Monday, May 31, 2010

The Legacy

Memorial Day weekend is a special time in my family. We have several traditions surrounding the holiday. The most important is to visit cemeteries where relatives are buried. We clean and decorate the graves and remember those who have gone before us. We tell stories, remember and appreciate our ancestors and enjoy the company of those who are still with us to celebrate.

I always look forward to the holiday, because not only do I get together with the people closest to my heart in current time, but I get to pause and reflect on all those who have preceded me in life and who have, by their lifetimes, given me some sort of gift.

In one of the cemeteries I visit, there are 18 family members buried. In some ways, I feel some sadness when I realize how many people have passed. Of the 18, there are only 4 I did not personally know. Those 4 are my dad's grandparents. Everyone else played a role of some kind in my early life. First off, my father, is always tucked safely in my heart. My grandparents, who welcomed me each summer to work on their cherry and blackberry farm. My uncle Johnny, who built me many little wooden items in his wood shop and his wife. My great uncle Paul, who was very close to my dad. My uncle Jack, who was simply one of the nicest people on the entire planet, who died far too young. My great aunt Grace, and great uncle Leo. My dad's cousin Janet, who also died way too young. My great grand parents. It's a long history there in that graveyard. My uncle Jack's brother, who's 4th of July BBQ I attended every year and Jack's parents, who were like another set of grandparents for me when I was a kid. I have so many memories of all these people.

At another cemetery, it's my mom's parents, and one of my uncles that we remember.

I owe them all a debt of gratitude. They all enriched my life in special and important ways. Some of them made my life in it's current form possible - simply by their existence and their persistence in living this thing called life. Others simply made my life better by being in it, celebrating holidays with me, and giving me different perspectives of and approaches to life. They all contributed in important ways to the person I am today.

I love the opportunity to remember and to recognize the contributions that others have made to the life that I am fortunate to live today.

Happy Memorial Day. I hope you remember all those who have come before you, and all that they have made possible for you, in one way or another.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Confessions of a Perfectionist

I have been a recovering perfectionist for a long, long time. As far as I've come in this process, I'm still working on it - each and every day.

A couple weeks ago, I stopped at one of my favorite fast food places for a quick meal. I got my food, went to the condiment bar and got a few containers of hot sauce and headed to my table.

As I unwrapped a taco, I reached for one of my containers of hot sauce and picked it up with the intention of pouring it on my taco.

Instead of successfully pouring it on my taco, it slipped out of my hand, flipped over, and dumped all over my tray.

Now, this isn't a catastrophe, but the inner reaction I had shocked me! I felt pangs of embarrassment and actual shame because I had slipped and dropped my hot sauce.

I was really, really surprised at how 'not OK' it was for me to make this mistake. I really thought I'd come farther than that in my recovery!

Humans make mistakes. Humans do things wrong. Humans drop things. ALL OF US are human and have weaknesses and flaws. Even on our best days we screw up.

I'm determined to embrace my humanity and stop expecting perfection from myself. It's an ongoing process.

Be gentle with yourself and your humanity. You are not alone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let it Be a Dance

I am a big fan of the work of Gabrielle Roth. I have greatly benefited from her Ecstatic Dance practice. It has really helped me to embrace my physical being in a whole new way.

Gabrielle helps her students learn to accept themselves and their physical forms through the process of expressive dance. There is no 'right or wrong' in 'the dance.' There is only using one's body as a form of expressing what is happening inside. It's powerful!

I love the idea of looking at life as a dance. Gabrielle's approach to dance is also a great approach to life. Allow yourself to move through life in the way the feels best to your inner most soul and learn from it all.

Accepting myself in 'the dance' means not judging my moves by anyone else's standards. It means not comparing the way I move to the way that anyone else moves. My way is my way, and for the present moment, it is what it is.

The paradox about Gabrielle's method is that the more I've practiced Ecstatic Dance, the more comfortable I've become moving my body. The more comfortable I've become, the more I 'like' the way I move my body when I dance. I always try to suspend judgment, but I find that the more I practice, the easier that becomes. Partly because I'm more self accepting, and partly because I'm moving with more grace and ease.

