Saturday, December 15, 2012

The World

After a full day of watching the coverage of the events in CT, I have a heavy heart. I feel not only for the families of those little babies, both the ones that died and the ones who witnessed the event, but also for that man who struggled with mental illness and his mom. I get very confused when stuff like this happens because I just don't understand how someone can do this.

I am reading in a little blue book that they gave us at church for this time of advent. The daily reading this morning was so appropriate for all that is going on, so I wanted to share.

"... and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

In the face of all that I see as wrong with the world, I have two options.

One option is to see all these problems as fatal. The world is doomed to be forever unjust and tragic, so I should simply do my best to get the most I can for myself out of the situation.

The other option is to see all creation as the recipient of the overwhelming power of God's compassion and transforming love. When I look at the world this way, I believe that every struggle for peace and justice, however small, ultimately has an effect, and whatever energy I spend to relieve suffering is worth the effort.


Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. 
The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

How I feel that applies to me, at least at this very moment, is to go into each day trying to be loving, kind, caring and of service. I am not perfect, especially at work, but I can get up each morning and try again. Maybe it won't be worth anything, but maybe it will and just as it says, I have to believe that my struggle for peace and justice is worth the effort.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Strengths

I have so many interests in life such as sports, yoga, dance, etc. Sometimes, I feel like it's hard for me to narrow it down to just one or two things that I enjoy doing and could get really good at. My desires are so spread out and so vast that I tend to dabble in a bit of everything and never really get good at anything. I like to call myself the jack of all trades, master of none. As I've contemplated over the years, maybe even my lifetime, I've wondered what exactly my strengths or talents could be. Every one of us has something, or a set of somethings that make us unique. Each. One. Of. Us.

I feel like, as women especially, we are taught, encouraged, to downplay our strengths, our needs, our accomplishments, etc. We're the ones who sacrifice for our husbands, for our children, for our jobs. We're constantly asked and begged to give of ourselves, even above and beyond our own needs. We're taught to feel guilt in every aspect of our lives. We shouldn't spend so much money, we shouldn't be eating that, we shouldn't be wanting that OR it's the opposite, we should be wanting to do this more, we should be cleaning, we should be able to hold a full time job and be a full time mother. We're always supposed to be doing something else.

After all of the work I've done through 12 steps, spiritual seeking, A Course In Miracles, etc etc, I've found that this is a problem from which we all suffer. So, my goal moving forward is to build people up, and I feel like that's one thing at which I'm actually good. So, as my readers, this blog post actually has an assignment. I want you to spend some time, quietly reflect on your day to day interactions and write about you like about yourself. What do you do that's good? What do you do that makes you proud?

Here is my list:

1) As I said above, building people up. And what I mean by that is, relating to people in their own struggles, through mine. Helping them understand that they are not alone in what they're feeling and that someone in the world has felt that way too. And that their feelings are normal, and through prayer, and some footwork, we can change for the better, if a behavior needs to be changed. I think part of why we feel bad about ourselves is because we're ashamed of ourselves and our thoughts. But we all have some messed up thoughts, it's our actions that can be shameful. And when our actions are shameful, it's not that we're inherently bad, it's that we've got a past that needs to be healed and we can all change for the better. Once I felt equal to everyone else, I wanted to be better and believed that I could  be better.

2) Honest - this actually can be a detriment as well because I can say things that are too harsh at times. I am very direct. And typically, I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. But I feel that through my directness and my honesty, people can be at ease. I may make fun of myself in order to make you feel comfortable. I use very detailed, graphics examples of my colored past to help you not feel as bad about whatever your struggles are.

3) I forgive fairly easily. I realize that there's probably some underlying issue that may cause someone to hurt me OR maybe, I'm hurt because I'm sensitive and what you did to me wasn't even hurtful (if that makes sense). I'm saying that I realize that what's upsetting me isn't always the other person and so I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and forgive them.

4) I try to see my part in the situation. I am quick to analyze my part, evaluate where I've made a mistake, and then attempt to make an amends quickly.

Even as I write this list, it makes me feel more like I'm bragging about myself because it's looked down upon by society to talk about yourself in a positive way. There is a different between being overly boastful, and simply realizing that I have strengths that were developed by a higher power and life experience. I'm grateful that I can speak kindly about myself and have confidence.

So again, the assignment is to write about the good things about yourself. Maybe you're really good at listening, maybe you are very insightful, you're reliable, etc. Take the time to 1) get to know yourself and 2) treat yourself as though you were a close relative or child. Would you tell your child that he/she is fat or stupid or ugly, or whatever you say to yourself? No, so why do it to yourself?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Family Time

This weekend was a weekend that was full of family time. I've spent a year truly trying to dedicate my life towards living in the present moment but it's been more difficult than I imagined. There are so many things I want to do, and so many things I want to experience, but in my situation right now, I don't have the time. I've explored so many different new things, really trying to experience life and learn about the world, but have found that even though they're things I want to do and not just obligations, I'm still rushing to each new experience and worrying about being on time, having time for others things and neglecting myself and my family in the process. After taking some advice, I decided to start scheduling family time and before saying yes to a commitment, really thinking about it and giving an answer later. The result, so far, has been more time with my family which has been very rewarding.

This weekend, my stepdaughters and I painted canvases to put in their room as decoration. They are REALLY talented - here they are -

Neely's painting (she's 13)

my drawing, inspired my Zanti Power Yoga - see the pics in the back:)

Jesse, she's 11

It was so fun to do, we have completed some stuff to help decorate their room, and even though we were doing things and away from home, I feel rested. 

We also did some holiday decorating crafts - 

inspired by some Pinterest finds

I've found that doing things with them, and not having a slammed schedule, makes me happier, it makes me feel more rested, it makes me worry less, etc. 

The down side of that is that I've been missing out on some things such as regular yoga classes (I've resorted to a regular at home morning practice), running - especially in a group, things like that. But, you know, I just can only do what I can do at this point. It won't be like this forever, and we'll see how it evolves in the future. But for now, I feel grateful to have the opportunity to make these memories.