Nope. I am not talking about the Lotto, though that adage applies there as well. We all have dreams, goals and desires, many of which just languish on the shelves of our minds. We treat our lives like a non-participatory sport; constantly running up and down the sidelines cheering but freeze when asked to get in the game.
Wanna lose weight? Absolutely. Well what have you done about that particular wish? How many half completed diets have you been on only to opine “oh that doesn’t work!”. The question is; was it the diet or was it you? Diets only work if you do. Ditto for exercise. Starting off the year with a brand new gym membership does nothing for your activity levels unless you actually get up and go.
In much the same way we point to our vision boards or journal entries as evidence of goals. There is significant power in visualizing what we want. It distills our desires into focus. The very act of putting that focus into words or pictures can recruit our unconscious to continue working toward it even when we have rested. The operating word, however, is rested. That implies we have put in the WORK and have paused only to regroup and refresh. Visions are just dreams deferred without active work.
Since we are still at the beginning of the year, this would be a perfect time to use the SMART technique we discussed in a previous post to put some focus to our dreams.
Why not break out the scissors, the glue and the poster boards and get to visioning your year in pictures. Cut from any magazine pictures, articles or even ads that speak to you. Print off blog posts or web based graphics that energize and inform. Go wild with the creativity, instill into your boards the energy that you would like to imbue into your lives this year.
Once you have that board made, review it, edit if you must then post it in a prominent place that catches your attention every time you pass. Most importantly, Get in the game! Get to work on making reality out of the pictures in your mind. Remember “Success is not a Movie. Sitting back and watching brings you first to Intermission, then to closure in someone else’s life, NOT yours.”
So Christmas is coming. Major excitement. At least in my household. I love Christmas. The rest of my family humor me. Over time my husband has grown to love Christmas too so I go all out and decorate tip to toe. I may spend days decorating my tree for a ‘custom look”
The decorations don’t stop at the tree. The doors, lamp posts, and mantles get done up too. I actually decorated this year on November 7th. Yikes. Ok. Ok. a bit of overkill but what can I say? I am the Queen of Christmas. More on the decoration phase here.
This post, however, is not about the fun part of Christmas. It is not even the usual blah blah blah about keeping Christ in Christmas, but about something a bit deeper than that. I believe when people talk about Christ in Christmas, it is interpreted as “be less commercial, and go to Church.” We then say a prayer, perhaps go to Midnight Mass, light a few candles and sing the more religious Christmas Carols as opposed to Jingle Bells. All is well with the world.
Here is what I will say. Instead of keeping the name of Christ in Christmas, how about keeping the Spirit of Christ in Christmas? Whether you are a believer or not; Surely even the biggest atheist among us can find no fault with the “idea” of someone who would give his/her life for someone they loved. Who is truly good and pure and whose purpose is to make others better. Someone who is truly interested in the uplifment of Mankind is to be celebrated, don’t you think? If we ignore for a second what Mankind has done to the legacy of the Christ, I think we could all agree that keeping the spirit of Christ in our modern day commercial Christmas is a good thing. Especially at this particular Christmas time.
This Year at Christmas, The goose is getting fat but many people are also getting their goose/geese cooked!The last half of this year has been filled with upheaval, death and disorder bordering on chaos. This is a time when Nation has turned against Nation, brother seemingly against brother. A time when it has become frightening for some segments of the population to simply exist and a time when other segments can find no validity in those claims of fear. Children are dying, and the inflammatory rhetoric is flying. As a result of the deaths of so many Black People at the hands of Law Enforcement Officers, there have been wide spread protests in the streets of this Country. There has now been the killing of two NYPD Police Officers who were shot “execution style” by a man who clearly had anger and mental issues. This same man also shot his ex-girlfriend with an intent to kill her just hours before and had fled to NYC just ahead of an all points bulletin (APB) for his arrest.
The claim is now being made that these were ‘reprisal killings’ for the murder of a Black man, Eric Garner, by the NYPD. Fast on the heels of these claims has come even more inflammatory rhetoric that the protests for justice and against Police brutality caused this man with a long history of criminal behavior and multiple incarcerations to execute those officers.
This is a tragic thing to have happened and is an act so reprehensible in its deliberate and specific intent that it takes my breath away. Here is where I get off the train of popular sentiment.
Imagine this. Christmas is coming and you expect guests. You haven’t used your guest room since last Christmas and have scarcely given it a thought in your routine cleaning. You open the door and turn on the light. Quelle Horreur! The mess is startling. Dust everywhere. Your son hs been stowing his junk in the antechamber, there are dust bunnies under the bed and the dreaded black ring in the toilet that comes with not flushing often enough. If there’s no use why flush? Right? Wrong. Anyway, you also note a faint smell of mustiness and obviously the bed needs to be made with fresh sheets. Bottom line, there’s work to do.
The question is did opening the door and shining the light cause the mess or did it just reveal it and force you to acknowledge what has always been there and needed attention? All light did is push back darkness. The revelations that ensue stand alone.
In much the same way the protests that are a response to events of the past few years didn’t cause the shootings of these Officers. It is the light that revealed the mess we are in. It is our responsibility to throw the sheets back, do a thorough dusting, open the windows and let some fresh air in.
