Oct 30

Reading the menu or enjoying the banquet?

132Focusing on the goal, making decisions, capture the moment.

Most spend their lives reading the menu instead of enjoying the banquet. True or false? How many actually take time to read anything of substance, even if it is a menu. Perhaps we just look at pictures and hope the food served will look similar to the photo.

When referring to the banquet of life and all the colorful items on display, are we free to take time to observe and acknowledge the vast amount of experiences that are available? There may be times when we are too tired to make a decision due to over stimulation, after all, there are so many things to choose from.

What movie to watch, what book to read, what activity would be fun to participate in with family or friends? There are so many decisions we must make every day for a variety of reasons. Many report it is difficult to make a commitment for one thing, knowing if they do, they also made a commitment not to do something else during that time.

To be free to choose gives us the opportunity to be unique in a world filled with anxiety, fear of missing out, and people who are addicted to distractions! Are we willing to enjoy the banquet of life, or continue to hide in isolation, being too afraid to even look at what is on the real menu. Choose life!

Oct 29

How do you measure up?

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Simply put, really living simple and being organized looks different to everyone.

Living the simple life sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? The question is what do we do with all the stuff we may have accumulated? There are definitions or categories that a group of people created that describes people according to the amount of stuff they have gathered.

*Hoarders – Preparers – Pack Rats- Clutters – Collectors – Compulsive Shoppers

Where do you see yourself? There are many who have watched television shows about ‘Hoarders’. Some may think maybe their neighbor, family, or a friend is a hoarder too. Secretly they may even realize they have some type of hoarding issues as well. What do we do about it?

If one Googled the term “hoarder” and read Wikipedia they could get insight to the definition. As a mental health professional, I use the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel (DSM-5) that provides criteria that determines if someone truly suffers from a hoarding disorder.

When we see words that suggest we simplify our lives, we need to recognize it is easier said than done. There are many variables that must be addressed for each of us when dealing with letting go of materialistic things. The unseen ties and emotional bonds that are attached through memories or belief systems make it very difficult to separate people from their belongings.

The word belonging is a powerful image to be used in this context. One might say, “These things belong here, they have always been here”. Another may say, “Those belonged to my son or daughter when they were young, I couldn’t bear to part with them”. Working with one woman, she stated, “My husband used to golf when he was younger and paid good money for those clubs; I know he is almost ninety and hasn’t played in fifty years but still I can’t sell those!”

The list can go on and on, as we justify why we need this or why we need to go buy more of that. Rest assured the time will come when we all have to deal with our stuff one way or the other. Do we have too much now? Can we keep gathering, collecting or storing up for a rainy day? When do we realize we too have the opportunity to become somewhat of a hoarder?

Is it too late to choose to live a more simplistic life? It is never too late, although we now may need assistance from others as we move forward towards our desire to a clutter free environment.

Oct 28

Is the depth of meaning too deep?

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“Lost in the depth of seeking truth and her love of reading.”

Here is a challenge to embark on a new adventure that is not expensive. All it requires is a willingness to read a unique, unusual, or different type of book than what was read in the past. To do so will provide many new insights. For example, there is a wealth of knowledge, intrigue, romance and every other type of action and emotion buried within classic literature.It is amazing to see tremendous volumes of elegant and sophisticated writing hidden within each page.We can actually find it refreshing if we take time to enjoy the depth of meaning in a language that is rarely spoken although it is actually English.

The times and culture have influenced the way our society communicates, in written and spoken form, with the use of  technology that we have at our fingertips. Will we sacrifice our ability to speak face to face, with grace and dignity, to a verbiage reduced to the lowest common denominator called a text?

Famous quotes of the past have contributed in many ways to inspire or teach us many lessons in life. What will the quotes of our day look like in the future if we continue on this trend? Will there be a scared place provided to keep the old fashion quotes alive and be displayed? Perhaps we be forced to resign ourselves to a “thumbs up or down” mentality and learn to be content as we say “like”. The upside of that philosophy would be that it could take care of the lack of knowledge and low level of vocabulary words so there is always even playing field.

Here is a short quote that can easily be used to send as a text message. We can title it an inspirational text, although it is not clear what the author was referring to. “It is always too early to quit.” – Norman Vincent Peale. If it were decided we could only communicate by texting, we might begin to look for other short quotes to share. “Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.” – George Eliot

What does one have to say to be deemed quote worthy? While traveling, at work or at play, there are quotes hanging on walls to inspire others. This one is was worth taking time not only to write on paper, but to write on the heart.“Guard well your spare moments; they are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever we choose to do in life, as we spend our time here, remember every moment is precious, never to return. As we read, write, work, or rest, let’s live life to the fullest and with purpose.

