Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Word to the Wise - De-stress!

A friend forwards me an email about the levels of stress we undergo in our lives that got my attention. It cautioned that we should take time to make changes in our lives for longevity and prosperity.  Over the last couple of weeks I have had encounters or observed warnings that tells me to take notice and action about stress and stress reduction.I really need to take heed and cut down on the levels of stress and anxiety I deal with every day.

I decided to drop everything for the evening and relax, as a start. I stretched out on the sofa to relax; of course, I grabbed the TV remote and surfed for something fun to watch.
I came upon a program that was discussing the effects of holding a glass half full of water for a long time. The scenario was about, oh, guess what? The effects of stress on the body. They were describing the concept using the cliché of a glass half-full or half empty. It really doesn’t matter how one view the glass, the reporter said, because if we hold on to the weight for a long time, as small as it might seem,  it will becomes a problem, a burden that can break you down.

I took the train last week to visit my Mom. There was a poster in the car where I sat that asked; is your heart at risk? Again, talking about how stressed out we are. The poster and the question prompted me to write this down and to think about my levels of risk. The struggles of the job, keeping multiple balls in the air –family, finances, health, parent, friends, children, transportation, safety, environment, you name it. They certainly weaken the chambers of the fragile heart over time – holding on to the half full/half empty glass, whether you realize it or not, is taking a toll on you. All of this is leading to a canary (coronary) as the young child exclaimed. Stress is diminishing our quality and length of life and we must take control and reverse the trend. This warning and caution is all around us. Please stop, take a deep breath and take heed.

Take time to love yourself! Take the tape off, un-clutter your life! Yeah, this means me too.

I know that this is much easier said than done but take the time to plan and gradually unwrap those ties than bind you to the never ending roller coaster ride. Live, love laugh some more and find a person or place or thing that will give you relief and peace.

I've Been Tagged by Sathira!

What a wonderful thing to be tagged by Sathira @ Breaking Mindset. Thank you for your lovely act of kindness. I will do my part accordingly.

The rules of this little tag game are:

1) Go to your photo files, select the 8th photo folder.

2) Select the 8th photo in that folder.

3) Post that photo along with the story behind it

4) Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same!

Here is my photo.

This picture fit the bill. It is in my photo library because I sent it to my daughter to see if she liked the color and design of the bedding for her room for the fall. I like to get the bed ensemble for the bedroom that reflects the seasons. I rotate them in the fall and spring with he holiday sets. As the kids, get older I try to defer to them on the color and designs even thought I am shopping and setting up. If I leave it to them to do, it will not be done in my timeframe. I love a clean, fresh, comfy-cozy and colorful room it helps to frame your disposition.

So, I will tag the following people for the game:

Nessa @
I look forward to seeing your photos and read the story.

Thanks Sathira!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Did You Close the Door to an Opportunity?

As I traveled home the other evening, I marveled at the outcome of the day and reminded myself, as I have too many times, to never rush to judgment. So many times, I have come to repeat the following; you never know the look of a lousy cat, Never judge a book by its cover, never say never, and so many other phrases or maxims about closing doors even before ‘entering the space.’ Thar day was a strong reminder that the universe is generous and the goodness can be mine if I keep an open mind.

Despite a very busy and long day of meetings, I was rejuvenated and ecstatic at the end of the evening by the embrace of the leaders of the group. This last meeting ended at eight pm and the first meeting of the day started at 9 am. Yeah, long day but a very productive day. Don't get me wrong, I am used to long days, I'm flexible that way. I just like to choose to extended  my day. Besides, these evening meetings tend to be poorly attended and could go late into the night. These meetings have been know to go until 11pm. This is a set up for misery. I would rather be some place else.

This last meeting began at 6:30pm. Of course, this is the time when I should be home, relaxed, unfurl, doing my own thing. After the earlier meetings and following up on some other tasks, I begrudgingly went to the evening meeting. I have an affinity for some of the people that would be there so that softens my resolve.

At end of the meeting, I had a chance to greet some folks I haven’t seen in some time, got introduced to some new people and engaged in a most insightful and buoyant discussion with some key people of the group. Talk about food for thought! I did not expect that the meeting would have such a phenomenal ending.