At the end of the day, if we focus on reproducing the Spirit of Christ at this time of year, we would look behind the external to the humanity of each other and really work on bring “peace and goodwill to ALL men”
I say nothing guarantees a bucket listed life like peace.
The first official post of a blog! WOW. I was brimming with ideas of what needed to be said. That was until I actually set up the blog. Then nothing, nada, zilch. Yelp! It’s not that I couldn’t put pencil to paper or rather finger to keyboard; there are so many competing thoughts that desperately need to be said but the timing of when to say them is tricky.
Trying to write a blog dedicated to positivity and being our best selves is hard when positivity is being swallowed by the negativity of the world. Every day is an unending newsfeed of troubles topped with problem and iced with chaos. At the risk of aging myself, I feel like ‘I am singing in the rain, singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I am happy again….” Problem arises when you are a choir of one. Do you sing anyway? Well my answer is an unequivocal yes! Eventually that tune becomes so catchy that others join in or the rain stops falling. Even if neither happens, I am comforted by how happy, happiness is. LOL. I will simply be happy waiting on the world to change.
For those who desperately want to be happy but are finding it difficult to navigate the route, I will share advice that I have given on a routine basis for years. I have never seen this advice fail and in fact have seen some pretty dramatic life changes as a result.
Here it is : Drum rollllllll please…..Learn to just be. That’s it? Yup!. Really? Yup!.
I can’t tell you how many people boast about carving out time in their days to “nurture” themselves. Whether it is through exercise, or going for mani/pedis, facials etc. Others tell me they journal daily or pray unceasingly. All of the above and more is Grrrreat! (cue Tony the Tiger) but how many of us can actually be quiet and alone without something, someone, or some activity filling the void? Do you need to have the TV , iTunes or the radio on in the background while you take that “relaxing bath”. Can quiet be found in your head without needing to go to Yoga class for someone else tell you when and how to breathe? is there truly any place or any time that you can simply be? To listen to and honor the voice of the Creator. Not to ask for anything, not even to praise or pray but simply to listen to what message the Universal Consciousness has for you?
From observation, I note that most people don’t understand how to listen or even why we should. We are simply using the time while another is speaking to frame our arguments. We tune in randomly to hear the break in sound which is our cue to start speaking. It’s the same with prayer. We pepper God with thousands of blessings, praises and prayer requests. we pray for the sick and shut in and the deaconess on the Mother Board. We thank God for this, that and the other and we ask him to keep blessing us and if he would help with our fallen world. We ask the whys, Then when we should get a response, we simply say “Amen” and rise, secure in the knowledge that we have praised today! This is where the Buddhists will chime in about the value of meditation and contemplation. On my travels, I note a significant amount of worship intertwined in the average lives of people. That worship also seemed to be filled with relentless activity. Incense to be bought and burned, fish to be bought and released in homage, Chants and forehead touching to floor. Asanas to hold and Pranayama to learn, Prostration before images or towards a city a prescribed number of times a day, Public calls to prayer, Infidel to defeat and numerous requests made. There seems to be little time to hear the answer from the Most High to any of the whirlwind of activity and requests. My non believer readers are so busy making idols of their non belief that they too are congested with activity. Silence seems to be threatening and contemplative silence even more so. Filling our lives with words and movement and activity and sound…. Aaaaaah! Now that’s familiar. I feel motivated and accomplished and ”WOMAN; hear me roar” once I have stuffed my bag full of must dos and actually checked off a few. If I get through my entire list of to dos, I must be #winning.
I contend that until we consciously let go of some of the activity that consumes us and the sound that engulfs us, until we learn to just be; Sit, stand or lie with our thoughts and listen to Life speak. Until then happiness will be an illusion we chase, sometimes grasp but inevitably lose. That elusive, ephemeral state will slip from our grasps, leaving emptiness in its wake. After all, how do you know you have found Joy if you didn’t listen to her introduction? it may look happy, taste and smell like you think it should but there’s nothing like the real thing baby.
There are tons of self help and motivational gurus every where. Most of them are impactful and many change lives. Tons of people can teach you how to meditate. I think that is extremely helpful except it is something that I darn sure don’t know how to do well. I don’t think that one needs to have meditation on lock in order to ‘be”. It doesn’t even have to be hard and there are not tons of steps. At least not to start. Like Lao-Tzu states, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
Here’s that step. Whether you are home or in the car or wherever, refrain from turning on the radio, TV or surfing the internet. Ask for and receive a ‘no talk zone’. Don’t get on the phone to text or to check your tweet. Even for an hour, just listen to your thoughts, your heart beat, your breath. I know it is a luxury for most people but that’s why it’s a bucket-listed item. :-). Reach for it.
I don’t care if you can’t “school your thoughts” or if your breath isn’t “reaching to your core”. Whatever. Simply breathe the way you have been doing all your life, sit or stand as you have been for years but do so to the melody of your own thoughts. The sound of silence. Don’t try to answer, just listen. Listen again and then some more and there, there it is … the voice you have been waiting to hear but didn’t realize was being shouted down by your life. In that voice lies the answer to many of your perplexing issues, the rationale for your repeated challenges and the beginnings of peace. Will it all come clear in a flash? Will this be Paul getting struck on the road to Damascus? Its possible, it has happened but probably not. It is, however, the single step that works every time if you let it.