Oct 27

Trust Yourself

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Willing to be the only red flower in the midst? Be authentic!

Trust yourself is a powerful statement. In an ever changing world, how can we know who to trust? The biggest question is, “How do we trust ourselves”? Reading the classic book, “Walden”, it states back in 1845 that Emerson was speaking to Henry David Thoreau to encourage him to follow his passion. Now in the year 2015, we still hear how people will question themselves, trying to figure out what is their passion.
“Trust yourself, Emerson told Thoreau; “In self-trust all the virtues are comprehended… Look in your heart and write.” Can we trust ourselves to follow our passion and write that which is hidden within?

There were very practical difficulties to be surmounted back then, just as there are now. Thoreau wrote, “A literary career would support a man only if he wrote what the public wanted, shallow, sentimental stuff, to which a sincere soul could not stoop.” In our day, only politically correct material is acceptable without some type of negative consequences.

I realize even as I write there will be those who will not agree with my thoughts. We can never please all the people all the time. Knowing that, how do we follow our passion and be true to ourselves? Are we willing to take risks, sacrifice, and be willing to be honest with ourselves, trusting our ability to be unique and individual as we vocalize our authentic voice?

Thoreau viewed people living their life as divided, the earning from the enjoying; the mass of men leading lives of quiet desperation, believing they had no other course, and labor year round for mere subsistence. Are we any different now? It is interesting how can the writings of a man who lived so long ago can be so relevant even today?

Emerson told Thoreau, “Trust yourself.” Can we trust ourselves? Are we trust worthy? We may be with others but are we honest and trustworthy with ourselves? Are we being sincere when it comes to our own passion that cries from within?

Each person must be careful to find out and pursue their own way, and not their fathers, mothers or their neighbors.” I would say these truths spoken so long ago, recorded in written form are as sound today as they were back then. The question stands; now that we have seen, now that we know, are we willing to go forward in our pursuit of truth and passion, or do we retreat and settle for compromise and surrender? I choose to follow my true passion and live life to the fullest.

Oct 25

Boldly Go Where No…

cactus plant rising to the sky 2012 107

HAVING FUN WITH OTHER RIGHT- BRAIN ESCAPE ARTISTS!

I am boldly preparing to enter into a realm I am not familiar. I’m allowing myself the freedom to enjoy this experience, giving myself permission to be a risk taker, knowing there are no guarantees of success. I do not have to get an A+, nor worry about any outcome or produce a great product to show for my labor. It is great to know I can freely access this arena without the approval of, understanding, or even the agreement of others.

I invite other to join me in this quest, although it may be challenging. Why? Because I am asking those who are willing to abandon themselves for a moment in time; they get to allow their right brain to come out and play. Doing so while ‘not allowing’ their left brain to dominate and determine if they should or should not be creative and free to express that which is hidden within. Everyone has a vast array of creativity, much of which has been hampered since childhood. If allowed, can now be revealed in a beautiful display in the present.

As I began the adventure of writing a blog, my mind continually questioned my reasoning, why even bother? No one was really going to read it and I should be doing something more productive, after all, I shouldn’t be wasting my time! There is real work that needs to be done. All that said, it is true in many ways. Nevertheless, I decided I would use this format to practice showing up at my computer, disciplining myself to be diligent, be creative and produce a somewhat intelligent post, hoping it would make sense in the event someone actually did read it.

Being willing to be vocal, vulnerable, while being creative, I had to actually push that blue button that says ”Publish” once I finished writing. That action is another way to deal with the fear of rejection, judgment, ridicule and failure. How many times did I submit something late at night, and upon waking read it and find more than one error? Too many to count, sad to say. Nevertheless, if I waited until I could write a perfect post I realize this page would always be blank.

A word to the wise….For less errors, write posts at a decent hour to avoid the nod out factor in between words. It is difficult when we are too tired to see glaring mistake that others will immediately once our work is posted. All that said, blogging is one way to be creative.

Going back to the original challenge: Anyone who is willing to step away from their routine way of thinking, (left brain dominated) and give themselves permission to allow their right side brain to be active, being creative, artistic and playful, I challenge to step out side their own box into a new way of thinking and living.

Oct 25

Everything Changes In Time

 

140Making Hay While the Sun Shines

As I have grown older I see the value of being quiet at times where I might have offered advice in the past. Yet there is one thing I desire to leave behind, words of wisdom I learned so long ago. “Do not fear change.” I explained this to my daughters over and over throughout the years, hoping they will remember this long after I am gone.

