5 Things I’m Doing For Myself

1- Use only the most helpful and positive technology.  Last month I downloaded the Insight Timer, an app for meditation.  It’s become very important to me that I do some group meditations now and again.  Through the Insight Timer app, I joined a Global Meditation Group that periodically meditates for planetary peace and well-being.  Plus I’ve created a few meditation presets with and without background sound, with varying time limits.  And, I’m connecting with people all over the world.  Technology is here and I’m good with technology if we can use it to support ourselves.  https://insighttimer.com/

2-Join groups for support.  There are a few meditation groups in my area and I’ve been sitting in on their group meditations, in-person (not virtually, as with the app I just mentioned).  I found all of these meditation groups on Meetup.  And all are based on mindfulness meditation practices.  Most of these groups have someone who leads the meditation, offers a message that we can then offer our response to.  We share how we feel and, from listening, we can become more clear.  Plus, I just like the connection I feel from a group meditation.  https://www.meetup.com/

3-Play.  I just finished an art class in pastels, a new medium for me to learn.  Every time I play with art I have to learn that it’s not about striving for more talent in an effort to become an accomplished artist, but more to let go, have fun and play.  This is a good way to feel about art because it takes me away from comparisons, from negative self-talk and instead, I learn to see something beautiful in what I create.  Self-deprecation is not a friend.  Humility is an admirable characteristic, but only to a point.  I’m all in favor of looking at our art, our music, whatever our passion is, and to recognize the awesomeness of what we’re creating, regardless of how it compares to others.

Speaking of creating…

4-From dawdling to prioritizing.  When I doubt myself, get scared, I can procrastinate which way the hair blows down the back of a gnat’s ass.  However, what I really want is to continue taking steps to create my dreams and ideas.  I have a habit of first cleaning the house, then cooking, maybe paying bills, running errands, and then, if there’s time, working on my ideas.  Rather, on a good day, when I prioritize first what my passion is, I’m sending a message to both the universe and to myself that my dream is important.  The more I prioritize my dreams, the more I open to the next steps to act on my ideas.  I begin to receive assistance in all kinds of ways.  And, I’ve asked for assistance when stuck in procrastination mode.  Even as I’m dawdling, I’ll ask for assistance for moving forward, and an opportunity will show up gently encouraging me forward.

5-Practice awareness.  Becoming aware of how assistance is coming through for me.  Becoming aware of my self-talk and thoughts.  Especially becoming aware of my heart as I meditate, as I meet with someone, even as I’m out doing something as mundane as grocery shopping.  Ok, I’m human so I’m not aware all the time, but I am more and more, and it’s making a positive difference in my life from the way I hold myself to the connection I feel.  This past week, I was at a holiday party for a wonderful non-profit, and as their volunteers were being recognized, I stood there watching and thinking “May everyone feel peace, love, support, and a sense of cooperation, and collaboration”.   To me, they’ve been creating exactly that, peace, love, support, cooperation, and collaboration.  It was kind of a metta (loving kindness) meditation while standing in a room full of people.  And then a funny thing happened, my raffle ticket won the big raffle prize and I was shaken out of my reverie big time.  In the next moment I was thanking people, shaking hands, and having my photo taken and walked away with a high-end sailing jacket.  For a long minute (maybe two hours or so), I felt guilty for winning that jacket because I only volunteered one to three times for that organization.  My husband had to talk me off the ledge by reminding me it was a raffle ticket that anyone was able to win, any active volunteer like himself, or a non-volunteer, anyone who attended the party.  I kicked my guilt to the curb, allowed myself to be thankful for winning the lovely gift, shut-up, and enjoyed the moment.

One more thing, and this brings it to six, not five, but who’s counting?

6-Watch less TV!  My husband and I have really gotten into a rut of watching TV.  Granted, they’re not violent shows, but there’s usually something upsetting happening at some point.  night-television-tv-theme-machinesHere’s the deal.  My brain or body doesn’t know the difference between real life and the make-believe lives on TV.  So when I watch a TV show and get attached to the characters and the story lines, it’s like it’s really happening.  The emotions I feel, the tension in my body, are a result of watching the show.  What’s worse, later on I may still think about it as I fall asleep, or when I wake up.  That’s why I watch the news almost not at all.  It stays with me and revisits me, visually and emotionally, until I feel dis-empowered, depressed, and hopeless and then I’m no good to anyone.  It’s important to remember that everything has an energy,  and what we take into our bodies affects us visually, emotionally, and physically.  In our world, when my husband and I watch TV, one of us isn’t playing guitar, the other isn’t painting, we’re not sitting in front of the fire listening to music, or talking to each other.  TV is a time suck and we have too many interests for time sucks.  It rarely adds to my life, and it’s addictive.  pexels-photo-688019So, in an effort to get back to a good balance, we just finished eating our chili in front of the fire, and I’m now writing this post in front of the fire.  The TV is in the other room, and it’s off.

