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

Pick More Daisies

norway-picture1If I had my life to live over again,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.
If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else – just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many yeas ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.
By Nadine Stair, an amazing 85-year-old woman, from Louisville, Kentucky, who provided the words above after someone asked her how she would have lived her life differently if she had a chance.

Gratefulness adds richer color and a gentle texture to everything.

Never let the things you want
make you forget the things you have.
Anonymous

The Hard Things

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You Have To Do The Hard Things

  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have feel unsure and insecure when playing if safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts”.
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.
  • You have to do the hard things.
  • The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.
  • Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.
  • The hard things are the easiest things to avoid.  To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.
  • The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are. http://danwaldschmidt.com/2014/01/attitude/hard-things

It won’t be long before it will have been seven years since I truly turned to face the issues from my childhood. Denial and forcing those old hurts and traumas did not cure them. Instead trying to hide them served only to make them fester. While lost in my dysfunction damaged myself and others. Facing and starting to do the “Hard Things” was both highly difficult and life-changing. I am grateful for the process and more so to be where I am today…. happy!

A man of character finds
a special attractiveness in difficulty,
since it is only by coming to grips
with difficulty that he can
realize his potentialities.
Charles de Gaulle

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,

With Open Eyes

butt collector

One day last week the streets around the Super Wal-Mart were clogged with cars much like ants swarming from a ‘stomped-on-anthill’. Inwardly lost in my own thoughts about what I needed to buy and yet had to do, my view of things was narrow and self oriented.

As I walked toward the entrance of the store, out of the corner of my eye I saw a man kneeling down picking something up. From the back his clothes were kind of dirty and there we sores on his head. Fairly quickly I  surmised he was somewhere between down on his luck and homeless. As I moved into present moment awareness, it hit me what he was doing.

The cover was off a large cigarette disposal and the man was selectively gathering partially smoked butts. He’d pick up each used cigarette, glance to see how much was left and then put the ones with a few puffs left into a ‘baggie’. I quickly took a single phone photo (just above) just after he stood up and began to place the top back on the container.

Being a smoker is in my past. I remember the cravings that once in a while caused me scour my ashtrays for a cigarette butt with a few puffs remaining. Only once in a while did that happen and only until I could get to the store to buy a fresh pack. The guy collecting from the Wal-Mart ashtray was gathering the only smokes he could afford: free butts. Smoking is a bad habit; no doubt. I feel sorry for anyone who still smokes, but even more so for someone who has to collect what has been in other’s mouths to satisfy his habit.

In this season of giving, the wish I send out to the ‘butt collector’ is one of love and good wishes that life improves for him. But then, maybe he was an angel sent to make me more present, aware and rooted in ‘now’. Or possibly he was both destitute and angelic. I’ll never know for certain, but will long remember what he left me with.

All that’s needed to elevate my level of gratitude is pay attention. With open eyes there is always something to behold that reminds me how good my life is. In recollecting my most difficult times and bearing witness to those of others, I find reflections that make me better grasp the richness I am blessed with today.

And hard times are good in their own way, too.
Because the only way you can achieve true happiness
is if you experience true sadness as well.
It’s all about light and shade.
Balance.
Gabrielle Willams

Sex Is Sacred

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C. Joybell C. made a post on Facebook this morning I found moving. Here’s a portion:

Sex is sacred. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t matter what you tell yourself in order to get away from the truth, the underlying fact is that, you take into your soul a piece of another’s soul and you embellish a piece of your own soul upon another, when you have sex. Like it or not— we are not animals.

The Rosicrucians state that at the heart of the soul there is Love, Sex and Fire. You play with one, you are endangering the other two. Play with any, and you are endangering the condition of your soul. People walk around not able to see the holes in their souls created by their many meaningless sexual encounters, they think in their minds that they’re okay, but the soul is pulled and pulled into a thinner and thinner matter.

…I’m serious when I tell you— sex is sacred. It is to be done with those whom your soul has bonded to. That is, if you care at all about the form and matter of your soul. It doesn’t even have anything to do with morality and religion. It is in fact all about the immortality of your spirit. C. JoyBell C.

A year and a half ago my post here titled “If You Have Something to Say” was about the author of what’s just above. https://goodmorninggratitude.com/2012/07/14/if-you-have-something-to-say/

Her Facebook page says “I am a myth. The myth is real”. If you go searching for information about C. JoyBell C. you won’t find much other than her quotes which are deep and frequently inspiration. All I can tell from a photo (above) and short interview I found on-line is she is young with wisdom beyond her years.

