Winters

“Wisdom comes with winters” 

Oscar Wilde

Aging is an interesting thing. I’m beginning to see this getting older stuff provides me with challenges and opportunities which may or may not help me gain some wisdom along the way. Some of my lessons are definitely easier to accept than others.

One of the most fascinating things I’ve observed over the past few years is how I’ve become invisible. I’m not sure exactly when that happened. I began to notice it took much longer for people to notice me–whether I’m at the store waiting for someone to ring up my items or walking down the street–the steady stream of people around me seemed to simply glide right by me.  A less pleasant awareness occurred last week when my femininity took a reality check square on the nose. As I sat in a lecture I began to notice the person presenting the talk scanned the room very nicely and had great audience connection EXCEPT he never once made eye contact with me. I have to tell you this took some time to accept and I had to mentally brush off my pride. As I thought about the last few lectures I’d attended, I realized this was not the first time I’d been “looked over” both literally and figuratively. I was not at all impressed with this latest bit of aging insights.

I may be less visible but my new awareness has helped me see others who are in need. At the store this past weekend I noticed a little man with a cane trying to push his grocery cart, a woman with a walking cast struggling to open a heavy door, and a man in an electric cart struggling to make it around all the aisle displays. These proud souls are the true invisible ones.

It only took a minute of my time to help them. It’s something we can all do and it certainly made me feel better afterwards. After all, believe it or not, in the not so distant future, that may be one of us in need of a helping hand. What a nice way to continue to observe Lent–helping our fellow invisible people.

Oh, yes, I’ve reached those golden days

You hear so much about;

I don’t feel any older yet, 

But will one day, no doubt.

The sky is still a lovely blue, 

The rose is just as sweet. 

Each day is like another chance

To make my life complete.

Sure, there is hardship, sorrow, and pain,

Who thought there wouldn’t be? 

But now I know it’s just a test

To find the worth in me. 

~Betty Irean Loeb

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Little Messengers

An Irish Blessing:

“Count your blessings instead of your crosses;

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes;

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears;

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full years instead of your lean;

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth;

Love your neighbor as much as yourself.”

Sometimes the littlest things bring me the most joy.

I picked up a small bag of bird seed this weekend to use in a feeder I’d found at one of our sales. I wasn’t ready to invest any more money until I saw feasting birds.

It didn’t take long.

Within a few hours there was a frenzy of busy birds–obviously my birds are rather shy and decided to recruit one little bird friend for the attached photo.

Winter is hard on the psyche even in the milder climates. I needed some help in seeing and appreciating the marvels of nature surrounding me every single day.

I believe my perfect messengers have arrived.

“Clearly, one of the major obstacles to our experience of gratitude is the habit we have of sleepwalking through life. The truth is that we are never lacking for blessings in our lives, but we are often lacking in awareness and recognition of them.” ~ Rev. Diane Berke, Ph.D

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

A Few Words About Words

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” 

Rudyard Kipling  

My word for 2019 is awareness.

It took some time for me to narrow down my word choices.

Initially I thought aware was my word. It’s a great word but it’s an adjective. I can’t explain why but for some reason I did not want my guiding word to be an adjective. To me, an adjective is not a thing–it’s a word that describes a person, place, or thing. For this year I need a thing–a noun–as my guiding word.

Already my awareness has helped me to slow down and gather a lot of information that will enable me to learn and grow. I am looking forward to sharing.

 “While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.” 

John Williams, Stoner

Surprises can be such fun.

Yesterday an old childhood friend sent me a text to call her. By the time I was able to call her our time was limited. I needed to postpone our conversation until today and she agreed.

What a treat to talk with her today and hear about her family and some of the old friends we both grown up with back in Traer, Iowa. We talked about our lives as young adults and our lives now. I smiled as she talked because I heard her use words and phrases I’d not heard in a very long time. It was a wonderful gift.

Thank you, Carole Dalby, for taking me back in time and bringing me up to date with you and your family. You are one brave and incredibly strong woman. I look forward to talking with you again soon.

“Talk between women friends is always therapy…” 

Jayne Anne Phillips

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Thank you, Judith Weitzel Wilmink, for allowing me to use your picture of our hill country sunrise this morning. 

Starting a 2019 Awareness List

Without self-awareness and the ability to manage our emotions, we often unknowingly lead from hurt, not heart. Not only is this a huge energy suck for us and the people around us, it creates distrust, disengagement, and an eggshell culture.  Brené Brown

Over the weekend I saw Brene Brown on our local PBS station talking about her newest book, Daring to Lead.

I and many many others adore this woman.

If you aren’t familiar with her, the best way to “meet” her is to google her and watch her TED talks. The first time I heard her I was speechless and in tears. In a matter of minutes she opened my eyes to so many things.

As 2018 nears its final days, many of us begin to plan the for new year. Self-awareness is on my list. I no longer see it as a self-improvement list. How can I improve when I am unaware?

So–becoming aware is where I will begin 2019.

I’m thinking I’m not the only one who needs to re-evaluate their starting position. Kinda like that old game of Monopoly–you cannot pass go until….

At the top of my goals is investing the time to read Brene’s books. I have them all either on my shelf–thanks to my little used book store–or on my Kindle.

But here’s the deal–

Reading them is so hard because everything she says resounds so strongly with me. As I read I find myself thrown back in time–which is where I need to begin.

