Thoughts to Ponder

“Live today by the Buddha’s words:

‘You could search the whole world and never find anyone as

deserving of your love as yourself.'”

Martha Beck*

We’ve heard similar words in many forms over the years. “Love your enemy as yourself.” “Be good to yourself.” And many more.

Most of us do this occasionally. Many of us go through our day saying to ourselves, “That was a dumb thing to do.” “I can’t do that, I don’t know how.” “I wish my hair was curly, less gray, smoother, longer, shorter….” “My nose it too long, wide, drippy….” We all have our private lists of what is wrong with us.

What if we turned that practice around? “I did a good job dusting. The house looks nicer now.” “I handled that difficult situation well.” Do you think that might change our outlook on life?

I’ve tried it and it works – very well – when I remember to do it. Sometimes I fall into a gloomy pit and everything seems wrong and unchangeable. The longer I’m in the pit the worse everything looks. My hair is wrong. I don’t have enough energy. I make too many mistakes. A good friend brought me food gifts. I thought she just felt sorry for this beaten-down woman who couldn’t afford to own food. This winter and spring I was deep in that pit, and life was a drain on my body and soul.

I’m not sure what caused the turn around. I think I was just tired of being tired. I told myself to look and act on the bright side. I asked Higher Power to nudge me along the right path. Soon, I found myself saying things like: “I did dishes today and the kitchen looks nice.” “I did laundry and the clean clothes feel good.” After a while I could say, “I solved that problem. Good job.” “I handled that situation well and both of us are satisfied.”

I till have a long way to go to be the person I’d like to be. But, I’ve come far enough that the world seems a kinder, safer place. My friends and relatives are more supportive and loving. My friend still brings me food gifts. Now, I realize she is a kind, thoughtful person, and I receive the gifts with joy and gratitude. Yesterday she gave me four green tomatoes. I grinned from ear to ear and cried, “How wonderful! I can enjoy a couple meals of fried green tomatoes. Thank you.!” We both came out of that encounter feeling better.

Spirit: Thank you for nudging me to change my attitude. I know that life will be better from now on. I’ll still have situations to overcome, but they’re not so daunting if I look at them as challenges rather than disasters.”




Old Age is not for Sissies

That saying is old and trite, but true. When I was younger I thought old people were funny. I sympathized with their various issues, mostly difficulty in getting around and moaning when they arose from a chair. Little did I realize that was just the tip of the generational iceberg.

When I was a child and a teen, a year seemed like a long time and my energy seemed inexhaustible. When I entered high school, graduation, a mere four years hence, was barely conceivable.

It seems like only yesterday I celebrated my 55th birthday and said farewell to my office job and hello to a new chapter in my life. Even so, I’ve arrived at the point where I’m trying to decide how to celebrate my 72nd birthday. Napping? Getting dressed ad doing something fun with my daughters? Definitely, something fun. I’m not that old yet.

Did I say something about inexhaustible energy? Now I have inexhaustible exhaustion. And, that is just the beginning. Those chili dinners I used to enjoy? Hah! Well, maybe a small bowl – if I stock up on Maalox. Hike all day with one short bathroom break? How about walking a block with five bathroom breaks? Late to bed and early to rise, jump in the shower and head to work? Let’s make that early to bed – late to rise, still in my pajamas, leisurely sipping coffee while reading the newspaper.

All that time in front of the mirror to be sure my hair and make-up are impeccable? Remember those fashionable hair-dos, pillbox hats and little wool or linen suits with matching pumps that were popular in the 60s when we all tried to look like Jackie Kennedy? They’ve been replaced. My once steady hand now applies mascara with a paint brush. I can’t hit the target with anything smaller. Pillbox hates, suits and pumps? Hah! Jeans and a t-shirt are the uniform of the day, completed by a baseball cap and a dirty pair of New Balance walking shoes. That is, if I decide to get dressed.

Then there was yard work, mow the grass, rake the cuttings, weed the flower beds and trim the shrubs. How I step outside and notice a dandelion. Isn’t that bright yellow pretty against the tall, green grass? I say that bending and lifting are best left to younger folks. When I had a family to feel I cooked well-balanced, nutritious, delicious meals. Now there is no one else to feed, so a complete meal consists of eggs and hash browns with a few carrot sticks. And, if that is too much work, a peanut butter-spinach wrap works just as well.

