WHY?

chinese_character_weishenme_why long reversed edit

Why? It’s a simple one word question, and the first one we learn to ask as a small child. And we never stop looking to answer it. I certainly haven’t. With age I ask “why” more, but expect an answer less.

“Why”
by Wanda M. R. Garrett

Why was I born?
For whom do I live?
What worth am I?
What can I give?

What will I be?
Where will I go?
What must I do?
Tell me if you know.

There is more to life than what I see,
There is much more of myself deep
down inside of me,
Who am I?

Where do I belong?
These words keep turning
like an endless song,
I feel I have so much to give,

But where do I start?
I feel that I’m special,
No one else like me,
But who am I?

I like feeling good
And strangely enough,
I like sometimes the feeling
of being sad.

I am an emotional being,
So many things move me,
Things I do and what I see,
I am touched by the,
tears of a child.

I feel a sense of freedom,
Sometimes I even feel wild,
I am here,
Yet I am there,

I am still also very aware,
I am sensitive,
And touched by how you feel,
I am loved by God,
And I know that feeling is real,
But still, Who Am I?

http://www.angelfire.com/nc/poetsstreet/

Sometimes there is no “why”. As my life experience has broadened, no answer echoes back more often than one comes.  And that’s okay. But never will I stop asking the question.

Frequently, the reply to “why” is “because”, the same that was said to me as a child. I am grateful that more and more that’s all the answer I need.

He who has a why to live
can bear almost any how.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Feelings and Health and Longevity

ShowYourFeelings1Many of us hope for lives that imitate beer commercials, all happiness and fun. But that fantasy sets us up for disappointment because our lives have more than one dimension, and true emotional health is about experiencing the breadth and depth of our feelings and our lives.

The very nature of life means we will all face losses and difficulties. Yet many of us have been socialized from an early age to ignore loss and hide our real feelings. Most of us have seen the angry child dragged over to a playmate to hiss through clenched teeth, “I’m sorry.” Many of us were once that child. Not to say misbehavior should be ignored; but we can be responsible for our behavior without having to lie to ourselves and others about what we’re feeling.

Think of the stress and wasted energy many of us expend struggling to submerge our feelings instead of learning to express them in healthy ways, such as crying when sad or being assertive when angry. In 1992 The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that emotions are tied to our autonomic nervous system, which controls our heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiration, and perspiration, showing clearly that physical and emotional health are interdependent. A 1997 Journal of Abnormal Psychology study reported that not expressing feelings impacts our health and longevity.

Expressing feelings may be difficult in part because we’ve been trained to see certain emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear as negative. Often we’ve learned to repress these feelings by distracting ourselves with sugar, adrenalin highs, drugs, alcohol, accomplishments, and sex. Yet anger can be a great motivator for change. It was anger about the loss of clean air and water that got people lobbying for change through the environmental movement. Fear can have similar positive effects, causing us to step back from the abyss and live another day. Case in point: it was only when my mom faced a serious bout of pneumonia that she quit smoking.

The challenge is to step towards emotional health and learn to experience and express our emotions appropriately. We need to become familiar with our emotions in order to express them well. A first step may be to reflect often on the question, “What am I feeling right now?” Another option may be to talk with someone who can listen without judging – a family member, friend, or a counselor. If expressing your feelings with others is too intimidating, consider expressing them through writing, drawing, music, or even screaming into a pillow while in the bathroom with the shower running.

Anymore I wear my feelings out in plain sight most of the time and express them willingly. It has impressed me how much more people seem to relate to me and I to them once “feelings” are consistently out on the table . It’s simple really, letting my feelings show to those I care has made my relationships and my life better. And I’m grateful one of those relationships is with myself.

Never apologize
for showing your feelings.
When you do,
you are apologizing
for the truth.
Jose N. Harris

Tools of Their Tools

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There’s never enough of the stuff you can’t get enough of.
Patrick H.T. Doyle

There is no memory when I first came across the website, but it became an addiction for a few weeks. Before you jump to a conclusion, let me tell you the site is an on-line auction of estate items in Southern Ohio. I’ve had “auction-fever” before but that was at a series of live antique auctions over a decade ago. Back then the realization arrived that buying for no particular reason except ‘I could’ was not healthy. It was easy then to think the necessary lesson had been well learned. In time that teaching feel dormant and needed waking up.

It was the feeling that I just had to win a particular auction that I noticed and jolted me back to reality of what was learned years earlier. I thought “you have too much stuff already and now you’re buying more. What’s up with that? You’re retiring soon. Shouldn’t you be a little more careful with your money?” The answer was an emphatic “YES”. At least the balance on my credit card stopped at about a thousand dollars!

