Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Monday, November 29, 2010

ramblings on reflections

Every December I like to reflect on the little goals I have made over the past year, perhaps a way of getting ready for the New Year, bringing the old year to a close. I also like to reflect on what I have to be thankful for, which usually amounts to a great deal.
     From the moment we are born until the day we die, our entire lives consist of endless events and actions, so it is natural to reflect on these times. Reflecting gives us an opportunity to make sense of the chaos, to gain closure, to identify recurring patterns that went past previously unnoticed and to objectively analyze our efforts to gather insights into potential areas of improvement. It sounds easy, and it is, but too often we reflect on past events with a level of self criticism and judgment that is unfounded and unjust. Instead of mastering the art of reflection, we become the masters and living legends of self-induced drama. Inadvertent experts at creating something out of things that were never anything. In other words, we make mountains out of molehills and lions out of kittens.
     Someone told me once that the art of reflection is knowing how to learn from your mistakes without tormenting yourself about them. By making a list of everything you learned and what you would do differently next time, helps to alleviate any stress and concerns you have by creating an avenue for you to intellectually process your thoughts and experiences. Once you have finished objectively reflecting on your experiences, understand what you would do differently, you can take a deep breath, in one mighty swoop accept yourself for being human, and forgive your mistakes (which make you human). Let go of any negative feelings (such as shame and regret) and refocus your attention and efforts on your next immediate projects and your future dreams and aspirations.
     Ultimately, mastering the art of reflection allows us to flow with life in ease. We are able to learn and grow wiser from our experiences without living with the heavy burden of over analytical self-judgment and self-contempt, so as we create and live the life of our dreams, and then we are better equipped to deal with all of life’s inevitable challenges, lessons, and successes.
      What is your definition of success? What does the word mean to you? The word comes from the Latin "succedere" meaning 'to come after.'  Thus success comes after something but what is it?
       The famous salesman, Tom Hopkins defines it as follows:  "Success is the lifelong journey toward predetermined worthwhile goals".
       I like that definition because you can have small successes along the journey as you navigate the roles and worlds of your life but it also reminds you to keep the big picture in sight.  Nevertheless, you also need the right attitude, and sometimes you’re not in control of anything happening in your life except your attitude!
Here’s a favorite quote by Charles Swindoll:
      “Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past.  We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”
     Another quote I always think about when I am doing my year-end reflection is from Oscar Wilde regarding selfishness.
          "Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; 
                         it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”

10 THOUGHTS ON WHOLE LIVING - December

1. Don’t mistake predictability for peace:
                                         some of life’s most important moments are born of chaos.
2. Strength is defined not by what you can resist, but by how much you can expand.
3. While prayer may not change a situation, it may change the way you experience it.
4. Eating a warm meal nourishes the body; preparing it nourishes the soul.
5. Try to see your family for who they are, not who they were (or weren’t).
6. Find reasons and ways to give. It’ll make you happier then you expect.
7. The best escape is to let yourself become absorbed from time to time.
8. If you feel hungry, ask yourself what you’re really craving.
9. You’ll gain more by facing up to fear than you ever will by running away.
10.  Creativity isn’t just making something from scratch, but seeing potential in what already exists.

(by Terri Trespicio-from Martha’s Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine- December 2010 issue)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the Power of Thoughts and Words

Have you ever stopped to think how powerful your thoughts or words  are?
Have you ever thought how your thoughts or words affect other people?
Did you know that other people’s thoughts and words definitely affect you?
If you know all these things, have you tried to send out only good thoughts or say kind words, day after day?

Perhaps all of us have good intention but a little feeling of resentment, jealously, hatred, or envy creeps into our thoughts and words and keeps it there. In addition, just because someone else you know is thinking or speaking negatively don’t go along with them, you could try and help them realize their negativity.

