How Small is Your Prison Cell – part 2 – You Can CRUSH It Even in Hard Times!

Canva - nullSo, we are still talking about the limiting beliefs that you might have that are making your self-made prison cell very small.  This particular entry is fitting for the situation we are in right now!

When we are faced with an “event” which is usually more of a crisis at first, most of us immediately go into victim mode.  We wallow in the agony of what has happened to us. OH! THE INJUSTICE OF IT ALL!!!  How could this have happened to me?  This event will end life as I know it.  I will never be able to recover from this horrible thing that has happened to me.  I don’t deserve this, yada, yada, yada.

Let me assure you, when this pandemic happened and we were given the order to shut down businesses, close down beaches, don’t drive unless absolutely necessary and shelter in place, I nearly lost my ever-living mind!!!  I was screaming from the rooftops about how mad I was about this and that.  I was spreading negativity to anyone who would listen to me.  I was fighting with strangers on social media until I was having anxiety attacks multiple times every day.  Finally, it got so bad that I felt like something snapped in my soul.  I thought I was having an actual mental breakdown.  I shut down for 2 whole days.  I felt bad, I had a headache, I was exhausted and just needed a break.  Then I figured out that I hadn’t had a mental breakdown, I had actually snapped back into sanity.  It was at this point that I started to follow my own advise.

I turned off the TV, I stopped reading the negative posts on social media and I started filling my mind with positive things.  It wasn’t that I was sticking my head in the sand.  I wasn’t pretending the EVENT didn’t exist, I just came to the realization that I couldn’t change it no matter how mad I was or how much I screamed.  It was beyond my control.

In order to get out of the box of our self imposed prison cell, we have to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – outside the walls of our belief that have bound us!  When things feel the tightest is when we need to stretch the hardest.  We can let the EVENT be the dead end or we can let the EVENT be the catalyst for us to forge a new path or look for a new trail.  I’m really going to age myself here, but I think about “The Dukes of Hazard” and the General Lee.  Those crazy country boys drove that car through some hair raising obstacles.  In my minds eye I see them racing down a dusty, country road being chased by multiple cop cars.  They are barely able to stay in front of them until they come to a white water stream.  Instead of slamming on the brakes to stop at the edge of the stream, they pour on the gas and fly OVER the stream.  All of the cop cars slam on their breaks and stop at the edge of the water.  The General Lee clears the stream and the boys are free.

The very first thing we all have to do is either believe that we CAN overcome the EVENT or believe that we MUST overcome the EVENT.  Sometimes desperation is the greatest motivator.  After you believe you must overcome, its important to separate yourself from the event and look at it from outside.  Look at it from an aerial view.  See it for what it truly is instead of how it feels to you.  What barriers does it put up?  How has it changed the rules?   Look at it objectively.  Don’t get sucked into what everyone else is doing because most of the time they are going to be screaming and shaking their fists at the edge of the event.  Don’t become part of the herd mentality.  If you look at it from above you might see the barrier ends just beyond what people can see by standing right in front of it.  Find the loop hole.  Find the path less taken.  Find a way to turn the event into your personal WIN.  What small alterations could you make to what you do to get you around the event?  How could you do it so that you still have a servant’s heart?

Restaurants have been hit hard by this current EVENT as have so many others, but let’s just look at restaurants right now.  They had to close their facilities to dine-in customers BUT they could do carry out.  Those who have done the best with the crisis are the ones who took carry out to a whole new level.  They made romantic dinners, complete with candles for the table, available for carry-out.  They played off the meals in a box we can now order that we prepare at home.  They came up with “make it yourself” boxes so people could successfully cook really good food at home.  Those who had a large social media following started making daily videos of how to prepare food then offered them the boxed meal that they could order.  They made sure to post mouth watering entrees in to-go boxes every day on social media.  They got the word out that they were alive and well.  They gave the impression that they were thriving during hard times.  Because they believed it and because they showed it to their customers, their customers continued to come.