I know I need to address the old issues I’ve carried around with me for decades–like it or not–for a while, it really will be one step forward and one step back.

Because her words encourage me, I re-posted Brene’s blog on my Facebook page today and clipped parts to share here.

“Leading from hurt” behaviors can be fueled by feeling no value from our partner or our children, so we double down on being seen as “important” at work by taking credit for ideas that aren’t ours, staying in comparison mode, and always knowing instead of learning. The most common driver of the hurt that I’ve observed is from our first families.

The first-family stuff can look like seeking the approval and acceptance from colleagues that we never received from our parents. Also, if our parents’ professional failures and disappointments shaped our upbringing, we can spend our careers trying to undo that pain. That often takes the shape of an insatiable appetite for recognition and success, of unproductive competition, and, on occasion, of having zero tolerance for risk.

Identifying the source of the pain that’s driving how we lead and how we show up for other people is important, because returning to that place and doing that work is the only real fix. Projecting the pain onto others places it where it doesn’t belong and leads to serious trust violations. Our long, hard search for whatever it is that we need never ends and leaves a wake of disconnection.

One of the key learnings emerging from our leadership study took my breath away: Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.  Well, leader, heal thyself.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Self-Compassion

“Awakening self-compassion is often the greatest challenge people face on the spiritual path.” 

Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

I’ve noticed a new word being used for taking care of yourself. Self-care. I like it which means I probably over use it–the word–NOT the practice.

I’ve been searching for a word or phrase that describes what I’ve been so focused on these past few years. I found that phrase today–I am on my spiritual path in search of self.

I like that as well.

In my family it was stressed you never put yourself first. You took care of everyone else before yourself. Since I was a kid when this lesson was first taught, I was expected to be even more subservient.

This lesson is one of those childhood tapes that has played every single day and always comes in loud and clear. You never questioned it. It was just the way it was. Even talking about in now makes me uncomfortable.

Buried within those lesson notes is the word “should.” I’ve become very aware of the times I use that specific word. It falls into my sentence structure so naturally I don’t notice until I read it out loud. As I read my voice triggers an immediate shame response when I say the word, should.  Nearly every circumstance revolves around something I didn’t do but had the opportunity to do so. It’s about a choice I made to give myself a rest which automatically means I was neglecting the needs of someone else.

Oh, those old lessons are hard to unlearn.

I understand it won’t happen over night. Like so many things I’ve discovered on this path, it is another part of this amazing journey I’m on that is a work in progress.

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” 

Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Self-Care

“The day you start giving yourself priority and catering to your own needs first, that day everything will fall in place. Most of us were taught (or believed) that taking care of your own needs first is being selfish. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Unless you look after yourself first, how can you look after others? It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that if you want to help others, you have to take care of your own needs first. No, you are not being selfish by doing that. Charity begins at home- in this case with your own self. You can feed others provided you have enough to eat. More often than not, you are misused if you are nice. You have to compromise many a time to suit needs of others. That way you are seconding yourself to someone else. Stop doing that. You have a right to your needs and a reasonable chance to fulfill them. Demarcate clear boundaries, draw very clear unambiguous lines and stick to them; your personal space should not be violated. If in your relationships you find that all your efforts are concentrated on pleasing others then it is high time you unshackled and freed yourself from their vice like grip or else you will sink into quicksand with no chance of survival. If people don’t like the new you and decide to walk out, don’t stop them, they were never meant to be in your circle. Good riddance. Believe me, you will feel relieved because a very heavy load would have been lifted from your chest. Surround yourself with like-minded people who care for you, respect your individuality, see your value and don’t cross the line. They are people you should stick to- because they are genuine.” 

Latika Teotia

In my midwest Catholic family, I was raised to put others first–that was the way it was–to do otherwise was selfish.

Taking care of myself–self-care–is a relatively new concept for me. I struggle with it most days–I think many of us do. It’s an entirely new thought process for me so I should not expect it to be comfortable immediately.

I’m learning to be patient with myself–I’m more aware and beginning to believe the simple fact is this–I am worthy–as are YOU.

“You need to wake up and realize that you deserve more, and there is more waiting for you out there. Stop settling; it only tarnishes and corrodes your soul.” 

Lebo Grand

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Balance

Balance is the key to everything. What we do, think, say, eat, feel, they all require awareness, and through this awareness, we can grow. 

Koi Fresco

I thought once I retired, it would be easy to find a way to balance my life. My very fast paced, busy career ended and there was nothing in my life to fill that vacuum. My life’s scales that had been tipped to the work side for so long began to tip off center and rapidly topple off-balance. I had no idea how to correct that swing and bring my new life into any sort of balance.

I found a quote attributed to Jana Kingsford that gave me a hint of insight. Jana said, “Balance is not something you find. It is something you create.”

I realized it was up to me to become aware of what I needed in my life to create balance. On the journey to Wyoming for the eclipse, I gave myself the gift of time. Time to rest. Time to really see and become aware of the beauty surrounding me. Those discoveries continue to unfold, giving me the energy needed to keep myself and my life in balance.

I am not saying I have it mastered.

I imagine, for me, the balancing act will an ongoing process and always somewhat tenuous.

I’m okay with that.

I am…

B…simply being…

Be kind and pray for each other. There are many in our country tonight who need our prayers.

I love and thank you.

Peace