Truer than True

dr-seuss

I’m just ME!
I’m not perfect, I’m me.
I’ve made bad decisions and wrong choices, but I’m me.
I’ve said the wrong things; I’ve said the right things, because I’m me.
I don’t like everything I’ve done, but I did it because I’m me.
I’ve loved the wrong people
and trusted the wrong people and I’m still me.
If I had a chance to start again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Why? Because I’m me.
There are a lot of good things about me;
you just need to look past the imperfections to see what’s right.
If you can’t do that then it’s your loss.
I’m the best I can be. I am ME!
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And finally… finally… Being just me is enough. I am so glad and grateful!

I am lovable and each day
it becomes easier for me to love myself.
Vikrant Parsai

16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People: Part Two

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9. They work well in team environments. Because highly sensitive people are such deep thinkers, they make valuable workers and members of teams… However, they may be well-suited for positions in teams where they don’t have to make the final decision. For instance, if a highly sensitive person was part of a medical team, he or she would be valuable in analyzing the pros and cons of a patient having surgery, while someone else would ultimately make the decision about whether that patient would receive the surgery.
10. They’re more prone to anxiety or depression (but only if they’ve had a lot of past negative experiences). But that’s not to say that all highly sensitive people will go on to have anxiety — and in fact, having a supportive environment can go a long way to protecting against this.
11. That annoying sound is probably significantly more annoying to a highly sensitive person. While it’s hard to say anyone is a fan of annoying noises, highly sensitive people are on a whole more, well, sensitive to chaos and noise. That’s because they tend to be more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much activity…
12. Violent movies are the worst. Because highly sensitive people are so high in empathy and more easily over-stimulated, movies with violence or horror themes may not be their cup of tea…
13. They cry more easily. That’s why it’s important for highly sensitive people to put themselves in situations where they won’t be made to feel embarrassed or “wrong” for crying easily… If their friends and family realize that that’s just how they are — that they cry easily — and support that form of expression, then “crying easily” will not be seen as something shameful.
14. They have above-average manners. Highly sensitive people are also highly conscientious people… Because of this, they’re more likely to be considerate and exhibit good manners — and are also more likely to notice when someone else isn’t being conscientious. For instance, highly sensitive people may be more aware of where their cart is at the grocery store — not because they’re afraid someone will steal something out of it, but because they don’t want to be rude and have their cart blocking another person’s way.
15. The effects of criticism are especially amplified in highly sensitive people. Highly sensitive people h ave reactions to criticism that are more intense than less sensitive people. As a result, they may employ certain tactics to avoid said criticism, including people-pleasing (so that there is no longer anything to criticize), criticizing themselves first, and avoiding the source of the criticism altogether…
16. Cubicles = good. Open-office plans = bad. Just like highly sensitive people tend to prefer solo workouts, they may also prefer solo work environments. For those without the luxury of creating their own flexible work schedules (and environments)… highly sensitive people might enjoy working in a cubicle — where they have more privacy and less noise — than in an open-office plan. From an article by Amanda L. Chan on Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/26/highly-sensitive-people-signs-habits_n_4810794.html?fb_action_ids=10104139268245175&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B715761448444735%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

It is usually the imagination
that is wounded first,
rather than the heart;
it being much more sensitive.
Henry David Thoreau

5 Things That End Friendships…

End-the-friendshipCircumstances change. We change. And we’re not supposed to spend forever with people who don’t help us to enjoy life or teach us things about the world or ourselves or who generally don’t serve a purpose other than to frustrate us. Sometimes it’s just better to acknowledge that a friendship has run it’s course and that not every friendship, much like relationships in general, is meant to be a life-long thing.

1. Sometimes the cardinal rules are broken. Maybe it’s even more important to consider whether or not we choose our own interest over the feelings of a “friend.” Because when the former takes precedence to an unhealthy degree, we should be taught something about that relationship, it’s indicative of how we really feel about that person.

2. Sometimes… the time between your phone calls increases and sometimes you let that happen and appreciate the contact you still have, no matter what it looks like in comparison to what it used to be. At that point, it’s usually better that you let yourselves go different ways, because you’ve already put something petty before your friendship. You’ve begun to drift…

3. And sometimes you just do. You drift. You don’t suit each other anymore. You don’t have anything in common, and you don’t have anything more than small talk over drinks. They’re not someone you think to call immediately when something happens. And sometimes that’s just fine for people: that’s how they want their relationships to function. But more often, that’s not the case at all.

4. Sometimes you let too much frustration or irritation fall to the wayside, for fear of starting an unnecessary argument over something that you can self-modulate to deal with without having to involve the other person. This, however, is a temporary fix that leads to catastrophic consequences. Because it’s when you fall into this habit of not expressing your needs and expectations so that you can both adapt and adjust to your relationship that you end up in a monumental fight that you never get over– one that continues on because you’ve finally opened the floodgates to everything you’ve been withholding. It’s unfortunate, but friendships are usually never the same after that. These are usually easier to let go of, because you can fill that space with anger and resentment, but that will pass eventually, and if you’re lucky, the most you’ll get out of the ordeal is a first-hand lesson in one of the most important relationship rules ever (speak now, you can’t forever hold your peace).