I used to put on a pretty nightgown and brush my hair before retiring for the evening with the love of my life. Now, I jump in bed and cuddle up to my c-pap machine and a good book. There’s a lot to be said for drifting off to a story of someone else’s adventures.

When younger I would go to bed worried about what might happen and how I would cope with the latest emergency. Now, I go to bed and feel grateful that most of my body parts still work in a reasonable facsimile of the way they were designed. Perfection is for young people. Gratitude for a life (mostly) well-lived is for those of us who have been around the block a few times.
Sharon Dillon, January 23, 2018

We can use fear for good

Thoughts to Ponder

January 31, 2017

“Fear is faith that it won’t work out.”

Sister Mary Tricky*

 “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself….”

Franklin D. Roosevelt**


Recently I wrote about life being stressful and the need to find relief by finding ways to relax and laugh. Since then I have become aware that stress is often a disguise for fear.

Fear tends to be sneaky and finds many ways to insert itself into our lives. One way it manifests in my life is that I say that I don’t like roller coasters because they upset my stomach.  What I really mean is that I am afraid I’ll vomit and humiliate myself. Gosh, so that’s why thrill rides are often called vomit comets. I also say I’m afraid that I’ll drop my cell phone, knowing that it would shatter into many pieces. What I really fear is that I will fall out and my body will shatter into pieces. That’s an unlikely scenario, but it is real to me.

Many people face their fear by riding the coaster and enjoying the adrenaline rush. Their anticipation of the rush is stronger than their fear. Think I’ll ever get there? Nah! Besides, my cardiologist would get mad at me.

I recall hearing that anger is the face of fear and know that is true. I’ve seen this happen in my life and I see it happening in the world around me. Some people face their fear by protesting. Others yell at the television. Still others have health failures because their bodies can’t handle the stress.

This became all too real to me recently. A couple weeks ago I had a scary dream that caused my body to tremor for several hours until I spoke with a trusted advisor. That person led me in a meditation that showed me I was fighting Fear with a capitol F that is a part of me. I have to accept that, but I don’t have to live by Fear’s rules. That exercise lowered Fear’s impact to a lower case f on an important portion of my life and gave me freedom to try certain things that I’d been delaying for fear of failure.

However, over the past several days I’d noticed that my body was rebelling, a pain here, an ache there, and so on. I tried relaxation and physical exercise to no avail. Finally, I felt prompted to calm myself and just let my thoughts guide me. Those thoughts reminded me that this fear had a different cause and that sometimes it gives us pain to keep us stuck in a dark personal space, that place where fear controls us.

Then my thoughts (guides) gave me the realization that I have a platform for sharing this information and that I should use it because many others besides me are living in the same fear. They think it their bodies are failing, but they aren’t. Their bodies are simply holding the fear that is preventing us from moving forward. They think they are angry, but they are afraid their world is crumbling around them. We can’t stop those people whose actions distress us from doing what they are determined to do, but we can lessen their impact by not concentrating on the “what if” aspect of what we see.

I’m not going to be ingenuous and say that I no longer have fear. I don’t want to be fear-free. After all, fear is what keeps me from stepping in front of a fast moving vehicle. Instead, I asked fear to take its proper place in my life, keeping me safe when necessary while allowing me to move forward in other areas, such as writing this short essay.

For those who aren’t sure that angels/guides can teach us:

“The answers will always be discovered when we connect to Mother Earth.”

A Window of Wisdom***

We do this by sitting on the ground and feeling the Earth’s energy. If we’re not as agile as we used to be, we can sit outside in a lawn chair with our bare feet touching the ground. As we relax, we can feel our stress drain into the soil. If we leave our feet there a bit longer, we can feel regenerating energy flowing back up our feet and legs.


Thank you for giving us the gift of fear and showing us how we can use it for our protection without allowing it to dominate our lives and prevent us from doing the job we are on Earth to do. Thank you for making us aware that we can use fear for reasonable protection rather than a barrier to prevent us from being who we are meant to be.

 And, so it is.

