Thursday, November 25, 2010

What are YOU Thankful For?

So I sit here on Thanksgiving morning as the sun warms my back and the crisp air outside frosts my toes with chills, thinking about all the things I am grateful for. Yeah, I could make a huge list, starting with wonderful nature that surrounds me and narrowing it down to the smiles on my kids' faces, but today I want to be a little more specific. Too many times I will generalize in my life. Not far off from the answers we hear spouting from the next Ms. America. "I would like to see peace on earth and world hunger eradicated."

I could say I am thankful for the people in my life and the experiences I am fortunate enough to have. But doesn't that go without saying? Those are safe answers, things that I can say without thinking about it. Thoughts and words I could spew without bursting open the personal space I tucked so delicately into the protected pocket of my heart. Today, I want to be specific. I want to reach into that pocket and let people know what I am truly grateful for. So here it goes, these are just a few things I am grateful for on this wonderful, Thanksgiving morning.

In no particular order, I am thankful for the ability of choice, the laughter of my children, the people I hold tight to my heart, the compassion my children exhibit, the unconditional love that bubbles and overflows my heart, the lack of foresight to worry about what total strangers think of me, the capacity to forget the pain of betrayal, the never-ending support from everyone who knows I have found my calling, the stories that flow so abundantly from my mind and I am graciously thankful to all of you who decide to stop by and read my ramblings.

Today is the day to vocalize what you are grateful for. Allow yourself to feel the meaning of Thanksgiving, and after you've taken a moment to count your blessings, remember to multiply your good and send it out into the world. We are waiting….

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It’s Been a While

Okay so it's been a little longer than usual since I've posted. Really sorry about that~ been working and just dog tired when I've sat down to write. Things have been taking over my time. You know-- family, house, work, friends, and commitments, they all seem to need a piece of me. Sometimes I feel like Playdough. I'm being stretched, pulled, tugged and twisted into shapes everyone else needs me to be.

Survival gives us the ability to transform into what we need to be at any given moment, but it is our humanity that keeps us doing it.

I don't usually talk about my family on this blog; it has been one of my rules. Less details about my personal life, the better, however; tonight as changed the sheets on our bed (because let's face it, either we are in the shower or we're changing the sheets when we have an "Ah-Ha" moment) I spread out the huge blanket my mother-in-law gave us, and I started thinking about her.

She was a quiet, gentle, nurturing soul, who was abundantly funny and overflowing with love. She was never meddlesome or angry. As I let my mind churn the thoughts of her, I realized how much I missed her. See she transcended this world over six years ago and ever since, there has been a vacancy in my life.

She was sick and went to the hospital early one morning, and passed away that evening. When we arrived at the hospital, she was already in a coma. I never got to tell her I loved her, or thank you. I never got to say goodbye. A day— 12 hours and my life changed.

Did I take her for granted? Absolutely, I never, in my wildest dreams thought about the possibility that in one day I would lose someone that made such a quiet impact on my life. It was only years later did I understand what a huge difference she made in my life and what she taught me. Through her actions I learned what type of mother-in-law I want to be to my sons' wives. Through her words I understood where my husband gets his wit and through her compassion I recognized the sacrifices she made to keep her family safe. She taught me things, even when she didn't know it.

I'm not telling you about her to get some pity points, or cyber-pats on the back. I tell you this story because sometimes we don't realize how fast the world can change when we aren't paying attention. The lessons we lose when we don't take advantage of the time people are with us or we lose the life altering experiences because we are too busy being angry, jealous or spiteful.

We never know when life is going to throw us a curve ball. We never know what is going to happen. So what if we chose to swing instead of backing away? What if we decided to let go of that angst or hate and forgive and forget. We all have people we hold at the top of our "it's your fault list". What if we decided to start erasing one name at a time? Would we see a difference in our experiences? What if we gave up our story and decided it was time to write a new one?

I guess what this post today is morphing into is, take advantage of the positive around you. Live the experiences around you, good, bad or indifferent. Because there will come a day when your life will change, it's inevitable, and it would really suck if the last thoughts you had were— I wish I would have…

Take on the day, smile at a stranger and give back to the community around you, and you will see how different your life can be.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life's a Roller Coaster- Really?

Keep your hands in at all times, until the ride comes to a stop.  The burning in the back of your throat is not included in the ride.   The acid that lurched from the pit of your stomach as you dropped for the first loop-de-loop finds a perfect spot to assault, right on the ledge of your larynx.  Oh but wait— here comes the exhilarating corkscrew!  The tugging of the muscles in your neck as your head pin-balls back and forth against the rock hard cushions is an added bonus.  The g-force and inertia makes the whoopies swirl low in your gut, causing you to losing your breath.  When the ride comes to a stop your hands hurt from clinging to the “oh sh*t” bar and your lips are glued to your teeth.

