Fear or courage

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face . . . You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Message

We all have fears, even those of us who think we are fearless. Some of us are afraid of spiders, flying or loud noises. Or we fear the dark, being alone or making a mistake. Each day, no matter how we try to plan our lives so we don’t encounter our fears, we face them anyway.

Many times our fears protect us from danger. We know that if we go swimming during a hurricane we will drown. If we play golf in thunder storm we have a good chance of being struck by lightning. Those fears are based on fact and have been proven many times. So our reactions to these events aren’t fear, but acting on knowledge, or what our parents called common sense.

Our worst fears are those involving the people who are closest to us. How do we know if he/she is our own true love? How will I feed my family if I lose my job? Am I a good parent? Will I ever follow my dream, or is this all there is? How do I tell my loved one that he/she needs professional help? What will happen if I become so disabled my family takes away my car keys? The list goes on and on. We all know the litany because we go through it almost daily, or even many times a day.

Often we allow our fears to control our lives by avoiding confrontations, high places or anything else that intimidates us. Usually our fears are based on previous experiences, especially fears of speaking up or challenging another’s statements. By avoiding these situations we live limited lives. It is only by standing up for our beliefs that we become the people we were meant to be. We were not put on this Earth to cower but to live fully.

In the quote at the top of this page Mrs. Roosevelt stated so clearly why we must face our fears. Only by doing “the thing which you think you cannot do,” can we grow to be better people than we were yesterday. Sometimes we have to face a situation many times before we can resolve it confidently.

Facing fear is like taking our turn at bat in a baseball game. Initially we learn that we don’t need to duck when we see the ball coming toward us. Then we get brave enough to swing the bat and feel warm inside. Then we hit the ball but it doesn’t go far, and we think we might learn how to play the game after all. Slowly we learn how to take a stance, hold the bat and swing. Finally, one day we step up to the plate, take a mighty swing and hit a home run. We did it!

As we become more confident in our own abilities, whether at home plate, in our families or on the job, so do others. We find that we are earning respect. Our friends ask for and listen to our advice when previously we asked them what to do. Doing what needs to be done makes us better people, someone we are proud to be. Learning to be the best we can be is why we were put on this earth.

Meditation

Creator spirit,
Thank you for teaching us that we learn by doing. Each attempt at a new skill gives us more confidence to do that thing and do it well. Facing fear is just another new skill we need to learn. Confidence doesn’t come easily. We have to learn and earn it. We thank you for presenting opportunities to help us grow into the people you want us to be. We thank you for the warm feeling you give us each time we learn a new skill, whether mechanical or psychological.
And so it is.

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at: energywriter@cox.net

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

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I’m an artist

Having received a one of those eagerly anticipated letters from my Home Owners Association that said my house was lovely, as were my weedy flower garden and my splintery deck. However, they suggested a few tweaks to come into neighborhood compliance. Most of the suggestions required stain or paint.

Dutifully I bought deck stain and door paint and brushes. I have plenty of can openers and stir sticks. In fact I have enough to keep my paint cans open and stirred until I reach the point of hiring the job out to a lesser artist than I.

My largest purchase was a gross of edging tape to help me stay within the lines. I carefully taped anything that was even close to another color. Then I donned my oldest clothes, safety glasses and plastic gloves and began to spruce up my house.

The deck and front porch are now a new color, but close to the old color, as required by the HOA color guidelines. I changed the front door from the dark red that it has proudly worn for the past 12 years to a lovely forest green that matches the house number plaque I purchased at Busch Garden’s Christmas Market a year and half ago.

After a few weeks of work, an hour here and there, the project was complete and I carefully removed the edging tape. This was a sad duty, because I was beginning to like that blue outline. I thought it set off the other colors and made my house more cheerful than the others.

Once that task was completed I stood back to admire my work. I noticed that while my edges were all neat, several drips, splashes and smudges made the siding and door frames look like a Jackson Pollock painting. What an exciting prospect! If Pollock could sell his drips and splashes for thousands of dollars, why shouldn’t I get at least a million for a work of art that included a two bedroom house?

Regrettably, all I got was another letter from the HOA telling me to get some paint that matches the siding to cover up the various drips, splashes and smudges.

Some people just don’t appreciate valuable art!

© Sharon Dillon, July 19, 2014

Thoughts to Ponder – July 9, 2014

“The most important decision you make
is to be in a good mood.”

Voltaire

Message

We can decide to have a good mood?

