Work is better than Wishes

Thoughts to Ponder

April 29, 2016

 “…Many are waiting for their life to take off.

Who’s going to tell them that this could be their problem?

Don’t wait, do something, anything, everything you can think of.”

The Universe*

This message rings true. How many years have we wasted waiting for life to take off, for success to arrive, for a gigantic pay raise?

Well, we can all agree that’s not going to happen unless we put some effort behind the wait. We hear so many stories about people achieving instant success–overnight sensations. We don’t hear that the musician played for years at local bars for what beer he could drink during his show. We don’t hear that the famous artist waited tables while earning an MFA degree. We don’t hear about the writer who has fourteen unsold novels and 100 rejection letters in her closet.

I must admit that I am one of those who quit when the going got hard. My parents believed that success belonged to the wealthy and that poor people worked until they died – still poor. But, I can’t blame my parents. I had more opportunities than they, yet always hoped that prosperity would come from the end of a fairy’s wand. Of course, life didn’t turn out that way. I had some successes and some failures and overall have earned a place a little higher on the prosperity ladder than my parents enjoyed.

Still, I always wanted to say, “I did this” or “I was presented that award.” It may be that one day I’ll be able to say those things, but I’ve finally learned that, as much as I don’t want to, I need to work for what I want. It took me long enough to face that fact. One role model who inspires me is Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb, the phonograph and many other useful items. He said,

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Work is what I always tried to avoid. So, here I am, just now learning about being willing to work. Sometimes it’s still hard. I get up in the morning and want to read the paper and reply to emails while I relax in my recliner. Then I choose to go for a walk or solve a puzzle, but not work. It’s not easy to break a life-long habit of waiting for success to fall in my lap.

But, here I am putting these words on paper. This means I have to start taking steps to reach my goals.

Spirit, Thank you for this awareness, even though it has come late in life. If I’m willing to put in the effort, I know that all will turn out for my highest good. Just as we must make an effort to be kind and caring, we must also make an effort to earn our successes. And, so it is.

*Mike Dooley, TUT – A Note from the Universe, April 25, 2016, theuniverse@tut.com

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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Choices

Thoughts to Ponder

April 18, 2016

 “A major advantage of age is learning to accept people without passing judgment.”

Liz Carpenter*

Most of us have learned to judge people by their age, size, color, wealth, education and many other non-specific criteria that we have stashed away in our minds. Often we judge those who don’t meet our standards harshly. Other times we can dismiss those differences with a “different strokes for different folks” attitude. Being able to accept other people for who they are is an attitude most of us cultivate.

Today, however, I want to discuss a must more difficult challenge – accepting ourselves where we are each and every moment. Most of us have learned to accept ourselves most of the time. Periodically, we still denigrate ourselves with “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. To some extent, that is just human nature. We have a choice. We can live with and nurture our petty complaints or we can look at the big picture. We’re alive. We’re functioning to whatever ability we have and are able to feel empathy for others.

This last was a choice I denied myself yesterday. I woke up feeling deprived, abused, neglected and generally in a sorry mood. I was upset because over the past few years I’ve had some health issues, annoying and inconvenient, but in the larger view, rather petty. I ranted at my God, angels, guides, and whomever else might have been listening. “I’m tired of all these health issues! If I had the energy I could have done this activity. If I hadn’t had to spend so much money on medications, physical therapy and dental work I could have gone on this trip or done that project. I’m angry. I want to spend my time and energy on having fun, not on health issues.” The worst part was that I shared my anger with a kind, young man whose mother can’t eat solid food. I’m sure she wishes that her health issues were as minor as mine.

This morning I awoke with a lesson that I’ve shared here in the past, but had been floating around in my miasma of anger and fear. Yes, fear. If I’m this decrepit now, what will life be like in another 10 years? The truth is I probably have another 10 years or 20 or more to learn what life holds for me.

