Two Years Today

country sunrise copyThank-You-Card GMG EDIT

True happiness is to enjoy the present,
without anxious dependence upon the future,
not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears
but to rest satisfied with what we have,
which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.
The greatest blessings of mankind
are within us and within our reach.
A wise man is content with his lot,
whatever it may be,without wishing for what he has not.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I would be grateful if you’d forward an installment of G.M.G.
you find meaningful
to a few friends and help set a record
for readership for GoodMorningGratitude.com’s second anniversary
TODAY, April 25, 2013.

Thank you.

Fullness Of Self

stand-aloneFeeling alone while with another is loneliness at its worst. In those times something was not right outside of me, but also very much within. In every case a portion of the incompleteness was from being with the wrong person while the one I yearned for was far away. Sometime the “other one” was fabrication hope conjured in my imagination. And right there is a clue to what was going on then.

My loneliness for a long while was actually feeling lonely for “me”. Having become so well-practiced at running from myself it took an extended period of heightened loneliness to see that I could never be content with anyone until I was at peace with myself.

Then came the years of isolating and keeping others at a distance; a sentence of sorts I judged myself needy of. The tonic served to be a good cure in the long run. However there was an unhealthy aspect that self-imposed sentence. In time I came to see I was punishing myself for the pain I had caused others and came to self-forgiveness that healed me.

That was then, and this is now. The lonely depths I experienced were the most difficult days I have experienced. I spent my time in the shadowed valley of loneliness and learned well that it was an emptiness within that ailed me most. Being able to feel loneliness has not completely left me, but now I have a healthy strength to bear it when it comes to call on the more rare occasions it appears. Today within I am whole. I love who I am, imperfections and all (the majority of the time at least!).

Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way. From “White Oleander” by Janet Finch

Only in recent years was I even capable of loving as a man should be able to love. My experience in arriving here, allows me able to care with a depth that would be beyond what most might know. Ironically that gift came from great loneliness. I am grateful for the fullness of self I feel today and grateful for the pain that taught me how to be that way.

I’m here.
I love you.
I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long,
I will stay with you.
There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love.
I will protect you until you die,
and after your death I will still protect you.
I am stronger than Depression
and I am braver than Loneliness
and nothing will ever exhaust me.
From “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Desire Within

greenhouse-long-rowI began three times to write down my thoughts here this morning and abandoned each attempt because I could not focus so the words would flow. Some days there is so much swirling in my thoughts and feelings that isolating on one to write about becomes impossible. Those are those days when to even try is futile; like day. Instead I borrow words from other writers that in some small way express a few of the random thoughts I cannot find words for.

You make lists in your head about what you want in a lover,
like brown hair and a sweet voice.
A sharp mind and a soft heart,
a sense of humor that actually makes you laugh like you mean it.
This and that. And it’s all BS.
Because people aren’t lists.
And I’ve always wanted to be the person who made someone realize that.
I want to come across someone with a list in their head
that is nothing like the person I am,
and I want to show them
what they didn’t even know they were looking for.
People who think they know what they want are fooling themselves.
Nobody really knows what they want.
Not until it’s right in front of them.
Marianna Paige

I’ll go out there and make my mistakes.
I’ll fall down, get hurt, cry, laugh, love, and get back up.
I’ll stand on the highest mountaintop and go into the deepest caverns.
I’ll roam across the world, visit the moon and swim in outer space.
I’ll let my imagination run wild and let my spirit soar.
Why?
Because when my life flashes before my eyes in those final moments,
I want to have something worthwhile to watch,
with plenty of love and laughter, good times and bad.
I don’t want to regret a thing and I plan not to.
Remember, it’s not usually the things you do that you regret,
it’s the things you don’t do and leave unsaid.
Laugh out loud.
Cry in the rain.
Love with all your heart and soul.
Get hurt.
Tell the truth.
Go crazy.
But never forget that you only get one shot.
One shot at this day, one shot at this minute.
One shot at this age.
One shot at life.
So make sure your life is one
you will enjoy watching in your final moments.
Anna Floyd

If there were no great writers whose work I could read, I would never have become one who loves reading so much. And if I had not grown to love the written word, I would never have attempted to put my thoughts down for someone else to read. Be my attempts ever so humble, I am deeply grateful for the desire within that drives me to share myself in written form.