* Andrews, Robert, The New Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, page 480. Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933 (also used in other FDR addresses and by other world leaders)

**Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, page 114, Prentiss Hall

***Window 1397-Step Outside,

Sharon D. Dillon,,

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of Echoes of Your Choices, a motivational book, and 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

Enrich yourself by giving

Thoughts to Ponder – August 20, 2015

“All expenditures, whether from the heart or the wallet,
in the past or present, 
big or small, can be viewed as either ‘depleting’ or ‘enriching.’
Enriching works for me.
Get more,

The Universe” *

Many of us were raised with the idea that we have to hold on to our physical, mental and spiritual resources or we will lack what we need to live a good life. If we give away too much time, money or love we will run out of that resource. The opposite is true. We must be willing to give of ourselves to enrich ourselves.

I’m not suggesting that we drain our bank accounts to build a homeless shelter or quit our jobs to become the second Mother Teresa. I am suggesting that we be a little more generous to those who might need a boost. Donating money or goods is beneficial, but we can give in other ways as well.

We can give by listening with our hearts and our minds to the message behind a person’s words. Once we understand what is happening behind the words we can provide a better response. The second part of that is to accept that person just where he or she is. This is often hard when we see that person’s potential or what we consider to be a waste of their talents.

We might want to ask our guides to tell us how to respond. Possibly we can steer the other person to a job opportunity, a doctor or a resource. Perhaps the person just wants to be heard and to hear us say, “I understand.” without telling our own story. This is hard for me. I love to relate my own tale of woe or joy and have stories for any situation.

We might send up a quick, silent prayer for that person’s highest good. It’s not our place to ask God to heal their illness, provide them a job or send them a free car. We don’t know what lesson they need to learn or what gifts they may receive by walking their current path. By asking for their highest good we’re allowing what is needed to be given and received.

We should be enriching ourselves in the same way. We can prepare for any situation that may come our way by saying each morning, “Today I choose to be the best me I can be.” Whatever entity we consider to be our Higher Power will understand what we need and give us those resources/talents. If we don’t believe in a Higher Power, that’s okay too. Our inner selves will hear and steer us in the right direction.

Either way, we will grow bit by bit into better humans, so we can spend more on others and enrich ourselves in the process. This is reflected in the way Dooley ends his daily message, “Thoughts become things… choose the good ones! ®” *

Today I ask that you give me the inspiration, motivation, energy and resources to be the best I can be and do the things I need and want to do and to enjoy each moment as it occurs.
And, so it is.

*Mike Dooley, TUT – A Note from the Universe,, August 19, 2015

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 20, 2015

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

Fussing and Fretting

Thoughts to Ponder – May 28, 2015

 “The focus of our own behavior should be our primary focus.”

Window of Wisdom1

“The energy we lose in fretting, we would gain with a smile.”

Pamela Harper2

How often do we think, or say, “Work would be wonderful if it wasn’t for my coworker who rambles on and on at staff meetings and my boss who expects miracles.” Or perhaps, “My marriage would be wonderful if only my husband/wife wasn’t such a jerk.” It may be true that our coworker, boss and life partner are complete and total jerks. If they are, there is nothing we can do to change them. We have to either accept their behaviors or move on to something better.

Of course, our own behaviors are exemplary. Don’t we wish? An old saying goes something like, “For every finger we point at someone else, four are pointing back at us.” Yet, pointing fingers seems to be our primary occupation. We love to criticize everyone and everything that is contrary to what we believe or how we think we act.

While we are pointing our fingers, we are also fretting about how the other person’s behavior is going to affect us.  We just think that their misbehavior will reflect badly on us. Most likely it won’t, but if it does we won’t be held responsible.

We also fret about all sorts of things that will most likely never happen. “If I buy a new car, some fool will put a dent in it.” True. Eventually, all cars get dents and scratches. “If I tell the doctor about my stomach ache, he/she will put me in the hospital and run all sorts of tests.” Possibly, and just as probably, the doctor will tell you that your stomach hurts because you’re eating something that isn’t good for you. All you have to do is eliminate that item and all will be well. I know, that particular food is delicious and life will be miserable without it. However, we just might learn to like celery if we smile when we eat it.

I’ve been fretting a lot lately about health issues. Nothing is seriously wrong. I just have several minor issues that need attention. I’m not fretting that I have a terrible condition. I’m fretting because my issues require temporary exercise and outdoor limitations, the weather is beautiful and I want to be outside having fun this time of year. I’m fretting and pouting about something very minor in the larger view of life experiences. Yet to me, they seem gigantic and fretting is draining the energy I could be using for something productive, even if it is in the house. I might think, “This will give me time to dust the ceiling fan.” Yeah, right!