Everything always changes over time. The seasons change along with the weather. Our bodies change as we grow daily with our moods constantly changing as well. Schools we went to when we were younger will not be the same as the schools we enroll in for college. The types of jobs we had when we were young have changed as more opportunities arose to move on.

When I was young and living on the ranch, I watched my father working out in the alfalfa fields, the day came when he took the old tractor and bailed the hay. Everything is for a season, and that particular one is gone now. When a parent grows older and passes away, it creates a different type of change in our lives. As we move forward in time, we will find our friends also have changed, as well as other relationships and even lovers. There is no one or nothing we can literally cling to for security because they too will change even within our grasp.

I could go on and on endlessly describing the way things can change, or I could change my mind and never discuss the topic of change again. As humans, it is difficult to accept change. We can receive exciting and welcomed news, or news of a horrifying event that shakes us to the very core of our being.We will never know from day to day what is coming around the corner, yet we can expect it one way or the other.

While explaining these facts to my daughters, I reassured them that it is a powerful tool when we do not fear change, for change is inevitable. I believe part of the good news is that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We can cling to Him as He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us. For the rest of the story, nothing else really matters because all we have to do is wait a little while and things will change once again!

Oct 24

If I had known

DSC03657 Education is Great, Do Your Homework!

If I had known ‘that’ then I would have warn others not to go down that path. It is such a deception; I am not sure how to even begin discussing it. What do we do when we find out we were lied to? The blind really is following the blind! We continually perpetuate the scheme each time we play the game, hoping somehow to make it through the maze and come out on top.

Let’s pretend we have a goal to be independent, have a dream house, high paying job, and a healthy and happy family. All we have to do is work hard in school, get a good education and be diligent to obey all the laws. But what do we do when we begin to recognize others are not playing by the rules?

How do we keep standing on sinking sand? I am referring to the facade we call higher education and all that it will provide for us. I fell for the deception when I decided it was time that I too increased my knowledge.As strange as it seemed, I knew it was time to let the journey begin. Who could have foreseen the outcome of that decision?

Moving forward in time, I found myself under the illusion I should continue on in my education. After all, one who is titled a Psychologist would definitely be able to be more influential and help others in a greater way. This was just the beginning.Three and half years into a Ph.D / Psy.D program, I was about to get the education of a lifetime. To my horror, during my pursuit to become the most effective leader, the best counselor I could possibly be to help relieve suffering, some things drastically changed in the field of mental health.

For many in the psychological field there is a huge movement to provide drug therapy, with little or no psychotherapy. Counseling is too expensive, and insurance companies do not want to pay therapists to listen to peoples problems. Many don’t care about the mental health of others.

What does it all mean? Why did I sacrifice my life over for the past decade to get an education I cannot use, and acquire a debt I cannot pay? Leaning on my own understanding, being lied to by the educational system, and perishing for lack of knowledge is the reality at the end of the rainbow for many. For whatever reasons we got here, the end result remains. Unemployment or minimum wage jobs are what many are forced to except.

I could easily get a good paying job if I were willing to sell my soul to drug companies, or other unethical scenarios. As a mental health professional all I would have to do is diagnosis and place a label on some unsuspecting soul according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5), and then get out of the way and let others take it from there. Those suffering and given a diagnosis will be coded and billed to the state. The client is forever changed as they are informed they must take medication the rest of their lives regardless of the deadly side effects while being viewed as one who has a mental health disorder.

Being true to my own heart and vowing to ‘Do No Harm”, I accept the fact I cannot comply with the deception that is being foisted on the public. Now I am beginning yet another adventure to find solutions to help those in need outside the box of ‘Normal’. No matter what was the original reason I walked down this path, I wonder if I took the wrong turn early on. While traveling on this journey, it would make no difference how fast or slow I drove, if I was going in the wrong direction I would not end up in the right location. As it has been said many times, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If I would have really known what I know now  then, where would I be now? We always need to take time to re-evaluate our thoughts and determine if our choices are leading us in to the place we desire to go.

 

Oct 22

Soaring to New Heights?

faith at the ocean 8-12“Mom, Look What I Can Do. Faith Preparing to Soar!”

Soaring to new heights seems like an impossible feat, especially if we just took a nasty nose dive. After a bad experience like that and feeling very low, we may question if we can ever see above the curb again.

When facing disappointments and the circumstances aren’t looking good, shall we keep trying to force the issue? Do we keep going or stop and re-evaluate? In the process of reconsidering a situation, it is important to remember ‘fear of failure’ could be part of the problem that keeps us from trying again.