Sometimes the bad things
that happen in our lives
put us directly on the path
to the best things
that will ever happen to us.
Unknown

The Only Point of Certainty

Romantical%20LovePreviously mentioned here is a book I began work on in 2008; a fictional love story titled “A Year From Wednesday”.  There is so much deep feeling of all types included I stopped work due to sheer emotional exhaustion. Although over half done, I could not get past that barrier until now. Inspiration is back with my own life as the backdrop for my renewed desire to move forward. In gathering my thoughts to get my heart and mind in tune to continue, time has been spent reading on line. The following is from an insightful article that came into my view this morning.

Love is a light that allows people to see things that are not seen by others. Romantic love is a deep emotional, sexual and spiritual recognition and regard for the value of another person and relationship. Romantic love can generate many powerful feelings. It can provide a profound ecstasy, and a deep suffering when frustrated.

It is a profound longing. A desire that is difficult to extinguish. Romantic love is not something that must crumble when faced with practical realities. Romantic love is not something just for youth.

Most people never learn how to sustain a loving relationship. The reason is simple. Nobody showed them. The mere fact that a man and woman feel love toward each other does not guarantee they will be able to create a joyful and rewarding life. Love does not automatically teach a person communication skills. Love does not teach a person how to resolve a conflict. Love does not teach people how to weave their love into the rest of their life.

Romantic love is a powerful way to express our capacity to love and to be loved. It is a way to focus our energy, our curiosity, and our desire for adventure. Romantic love is a source of pleasure and inspiration and is worth pursuing. Romantic love is a blessing of life. Romantic love confirms our lovable and capable nature.

Romantic love is based on shared sight and is shaped by happiness. Immature love is based on shared blindness, and is merely a fortress against pain. Romantic love is a sanctuary, and a source of nourishment and energy. Sometimes romantic love is the only point of certainty, and the only thing that is solid and real in the midst of chaos and ambiguity. Michael Grayson Conner, Psy.D, http://www.oregoncounseling.org/articlespapers/documents/romaticlovemc.htm

For the desire to get back to work on the beautiful love story I began spinning into a book long ago I am very grateful.  Motivation has come when I did not expect it and the richness of the inspiration is powerful beyond any I’ve had. This will be the year I finish “A Year From Wednesday”!

True love cannot be found where it truly does not exist,
Nor can it be hidden where it truly does.
Unknown

No Money and No Home

11Being the fifth car back from the traffic light I could not see her once my car came to a stop. But as I was pulling up into my position to wait for red to become green on the traffic light the woman’s handmade sign was easy to read except the bottom portion her hands holding it obscured: “Homeless Family, needs money for gas…”

I feel for such people who have swallowed their pride to become beggars on a street corner, but have conflicting thoughts about how legitimate their need is and how they will use the money. After all I have read and heard, I am always suspicious.

In the past I have responded to a signs like “No Money, Need Food” by offering to take a beggar to a restaurant and buy them a meal, but I have never had any takers. They simply wanted money and nothing else. It’s estimated the average sign bearer working a busy intersection takes in $100 to $300 per day if they are dedicated. Pan-handling this way five weekdays out of ten and taking in $100 per day would net $13,000 tax-free per year. Working the same amount and getting $300 a day would equal three times that or $39,000. Treated like a real “job” where every other week was not taken “off” these amounts would double.

On-line there are numerous pages of panhandling hints like this:

1- Swallow your pride. You’re going to have to suck it up and be humble.
2- Remember what you’re offering. People give you money because it makes them feel good.
3- Clean up. Before you begin, make an effort to look presentable.
4- Make a sign. A simple sign tells your story—it’s advertising, plain and simple.
5- Find a suitable location. The more traffic you can get, the better.
6- Smile and greet people courteously. You’d be surprised how far a smile will go.
7- Ask for money directly and softly.
8- Remember the regulars. Remember people who give you money regularly.
9- Thank everybody. If someone gives you money, show your appreciation.
10- Offer a small token of thanks. Something cheap and easy, even a painted bottle cap will do.

Yesterday, just before the light changed, the woman holding the “Homeless Family…” sign came into view as she walked to an older SUV parked nearby and spoke to a child in the passenger front seat. The boy looked to be 10 or 12 and I could not help but wonder what he was learning from watching his Mother beg for money. Will the experience entice him to do the same thing and believe he can live without working? Or will it give him strength and determination to try and never be in the same situation.

Red became green and as I passed by the corner the woman was just arriving back at her corner position from talking to her son. The woman and boy remained in my thoughts on and off through out the day with me wondering what their real situation was and what sort of Christmas they might have. In my youth I was never homeless and hungry only because friends took me in for a few weeks while I got back on my feet. I am grateful to them to this day for their help and for what I was taught by having no money and no home.