We discussed the business, the opportunities and me in the larger context of the business. These folks were honest, generous and unbiased, well respected and deeply concerned for me. This discussion has given me clarity, perspective and new avenues to guide my thoughts and actions for future endeavors. I walked away thankful and feeling liberated. I felt so relieved and lithe; I could have danced all night. Now I will have to take some action steps to work on realizing the plan but I am grateful for the tutelage.

I am so honored and appreciative of their time, generosity, suggestions and acknowledgment. Again, a lesson for me to embrace each event as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to share and to be grateful. I have to remember to approach and consider every opportunity as a "context for connections."  I might be pleasantly surprised.

What are some of your maxims or phrases for pre-judging situations or people? Please share them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Recycling Days and Dates, 1954 & 2010 Mirror Images

A colleague referred me to a new tax preparer last week. As I sat in his office waiting for my turn, I figured something out. As I scanned the room during my wait, this was not a small office but quaint, my eyes kept coming back to a calendar on a wall to the right of where I sat. It was a calendar with a picture of an old Chevy car on it. The year was 1954 and the month was April. The calendar was attractive. Each time I glanced at the calendar, l thought the year referred to the model/make of the car but it stuck with me. On a whim, I decided to check the dates; I wanted to know the date of that particular day in April 1954. Guess what? Did you guess it? I noticed that the date for the day was the same as it is this month, April 2010. Fascinating!

I Popped up from my chair and walked over to the calendar to look through to see if it was a standard calendar – months of the year – or just various cars of April. I thought it was a cool coincidence. Uh oh, this was a standard calendar of the months and of course the pictures of Chevy cars. Wow! Nothing beats classic cars. It was nostalgic. Daddy had a few Chevy’s back in the day. The last one I remember was an  blue, Impala. I especially loved our Sunday afternoon rides into the ‘country’.

Anyway, this calendar got me to think about things.

I have often thought that life and the situations we encounter are cyclical like the globe or the world; it just cycles around or rotates. You know how folks like to throw around the phrase, “what goes around comes around"– for one thing our calendar does. So what is the rotation? Is it 10 years, more, or less? Thinking in terms of the larger world, dynasties come and go with the various rises and falls. I think of William Shakespeare’s poem, “All The worlds A Stage”, and we are merely players. We make our plans, put our best foot forward, get moving, and get to where we get to in the scheme of things. Do we really learn from past or history? Can we change the pattern even when we re-invent or recreate and try again? Can we only influence outcomes to the degree that the universe allows? Who are we and where do we go from here.

Well I am not giving any answers here but what I have uncovered more clearly and deliberately is that the days and dates goes around and come around again. Our calendar is a function of the calculation and reforms of the earliest methods of telling time. The Julian calendar gave way to the Gregorian calendar also known as the Christian calendar or modern calendar. There are other calendars like the Jewish, the Islamic calendars and others as well. The calendars are calibrated on the rotation of anchor points from solstice to the equinox. They adjust the days to reflect the rotation and factor in leap years and make other adjustments. This entire business is fascinating to me. Check out the various links.
So The bottom line is this. Every X number of years the days and the dates are repeated. X could be six, 11, or more years in between. This is not a few months starting on the same day or having the same number of  days which is a common pattern. The entire year is a mirror image of the other. 1954 and 2010 is a repeat of the days and date of 56 years ago.  In fact, according to Time and Date website, since 1897, this is the 13th return so far of this calendar. Check out the website for other rotations.

If you have a favorite printed calendar, take heart, you do not have to discard it. Just put it in a safe place, break it out, and enjoy it again when it re-surfaces in eleven years, seventeen years, fifty-six years and so on. Isn’t that a great way to recycle – another earth saving tip. As the world turns…!

So, I got my taxes done, well before the deadline, but for entirely too much processing fee. Anyway, I appreciate the referral and the lessons.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Making Dinner for The Boys! Love

I went back to the old grind after five glorious days away from there. I got home tired from being at work but energized from the brisk walk home. I even pretentiously speed walked keeping in front of a woman obviously moving to pass me. I kept pace and half steps in front of her until the end of the bridge where we parted ways without even a glance...woohooo! Well, I am sure she enjoyed the push.

When I get home from work these days, all I want to so is sit on the couch like a rag doll gawking at the TV with the remote in hand like Homer Simpson. As I sink into the abyss, somehow I manage to glance at the clock and remember that Lord Mutton will need dinner. He is such a scrawny kid that I feel I have to prepare dinner for him every night. I am not sure he eats well during the day. I am not convinced that he eats lunch at school and seldom gets an afternoon snack. I do not necessarily think I have to cook a big meal but at least prepare a sensible meal for him. What about hubby you say…..Well he is a grown boy. Nevertheless, he gets his share.

