Life is like a mirror, smile at it, and it smiles back at you. -Peace Pilgrim
I am working on a new exercise. It’s one for the face called a smile. I am cursed with the Miller frown. I don’t even realize most of the time that I’m doing it, so if you see me frowning smile at me and I’ll give you one back. I certainly don’t frown because I’m unhappy or miserable at least most of the time I can say that. I think I have a combination of things going on here one came from an unhappy childhood when I had something to frown about, then there’s genetics, and now age, when everything begins to sage including the face. Even now, as I write this, I catch myself going into that frown that comes about when I’m concentrating on something.
I remember the day I married Tom. I was smiling so much that by the end of the day, my face hurt. As with all exercises, no pain, no gain as they say. So, I read that the best way to do this exercise is to have a mirror nearby so you can catch yourself at a glance. It’s a kind of hard to do that. So, I’ve decided to let life be my mirror reflection. My smile is the practice, and your smile is the strength I gain!
“I am not young enough to know everything.”
We only know and understand to the extent of what we’ve learned in our lifetime. So, to look at another and expect them to understand something from our perspective is an unfair approach to take. Each and everyone one of us is doing the best we can with what we know and believe. Maybe a better approach to take then our expectations of others is simple to live our truth in the hope of being the best example we can be.
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron
I love painting pictures with my words. It starts when I’m trying to figure something out. I visualize what I’m thinking in an animated or metaphoric way that helps me make sense of it. So, what is my carpet bag of baggage?
It’s a rug big enough to fit all the stuff I’ve collect along the various journeys of my-life. It’s an ugly carpet, full of untruths, most of them having to do with my self-esteem. It’s all tied together with the black rope of fear. I’m so used to carrying it around that I don’t even feel how much it’s weighing me down most of the time. It’s in those moments when I’m paying attention to life that it falls off my shoulder. It’s a wonderful feeling as if I’ve sucked in some helium and I’m floating right above the ground. And I wonder why it can’t be like this all the time.
When the black rope of fear sees me happy it starts to untie itself around the carpet. Moving like a snake. Fear knows I’m afraid of snakes. It’s the way it gets my attention. As the carpet bag begins to slowly open all the dreadful demeaning voices jump around shouting me, me, me pick me. All it takes is for me to believe one demeaning thought of worthiness, and I’ll find myself standing upon the rug that fear uses, to pull the joy right out from under me.
But I’m seeing a little clearer now. They say, you have to see what needs changed, before you can change it. As the quote says about, “nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” I’m learning one thing for sure, that as big as fear looks, what lies on the other side of it is majestic.
“Grandfather, there are two wolves fighting inside me. One is full of rage, is jealous and fearful. The other is full of peace, of joy and love. Which one is going to win?”
“Whichever one you feed,” replied the old man.
–An Old Native American Legend
This morning as I feel those same two wolves inside me fighting, I don’t understand why I keep feeding the negative one. Why do I do what I don’t want to do? And why do I entertain the thoughts that keep feeding it? Why do I pick the most difficult of wolves to deal with when the peaceful, joyous, loving wolf is so much easier to live with? When my life is not expressing my beliefs, desires and goodness I can usually be found feeding the bad wolf.
The answer is so simple. Stop doing the very thing you don’t want to do. In order to do that I have to choose one over the other consciously, mindfully and with my own preferential perspective.
Like the jingle what’s in your wallet, reminding you of the things that you carry around with you that gives you an advantage or not. I ask myself what’s in your thoughts? Are you feeding the good wolf or the bad wolf, Connie? Wherever the answer reveals is where I will find myself, and at that point I can choose to make the necessary changes for my own better good.
When a small pebble is dropped into a pond it spreads out creating many ripples. Our actions have the same kind of effect. We can feel the vibes from those who drop a bit of kindness our way, and that kindness spreads form one person to the next much the same as the ripple effect. But there can also be the opposite effect which spreads havoc from one person to the other. Being mindful of the stones we throw is one of the most important conscious efforts we should make. We are after all only a stones throw away from making a difference in the world, and it all depends on what kind of stone we choose to throw.
I’m sitting at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute in Lancaster PA. It is a beautiful facility top notch with just about everything you need for treatment. It’s not the kind of place you want to come and see just to check it out. I don’t think anyone wants to walk through its doors if they didn’t have to.
I’m here with my younger sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery. One treatment of chemo that made her so sick, her system couldn’t tolerate anymore. She still lost her hair. She’s now into her fourth week of a 7 week series of radiation. It’s beginning to leave behind the burns it creates. In spite of all she’s been through, she is doing well, and has a good positive attitude. I’m feeling pretty hopeful for her myself.
As I look around it blows my mind to see how many people are fighting this terrible disease. Today especially I’m noticing more women then usual with no head covers. Their hair has begun to grow back. They seem proud to display it as if it’s their first sign of getting back to normal.
I’m only an observer. I have no idea how they feel or what it’s like. What I see is their bravery. Like warriers they walk with their heads held high, with hope and prayer as their weapon. They’re fighting the good fight for life. And I can’t help but think how heroic they are!
Negativism is like an unwanted guest. The more you entertain it the harder it is to get it to leave. So go away no solicitors welcome!
“Have to or To Have”
When you don’t want to do something, but there’s no way of getting around it, what’s left, but to plunge on through. If it’s a “have to” kind of thing, I can always change the word “have” to “choose.” It really does change the whole outlook on that something.
There’s a lot people I know right now, myself included, who are faced with some medical issue. I guess it has a lot to do with getting older. My Dad used to say, the older you get the more you have to go into the body shop for repairs, new parts and adjustments. Notice I use the words “have to.” I don’t like putting it that way because there’s always a choice to do, or not to do. No matter how unpleasant something is, it’s always up to us. No one is twisting our arm. When I hear myself say, I choose to have this done. Notice how the negative words “have to” becoming a positive reaction, “to have” actively changing the perception of the thought.
None of us desires to go through any kind of unpleasant repair, but when we make an informed decision, we are able to make a choice we can live with.