Points One through Five

402f7d9f0b7641d517b28962e3218719An insightful and kind friend I used work with and reconnected with through Facebook posted an article today titled ” 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself…”. Great stuff! Here’s the first five:

#1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

#2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

#3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.

#4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

#5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you. http://www.lifebuzz.com/just-stop/?utm_source=iajsiaspal9920&utm_medium=fb&utm_campaign=juststopdesktop

Thanks Julie! What you posted was exactly what I needed today. I’m grateful.

No friendship can cross the path of our destiny
without leaving some mark on it forever.
Francois Muriac

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

Thoughts “A through F” and Their Antidotes

elite-daily-hiking-view

A – I wish I had not lived so much of my life for what I thought others wanted me to be. I chose mostly wrong and ended up pleasing no one.

B – I regret hurting so many people and know my dysfunctions at the time were no excuse. I’m truly sorry. I was lost within myself.

C – I wish I had not blamed my parents for so long. Even the bad job of parenting they did was the best they knew how.

D – I regret I broke the heart of the woman who within her grief found a way to forgive me and then taught me what love really is. I will never forget the kindness you showed me.

E – I wish I had been a better parent. I was a good one, but would be a great one now.

F – I regret living so much of my life hurrying always towards something uncertain in the future. I missed a lot.

1. Let go of the past. Learn your lessons. . . never forget them, but move on. Learn to forgive others and, (this is a biggie!), learn to forgive yourself. It’s difficult to move forward and take advantage of second chances if you are stuck in the past. Let it go.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt creep in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays. Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Develop a positive attitude and awareness. Expect the best and look for the good. Become conscious of opportunities and very often you will find them right under your
nose. Second chances can be quiet and disguised — one has to be on the lookout for them. Develop the right attitude for you and see what happens.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong attitude.”

3. Persevere. Keep on. Figure it out. Press on. If one approach doesn’t work the way you would like it to, then try another. Do what you gotta do.

One of my very favorite quotes is from Ann Landers, who says, “If I were asked to give what I consider the single most important piece of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.'”

Let Go + Positive Attitude + Perseverance = Second Chances
by Beth Burns http://www.livinglifefully.com/flo/flosecondchances.htm

I’ve had a great life and so much of it is left to live! I am excited about the future and am truly happy in the present. I am deeply grateful, never more so than at the moment I sit writing this.

Sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two!
Not always, but sometimes.
It’s what you do with those second chances that counts.
Dave Wilson

Real and True Friends

13friend-600

Anyone can stand by you when you’re right, but a true friend will stick by you, even when you are wrong.

The best friend is the one who, in wishing me well, wishes it for my sake.

The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit beside without a word, and walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

Even when I can’t find the right words…you always understand what I mean.

Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.

Everyone needs someone with whom to share their secrets.

A friend can tell you things you don’t want to tell yourself.

A friend is someone who dances with you in the sunlight and walks beside you in the shadows.

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. (Donna Roberts)

Friendship is celebrating the good times, struggling through the bad times, and being there for all time.

Friendship–the older it grows, the stronger it is.

A good friend is an umbrella for the heart.

A good friend sharpens your character, draws your soul into the light, and challenges your heart to love in the greatest of ways.

A good friend will come bail you out of jail. But a best friend will be sitting next to you saying…WE screwed up!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

I’ve had many friends with whom I’ve shared my time, but very few with whom I’ve shared my heart…

No matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

A real friend knows when to listen, when to stop listening, when to talk, when to stop talking, when to pour wine, and when to stop pouring and just hand over the bottle.

When I count my blessings…I count you twice.

Taken from http://www.dennydavis.net/poemfiles/frbest.htm

Friendship is a single soul
dwelling in two bodies.
Aristotle

Deepest Roots of Happiness

sadness-gives-depth

The root of joy is gratefulness…
It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.
Brother David Steindl Rast

All day today I felt more richly blessed than usual, almost to the point of starting to think I did not deserve it. But I did not go there. Unworthiness was for a long time my why of crapping on my own joy. It’s so easy too. Thinking “this is too good to be true” or “this can’t last” or “when is the other shoe going to drop” are all types of thinking that often become a self fulfilling prophecy. What I pay attention to, I give energy to and make it stronger.

