Viewing entries tagged
inspirational

Your Perspective Changes Everything

Once upon a time, there was a man who was traveling on a pleasantly warm day. He walked for many miles and eventually saw a little house at the side of the road, where there was a woman working in the garden.

"Good morning, Ma'am," the traveller called with a cheerful grin.

The woman looked up from her work. Peering at the man suspiciously from under her sunhat, she squinted in response.

"I'm just on my way to the next town," he continued without missing a beat.  "I was wondering, could you tell me, please, what kind of people I'll find when I get there?"

The woman's face puckered as if she'd just eaten acid-covered lemons. "Oh, they're awful!" she said, shaking her head in disgust.

"Really?" said the man in surprise, waiting to hear more. But the woman returned to her work in silence.

After a few moments, the man went on. "What's so awful about them?"

Frowning and pursing her lips, the woman looked up with an exasperated sigh, obviously not appreciating the interruption. "They're terrible. They're miserable, unfriendly. You can't trust 'em as far as you can throw 'em! You'd do well to stay away and go somewhere else!" she warned.

"Well!" said the man, raising his eyebrows.  "Thank you very kindly. I wish you a good day."

"It'll be just as awful as those people are! I have all this work to do, and in this blistering heat, too!" she scowled.

The man nearly disputed her comment on the weather, as it was only pleasantly warm. But he thought better of it, tipped his hat and carried on.

A little while later, he came upon another little house at the side of the road. A woman sat on her front porch, rocking in an old chair with a cat in her lap.

"Good morning, Ma'am!" he called.

"Oh, good morning to you, sir!" she called back. Gently putting the kitty on the porch, she rose and walked down the path to meet him. "I'll bet you could use a cool drink," she offered, opening the gate.

"Why, yes, Ma'am, I really could. Thank you," he replied.

"Please sit down in the shade on the porch and I'll be back in a minute," she offered, gesturing toward her chair.

The woman returned a few moments later with two tall glasses of icy lemonade, "Where are you headed, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Oh, just up the road to the next town," he replied. "Tell me, what kind of people will I find when I get there?"

"Oh, they're lovely!" the woman enthused. "Very kind and helpful! The friendliest people you could hope to meet anywhere!"

Sipping on his lemonade, the man smiled.

(Photo courtesy of Johan Stydom, freerangestock.com) 

How to Climb The Mountain That's Staring You in the Face

Have you been to hell and back a million times in your life? Have you felt like you were standing at the base of a mountain, your destination the other side of it, but not seen one bit of figurative climbing gear to be seen? - not one harness, not one descender, nope, not even one little crampon?

I know what it's like to look up at the top of that mountain. You feel like you'll never get there - but you know you have to do it; there's no turning back. So now what?

If it's too much to look up, turn your attention to the base of the mountain. You'll feel a little less pressured if you just focus on what you can achieve right now in this moment, and leave the rest to unfold as it will.

I know that sometimes when I've glanced up at that mountain top, I've felt immobilized. I've wanted to give up before I started. So I just grabbed onto the first bit of rock I could reach, picked up a foot and found a little step up. As long as I continued to do that, I made progress. Looking up was not an option. I could afford to look only at what was directly in front of me.

Whatever it is that you're facing, find the first rock that you can handle and take that small step. Leave the biggest, scariest rocks if you can, and get some of the smaller ones out of the way first.

Soon you will feel a bit of relief. Your anxiety will diminish; you will feel stronger. It will reinforce your belief that you must not, under any circumstances, look up, not just yet. To do so might be paralyzing. Forward movement and momentum are paramount. So just keeping grabbing for one small rock at a time, and don't look up.

Before long, you will feel ready to tackle the most challenging rocks. They might not put you at the top of the mountain right away, but you'll be well on your way to reaching it. You might even be able to look up after that. Because the beauty of it is, you'll also be able to look down and see how far you've come.

Crank That Wheel Away From the Skid

"Oops."  (Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

"Oops." (Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

You know that heart-stopping fear that fills you with ice water when you're driving along, and suddenly you find yourself in a skid? Your car fish-tails back and forth, back and forth, spitting gravel or spinning on ice and visions of a rather messy and imminent death race through your mind.

Your stomach flips as adrenalin floods your taut body. You grip the wheel in white-knuckled terror, and you wonder if your mouth is really filled with cotton balls all of a sudden.

Those seconds hang like years, and you're sure you've lost a few off your life after this too-close-call that leaves you shaken and trembling at the side of the road.

Growing up in Western Canada where the weather can be brutal and extreme, I learned how to drive in some pretty vicious conditions. There's nothing like plowing through tons of snow on several inches of solid ice, with a raging snowstorm obscuring your vision - by night.

