Time for a Sabbatical

Hello My Friends!  It’s been a few years since I was active with this website.  Hoping that the intentions of what I wrote can continue to empower you to find the words which offer you only love, hope, and joy so you can influence happiness to fill your days and peace to always be in your heart.  And always remember to be kind to yourself…because you are the most important person in your world.

With love, hope, and joy! ~Karen

Trapped Between Time and Space

When I had been busy raising my son, taking care of a home, working full-time, and keeping myself busy during quieter times, I had accomplished so much with my days.  How is it that without any of those responsibilities, I find myself unable to accomplish half the things I did back then?  This question had plagued me until I was able to figure out what the change was causing me to be less productive by looking back at my past experiences.

When I was younger, I had my parents and teachers supervising my time and directing me on the next steps to complete a project, home or school, before a certain time or day. For more than 25 years in the working world, I had developed work habits, as well as managed multiply deadlines, keeping me on track to reach goals and deadlines.  Somewhere between then and now, I found myself on my own.  With nobody to help me to balance my family and work responsibilities or have any goals or deadlines, I was left standing, in what felt to me to be a void between space and time asking myself what do I do next?

This void seemed to be more like a tornado, with me standing still in the middle, watching life spin out of control.  There was nothing I could do but watch as everything I was familiar with had been ripped away from me, leaving me unable to do anything but wait for the twister to slow down to let me step out of it.

Why would I, a person who had been so busy with so many responsibilities, be unable to balance my life with having more time available?   I refused to believe that too much time could be negative.

What I discovered was that when I am busy, I am a better me.  Knowing this, I was able to add new routines in my daily life which also included some still needed “me” time. This brought harmony into my life because I was able to balance the areas that were most important to me.

If desired, we all have time which can be divided and redirected to balance the different needs in our lives. This is when we can choose to spend time on the computer or play with our children.  We can decide to work overtime for extra spending money or have less time at work and more time enjoying time with friends and family.  Whatever we use our time for, as long as we are happy and able to enjoy what we are doing, we can find ways to be even happier.

For me, the spinning had finally stopped, allowing me to step back into a time that works well for me.  By adding more routines in my life, I can now enjoy my busier times as well as have fun with whatever free time is available.  If you are now, how I was then, find comfort when I say, “It will be fine.”  The crazy whirlwind circling you, will slow down, and you too can step out and into a world that is once again perfect for you.

 

 

The Achievement Factor

Most of us are familiar with having a to-do list capturing all the chores, tasks, and responsibilities requiring our attention.  Being a fan of making lists for all areas of my life, I work well with a to-do list.  It was only during a recent conversation over coffee when I learned not everybody felt the same way about their lists.  Apparently, this list can leave others feeling remorseful instead of feeling productive.

For 20+ years, I used a to-do list to keep me on target at work by focusing on my priorities and making all deadlines.  My colleagues and I all followed a similar process and took it one step further.  We did not use a piece of paper, we used a notebook.  We were that serious about our to-do list because in our line of business, these were not just lists to be tossed away once completed.  They represented all that we did for the company which I consider proof of our labor production.  It was a great way to keep track of our achievements.

Remembering this, I shared with my friends how good it felt to see what was done.  I told them how great it felt to flip to an earlier page and see the entire page crossed out.  That was when I first understood how my notebooks were not lists of what I needed to do, they were journals which I now consider as my Achievements Books.

This is why I suggest that at the end of the day, you take a few minutes and write out a list of everything you did from your list plus all that you did which was not on your list including your social activities.  When you see what you actually accomplished and where your time went, the amazing effect this can have on your self-esteem will surprise you and send you to bed proud of what you accomplished with your day.  Imagine how good you will feel instead of that old feeling of remorse for not doing “it all” as you had planned.

Listed below is an example of a more typical list with the completed tasks crossed out showing what I did not yet get to.  Compare that to the longer list showing what I really did do for a better understanding as to why I go to bed at night feeling good with myself.

Saturday’s To-Do List

  1. Go food shopping
  2. Call the dentist
  3. Deposit checks at bank
  4. Go through clothes for donations for a pick up this week

Saturday’s Achievements

  1. Went grocery shopping
  2. Make appointment
  3. Went to bank
  4. Dropped clothes at cleaners
  5. Finally returned Michele’s phone call from last week
  6. Did 3 loads of laundry
  7. Stopped by to visit elderly neighbor
  8. Emptied out trunk of car
  9. Wrote an article
  10. Vacuumed and dusted living room & family room
  11. Cleaned shower and tub
  12. Walked dog 3x
  13. Made breakfast & lunch
  14. Picked up a pizza for dinner for son & his friends
  15. Met friends at restaurant

If you want to feel empowered, stop thinking about what you have not done and recognize all which you have done.  By allowing a few minutes at the end of a day to write out my list of achievements, I can end my day on a very positive note.  Think about giving this a try and seeing how great it feels to know that you are more active in your life than you thought you were.