These are people who never, ever would have
imagined themselves being homeless. Ever!
If you really talk to a large cross-section of people,
you realize that they’re not that different
from us or our uncles or our aunts.
It’s like we know these people.
Linda Murphy

Six Hundred and One

gratitudeYesterday was my 600th day in a row to post a blog on goodmorninggratitude.com. In celebration, I have essentially taken the day off. However, I don’t want to break my string of consecutive posts and offer four quotes about gratitude that are personally meaningful to me.

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not. Roman Stoic philosopher, Seneca

The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way. Myan elder, Carlos Barrios

When you express gratitude for the blessings that come into your life, it not only encourages the universe to send you more, it also sees to it that those blessings remain. Self-help author, Stephen Richards

Dear God,
I just want to say thank you for waking me up this Saturday morning. You did not have too but, you did. I am grateful. I know you saw I have been through a lot in the past few weeks and helped me through it. Thank you for being there for me.
James

Be thankful for your allotment
in an imperfect world.
Though better circumstances
can be imagined,
far worse are nearer misses
than you probably care to realize.
Richelle E. Boodrich

Believe In Love More Today

I was in love with love before I knew what it was. When one lives with lack of affection as I did as a young child, the yearning to fill that hole starts early and never completely leaves. Even understanding today that what went on when I was a kid placed an unnecessary deep need within does not diminish my desire to be loved and appreciated. That’s ironic because love is also a fairly scary for me.

In regards to love I frequently have not known exactly what to do or say, but always have wanted to do it to perfection. Without a stutter or hesitation has been how I have desired to express my truest feelings, yet hesitate and have great difficulty successfully following through on my intention. Or else I go too far and gush forth with such expression of feeling the object of my affection does not what to do with it all. I’m great with family and friends, but in a romantic relationship I always feel like I am thirteen years old again; an unsure, stumbling boy. Actually for me that is some of the charm of it all; I am still excited about the possibilities of love.

Even today I am not tired of love as so many in middle age seem to be. “Been there, done that” is the attitude I hear often from singles in my peer group. The “put downs” of the opposite gender are often spoken by such people frequently as a cover for their bad choices. Well, sorry folks, till my last dying breath I will never adopt such attitudes.  I’ve made my mistakes, but believe in love more today than I ever have.

From one of many of the books I have accumulated on love comes the following advice:

What does the one you love really want from you? The answer is “you”. So that’s what you ought to give. “You”, in your own style and own words. Don’t try to write like a poet, unless tha’s what you really want to do. The point is, you don’t have to write like a poet to say what you want to say, nor is that the standard you will be judged by.

What you will be judged by is feeling, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and, most of all, sincerity. Could any poet convey those qualities to the one you love better than you? Not Shakespeare himself!

Letting go of your inhibitions will add immeasurably to the enthusiasm that you feel and transmit. And in communication, enthusiasm is as contagious as it is credible. The real you, and the assurance that you love him or her in your own way, in your own words. That’s what he or she wants to hear and see from you. Nothing more, nothing less.

Remember too, you are writing to only one person who is not going to judge you like an English teacher, because that person is your most understanding friend and is interested in one thing: to know how you feel about her or him, in your own words.

How can you lose? Your audience is totally on your side, and all it wants is what you and you along are capable of delivering. An honest expression of your love that will be as individual as your fingerprint. From “You Don’t Have To Be A Poet To Put Your Love Into Words” by James D. Donovan

With great gratitude I say, “I am deeply grateful for the ability to love and can be loved”. My openness for love is a gift that goes against the grain of age. I am thankful to be able to easily go against the flow.

In the one we love, we find our second self.
Love is the beauty of the soul.
To love abundantly is to live abundantly,
to love forever is to live forever.
There is exquisite beauty in the heart that cares and loves.
Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Unknown

Only the Dead Don’t Feel It

My supposition is that life would be boring if things were always good. Fact or delusion, that’s a mantra that rings in my head to help me keep going. Life just gets damned difficult sometimes.

There’s a well-worn phrase that goes “its, not what happens, but how you react to it that matters”. My conclusion is there is wisdom in that statement to keep one from making something dreadful far worse than need be. However, what is awful will still be terrible. All practicing the “how you react” train of thought can do is impact how deep and engulfing the pain, grief or misery becomes. To think I can stop myself from feeling unpleasant things entirely is pure foolishness. What I put off ends up hurting worse later anyway.

Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living. Alysha Speer

Ready for my rant? Here goes. So much of a quandary my life is these days: single and not wanting to be; lonely, but afraid to let someone get really close; so tired of my work but addicted to the money; unable to see more than a vapor of what my future might be; too regretful of my past and unable to fully put some of it behind me; not completely comfortable with my age but trying to not let it show; working hard to get in shape with frustrating slow progress; far more loving than I know how to comfortably show; misunderstood by just about everyone I have ever known; good progress in recovery from codependence while aggravated some of the dysfunction will always exist; wanting to travel the world for months at a time yet fearful of taking the leap…. oh, woe is me; gripe, gripe, gripe and it’s exhausting!

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. Louise Erdrich

It should come as no surprise that I am working my way through a few days of my cycling depression that comes around every few weeks for a few days. These are times the half missing in the glass is painfully obvious and I’m too stymied to see much of the half full part. This will pass. It always does. But for the time I wrestle depression it feels like trying to swim in quicksand; moving with great effort and getting no where fast.

My gratitude is for knowing what is going on. For years I had no explanation for these days that sucked badly. So I will use the weapon I’ve learned that helps me walk through these dark days: “fake it until I make it”. I’ll put on a smile and show the world sunshine instead of my darkness. Just because I feel bad doesn’t mean I should make others feel it with me. Hello world, here I come.

Everyone is down on pain,
because they forget
something important about it:
Pain is for the living.
Only the dead don’t feel it.
Jim Butcher

Five Good Things

The article below was exactly what I needed for the start of this Friday.  I hope it serves you well too!

Are you frustrated with your life, feeling stressed, and find many things just aren’t working? Would you like to find a way to make your life work better? If so, then read on because there is a simple adjustment you can make in your life to help things immediately begin to work better and feel better.

Start focusing on your happiness instead of the absence of it.

Now let me guess … this sounds too simplistic to you, doesn’t it? You’re probably wondering how focusing on your happiness is going to help fix things so they work better, right?

Yet the truth is, that’s exactly the fix that can have the most immediate impact on your life. Consider the following five ways in which by you focusing your thought and attention on what makes you happy — and making a point of looking for and acknowledging those things each day — you will begin to notice things working better in your life.

  1. You’ll be more attractive to others. As you place your focus and attention on what’s right and what’s working in your life, you immediately start to feel a little bit better. Because you feel better, you begin to behave and carry yourself differently. And that shift in how you carry yourself makes you much more attractive to others which means you’re going to start receiving more invitations, more opportunities and more things that are working well for you.
  2. Your relationships will work better. Because you are carrying yourself differently, you begin to come across as friendlier and you’ll find that you’re better able to listen because you’re not so preoccupied with what isn’t working. That’s going to result in healthier, deeper, more successful relationships with your family, you co-workers and your friends.
  3. Your job or business performance will improve. Your shift in focus carries benefits over to your overall work performance. You will find yourself thinking more clearly, more alert, and making better decisions.
  4. Your health will improve. Because you are feeling happier as you place your attention on what is working, a whole set of physiological changes start to occur. Your blood pressure lowers. Your blood flow improves. Your immune system starts working better. These all have a positive impact on the state of your health.
  5. You will start to have more flow. By law of attraction, you attract more of what you focus upon. Since you have repositioned your focus and attention on your happiness rather than your unhappiness, guess what happens? You get more of the things that are working better. And now you’ve got a positive spiral that you’ve started that is going to deliver more flow and positive momentum into your life going forward. And so begins a positive cycle of being inflow where things start to come more easily and frequently. Warren Wojnowski http://www.inspiredabundance.com/happiness-and-self-fulfillment

“Every day is a good day.  Some are just better than others”.  For years now that has been my standard answer to the greeting question from others of “how are you doing?”.  And guess what: it has made a huge different.  I am grateful for the goodness a shift in perspective has brought!

Stress is nothing more
than a socially acceptable form
of mental illness.
Richard Carlson

A Common Search for the Good and the Beautiful

I have limited personal proof that what is below is in practice what makes for a good marriage. But the words feel perfectly true and seem to speak clearly of how it could be, should be.

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.
“The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson originally published in 1962

The majority of my married years were spent wishing I wasn’t someone’s husband. It’s ironic that now being single for five years I sometimes wish that was not my status. Was I a good husband? Sort of, kinda, sometimes and ‘not’ with regularity. It’s a lesson that loneliness and lost love have taught well. Gratitude is strong within for that hard learned knowing.

The trouble is not that I am single
and likely to stay single,
but that I am lonely
and likely to stay lonely.
Charlotte Bronte