BEST JOB EVER!

My twelve year old granddaughter and I were blessed with an afternoon together, without little brother, parents or friends, It is unusual to have her to myself now days and I wanted to take advantage of the time to remind her I was fun and we enjoy each other’s company. I picked her up from school and we drove thru Starbuck’s to take advantage of their 50% off deal on frapaccinos. (See I am fun.) Chatting and sipping she shared her day as I drove to Birkdale, a cute and trendy shopping area 25 miles away.

First stop, Barnes & Noble, always a satisfying and expensive experience for me. We relaxed and wandered in separate directions. She enjoyed the freedom she has to be on her own and finds me when she needs to connect. I enjoyed being able to browse in the sections I like. We took our purchases to the car and walked to the restaurant she chose. As she was eating her Bento box of sushi and Thai chicken, she looked at me, grinned and said, “This is soooo fun”. My heart jumped and I could feel the moisture behind my eyes. I grinned too and nodded YES.

As my children, and now my grandchildren, grow I miss outgrown behaviors they shared with me. I often lament the loss of my granddaughters company on weekends, weeks during the summer and sick days. I miss her when I visit and she’s in her bedroom. I miss her when she visits me and is in her bedroom. I miss the little girl who thought I was perfect. It’s all good! She’s growing up as she should – becoming the girl God intends her to be. Trying on new ideas, looks, music, activities, and friends. Developing independence. Needing approval from peers. Cuddling and being silly right before a “mood” strikes. All healthy and normal.

How am I adjusting? I pay attention. I have a gift in each member of my family. When we’re together I watch, listen and soak up all I can of who they are. We live physically close and I see them often, but we have boundaries and separate lives I have the freedom to love and play with my grandchildren without parenting. To spoil, to send home when I’m tired, to pray for, to watch them grow-up, to be part of their lives. I get to be Nana.

BEST JOB EVER

WRITER’S BLOCK

“Writer’s Block” is a term used to describe a state where nothing gets written OR where nothing good gets written. Writing nothing good is where I have been for the last three weeks. Pen-check, paper-check, glasses-check, idea, begin. Words go on the paper, they become sentences, which become paragraphs, then a closing. Not worth editing. Try again tomorrow.

After several tries I saw a pattern that may apply to you. IT DOES TO ME. We make lists of various activities we need to complete:-books to read
-places to travel
-activities to try
-recipes to cook
-house repairs
-decorating projects
-chores and errands
On every list there are things we will do quickly and others that never ever get done. Though, we may keep putting them on new lists like we really intend to do them some year.

What blocks our ability to complete things we want to do? What keeps the idea from becoming a reality? Several factors could interfere with our intentions: difficulty of the task, needing help, cost, urgency.  Popular psychological suggestions would be “Perfectionism” and “Fear”. The first is the need to do something perfectly or not at all, the second is the fear of either failure or success.

In my case, I think its tied to the adolescent desire for “Immediate gratification”. I want to write(or any other activity). I want it to be good the first time I want it to be done  so I can move on to something else. I don’t like to struggle. Struggling includes perseverance, frustration, and the time and energy to finish and finish well.  BUT – it is the finishing well that satisfies, that brings pride in our work and appreciation for the effort.  When a task is easy for me I don’t pay much attention to it, like doing the laundry or grocery shopping.

When a job requires thought, effort,  time, even struggle, I feel good.  When I know I have done MY BEST I can let it go and enjoy the results of my energy.  JOY, that’s what I feel.  That is a good thing.

Find something you want to do.  Do it well.  Feel the joy.

HEAD and/or HEART

(written April 15,2015)

Slumped on my couch, I am sobbing harder and louder than the rain pouring outside.   The, “I’m going to have a major headache if I don’t stop this” kind of crying.   What’s wrong with me?  My head and my heart are on opposite sides of an event that is occurring in my life.  Logically it is a good thing.  Emotionally I am devastated.  Let’s go back a few months.

