Finally Found It

Words-to-live-by1I am responsible for the growth
and maintenance of mindfulness in my own life.
Each day is an opportunity for me to
discover deeper truths about myself.
Every moment is an invitation for me
to grant others the space they need to be themselves.
Within me exists a world of awe and splendor,
and every morning is a reminder of
my innate obligation to participate in my own majesty.
This life is my inheritance as a human being
and I will claim it by living as fully as I possibly can
through mindful and compassionate participation.
May any reward I receive be recycled
through my service to others.
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A simple statement; a prayer sent into the universe at the start of the day. I am grateful to be alive and humbly thankful to be the happiest I have ever been.

Every journey has its own traveler. Every dream has its own dreamer. We are all belonged to a specific journey and dream. Some people are currently looking for it, some people are just figuring it out, some people are still lost, and to some they have finally found it. Happy Positivity

Perspective Is Your Choice

Woman Standing by a Deathbed null by Sir David Wilkie 1785-1841

Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, who worked exclusively with the terminally ill wrote a book titled “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing Regrets of the Dying”. For many years she was with patients during the last three to twelve weeks of their life and from her experiences came a list of the regrets people make most frequently on their deathbed:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

In the article Ms. Ware was especially emphatic about most not realizing that happiness is a choice until it was almost too late. Fear of change was the number one reason patients cited for pretending to themselves and others they were happy. At the same time most secretly longed to laugh more and better and to simply have more silliness in their life.

With gratitude for the chance encounter with Ms. Ware’s article (thank you to my friend Katie for bringing it to my attention), I commit to laugh easier and be silly more often. With that in mind, the rest of the week is going to be a lot more fun that the first half (and it was pretty darn good!).

The same view you look at every day,
the same life, can become something brand new
by focusing on its gifts rather than the negative aspects.
Perspective is your own choice and the best way to shift
that perspective is through gratitude, by acknowledging
and appreciating the positives.
Bronnie Ware

Better To Have Lived in Truth

the-self-made-man-sculpture-near-cato-hall-jan-11-2007-257-pm

There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind – graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.

And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last – and yet will remain with you for life.

Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you’re alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another. Jim Butcher

I regret the times I damned my pain or prayed for it to be gone. At that moment I did not realize I was being sculpted by discomfort into a better and wiser man. In hindsight that sort of growth reminds me of being an adolescent boy when I woke with my legs hurting so much from growing overnight that they could barely support me. But once I walked for a few minutes, the aches subsided quickly. I was simply growing.

And so I have gratefully begun to better accept the outcome of pain, although the bearing of it will never be something positively anticipated. It is through allowing grief, sorry and anguish to do their work that I become wiser and through that  wisdom, grow more content. First posted here on October 14, 2003  

We never know when our last day on earth will be.
So, love with full sincerity, believe with true faith,
and hope with all of your might.
Better to have lived in truth and discovered life,
than to have lived half heartedly
and died long before you ever ceased breathing.
Cristina Marrero

Teaching Me How

father-son-460_1238439c

There are few things like watching a child grow up to remind one of how fast time marches by. My “boy” is in his early 30’s now and it seems like only a few years ago he was eight and playing street hockey in the driveway.

Although my son is still finding his compass, I am very proud of his free-thinking ways and determination to live his life his own way. He pays his own bills, is in a meaningful long-term relationship and is loved by family and friends. To stay in school and be nearly done with a PhD has taken determination I don’t have. Way to go Nick!

During a visit this past weekend my son and I talked about how dreams thought up behind us, look very different in the present. We agreed that it is far to easy to get down because things did not turn out the way we once hoped. Coming to believe that is okay was something we saw eye to eye on.

The simplistic idealism of being 21 is a marvel to see in one’s son. Even more impressive is when a child has grown fully into an adult with a much broader perspective. The only thing that concerns me sometimes is his (and his generation’s) cynicism about the future. Once in a while I wish he had a little more of the idealism of a decade ago.

For, after all, you do grow up, you do outgrow your ideals, which turn to dust and ashes, which are shattered into fragments; and if you have no other life, you just have to build one up out of these fragments. And all the time your soul is craving and longing for something else. And in vain does the dreamer rummage about in his old dreams, raking them over as though they were a heap of cinders, looking in these cinders for some spark, however tiny, to fan it into a flame so as to warm his chilled blood by it and revive in it all that he held so dear before, all that touched his heart, that made his blood course through his veins, that drew tears from his eyes, and that so splendidly deceived him! From “White Nights: And Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I am grateful that I grew up with my son to be a pretty decent Dad. I made plenty of mistakes, but did a good bit well also. I know today I am a better Father than ever before. I thank my son for teaching me how.

I believe that what we become
depends on what our fathers
teach us at odd moments,
when they aren’t trying to teach us.
We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.
Umberto Eco

From the Inside, Out

i-am-beautiful-inside

When was the last time you heard a man describe a woman with an adjective that isn’t dripping in sexual innuendos and defaming premises? When was the last time you heard a man describe a woman by something that compliments her soul and her inherent elegance? When was the last time you heard a man describe a woman as beautiful?

There’s been a loss of respect when it comes to admiring women, shifting towards describing us as objects, rather than people. Men look at women as pieces of tail, “things” to be conquered, rather than appreciating women for their individuality.

A large portion of today’s men are momentarily allured by hair extensions, large chests, big bottoms and stilettos. They think sexuality comes in the form of bronzed skin, bikini waxes and fake eyelashes. They’ve been programmed to believe that any woman with a sculpted body and perky breasts is attractive.