Who made up the analogy, life is like a roller coaster?  Do we really need to be told about the ups and downs, twists and turns, dips and swells?  Can’t we approach our lives like we do the amusement park rides— with blissful ignorance and the excitement of the unknown?  

I’d like to know when we thought life could be harnessed and controlled.  When was “life” ever planned?  Don’t get me wrong, (I tend to say that a lot lately) if you planned a vacation to Disneyland or Hawaii, GREAT, PERFECT, and take me with you.  Fortunately, that isn’t that “planned” I was talking about.  I’m talking about trying to predict or control the uncontrollable.  Things happen, change always occurs, and we infinitely have no idea what the future will bring. 
So let’s just call it a day and cash in all our chips— right?  


Even though we don’t know what the future holds and we can’t stop change from coming or events from happening, it doesn’t excuse us from the responsibility of how we react to it.  We can’t change or define another person, just as they can’t define or change who we are.   We can’t control earthquakes or the weather.  And we sure in hell can’t plan change.  That is automatic.  Every day, every moment, change is taking place in and around us.  

We can only control how we react to it.  We can plan how we want our lives to be and prepare for a future ripe with health and prosperity.  We do that by~ eating right, staying physically active and working towards financial freedom (cause and effect).  But sometimes in our world things can come up and bite us when we least expect it.  That is the “oh sh*t” moment we realize we are strapped in for the ride.  How are we going to take it?  How are we going to react to the loop-de-loops, corkscrews and drops?   Will we laugh, cry, or try to catch our breaths?
Sure there are other rides we can choose.  We can hop on the Merry-Go-Round and if we’re lucky the carousel horse might go up and down.  But if not, we are stuck going in circles, on a stationary bench.  Did you dream of that when you were little?  …I didn’t think so.
Expectations, reactions, beliefs, and rituals are “things” we can plan, predict or control.  Those are the “things” we can manipulate and conquer.  Sometimes we think we are stuck in a crappy situation and we don’t even begin to see the end to the means.  All we see is the situation that captured our happiness and brought the misery into our experiences.
And hey, I’ll be the first to admit; this week grabbed me by the throat and pulled me deep into the quicksand of self doubt, frustration and emotional pain.  I chose to let forces outside of myself dictate who and what I was.  I chose to react to definitions people thrust upon me.  I allowed events to sneak up and hijack my life, and instead of choosing to change how I reacted to it, I tried to control it.  Sure, I thought I could fit that square peg into that round hole, because let’s face it— we all try, at some point in our lives, to defy the law of science.
Whether it’s the law of cause and effect, attraction, or gravity, even when we know damn well, the law is the law.  It can’t bend or change for us.
So the next time when a tough day rolls over me, I have to remember—I have the choice to how I react.  I can either stomp on the flaming paper bag filled with dog poop on my front porch and deal with all the crap or I can grab the fire extinguisher.
It was just too bad that last week~ my extinguisher needed to be recharged .
But as the saying goes, tomorrow is a new day.  And lucky for me, I’ve got a choice.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Wake up Call...

Have you ever been at a low in your life?  You know the ones that pull and tug at you until you are flat on your face and nothing seems to be able to lift you from that pit of desperation you cling to like a child afraid of the dark. 

Maybe something happened in your life that you can’t control or something set you off on a tail spin that caused you to fall into a deep rut that you love to hate.  Sometimes we get there and we don’t even know how we arrived.  A theft, a reprimand, or maybe a negative report, something sets us off and we allow the crap to seep into every fold of our being and weigh us down heavy.

But sometimes we recognize the slippery slope we are on and decide to change it.  Maybe we reach for that rope someone has thrown us, or we decide to use our thigh and forearm muscles to clutch to the root of truth that protrudes from the side of that mountain we made out of the mole hill.  

Either way something knocks us upside the head and tells us it is time to climb the fragile edge of perseverance.  My family is healthy and my life is pretty damn good.  So do I let the crap of yesterday cloud my thoughts of today?  no…, No…, NO!  I will not let the material, mundane, over the top crap ruin the fact that I am surrounded by healthy, happy, and loving people.