Perhaps we suddenly developed a fear of heights? After all, who really wants to soar to new heights? I heard it is lonely at the top, and I don’t want to be lonely. Also, it takes a lot of energy to do anything, even soaring, as we grow older. When we are out of shape, get too tired, perhaps even a little depressed, then add past failures that invade our memories, we still have to make an important decision. Is it too late to even try to fly once again?

After all, does anyone even know what happens when we get to the top after all that soaring? Where is the top located anyway? Does anyone know what we are suppose to do when we arrive? Wouldn’t it be sad if we crossed all the valleys, climbed all the mountains, and finally reached our destination only to find out that there was nothing there but one more Walmart and McDonald’s? I realize they have their value and place, but there, really? That would be challenging to say the least.

To help clarify the terminology, “soaring to new heights” we could add a picture of hot air balloons. Visual aids seem to be helpful. Each individual has a different perspective to be defined by their personal experience and desires. Physically speaking, to soar would require external help, energy, combined with a plan of action, and a total commitment. I love to soar internally, where my emotions are free to dream big dreams, dare to make changes, with then use wisdom to count the cost before I attempt to jump off another cliff and begin a new adventure.

Oct 21

Permanent Weight Loss?

DSC02281Is “Permanent Weight Loss” an Oxymoron? This is an excellent question. I realize that everything changes continually, yet I have an unrealistic expectation when it comes to the scales. For many the fear of gaining weight, or losing weight and having it be a permanent is a constant battle. How many  Americans are continually attempting to lose weight, yet the weight always comes back? According to Glenn Gaesser, the average body weight and “obesity” prevalence were increasing at the same time increased weight loss were attempted; suggesting that weight loss is not successful.

Is it true so many are at war with themselves? Some people work hard trying to lose weight. When it  comes back, they face new challenges feeling like failures, guilt and shame added to their burden.
Fifteen years ago the data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey and data from the 2000 U.S. census, stated approximately eighty million U.S. adults were currently trying to lose weight, yet even these numbers were not realistic. So many more were silently suffering as they isolated from society. There is not a realistic way for anyone to know for sure what true success or failures were experiences concerning long-term weight loss.

No matter what the numbers are, as we look around, we can see there are many who are still suffering, tall or short, large or small, due to food issues. These experiences are having a negative impact in many realms.

I believe our health should be one of our top priorities, yet we can procrastinate when it is time to make healthy changes. Knowing we have an epidemic of diabetes in our country, we still can put off doing what we need to do to be healthy. As serious as it is to have this disease, circulation problems resulting in amputations, blindness and early death, we can still fall victim to over indulgence or bad choices.

It is well known that obesity can contribute in the cause of getting diabetes. Why do we ignore such serious warnings? Could it be that we believe it only happens to the other person? Is it possible we are procrastinating, for surely tomorrow we will eat healthy and exercise? Whatever the reason, it is important to remember, we only have one body to live in. Live life well.

Oct 20

Feeling a little crowded?

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I LOVE BOOK SHELVES!

Here is a question that may be asked in almost any household; “Do you know where ……… is”? Whatever  object we may be looking for, if we can’t find it, obviously it has been misplaced. The more things we have accumulated, the more likely it is we can lose them. In addition, we will need more space to keep whatever we purchased. Once we begin the process of stacking, boxing, and stashing items in drawers, closets, storage sheds, etc. we will also begin to feel the squeeze as things begin to become overwhelming.

Soon we begin asking ourselves the question,”Where does this belong”? That would be a great question to ask even before we bring home that ‘new’ surprise.There are many times when we are not able to be in the mind set to categorize, organize, and place things where they are most beneficial. By the time we return home after a long day of shopping we may be too tired, or too busy trying to take care of other issues that require our attention.

There are many that are gifted with the ability to keep things in order. There are others who may lay things down with the thought they will put them away later. Procrastination can come in to play. They get busy taking care of other commitments with the best intention of returning later. Perhaps they are a care giver, or have their own health issues that flare up and need to rest. There are many reasons why we may find ourselves in a situation where things begin to pile up.

When we out and about shopping, going to sales, or in the act of gathering in one way or the other, we are vulnerable to the desires of that which we see around us. There seems to be some unspoken promise that a certain product, item, or thing will fill a void, or assist us in one way to make us feel better, look better or live better.

Are we purchasing things for display or for purpose? It matters not, for we are free to gather things in the pursuit of happiness, as long as we abide by the law. For many, less is more, for others, too much is never enough. Whatever the case, that which we possess will cost us, not only in the initial purchase, but in space and energy for the upkeep long after the purchase. How expensive is that?