C. Joybell C. is self-described as “an American born self-taught writer of Asiatic Anglo-Celtic European descent… grew up in-between cultures and crossing borders… great-grandfather was a Taoist High Priest… other great-grandfather was a Southern Georgia Baptist Herald. Fighting to live life for herself and not for others, she is defying her status quo in being a writer and this is exemplary of who she is.” She is the author of “Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948″ and “The Sun Is Snowing: Poetry & Prose.”

C. Joybell C., thank you for the insights you have brought into my life over time, most recently this morning. From my past is guilt of treating sex as less than ‘sacred’, but I learned better. My old habits hurt others, but it was me I hurt most. Now knowing the true value of sex (“you take into your soul a piece of another’s soul and you embellish a piece of your own soul upon another, when you have sex”), I am deeply grateful for the growth that brought me parallel to that insight.

Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason
and mocks the power of all philosophers.
But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result
and sum of their fundamental convictions.
Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive
and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life.
Show me the person they sleep with
and I will tell you their valuation of themselves.
Ayn Rand

Soldier’s Prayer

My intent it not to honor war or the politics that often fester their eruption.  My purpose here is not to talk of what to do about foreign tyrants or those that carry out evil against their countrymen.  This is not a monologue of what is right and wrong and what should have or should not have been done.  What I put here today, one day after Veteran’s Day is my tribute to the men and women who willingly have gone into the darkness of battle and conflict in the name of country, family and countrymen.      

A Soldier’s Prayer By Joanna Fuchs
Lord, wrap your arms around me
In this hostile, brutal place;
Let me draw peace and comfort
From your restful, sweet embrace.

Help me do my duty
To uphold what is right;
Give me strength and courage
Each day and every night.

Lord, hear this soldier’s prayer
To You in heaven above;
Protect me with your power,
And sustain me with your love.

Often I have thought it was good fortune not to have been drafted to serve in the war of my youth: Vietnam.  My friends and family who went came back mostly whole, but for so many that was not true.  Well aware I am of how the men and women who were called to go there never received the credit, honor or respect due them.  I was against that war, but never against those who served.  Any time I see a Vet wearing something that indicates he/she served in ‘Nam I always thank them for their service.  To a person each and every one has been grateful.  Every single one!  Far too little appreciation has been given to those people.

Taken from “Welcome Home and I Love You!” by Eileen Breedlove  
When you pass by a Vet
that made it home,
or hear of a brother
that is lost in Nam.

Open your hearts
and show them respect.
They gave of themselves
and they did their best.
WELCOME HOME!

Taken from “In Your Honor” by Anonymous
Unselfishly, you left your fathers and your mothers.
You left behind your sisters and your brothers.
Leaving your beloved children and wives,
You put on hold, your dreams, your lives.

On foreign soil, you found yourself planted
To fight for those whose freedom you granted.

Without your sacrifice, their cause would be lost
But you carried onward, no matter the cost.

When it was over, you all came back home
Some were left with memories to face alone.

Those who survived were forever scarred
Emotionally, physically, permanently marred.

With a hand upon my heart, I feel
The pride and respect; my reverence is revealed.
Every day, I give my utmost admiration
To those who fought to defend our nation.

For all U.S. personnel who served in Vietnam or were deployed before or after to fight, protect or advise in places like Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Iraq, Panama, Kuwait, Somalia, Serbia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and all the other locales known and the ones we likely will never know:  THANK YOU.  You have my deep respect and gratitude.

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.  
José Narosky

First Posted on November 12, 2011 

The Key To A Happy Life

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation. It is a mindful acknowledgment of all that we have been given. When we focus on the abundance in our lives, we discover a greater capacity for generosity, cheerfulness, and contentment.

From “A Poem Of Gratitude” By Chuck Danes

I share my debt of gratitude with all my spiritual friends
Whether Christians, Muslims, Jews, and such or even Buddhist zens
Regardless of the place we live or where your faiths begun
My gratitude begins with this, “I’ve learned that we are One”

I’m grateful for the many days when clarity is strong
As well as those it “seems” that life has somehow led me wrong
For it’s those times that awaken me and nudge me toward the light
Till once again my hopes and dreams are clearly held in sight

I’m grateful for the love within the circles that I dwell
My family, friends and even those who’ve made life seem like hell
For each of those have taught me more regarding how to Love
Provide me feelings to express these things that I write of

I’m grateful too for false beliefs which led me on my quest
For mentors met along the way I truly do feel blessed
Who clearly showed me of the need to understand my worth
And “Higher Truth” which promises a life divine on earth

I’m grateful for the joy I feel, I’m grateful for the fear
Understanding what it is and that it draws me near
To the life I know is waiting on the other side
And when it comes I must hold fast and use it as a guide