So, today after I struck the pose and got comfortable, I replayed my evening scene. I remembered that I have to feed this kid. I dragged myself off my spot and sauntered into the kitchen. I looked around for what to prepare. I had some chicken in the bottom of the refrigerator thawing. I placed it there last evening intended for tonight’s dinner. It almost did not make it. I was searching for a reason not to make it.

Anyway, I decided to bake the chicken with a honey ginger glaze and adda side of green beans and noodles. I hit the jackpot. It looked soo good and smelled even more wonderful. As I served dinner and called Lord Mutton to dig in, I placed his plate on the table. As he approached the table, his face lit up, like a beacon. All his senses were engaged. That look on his face stirred every lazy muscle in my body. You should have seen that million-dollar smile. Boy, I wish I could cash it in.

I went back to the kitchen to clean up, as I did not want to eat then. I figure I would wait for the other him. As I left Lord Mutton at the table, I thought that I had to record this encounter. After a few minutes in the kitchen, I went to my computer to write and before I could get through this piece, he was finished eating. He scarfed the food down like a lumberjack. I looked at him with his plate in hand and asked him what happened. I thought something was wrong with the food. He grinned and said yeah, I am done. Done, I said. He said yes, it was good ...I really liked the tastes. Huh, this guy is usually a very slow eater. Doesn’t that just warm your heart!

So everyday I come home dreading the tasks of doing the chores around the house like cooking and doing dishes but the thought and remembrance of this very wonderful moment make me forget my frumpiness’ and self-centeredness and get him a meal he will enjoy. He usually enjoys my cooking any way. Truth be told, I feel better knowing I prepared him a good meal and it was something he enjoyed. Now I will go back in my spot and resume the pose until its time for bed. Oh, life is good!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Living The Message of Easter Through Out TheYear

As I spent this week thinking about the Easter Season and what it means to me, I had many thoughts and feelings about this. This ‘religious season’ is a time to be off from work – a holiday. A time for pretty bonnets, dresses, Easter Egg hunts, happy playful children in the Easter parades, special foods, parties and celebrations. It is a remembrance of great suffering, loss and pain but with that and through that come great hope, renewal, rebirth through penance and the beauty in nature that we call Springtime.

How much of that beauty and renewal do we see and experience in our lives? I think again, about what this all means and a few things come to mind. How do we take this season and all its meaning and significance and internalize it so that our behavior and actions reflect the message. How do we live this experience, this season, this opportunity to be reborn every day as we feel and experience it now, during this season.

How do we do live a christ centered life in a practical and realistic way? Knowing the truth about our ransom for our lives, knowing the message and teachings and the daily challenges we face, how do we obey. How do we do that through our enlightenment, our knowledge, and our truths and make it a ritual, a natural consciousness of our daily conduct. I say this is the challenge for having a fulfilled life.

I am sure there are many teachings and lessons on this from our various beliefs, experiences and religious practices. How do we achieve a fulfilled and good life? I remember a lesson from Thicht Nhat Hanh in his book the Two Treasures it says: To live honestly, generous in giving, to offer support to relatives and friends, living a life of blameless conduct - this is the greatest happiness. I think this message is the universal truth for all peoples.

Christ gave everything for us, our ransom, even though we are undeserving and cannot pay for it. What I do know and what I am learning is that we must be grateful for everything. We must be our brothers’ keeper and we must give of ourselves to others so that they can see love and light. This is what the season means for us; we must be grateful and we must be caring.  We are indebted and when we give and serve, we are rewarded with the greatness of a fulfilled life; the greatest happiness.

I am reminded here of one of my favorite hymn’s that is based on two scriptures, “We are one in the spirit”; with the refrain, “they will know we are Christians by our love.” The scripture says,” By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have loved one to another." John 13:35 KJV. The scripture also reminds us to give thanks in all things. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. There is also a favorite praise and worship song, Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart, I just love that song.

If we live in Gratitude for his goodness and mercy, we will find much happiness for living the beatitudes. Find the means and the way to stay renewed and happy throughout the year. The good book says in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Happy Easter and a year of gratitude, and happiness to all.