my willingness to examine why I felt fear is what has finally allowed me to discover from inside what I was protecting and I am looking forward to bringing about a very successful change in my eating habits as a result.  It will be interesting to see if I have finally found the answer to something that I have sought to change for virtually a lifetime.

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It is an absolutely beautiful day.  The sun is shining and I hear birds singing. There is a little breeze blowing and the temperature is probably in the low 70’s.  I can see some fabulous flowers blooming from my window.  Who could ask for anything more!

Oh, I am so very grateful that my husband and I each have work that we like and therefore, the money to put food on the table, a roof over our heads and the transportation that we need.  But, more importantly, it allows for me to enjoy this glorious day.  It does matter if you take the time to look around and take in all of the beauty that you can see.  It gives you such a feeling of peace and love and a real appreciation of everything that is just sitting there for you to enjoy.  And it puts you into a frame of mind that allows you to want to share your happiness and gratefulness with others.

I think that is why I am so enjoying my time writing these blogs and sharing my experiences with others.  My realization has been that we all have hard times and tough things with which to deal in our lives.  If you enjoy each day and appreciate all that it gives to you, it doesn’t take long to realize that all of the good things far outweigh the bad or hard times – if that is what you choose for yourself.

By your own choice, you have the opportunity to focus on the positive things in your life.  When you have a problem with which to deal, you can address it, choose a course of action and follow that course.  You can put your energy into overcoming the tough things that come your way and you can muster the strength in order to fight the fight.  But, you also can choose to wallow in self-pity and focus on the bad things or the tough times instead.  You can keep saying, “Why me?” and focus all of your energy on feeling badly and concentrating on how life has handed you a bad hand to play.

For me, I chose to take the hard things in stride, face them, deal with them and then try to find out what I could learn from them.  In my writings and sharing my tough times with others, I am hearing from those who have either gone through the same things or have been supportive of others who have experienced the same.  And the one thing that shows up over and over is that all of them have a very positive attitude.  They tell me how much they appreciate my sharing, how it helps them, how it helps others and that I am such a wonderful example to others for the work that I am doing.  And I am sitting here saying, “Whoa!”  These people are awesome.  I know so many people who haven’t faced what I would call a tough day in their lives and they don’t have a bit of appreciation for anything. 

Then I started to wonder, was that the way that I used to be?  Is that the reason that I’ve had to have the experiences that I’ve had?  I know that the answer is no.  But, I also know myself well enough to know that if that had been the reason; I would rather go through the tough times to learn about living than to never have the tough times that resulted in my having an appreciation for the wonder of life.

I’d love to hear your comments in the box below.

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I am honored by all of the responses that I received from a lot of really strong, courageous women who took on the fight and got out of their abusive situations no matter what the cost to them.  I think that there is one aspect left to discuss before moving on to another subject and that deals with starting over.  Here again, I am only sharing what I chose for myself and this is not to say that whatever anyone else chooses is wrong.  My choice is what worked for me.

I will never forget the day that I left.  The feeling of freedom was indescribable.  I felt that I had been given a new life and I had every intention of doing the best with it that I possibly could.  Although there were the immediate matters with which to deal, I knew that I had to handle them quickly and put them behind me if I was ever going to be able to start over. 

I got a divorce and ultimately left the state.  My ex had no idea where I was and I was pretty sure that he did not have the resources to find me.  I spent all of my time and effort securing a new job, new friends and a new life.  Whenever something from the past intruded, I made every effort to put it aside as quickly as possible.  I had spent enough time living the nightmare and I did not plan to keep re-living it for the rest of my life. 

Although my experience was really bad, I have chosen to learn from it and never held on to any hate and/or anger.  I understand that my ex was an extremely troubled person who felt that it was okay to take his anger and insecurities out on me.  I had to reach the point where I realized that there was nothing that I could do to change the situation and that there was nothing that I was doing to cause his behavior.  I needed to leave in order to survive and that was it.  I did learn that he died a few years ago, all alone, on Christmas Day.

The bigger lesson that I needed to learn was that I could learn from the past but not live in the past.  I could not change what had happened during those years but I could allow the lessons of that time to shape a kinder, gentler me.  I had the ability to structure a whole new life in which I could treat people with all of the kindness and love and understanding that I had not received in my marriage.  I also learned that all that I have is today and that when I go to bed at night, I wanted to be proud of the day that I had created.  The lessons that I have learned have become the basis for the lyrics for the music CD that my husband and I have created.  Not surprisingly, it is titled “Let Life Happen” and was the pre-cursor to my blog and the website.  Please feel free to share the music on this website and you will have a better understanding of the lessons that I have learned from that abusive time.

If you or anyone you know might need help, Check out the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.