Bar tenders could do a daily video or social media splash on “Drink of the Day” where they concoct and prepare a drink with specific instructions for their followers to make at home.  Of course, they could always offer the drink for carry out if the viewers didn’t happen to have all the ingredients at home.  The tag line would be something like, Just Add Ice!  By making a personal connection to customers online, they build trust with their customers and the following grows.

If a retail store was closed down, the owner could create a daily video with their dog.  They could show themselves opening boxes of new merchandise and showing it to a dog, or a baby, or a stuffed animal to emphasize that they were in quarantine but then turn to the camera like they just realized their customers could see into the store and offer the merchandise for online ordering.

The key is, no matter what event you are facing, there is always a more positive way to think about it and to deal with it.  Sometimes we are faced with things more difficult than being shut down by a freak of nature.  As a result, sometimes the way around the problem is harder.  The truth still remains – what you think and what you believe about your EVENT will have either a positive or a negative impact on your EVENT.  Enlarge your prison cell by thinking outside the box and seeing possibilities on the other side of the prison cell.

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How Small is your Prison Cell? – part 1

1D306A54-8530-4F46-8650-FE4F34622AD9It has been said that we all construct prison cells around ourselves.  The walls, ceiling and floor are made up of the beliefs that define us, the people that surround us and the fears that limit us.

The question each of us must ask ourselves is how small have we made our prison cells and are we happy within the confines of our walls.  Let’s first look at our beliefs as these pour the foundation of our lives.  The funny thing about beliefs is that most of them are not even ours!  They are beliefs passed down to us by those who were around us in our earliest years – the years before we were even capable of forming our own beliefs.

How about your beliefs on religion?  If you were raised in a religious home or even an anti-religious home, these beliefs could be the very corner posts of your prison cell.  Those who raised you instilled these beliefs in you from the day you were  born and , in most cases, offered no room to deviate from the belief.  Even after you were grown and started to have questions about some of it, you would not dare bring up your wavering faith to those who raised you.   For those of you who chose your own religious path in adulthood, this may not apply.

Kevin and I were both raised in the Christian Church.  The religious rules he was raised under were decidedly stricter than mine, but we were both given a strong religious belief system.  There were no questions as to what was true.  We were required by God himself to live a life as close to perfect as possible.  Every single time we did anything wrong, we were sinning against God and he was disappointed in us.  We had to believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in human form, preached his perfect message, took all of our sins upon himself so we could be saved and then was brutally murdered so that we could live forever in Heaven.  After he was dead, he was thrown in a cave with the doorway blocked by a huge stone.  After three days, he rose from the dead.  Badda Bing, Badda Boom, believe it or dwell in Hell for all of eternity. Period.

Then one day the thought occurred to me that maybe there was more than one point of view.   !!!GASP!!!  The thought that started me down this rabbit hole came to me while in elementary school learning about the Native Americans.  According to the doctrine we were fed, they were obviously savages who believed in multiple, false Gods.  Our forefathers were appalled and demanded that they be taught proper religion so their  souls could be saved.  I looked up pictures of their religious sites and practices.  I researched how closely bound they felt to their version of God – how they worshipped and believed.  They believed in a higher power just as strongly as we did, it was just different.  When I asked the BIG question to a Christian scholar, I was shocked at the answer.  I asked if all the Native Americans that had ever lived and died, were now in Hell because they hadn’t been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  The answer? “The only way to Heaven is through baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.  If they were not baptized, they were not saved.”   WOW!  That just didn’t sound like the God I prayed to in my endless prayer journals.  How could that even be a thing if these people had never had the opportunity to be taught about Christianity?  If their beliefs in a higher power were just as strong as mine, what made their beliefs wrong and what made my beliefs right?  How were we capable of judging when the Bible clearly tells us to not judge?

Think about this.  What if you had been born in a different part of the world?  What if you had been born to Muslim parents? Or Hindu parents?  Wouldn’t your beliefs in the religion you were raised with be as strong as your current beliefs?  Wouldn’t you then say that Christianity was completely wrong?  I mean, think about this –  what if YOU were raised as a Hindu and believed with every cell in your body that their multiple deity religion was the one true religion.  You would have Hindu holy books and scriptures that you would study just like we have our Bible.   You would believe that your Holy Scriptures were the true words given to you from the deities you worshipped.  Maybe you had never even heard of Christianity or whatever religion you practice?  Just take a minute to let that soak in.