Intentionally paying more attention to being grateful has been a healthy way of finding more worthiness. Oh, yes my old monsters “not good enough”, “don’t measure up” and “too many mistakes” are very much alive. However, the longer gratitude has been a practice the more pigmy size those little demons have become; still with me but too small to do much damage most of the time.

Cultivating a level of thankfulness that is life changing is difficult when it has not been one’s way in the past. Well I know the white knuckled battles I had to fight with my old ways of seeing and thinking. Based on my experience I can promise that gratitude does bring a pay off and can change one’s view of life to be richer, deeper and even profound.

It’s the outside borders of gratefulness that seem to pay the biggest dividends: grief, pain and heartache on one side balanced with little things like a cup of coffee, a sunrise or a toddler playing on the other. Being grateful for the awful and thankful for the small are the deepest roots of my happiness today.

Be thankful for what you have;
you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have,
you will never, ever have enough.
Oprah Winfrey

Seize Every Minute

LiquidOfLife1If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.

“If I Had My Life To Live Over” written by the late Erma Bombeck after she found out she had a fatal disease.

Life shrinks or expands
in proportion to one’s courage.
Anais Nin

A State of Gratitude

soybean-clusterThrough sickness, good health, international travel, a grueling career and many days of ordinary life, for well over two years I consistently put something fresh here daily. Some of the deepest and most emotional happenings of my life have been openly shared since my first entry into this blog on April 25, 2011. It was a “Higher Power” thing from the beginning, as I simply woke up one morning and knew I was supposed to “blog” about gratitude and build a closer relationship with being thankful.

Focusing on what one is grateful for, especially for the difficult teachings that observed hardship and emotional suffering can bring, has been eye-opening. Thankfulness caused me to see more to be thankful for. Demons have been turned into allies. Dark corners have become illuminated. Animosities have been dissipated. Old wounds have found healing. Blessings and grace have become more profound. Each seed of gratefulness took root, grew and bore fruit. GoodMorningGratitude.com has been life changing beyond what can be easily explained.

In recent months I have too often lacked the inspiration for keeping up the typical daily entries but not because I was ungrateful. Quite the contrary. There just seemed to frequently not be something new to say. Often I just “posted something”. After near a thousand entries, so much of what I initially needed to express had been said and I found myself repeating thoughts too frequently. A good bit of the time I have been guilty of just ‘filling the space’.

I say all that to say, GoodMorningGratitude.com is evolving and I am making a fresh commitment to this blog. However producing a page and a half consistently every day is not where I am in my growth and development. My hope is make long-form entries when I am inspired to make them. On other days it’s my intention to simply share a gratitude-provoking quote, thought or poem posted with an interesting photograph/image. If I miss a few days, so be it, but I will be more consistent than in recent weeks. (Thank you to everyone who asked if I was “okay’!)

For those who supported this blog from near the beginning I am humbly grateful. To the thousands who discovered GoodMorningGratitude.com and turned others on to it, the words “thank you’ seem hardly enough.

I am grateful for the clarity of thought this morning that brought these words from my mind, mind and soul onto this page. To a greater degree than ever before there is thankfulness within for all the ways goodmorninggratitude.com has positively effected in my life and yet will.

The more you are in a state of gratitude,
the more you will attract things
to be grateful for.
Unknown

It Hurts Because It Is Real

Playing in the rain

For every bit of hurt that shaped me, for every bit of friction that smoothed me, for every disappointment that taught me and for every illusion made clear… I am grateful. The most difficult have been the severest, but most revered teachers.

The good times and the bad times both will pass.
It will pass. It will get easier. But the fact that it will get easier
does not mean that it doesn’t hurt now. And when people try to minimize
your pain they are doing you a disservice. And when you try to minimize
your own pain you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t do that.
The truth is that it hurts because it’s real. It hurts because it mattered.
And that’s an important thing to acknowledge to yourself.
But that doesn’t mean that it won’t end, that it won’t get better.
Because it will.
John Green

Two Thoughts About People

IN LIFE 2 people-waiting-out-of-focus

Why complicate life

I honor and thank all my teachers: those who showed me kindness and those who hurt me; the ones who love/loved me and the ones who never will/never did; the people who were an example of what to do and the people who were example of what not to do; and all the rest that helped shape me. I am grateful for you all those who stayed a short while or a very long time and left their track on me.

When we love,
we always strive to become better than we are.
When we strive to become better than we are,
everything around us becomes better too.
From “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho,