Passion, compassion, humor and style

Thoughts to Ponder

“My mission in life is not merely to survive,
but to do so with some passion,
some compassion,
some humor,
and some style.”
Maya Angelou

Message

Maya Angelou had the ability to tell us the hard truths gently. We knew she was telling us how to live fully. This quote reminds us that we must be multi-dimensional, rather than too focused on one part of our life. In order to live fully we must not just survive, but live with passion, compassion, humor and style. That sounds like a tall order, but it isn’t. This is merely a repeat of lessons taught us through the generations.

We must work, play and rest with our whole being, our passion. Working at a job or participating in a recreational activity we don’t like quickly drains our enthusiasm. Rest is particularly important. Our bodies do not regenerate if we limit our sleeping hours or if we’re reviewing our to-do lists as we begin to drift into Sandman territory.

Not only do we look at those less fortunate than we with compassion, but we must also treat ourselves with kindness and love. Throw the shoulda, woulda, couldas into the trash can. We must accept ourselves for who we are before we can become the people we want to be. That sounds backward, but is not. If we constantly go through our day thinking and saying, “I’d be better off if I could only lose 50 pounds or run a marathon,” we will accomplish neither. We need to say, “This is the weight I am and these are the physical abilities I have today. I choose to use them to the best of my ability.” With that attitude, miracles happen.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a headache and feel like your head is going to explode then someone comes along and tells you a joke. You begin to laugh, and soon the headache is gone.

Humor also heals relationships. For example, one person will tell another, “You’re acting like a stupid a$$. “
The other one begins to bray.
“What are you doing? We’re trying to solve a difficult issue here.”
“You called me ‘a stupid a$$,’ so I thought I’d act like one.”
Now both are laughing and the problem is solved by the pair working together.

Everyone has his or her own style. Maya Angelou carried her great height with flair and wore clothes that enhanced her appearance, but most of all she had her own particular way of relating to those around her. Often we say, “I wish I had so-and-so’s way of walking, talking, wearing clothes.” We don’t need that person’s style. We have our own. If we don’t like our style we can change it, as long as it fits our personality and environment.

We create our own passion, compassion, humor and style. What we do and how we do it is unique to each of us. We have no need to copy another person. We are unique and can carry that individuality with panache or we can schlep through life being invisible. Which would you rather do?

Meditation

Creator Spirit,
Thank you for reminding us that we are unique, yet we each have passion, compassion, humor and style. The more we remember that we are unique, the less we have a desire to fit in, to be one of the crowd. Crowds don’t solve problems or heal someone’s aching heart. Individuals do. Today we chose to be the very best unique people we can be.
And so it is.

© by Sharon Dillon, August 26, 2014

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net and Laugh your way to peace, love and joy at 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

Contents may be forwarded, but please give credit where credit is due and erase all email addresses on original message.

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Which path?

Thoughts to Ponder

“When your life is over,
how do you want the world to be different
– in larger ways or small –
because you have lived?”
Martha Beck

Message

This quote requires much thought and introspection. Most of us would say we’d like to know we made life better for our families and others who have crossed our path.
How do we do that?

We must walk the walk as well as talk the talk about our own personal truths. What our truth is does not matter so much as living that truth. For many of us that means sharing our faith, however, sharing our faith verbally, is less important that showing it in our actions.

We’ve all heard of televangelists who have strayed from the path, spending the congregation’s donations on luxury items or building a huge worship center rather than giving to charities as they claimed in their sermons. These people’s misdeeds are remembered long after their good deeds are forgotten.

We’ve also seen people who act saintly in public, yet mistreat their families. In this instance the families often go along with the act and praise the “saint” while fear churns in their bellies. Eventually, the truth becomes evident, leaving the do-gooder to sit in the ditch. Their home is no longer a refuge.

On the other hand, we’ve seen people who never mention their faith, yet live it every moment. They do good deeds and encourage others without caring for awards or praise. This person is the one who makes the world a better place.

One way to check which road you are traveling is to imagine what words will be engraved on your grave marker. Will it say, “____ ____” born ____, died ____? Or will it say, “____ ____ made the world a better place?” If your imaginary marker does not say what you would like it to say, you can make changes in your words and actions. It is never too late to walk a new path and correct your wrongs.

Moving ourselves onto a new path is not always easy. Sometimes the old habits do not want to leave. You and they were comfortable with the old way. We can make a list of things we want to do and check it daily. We can keep a journal and watch our progress. We’ll know we have made the change when we feel content more times than not.

Meditation

Creator Spirit, thank you for giving us reminders when we wander from our true path. We know that if we don’t respond to the small reminders, larger, painful ones will follow. We thank you that when we are on the correct path we feel peace, love and joy.
And so it is.

© by Sharon Dillon, August 18, 2014

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net and Laugh your way to peace, love and joy at 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

Contents may be forwarded, but please give credit where credit is due and erase all email addresses on original message.

Who are you?

Who Are You?

On Jeopardy the answer would be, “What was the most asked question at the Shelby (Ohio) High School 50th class reunion?”

After mysterious people introduced themselves to other mysterious people, hugs and warm handshakes ensued. The experience was fun and heartwarming, but often baffling. Some of the people who hugged me had never spoken to me during our four years of high school. Others had spoken to me only when required by courtesy.