The moral of the story is this:  if you have made your prison cell extremely small due to your rigid religious beliefs, is there any room to expand the space by at least opening the door to the possibility that maybe God is too big to be squashed into one tiny, confining box?  Maybe humans are not even capable of comprehending the concept of what God truly is.  Maybe trying to define God by a set of human rules is like comparing the color of the sun to a yellow crayon.  Before we condemn another human to eternity in Hell just because they grew up under different religious rules, maybe we could get to know that human on a personal level.   I am not suggesting in any way that anyone give up their own religious beliefs.  I know faith has given me a strong foundation on which to build my life.  I’m just asking, is there any room to expand our prison cells to be more accepting of others?

 

What if . . . We Chose Bliss?

31cca70c8ade7a51ecbd52addca84f19What if this virus vanished tomorrow?  What form of new normal would you choose?

What if during this time of reflection you chose to follow your bliss instead of following the herd?  Would you go back to the job that paid the bills but left you emotionally, spiritually and physically bankrupt?

What if you chose an occupation that provided for all of your material needs but filled your emotional, spiritual and physical bank accounts to overflowing?

What if you chose to admit that emotional bliss is more important than financial abundance.

What if you chose to believe in who you truly are – who you were destined to be on the day of your birth – who God sent you here to be – instead of who others and society told you to be.  From the day you were born, your parents, community  and society started teaching you who you should be, how you should behave, how you should eat, when you should eat, when you should sleep, what you should study, how you should look, who you should love, who you should hate, how you should earn a living, what you should fear and what you should desire.

What if you saw that all of this conditioning is just the deep desire of others to make you be like them or what they acknowledge as acceptable?

What if you gave yourself permission to be who YOU want to be, to love who You want to love, and be who YOU find acceptable.

What if you chose to support the human race instead of the rat race?

What if we, as a collective, could choose to rid ourselves of the desire to climb that illusive ladder, to be better than anyone else, to compete with others until we could hold our competitor’s severed head high above the crowd to prove we were the victor?

What if we chose to see that we always need others in order to succeed?

What if we worked with a sense of cooperation instead of competition?

What if we chose to do whatever we do with a servant’s heart instead of a winner’s heart?

What if we chose to live our lives in tune with the rhythms of the earth instead of by the never ending sweep of the hands on the clock?

What if we chose to live our lives guided by the lights of the sun, the moon and the stars instead of the buzzing, flickering, false light of the flourescent  bulbs on the other end of the light switch?

It has taken me nearly 60 years, but I have finally decided to follow my bliss.  Do you know what I am at my core?  Do you know what I came here to do?  I am a writer.  I came here to write and to give my writings to anyone who wanted to read them as my gift – not with the singular goal to become wealthy but with the goal of gift giving.  If I am given an outlet for my words, I already am wealthy!  Do you know when I first knew I was a writer?  I was a second grade student in Mrs. Huff’s class at Fall Creek Elementary School.  Mrs. Huff was gone for the day so we had a substitute teacher.  Our morning assignment was to write a paragraph about anything we chose to write about.  In my mind’s eye I saw a glorious sunrise over the high-rise buildings of New York City.  I wrote about the rising sun spilling it’s golden rays over the tops of the buildings like syrup flowing over a stack of pancakes!  LOL!  So dramatic!  Anyway, we had to go up to the teachers desk individually so he could read them.  When he read mine, he swiveled his chair around, put his elbows on his knees so we were eye level, looked me straight in the eye and told me my writing was amazing!  In that moment I knew I had the ability to see something in my mind and get that vision on paper.  To this day it amazes me how we can string a group of letters together to form the threads of thought to weave the very fabric of life!  For my whole life I have kept my writings in  journals in a tote in the attic.  Why?  Because, like all of us, I let others tell me their version of their truth.  I let them tell me that becoming a writer was nearly impossible and if I ever did get a book published, I could never actually make a living at writing.  I needed to be more in life than a writer – more than a day dreamer.  So now, 50 years from that day in second grade, it’s time for me to be my authentic self and to write.  What if you chose to join me on this quest for the truth?  What would you be if you chose to truly be you?

