Step off the cliff

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,

but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson

 Some of us have lived several decades, others only a few years. Most of us have regrets. Some allow those regrets to shape our lives. Others have allowed “words of wisdom” to forever shape our lives and our futures.

Those thoughts have influenced our decisions, sometimes for good or bad. My dad used to say, “Once you are in debt, you are always in debt.” That was his experience. However, after his retirement he and my mom sold their tiny house and moved into a low-income senior community. They paid all their bills and paid cash for their first new car. They were able to take a few budget vacations and live more comfortably. While their life seemed Spartan to others, it was good for them. Retirement allowed them to make a new beginning.

A few years ago a relative I hadn’t seen for many years made contact. While reconnecting was a joyful experience, I couldn’t help feeling sad for her. During that and subsequent conversations, she stated firmly, “—- has always been this way and will always be this way.” She had experienced unpleasant events and was filled with anger.

She was convinced that since these situations had been her past, they would be her future, not allowing new experiences to come into her life. The last time I saw her, another disaster had befallen her family and she was bowed under the weight of more responsibility. I hope that the fairies will clean her window so she can see a brighter future.

Life was similar for me for years. I saw life as one crisis after another with little happiness between. Even joyful events seemed to have time limits. However, something within me, encouraged me to take a risk and another and another. Some brought me a measure of joy, some brought painful lessons. Yet . . . .

The past 15 years have shown me that lasting change is not events, but thoughts. We can choose to feel trapped or to see a path leading into a sunnier future. Not all my choices have turned out as I wished, but they all led me forward. This last year I’ve faced several minor health crises that initially made me feel afraid. However, as I proceeded through diagnoses and treatments, I saw that each crisis resolved a long standing health issue allowing me to move forward with more energy and enthusiasm.

For example, a few weeks ago I saw a podiatrist for an ingrown toe nail. She provided standard treatment and asked a few questions. She then added a pad to my arch support that allows me to stand straighter. Not only is my toe healing without stress, but also my steps are straighter and more sure. No more wobbling. No more fear of falling.

Last evening during meditation my guides took me on a trip. The details aren’t important. The lesson is. They showed me is that it is safe to step off a cliff, metaphorically speaking. If I’m brave enough to take that next step, adventure and joy will follow. Just as my health issues are resolving themselves day by day, my courage can also grow if I let it. When my courage grows, my joy will grow.

Creator Spirit,

Thank you for these lessons, even those that come with bumps and bruises. Each lesson brings us closer to learning that peace, love and joy is all there is. You are showing us that we can only experience the best life has to offer – if we are brave enough to take that next step, whatever it might be. Open our windows to the world and show us that our past does not have to be our future.

And so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, January 29, 2015

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

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy

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 Available in print and e-format at


Love and Hate, where do they take us?

Love and Hate, where do they take us?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recently we celebrated Dr. King’s birthday, each in our own way. Some went to memorial services or marched a few blocks to recall the difficult times of the 1960s. Others used the three-day weekend to go skiing. Some ignored the whole event. How did you celebrate or not? I used the time to complete some tasks at home while thinking about how my life has been impacted by this man’s teachings.

Opinions about Dr. King’s legacy vary, but not as widely as they did when he was prodding the United States conscience. I heard him called a leader, peacemaker, hatemonger and Communist (the ultimate epithet). I heard rants when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I was not a part of the Movement, just a watcher, but have my own thoughts about that time. I hope you’ll indulge my memories and reflect on how your life has changed since Dr. King’s time on Earth.

One summer my family traveled south in our rattle-trap car to visit relatives. At one point I had severe urgencies. My dad stopped at a gas-station with outdoor facilities. The white restroom was closed for repairs. I ran to the other one and was turned away by a kind Black woman who told me I would need to go down the street a few blocks to another gas station. If she let me inside she would lose her job. This made no sense. A bathroom was a bathroom and I needed one – immediately.