Wisdom of the Ages

Did you ever notice how grandparents seemeto have their own language, or at least phrases that make no sense to a child’s mind.  I can remember a time when my grandmother noticed a hole in a pair of jeans, and told me how “A stitch in time, saves nine.”  She went on to explain how a small hole needed less stitches, and if I would let her sew it at that moment in time, she could save thread because apparently time made holes bigger.  At least, that is what I thought as a child.  Of course, years later I realized she was not being literal, but the lesson took.  I still remember it, which is why, I now wish I would have paid closer attention to her words of wisdom.

This got me thinking.  What words do I say now which my future grandchildren will pretend to understand and humor me with a slight nod?  It didn’t take me long to make a list of my catch-phrases which I share below along with my definitions behind these words of wisdom…in case you need some interpretation for my wisdom at this age in my life.

Watch your words!

Realize what you are saying because your words carry power with them.  Words of encouragement create hopeful thoughts and good feelings.  Thoughtless words can have an effect that you might not want such as “I’m tired” and finding yourself with no energy and needing rest. Remove words that do not benefit you.

Be aware what you wish for.

This is a twist to the old “Be careful what you wish for.”  Either version of this saying can remind you to think before you ask for something.  I love the old joke where a man wished that his wife was 30 years younger then he was.  Poof! He aged 30 years.

 Say what you want, only what you want.

Stop making discouraging comments about things that bother you.  Instead, say what it is that you would you prefer to happen or improve your situation.  For example, instead of saying “I am so bored at work”, you can shift that thought to “I want work to be more interesting.”  This makes me think magic genie when he said “your wish is my command.”  That is a great reason to say what you want.

Good thoughts become good things.

Thoughts become things.  Everything begins with a thought, even involuntary thoughts can create things we did not intend to happen.  When you add feelings to a thought, the result will be that feeling.  It is the feeling of the mind that will lead to the result.  As I only want good things in my life, I choose good thoughts expecting only good results.

Stop talking!

That might sound rude, but when said, my intention is to help somebody that is unaware of what they are saying.  This most often happens when I see somebody overreacting in a negative way and offering them a word of caution to stop them from saying hurt filled things about themselves or others.

Having shared my words of wisdom, you may see a common thread shared between all these phrases.  That leads me to believe that no matter what my grandchildren will hear me say, they will know that their words have power.

Hopefully, by the time my grandchildren are born the world that they live in will be more advanced and good words and good thoughts will be the common language.

 

The Lost Balloon Effect

Have you ever held a helium balloon only to feel it slip through your fingers so quickly that you could not close your hand fast enough to stop the thin string from pulling away?  I can remember that happening to me when I stepped out of my mother’s Volkswagen Beetle when I was about five-years-old.

It happened that fast.  All I knew was that I had a balloon, and then I didn’t.  My first reaction was to be surprised, followed by a feeling of awe and amazement.  I could not take my eyes off of the blue balloon as it floated out of my reach, past Mom’s outstretched arm, above the trees, and soon floating over my neighbor’s house.  Up, up, and away.  Feeling confused, all I could do was stare at that light blue dot until it was no longer visible and blended in with the sky above.

All these years later, I still find balloons to be so interesting.  Even without helium, they have something awe-some about them.  In the air or on the ground, being filled with air and surrounded by air, balloons seem to be powered by an unseen energy.  Ironically, even if I had held on to that blue balloon, the life span of a balloon is very limited.  Within a few days, a balloon loses its shape, its ability to float, and loses any value as an object of interest.

That is how emotions can be.  They can be strong one day, and within a few days lose their shape and purpose (value.)  Or like a helium balloon, with us one minute and the next minute gone.  The challenge sometimes can be the emotions linked with the past which have no value today and are best released as soon as possible. By remembering that thoughts and emotions from the past serve no purpose, we can use the power of our words to let them go.