Henry David Thoreau said “Men have become the tools of their tools…” I can relate. My symptom is similar.

…in affluent societies, where most have more than enough to live well, Thoreau would ask: ‘are the more pressing wants satisfied now?’ The suggestion is that, unlike the wise and prudent primitive societies, we are satisfying less pressing wants (for superfluous comforts, luxuries, and tools) and neglecting what are for us more genuinely pressing wants, such as a flourishing inner life. Thoreau claimed, ‘Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind… a man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone’. http://simplicitycollective.com/thoreau/thoreau-on-comforts-luxuries-and-tools

Redemption for my buying spree was the realization that items purchased could be redirected as gifts to friends and family for future birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Once I decided many of the items and some I already had could be a gift appreciated by loved ones I began to feel better.

All my life I’ve been told I am too hard on myself and I have come to see that is frequently true. The difference now is I don’t beat myself up (as much). Instead when the self-examination begins I start to ask “where is this coming from” and “what can I learn from it”. Answering those questions softens my self-adminstered treatment.

The days are filled with many opportunities to educate myself about how to live a more fulfilled life. While I miss more than I grasp, an awareness of how frequently the chances to learn come is helping me grab onto an ever-increasing share of them. I am grateful for every opportunity to be a better person in my own eyes.

Wealth is not an absolute. It is relative to desire.
Every time we yearn for something we cannot afford,
we grow poorer, whatever our resources.
And every time we feel satisfied with what we have,
we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess.
Alain de Botton

All Of You Are Right

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world” wrote German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. It’s so easy to think my take on things is the clearest view of reality when everyone has their own perspective that is just as valid for them. I learn nothing by regurgitating what I believe to be true, but can have my perception widened by listening to others with an open mind.

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features that you all said.”

“Oh!” everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

There is much wisdom to gained in allowing room for other viewpoints. Frequently accepting a different point of view does not invalidate mine. It adds to and expands it instead. When I am able to replace my opinion with someone else’s notion of things I mature in knowledge, open-mindedness and my ability for further growth is broadened. I am grateful my beliefs are often shown to me to be true, but just as thankful to find and accept frequently they are not!

Always keep in mind that no single person, place,
or thing can force you to believe or disbelieve anything.
Perhaps this was true when you were a child, but not now.
Now you have the independence to choose what you believe.
Your knowing is yours.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Constant Process Of Discovery

path-of-the-soul1One of my favorite catch phrases is “you find what you go looking for”. When I get a confused or disbelieving look I further explain “expect good and you’ll get it. Expect bad and it will rain crap on you every day of your life.” At that point listeners either continue to look confused, seem to get it or pretend to understand.

“You get what you go looking for” isn’t hippie “speak”, magical lingua franca or New Age vernacular. It’s a proven concept but not particularly about things like wishing for a winning lottery ticket (although it might help!). Rather it concerns the generalized quality of a person’s life.

If feel your life “sucks” it is so because you believe it does! One who clouds his or her head with worries and fear then imagines difficulty headed their way, will surely get it. Someone whose thoughts are frequently about gratefulness, contentment and the expectation of both, will find them in larger quantity.

There is a lie that acts like a virus within the mind of humanity. And that lie is, ‘There’s not enough good to go around. There’s lack and there’s limitation and there’s just not enough.’

The truth is that there’s more than enough good to go around. There is more than enough creative ideas. There is more than enough power. There is more than enough love. There’s more than enough joy. All of this begins to come through a mind that is aware of its own infinite nature.

There is enough for everyone. If you believe it, if you can see it, if you act from it, it will show up for you. That’s the truth.” Michael Beckwith

A heightened awareness of good will bring more good. Having consistent thoughts of gratitude brings more to be thankful for. Being more glad for ‘what is’ than sad about ‘what is not’ allowed my first ever true happiness to find me!

Improving one’s quality of living is simple, yet not easy, but worth every effort. My life (and your life) is a product of thought more than anything else. By growing awareness, my experience of living has markedly changed for the better. I’m not happy and content every moment, but more often than not I am!

At this moment my gratefulness is being expressed through a welling up within of great hope that you find this truth for yourself and practice it.

Drama does not just walk into your life.
You either create it, invite it,
or you associate with people
who love to bring it into your life.
Unknown

Life is a Course in Life

forgivenessForgiveness is a powerful and affirmative part of our humanity. It should be differentiated from its close cousin, acceptance, which while important, is essentially, passive. For many, the healing power of forgiveness allows us to truly move on. A life lived without forgiveness is a life of real pain.