Dancing is a great way to get in touch with your spirit. If you've never tried Gabrielle's method, you might want to investigate it!

Let life be a dance...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rising Above Emotional Whiplash

A couple months ago, I upgraded my computers to Windows 7. I was one of those who clung to Windows XP for as along as I possibly could. The time finally came for me to make the upgrade, and I finally took the plunge.

For the most part it went smoothly, although I must say it was far from easy.

I bought a new laptop computer and set it up over the course of a two week period.

I was preparing to head out for a long business trip, and was pleased that I was on track for having the computer all set up and ready to rock-n-roll.

There was a small physical defect (dealing with the ethernet port) that I decided to have looked at. The defect made it almost impossible to plug in ethernet cables and be able to remove them again. I had a 'work around' for the problem, but decided I would rather have a permanent solution.

I undertook this repair right before I was scheduled to take my niece to the beach for a little 'girl time' vacation. I only had a few days after that mini-vacation before I would leave on the 6 week long business trip.

What ensued was a nightmare I could have never predicted.

I met with a 'mobile technician' sent out by the hardware manufacturer. After he 'worked on' my machine for 3 hours in a Starbucks, he not only was unable to 'fix' my problem, he rendered the computer unusable. It wouldn't start up!

I was devastated. Here I had to leave the next day for my vacation, and I didn't have a working computer. They couldn't get replacement parts to me until mid week the following week - only a few days before I was scheduled to leave on my work trip.

This computer was essential to my work. I needed to have a working, fully loaded (with about 30 software applications) computer to take with me.

I struggled with whether or not I should even go on my vacation with my niece. I thought that perhaps I should buy a new computer and work as fast as I could to try to get it set up.

I decided to go on my vacation and be as present as I could. I must admit, however, that there was a nagging worry in the pit of my stomach the entire time I was gone. "What if they can't fix this computer?" If they weren't able to fix it, I would have to buy a new machine, and try to do in 4 days what it had taken me two weeks to accomplish on my now busted laptop.

My niece and I had a great time. I was able to set aside my worries, for the most part, and have a great time with her.

When the next technician worked on my computer, it was a whiplash experience, the likes of which I have rarely experienced.

First, he thought he easily solved the problem caused by the first technician. He did this very quickly.

I was elated.

Then, he encountered another problem and the machine wouldn't boot at all. This could have been caused by a number of issues, the most frightening was a hard disk failure (which would have been the worst possible outcome for me).

I was devastated... again.

After several pendulum swings between elated and devastated, he finally had my machine back in working order. Although the original problem was not resolved, my machine was back in working order, and I was relieved beyond expression!

This experience, however, really reminded me of just how easily I can be affected by outer circumstances. I was swinging wildly between elation and devastation! Because of a computer!!

Now, it was a serious issue that would have had serious ramifications for me if it had turned out badly. I don't want to minimize that fact.

The truth is, however, that I don't want to be that emotionally volatile. I was actually surprised at the internal experience I went through as this situation unfolded. On the outside, I was fine (well, after the initial melt down in Starbucks when the guy busted my computer). This was an improvement for me. In years past I would have most likely cancelled my vacation, or even if I'd gone, I would have let it ruin my time there. I'm pleased that I was able to go on with my life and enjoy it despite the problem.

What troubled me is the vast swings internally that I experienced when it looked 'good' or 'bad' on the outside. This is the next level of 'work' for me at a spiritual level. I want to be more 'even' in my reactions and remain at peace, no matter what is happening.

There are always challenges and storms in life. We will never experience a time when there isn't something to worry about. The key is learning how to weather those storms and ride out the problems, with as little inner turmoil and outer reaction as possible.

Got any emotional whiplash experiences going on in your life? Look for the balance. Find the even keel! Learn to know at a deep level that you will be OK, no matter what unfolds in your life!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Getting Pushed out of the Nest

When we watch birds in flight, it looks so remarkably easy! Birds make flying look so effortless. It's natural, fluid... remarkable!

