Our Life, as it is given, is always a Blessing; it’s all in how we look at it.

Feeling good is relatively simple to accomplish.   Put what’s happening to you in perspective with what’s going on in the world around you.   There are always individuals whose tests and hardships are more difficult than our own.  Perhaps, we are having a trying day or there is an immediate situation of discomfort.  Things are going to bother and aggravate us, but they are part of living.  However, we can control the extent to which we are bothered and just how we choose to react to the stimulus.

I like to look at the big picture. You know…the outcome that might be at the end of each event and situation.  Is this the worst thing that has happened to me…ever?  Is there something that can be done to make it less negative?  What can be learned from this?

Reflecting on the things that really are important in my life, or things that I enjoy, usually makes me feel immediately better. Sometimes, challenges help us grow or we discover something new about others or ourselves.  I dealt with this almost intuitively as a child.  Occasionally, as an adult, I need to remind myself of the benefits of this practice…it’s not always easy.

“Are you always in a good mood?”  I’m frequently asked.  Sometimes, it’s asked with sarcasm.  Maybe it is thought that someone who always appears happy… must be putting it on!  Rarely, if ever, is there a bad mood in me.  I do sometimes get a bit blue or melancholy, but it is short lived.  For me, being in a bad mood just takes too much energy and time.   Also, everything that follows in that day is marked with negativity.  Perhaps, my own memories of walking on egg shells around the moods and tempers of my mother and step-father have helped me determine my own path.  My thoughts are more of why would you want to be in a bad mood, when it’s easier to be happy?

A constant check and recheck of what’s really important in life and what’s not…helps me keep things in balance.  I’ve done a total one hundred eighty degree turn from years before.  For so long, I had tried to please everyone, but myself.  That was a throwback to my childhood.  Although it still is important for me to please others and be appreciated, it is now equally important for me to be pleased with myself.  If something doesn’t feel good mentally, physically, or emotionally… I try my best to let it go.  Admittedly, I’m not always successful, but I make the effort of trying.

Part of my recent journey has been discovering things about myself.  Why do I think, feel, or do something in a certain way?  As expected, many of my actions and reactions are the direct result of years past.  The memories are painful, but worth the exploration.  My best thinking and self- examination are usually done at the ocean. For years, I’ve found great solace in its waters.  There is a place like that for each of us; this is a place where we feel good about ourselves and complete.  It’s important to go places and do things that make us feel good about ourselves.

The ocean makes me feel clean and whole.  It’s like a baptism of spirit each and every time I visit.  In the presence of the vast and perfect balance of these waters, my anxieties and personal issues seem small and almost trivial.  My individual life in proportion to all the people on earth is analogous to one drop of salt water in the entirety of the seas.  When I put the painful memories of my past in perspective, it is not nearly so overwhelming.  Each of us is making the same life’s journey, but the routes and durations are varied.

My own life continues to challenge and amaze me… for this I am always thankful.

LENTEN GIVING in place of “Giving Up” for Lent!

As many Christians are approaching the beginning of the Lenten Season… we will be urged to “give up” something… or fast in reverence to this holy time of year.  It often seems almost mundane and often done without thought.  Imagine just the opposite, if during the next weeks, leading up to Easter Sunday…  we GIVE something of ourselves, rather than “give up” something. That would honor God in so many ways.

Giving of ourselves in any fashion makes us feel good and the recipient(s) benefit too. It is a win:win situation for all.

I’m not a saint, I do know that, but rather I see/saw it more like a healing technique that I’ve learned over the years… to help myself heal from my own hurtful past. Then, it just became a really good habit that I’ve continued for many years.  We don’t often look at it that way.   You know…”giving” as medicine, but it really is.

 It came to me yesterday, that this might be an excellent Lenten practice, no matter what your religion, that might just become a wonderful “habit” after the season of abstaining/ fasting has ended.

 Instead of “doing without” something for this Holy Season… why not “give” something of yourself, talents, or just do something to make someone else’s day/life a bit better!  Good idea, right?

I know many give in church or to a special organization in financial ways. That is truely wonderful. BUT, what I’m proposing is that we can also give in small ways each and every day and they are not always financial gifts.  Sometimes, what I give is “time.” Sometimes, it’s my “help.” Sometimes it actually is financial help…but most often to a total stranger. In today’s society, everyone welcomes that kind of gift and it is usually much needed.

And, as anyone who knows me well, will tell you…I always give my advice. (I let out a loud roar as I wrote that because it is so true!)  But my favorite gifts are gifts that noone knows about… but me… the “giver.” RAK s (Random Acts of Kindness) are the absolute best!

Sometimes, it’s as simple as pulling someone’s garbage can back up their driveway or picking up the mis-thrown newspaper and putting it by your neighbor’s door. Perhaps, grab a garbage bag and collect trash in a much used area of your neighborhood. Or, take not only your own shopping cart back to the store, but a few others too or maybe pick up that garment or product that’s on the store’s floor, that keeps getting either stepped on… or over by everyone.

When we make a point of complimenting someone on a job well done in either their efficiency or thoroughness, they feel good. Better yet, if you see something or someone that strikes you as particularly wonderful or special… say something.  The tone of the entire day will be one of positivity for not only that recipient, but to all they encounter.

 It’s the best of passing it forward.

 Random acts of kindness. We do them not for the “thanks” that normally follows each of us doing something nice; we do them because they make the world a better place for others. However, what I guarantee is that IF you choose to be a giver, it will be you who is receiving the greatest gift.  I give you my word.