Obstacles to growth might be trying to mind someone else’s business instead of our own.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Trees give peace to the souls of men. Nora Waln

What do we owe our neighbors? This is a question I have wondered as I’ve looked at semi-detached houses where the neighbors were not in sync with their color choices of garage doors, roofs, etc.

On our neighbor’s and our front yards, we had twin pink crabapple trees that stood side by side until she cut hers down earlier this spring. They stood together for 28 years. I started getting used to the bare spot and wondered what she had planned that was better than a big beautiful pink crabapple tree in full bloom.

Last night coming back from my walk with Lulu listening to the audiobook The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday I noticed her grand plan and it stopped me in my tracks. She planted a blue spruce where a magnificent pink crabapple once stood.

I stormed into the kitchen where my son and his fiancé were eating dinner. “Have you seen what she’s done?” I sputtered.

“You should have talked to her about her plans,” my son calmly said.

When should I have talked to her about it? When I came home from a walk and half the branches had been sawed off and were lying on the ground? She never talked to me about cutting down the tree and still hasn’t. Why would I ask about a tree that has been standing for 28 years? I expected to see it keep standing until the branches were lying on the ground. The only tree she has kept standing is a maple tree that is too close to the house.

I am not like the farmer who said once his barn was gone, “Now I can see the moon.”

Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky. Kahlil Gibran

I’ve never had a problem with neighbors but maybe it’s because my son tells me I am passive-aggressive, complaining about them behind their back instead of talking to them directly. I did talk to my neighbor’s son one day who had their dog peeing on our lawn. I think I was even effective. I haven’t seen her peeing there since. Why would I have to ask someone to not have their dog pee on my lawn? That should be self-evident, shouldn’t it?

When we live in a city we have to hope our neighbors like trees and will plant some for everyone’s enjoyment. I’ve been lucky we have a tree-lined street because the builder planted a tree on each lot and the city planted boulevard trees. Most homeowners value their trees as they add value to the property and living on a tree-lined street is a prettier street. In the backyards, we as well as neighbors have planted trees that give us all some privacy and a place for the birds, squirrels, and rabbits to live.

Neighbors, friends, and family don’t all see things the same way. We are individuals with our own values, judgments, and choices. I’m sure I make choices others don’t agree with and they make choices I don’t agree with. As my parents used to say, “It takes everyone to make a world.” We have our little piece to look after and everyone else has to look after theirs.

There is no point in getting upset about the beautiful crabapple tree that has been removed. A magnificent blue spruce will grow in its stead. It’s going to take a while as it’s only 18 inches tall.

Is there a lesson here for me? Is it ironic that I was listening to The Obstacle is the Way? We have our little yard to beautify and I have to leave everyone else’s yard up to them. We can only make things happen in our own circle of influence but it is so much easier to look at what others are doing instead of tending to our own business. Am I looking after my own business well enough? If I am, I wouldn’t have time to mind anyone else’s?

Be like a tree. The tree gives shade even to him who cuts off its boughs. Sri Chaitanya

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. Elton Trueblood

Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. John Muir

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Enjoy the moments that make up your life. Dwell on the beauty of life.

Dwell on the beauty of life. Enjoy the moments that make up your life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A good life is a collection of happy moments. Denis Waitley

Mother’s Day is past and for some, it was a hard day. It might have been hard because this year they couldn’t see their mother because they were keeping their distance. Some people couldn’t see their mother because she is no longer alive. Some people never grew up with their mother because of death or circumstance.  Some people have strained relationships with their mothers. Yesterday was a reminder of their failure to heal the breach and create a good relationship.

Yesterday my Mother-in-law, husband, daughter, and I went for a walk in a park beside a rippling river with trees and flowers in bloom. It was a wonderful day full of warmth, love, companionship, and laughter. We ate ice cream in the fresh air. My son and daughter cooked dinner and we drank wine and laughed.

I called Mom and we had a wonderful conversation. I called to order flowers from a florist I’ve built a relationship with, in the city Mom lives. She told me even though she bought more flowers than last year she could take no more orders for flower arrangements. Instead of a bouquet, I had them deliver a hibiscus plant. When it arrived it was full of buds and when I spoke to Mom on Mother’s Day four salmon-colored flowers had opened up.

I’m thankful for today’s little moments because they are tomorrow’s precious memories. Unknown

On Saturday a friend and I went for a long walk. We talked about the long-distance relationship with our parents. We both left home at a young age. We marveled at some of the conversations we have had over the phone that never seemed to happen when we were sitting at the same table. The immediacy of the phone call created an intimate relationship that physical closeness did not.

Moments in our lives are fleeting. We need to enjoy them while we can. Go for that walk in the park with someone you love. Hold their hand as you stand on a bridge over a babbling brook. Lean your head on their shoulder as you watch a sunset. Give them a hug. Make the moments count. They are moments that will not come again. You will never watch that sunset again. You will never go for the same walk. You will never eat the same dinner with the same wine, and the same laughter.  

Are we dwelling on the beauty of life and enjoying the moments?

We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are. Bill Watterson

If you worry too much about the future you will miss the present. Unknown

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts. Winnie The Pooh

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

The simple life, are we living it? What makes life simple?