Recently, feeling down, I made a point to sit down to recognize what I was feeling.  There were feelings and beliefs, from years ago, floating around inside me waiting for me to loosen my grip on them so they could be released.   By reminding myself,”I am able to release emotions that have no value and allow emotions of love and peace to replace them”, I felt relief wash over me.  It was as if my inner self finally let go of the emotional strings that had lost their shape and value years ago.  My desire to remove unwanted thoughts allowed me to finally “let go” mentally of that thin string tied to my heart.

For each deflated and useless emotion that was released, I can now replace my emotions with newer and better ones, replacing Anger with Forgiveness, Anxiety with Peace, Vulnerability with Security, and Fear with Hope.

If you knew that you could release a negative emotion as easily as releasing a balloon, wouldn’t you do it?  Make time for a little self-talk and release the thoughts and feelings that cause you to be inactive or feel uncomfortable in any way.  By releasing emotions based on the past, you can open your heart to so many more joyful emotions.

Be that child with a loose grip.  Let go of this useless energy, and watch as it disappears before your eyes.  That is when a Lost Balloon Effect can put a smile on your face and love in your heart.

Sweet Mindlessness

If I could do something that could make my life easier it would be to allow others to make my decisions and tell me what to do.  Now that I am an adult and responsible to make all my decisions and take whatever actions are needed in daily living, I find that I no longer have the answers which I once had.  You see there was a time when I thought I knew all the answers and had all the solutions to my life’s challenges.  Boy, was I wrong and how I had wished I still had that undeniable belief in myself.  What happened to me?  Who had I become that could no longer serve my best interests the way I once had?

The answer came to me when I had been reminded that I am not alone and can turn within for a guidance which is always available to me. That is why I share with you that even when a person may feel alone, there are answers to all of our greatest needs within ourselves communicating through our own thoughts and by understanding how we are feeling at a particular moment in time.

I have always known what to do when I had been in a better frame of mind.  Seemingly, I had all the answers on how to have a happier life whenever I felt happy.  That was when I questioned myself with “If I can find the answers and ways to be happier when I am happy, then why do I sometimes find myself without any answers?  Does that mean I am not happy?” 

The answers to both questions was a loud YES and I was not happy.  I could not find a happy answer if my thoughts were focusing on the less-happy areas of my life.  During times of confusion and trouble, I realized what I felt had created emotions of fear and anxieties.  How could I have forgotten that I am the thinker who creates the life that I am living?

Since I thought my best when I felt my best, I would have to find a way to “think better.”  For me, it was a two-step process.  The first was to simply stop the current thoughts from continuing and building a mountain of negative thoughts and energy. The next step was even easier, allow a new sense of hope to fill my mind and allow comforting emotions to step in by doing nothing. No thinking.  No planning, No strategizing.  Nothing.

That is why whenever I find myself feeling lost and confused, I stop asking myself “what am I feeling?” because if the answer is anything but good, I am building on a negative suggestion with a loaded question.  Instead, I take a quiet moment and slowly breathe in and out through my nose a few times, allowing me to concentrate on my breathing.  That is it.

The purpose of this writing is to remind myself that when I am troubled and looking for the answers to my problems that I can take two minutes to sit quietly and allow an inactive thought to help me to stop thinking and enjoy the peace that sinks into my body.

By allowing my mind a few minutes here and there through the day, I have recognized that my version of mediating is silencing my mind.  You can choose to find a comfortable place to sit or even put on soft music, but for me it truly was a simple as closing my eyes when I was parked in my car and allowing deep breathing behind closed eyes to offer me a new way to allow hope to become present in my life.  Maybe by allowing a few minutes of quiet into your day, you too can feel the benefits of a moment of mindlessness.

10 Things I Nearly Forgot

There are some lessons that I remember from my childhood that I nearly forgot.  As children, we spent so much time trying to find ways to have fun and feel good, we thought we had all the answers, and looking back, maybe we did.  A few that linger in my mind are…

1)  RHYMES SAY IT LIKE IT IS “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” How many times did we yell that back at another kid who just insulted us?   All these years later, I can still use this rhyme.  The difference now is I will not yell this. but will remember words of pain should be forgotten and to let them go.

2)  MY FAMILY WAS MY SOCIAL LIFE Growing up, my family was my source of entertainment. There were no computers, cell phones, or DVRs.  We spent time talking, playing, and laughing.  Speaking for myself, maybe it’s time to step away from the computer, put the cell phone in another room, and find ways to connect with my family again.

3)  KISSES AND HUGS MEANT SOMETHING In my house, kisses and hugs were magical and everywhere.  That is when I learned how a kiss could heal a boo-boo while a hug would help me feel safe.  I still remember that lesson but think that the magic may have dimmed.  It’s time to pucker my lips and open my arms, because I want this magic again and a lot of it.