Can COVID-19 be our Hero’s Journey?

EED6C999-B8E2-44A6-80F7-C5C8D805DE66Our quest continues as the unprecedented pandemic of 2020 evolves day by day.   How can this unique time in the history be equated to a Hero’s Journey?  I was not familiar with a Hero’s Journey until yesterday when we were watching the film “Finding Joe” by Takaya Solomon – which I highly recommend.   I found the premise of the hero’s journey fit our current situation  perfectly.

The Hero’s Journey is an odyssey we all take at one time or another.  Right now it is so strange that the collective of humanity,  including you and me, are all on a version of a Hero’s Journey at the same time.  Usually this is an individual event that happens in someone’s life while the rest of the world goes on pretty much without  notice.  Today we are all offered the opportunity to experience the journey both individually and collectively which is fascinating!

There are three parts to a Hero’s Journey.  The first is a separation, followed by an initiation and completed with a return.  A wonderful example of this process is when Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to be tempted.  He was separated from all that he considered his normal life.  During his time of isolation in the wilderness, he faced great challenges or obstacles before his return to his new version of life.  This is the definition of the Hero’s Journey – something happens to separate us from our normal life such as a medical diagnosis, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a divorce, a natural disaster, or maybe a life changing accident.  Once we are forced from what was safe or comfortable, we are left without a foundation to stand on.  So many questions come up.  How can I regain my health? How will I pay my bills?  How will I make it on my own? Where will I live? How can I ever recover from this?  We will all struggle for a period of time as we try to make sense of what has happened and to absorb the shock of the situation.  This is the initiation phase, when we feel all the feels, the anger, sadness, hurt and shock.  This is the phase that transforms us.  We have the opportunity to come out the other end stronger, better or more bitter than we were before.

So here we find ourselves today.  We are in the initiation phase of our collective Hero’s Journey.  It is the decisions we make right now that will impact who we are when we come out of this crisis.  What can each of us do personally to make our lives better and what can we do as the human race to make our world better?   Do you have a secret dream?  Is there something you have always wanted to do but you were  worried about what people would think?   If you have lost your job, is there something else you would really love to pursue?  The opportunities are ripe for the picking right now.

Another fascinating thing I have discovered is that in the Chinese language, there are two symbols combined to represent the word “Crisis”.  Some sort of crisis is always the thing that causes the separation phase of our Hero’s Journey.  The first symbol means “Danger” and the second symbol means “Opportunity”.  Maybe it means there is the opportunity for danger in a crisis or maybe it means there is opportunity hidden within the danger.  The interpretation is really up to each person.  We all know those who have had something terrible happen to them and they never really recovered.  They re-enter their world as a shell of the person they were before.  On the other hand, we also know people who had something terrible happen to them and they rise above it to re-enter the world better than they were before.   For the vast majority of us, we are being forced to choose our new paths.  Even if you have not been negatively impacted by the pandemic, this is still a time you can choose a different path if that is what you want.  What will you choose?

Thanks for being here today.  You are very much appreciated!

 

 

What is the lesson from the Pandemic of COVID-19

 

It has been over a year since I have written.  It has been a year filled with new changes in more ways than anyone could ever have predicted!  When thinking about this time period, the word that most aptly fits is “suddenly!”  So many things have happened “suddenly that our lives look completely different than they did a year ago. 891CD4B7-F5D3-4720-8464-35330C3B1A0A

A year ago our dream of moving to Florida “suddenly” happened.  We decided to sell our house instead of the business and run the business remotely.  Our house sold very quickly so “suddenly” we were on a plane to our dream location to find a house.  “Suddenly” we were packed up and leaving everything we knew behind.  As soon as we settled into our new home in sunny Florida, “suddenly” we had a buyer for the business.  “Suddenly” we had no more ties, other than family, to Indiana.  “Suddenly” we were hosting guests in our home all the time!  We constantly had visits from our loved ones up north and we LOVED it!