Yet, long before they demonstrate flying prowess, all birds start out hatching from an egg, and need to be tended to and cared for in the nest. They grow larger and stronger in the nest, until the day comes for them to take their first flight.

Do you think that all birds just leap willingly out of their nests for their initial flight? I have to believe, and nature proves out, that some birds do not willingly fling themselves out of their nest. No, in fact, many birds must be pushed out by their wise and loving parents!

Life often plays this role in our experiences. Sometimes we are literally 'forced' to deal with situations that we would never willingly leap into. Yet, these experiences can be the greatest instruments of our transformation and growth.

Next time you find yourself in 'over your head' or being flung into a situation that you don't feel prepared for, remember that life is most likely giving you a nice firm push out of your cushy little nest. It's time for you to fly, and you can't do it while you're hanging out in the nest.

Take flight - either on your own volition... or when tossed out of the nest! It doesn't matter how the journey begins, as long as you go! Just remember to flap those wings!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sharper Vision

I have worn contact lenses since I was 13 years old. I'm 'old school' and wear hard contact lenses. I tried to make the switch to soft lenses a few years ago, but the loss in clarity of my vision was simply not palatable. If you've never worn hard lenses, you wouldn't know what you are missing, but I'm used to a crispness to my vision that isn't possible with soft lenses (according to my eye doctor anyway).

Over the years, my vision has actually remained fairly stable. Every few years I replace my lenses, but that has been about all that was necessary to maintain my clear vision.

This year, my doctor decided it was time to increase my prescription strength a bit. It seems I had slowly, over the past few years lost a little bit of clarity in my vision.

I had noticed that I had more trouble seeing a particular clock in my home from across the room, but didn't give it much thought, until the day I picked up my new lenses!

Last week, my world changed! The day I picked up those new lenses, I realized just how much my vision had deteriorated! Everything is so much sharper and clearer now.

I simply hadn't realized how much I'd lost, until it was restored to me.

Often in life, things 'creep up on us.' Gradual changes, both positive and negative ones, can happen so subtly and slowly that we aren't even aware they are happening. This is a double edged sword. It's a good news/bad news type of deal!

On the positive side, we can make tiny changes, bit by bit, and eventually generate a massive shift in our lives. This is great news. We don't have to make big, dramatic changes to eventually have significant impact down the road.

On the other side of the coin, however, we need to be vigilant to changes in our habits and behaviors that can add up to a larger negative in the long run. Eating just a little bit more each day, can result in a weight gain after several months. Neglecting a relationship, or letting our attention to our friends and loved ones become reduced by competing interests can damage those relationships over time.

Being vigilant and paying attention to what we are doing (and not doing) can pay off big dividends in our lives!

Now that my vision is sharpened and restored - I realize how far I'd 'let it slide' before taking corrective action. The good news is that it didn't take much to correct my course and get me back on track!

Use this knowledge to your advantage! Being the best you can be is largely under your own control and influence!

Pay attention and stay alert. Direct your changes consciously!

Friday, May 21, 2010

No Such Thing as a Dead End on the Spiritual Path

My teacher, Dr. Bruni, used to always say, "There are no mistakes, only lessons." I believe that everything happens for a reason. All the twists and turns along life's path can sometimes seem confusing and downright random. Yet, I truly believe that there is always meaning and value in what happens to us. We have the opportunity to change, grow and develop through all that happens to us.

In my work as a coach and spiritual counselor I've often heard people lament 'wasted time' and missed opportunities. I do not believe in the concept of 'wasted time.' There are always lessons available to us, no matter what we've done, or not done.

There is no such thing as 'wasted time' or a 'dead end' on the spiritual path. Each and every experience offers us some morsel of learning or development. Even time spent seemingly 'stuck' has value. We may not be able to see it right away. In fact, we may never consciously know why something had to happen to us. That doesn't mean it didn't have value or meaning. Many times, things that happen in our lives set off processes, inside and out, that alter the future in major ways.