At church I was learning about the dignity of all God’s creatures, but was seeing cruelty and hate on television. I saw bus boycotts, marches and sit-ins, fire hoses, church bombings, police dogs attacking marchers and masses of people crammed into tiny jail cells. These sights and sounds found a home in my mind.

I did not participate in any of these activities, but watched with a heavy heart. As a teen at home, my parents feared for my safety and forbade me to participate. Later as a young wife, I did not participate because I feared that an arrest would mean a pay-grade reduction for my Army husband.

Then 1968 arrived, and I thought the end of the world had arrived with it. We experienced the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, Dr. King’s assassination, riots and shootings, Robert Kennedy’s assassination and more riots and shootings. I was terrified. I “knew” this was the end. Just as television news terrified me, television also saved my sanity by airing the irreverent Smothers Brothers Show and Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in.

Many years later I had the opportunity to interview for The Madison Times, Dr. James Jones who watched Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” from his office window while drafting the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Not long after that Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for Congress, granted an interview for the same paper. They were both gracious and kind to this white woman who sat on the sidelines during the movement’s worst days.

Even now events occur that lead to riots and marches. We’ve come a long way but have a long way to go. We see interethnic strife not just in our country, but around the world. Attacks and murders by militants who think everyone should believe as they do are becoming all too commonplace.

I understand that as humans we are contentious creatures who tend to believe that someone needs to be the lead dog and it should be ME. However, we need to remember the words not only of Dr. King, but also of other leaders: Jesus, crucified; Ghandi, assassinated; and the Dalai Lama, forced from his homeland.

For a different perspective we can look at comedian Flip Wilson who portrayed Geraldine, a character whose catch-phrase was, “What you see is what you get.” We laughed and adopted the phrase as our own. Later I realized that along with Flip, the leaders I mentioned were saying that if you expect hatred, you will experience hatred. If you see love, you will receive love many times over what you expect.

Those people gained notoriety and fame for teaching peace. However, we internalize what we learn from those close to us: family, friends, and people we meet. I’ve learned that even though the news constantly bombards us with violence and hatred, most people I meet are kind. I see love in their eyes. Occasionally, I see fear, but a soft voice and kind actions turn the fear into appreciation.

Do you choose to see darkness or light?

© Sharon D. Dillon, January 21, 2015

Time Traveling Adventures

Despite what we’ve all been taught to believe, Time Travel is not a figment of our imagination. “Back to the Future” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth” are true stories. Let me show you what I’ve learned.

This young man made an amazing trip to the dinosaur age and found

With Toothy


that he could actually tame some of them using Jedi skills. He said that this small dinosaur was actually pretty friendly as long as he kept M&Ms in his pockets for treats. Despite the sharp teeth, he convinced his trusty steed to eat only plants. The boy said that his time atop the dinosaur was like riding a pony – and he named him “Toothy.”

Moving forward a few million of years, Capt. John Smith found himself in quite a quandary at Jamestown Fort. Since disease and starvation was rampant, most of the soldiers and other members of the governing council had either died or fled to England on the first available ship leaving Smith in charge. Because of these disastrous events, he recruited younger and younger men and taught them to be soldiers. 0222141152_0001This lad accepted his fate, but wan’t happy when he realized the muskets were longer than he and nearly as heavy.0222141204a_0001

Skipping forward 160+ years the same boy was drafted again. He told the recruiters that he had served before, but they and their commanders doubted him. He appealed his case all the way to Gen. George Washington. When the boy explained that he had already served from 1610-1614, Gen. Washington took umbrage. He ordered punishment1214141107 and a two year enlistment.

Fortunately, the boys made it back to the 21st century and found more gentle steeds to ride.1025141303

Upon their return they found other boys preparing for time travel. 20150101_121211Before they could warn them of the dangers, the new boys were deep into boot camp and almost ready to begin their travels. We can only hope these recruits also return home safely.

© Sharon D. Dillon, January 15, 2015