This is a shock to many of us who grew up believing that our moods were dictated to us. We learned to reflect the moods of those around us. As children, that meant our parents and teachers. We were we told, “You should be happy, because . . . . Or, “Why are you happy? Just look at what is happening . . . .” The pattern repeated itself as we matured. We learned to feel what we thought we were supposed to feel.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t empathize with those around us. Empathy is a gift to us as well as to others, but we don’t need to wallow in another’s pain.

Eventually, we began learning and integrating the revolutionary idea that we could feel how we felt. We finally gave ourselves permission to feel happy when others were sad – and to feel sad when others were happy.

We can choose to be in a good mood, no matter what is happening in our surroundings. We don’t need to mask our true feelings, but we can avoid getting sucked into another’s vortex of despair.

We learn that most of the time our good mood is contagious – to us as well as to others. Perhaps we wake up in a good mood because we slept well. We can hang on to that thought even though traffic is making us late for work or, or, or . . . . As the day progresses, we will notice that our good mood extends itself. We still feel good at the end of the day.

Best of all, good moods are contagious. Often a smile and a simple “thank you” is enough to lift another person from the doldrums. If not, well, there is always the next person.

Meditation

Creator Spirit,
Thank you for the gift of joy, the gift of knowing we are happy inside even if others are not. We know that being in a good mood, is an extension of gratitude. If we are grateful, a good mood naturally follows. Good moods are contagious.
And, so it is.

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Be careful what you wish for . . .

My parents used to remind me on a frequent, sometimes daily, basis, “Be careful what you wish for,” with the caveat “you just might get it.” Of course, there were other times when they would say, “Wish in one hand and spit in the other. See which one gets full faster.” Of course, Walt Disney constantly reminded us, “When you wish upon a star . . . .”

What a dilemma of mixed messages to a child! As I grew older I began reading books like The Secret (Rhonda Byrnes) and Law of Attraction (Abraham-Hicks). More confusion. Why didn’t a million dollars show up on my doorstep like it did for the authors? Recently I’ve been learning how to use the power of attraction in small ways, but not always with the results I had in mind.

A couple weeks ago that came to my attention in a startling way.
Two weeks ago I became dizzy and nauseated at work. It was a very hot day and I had not slept well the previous night so was not concerned. After sitting in his office a few minutes my supervisor called Health Services. Envisioning a short nap and back to work, I said yes.

Two hunky young men came, asked a few questions then pushed me up the hill to Health Services. Because the hill was steep and I weigh a bit more than I should, they ran up the hill. Whoo Hoo! This was the fastest ride I’d had in the park for several years.

Once there an aid remarked several times about the puffiness under my eyes. I told her it was a lack of sleep and old age, but she didn’t buy it. After a while they discharged me to my daughter’s care and told me to see my primary provider. I called for an appointment and was told to go straight to the ER. Why? Just go.

Once in the ER I was allowed to don a fashionable, faded gown that had a portion missing. Then a gurney ride down the hall that was more exciting than the wheel chair ride, just as fast and more obstacles. Soon I had a plug installed in my inner elbow, just in case it was needed later. Soon a nice young cardiologist arrived and determined I needed a heart catheterization.

The next evening I was wired to the first plug and another one. The doctor threaded a mini-camera from my groin to my heart. I could see something that appeared about 4” long twitching and leaping. I knew it was an artery or vein moving as my heart beat. Later I told the nurse that I saw something that appeared to be a praying mantis jumping around. She said, “There was no praying mantis. You were drunk.” I guess nurses aren’t into metaphors.

The absolutely worst part was an intravenous bag that kept filling me with fluids but the nurses wouldn’t allow me to use the bathroom. I’d awaken with urgencies and automatically sit up. An alarm blared like I was breaking into a bank vault. Four nurses would run into the room yelling at me to use the buzzer. I’m supposed to break 60+ years of training in five minutes? A little later loud shouting disturbed my slumber. It turned out that a man got up to use the bathroom and wandered into someone else’s room.

Finally, morning arrived and the nurses disconnected me from all the tubes and told me I could actually use the potty. Ahhhh, luxury! After that joy and brushing my teeth I went for a short walk down the hall trying to hold the gown together, hoping the other occupants would not be treated to the sight of my pasty-white nether regions flapping in the wind. Ah, a flash of insight! Back in my room I donned my work shorts that were tucked away for my trip home. New confidence. The second lap was much more fun than the first. The gown could flap all it wanted and I didn’t care.

The hospitalist arrived and said I could go home. No damage to heart, but the new medicine schedule included additions, subtractions, increases and decreases.

When my daughter arrived to drive me home, I whined about my situation. She stopped me short, saying, “Mom, you said you wanted a few days off work.”

July 1, 2014