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Okay, my smile experiment didn’t go exactly as I expected and I didn’t receive any feedback to incorporate into this week’s musings. However, I did have lots of fun, the presentation went extremely well and the one person that I really wanted to engage seemed to have checked out long before I got to my part. So, for now, I am moving on from this topic and will pick it up again when I feel like I have something substantial to add.In the meantime, I have had a couple of shared meals with two women who I have not seen for a very long time and I quickly recalled why I always found them to be so special. And talk about smiles!!! Both of them could light up any room.

Both of them have had their individual health issues, one with regard to having “died” in the emergency room on three occasions before they were able to stabilize her to triumph once again and the other who had breast cancer surgery three weeks ago and was her normal, sassy self when we met. No one would ever imagine what they have endured.

T.J. and I have not seen each other for 9 years. She happened to be in town on business so we just had to meet. Her heart attacks occurred last August and she has rebounded to the point that she is back to traveling for her company and providing all of her clients with not only a great knowledge but with a big smile, a very witty personality and a real zest for enjoying life.

A.M. just had her surgery so very recently and still faces daily radiation treatments for 6 ½ weeks but you would never have had an indication of this from the big smile and hugs that she had for me after almost 5 years of not seeing her. She had no complaints and no sad tales of woe but only a completely positive attitude about everything.

The one thing that they both have in common with each other and with me is that we are all really happy people. And that which brings us our happiness is our families and friends. The conversations quickly turned away from our recent physical issues to lots of laughter and tales about what great spouses and/or children and grandchildren we have. The talk went on for hours as we shared these tales along with the experiences with each other. There is no amount of money that could buy that kind of love and laughter and caring and sharing and if you have those things in your life, you have everything.

So my slightly late tribute to St. Valentine’s Day is directed to my own very special Valentine, the greatest guy in the world and my heart and soul who I treasure more and more each day. I don’t know what I would do without you and I thank God each and every day for the time that I get to spend with you.

I would also like to send my love and thanks to each and every loving person who is a part of my life – for who you are and what you mean to me. I have been so fortunate to have so many upbeat, fun, loving and caring people in my life who bring smiles to my face on a daily basis. All of our lives are filled with happiness and fun and when “situations” come our way we just face them with smiles on our faces, deal with them and get back to the business of living our lives. For me, that is exactly the way it should be.

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Did you ever notice what happens when you smile? Well, give it a try. Go ahead. Right now. Now, how do you feel? Yes, I know what you mean. When you are smiling, you feel good. All thoughts of anything bad or negative just go away. And if you keep on smiling, you just can’t feel badly.

Now while you are still smiling, think about something that normally makes you very sad or brings you to tears. Hold that smile and you just can’t go to that sad place. I just discovered this and I wanted to share it with you. I don’t know how it works but I just know that it does.

Now, let’s see what happens when you smile at someone else. Some people may look at you a little strangely but if you just keep smiling, you just might see those stern faces crack a little bit. And when you smile at your family and friends and co-workers, you can pretty much get a smile back from each person every time.

So what, you might ask? Well, those smiles back and forth and all around create a lot of positive energy. It makes you feel happy and it makes other people feel happy. So, I decided to do a little experiment.

For ten minutes, I made sure to smile at every single person with whom I came into contact. Amazingly, every single person smiled back and some even said hello. I liked this. I was having a lot of fun and I could see the difference that the smiling had made on others. Now I am wondering whether I can make this work in whatever I do.

So tomorrow morning, I have to give a presentation to more than 50 people. I haven’t had much time to work on it and even less time to practice it which makes me a little nervous. But I plan to interject a lot of smiles into my talking points and I am looking forward to seeing whether this helps me to have success. It might just be a matter of thinking that it will work or it may be that having a smile for everyone will reposition my thoughts from fear to fun. We’ll just have to see if it works and I do plan to report back to you next week.

In the meantime, I want to experiment with this a bit to see how it goes and should you choose to give it a try yourself, I would love your feedback about how it did or didn’t work for you. I think that creating an environment that is full of smiles will not only make me happy but it should make a lot of other people happy as well.

What is the worse thing that might happen? A few people might think that I am a little crazy but that doesn’t bother me. Other than that, I can’t see anything on the downside. On the upside, it makes me feel good when I smile, it is lots of fun doing so, it’s interesting to watch others’ reactions and it makes me happy to make others happy. Gee, it seems that something that is so simple can have such a great impact on creating happiness. And the bottom line is that creating happiness it what it is all about for me.

Have fun and I will report back to you the results of my experiments and if you choose to share your thoughts and experiments, I will incorporate your results into my writing. I figure that the more we learn about each other, the more success we will have in creating happy lives for ourselves.

I would love your comments.

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