Thoughts to Ponder

“Burn every bridge but love.”

Martha Beck*

That statement shook me to my center when I first read it. Does this mean I cannot feel anger, frustration, disappointment…? Do I need to turn into a Dalai Lama clone overnight.

Not at all. We have a range of emotions for a reason. We’re born with them and we need to know how to use them for our highest good. Let’s look at an example:

The city announces it is going to build a highway through our neighborhood. Most likely, we are going to feel anger, resentment, a need to get even…. Are we going to act on those feelings? Or can we go to the next city council meeting to ask questions: who, what, when, where, why and how? We can ask questions in a respectful, yet firm tone and quietly listen to their answers. Or, we can yell and denounce the board before they have a chance to respond.

Which would gain us the greatest amount of information and understanding? Once we have that information we can begin to plan our route to stopping the highway. Or, we may decide their reasoning is valid and prepare to sell our home for the best price possible, which might be the contractor’s offer, and start looking for a new home.

You can see that at each step we felt the emotions, but responded respectfully. Or, we could have reacted angrily and felt every moment of stress (high blood, pressure, chest pains, headaches) until we give up the fight, or carry our resentment into our old age.

By facing the situation thoughtfully and acting respectfully to all concerned, we are showing ourselves love, as well as those responsible and our neighbors. Our resentment becomes acceptance. Acceptance becomes love.

Living in love does not mean that we won’t feel the normal emotions. It merely means that we examine and accept or change our situation as we are guided by our conscience. We take action according to what is the highest good for us, and others.

Spirit, Please guide me to look at the situations in my life as opportunities to grow into a better person. Show me how to discard old, and new, resentments and angers. And, so it is.

  • Compass Points by Martha Beck, July 19, 2018,

Decide or not

Thoughts to Ponder – June 4, 2015

“If we have to seek approval from others to accept

our own choices, then we already made the wrong choice.”
Window of Wisdom*

A few days ago I wrote about accepting, or not, another’s behavior and fretting about what they are doing. Today I’m going to approach the same topic from a different angle – our own.

We know instinctively what is best for us, so why do we seek another’s advice before taking action? Perhaps it is the way we were raised or our decisions were devalued as adults. Possibly we were told so many times that we couldn’t make a decision if our lives depended upon it, that we came to believe it. How we arrived at this dependent behavior doesn’t matter. What matters is what we choose to do about it.

Do we continue relying on our friends and relatives to advise our decisions, or do we just jump in, make a decision and live with the results? If we jump in it is most likely that our decision will be confirmed in any number of ways.

I must admit that after many years of learning to make my own choices I started to slip back into indecision. A situation arose that had me stuck. I knew what to do, but I feared the feedback. This lack of confidence made me question my ability to decide. My indecision lead me to write a rambling email to a friend asking for advice. Just as I prepared to send the email my computer froze and the email was lost.  Losing that email made me realize that:

– the decision was mine and only mine, and that

– I had no business asking my friend to become involved in my problem.

I wrote my friend another email saying that I had a difficult decision to make and would tell him what I planned when I made it. After sleeping on the problem, I still feared the responses I might receive, but took the necessary action and began to breathe easier. Imagine my surprise when I received emails from several people saying that they approved my choice.

I am grateful for this gentle reminder that I need to make my own decisions.  Practicing small decisions gives me the confidence to make the right choice when the stakes are much larger, as they can be as we age. I find that there are times to rely on my daughters. Other situations don’t require their advice. If I lean on them too much, they may begin to worry that I am losing my capacity to make good decisions.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, June 4, 2015

* Window 787, by

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 “Twins! Oh no!,” 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