Has anyone ever said this to you: “Don’t be so sensitive. I was only kidding.” If so, did it change the way you felt? Chances are it didn’t because you had already taken the matter to heart, and it had already hurt your feelings.  Needless to say, not every hurt feeling can be avoided, but some can, especially the unnecessary ones. How? By looking for the harmony; i.e., the good intention, behind the act.

Remember: if it is not an act of goodwill, it is just a minor distraction not worthy of being taken to heart. When you choose the matters you take to heart based on their good intentions, you will find that your feelings get hurt a lot less often.

Here’s an easy way, therefore, to avoid prolonged hurt feelings. The next time someone does or says something that initially hurts your feelings ask yourself this question: “Where is the goodwill in what this person did or said?” If you cannot find it, you know it’s NOT a matter worth taking to heart. Let it go without judgment.

One spends too much time judging others. Remember, you are the only one you have a right to judge, and I say “judge” for want of better word. Most of our judging is not correct because we judge only with our eyes. One has to feel and see deep within another person before we can truly say that we know the other person we are wrongly judging.

Furthermore, you do not consider that other person a close friend, a loved one, or you would not be judging them in the first place. “To love unconditionally, means without judgment.”
Stop and think of the people you have so carelessly judged. What category do they belong in? Is it your resentment, jealously, hatred, or envy that you have for them?

Just ask yourself and be honest about it. You will see they fit in one of these emotions you feel.


Friday, November 12, 2010

A Question of Honesty & Integrity

Honesty and Integrity go hand-in-hand, but in today's world, it seems that people have grown so lax that both of these traits have flown out of the window. In fact, if you ask the majority of people today to give you the truest definition of honesty and integrity, they may be able to tell you that being honest means telling the truth, but they probably won't be able to tell you anymore than that.

Although most people understand what honesty is - telling the truth - but do they understand what telling the truth entails? For example, yes it is wrong to lie, but isn't it also wrong not to tell the whole truth, or the whole story so to speak? Many people believe that withholding portions of the truth is not the same as lying.

And, again, if you ask about integrity, most won't have a clue what you are talking about. They have some small idea of what it pertains to, but they have no real grasp on what it means to have integrity, along with honesty. If you have integrity, it means that you live your life in a moral and ethical way. Honesty covers lying, but integrity seemingly covers everything else in life.

Once we grow up, and are forced to face reality, we learn that the world can be a cold, hard, cruel place. As we work our way through life, often we lose sight of our own values. We are trying to get bills paid, kids educated, care for elderly parents, keep marriages strong, and try to live to see our retirement years. 

With all of this going on - seemingly all of the time - it isn't hard to lose sight of our values, which in turn affects our honesty and integrity, even if we never intended for that to happen.

I believe that before you can live your life with honesty and integrity, you first need to have a good sense of who you are, and what you stand for in life. We all have strong feelings concerning certain issues, such as ecology, abortion, firearms, etc. However, as big as these issues are, these are the easy ones. Here, you are either on one side of the fence, or the other.

But in the small day-to-day things, where do you stand in terms of your values. In order to live a life based on honesty and integrity, you must know who you are and what you stand for, and you must supervise yourself on a daily basis, ensuring that you aren't doing anything that conflict's with your own values or moral code along with adhering to society's rules.

The other question one faces concerning honesty and integrity is when we must associate with others who we have lost trust in their honesty and question their integrity. What if those people are in important places in our lives, such as a supervisor, employer, politician, or even our President, and they do not show strength in honesty? What happens when one loses respect for a key person in their daily lives? And, if one pretends to have respect for these people, even if out of survival, is that not a lie and is not their honesty and integrity then challenged? What happened to a man's word was the only true worth he had? What happened to the days when a handshake and your word was all the we needed? What has happened to us?
I would love to hear anyone's thoughts and comments on this issue.