What about the women who don’t want to indulge in the male fantasy? What about the women who just want to wear comfortable sweaters and flats? What about the women who don’t dress to impress the opposite sex, but instead, to just feel good in their own skin? Isn’t there attractiveness in that? Isn’t there an appeal to that sense of confidence?

When did women become forced to acquiesce to this standard, or otherwise get lost in the crowd? When did getting a man mean painting on layers of makeup and investing in mini skirts? There is a certain type of man that continually defames women, judging them solely on sex appeal, failing to see the actual grandeur of women. These are the men who don’t understand the concept of natural beauty and uniqueness in flaws.

They don’t recognize that “hotness” doesn’t last past midnight, when the makeup has smudged onto the pillow and the hair extensions have been taken out. It doesn’t last when the spray tans have washed away and the tight dresses have come off.

It’s not real; it’s an illusion that’s been forcing women to conform to unhealthy habits for too many years. It’s time these men are reminded of the difference between hot and beautiful. It’s time men realize that women have more to offer than just a body.

Women are stunning creatures, with assets and traits both unique and enchanting to each one of us, and it’s time we started showcasing our individuality and stop giving in to the illusion of sexy created by man. Because beauty isn’t about wanting to f*ck her; it’s about wanting to be with her.

Hot is admired from afar; beauty is to be held.
Hot is perception; beauty is appreciation.
Hot is smokey-eyed; beautiful is bare-faced.
Hot is an appearance; beautiful is more than skin deep.
Hot is the way she moans; beautiful is the way she speaks.
Hot is a strong appeal; beautiful is strong mind.
Hot is youthful; beautiful is ageless.
Hot is conventional; beauty is unique.
Hot is a one-night stand; beautiful is sleepless nights.
Hot is a state of being; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Hot is devious; beautiful is innocent.
Hot is bending her over; beautiful is baking her blueberry pancakes.
Hot is sultry; beautiful is wholesome.
Hot is her curves; beauty is her nerves.
Hot is a text message; beautiful is a love letter.
Hot is a facade; beautiful is a woman.
Taken from an article by Lauren Martin http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/the-actual-difference-between-women-who-are-hot-and-who-are-beautiful/

Intellectually I have long known what Ms. Martin writes is true. Yet, it took a long time for me to come around fully and live it with my mind, heart and soul. I know well the emotional moment the life changing epiphany arrived and wrote about it: https://goodmorninggratitude.com/2012/06/04/i-have-been-a-fool/

I am grateful to have gained the ability to look into the fog and see clearly. Beauty can only be found from the inside, out.

It is amazing how complete
is the delusion
that beauty is goodness.
Leo Tolstoy

In the Silence of My Soul

man-sitting-on-rocksIt’s late morning. The house is quiet. I slept very late because sleep began early this morning, not last night. My partner is still sleeping. She has not yet fully adapted back to a regular day and night schedule after tonsillectomy surgery week before last. Returning to a regular sleeping schedule remains elusive. So if she is up at 2am, I am glad to be right there with her.

My companion has felt much better the last three days and is finally able to eat, albeit slowly, food other than Jell-O, pudding, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Her latest proud achievement was being able to eat pizza Saturday evening. That was a happy time!

Having one’s tonsils removed is a difficult surgery for an adult patient to have, but given time recovery is all but certain. Knowing that does not make it easy to see a loved one endure it. I am more of a spiritual man than a religious one. However, I can tell you when they wheeled the woman I love away for surgery my heart, mind and soul was calling on every source I thought might look after her. There are few non-believers in hospital waiting rooms or surgery suites!

The only specific prayer I could remember parts of is credited to Saint Francis: “…where there is worry let there be hope; darkness, daylight; sadness, joy…”. I got the general meaning correct, but some of the words were not stored away well mentally. My Higher Power did not care and heard me just the same. The woman in my heart is healing well.

Since as a kid being made to go to church three times a week by an abusive stepfather, God and I have been tenuous friends at best. Then I prayed for the abuse to stop and when it didn’t I came to believe there was no God. If anything, I decided I had to be my own god. And that kind of worked for a long time.

Eventually through life changes, heartache and recovery from depression and a host of childhood junk, I came to believe in something beyond myself. I can’t regularly give him/her/it a specific name except God, Higher Power or Einstein’s “the great cosmic mystery”. But I know there is something powerful beyond my comprehension working behind all things.

This morning it is with wet-eyed thanks I express my gratitude for my partner being safe and healing. That she is sleeping comfortably this morning is another of my life’s miracles I will not ever forget to be thankful for.

In the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop
and say thank you for all that is good in my life.
My blessings are many and my heart is filled
with gratefulness for the gift of living,
for the ability to love and be loved,
for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation,
for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.
I am thankful, too, for those things in my life
that are less than I would hope them to be.
Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult.
When my heart feels stretched and empty,
and pools of tears form in my weary eyes,
still I am grateful for my next breath
and that in the midst of turbulence,
I am growing and learning. In the silence of my soul,
I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love
and the care taken of all those I love and hold precious,
particularly today my dear Tania. Amen.

Adapted from a prayer found at http://chirho.wordpress.com

Where the Light Enters

Peace and Serenity Conceptual Image

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.
Reinhold Niebuhr

The wound is the place
where the Light enters you.
Rumi

How You Choose To Live It

wayfaring-infoLife can be long or short,
it all depends on how you choose to live it.
It’s like forever; always changing.
For any of us our forever could end in an hour,
or a hundred years from now.
You can never know for sure,
so you’d better make every second count.
What you have to decide is how you want your life to be.
If your forever was ending tomorrow,
is this how you’d want to have spent it?
From “The Truth About Forever” by Sarah Dessen