 

And then “suddenly” everything stopped.  The virus was here and life as we knew it came to a screeching halt.  “Suddenly” we lived in a world filled with fear – fear of each other, fear of becoming sick, fear of losing jobs and livelihoods, fear of economic collapse, fear of the unknown.  “Suddenly” we were alone, locked in our homes with no idea of what might come next.  “Suddenly” the entire world got quiet.  “Suddenly“, in the midst of the quiet, I knew that I could either be part of the problem or I could be part of the solution.  I can’t make the virus go away and I can’t cure the sick, but I can spread hope for the world when this enemy leaves us.

 

We have all had the experience of walking into a room where 2 people have been fighting.  The air is filled with heavy, fear laden energy.  If feels terrible!  We have also all had the experience of walking into a celebration and felt that energy.  It is light and joyful and exciting.   “Suddenly” the entire world was heavy laden with a world wide blanket of fear.  Depression became the norm for huge numbers of people.  During this time I had to get myself out from under the burden of darkness.  I went inward to spend time in the divine light.  “Suddenly” I was able to see that maybe this pause wasn’t all bad.  Maybe this slow down is a time of pause to reflect on how we want life to  be in the future.  Maybe we want to re-enter a world where we can have lives filled with peace, harmony, oneness with the earth, oneness with all of humanity and oneness with God.

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I had a vision of a ray of pure, white light passing through a prism where it breaks down into the entire spectrum of color.  I saw humanity as being the prism in reverse.  Every single one of us has a light within us.  Because we are all different, our lights are all different hues of the spectrum of light.  No color is better or worse than another color.  Green is not better or worse than orange – they are just different colors of the light spectrum.  By coming together with a desire for a better world, we could join all of our individual lights, focus our light through the prism to form one beam of the pure, white light of the divine.  Maybe this is a great battle between good and evil, the light and the darkness.  I don’t know.  I do know that by focusing positive energy towards the future, better days will come.

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Suddenly” the time is here for us to focus on the future we want for our children.  We can choose to focus on fear and darkness or we can choose to focus on the light.  What is your choice?

Thanks for joining me today.  Please leave comments below so we can focus our light.

Who am I – No Regrets!

 

Its Monday afternoon in Central Indiana, cool to the point of being cold, dreary as it is from November 1 – April 1, and I am finding myself.  When I first started on this journey, I would have been depressed and anxiety ridden about this day.  I am still stuck in Indiana when I want to be in Florida.  I have had no luck selling my business which I saw as an anchor holding me back from achieving my dreams and I would have been totally stressed out by my fears of the future.  That is no way to live.  When I was spending my whole life stressing about things in the future, I never lived today.  I survived each day but I didn’t find the time to enjoy even a few minutes of it because I was projecting myself into a future that no one can predict.  I can’t live in the future.  If I am living in the future, worried about the future, wanting the future that I desire to hurry up and get here, I completely miss today!  If I am not living in the present, how is it even possible to figure out who I am.  The only thing that is possible is for me to project who I might be in the future.  I want to know who I am today.  To figure that out, I have to live in the present moment.  So here I am – in the present.

y2TErbPlTfOt6SDCqa59lwThere are customers walking around the second floor of our 120 year old building just outside my office space.  I can hear the creaking of the ancient wooden floors.  That creaking is somehow comforting to me.  I can think of the thousands of feet that have trodden these floors in the past.  I can hear these customers talking to each other, exclaiming their delight in the beautiful prom dresses they are searching through.  Mom’s and daughters sharing this experience.  What a blessing!  I’m so glad I am able to provide them this experience!  I also hear one of my long time employees helping the girls with their search.  What a blessing!  This employee was a star athlete and student -the whole package – in high school.  Then she got pregnant and delivered her son 3 weeks after her senior prom.  This could have been a disaster for some but not for her.  She came to us 5 months pregnant seeking a job.  I saw in her something special.  She has worked for us for over 2 years now.  She is going to college full time and will start student teaching in about 9 months.  She is raising her son in whom she sees all the glory of God.  She loves working with our customers.  She is going to leave us in a little over a year so that she can go out into the world and make the world a better place!  What a blessing!  My greatest achievement is using this business to make the world a better place by helping these girls get through college so that they can be a gift to the world.  How blessed am I!  Being present in the moment today has made me so grateful for the blessed life I am living.  So, who am I?  I am blessed.