Take the 24 Hour Truth Challenge by Gary Miller, author of The Power of Truth

    Here's how it works: Starting right now, and for the next 24 hours, you decide to be honest and authentic in everything you do. You don’t lie to yourself and you don’t lie to anyone else on any level of your life. You will start to become acutely aware of your thoughts and words about everything you say and do.
    Once you get past the initial discomfort of being completely honest, you start to feel a sensation of strength. A lightness and energy and freedom arise. You’ll notice a difference in your courage, the way you walk, the way you stand, the tone of your voice, the communication you have with people you love, the depth of connection with those close to you and with people you don’t even know.
    When you speak the truth, feelings might get hurt. That is okay, humans are not weak. You do people no favors by trying to protect them from the truth. If you honor the people around you, be honest with them. You are beginning to shift your consciousness; you are now paying attention.
    After the first 24 hours, take another, then another. Your life, health, and peace of mind will never be the same.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Daily Intents & Goals

Today my Intent is to make everyone I come in contact
 with feel essential and valued in this life, 
no matter the circumstances of our encounter. 

Everyday I wake and try to make a single goal or intent for that day. I don’t always succeed in accomplishing the intent. I have found a wonderful website started by Mallika Chopra, the daughter of Depak Chopra, where one can go, make and post a goal or intent. Her thought was that if you made your intent public then you might do better if you had to be accountable.  As well, you can support others in their intents; help them see that others are there with the same thoughts, issues, or goals.  I have had fun, as most know I am not an Online Community type of person, but this place is fun and helps me remain accountable for my goals. I highly suggest that you peek and check it out. You too, may find it has a lot to offer.

Welcome to Intent.com!
Intent is a community where members can share their dreams and aspirations, and receive support from others to turn those dreams and aspirations into reality. This is your online destination for turning your intention into tangible action, and inspiring others to do the same.
Why Share An Intent?
We truly believe in the power of intentions. After all, every action starts with an intention. When we share an intention with others, we make ourselves feel more accountable for the mission we want to complete. When you know what your intention is AND you can state it to others, then you are more likely to make the initiative to make your aspiration come true.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to recycle, give gifts, and enjoy the up coming Holiday Season

With the holidays, gift giving coming upon us, and this economy, I have been looking for ways to keep my goals of "getting rid of stuff" and "being as green as possible." I overheard someone at the local craft store (she was purchasing glue for her glue gun) mention that she was not only going to make their gifts this year, but make them from products the she was going to throw away or recycle. VaVaVoom! that hit me as absolutely perfect. Here the four books (oh-oh more books) that I found that are perfect for ideas and how-to's; and of course had to share. Clicking on the title should take you to Amazon.com and the book. Have a happy, fun, and creative holiday.


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Nothing is better than playing crafting with things you were going to throw away. Trash to treasure baby!
Some folks refer to the Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts ( Leisure Arts #4802) as the bible of recycled craft books. Leisure Arts was one of the first to publish books in this genre and many of us loved the old favorite Trash to Treasure. This book will not disappoint. It contains many crafts made from everyday materials like glass, paper, plastic bags and what-have-you. How about the bird bungalows made from plastic laundry soap bottles? Or a recycled bag keeper made from the sleeve of an old shirt?
$15.56 at Amazon

recyclecrafts



Recycled Crafts Box is great for beginner crafters. Each project features step-by-step illustrated instructions, and a full-color photo of the finished art-work. Recycled yogurt cups and spoons become collectible dolls and your old shoes become eye-catching planters.
$8.76 at Amazon



gorgeousgifts



Gorgeous Gifts: Use recycled materials to make cool crafts (Ecocrafts) is a great book for all ages. Some of the projects include: tea light candleholders, plant pots, bookmarks, bracelets, hand puppets, puppet theater, refrigerator magnets, model airplanes, stained-glass windows, and computer mousepads. Not overwhelming at aprox. 50 pages.
$7.62 at Amazon


craftcycle




Craftcycle: 100+ Earth-Friendly Projects and Ideas for Everyday Living is one of the new books on the scene and it is worth it! Fun hip projects include felting old sweaters to make mittens and upcycling old records and CDs. Full of color and step by step instructions.
$15.63 at Amazon