5. Sometimes priorities shift, and sometimes, things replace what used to be your time together. Things that serve one or both people better. Things that don’t have to be other people or friendships, but anything that we subconsciously deem as more worthy of our energy. When this happens, it’s usually time to just let it happen. It doesn’t always have to mean you don’t care about the person, and it’s not always a symptom of just needing to try harder. From a post by Brianna Wiest http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2013/09/5-things-that-end-friendships-and-why-that-just-might-be-okay/

Maybe some people just aren’t meant to be in our lives forever.
Maybe some people are just passing through.
It’s like some people just come through our lives
to bring us something: a gift, a blessing,
a lesson we need to learn.
And that’s why they’re here.
You’ll have that gift forever.
From “The Gift” by Danielle Steel

About a Year Ago…

A Precious Privilege

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I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

A quote by G.K. Chesterton I have personal proof of.

Gratefulness has a power to attract what I need and hope for; people from the past I lost but wanted to make contact with; money I needed arrived unexpectedly. With a grateful mind I sleep better; I am more productive; ALL my relationships are improved; life tastes better; I have more to look forward to. On and on to the point of near ad nauseam, beyond a doubt this has been proven to me in the last two years of writing here about gratitude every day.

Researchers in the field of gratitude, Psychologists Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis, and Michael McCullough, at the University of Miami, have learned what I know without research: gratitude is really good for you.

In an experimental comparison Emmons and McCullough found people who take the time to keep a gratitude journal on a regular basis exercised more often, reported fewer physical issues, generally felt better about their lives, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who kept track of hassles or neutral life events. Another benefit found was participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to make progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based).

Other Research has turned up physiological benefits of gratitude. It has been found when we think about someone or something we really appreciate and experience the feeling that goes with the thought, the parasympathetic – calming-branch of the autonomic nervous system – is triggered. This pattern when repeated brings a protective effect to the heart. The electromagnetic heart patterns of volunteers tested become more coherent and ordered when they activated feelings of appreciation.

There is evidence that when we practice bringing attention to what we appreciate in our lives, more positive emotions emerge. In a sort of positive pyramid effect, the more I pause to appreciate and show caring and compassion, the more order and coherence I experience internally.

Thank goodness research on gratitude has now challenged the idea of a “set point” for happiness. It was previously accepted that just as our body has a set point for weight, each person probably had a genetically determined level of happiness. Once upon a time I bought into that and believed since I suffered from moderate depression at times, I was doomed to have a set point of lowered happiness. Research on gratitude now suggests that people can move their set point upward to some degree, enough to have a measurable effect on both their outlook and their health. This works. My altered for the better state of mind is proof.

Emmons and McCullough said the following to their research subjects:
Cultivate a sense of gratitude’’ means that you make an effort to think about the many things in your life, both large and small, that you have to be grateful about. These might include particular supportive relationships, sacrifices or contributions that others have made for you, facts about your life such as your advantages and opportunities, or even gratitude for life itself, and the world that we live in. In all of these cases you are identifying previously unappreciated aspects of your life, for which you can be thankful.

Over a hundred and fifty years ago Ralph Waldo Emerson knew this when he wrote, the invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.

A metaphor for my experience of focusing on gratitude is comparing it to exercise and physically work out. If I had spent an hour or more EVERY day for over a year and a half working out and getting exercise, I would be in the best physical condition of my life. The level of happiness I have and the belief I have in the future good that will come to me are at “body-builder” levels. Gratitude is the magic “supplement” that has made it so.

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege
it is to be alive, to breathe, to think,
to enjoy, to love; then make that day count!
From “Life, the Truth and Being Free: by Steve Maraboli

RE-post from December 27, 2012

Wind in the Trees

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I find what I go looking for. What I expect seems to manifest itself before me with great frequency. My thoughts shape my life more than any other single factor. Today I feel great and am loving life. With that spirit I choose to begin my day with a thought by Henry Drummond:

…to love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever…

With intention I hope to be more aware today than usual and live closely to the ending passage from the book “Contemplate” by Gwen Frostic, punctuated just as she originally wrote and published it:

Savor each moment of beauty –
The majestic – – and the simple . . .

Listen to silence – – –
that in itself
renders all words meaningless . . . . .

Feel the wind in the trees – – –
The ebb and flow of the tides – – –
Wild wings soaring high – – –
– – – the timeless rhythm of life . . . . .

Dream of stars shining over head – – –
– – of the mystic kinship
that underlies all life . . . . .

Keep a sense of wonder –
and of awe – – – –
– – – – forever

Some mornings I am nearly overtaken with gratefulness to be alive. I relish those days when I begin well and know whatever comes, it will be an outstanding day. What  joy to be conscious and able to witness and experience all I will get to smell, feel, hear, taste and see! Come pain or pleasure, trouble or ease, happiness or grief… it will be a good day. I am grateful to be alive!