Appearances can be deceiving. No matter what is happening, we have an opportunity to learn from it and grow from it. We have the ability to recover from anything that happens to us. We can always change our direction and make a new choice. It is never too late.

Dead end signs don't exist on the spiritual path. Detours are part of the plan. Keep on walking!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meet George Jetson - The Power of Vision

Remember the cartoon from the 60's called "The Jetson's?" It was a show that depicted life in the year 2062, exactly 100 years in the future. It was filled with futuristic images that seemed completely unbelievable at the time. I watched it as a child in the 1970s. Here we are in 2010, and we're half way to 2062.

Last month I was on a 6 week business trip to the middle east. I was using Skype to communicate with people back home. Skype allows you to use the internet to communicate for free. You can both hear and see the person you're talking to!

As I was "Skyping" I thought about the Jetson's. It is something that was depicted on the Jetson's 50 years ago. Long before anyone knew how to achieve it. It seemed like a fantasy, and now, it's real.

Someone 50 years ago could vision things that most of us couldn't even begin to imagine. Now they are a reality. I wonder where we'll be in 2062? How much of the Jetson's cartoon world will have come to fruition by then.

Vision and imagination are powerful faculties. They have generative and creative power.

Don't be afraid to dream big and envision great things! There is no other way to advance our consciousness and expand our world!

Get busy envisioning a world that you want to live in! Participate in the creation of your future!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Knowing When to Walk Away

"Success lies in being able to retreat at the right moment and in the right manner. The success is made possible by the fact that the retreat is not the forced flight of a weak person but the voluntary withdrawal of a strong one." ~ The I Ching or Book of Changes

The voluntary withdrawal of a strong person is an under-appreciated phenomenon. Knowing when to walk away, and being willing and able to do so is not trivial.

So often we consider retreat as being the result of weakness or cowardice. Often the opposite is true.

Taking the high road is always the best course of action. Not stooping to the level of those who might mistreat or abuse you takes a lot of strength. It is easiest to retaliate, seek revenge or 'react' in some way. It takes much more strength and maturity to simply leave people to their bad behavior, show a little compassion and walk away.

The bad behavior of others is not a license to behave badly yourself. That's a cop out.

The only person we can control is the one standing in our own shoes. Everyone else is responsible for their own actions and behavior. If we are tending to our own selves properly, we wouldn't have the time or energy to bother trying to change other people!

Leave people to their own issues, and focus on yourself. That's more than enough to keep you busy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Chipped Plate is Following Me

I have a set of dishes that has 12 of each item. Twelve plates, twelve soup bowls, and twelve salad plates. One of my salad plates has a chip in it's edge. I try to keep it at the bottom of the stack. Something about using a chipped plate bothers me. Yet, try as I might to keep the chipped plate on the bottom of the pile, I always seem to get that particular plate. Whenever I grab a salad plate, I find that I have, once again, grabbed the chipped one. I find that curious.

It hit me even harder, when on a recent trip to the middle east, I was staying in a private home for many weeks. The first day I made my breakfast, I noticed that the salad plate I was using had a chip on its edge. I couldn't believe it.

Furthermore, as the weeks wore on, I found that I almost continuously grabbed that chipped plate! Half way around the world, and I still had my chipped plate! What are the odds?

I thought about what the chipped plates symbolized to me. Even with their glaring imperfection, the chipped plates still performed their valuable function. They still held and presented food, which is what a plate is supposed to do. The chip did not get in the way of doing that job.

It reminded me that even if I'm not perfect, I can still do what I need to do. In fact, I can still fulfil my ultimate purpose. I don't have to be flawless to be valuable.

It is as true for each one of us as it is for my chipped plates.

It also reminded me that our patterns follow us wherever we go, because they live in us. They may 'appear' to be coming at us from the outside, but the repetitive patterns in our lives emanate from within us. No matter where you go... there you are...