 

Mid Life Crisis – Who the Heck am I?

So you may be wondering about the name of this blog – The Lanai and I.  A Lanai is what people who live in tropical areas refer to as their covered patios, outdoor living areas, pool areas, etc.  You know, those wonderful places that those of us who live in the north dream about.  Kevin, and I don’t have a Lanai.  We only have dreams of one.  One of these days all of our hard work is going to pay off and we are going to have our own, fabulous Lanai.  We are going to spend most of our time there with tropical foliage everywhere and the ocean right beyond the lanai.  Ahhh, sounds great!  For the time being our lanai is only in our minds.  Each day when I come to you I am going to pretend I am writing from our tropical oasis.

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What is this blog all about?  It’s about mid-life – a weird place that I have found myself.  Now that I have found myself here I have discovered the following:  I have no idea who I am, what I believe and what has happened to my sexy, little, cheerleader body!  I am also suddenly awakening to what could be coming in the future!  Growing old is not for the faint of heart!

I am about as ordinary as any person on this planet so I know that if I am going through this loss of identity, there are thousands, maybe millions, of others who are in the exact same place.  My mission is to tread these unknown waters with purpose and direction and to share every step of the journey with you.  Maybe together we can all figure out who we are and where we are going during the second have of our time here on earth.  I am resolute in my efforts to find out who I am, to get my body back to a healthier weight and condition, figure out how I want to grow spiritually, fend off the ravages of old age and fill each day with purpose.

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I would love to have you join me on this journey!  Please subscribe to receive updates directly to your inbox!

What the Heck Happened?

Now I know what it means to have a Mid Life Crisis!  I have always heard that men go through these things and end up buying crazy sports cars or some such thing.  All my life I assumed that women were immune to Mid Life Crisis’.  That assumption is proving incorrect!  I haven’t gone out and purchased a crazy fast car.  I did; however, buy a crazy Golden Doodle that I didn’t need!  LOL!!!

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Seriously, I have reached my late 50’s.  One day not long ago, I woke up, looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself, “What the HELL happened to you, who are you and what are you doing in my mirror!  The sobering, soul-shocking answer was that I didn’t know who I was anymore!  I didn’t recognize that face looking back at me from the mirror and I had no idea how I had let myself get in this condition.

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First of all, my identity.  There was a fast paced high school life full of homework, sports and social events.  Its all kind of a blur to be honest.  Then there was college – a dreadful four years of being tossed out my comfort zone and into a world of thousands of teenagers being turned loose without parental control.  WOW!  Again, most of those years have been reduced to a foggy memory.  Then right into a marriage to my high school sweetheart, a year and a half of figuring out how to be married adults and then came parenthood!  And parenthood is where we stayed until now.  All of my jobs revolved around our children.  I was a day care director where I could take our young children with me to work every day for no charge.  When they got to be school age, I became a Realtor so that I could make my own schedule.  I had a standing appointment everyday for 3:00 when our children got home from school.  We were at every sporting event, were chaperones for trips and were there for our children no matter what!  Being parents is what we did and we did it well!  Then came the time when our children got drivers licenses, cars, social lives and started talking about going to college!  These ungrateful rogues were going to up and walk out on us!  After all we had done for them!  Are you kidding me!  I completely freaked out.  Just the thought of empty nesting threw me into a state of panic.  What would I do if there were not children to mother?  Who would I be if I wasn’t So and So’s mom?  To prevent this loss of identity, we decided to extend our parenting life by adding to our family through international adoption.  Whew!  Crisis averted!  We had a 9 month old baby to raise!  YAY!  Life as we knew it could continue!  It has been a wonderful experience, but let me tell you, parenting in your 20’s and 30’s is WAY easier than parenting in your 40’s and 50’s!  Now that we have our youngest child to age 17, I am exhausted and I still don’t know who I am as an individual.

