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Drama Free Living

15 Mar

I do not know who said

Youth is wasted on the young;

but more and more I believe that this is true.

In our youth, we worry about everything: Will we have enough money?  Can we get ahead? Will my boyfriend/girlfriend be true to me? Who can I trust? What do people think of me? What can I do at work to make a good impression? Will I ever fall in love? Where should I live? What can I do to improve my career prospects? Will my children be smart?  Am I a good parent? And so on…

We spend so many of our youthful days (our 20’s and 30’s) worrying and engaging in drama-filled lives that we often miss out on the sheer pleasure of being alive.  I know I did.  I worried about family, loved ones, children, my children’s friends, my friends, the friends I didn’t have, career, my spouse, my spouse’s career, my career, schoolwork, field trips, out-of-town trips, you name it.  As a young mother, I was a master of creating and living in drama.  If there was not a crisis looming or imminent, I created one or allowed my children to do so.  What a waste of time, energy, and heartbeats!

Today, my life is much simpler and happier than the bygone days of worry about things I could not (fortunately!) control.  My children are grown and happily independent; I have the freedom to come and go as I please; my cat is happy and well fed; I have enough work and money to be happy; I enjoy lots of social occasions; I am healthy; and I am optimistic about the future.  What more could one want?

I wished for a drama-free life years ago – one filled with peaceful days free of conflict, happy times with my children, unconditional love and acceptance from myself, and supportive friendships.  Today these are no longer wishes but my reality, and I am truly grateful.

Youth may be wasted on the young, but the joy of youth is certainly not wasted on those of us who stay young at heart.  Wish for a drama-free life, and it too can be yours!

Have a great day,

Carol

Living Life Fully… 5 minutes at a Time

12 Mar

Life can be wondrous, exciting, frustrating, passionate, stressful, exhilarating, and sad, and sometimes it can be all of these at the same time! And that can bring on moments where we feel completely overwhelmed and incapable of thinking or moving forward.  When this happens to me, I remember one of the best pieces of advice from a friend:

You only have to make it through the next five minutes – one minute at a time…
and you WILL be fine.

She was right, and I share her wisdom with others when I see someone under stress.  If it works for me, why not for others?

Take a deep breath, inhale and exhale and simply breathe through the next 60 seconds, then 60 more until the magical 5 minute point.  At that point, nothing has changed but the wave of utter helplessness has somehow subsided.  Feeling overwhelmed is like the perfect storm – all things seem to collide at the same time making the negative waves seem like they are drowning us!

When we are overcome by emotion (positive or negative), financial or physical stress, or when something happens that “breaks the camel’s back”, we might wonder if we can make it through life – but we really only have to make it through the next five minutes.

Even 5 minutes can seem like an eternity!

But… when you set aside the massive pile of things that overwhelm you at the moment, and simply concentrate on making it through the next five minutes, five minutes at a time, things often become easier.

Five minutes are akin to bite size pieces of our lives. (Have you heard the famous answer to: How does one eat an elephant?  “One bite at a time.”)

Living life fully is sometimes as simple (and as difficult) as living it in bite sized pieces… five minutes at a time.

Wishing you a low stress, happy week ahead!

Carol

 

Balancing what I know with what I don’t…

20 Apr

In many ways I feel like I am living a “Benjamin Buttons” life

(a reference to the circa 2009 movie of the same name where a baby was born as an old man and progressively got younger as he chronologically aged).  I married young, had two wonderful children in my 20’s, and now enjoy a single life where I love myself, appreciate good friends, and am grateful for health, work, career and a happy life.

In many ways I feel like I’m living my 20’s today – I have the freedom I never had when I was married or raising children to go out whenever and wherever – and I love it.

Along with my youthful outlook is maturity, and I realize just how much I do not know about life or the world!  Maybe that is the beauty of my current life and my place in it!  I know what I know (professional expertise) and I am learning everyday that there is so much that I don’t know (and maybe never will).