I’m grateful for all nature, the birds the grass, the trees
The lakes which hold abundant life, a summer evenings breeze
The clouds above the ground below, the moon, the stars, the sun
The days and nights which represent that another day is done

I’ve learned to stay in gratitude no matter how things seem
That perceptions held as negatives will only slow your dream
So even though my path will lead through troubled spots I know
I must keep on, keep focus fixed, on life’s abundant flow

There’s so much that I’m grateful for, though sometimes I’ll forget
Beliefs rekindled from the past that I perceive as threats
But it’s these times I must remind myself of what I know
That when they show their presence, that they’re here to help me grow

One final thought I’ll share today before I say I’m through
I’m so grateful for these words to give today to all of you
It is my wish that they will help you keep the attitude
Which leads to that which you desire and comes through gratitude
Complete poem: http://www.abundance-and-happiness.com/a-poem-of-gratitude.html

Expressing gratitude is a rewarding habit that affirms the grace of the giver. Gratitude opens our hearts, encourages us to savor each gift that comes our way, and magically frees us from jealously guarding our possessions. It lets us celebrate today rather than waiting for the next level of accomplishment or wealth. It is a reminder that one can always find reason to be glad. open/close from http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/60-gratitude/meditations\

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands,
because if we are not grateful,
then no matter how much we have we will not be happy
because we will always want to have something else or something more.
Brother David Steindl-Rast

First posted here on October 18, 2012

To Laugh Often and Much

 

I found a used copy of the book pictured above a few weeks ago:  “Bedside Prayers, Prayers and Poems for When You Rise and Go to Sleep” collected by June Cotner.  It has found a convenient home on my night stand.  With decent regularity it finds its way into my hands just before lights out at night to put some meaningful thoughts to put into my head before sleep.

“Bedside Prayers” has these words of description on its dust cover:  a marvelous collection of prayers, meditations, sentiments, and quiet celebrations.  Drawing from a rich spectrum of traditions and writers – from Rainer Maria Rilke to Robert Louis Stevenson, and from Buddha to contemporary writers with fresh insights… for spiritual seekers of any tradition… a charming companion that encourages us to recognize the divine gifts all around us each day.  I find something meaningful every time I pick the book up and read a random page.

Among my favorites found in “Bedside Prayers” is thirteen lines by George Eliot that encourage me to be grateful for each day and to live with courage and intent to leave the world a little better than I find it.

May every soul that touches mine—
Be it the slightest contact—
Get from there some good;
Some little grace; one kindly thought;
One aspiration yet unfelt;
One bit of courage
For the darkening sky;
One gleam of faith
To brave the thickening ills of life;
One glimpse of brighter skies
Beyond the gathering mists—
To make this life worthwhile,
And heaven a surer heritage.

In a poem written almost a hundred years ago Ranier Maria Rilke described the power of being in the moment long before it was a popular notion.  Being aware of one’s “aliveness” is the message he left to be printed in “Bedside Prayers”.

You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
The darkness of each endless fall,
The shimmering light of each ascent.
So many are alive who don’t seem to care.
Casual, easy, they move in the world
As though untouched.
But you take pleasure in the faces
Of those who know they thirst.
You cherish those
Who grip you for survival.
You are not dead yet, it’s not too late
To open your depths by plunging into them
And drink in the life
That reveals itself quietly there.

First time through the following eight lines by Joseph Byron seemed to be only be a play on words.  Then as I read them a second and third time it became apparent that simply changing the order of words added great meaning. I get the most from Byron when I read his forty-five word poem slowly and savor each line before moving to the next.

Feeling strong and strongly feeling.
Being glad and glad of being.
Care for need and needing caring.
Sharing self and selfless sharing.
Full of spirit, spirit filling.
Will is warm and warmly willing.
Give joy, enjoy the giving
Life is love and love is living.

Those eight lines really touch me!

There is nothing new or original in what I offer gratitude for today.  What is stated, I have written about before.  Here again is my thankfulness expressed for the work of others that touch my heart and spirit and make me think.  The canvas of an artist can have that effect on me and so can the notes of a musician.  A script well acted can move me deeply as can the words of a writer, but few things touch me as quickly or as profoundly as a well written poem.

Maybe I am old-fashioned. Maybe my soul has remnants within of the Victorian Era.  Or maybe I feel deeply which allows my sensitive self to receive in great dimension the feelings, thoughts and sentiments in poetry.  Whatever the reason may be, my gratitude is deep for the writers who put pieces of themself into measured word for me to discover, for my ability to feel what the poets left behind and for books like June Cotner’s “Bedside Prayers” that bring poetry into my life.

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
Earn the appreciation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
This old favorite by Ralph Waldo Emerson is included in “Bedside Prayers”

Originally Posted on November 30, 2011