Many of Canada's country roads are gravel, which can send you into a nasty skid and land you in the ditch in as big a hurry as that ice under your wheels will do.

What makes it worse is the instinct that some people have to crank the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. A big no-no! And on top of that, some people find themselves staring at whatever they're trying to avoid. Another vehicle, a wall, a sharp embankment that drops off and will send them plummeting below and into a raging river... And whatever they're seeing is where they are heading.

I "came out of the chute" in the middle of a sharp skid, born to a frightened young teen and after a time was taken from her and adopted into yet another skid. Much of my life was spent fish-tailing back and forth, back and forth, every heart-stopping moment spent cranking the wheel hard in the opposite direction of that skid, and doing my best to stay focused on the road, and not on the ditch, the wall - or too many times, the cliff above the river.

I was not always successful. In fact, I was very unsuccessful on far too many occasions for far too many years.

With the passage of time and continued practice and focus, the skids are now a lot fewer and farther in between. They don't usually land me in the ditch any more either, because I've learned to stay focused on the road.

And if you don't already know how to do it, you can learn, too.

Delicious Bits

The smell of freshly mown grass. Or lilacs, roses or freesia. Or my favourite - star-gazer lilies. Their powerful scent is intoxicating and fills a room for several days.

Bread baking, or a spice cake full of ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Or rich chocolate brownies, warm and gooey just out of the oven.

A slice of lemon - oh, and eating the whole thing like an orange... yummmm... I know, it's not for everyone but my mouth waters every time I think of it. I love sour and am not keen on sweet except in small doses now and then.

Crisp, just barely ripe Macintosh or Granny Smith apples - oh, my... how I love them but they do not love me so I cannot eat them. But I do still love that delightfully fresh scent.

The crackling of a fire, quietly glowing and warming those near enough to enjoy its hypnotic dance. The silent drifting of huge, fat, fluffy flakes of snow, falling softly against a moonlit backdrop of winter.

The soft and sweet warmth of a little scrap of life in the form of a kitty, curled up and sleeping on my lap or nestled against my chest as I lie on my side...I miss this more than many things; it is not possible for me to have a kitty right now but I cuddle other people's kitties sometimes and let me pretend that they're mine.

Being curled up under a thick duvet in a darkened room, early in the morning and listening to the soft, steady sound of a summer rain lullaby. Pulling the duvet up a little higher, snuggling down a little deeper, knowing you can lie there as long as you want and listen to the sweet music outside...

Gazing at water, a lake with swans and geese gliding across it like tiny feathered sailboats. Watch them long enough and you become transfixed. Or an ocean, with beautiful waves gently rolling toward the shore, one after another, their rhythmic splashing against the sand the sweetest music you've ever heard.

The feel of your sleeping child's even breath kissing your neck as you hold that little person close, stroking silky soft hair and so filled with love you think you'll burst.

Warm sun on my skin, gentle, like a hug from the universe. Cheery little birds, going about their bird business as they chat and sing amongst themselves, decorating the air with pretty notes that drift and float. 

The sounds of certain words, especially Italian or Spanish words. They can make even the nastiest thing sound romantic, erotic, sensuous.  

Music. Sweet, sweet music.... found in words of love or the most tender caresses. Laughter, blissful smiles, a joyful heart singing a crystal clear, sparkling melody.

Hugs. Wonderful, squooshy, celebratory, passionate, warm, consoling, excited, I hurt more than I can stand it, I love you more than you know, I'm so happy to meet you, delicious hugs, hugs for every occasion, create an occasion to have a hug, have several and enjoy every perfect moment and let them heal your wounded soul.

Berries. Mmm, berries. Big, juicy strawberries, so sweet, and raspberries, or plump and perky little blueberries, bursting in your mouth.  

Water. Fresh, beautiful clear water, icy cold, life-giving, rejuvenating as it slides down your parched throat on a busy day, a dry day, a hot day - just any day.

Water. Hot, steaming, bubbling and scented as you slide your weary body into a huge tub and soak away all your troubles, your stresses, your aches and your pains. Thinking only of how wonderful it feels to lie there, in quiet candlelight as you rest a while.

Waking up and having been given another day. A glorious gift. Too precious for words. And the best way to acknowledge that gift is to spend as much of it in enjoyment and awareness of life's beauty and magic as you can manage.

They're everywhere.  All you have to do is notice.

 

A Little Faith, A Dash of Hope...

Things might be awful for you right now.  I hope not, but of course Life does have a way of being miserable sometimes.  And in some cases, it can go on a very long time.

It's not as miserable when you have some control over the situation, when you can actively do something to make it better, to change it in some way and get back to a happier place.  But it really sucks when it's pretty much out of your hands.

