“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Thoughts to Ponder – August 16, 2015

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.”

Helen Keller*

I’ve heard this quote many times over the years and thought I was living by its truth. However, I’ve come to realize that even though I’ve done many things that were unthinkable to others, I undertook many of those adventures because I was afraid of the alternative. This came to my attention recently and was reinforced the next morning in an email exchange with one of my role models.

A few days ago some friends and I were talking about why our fondest wishes don’t come true. We talked about trust, hope, determination and more. Our conclusion was that we block our wishes with fear:

– fear it won’t happen,

– fear of what will happen if the wish does not come true,

– and fear of what will happen if the wish does come true.

We may not call it fear but use words like anxious, nervous, concerned, yet the feeling is still fear to a greater or lesser degree. If we live in fear, our fears will come true. For example, if we’re afraid we’ll get a horrible disease, we will. If we fear that our boss won’t give us the raise we deserve, she won’t. If we fear our love will be unfaithful, he will. The same is true of the world at large. If we fear something bad will happen, ie., famine, war, disease, it will.

The next morning I was having an e-mail conversation with my friend and bemoaning my lack of progress. She said, “Often I observe what others are doing, and think I’m just standing still. . . . But I plod along with purpose as you do, too.”

Suddenly, I realized that I have not been plodding along with purpose, but progressing in fits and starts. In between I’ve been living in fear, much less recently than in the past, but still with a certain amount of anxiety.

A few days ago co-worker asked me to swap a shift with him. I said “NO! NO! NO!” and meant it with every fiber of my being. The next morning I realized why I was so adamant about refusing to trade shifts with my co-worker. I had just been to his work station and witnessed a scary (to me) event that is unlikely to ever happen again. I did not have a valid reason to be afraid. Conclusion, I told him that I’ll trade with him.

The other side of fear is courage to take life one step at a time. Each day is a daring adventure if we face it without fear. We don’t have to envision what life will be like when . . . .  We just need to take life as it comes and be willing to try things we’ve never tried before. Wonderful experiences will grace our lives, perhaps even more than we had hoped.

Spirit,

Thank you for this reminder that we do not need to live in fear, or even concern. We know that all will work out for our highest good if we trust that it will be so.

And, so it is.

* Treasury of Women’s Quotations, page 185, Carolyn Warner, Prentice Hall

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 16, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “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 booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Anger or Acceptance

Thoughts to Ponder – July 24, 2015

 “When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.”

*Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

 Recently, I wrote a piece in which I described no longer feeling anger at a person who had wronged me. A friend challenged that statement, so today I am attempting to provide a fuller explanation of my thoughts.

Anger is a normal part of the human psyche. We all feel anger. We get angry at our family, jobs, the world situation and human behavior in general. There are so many things in this world that can trigger our anger button. Feeling anger is sometimes appropriate. It’s how we act on that anger that is right or wrong.

Do we shout and swear? Do we vow to get even? Do we stop speaking to that person? Do we refuse to see that person ever again? Do we carry our anger forever? I’ve seen all those reactions and done some of them. The results are always destructive rather than constructive.

Or we can focus our anger another way. If someone makes us angry, we can walk away and consider what triggered our anger. Was it really what they did? Was it a reflection of an old memory? Should we go back and apologize for our behavior? Should we just let the anger fly away in the wind?

Perhaps if our anger is at a larger situation we can become an active part of the solution. Are we angry that too many children can’t read? We can we become a reading tutor. Are we angry at a social situation? Perhaps we can take a page from Mahatma Mohandas Ghandi and lead a march to the sea. Or we can emulate one of his followers, Dr. Martin Luther King, and organize voter registration – still an issue these many years later.

I often get angry about my physical well-being. I’m not as strong as I’d like to be. I can’t do what I did when I was 18. I’m not really sick, but various restrictions and prescriptions make me angry. I’m learning a different tactic for this situation. Acceptance.

I can accept that the other person is not who I’d like him/her to be and move forward accordingly. I can accept that the world situation is not what I’d like to see and if I’m so moved, I can do as the bumper sticker says, “Think globally. Act locally.” Or “Imagine Whirled Peas.”

For many things in my life I live acceptance. However, yesterday my doctor told me to take yet another nutritional supplement, to temporarily forego donating blood, something that means a lot to me and to take yet another yucky test. I became angry. I did not accept her diagnosis and became what she called “cranky.” As the day passed, I realized that she was just looking out for my health. She didn’t tell me I had a horrible disease. She just told me to adjust my life a little for my ultimate good. I’m still not happy about taking yet another pill, but I’m glad it’s a supplement, not a medicine.

A friend recently told me how she recovered from a serious illness. She was following all her doctor’s directions, but feeling angry that she was in so much pain. Finally she reached a point where she said, “Okay, God, if this is to be my life, I accept it. Just show me where to go from here.” Amazingly, she began to heal immediately, a little at a time. She can now participate in activities that were once unthinkable. She’s not playing tennis yet, but she can do pretty much what she wants to do otherwise – work, socialize and just feel good.

“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference.”**

© by Sharon D. Dillon, July 24, 2015

*pg 89, Pudd’nhead Wilson, Chapter X, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”

**The Serenity Prayer, A Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 1987, Al-Anon Family Groups

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “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 booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Thoughts to Ponder

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did, but
people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

Message

This is not a tribute to Dr. Angelou, though I’d be glad to add my praise to all the others who’ve taken the time to write about her impact on their lives. I’ll just say that she gave me courage to keep on keeping on.

Her quote explains how most of us got to where we are today. Our station in life often reflects how people have made us feel over the years. Retrospectives are a pain, but they often teach us what we need to know today.

• Did our parents, teachers, friends and spouses let us know they valued our presence, knowledge and love?
• Did they show us that we were a nuisance, substandard and a drain on their emotions, money and time?
• Did they just ignore us and pretend we didn’t exist?

We’ve all felt valued, devalued and ignored. Which of those dominated our lives and made us the people we are today? How do we treat other people? Do we value, devalue or ignore them? How will our actions impact those people as they go out into the world?

No matter how we have been treated in the past, we can determine to be better people. We have a choice about how we treat ourselves. Are we kind, considerate, forgiving of our selves. How we treat ourselves is reflected in how we treat others.

As someone once said, “God don’t make junk. So don’t act like you are.”

Meditation
Creator Spirit, thank you for the gift of life and the ability to evaluate our actions and how they’ve been impacted by our experiences. We thank you that you’ve given us the ability to learn and improve. We choose to be messengers of love, kindness and thoughtful action that bring peace and confidence to those we meet on our journey.
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

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