My daughter and son-in-law decided they needed a larger house with some property for their dogs.  They were in the right place in their lives to make this happen and everyone was excited.  Their current home went on the market in March and sold in three  days for full asking price.  They had already seen a new home they liked and when they started to talk seriously a deal fell into place.  I was so happy for them.  To see your children grow up, do well and be settled is a glorious feeling.

Driving to the market today I passed the house they are selling, which is six blocks from my home.  The “under contract” sign is up, as it has been for three weeks.   There is a huge U-Haul truck in the driveway because today is moving day.  I started crying.  Seeing the truck made it all real.  While shopping  I sniffled and tried to stay calm.  Driving by the house again on the way back I lost control.

Now I’m on the couch, gasping for breath and mad at myself for falling apart.   I know this is a good move for them.  I want what they want for themselves.  I am really glad it went so smoothly.  My head is doing fine.

My heart is sad, grieving, devastated and missing them already.  We don’t see each other everyday or even every week.  I go down and take care of the dogs when they’re going to be late from work.  My son-in-law stops by to make “welfare  checks” when he hasn’t seen me in awhile. They drive-by and honk or stop in for a minute when they are out walking.  I know they are close and it is a comfort to me.

My head knows my reaction today is out-of-proportion to the circumstance.  My feelings are not logical,  but very real. Feelings are not right or wrong: they just ARE.   Well, I’m sad about this move and so today, and whenever I need to, I’ll cry and feel lonely and wallow for a little bit.  Then I’ll stop and remember how glad I am for them and how grateful that their dreams are coming true.

P.S.  The new house is only six miles away.

 

A RED HIBISCUS

Finding beauty, joy and hope could never be easier than in spring. If you have missed what’s happening outside – STOP reading. turn off the computer and use this three minutes to go outside and see the miracles happening. Even if it’s a gloomy, drizzling day you cannot miss them.

From the chair where I have my coffee every morning, outside most of the year, I get blessed by just sitting and moving my head. Two wee golden Day Lilies are struggling to open for their one day showing. There are at least fifteen shades of green from the lawn to the top of the giant Sycamore four houses away vying for my attention. Red Maple trees, that budded rust this year after a late frost, are now sharing branches with the chartreuse buds of summer. Pink blossoms on the Red Bud turned into garnet leaves overnight and the flowers of the Plum tree have been purple leaves for almost a month.

Glossy olive and rust leaves of a Magnolia wait to share praise with the large white blooms that will soon appear and stay all summer. From my vantage point at the top of a slight rise, a score of Crepe Myrtles stand like stick figures naked after an early and severe pruning in March. They wait to dominate the landscape with their size and colors through the dog days of summer in the south.

There are two potted, red Hibiscus bushes next to my chair on the lanai (we called it a patio in California). The vibrant blooms, six inches wide, open perfectly each morning brightening the scene as no other color or flower can.Two days of life per flower and three to four opening per day keep me amazed every morning. They will bless me all summer but cannot live through freezing temperatures. I will replace these and the geraniums (which were almost weeds in California) next spring. The only annuals I splurge on.

The other trees, bushes and flowering plants will return, in their cycle, next year. They will bud, leaf out, bloom and remind us that all of life has cycle and variety. Our task is to stop, notice and be grateful. It is from the awareness and thankfulness that we see beauty, feel the joy and renew hope.

ABOUT ME

Today I finally added the “ABOUT ME” section of my blog. I was told, by my daughter, that people might like to know something about me before they decided I was credible. I hope you decide for yourself what you like, but she does make sense, so here it is.  This was also another victory over technology as I figured it out by myself with numerous attempts that didn’t work.  Not failures, just steps leading to success.

My background,  personally and professionally,  impact and influence what I believe and practice.  As a matter of fact, they color everything I write, think, say and believe.  That’s true for all of us.  We are products of our heredity and out environments.  The wonderful aspect of being human is that we have the choice to change.  I can decide that I need to grow in a certain area and then decide to take action to give myself opportunities to get new information, try new activities, meet new people and open myself to new experiences.