4)  I CAN BE ANYTHING WHEN I GROW UP No matter what I wanted to be, I was told I could be anything when I grew up.  I thought I would be a cowboy-policeman that also was a doctor to kangaroos.  Realizing that life and careers can change from day to day, I still get to decide what I will be when I grow up.  Nobody can tell me otherwise.

5)  ICE CREAM IS A TREAT NOT A CONDIMENT When I was little, ice cream was not an everyday delight and was considered a special treat. In my life now, ice cream is still a special treat which might serve me better if I could stop eating it every day.  Nahhh!  I finally get to decide, after all, I am the grown-up.

6)  CATERPILLARS ARE COOL Back then, the caterpillar was one of the coolest bugs.  They went from being a hairy worm with legs to a magical, flying wonder bug that was so unique and beautiful.  Like caterpillars, first impressions can be deceiving.  Allow a friendship with somebody new time to grow so this person can morph into the beautiful person they have always been. It is you who will change as you see them with eyes of love.

7)  CROSSING THE STREET WITHOUT LOOKING IS DANGEROUS Kindergarteners are taught to look both ways before crossing the street.  I know that I am smarter than a kindergartner which is why I keep my cell phone in my pocket, not by my ear, or texting as I walk.   I am that smart.

8)  BIRTHDAYS ARE MEANT TO BE CELEBRATED Birthdays were your personal holy-day that included parties, gifts, and cake.  Instead of mourning a year that past, celebrate moving into a new year.  Take advantage of your day.  Be sure to wish big because you are old enough to know wishes really do come true!

9)  I AM PERFECT JUST THE WAY I AM As a little one, I can remember prancing around in bathing suits, costumes, and even running around with nothing on after a bath because it felt great to be free.  I was perfect.  I was me.  Several years later, here I am.  I may not be prancing around the same way, but I am still perfect and still me.  Remember that you are unique and a perfect ‘you’

10)  BEING A HELPER MEANS I’M SPECIAL During grade school, there was nothing better than to be assigned the line leader to the cafeteria.  I was special when I was in front.  Feel good about yourself again by helping somebody in need.  Remember that only special people are helpers.  Be special.

Remembering how great it was to be young may help us to remember that it is great to be alive…at any age!

The Power of “Stop”

One of the words that I most remember hearing, as a very young child, was the word stop.  “Stop jumping on the couch”, “stop teasing your sister”, and I can still hear my parents saying, “Karen, stop playing with your food.”  Stop, stop, and stop!  A word that commanded me to put an end to an action that was not desired.  As I grew up, this word changed from correcting my behavior to empowering me to take control (command) of actions and reactions that caused me pain.

When I realized the positive effect of this word, I began to use it more often.  I began to use this word as part of some valuable self-talk when times were challenging. Choosing to use stop in simple statements allowed me to grow stronger in areas where I had felt challenged.  It offered me comfort when I had felt bad.  It helped me to redirect myself when I was headed in a direction that I did not want to go.

My self-talk was a two-step statement.  The first part allowed me to eliminate thoughts or feelings from growing stronger, more negative.  The second part was to replace the “unwanted” thoughts/feelings with ones that served me better.

I want to stop feeling __________ (negative emotion), and start to feel better.

I want to stop doubting my abilities, and remember that I am strong and can do anything that I choose to do.

I want to stop habits that offer me temporary comfort and replace them with habits that will help me now with great results.

There were times that I simply wanted to eliminate a thought and felt better by removing the harmful thought.

I want to stop believing what others say, things that I have read or seen that have stopped me from being the best me that I can be. 

I now place stop in my word bank with other positive words which help me to live a better life.  Take time to see what thoughts, emotions, or reactions that you may like to stop in your life.  Start with your words and see how words can begin a chain reaction to a better way of thinking.  After all, if thoughts become things, stop the bad ones and embrace the better ones.

 

 

The Power of the Spoken Word

Words are the primary elements found in speaking, writing, and thinking.  Did you ever wonder what the difference between these three modes of communication is?  I believe it is the energy that is shared between two or more people when words are exchanged…out loud.

As a writer, I value the written word because it is uninterrupted and pure of thought.  There is usually time to think about what you are writing, opportunity to improve it, and the ability to stay focused on what you are writing until completed because it is one-sided with no conflicting ideas or interruptions.  Thinking is less focused because of the many thoughts that are created daily including emotions, observations, and the thousands of fleeting thoughts fighting to take hold.