We are all wounded. You will be surprised to hear of all the wounds that normal people carry with them. It may be hard to believe, but many of these wounds can determine how people feel about themselves for an entire lifetime. And everyone’s been hurt in one way or another.

Forgiveness, like grieving, has its stages. It is well known that grieving has its stages. You loved someone, or you lost something dear to you. You go through denial, bargaining, anger, depression and finally you come to acceptance. Forgiveness is a lot like grieving. The important things that we need to forgive don’t come easily.

First, you have to acknowledge that you have to forgive. It is important to your psychological health. Carrying old wounds is simply a burden that steals the pleasure from the life that you have now. We are not on this earth forever, and sitting in victimhood can be such a loss.

Acknowledging a wound that needs healing is only a first step. You also have to deal with real feelings of anger and at times, betrayal. I often think that the word – FAIR – is a four letter word that should sit unhappily with its other, less decent, brothers. Too many people can’t get over just how unfair life is. Such pain, for what? Life is unfair, but it is also filled with potential for beauty, love and grace. The anger over things having been unfair is a product of our immature minds needing to have a balance in nature. Yes, there may be a balance, supervised by God or by nature, but it often has little to do with the narrative that we want to write!

Forgiveness is ultimately a gift you give yourself. It allows the wounds to heal. Asking for forgiveness is a noble act. It is an acknowledgement that you hurt someone and it makes it easier for the forgiver to forgive. It takes a burden away, but this is only the first step. If you really want to be forgiven by the person that you hurt, just apologizing is not enough. You have to try to right the wrong. This is not a perfect science, but a little effort can go a long way. While nothing can undo an unfortunate experience, making amends counts.

Life is a course in life. We are taught by our experiences and no textbook can really do it for us. Learn what each chapter has to teach you. Forgiveness is part and parcel of the emotional work of learning these lessons well. From “The Intelligent Divorce” by Mark Banschick, M.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201110/can-you-forgive

So grateful am I for the lessons in recent years about forgiveness. Today I am many times more capable of letting go; of forgiving others and myself. It’s amazing how much better life is!

True forgiveness is when you can say,
“Thank you for that experience.”
Oprah Winfrey

That Shadow Was Me

www.sortedpixels.comI have spent most of my adult life looking for it. Over time I tried this way and that way; this woman and that woman; that friend and others. Time and time again I found it temporarily only to discover it was only a self-created mirage that faded away once in the midst of it. Love was baffling and elusive.

The lack of feeling loved kept me searching to fill the emptiness. Success did not work. Money didn’t help much either. Beautiful and loving partners didn’t fill the hole for long. Hobbies and interests pursued and accomplished were temporary fixes at best. Moving from a town where I did not find love to another where I thought it could be did not sate the yearning either.

The mystery I could not solve for so long was the riddle of myself.

The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself.

What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with.

I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who’s not full of hate, who’s able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be. C.JoybellC.

There’s an old country song titled “Searching for Love In All The Wrong Places” which describes well my long search for love. Barbara De Angelis wrote, If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.

And there you have it. What I was missing was loving myself. Only in recent years when I have begun to love the human being I have become has my heart become gratefully capable of loving others. Always before there was an obstruction throwing a shadow over anyone I loved. That shadow was me.

If you don’t receive love
from the ones who are meant to love you,
you will never stop looking for it.
Robert Goolrick

Window With A Different View

6312097041_b093d9c916_bI would be grateful if you’d forward to a few friends
an installment of G.M.G. you found meaningful and help set a record
for readership for GoodMorningGratitude.com’s second birthday on April 25, 2013.
Thank you.

Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road. John Henry Jovett

What a fast two years it has been. The benefits of sharing a little of myself with the world each day yields multiplied blessings the longer I do it. My view of the world is through a window with a different view from any I have known before. From where ever and what ever the inspiration came, I am humbly and deeply grateful.

The value we place
on what we’ve been given
correlates to our depth
of gratitude for it.
Todd Stocker

Understanding, Knowledge, and Insight

234849801_6cebb4feabDo not believe in…
anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in…
anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in…
anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in…
anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

Do not believe in…
traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. Buddha

Less than a hundred words makes a positive starting point for my day, far more than a thousand words could have.  Truth is usually not complicated. Authentic wisdom is typically easy to comprehend. Certainty presents itself readily to one interested in what really is.  Understanding, knowledge, and insight are never more than a thought away if I am open to it. Gratitude brings a lightness to me as the sun comes up. It will be another good day.

There is no knowledge
so hard to acquire
as the knowledge
of how to live this life
well and naturally.
Michel de Montaigne