  • I know that friends come and go, but I don’t know when new ones will come and old ones will leave.  Somehow there is always a balance of good friends that is just short of 5 at any one time.
  • I know that good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be fair or balanced.  I have no idea why this is so.
  • I know that it is more than okay to be me and to love being so!  Since I am not a child, I do not understand why others seek to change me (for my own good.)
  • I know that I am a giving and generous person (who often put others first to my detriment).  I do not know (and am learning that it doesn’t matter) what others think of me.
  • I know that my perceptions and feelings are valid, just are those of others. I do not know or purport to know what goes on in anyone else’s head.
  • I used to think I knew about love, and now I know that I know nothing at all.
  • I know that I know very little about human behavior aside from my own.
  • I know that I do not like conflict, loss, confrontation, accusations or cruelty.  And I know that there are people who do.
  • I know not to take things that people do or say to me personally (it is more about them and their experience), but it still feels personal. I do not know how to perfect this practice.
  • I know that I will never be able to predict (with any accuracy or precision) the reactions of others.
  • I know that girlfriends are the joy and stability of life.
  • I know that there are reasons that people from my past did not make it into my present.
  • I know that mean doesn’t go away and fortunately, neither does nice.
  • I know that friends can be the family we CHOOSE for ourselves.
  • I know that there is no guarantee that siblings will be friends.
  • I know that people are always surprising – sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad.
  • I know that change is the natural state.  I do not know how to make more of the good things last longer and the bad ones disappear.
  • I know that for every “get rich quick” scheme there are people who were taken.
  • I know that I am grateful for the people, places, pets, nature, parents, children, and friends who grace my life today.
  • I know that they will not always be there tomorrow.
  • I know that I don’t know what I don’t know…

When I was younger, I used to think I knew more about life than I did not.  Today I think just the opposite.  Maybe that is a sign of maturity – or maybe it is proof that I am young at heart!  And I am quite happy to know that I have so much more to learn.

Have a good week!

Carol

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The Power of Y.O.U…

21 Oct

John Chappelear produces a weekly Positive Thoughts of the Week newsletter/blog that often has insightful wisdom.  The October 18, 2010 issue was no exception, and here is an excerpt:

Last week I was in a round table discussion focused on personal and professional growth. One of the points raised was the powerful acronym H.O.W., which is designed to help people remember to be: Honest, Open-minded and Willing.

H.O.W. is a good reminder that being open, honest, and willing are prerequisites for affecting any sort of change in our life.

I have coined an acronym for Y.O.U. because I believe that to be the person we are intended to be, we need to realize that the person we are does not need to change – in fact, we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are.  The power in life comes from creating a powerful, positive image of who you are and embracing the personal importance of that realization.

The Acronym Y.O.U.

  • Y is for Yes. Yes to accepting yourself as you are in all your wonderful being. This means saying yes to all of you including your strengths, weaknesses, beauty, warts, perfections and imperfections.  The whole, perfect you!
  • O is for Opportunity. This means that you have the Opportunity to be your authentic self – who you really are. There is nothing you need to do to become the authentic you aside from being.  You are already all you need to be if you simply open yourself up to that opportunity.
  • U is for Unconditional Love. The greatest love is the unconditional love of self.  We grow up conditioned to believe that we ought to be one way or another – anything but the way we were born, and out of such beliefs grows discontent with you.  However – there is no other person on this planet of over 6 billion people who is exactly the same as you, and no one will ever be able to know you or love you as you can love yourself.    While you may share a name, characteristics or physical appearance that is similar to others, there is no one else who is exactly you. (That is pretty impressive when you think about it!) In addition, this person – you – is absolutely deserving of pure, unadulterated love.  When you love yourself unconditionally, it is not at all selfish to take care of yourself and to put yourself first. When you feel loved and accepted by you, it becomes far less effort to help and give aid to others.

The Power of your life really lies with Y.O.U. and you – saying Yes to who you are, taking the Opportunity to be who you really are, and celebrating Unconditional love.

What does this mean to you today?  When you meet someone who does not appreciate you for who you are, realize that their power is in their celebration of what Y.O.U. means in their own life. As others focus on themselves (as the main character in their own life), and their own best interests, we can begin to appreciate what don Miguel Ruiz talks about as the Second Agreement – nothing others do is ever personally about us, no matter how real it feels. Do not take anything personally.

When we can get over whether others accept us (whose opinion really matters except our own?) and realize that we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are, we can begin to concentrate on things outside of us. (In other words, once we realize that we are okay, we do not need to worry how we fit in the world) .  No more egocentric thinking because we are already okay as we are.

Once we understand and embrace the power of Y.O.U., what might you going to do differently with your days?

Have a productive and happy week!

Carol

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