Changing locations doesn't rid us of our essential selves. We can't run away from who we are and what we need to face. The only answer is to look straight at what we need to look at... and deal with it head on!

Got any chipped plates showing up in your life? Let them speak to you!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leave the Limits!

This past weekend I went to visit friends and relatives in Oregon. After being out of the country for more than 6 weeks, I was excited to get behind the wheel of my car and go on this long drive. The weather cooperated beautifully and I was able to make the trip in bright, glorious sunshine.

As is my custom, I was drinking iced tea all during the road trip. As a result of my tea consumption, I have certain 'pit stops' that I routinely make along the way. When I reached the first of my stops, lets just say that I was 'eager' to get to the restroom! I hurried into the fast food restaurant and made a bee line for the bathroom.

To my dismay, when I arrived at the ladies room, there were two women standing in line waiting to use it. Uh-oh! This was unwelcome news to my bladder.

A few seconds later, an employee came out of the women's bathroom. "Sorry, we just ran out of toilet paper in there. I'll be right back." Double uh-oh!

I wondered if there was anyone using the men's room. I smiled at the first woman in line, pointed at the men's room door and asked her, "Is there anyone in there?"

She looked shocked, a little disgusted and she said, "I have no idea."

"So you won't use it?" I asked.

"NO!" she gasped.

I repeated my query to the second woman.

She nervously shook her head, "No."

"Well, I will!" I cheerfully declared. I pushed the door open, and in I went.

These bathrooms were single occupancy rooms, by the way.

I used the toilet, washed my hands and left the men's room. Those two women were still standing there, waiting for the employee to come back with the toilet paper!!

Neither of the waiting women went into the men's room when I came out.

I purchased another iced tea (of course) and left the restaurant.

The other two women were still waiting when I left.

I was intrigued by the 'conditioning' and the 'belief system' that said it wasn't OK for them to use a toilet because of the word "Men" on the door. It simply wasn't a possibility for them.

Having just returned from the middle east where in some homes you can't flush toilet paper down the toilet, and having traveled in areas of the world where you use a hole in the ground as a toilet, it just didn't occur to me that there would be anything wrong with using the "Men's" room in a public restaurant. The men's room only accommodated one user at a time, and the door locked. Why on earth would it be a problem for the single user to be a woman?

If the two bathrooms in this restaurant had not had "Women" or "Men" on the door, these women would have probably been finished by the time I had even arrived!

It was a good reminder to me, that we need to constantly examine our beliefs and the self imposed 'rules' that we live by. Two women stood there in various states of need, while the answer to their need was fully available to them. Their belief system told them it wasn't possible. Mine said, "GO FOR IT!"

Got any outdated rules running your life? Are there any beliefs that you hold that remain unexamined and potentially limiting? Take a look, see what you find and make any changes necessary to liberate yourself!

Explore the possibilities!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Make Way For Beauty

At the moment, I have a rather large plant, a foxglove, growing in a very inconvenient spot in my garden. It sprouted last year, right next to my driveway where people get out of their cars. Foxgloves are interesting native plants in my neck of the woods. They produce only leaves in the first year of life. In their second and final year, they produce tall spikes of flowers that range in color from white to purple.

I never kill foxgloves. I let them grow freely in my woodland garden. usually, they grow out in the wild areas of my yard, or in large flower beds where their tall and somewhat gangly size is easily accommodated.

This plant next to my driveway is, well, it's "in the way." It is not a good place for a plant to exist! Even so, when it emerged as a small shrub last year, I didn't have the heart to pull it up and end it's life. I suppose I could have tried to relocate it, but I didn't have the time.

To me, it means something that the plant decided to grow there. It isn't convenient for me, but the plant is going to give the gift of great beauty. I wanted to let this plant give it's gift, even if it wasn't in the most easily accommodated spot!

This year, my patience will pay off. I'll get to see a magnificent spectacle when it blooms. It will give it's gift, then it will quietly fade away. It will, as it dies, produce many seeds to sow new foxglove plants where they find hospitable soil and other needed growing conditions. Life will go on. I will let the seeds determine where that will occur.

