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Sunday, December 28, 2014

"WORDS WITH FRIENDS (and strangers)"

I've learned how important it is to think before I open my mouth because you cannot take back words once you toss them like daggers. These days I'm wiser and more considerate. I don't take things so personal. Yet, truth be told, it wasn't always easy to be forgiving of rude strangers and rude loved ones. I'd puff up like a ruffled rooster ready to defend myself against nasty words. My attitude changed in one afternoon.

I used to provide a product called a "Life Book." I'd ask a client random questions and, using my stenography skills, I'd type a verbatim record. At the end of the session, the client had a written book of his/her life in addition to an audio recording.

One of my clients was an older man who had terminal cancer. His family hired me to make a Life Book to help them during the inevitable grief process that was sure to follow. The sessions were emotionally charged as his life was coming to an end. I'm not going to sugarcoat it; this wasn't an easy job for me, but providing a service that helped families in their grief was an honor.

Listening to this man share his life path gave me a window into his heart, his accomplishments, and the lessons he had learned through his years. He was kind and he was wise. This beautiful human being said something that, to this day, I still marvel how it changed my way of communicating and reacting in my daily life. I became very conscious of the responsibility the spoken word entails and its cause and effect. His message was so simple. So obvious. Yet so frequently ignored.

"Recall for me some of the most important lessons you have learned in life." 

He answered, "Try not to do things that make other people cry."

Again, so simple. So obvious. Yet so frequently ignored. In today's world, taking responsibility for our words and actions seems like outdated, old-fashioned values. It seems more common that a sense of entitlement overrides a sense of decency.

Live a life softening your words. Negative words can have a ripple effect, rolling like jagged rocks, hurting a lot of people. Live a life doing your best to avoid hurtful actions that may cause tears.

The reality is people are going to piss us off. Whether it's a loved one or a complete stranger, it's gonna happen. It's how we choose to respond that's our responsibility. Because at the end of our life, from a spiritual perspective, it's not going to matter what they did so much as wishing we had rose to the occasion in a positive light.

Try not to do or say things that make other people cry. You can't go backwards. But if, while moving forward, one consciously strives to be mindful of their words and actions and the impact on others -- including the rude crab apples  -- it's a step in the right direction to a life with the least amount of regrets.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I've been told that I see the world through rose-coloured glasses. I've been told this as if it's a bad thing. I suppose I could take it that way and hang my head and feel ashamed of myself. Boo-hoo! But why would I do that? Where would that get me? I'll take the pink spectacles.

I've also been told that I live with my head in the clouds. I sure do! I make it a point to look UP as often as I can, seeking the light that shines around me. The way I see it even a dark cloud offers white light in its stormy lightening.

I'm a "feeler." I was born very sensitive. But being born this way, can be emotionally taxing, so in order to avoid being swallowed up by everything I absorb, I've learned to bend. There's a lot of good in the world, but there's also a lot of crappy stuff. There's crappy people around us and crappy stuff happens to us. That's life.

This is what I've learned: If I absorb negative feelings too much I'll implode. In order to avoid implosion, I carefully consider where negative thinking will take me. Hence, I make the choice to spin negative thoughts/situations around until they land on the positive. Yeah, folks, in order to find balance in my life, I choose to consciously sport rose-coloured glasses.

Seeing situations in a "rosy" light doesn't mean ignoring the truth and playing ostrich with your head in the sand. For me -- and I stress for me -- this way of thinking means acceptance for what IS negative and acceptance for the cause and effect if I choose to negatively absorb it. Of course we shouldn't ignore anything detrimental to our well-being. I think that's a given. But keeping my focus on the negative only leaves me stuck. And it sucks to be stuck in a negative state of mind. 

I perceive this rosy way of thinking as accepting what the "world" is showing me as it is, finding that inner knowing when to walk away, yet walking through it and out of it minus the lingering negativity. I have found that for me focusing on the positive and eventually turning my thoughts entirely away from the negative helps me do this. I see the negative for what it is, let it wash over me, and then I let the negative emotions flow away (Note: once I move beyond something I do write and share what I learned from events with the hope of helping another). 

I believe everything happens for a reason. Even if it doesn't make sense in the moment I do believe that there is a higher good that will come out of any situation. And I really mean any situation. Is this kind of thinking hard to do? Of course it is, and it takes practice to get used to a new way of thinking, and it sometimes takes patience with oneself to get there. And guess what? I screw it up sometimes, but I just have to keep at it because I'm happier focusing on the positive and more doors open to sunshine living this way.

Here's how I navigate the personal nasties: When something really crappy is happening in my personal life I imagine seeing myself outside of my body. Huh?! I separate myself in my mind's eye from my physical body and look at myself as a separate being. I take the emotion out of it and look at a painful situation I'm in from a detached perspective. 

For me, it's easier to be logical, easier to be fair to myself, and easier to see all angles from a compassionate point of view when stepping outside of myself. It's also easier for me to see what I need to take responsibility for and what is not my responsibility that I'm negatively absorbing.

Then I think about the best avenue this "person" in front of my mind's eye should take that would best benefit her well-being. Then I push through the pain and I act on it. See, I've learned that no matter how much something hurts, no matter how many tears fall off my face, I will get through the rain and bloom in the sunshine. It's really that simple. We just have to trust the process and trust ourselves.

Some may say, Well, look at your rosy life! You don't know what pain is or what I'm going through! You haven't walked in my shoes! 

You'd be right. I don't know what you're going through. I'm not walking in your shoes. But you don't really know what I've gone through either. One thing seems to be for sure: we all grieve and react in our own way. And here is something we have in common: we can't turn back the clock and we can't make irreversible bad things not happen. It's done. We either sink in the sand or move out of it. 

It may feel impossible at times to shift a negative into a positive but concentrate on one day at a time. There will come a point where it will become natural and an inner shift will be so subtle that you might wake up one day and surprise yourself. Wow, those dark clouds are beautiful!

Although I feel it's important to open our eyes to hurtful people and negative situations, and although I feel it's important to make changes that benefit our well-being, I also feel that lingering in the negativity doesn't do much good. Accepting a negative situation for what it is, then letting it go and focusing on the positive that came out of a negative situation benefits my personal happiness. I'm thankful for those nasties! 

So go ahead and call me weird. I'm the weirdo in the pink glasses sporting a smile. W-E-I-R-D… wonderful, energetic, insightful, radiant, diamond. How flattering!

Had to add this. I love a good giggle.