Blogging provides me an outlet for sharing what I know and also allows me to get feedback from others who may or may not agree with me.  BUT, I must choose to be challenged.  I am attracted to books, movies, people and activities that I feel comfortable with.  The key to personal growth is to move, just a little at first, out of that comfort zone and take the risk in exposing yourself to newness.  You don’t have to like it. JUST TRY IT!

ATTITUDE equals ALTITUDE

The title of today’s post refers to the process, where our thoughts determine our behavior, that I wrote about on April 6. A definition of “ATTITUDE” is: manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc. with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation especially of the mind. “ALTITUDE” generally means the height above or below sea level. In this case since we’re discussing people it refers to our mood above or below neutral.

I leave my house at 10:00 am, driving to an appointment at 10:30 that usually takes30-40 minutes. “You’ll make it on time,” I reassure myself, except I won’t because another car pulls in front of me as I leave my neighborhood and I am stopped at the first light. I get on the freeway to find it backed up for who knows what reason. “Why are all these cars here, they should all be at work already?”, I grumble as I give the lady next to me a dirty look as I pass her. The cycle continues as I interpret every lane change and safely driving motorist as a direct threat to my punctuality. At 10:50 I arrive at my destination, hurriedly find a parking place and run into to the office.  I am friendly, calm and ready for my appointment?  NO! I am angry, irritated, heart racing, blood pressure up – classic stressed-out nut-case.

This a short, but realistic, example of how our “Attitude equals Altitude”. What we think directly determines how we feel physically and emotionally, how our body functions and how we behave, which in turn circles around and reinforces how we think. In this case a negative cycle is in place. It could have been different if the thoughts had been different.

The words “think” and “thought” in this context do not mean random or fleeting ideas.  They refer to those concepts we dwell on, focus on, and escalate by finding other events to reinforce and continue the pattern.  It happens with positive thoughts too. A car pulls out in front of me and I am grateful there wasn’t an accident.  Traffic is backed up and I breath deeply and focus on staying calm.

We are in control of more in our lives than we accept.  Blaming others seems to be a way to avoid responsibility for our own behavior.  I am in control of what I think and therefore my actions.  I am responsible for my thoughts and my actions.  I will happier, calmer and easier to get along with when I accept this truth.  I will have higher altitude.

NOT EASY but WORTH IT! Try taking your thoughts captive.

PITY PARTY at my HOUSE

Self-pity sucks! It really does. It uses up valuable energy and scarce the resource of time, accomplishes nothing and takes enormous effort to extricate myself from it’s power. But, here I am, three hours into my PITY PARTY and no movement toward relief as I sit and sink deeper into the pit.

For two days I have tried to get to the YMCA and a yoga class. For two days I have failed: unexpected errands, headache, stomach upset, someone needs help. too tired, etc. Everyone has days when plans are thwarted and everything and everyone takes priority over self. “It is normal”, I keep telling myself. Usually, when these days happen, I can relax, go with the flow, adapt, be flexible, chill-out. !NOT TODAY!
I cannot get control of my thoughts, so I cannot accept the interruptions and proceed gracefully with my day.

Today, my brain, the primary organ of attitude is especially rebellious and refuses to calm down. Refuses to release the “poor me” message I am focused on -therefore escalating the very ideas that created my self-pity. Thoughts literally direct what we feel emotionally and physically. Then they determine our behavior: words, actions, expressions, posture, heart rate, respiration, all of it. The human body is engineered to work as a unit. A “well-oiled machine” as it were. What happens in one part (i.e.negative thoughts) effects it all eventually (stress. anxiety, anger, etc.)

WHAT I THINK = ATTITUDE = BEHAVIOR

What do you think of that equation? We will definitely discuss this again soon.