I find a powerful reminder in this phenomenon. I am not in control. I allow nature to determine where this particular variety of plant shows up in my garden. I like to be reminded that, although I can affect many aspects of my life, some things remain beyond my ability (or desire) to control!

We need to make way for the mysteries of life. Sometimes, we need to allow things to unfold whether it is convenient... or not. In doing so, we experience far more beauty and wonder in this life.

I will thoroughly enjoy my 'in the way' foxglove this summer. Each time I look at it, I will remember that it brings a gift and a message. I will appreciate it - each and every day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coming Home Once Again

Today, I arrived home after being away on a 6 week long trip to the Middle East. I had a fantastic trip that was productive and satisfying. I love traveling and 'adapt' to my new surroundings with a fair amount of ease. There is nothing, however, like the pleasure and comfort of returning home.

One of the first things that struck me as I flew in to Seattle was just how green everything was. Taking notice of the 'green' was partly due to the drastic contrast with the middle east landscape. The other factor was that when I left here at the end of March almost none of the deciduous plants had sprouted their new leaves yet. Flying in today EVERYTHING was bright, bright green. It was stunning, actually.

One surprise for me occurred when I walked out to get the mail from my mailbox on the street. It was getting towards dusk. A rather sunny day was coming to an end. I had forgotten (or maybe never noticed) the wonderful scent of the air here! It was so clean, fresh and invigorating!! I just stood outside and took deep breaths of it for a while.

All the green, this wonderful smell... I was overwhelmed with feelings of contentment and familiar comfort. Home. There really is no place like it!

Appreciating our 'home base' and reveling in its comfort is one of the great joys in life. I love that I can go away and be happy wherever I am, but that doesn't diminish the immense pleasure in returning to that base, once again.

I'm delighted to 'be home' in my outer world once again. For the next several days, as I recover from my rather severe jet lag, I will allow myself to be embraced by all those things familiar and soothing.

Enjoying the homecoming is as important as enjoying the traveling afar.

Be where you are. Give special appreciation to 'home.'

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To Endure The Burning

"What is to give light must endure burning." – Viktor Frankl

I don't think there is a person alive who would honestly enjoy the sensation of being 'burned up' in the service of a higher purpose. There might be people who are 'willing' to endure the burning, but few, if any, would enjoy the process.

I admire this quote by Viktor Frankl, who was a World War II, Nazi concentration camp survivor.

It is a literal and symbolic truth. A candle or a fire give the gift of light, but something, the fuel source, is consumed and 'used up' in the process. It is an inevitable and necessary process that must occur to create the light itself.

Spiritual light is no different. Light is created from a burning or conversion process. There is no other way to produce light. Something is used up and consumed in the process of generating light. Often the spiritual teachers and the people who shine the brightest among us, have endured great darkness, and have found a way to turn the bitter and difficult experiences of life into an inspiration and example for the rest of us. They are light bearers and way showers.

It is not for the faint of heart. To shine a great light, you must endure darkness and difficulty. It can be consuming. It can be painful. Those who are willing to go through these processes, bless us all with the transformation that they are willing to undergo. This process creates illumination... which provides benefits to everyone.

Great light and spiritual development does not come without a process of burning... of transformation. Be willing to go through the process and you will experience greater light. Be willing to go through the burning, and you will contribute to increased light for the entire world.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Honoring my Uniqueness

I don't know what it is that makes us humans obsessed with comparing ourselves to one another! I find it a most frustrating and self defeating pattern, and yet I continue to catch myself doing it... far too often.

I had a powerful learning experience with this pattern many years ago. At the time, I was doing a lot of computer information systems design work, including some programming/coding. I studied programming in college, and had a fair aptitude for it, but my real talent was for requirements analysis and systems design. Still, in many of my jobs, I've done a little programming.