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Then there is my body.  You know, you give birth a couple times, have a few injuries, a couple of medical issues and go through a couple of life changing, drop you to your knees, hard times and things happen.  When all of this crisis came to a head, I had to look at myself in the mirror.  I mean a full length mirror with me in my birthday suit.  HOLY COW!!!   Where was my cute little cheerleader body that I had when we started our family?  Believe me when I say it was LONG gone!!!  I was practically TWICE the woman I once was!!!  OMG OMG OMG!!!!  What a horror!!

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And then there was that face looking back at me that wasn’t the me I remembered.  When I didn’t even recognize myself I realized I had to make some changes.  For the first time ever, I have to figure out who I am when I am not someone’s wife or parent.  I am still both of those things, but I am also me.   I just have to figure out who me really is.  While I am figuring that out, I want to make my body healthier so that it can carry the real me though the rest of this journey.  The road is going to be rough and rugged.  Are you ready to go along with me?  Lets all figure out who we are together!

 

 

 

 

Contentment Comes to the Calm

Let me start by saying that I for sure don’t have all the answers!  By my very nature I am high-strung, anxiety ridden and driven – quite the opposite of calm!  However, I have also always been a student of the great wisdom teachers both ancient and contemporary.  All of the wisdom texts tell us to be still.

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There was a time not too many years ago when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Imagine that!!! Hard to believe – I know – but its true.  For a couple of years I was on blood pressure medicine which corrected the symptoms and I didn’t think about it too much.  Then started all the TV ads for lawsuits against this medication and that medical procedure.  These were all medications and treatments that had been deemed safe by the powers that be.  Now we were finding out that they were not safe.  People were suffering long-term and even deadly effects from these “safe” medical practices.  It made me wonder – is this blood pressure medicine really safe?  It probably was but it made me wonder again – is it solving my blood pressure problem or just lowering my blood pressure?  I decided to do an experiment.  I had a routine appointment scheduled with my doctor to check my blood pressure in about 30 days.  I decided to see if I could solve the problem without medication.  (Please don’t do this on your own for any medical condition.  Always consult your doctor before changing any medical routine.).  Being who I am I obviously had to set goals.  I would spend the first 10 days researching ways to reduce blood pressure naturally while weaning myself off of the medication.  I would spend the next ten days putting into practice what I had learned from my research.  During the final 10 days I would take my blood pressure 3 times every day, record the results and record what I was doing at the time of the reading.  I would then present my data to the doctor and plead my case that I didn’t need the medication anymore.  If I couldn’t get the numbers down and if my plan didn’t work, I would gladly stay on the medication because I would have proved to myself that it was best for my health.

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During my research phase, it seemed like every single thing I read exalted the practice of meditation for reducing blood pressure.  Of course I thought meditation was so weird thing where I would be in some sort of trance and see visions of who knows what.  That seemed a little out there for me but, what the heck, lets give it a go!  So the first part of learning to meditate is learning to quiet the mind – kind of like resting a muscle after over exerting it for a long period of time.  With all the thoughts and activities going on in my brain, I was definitely over exerting it!  That part made sense.  I just needed to give my mind a few minutes of quiet rest every day.  That would, in turn, relax my whole being, reduce my stress and anxiety and lower my blood pressure.  Perfect!!!  That was the goal.  I would sit on a cushion in a quiet place and relax my mind.  Then my blood pressure would drop to normal and I would be good to go!  OK!  Let’s meditate!

