Relax and be at peace

Nothing important ever comes to you because you feel desperate to get it.
Go to peace first.
Everything you long for will meet you there.
Martha Beck*

When I read this message a few days ago, I realized that I had been doing a lot of either-or thinking and neither option was pleasing to me. One solution would make me too tired. The other wouldn’t provide enough money. Other options didn’t seem to fit my needs and wants. What to do?

I worried. I stressed. My blood pressure went up. Headaches prevailed. You know the routine. We’ve all been there.

Reading this quote caused my brain to shift gears. “I know that. Why haven’t I gone to peace before this? Blaming myself for what I had not done was useless. In fact, it added more stress to the situation. I must try a calmer way to reach a decision.

I  took a few deep breaths and sat quietly for a while until my racing heart became still. Then I whispered, “I choose to be at peace with this situation. The answer will come at the proper time. The situation will resolve itself for my highest good. Thank you.” Then I went about my business.

So far, I don’t have a decision, but a few ideas are edging into my awareness and suggesting I do some basic research. Best of all, I’m not stressing. I know that a solution will present itself at the appropriate time.

Spirit, I thank you for bringing this message when I needed it most. I’m grateful that your quiet assurance is available to each of us. All we have to do is ask. And, so it is.

  • Martha Beck’s Compass Points, April 5, 2018

Sharon Dillon, April 17, 2018

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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

Serenity is strength

Thoughts to Ponder – July 9, 2015

“With rage in heart and clenched fists, you may feel invincible.
The truth is that you have never been weaker.”
Dr. Phil McGraw1

Life has a way of bringing our situations full circle. We face who we used to be and learn who we are now. This last week circumstances made me proud of whom I’ve become.

Many years ago I married a nice young man who said he loved me. I thought he was fun to be with, so I convinced myself that I loved him. I thought he would rescue me from my parents who set so many rules and made my life miserable. After our wedding we immediately moved across the U.S. to his military posting. We had some fun and some arguments.

After three children and several military assignments, we found that life was not so much fun and arguments were nearly non-stop. (Of course, none of this was my fault.) We parted ways, both carrying a great deal of anger and feeling fully justified in our actions. As often happens with divorced couples, our communications were rancorous and filled with threats. Eventually the children finished high school and we no longer needed to communicate. This gave us a good, long cooling off time. I could feel my anger lessen as time went by and I began to admit my contributions to the discord.

Our first visit eight years ago was touchy, but amicable. We were determined to put the past behind us. His wife and I became fast friends and I wondered where the man I had hated so many years had gone. Then he asked for directions to another relative’s city. Our daughters explained several times that he would need to go west several miles, then turn north to get there.  No matter how many times they explained, he insisted, “I don’t want to go west and north. I want to go northwest.” I chuckled and said to myself. “Oh, he’s still in there.” As the years passed we’ve met a few more times with cautious conversation and our extended family has blended well.

Last weekend was the BIG event. His family always gathers for a reunion the first Sunday in July. I’ve been invited several times by various relatives, but always turned them down for fear I’d be considered an interloper or even be excoriated for my behavior. This year I decided it was time to face the crowd. I knew I had changed and thought I could handle the situation, whatever it turned out to be.

One daughter and family drove to the mountains in one vehicle. I rode with the other daughter and husband, not an auspicious beginning. Traffic jams and motion sickness reigned supreme. I spent a good part of the trip holding onto the headrest in front of me to keep from swaying and staring at it to avoid catching any movement out of the side of my eyes. Along the way I bought Dramamine but still maintained the same position until we reached our destination, feeling only slightly stable.

Of course, everyone there thought this was hilarious, but sympathized while trying to keep straight faces. As the agony dispersed I began to interact with those present and found I was having fun. The entire visit turned out to be much better than I expected. I did not keep myself sheltered emotionally, but let events happen as they would. Even frequent rainstorms did not dampen our spirits. We laughed at the children playing in the mud and cooked for many visitors. We enjoyed seeing old friends and relatives at the reunion until the rain washed out the event and we all ran for our cars.

I felt like I belonged with these wonderful people. Even the ex and I enjoyed a few laughs and “remember whens.” I knew then that we both have finally grown into the people we were supposed to be all those years ago before anger led us astray.

Oh, the trip back was much better. I took Dramamine before we left the hotel and followed their advice about resting my head against a stationary surface and keeping my eyes closed until we were out of the mountains. I’m looking forward to seeing them again – down here in the flat lands.

My conclusion was confirmed the next day at work. A man I’d never met before said, “I sense you are a calm person. You don’t have anger in you.” I didn’t know how to respond, but WOW! What a wonderful gift from a stranger!

 Spirit, thank you for this gift of serenity after all those years of anger. And, so it is.

 © by Sharon D. Dillon, July 9, 2015

1O, the Oprah Magazine, January 2015, pg. 41

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