In this one particular job, I worked with two very skilled programmers. They cranked out code super efficiently. I've always been a methodical programmer, and I have always had a very specific way that I like to code. If I'm writing a program, I start with multiple sheets of paper. I start to organize the program by segments, and modules. I keep everything organized on paper. It's easier for me to visualize how it all fits together, and keep things organized in their proper structures that way. In the end, I end up with my entire program written out. All I have to do is sit down and type it in. I rarely have logic errors - because everything is immensely well thought out. My errors are usually syntax errors (typos) and are easily identified and corrected. This is the way I wrote all my programs in college. It served me well.

Yet, back in this particular job, I worked with two guys who coded directly from their heads onto their computers. They wrote down very little. They organized everything in their heads and just put it directly into the computer. I really admired this quality. To me... that's how 'smart people' coded. I felt that my method was inferior. It seemed to me that it was like 'remedial coding.' Let me remind you that my programs always worked, and rarely had bugs. Yet, I felt that I wasn't doing it 'right.'

One day, I had a complicated program to write. I got my sheets of paper out and started to work. Then I stopped. I decided that I would not let myself do it 'my way.' I would code the way I'd seen my peers code. Directly from my head, into the computer. And so I began.

I worked, and worked and worked on this program that day. I kept typing in code, trying to keep it all organized in my head. It was really, really difficult for me, and I never felt like I was 'covering all my bases.' After about 4 straight hours of this, I was starting to feel like I was getting to a good place, and the unthinkable happened. The system crashed! I hadn't saved ANY OF MY WORK! I lost 4 hours of programming, and didn't have a single thing written down. IT WAS ALL GONE!

Now, one could argue about the 'wisdom' of not saving my work along the way. I'll give you that point. That was not smart. The truth was, however, that if I had using the system I felt most comfortable with... this would never have happened. First of all, when all I was thinking about was typing in code I'd already written, I didn't forget to save my work! That was part of the procedure! Beyond that, If I'd been doing it 'my way' the most I could have lost was just the typing effort. I would still have had the code on paper.

It was a great learning experience! I have my way... and my way works for me. It wouldn't work for everyone. Other people's ways don't work as well for me. THAT'S OK!

Learning to honor our unique abilities, skills and ways of being is something that I think can come with age and wisdom! No two people are alike... and for good reason. We are all needed... with the special contributions that we can make!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Making a Memory

"You never know when you are making a memory." ~ Rickie Lee Jones

Sometimes I'm amazed that I seem to remember the strangest things about my life! I can remember snipets in time that seem totally mundane at one level, yet somehow they really impressed me.

I remember sitting with my dog, early on Saturday mornings watching cartoons before anyone else got up in the house. I loved those peaceful quiet times with my pooch.

I vividly recall moments I spent fishing with my dad, driving in his truck with him, drinking coffee like a 'big girl' together with him at the dining room table of our house.

Some negative things creep in too. I'll never forget spilling a soda on him at Disneyland, dropping an ice cream cone in his truck, or him scolding me for goofing around at the "Pine Lodge" Chinese restaurant one night when he lost his patience for my childish antics.

The truth is, that we never know which things will remain in our memories forever, and which things will get tossed out.

No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes, but it behooves us to remember the power of memory when we are dealing with people we care about, especially children. Some things live on far longer than we could ever imagine!

Treat every moment as though it might linger in your memory forever. What would you want to remember? Some things, we have no control over... this is true. But for those things that we do have dominion over, let's use our power as wisely as possible.

Make good memories whenever possible! If something is unfolding differently than you'd like, see what you can do to change it so that the memory can have some pleasantness included in it!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Do Good Works

Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can.
~ John Wesley

Being the granddaughter of a Methodist minister, I have a soft spot in my heart for John Wesley. He was, along with his brother Charles, the founder of the Methodist movement.

This particular quote is one of my favorites. It is a grand guiding principle for one's life. If everyone on the planet lived from this idea, can you imagine the world we would live in?

The good we do doesn't have to be grand - any good act qualifies. Even if we simply set a goal to do one or two good things a day, we could start a goodness revolution on our planet!