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Well!  That was the first time that I realized that I had a three-ring circus on steroids going on in my head!!!  The books said to just watch the thoughts come and go in your mind and then release them into nothingness.  Just observe them passively instead of interacting with them.  So I did that!  I started to notice all the thoughts going on in there and observe them.  Let me tell you – that first day it looked like an L.A. freeway during rush hour with a wild-fire evacuation order in effect in my mind!!!  Good Heavens!  There were thoughts and feelings crashing around in there like a room full of toddlers with ADHD!  No wonder I was so stressed!  So this was my starting place.  It took a few weeks of trying to relax my mind every day to get to the point where I could let it all go for a few minutes each day.  And you know what!  It worked.  I started feeling calmer and more relaxed.  I did it for 20 days in a row before I started taking my blood pressure readings.  By the time I went to the doctor, I had a chart with normal readings most of the time.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.  I told her what I had been doing and she gave me her blessing to stay off the medication as long as I continued to monitor it at home.  I also had to promise that if it could no longer be managed I would need to reconsider the medication.

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That was a couple of years ago.  It seems to me that I have fallen off the relaxation wagon.  I haven’t taken my blood pressure in a very long time.  I will report on what my numbers are currently when I join you again on Friday.  I have a feeling I might have some work to do.  Maybe it is time to get back into a better place.   Maybe all this mountain climbing I have been doing and now the deep desire to get off the mountain are wake up calls to get back to a place of peace.  Maybe I need to relearn how to be peaceful and happy where I am while taking steps to get to where I want to be next.  Would you like to take this journey with me?  Hit the Subscribe button so we can do this together!

 

God Doesn’t Need My Help!

I received a comment on yesterday’s post that kinda made me stop for just a minute.  The comment was that maybe, for whatever reason, the timing is just not right for The Love of My Life and I to make such a drastic change and God is telling us to wait.

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That made me think of several different things such as the old saying “be careful what you pray for because you might just get it!” and also Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “there is a time for everything and a season for everything.”

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Maybe my reader has a divinely valid point.  We have both prayed so hard, for so long that the changes we are seeking will come to be.  God is well aware of what we think we want.   We don’t have to keep making our wishes known over and over and over.  The stress and anxiety of pushing for our goals so hard is overwhelming!  Maybe it is time to relax, enjoy, be grateful and cherish today!  Maybe we don’t have to MAKE things happen.  Instead maybe we just need to LET things happen.  All the players and pieces are in place.  Maybe its OK to just let things work themselves out.  Maybe its OK to let everyone do what they are suppose to be doing without our interference.

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It feels so good to just relax today!  Where we are right now is actually really comfortable!  We have a nice home with all the modern conveniences, the businesses are providing a very adequate income, all of our bills are paid, we drive newer vehicles, we have plenty of food in the pantry, we are healthy, our kids are all doing well right now, we get to see both of our moms and our grandson frequently and I actually love running a thriving bridal shop!  So what do I have to complain about?

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If I am getting a little tired, there is nothing that says I can’t start taking a few days off here and there.  I have an amazing staff in place who can run things with their eyes closed.  Maybe I don’t have to get to work an hour before anyone else gets there.  Maybe I don’t have to get up at 2:00 a.m. to answer Facebook messages to the shop.  Maybe its OK to not answer business emails before my first cup of coffee.  Maybe I just need to stop making my own life so hard!!!  Maybe I just need to get out of my own way!

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With this new mindset I was able to sleep in this morning!  I was able to come to work without the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I made a To Do List for myself and the staff and we  got it all done!  And it was easy!  Somewhere along the way I forgot to enjoy what I love doing and made it all too difficult!  I am so grateful for the bounty of blessings we all experience each and every day!

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Maybe I’ll just let God work out the details and I’ll take time to enjoy the ride.  I want to thank my valued reader for the words of wisdom and I want to share them with all of you.  Are there things in your life that just don’t seem to be working out?  Are your struggles weighing you down and wearing you our to your very core?  Maybe its OK to give yourself permission to just turn it over to your higher power and  relax a little bit.  If worrying and stressing won’t change it, then let it go!  Today might be our last day on this earth.  Maybe we should take the time to enjoy it!