 

Our moods have a lot to do with how we are being and what we’re creating.  Can you think about how you’re supporting yourself (or not) by your patterns and habits?  It’s so worth a look.  Little steps can make a huge difference in our lives.  It’s fun to learn how we can create big change in our lives, from taking small positive steps.

 

 

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I recently met Joy

Do you ever feel that you’re all in your head, thinking about this or that?  Oh, I sure do.  I wonder about and consider things so much, that I tend to go seriously serious.  Granted, while a lot of what I’m considering is fascinating and worthy of much consideration, it’s not my intention, but my “thinkiness” holds me back and dampens my mood.  It’s impossible for me to be both analytical and joyful at the same time.  Knowing this, I head off to my favorite local hiking trail to enjoy myself.  IMG_9188 copy

Still pondering universal naval fluff, I focused on my breathing and on navigating my way around the newer trails.  On my return route I saw a man and his puppy heading my way.  The minute I saw the puppy I felt my heart jump.  He was happy to see me too.  He jumped up licking my hand, did a couple of pirouettes, jumped up and licked my hand again.  It was a love fest.  I chatted for a couple of minutes with his person while I petted this adorable puppy.  It was time to continue in our opposite directions.  After a couple of steps, I looked back and saw the puppy had stopped and was looking at me.  He seemed to be wondering “you’re not coming with us”?  I said goodbye and turned back to my walk.  I never asked his person what the puppy’s name was, but I would have named him Joy.  Imagine people asking what’s your dog’s name and answering “this is Joy”!   Joy showed up at just the right time, excitedly encouraging me to get out of my head and to choose lightheartedness.

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WP Photo Challenge – Temporary

This was the first time my husband and I carved a pumpkin together.  Of course, we named him Jack.  We created him by searching for ideas on Pinterest.  My only criteria as we searched, was that our pumpkin have a happy face.

Gee wiz I’ve grown accustomed to him sitting next to our front door.   I know that Jack is only temporary.   But it won’t be easy to let him go.  We didn’t carve last year’s pumpkin, and we kept that one until the life oozed out of it.  But we won’t let that happen to Jack.  He’ll go with dignity and return next October to smile once again.

Even more temporary than Jack, is the pretty fall foliage.  I wanted to run over to the golf course near a walking trail I use, because the prettiest most vividly reddish trees are there.  Unfortunately, my silly daily errand list delayed my visit by too many days. Yesterday I could see that most of the leaves had fallen off.  Here’s a photo of this year’s (now vowing to get there earlier next year), as well as last year’s, (when I vowed to get there earlier this year).

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2017

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2016

It’s a Good Time in Our World Now

It’s a good time to make a difference.

People, particularly women these days, are feeling empowered to speak up for themselves.  To be seen as equals.  To see ourselves as worthy, to settle for nothing less.  To feel empowered to speak up when we are mistreated and disrespected, by any degree.  However a movement begins, whatever grim set of circumstances started it, will never overshadow the powerful results.  Everyone involved, from those watching, to the harmed, to even the ones that did the harming, had a part in moving mankind forward.  But it will require focus and intention, not to fall back into the role of being marginalized, and looking the other way out of fear, or feelings of unworthiness.

There are others illustrating that everyone is entitled to the liberties they deserve, based not only on the law, but also out of sheer humanity.  They’re using a powerful symbol to demonstrate this point. By shining a light on an entire population that are entitled to the very liberties that, that very symbol stands for.  It’s the perfect illustration, with the perfect symbol.  Their perseverance with their gesture illustrates their courage, their humanity.  These individuals understand that complaining to each other, or grousing at the news, would not make a positive difference, it would only contribute to the problem.  Instead, they chose to act on their feelings.  Their peaceful action is impressive.  And they are moving mankind forward.

 

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Everyday seemingly inconsequential acts of kindness move mankind forward.  But often, it’s the more emotional, sensational, and divisive issues that pull people together, and shift mankind in larger numbers.  One day we won’t need scandals or atrocities to activate us toward becoming more humane.  However, until then, it will take us peacefully expressing ourselves to stand for a better world, and inspire others to do the same.  A world where we treat others the way that we expect to be treated.

We all have something we care about. What are you standing up for?  For me, I know there are some things I can speak up about, starting within just my personal life, as well as many things I’m concerned about as a citizen of our world.

All of us are here to do our part to assist mankind in moving forward.

WP Wkly Photo Challenge – Peek

For the WordPress weekly photo challenge, Peek.   We were sailing just yesterday.  A bit overcast but warm for a November day.   Not terribly windy, did maybe 6 knots or so.  I’m always peeking around our main and jib sail to see if we’re in any danger of plowing into either a crab pot or another sailboat.  You can see a Trimaran off in the distance.  Not too many boats out there on a November weekday.  But the Naval Academy midshipmen were enjoying themselves on their very pretty, but sluggish (tee hee) sailboats, with their over the top impressive boat names.  All of us seemed to be enjoying ourselves.

