Saturday, November 28, 2015

Blogging Is Cheaper Than Therapy

I am sitting at my laptop for the first time in more than 2 weeks. Why, you ask? Because to blog I want to be creative. To be creative means I have to be able to successfully organize my thoughts into something meaningful. To organize my thoughts means I've got to clear out a whole lot of junk swirling around in my head to make room for the creative parts to cultivate. And to do ALL of that sometimes takes the right moment, not being too tired, not being too distracted, not being too overwhelmed or overwrought, and perhaps even the right lighting or music playing in the background. Setting the stage for success can be mind boggling.

We all have dreams of how we WISH our lives could be; dreams of being retired and traveling, dreams of pursuing a goal, dreams of being able to spend more time with family and friends, dreams of being financially independent, or dreams of thinking that we're making some small difference in the world. The thing about dreams though, is that we get to define exactly what they mean for us and how we're going to try to achieve them.

I've worked my whole life planning for the future and even planning for just tomorrow; trying to make sure everyone else's lives are running as smoothly as possible and always doing whatever I can to help them attain their dreams. There's nothing wrong with that unless, in the process, I lose sight of myself and my own dreams. As a spouse and a parent you do whatever you can for your family, whether that's your children, grandchildren, or your parents. You give up a lot so that they can have a little more. That's all part of the cycle of life. We do for others because we can and we sometimes settle for whatever is leftover for ourselves. While it can be looked upon as leading a very charitable life, it can also be disheartening at times. When we give and give and give and suddenly wonder one day why it seems like things are no longer appreciated, but rather expected we have to wonder exactly when we let ourselves become so consumed with living through other people's lives. At what point did we allow ourselves to feel guilty for doing something or looking after ourselves?

I am sorry to say that I may never know the answer to that one, but I can say that recognizing the issue and identifying it is the first step. While I will continue to be there for my husband, my family, my friends, my co-workers, my church family, and any stranger I come across that I might be able to help ... it is also well past the time that I begin to pay more attention to taking better care of myself (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Will that mean that others may get a little less 'me'? Perhaps, and if so, they may need to adjust (and I'm sure they will). For now I will strive to sit down at my laptop more than once every two weeks; after all blogging is way cheaper than therapy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Letting Go of Fear

Fear is an overwhelming emotion. It can slow us down. It can completely immobilize us. It can make us lose sleep. It can stress us out to levels we never knew existed. But what constitutes fear? Who gets to define what scares us and what doesn't?
According to ...
FEAR (noun) a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
Well, the definition alone is intimidating. Some people have medical phobias. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger. There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places. Some people are afraid of spiders (that would be me), some are afraid of failure, and some are afraid of commitment. The list is endless. But there are fears of things imagined or non-existent and then there are fears of more realistic things; losing a job and not being able to provide for your family, battling an incurable disease, and terrorists.
Every day we read headlines in the newspaper and online about physical attacks, road rage, and robberies. Then the BIG stuff hits like 9/11 and the Paris attacks. Devastating things that bring today's realities front and center. So, how do we cope? What can 'we' do to prevent something from happening to us or our loved ones? Unfortunately, the answers are probably limited as much of our lives is out of our control, BUT we can try to stay positive. We can be aware of our surroundings and not do stupid things that purposely put us in harm's way. We can be knowledgeable and not live our lives in ignorance. Sticking our heads in the sand and thinking that we are untouchable is ignorant to the 10th degree.
Will I live my life in fear? Some days; but most days I will try to do good and live my life with good morals and values, continue to live in God's word and help others, and hope to set an example for my children and future generations. Will I be successful? I can't say. I can hope and have faith and for today that will have to be enough.
What fears keep you up at night?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Snow Ball Effect

The quickest way to alienate a friend or put people on the defensive is to spread an unfounded rumor. Some would refer to it as 'stirring the pot', others might suggest that the instigator is merely trying to build themselves up (for whatever reason) perhaps justify some choice that they'd made. Regardless of the motive, it's never perceived as nice (or even of good taste).

Rumors generally stem from insecurities; most of which are ignorant exaggerations of some sort. They often appear to be of the snowball variety; like the small snowball that starts to roll down the hill when pushed gaining much momentum as it rolls along. Rumors are often started when someone eavesdrops or makes an assumption. The rule of thumb is ... if you're going to eavesdrop, you'd better be prepared to listen in on the 'whole' conversation. You might find that you didn't really hear what you thought you did. Many rumors could easily be avoided if people would just ask their questions directly, rather than choose to stand in the shadows and see how havoc unfolds.

Generally I try to share an upbeat thought in my blog posts, but every once in a while I choose to just share an observation or two. We all watch as the world continues to spin, sometimes we're just too busy or blind to notice all that is in front of us.

I suppose there is still something positive to find in this post; the thought that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We'll never  be able to control the behavior and actions of other people, but we will ALWAYS have the power and the choice to behave well ourselves and be a beacon of light for ourselves and others. When you see a situation that could easily get out of hand (especially if you're in any way a part of it), stand back and stop. Breath. Listen to the whole conversation. Look at the whole picture; the big picture. You might be surprised by what you actually see.