At the same time I’m pointing my finger at my health care providers because their treatments are causing my short-term discomfort. My health care providers did not cause these issues, my own carelessness did. Over the years I have been careless about following their advice, so now I’m paying the price. Luckily, the price is very low when compared to what other people endure. I’m grateful that my discomfort is minor and I want it to stay that way.

As a result, I’m asking my guides to gently remind me to accept the blame for my problems, take steps to care for my health (and other issues) and stop thinking that anything else is more important. It’s hard to face, but a step I must take. I cannot blame my old behaviors on anyone but myself and fretting about the results harms no one but me. Well, except for the people who have to listen to me complain.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 28, 2015

1 Window 781, by

2 Pamela Harper,

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

Thoughts to Ponder – April 16, 2015

“When our energy feels drained,
we have allowed others to plug into us,
without taking the time needed for oursel(ves),
to recharge.”
Window of Wisdom*

How often have we allowed others to drain our energy in order to please them? We were raised to be kind, thoughtful and caring by our parents, teachers and religious leaders. All of those are good traits. We interpreted our teachings to mean give, give, give.

This is because we were not taught that in order to give we have to take care of ourselves first, usually because our role models did not know how to take care of themselves. I remember watching my mother and aunts work until they were ready to drop taking care of everyone in the family. Our fathers and uncles worked their jobs/farms, came home and made repairs and then went to a neighbor’s house to do what needed done there.

They did this day after day. Taking a break to rest or relaxing was considered selfish. No matter how bad life was for them, someone else had it worse and needed their help. They became exhausted because they were not nurturing themselves. As the years passed we saw their bodies fail from overwork.

As our generation grew to adulthood, some of us followed our parents’ model. Others became takers. As the years passed most of us learned that there is a middle way, healthier for all. We have learned that we must not only give to others, but we must also take time for ourselves. Only in this way can we keep the energy flowing – in both directions.

It doesn’t matter how we take care of ourselves. Perhaps we dance or practice yoga, bike or garden, or read until our eyes close and we slip into a restful nap. I do all of the above, different methods for different days.

The point is that by taking time to heal myself mentally, physically and spiritually, I have more energy to give others. I pushed myself to the limit while raising my children, much to their detriment and my regret. During the years between their leaving home and my introduction to my grandchildren, I learned a new way, to take care of myself first.

Now I work, spend time with my great-grandsons, read, meditate, spend time enjoying the outdoors and write. I’m not all the way there, because I find writing healing and restful, but it seems to be lowest on my list of things to do for myself.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, April 16, 2015

*Window 742 – Don’t diminish your light, April 15, 2015 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

Thoughts to Ponder – May 7, 2014

“Here is God’s purpose –
for God to me, it seems,
is a verb not a noun,
proper or improper.”
R. Buckminster Fuller


Why are we here? What is our purpose? What is God’s purpose?

Fuller explains it so succinctly that I could stop right here. But, I won’t, and you know it. I believe, like Fuller, that God is a verb. God, may or may not be an entity. God is the way we act and speak. Are we kind to others – and ourselves? Then we are God. Every kindness done with a glad heart is God.

Oprah Winfrey explains it like this, “. . . The energy you create and release into the world will be reciprocated on all levels. Our main job is to align with the energy that is the Source of all energies, and to keep our frequency tuned to the energy of love. . . ” (O, the Oprah Magazine, November 2013, pg. 172)

In other words, what goes around, comes around. We experience what we put out in the world. Have you noticed that when you smile, other people smile at you? When you frown, others frown at you? What an easy concept to understand and practice.

Many of us will say, “What about all the horrible things that happen in the world?” The same concept applies here. “. . . The energy you create and release into the world will be reciprocated on all levels.” These people are not tuned to the frequency of love, so they do not experience love coming to them.

The decision is ours. We can choose our path; peace, love and joy or not.


Thank you for teaching us that God is a verb, rather than a noun. That reminds us to act and speak in a way that we think a Higher Power would. And, so it is.

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

Sharon D. Dillon, ;
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

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