Instead I step back and re-evaluate who I am and what I want in my life.  Because we all know, what we focus on grows.  I have to stop watering the weeds in my garden and start fertilizing the plants that produce what I want in my life.  I know that if I went down to the nursery and bought tulip bulbs and planted them, tulips would grow in my garden.  It isn’t magic or voodoo… it is the law of cause and effect.  It is the absolute truth of science.  You plant a seed or bulb of a certain plant or flower and you will get exactly that.  The more specific the seed the more precise you will get.  What am I planting in the garden of my life?

Today I saw the example of, “the grass is always greener” and realized that truly it is all about the persona people want you to believe.  Let’s clean the make-up from our eyes and the fingernail polish from the tips of our hands and look at how similar we all really are.  We all want the best for our families.  We all want to feel that we mean something to someone and what we have to say will knock around in the minds of people we care about making a difference in their lives.

Funny thing is… the minute we stop looking for the difference outside of ourselves, we tend to find it within.  When we consciously choose to step back and look at the bigger picture that is when we see the forest for the trees.  When we look at the grass that’s greener and realize the steps they took to make it appear that way is more than what we are willing to sacrifice—that is when we have truly learned the depth of our character.  

My friends, it is time for us to take the bull by the horns and make the choices that reinforce what we essentially want in our lives.  
Start with giving yourself a compliment— and actually meaning it! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Step Behind!

Do you ever feel like you’re one step behind in the game? What game, you ask, how about the game of life?  You know the days where you feel you just can’t catch a break, or you can feel yourself spiraling down into the ever overwhelming abyss of, “just let me sit on my pity potty.”  You know those days where you wish you would have stayed in bed, or taken your ball and gone home.

If you’re having one of those days don’t get down on yourself.  **NEWSFLASH** we all have those days.  Nobody on the face of the planet can say they’ve never had a bad day.  And if someone out there says they’ve never had one then they aren’t human.  They must be some superior species, in which our government will have to study and probe them with surgical steel tools. 

Let’s face it—it is how we react to the situation that makes it an all out landslide of crappiness or a hard gassy hiccup that’s burning as it rises from the ick deep in our bowels.

Whether our moods are sparked by another person’s comment, we physically hurt ourselves, or a situation that is out of our control, we mustn’t forget, it is how we react to it that gives it roots to burrow into our day or wings that keeps it hovering over our heads.  

What if we decide to think above the race consciousness of crap!  What if a bunch of us decided that we weren’t going to let something “outside” of ourselves dictate our day?  What if we actually decided to let what others think, remain in their heads and not ours?

There is this saying that I just love, “what you think of me is none of my business.”  WOW, what a statement.
What you think of me is none of my business!  That’s right, it isn’t your business what other people think of you.  Some of you are mumbling under your breath, “Well Gretch that’s a lot easier said than done!”  And guess what, you are right.  But give me a couple of paragraphs to explain my reasoning.

Let’s say you over hear someone say something awful about you or a friend tells you what so-and-so said about you that wasn’t nice, in fact it was incredibly hurtful.  You’d be devastated right?  Hurt, angry, stressed and (fill in the blank).  Well, just right before that you were in a different mindset right?  Maybe you were thinking about your kids, husband, church, shopping, dinner, or anything more important that the words that ripped through you like a samurai sword.   You were probably in a good mood.  Maybe you had a song that kept replaying in your head or a recipe you wanted to try of dinner.  You weren’t AWARE of any negative thoughts that would suffocate you in self doubt, pity or anger. 

There is nothing positive or enlightening that comes from the opinions of others when it is anything less than glorious.  I’m not talking about someone coming up to you and telling you that your underwear is showing or you have spinach in your teeth.  You know what I am talking about, when someone decides to drag you down into their muck.  Cuz let’s face it; our society has been conditioned to answer each other in negative responses. 

Imagine what would happen when someone asked you about your day and you answered them with, great, beautiful, or stupendous, instead of okay, could be better, yeah- one of those days again.  What if you gave up your less than great stories and let what other people thought about you roll off your back?  What would happen to your days?  Would you suddenly see that it takes fewer muscles in your face to smile than it does to frown?   Would you break free of the definitions other people made for you?  I think so.  Actually I know so.  

The minute you truly decide to give up your story and stop letting other people affect your day you will see that life is better when you’re happy.  It is time to redefine who you are.  It is time to see that you deserve to be happy, healthy, and prosperous.  Surround yourself with people who celebrate life instead of stifle it. 

Sure we will still have those crappy days, we are human; but when we realize that we can change how we look at them or react, we suddenly are empowered to be ahead of the game and actually score the winning points.

Only you know who you are, now go be!