In those cases, all you can really do is change yourself, your own attitudes about what's happening.  Trust me, I do understand complete and utter despair.  I've endured some of the worst heartache, the worst illness, the worst fears (but thank heaven I've also been spared many others).  I do know what it is to suffer, so I'm not just talking out of my hat (such a bizarre expression).

When it gets like that for you, you've got to hang onto faith and hope.  And if you've lost them, you've got to dig deep and find them again, even if it's just the tiniest shred of each.

Although it doesn't always feel like it, you have control over what goes on in your head.  You can choose to think about how awful it is and how dark and miserable things are right now and how they're just going to stay that way.

Or you can look ahead and have faith that things will change, that the Wheel of Life will soon begin to turn in your favour again.  You can trust that there will be a bit of good news tomorrow or next week, that you'll see the first signs of improvement in your situation.  Because it will come, you know.  Nothing stays the same forever.  And if you're like I used to be, you'll say, "Yeah, I know.  It can get worse!"

And yes, that's true.  But equally, it also means that things can get better.  If you're gonna give some time and energy to the negative, the positive deserves at least the same attention.  Be fair and give it equal time. Or more.

Then find a little hope.  If you've lost that too, then make some more.  You do it by remembering other times when things were dark and horrible, but then they got better.  C'mon, don't tell me that every single minute of your whole existence since birth has been awful.  Even if there has been a lot of misery, if there have been many hardships, some of them will have made room for brighter days in the past.

And I'll bet that when you were in the soup back then, you might not have thought it would ever get better.  But it did.

And it'll get better again.  You create faith and you create hope by choosing to welcome them into your thoughts, by opening your mind, your heart, your life to them and telling yourself - no, by insisting - that your situation will improve.

Even in terminal illness there is room for faith and hope.  Have faith in the strength of your spirit's ability to face what lies ahead, to accept the situation and find peace.  Have hope that your suffering will be eased, that you will find comfort in your spiritual beliefs or in being with loved ones during this very difficult time.

The Universe doesn't always give us what we want.  But it always gives us what we need.  And if you need courage, strength, faith or hope, even if you have to look for them, you will always find them.

 

Positively Positive

I don't read the paper.  I don't listen to the news.  In fact, I'll go a step further.  I won't read the paper and I won't listen to the news.  There's so much torment and tragedy, murder and misery, nothing but story after story about man's inhumanity to man, about horrible accidents, Acts of God that cause death and destruction.  Do I really need to hear every possible rotten, awful thing that has happened out there?  Does it add anything to my life? Will I be worse off for not knowing about these terrible incidents?

No.

I figure that if there's anything I really need to know, like the sky is falling or Armageddon's happening after dinner on Tuesday, someone will tell me.  I told a journalist friend once that I thought I ought to start up a newspaper that was full of only good news.  He said it wouldn't sell because people want the blood and guts (my words, not his, but that was the general idea).  He said good news doesn't (or wouldn't) sell papers.

I think it would.  Some of us want to be surrounded by positivity.  Some of us want to know the good news, the happy events, the wonderful moments and miracles that are happening in the world.  Some of us want to be uplifted by the beauty that exists in the perfect stories of love and kindness that are taking place around us, especially when they happen between strangers.

Some of us prefer to be connected with light and lovely positive energy that allows growth and movement, rather than heavy, oppressive negative energy that keeps us stuck and stagnant

I refuse to give attention to the negatives in my life or my environment, above and beyond what is absolutely essential in order to deal with certain issues.  Beyond that, negative thoughts are chased away and replaced by positive ones.  If I find myself wandering into contemplations about anything that is distressing or upsetting - particularly if it's nothing I am able to change - I dismiss it, focusing instead on what I want - and not on what I don't want

I've spent - or rather wasted - far too much of my life enduring and choking on negatives already.  I refuse to give that rubbish any more of my precious moments because they would only harm me.  They would not add anything to my life; they would only take from it.  Well, they would if I let them.  But I won't.

Instead, I am immersed in sparkling, radiant, shimmering, positive energy of the purest kind. I will not feed the demons that thrive on negative energy; I let them starve to death, bloody tormentors that they wish they could be, if only I would allow them to ravage my life the way they used to do.  They tore and clawed at it until it was in shreds, lapping at the dark red pools beneath the carcass of any dreams I might have had.

No, there is no room for them in my life, my heart, any part of my being and they are unwelcome beasts.  I have banished them from the sacred space that is Me.  I am far more powerful than they could ever hope to be and they shall not destroy me again, nor shall I allow any more destruction of my time in this life.

Why would I choose to do anything else?  Unless, of course, I had some burning desire to destroy my own life, my own happiness and wellbeing.

I have complete control over what I think and how I respond to anyone or anything.  I have complete control in deciding where to focus my attention and energy.  I can choose to make my life better - or worse.

I know what I'm choosing.  How about you?