You will find as you look back upon your life
that the moments when you have truly lived
are the moments when you have done things
in the spirit of love.
Henry Drummond

First posted here on August 28, 2012

We All Have Twenty-Four Hour Days

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You can do anything,
but you can’t do everything.
David Allen

What has my attention at this moment? My thoughts are directed at words surfacing in my mind and typing them with a considerably lesser amount of awareness of music playing on Pandora. I’m vaguely aware of the surroundings of my home office, the art and posters on the wall and the noise of an occasional neighborhood car that drives by. That’s all my mind can take on at the moment.

People have a fixed amount that must be allocated according to need. To use a popular analogy, attention is like a bucket of water. People draw upon it as needed, but every dipper full and every teaspoon full leaves less for other purposes. Marc Green

Two interesting components have arisen with the increase of discretionary time I now have: 1) my perception of the world outside me has increased. I notice more, see things more deeply and generally feel good because of it. 2) With a richness of time, it is easy to let hours and days slip by with little to show for them. Some of that is good. Some of it is not so positive.

Zig Ziglar said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” My conclusion is that expecting myself to settle into new routines within my first 60 days of semi-retirement was too much to ask. Already I feel better letting myself off the hook of that unrealistic expectation.

…the allocation of attention is largely automatic and occurs without awareness. As a result, it is not easily brought under conscious control. You may direct someone’s attention by saying “watch the step,” and temporarily cause a conscious allocation of attention to the step. However, there is a good chance that within a few minutes or even seconds, the memory trace will disappear and the next time the person will fail to notice the step. The same automatic factors that directed attention away from the step in the first instance have not changed. Marc Green

The paragraph from Marc Green helps me a good deal because it tells me that keeping a keen awareness of my desire to form new routines is a great start to having them. All I have to do is follow through on what I have concluded and stay aware with a sense of priority. Then new routines will simply fall into place. Whew. I am grateful to “get off my own case”.

I didn’t pay attention to time or distance,
instead focusing on how it felt just to be in motion,
knowing it wasn’t about the finish line
but how I got there that mattered.
Sarah Dessen

 Originally Posted on September 17, 2013

Seeing Beyond Just Looking

old couple in woods

I have no certainty where exactly I got the idea.  It may have been from something I read or several things I came across blended together.  It may have even been a spontaneous realization.  But in the last 10 years I have learned to “see beyond just looking”.  I can’t do it all the time.  Actually that is probably impossible for a human being.  If I could I suspect I’d end up over dosed in goodness like Woody Allen was with the “orb” in the movie Sleeper.  Seeing beyond looking does happen for me frequently and the more I intentionally try the more frequent the activity comes without thought or effort.

My discovery was I mostly only acknowledged what came into view.  I walked without really noting  what was right before me.  Mine was a bad habit of hardly never really “truly seeing” much of anything.  My mind seemed to always be racing forward thinking about where I was going, what I had to do and what issues I needed to deal with.  Or else, I was looking backwards trying to solve some past emotional riddle or find some meaning in an episode of life I wanted an explanation for.

What I began to do, inconsistently at first, was to just stop and really take in visually what I was looking at.  There was amazement the first intentional time I took 30 seconds to study a beautiful tulip, to see its unique form and texture and to take in its vibrant red color.  I was stunned to look and see so much always detail missed before.  It was during the early times of having these experiences with intention when I noticed how beautifully blue the sky really is (which is still one of my favorites to marvel at).

How touched I became when I locked my vision on an elderly couple watching the man help the fragile woman out of the car and attending to her to get into a restaurant.  Eating at the same place as they were I watched the smiles they exchanged while eating and from a distance the conversation they were having.  I saw a couple deeply in love just moving in slow motion;  true romance at half speed.  Without looking closely I would have dismissed them mentally as “old people” and hardly noticed them at all.

I found delight in watching a toddler in a park giggling wildly while chasing a grasshopper like it was the greatest find of the year.  Truly sitting and watching birds through a window enjoy a feast of crumbled bread I put out for them on top of a big snow allowed me to notice the quirky uniqueness of each breed and what appeared to be joy in the abundance they had found.  And then there is nature!  A walk in the woods or a park became a sensory banquet.

When was the last time you sat and watched a sunset or sunrise?  When was the last time you actually “saw” a person instead of just looking at them.  How long since you gazed in a mirror and actually saw yourself instead of just acknowledging your reflection?  How long has it been since you focused on something to the point to where you found sheer delight in what you were looking at?  For me I am glad to say “no long ago”.   I am grateful to have stumbled across this activity and to have cultivated the habit.  As time passes with consistent effort I find I am able to more truly see with greater depth and frequency.  If life is a feast, then this is the seasoning for the meal.

Taken from “Seeing Past Myself” – Don Iannone

Sometimes I have trouble
Seeing past myself
Blindsided by who I think I am
…oblivious
To the vast world of possibilities…
I clean my glasses twice a day
Unfortunately it’s to see what I want to see
And not beyond that
I guess I’m no different –
Than you, or anyone else.
My self-image directs my eyes.
There’s a solution you know
It’s not as hard as we think
Open our hearts to unknown possibilities
Accept that our version of reality
Is but one of many out there.

The real voyage of discovery consists of not in
seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

First Posted on May 25, 2011