The most important lesson is that we cannot change who and what we are until we accept who and what we are today, in this very moment. I had to accept that I was angry over relatively easily handled problems. The doctor sent me to physical therapy to relieve what has turned out to be temporary pain. If I didn’t spend money on therapy I may have eventually lost the use of my arm. What would have that cost? My recent bout with breathing issues is healing with prescription medications. What would have been the cost without that option? Expensive dental work provided me with a new tooth. What would have been the long-term cost of not being able to eat crunchy food?

Each of us faces his/her own personal issues to complain about and accept or not accept. We all have our personal heroes who have borne difficulties that we can only imagine, yet triumphed in life. Helen Keller and Steven Hawking are two who come immediately to mind. Keller was deaf and blind, yet blossomed into a woman we often quote for inspiration. Hawking cannot control his body, yet his brain continues to astound us on a regular basis. They continue to inspire us to move forward, no matter what. As long as life is, we have hope.

Spirit,

Thank you for putting our problems in perspective. Thank you for showing us that acceptance and gratitude are the basis for a happy life. Thank you for giving us the ability to see the positive outcomes of our negative experiences. Thank you for giving us another day to live in gratitude.

And, so it is.

*Carpenter, Liz, The Treasury of Women’s Quotations, pg. 20, Carolyn Warner, Prentiss Hall, 1992

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

And that has made all the difference

Thoughts to Ponder

April 8, 2016

“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the road less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost*

As we travel through our days sometimes the road is a smooth, easy, lovely ride. Other times we hit small bumps or potholes that damage our egos and indicate that we are traveling the wrong road and need to make a detour, sooner rather than later. We can keep driving down that road until our car is wrecked and our souls are bleeding.

Why do we continue this disastrous pattern? Often we don’t see another road we cab travel. Or we see an alternate road but are afraid to make the turn because the old road is familiar. We know where the bumpy road will take us. We don’t know what will happen if we change directions.

Those fears are valid. We don’t know where the new road will take us. Often we are taught from childhood that we must follow a certain path, no matter what. Fear of change can be a generational roadblock. Other parents teach their children to go for the prize. A friend once told me that he was taught to shoot for the stars and if he only reached the moon he’d still be further than had he remained Earth bound.

My own upbringing was more along the fearful lines. If I were to step out of my role something terrible would happen. I would live to regret my rash behavior. I believed that for many situations, like speaking up at work, but in others I took chances and am glad I did. I had to change my direction several times. While many decisions had serious repercussions they always came with a gift that made my life better.

Some examples:

  • My first marriage was a disaster, but my three wonderful children made life worthwhile.
  • I left that marriage not knowing what might happen and learned that I was capable of earning a living for my young family.
  • After my children were grown I enrolled in an elite college with only $25 dollars in my pocket. I graduated at age 47 with less student debt than anticipated. That degree led to better jobs.
  • At 55 I chose early retirement and a severely reduced benefit to move across the country to live near my daughters. That move allowed me to watch my grandchildren reach adulthood and give me four great-grandsons that are the delight of my life. And, another baby is on the way.
  • In 2013 my favorite online inspirational writer chose to close her blog. Uncharacteristically, I chose to continue her work with Thoughts to Ponder. While my following is not as large as hers, the number is growing. Most of all I feel satisfaction in doing my part to make the world a more peaceful place.

All that is a long way to say that it is never too late to change directions. I’m now looking for other ways to expand my life and new roads to travel. If I don’t fly among the stars I’m still a lot further than if I’d never started this journey.

I urge you to take a risk and take “the road less travelled.” You may face some unpleasant situations but you will have gained so much more.

Spirit,

Thank you for showing us that we have options. We can change directions as often as necessary to reach our goals. By exploring new roads we learn that we have talents we never expected. Those talents will lead us down more roads and to new adventures. Those choices might not all lead to the stars, but they will certainly get us further on our journey than if we stay focused on the potholes in front of us.

And, so it is.

*Frost, Robert, “The Road not Taken,” in Mountain Interval, 1916.

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