See what you can do to add to the revolution!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What To Do With Adversity

"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." ~ William A. Ward

I believe we all have the ability to rise above difficulty and hardship. I honestly think that, by design, struggle and difficulty are an unavoidable part of the human experience. Through adversity and hardship we are given the opportunity to develop character. We learn what we are made of, and what we are capable of.

In my work as a spiritual counselor and life coach, I've seen many people questioning 'why' they have to go through such "hard stuff" in life. I've asked the same thing myself, I must admit. When you are in the midst of a hardship, it isn't always easy to see a redeeming value to the experience.

Yet, time and time again, in my own life, and in the lives of those I've worked with, I see a powerful and remarkable phenomenon occur. Once we've come through something tough, there is a resilience and strength that has been cultivated in us that we didn't have before. There is a resource to draw on that makes the next 'tough time' just a little bit easier to deal with.

Most of what makes this possible is our willingness to be changed and grown through any experience. We can resist, or we can surrender to the process. The choice is ours.

Wet clay on a potters wheel can be fashioned into the most amazing objects! If the clay decided it didn't want to be molded and shaped, and fought the potter's efforts and intentions, this would not be possible.

Adversity has the ability to mold us into something greater than we were before... if we will allow it! Willingness to be changed and developed is the key!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I Can Do It

"Tell yourself in your secret reveries, I was made to handle affairs." ~ Andrew Carnegie

I love this quote. I am someone who has to do a lot of 'self talk' to keep myself on track. I'm a big believer in the power that we each have to build ourselves up... or to tear ourselves down.

We can make our break our spirits with what we repeatedly tell ourselves. There is no stronger affirmation than, "I can do it!" If you don't say anything else to yourself deliberately... say THAT!

No matter what happens, I can do it!
No matter what life hands me, I can handle it!
I was made to handle my life!
I have everything I need to handle ______________.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Something Bright in the Darkness

"To every disadvantage there is a corresponding advantage." ~ W. Clement Stone

I'm sitting in the SEATAC airport, with a 3 hour flight delay, contemplating W. Clement Stone's quote. Actually, in my case, I can prove his statement true! Even though I have a 3 hour flight delay in my travel schedule, there actually is an advantage to offset this disadvantage.

I'm flying to Newark and then later on to Tel Aviv, Israel. I was supposed to have almost an 8 hour layover in Newark. Now, because I'm delayed out of Seattle, I have a much shorter layover in Newark. See... it's true!

This may sound silly, but in my case, breaking up the layover is really helpful to me. 8 hours at one airport is a long time. And, I'd much rather be delayed while sitting comfortable in a restaurant or lounge, than to be trapped on an airplane! There is another advantage to my predicament!

One of my primary spiritual teachers, Jack Boland, used to always say that "Contained within every problem is the seed of it's own solution." I think these two concepts are related.

Nothing is all good or all bad. The ancient Yin and Yang symbol demonstrates that to us. Notice that within the black section of the symbol there is a white dot. Within the white section is a black dot. This symbolizes that nothing is purely dark or purely light. Within each bright situation there is some darkness. Within any dark situation, there is some light. We just need to look for it.

Yin-Yang Symbol

Monday, May 03, 2010

Keep On Keeping On

"Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair." ~ Edmund Burke

Have you ever felt so bad you didn't think you could keep going... yet you did just that?

I can remember many moments and times in my life where I felt that I simply couldn't do 'it' (whatever it was at that particular juncture) and yet somehow I was able to do it anyway.

I like this Edmund Burke quote, because it reminds me that no matter what is happening in my life... I can continue to do what needs to be done.

Emotion does not need to dictate my level of functioning. I'm not an advocate of ignoring one's feelings, but neither do I believe that emotions should rule the day in terms of what gets done. If I lived my life that way, being an emotionally sensitive person, I would never get anything done.

Even if you are in despair, you can still do what you need to do. Be gentle with yourself, but realize you are more capable than you know.