Even so, the meet and greet and the reunion dinner were fun. Some women still have shapely bodies and lovely faces. Some men are still as handsome as they used to be, albeit with gray or no hair. Some men look every minute of their 68 years. No woman has passed 25.

I found myself walking up to both men and women and introducing myself, something I would have been afraid to do in high school. My most amazing adventure was speaking to the Class Hunk. Back in high school all the girls adored him, even though we knew that he was not aware of our existence.

I approached this tall, slim, retired judge whose white hair did not age him, but added a patina of sophistication. Knowing exactly who he was, I asked, “Are you ____ ____?”

“Yes, who are you?” I told him, knowing my name would mean nothing to him. Then I said that I had read about some of his decisions in the newspaper.

Shocked, he asked, “What newspaper?”

“The Daily Press.”

After a moment he made the connection and replied, “I went to law school at William and Mary and liked the area, so decided to stay there.”

Grinning, I asked if he had taken any classes from George Wythe (W&M’s first law professor and Thomas Jefferson’s mentor.)
He asked me to repeat the name. I did and spelled it out. Then he caught the joke and responded that he wasn’t able to take any of his classes. We laughed, bid each other farewell and never spoke again.

Then we faced the real test of our age – dancing to the oldies. A few remembered the steps, most of us pretended we did. Some pooped out after a few dances. Our bodies couldn’t rock all night like they did in high school. Couples still slow-danced the same way they did at prom, steps that seemed unique to our school; at least I never saw those steps at any other dances I attended over the years.

Learning that after 50 years the class VIPs are just regular people was worth the trip across three states. The measuring stick for who is “in” and who is “out” is gone for good. We’re all adults, first year baby-boomers, who still like to play. And play we did. You should see the “dress up” photos. We picked outrageous costumes and posed dramatically. The results were hilarious.

Several of us began leaving about 10 p.m., a travesty in 1964, but necessity in 2014. We went to bed and dreamed of being 18 again.

© by Sharon Dillon, August 12, 2014

Formula One Thoughts

August 5, 2014

From “Agnes” cartoon, August 1, 2014
Tony Cochran

Agnes:
It feels like my thoughts are racing in tiny Formula One cars, up one side of my brain and down the other. Some crash and burn, some stall and hit the wall, some blow a motor and leave a toxic trail of antifreeze and busted parts. It just makes me crazy.

How do you keep your thoughts from driving you crazy?

Trout (Agnes’ best friend):
I don’t buy ‘em cars.

Message

Many of us experience life like Agnes does. Our thoughts race through our brains like Formula One cars: crashing, stalling, or blowing motors. Those thoughts clutter the track and don’t allow the thoughts that are still operating to drive through the mess and get to the finish line. Then, like Agnes, we feel like we’re going crazy. We can’t make good decisions because of all the debris.

Often we can’t sleep because of all the cars roaring around our brain. We don’t give proper attention to the task at hand, be it driving, developing a business plan, or playing with our children. We miss what is important.

– We don’t see the car that just cut off the driver ahead of us and miss taking proper precautions to avoid an accident.
– We type incorrect numbers into our business plan that should give us the information we need to succeed.
– We miss that precious moment when our child reveals what is on his/her mind. We only hear the words and not the meaning behind them. “I’m afraid of spiders” could mean “I’m afraid of my teacher.”

So what do we do about it? Like Trout, we “don’t buy ‘em cars.” We have to deliberately slow our thoughts to walking speed. Only in that way can we discern whether this thought or that one will help us and those around us. Yes, easier said than done. However, once we learn how to slow our thoughts, life will begin to bloom around us. Several years ago I arrived at a meeting and announced, “I saw flowers today. I heard the birds singing.” I had not realized how much of life was absent because I gave all my attention to my racing thoughts.

We have many ways to learn to slow our thoughts. We can notice our breathing is fast and shallow and take a moment to breathe deeply and slowly. After practicing a while, we’ll notice when our breathing is too rapid and automatically slip into conscious breathing patterns.

We can meditate. We can do formal practices like yoga or focusing on a candle flame, always good for our mental and physical health. Prayer is good, if done consciously. Sitting down and allowing the thoughts to float away helps. A walk in the woods is refreshing. When exercising we tend to start our routine with rapid, incomplete repetitions, but soon we slow into a deliberate pattern which helps both our body and mind. These are just a few suggestions. If we stop a minute and think about what works, we’ll recognize our best choice.

Those methods and many more have the same conclusion. They slow our breathing and our thoughts. We can focus on the issue at hand and make conscious decisions based on our needs and wants, not what just what seems easiest at the time or which race car is damaged least. Our thought tracks are clear of debris. We can stride to the finish line carrying that checkered flag.

Meditation

Creator spirit,
Thank you for teaching us to slow down and get more done. Thank you for giving us methods to slow those race cars in our brain. Thank you for giving us clear thought patterns. You made us with brains and bodies that help us reach our goals. This is a gift we treasure and use with care.
And so it is.

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net and Laugh your way to peace, love and joy at 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

Contents may be forwarded, but please give credit where credit is due and erase all email addresses on original message.