When we speak with others, we open ourselves up to outside influences and opinions which create a new and active energy between two or more people.  The results can impact one’s original thought causing changes because of the emotions and reactions of others.  This is why I say “watch your words” as they can effect you and others in ways you never imagined or intended.

At a recent presentation on The Power of the Spoken Word, I shared the following categories for ways to stay focused on better living with an awareness of the words we may want to use and the ones we may want to avoid:

Kindness Beats Kidding Humor is a great way to raise your vibration.  If you hear yourself saying “just kidding”, you can presume what was said might not have been considered funny.  I try to remember the jokes that make everybody feel good because those are the ones I want to repeat.

Nobody Wins – When words of defense are used, it is a signal that words of offense were understood even when the intention was not meant (intended) to be offensive.    An example of this is when I was told, “You look good with short hair, but I like it better when it’s longer.”  No offense was intended but if there was a compliment in there, I did not feel it.

Avoid the Un-Desires – Avoid emphasizing how you feel unless it is something you want to continue feeling, such as “so happy.”  That is one feeling that is worth saying out loud!  I have a friend who is always soooo excited that all the things she wants to do are that much better.

Healthy Words Heal – Healthy words contain words that heal.  Notice how the root word of healthy is heal.  By making a habit of stating the “feel good” and “be good” words when speaking with others, my health is better than it was when I was younger and more physically active.

Be Worthy of Greatness – Allow words of value to describe yourself and others whenever stating a personal opinion.  I have learned that by choosing to speak well of myself and others, I feel good and cause no ill feelings to others.

Watch your words because you will see amazing things happen when you are aware of what you are saying.

By allowing words to share hope and joy, I am able to speak from my heart.  Knowing that my intention is to always speak from my heart, I will remain hopeful that my messages can allow words to influence me to live a happier and more hope filled life because I am the power behind my words.

My Q-TIP Reminder

Once again, I received a life lesson at the expense of feeling “miffed.”  As I walked up to the counter of our local bagel shop, I did the courteous three-foot-step-back and waited to be called up to the counter.  When a man that had come in another door and been obviously not the ‘next’ person, went directly up to the counter, I felt a twinge in my chest.  I knew it was no big deal, but for some reason it bothered me.  Saying nothing, I waited one minute and placed my order.  As I left and started to back up my car out of the parking spot, I waited again as somebody was taking their time getting in their car as they chatted on their phone.  Again, I waited patiently.  It was only when I saw a car parked at an obscene angle and blocking an exit  as I squeezed by to get by when I realized courteously was not given to me this morning.  It was me who kept biting back my irritation, me who had to wait as others went about their day without consideration to others, and me feeling so very irritated.  Who ever thought that courtesy and consideration would be my responsibility if I wanted to have a happier day?  Humph! This is not what I meant when I decided to make “I am the power in my world” the tagline for this website.

But…it is true.  It is ME who controls my comments.  It is ME who decides to be patient.  It is ME who can also let things roll off my back.  Did this make me happy? No.  Does this make me a better person? Yes.  Asking myself, isn’t being a better person enough for that morning outing? Hmmm…

The answer depends on if I want to share a life lesson or if I want to be happier.  Wanting to be happier has overshadowed “doing the right thing” for me, but sometimes my manners can benefit me too.

This is why I decided to share that being the power in my world comes with a dark side or a shadow side as some might see it.   When I am the one responsible for my happiness and have to be active with my life as is required for a good life, it is not always going to be easy.  Not because easy living is not available to me, but because even if I may be the power in my world, others are the power in theirs.  Thankfully I remembered a science lesson where two worlds (planets) can orbit around each other without a collision course presumed.

Knowing that I have to be considerate when others are not, or even courteous to inconsiderate people, offers me the knowledge that there are good people out there.  I AM the proof that good people are out there.  The funny thing is I have no doubt that all three people who were oblivious of me are also good people.  It is realizing this and remembering that somewhere and at some time in my life, I have been inconsiderate, uncourteous, and probably downright rude without knowing it either.  This is when I was able to remind myself of the valuable lesson that my mother has taught me with the acronym Q.T.I.P.  to Quit Taking It Personal.

Not everybody has a website where they can share a thought.  Since I do, I want to continue to spread thoughts that will make this world better for all of us.  This is why I say to you…quit taking it personal!  We may be the power in our own worlds, but by being in control of our own power, we are already making this world better for all of us!

PS  To be on the safe side, we are having cereal for breakfast at home today.