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Rounded – WP Weekly Photo

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The stairs for the Pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  Patterson Park is a really nice park that I’d never before been to and reminding me a little of Central Park.  That day I was meeting with a discussion group, and we sat on blankets and yoga mats chatting just outside the Pagoda.  Fortunately, the building happened to be open, and we were able to climb the rounded spiral stairs to appreciate the beautiful stained glass windows and phenomenal view of the city from the outside top balcony.  I LOVE looking up spiral staircases.  Down is good too!  Sorry, no photo of the outside, but here are the factoids from the Park’s website where you can find a photo of the Pagoda.

The Pagoda

Known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day. From the top of the tower one can view downtown, Baltimore’s many neighborhoods, the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry.

Over time and due to natural decay, vandalism, and lack of maintenance funds, the Pagoda was closed to the public in 1951 when the first of a series of partial renovations was attempted. At one point demolition was proposed as an option but thankfully the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park called for the complete restoration of the Pagoda. This project was guided by the Friends of Patterson Park, in partnership with Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and MANY neighborhood volunteers. Completed in the spring of 2002, the Pagoda now stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park. It is also the location of many programs and events, such as the Friends of Patterson Park Summer Concerts Series, Audubon’s family programs, Tour Dem Parks waterstop, one of the sites of AVAM’s Kinetic Sculpture Race obstacles, The Friends’ annual Moonlight Pagoda event and much, much more!

Source:  Friends of Patterson Park website:  https://pattersonpark.com/park-landmarks

We Contribute, One Thought at a Time

In spite of all the tragedies, natural disasters, polarization, political controversies, including corporate, political, and personal abuse, I still believe each of us everyday, seemingly ordinary human beings, are bringing about more peace, love, and light, in the world.

I don’t own a major company, and most people don’t even know I’m on the planet, but I feel I’m doing my part.  I certainly didn’t wow the educational system or set the corporate world on fire, but in my own way I know I’m contributing.  I have a small following, but I’m still making my impact.   Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to find the most eloquent words to write or to speak, but still I believe I’m able to make a difference.  Everyone makes a difference in the world.  Everyone.

I really believe we beneficially contribute to the world even more so through feeding our spirit by doing what brings us joy, and living from lighter and higher emotions.  As each of us create avenues for positive change in ourselves, all of humanity benefits as well.

Every time we laugh we make a contribution to the collective consciousness.  Every time we’re inspired by a work of art, a book, a film, a conversation, our resulting inspired thoughts and feelings ripple out to all.  When we choose to think a beautiful thought, among so many other kinds of thoughts we could choose to think, we’re contributing to mankind.  When I cook one of my vegan meals and my husband opts in and valiantly eats every bite out of love, he’s contributing because he’s melting my heart with every bite.  No moment is too silly or insignificant.

Most everyone knows that kindness towards someone else, directly contributes to whom the kindness is directed to.  But it’s easy to forget to be kind to ourselves, especially when things get tough.  Self-kindness is a gift to ourselves.  It’s also a gift to others because the beneficial feelings ripple out to all.  How we feel as we go about our day, touches many.  How we’re spending our time.  Joyful, fun, interesting, rewarding?  Or, do we feel constricted?  What are our feelings telling us?  What kinds of thoughts are we holding?  Are they positive or negative thoughts?  What kinds of words are we using?  Lighthearted, humorous, or inspiring, or negative, self-deprecating, or limiting?  Are we taking action on our dreams?   What kinds of habits do we have?

As we become aware of ourselves, open to our light and personal strength, we can’t help but consciously create a more loving, compassionate, joyful experience for ourselves, and the world.  Each of us becomes a light for each other.

For me, the higher I take my feelings by honoring myself with better thoughts and habits, the less I want to name-call any name-callers, or hate the haters.  It also seems especially counter-intuitive to me, to tear down those that tear down others.

I can’t think of a better time for more and more of us to realize our self-worth, our strength, our personal power.  We hold back and hope that someone more qualified, more awesome, more special, more divine, will improve things.  But we’re all already that.  The solution isn’t with an elected official, world leader, or famous what’s-her/his-name, it’s everyone, the collective us.   We’re positively impacting the world as we

  • Lead with our best effort in more moments
  • Create positive messages and take positive actions
  • Act on our own beneficial ideas and solutions
  • Collaborate
  • Support one another
  • Believe in better possibilities

How we are being, how we are taking care of ourselves, is how we evolve our communities, our world governments, corporations, financial systems, educational institutions, healthcare, our world, our hearts, our consciousness, our humanity.

While each of us is having our own individual life experience, we are one spirit and one humanity.

two kids humanityWhatever experiences we’re in the midst of, whether we’re lighthearted, sad, confused, or joyful, we still connect with each other.  We transform ourselves and the world, one beneficial thought at a time, and through even the smallest human gesture.

What do you think?  Do you see yourself individually and collectively, contributing?