What makes life simple? The simple life, are we living it?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between I occupy myself as best I can. Cary Grant

When do we know we need to go in a new direction, rework, regroup, or re-imagine something? It happened to me yesterday when my daughter said, “I have a few ideas for your children’s book.” My ears perked up and when she said one of the books children love has a jingle, it’s simple and the children love it.

Simple should be easy but it isn’t. We look at children’s books and think anyone could do that. Anyone can but it doesn’t mean it will be easy to create a children’s book children love.

The children’s book I want to write does not have a jingle – yet. It does not rhyme, it is not simple and would not enthrall children? Could it become a concept that might enthrall children? Can it rhyme or have a jingle? Can it be simple?

The answer to every one of those questions is yes. Getting to simple may take a lot more work than I thought it would. It may also be a lot more fun.

Does it work the same way in our lives? Is it true the simpler our lives are the more joy and beauty we experience? We may think moving to the country and raising our own food is part of the simple life. The simplest way to have a hamburger is to pull up to the restaurant and order one. If we are going to raise the calf that becomes the burger we needed to start a couple of years ago. What about the bun, we need to grow the wheat. What about the yeast? Living on our own and providing everything for ourselves is not simple.

Going to a grocery store and buying what we need is much simpler. Could most of us build ourselves a car for transportation? We can buy one which is a simple way of getting a car.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius

My brother has hatched some chicks and when I last talked to him he had 4 live chicks which cost about $250.00 each if he calculated all costs that went into the hatch. They are a good way off from being able to lay eggs for his breakfast.

Self-sufficiency may be a laudable goal but it is not simple to be self-sufficient. Money is what makes our life simple. We have something we can exchange that we agree on the value of. How hard would it be for me to get one of my brother’s chickens without money? What is a chicken worth? What do I produce that my brother wants? What if he wanted to trade his chickens for a cow so he could eat beef and not just chicken? How many chickens is one cow worth? How do you save up chickens?

Money lets us put a price on everything. We trade our time at our job or business for money that lets us pick and choose what we spend it on. We can save it to spend later. We can invest it into assets that will appreciate.

The chicks might be down to one and that makes it a thousand-dollar chick. We don’t always make money in our enterprises. But, if we don’t try and fail how do we learn to do things and get better?

Other people’s blood, sweat, tears, and enterprise have made my life simple. I have many things I couldn’t produce myself that with a little money I can buy. Can life get much simpler than that?

My sister-in-law is buying six-week-old chicks for twenty dollars. Farm fresh eggs are a real treat, but it is simpler to stop at the store and buy my eggs.

Simple is a concept we don’t understand very well. Farming is not simple; living in a city is simple. Exchanging money for anything is a simple exchange. Creating that thing is not simple. Working at a job doing one thing is simple. Going out for a coffee and a hamburger is simple. Growing the coffee and all the ingredients to make that hamburger is not simple.

If we are lucky enough to go to a store and buy anything, someone produced it. We are lucky to live in a country where we can buy the things we need and want.

What does a simple life look like? I think I’m living it and as long as I can pay for what I need and what I want how could it become much simpler?

There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple, and useful life. Booker T. Washington

Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking. Richie Norton

 Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Extreme ownership of our choices will give us a life of character, opportunity, and blessings.

Extreme ownership of our choices will us a life of blessings, character, and opportunity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I’ve been listening to the book, “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willnik and Lief Babin. The idea is to own everything in your world and to blame no one else.

We are to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them without blaming anyone else.

We need to acknowledge there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. We need to explain not just what to do but why.

Ego corrupts and disrupts everything, the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive and helpful criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation. The most difficult ego to deal with will likely be our own.

We need a simple plan. If the plan is simple enough everyone understands it. If the plan is too complex we and our team (family, business, or group cannot make rapid adjustments because the baseline understanding of it is not there.

We need to know what the most important problem is to deal with. We must prioritize and execute. We must relax, look around, and make a call.

We must build trust with our members. Trust is not blindly given it must be built over time. Open conversations build trust, overcoming stress and challenges builds trust. Working through emergencies and being there for people builds trust.

Leadership comes from the top. If those we lead aren’t doing what we want rather than blame them for not seeing the big picture we must figure out a way to better communicate it to them in terms that are simple, clear, and concise so that everyone understands the mission, the goal, and the end game.

If the leader isn’t making a decision in a timely manner or providing necessary support or leadership don’t blame the leader. First, blame yourself. Examine what you can do to better convey critical information for decisions to be made and support given.

You can’t make the same mistake twice. The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice. Unknown

Discipline yourself. Freedom comes from discipline. The more disciplined we are in life the better our life will be. Our first choice comes with getting up in the morning. Do we jump out of bed with the alarm or do we fail our first test of discipline for the day? If we start the day out right by getting up early and making our bed we have already accomplished something. When we fail the first test of the day though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But, when we exercise discipline in small things it will show up in big ways in our life. If we can master the small things we can master the big things. If we fail at the small things we will have more trouble with the big things.

What if we decide to take extreme ownership in our life, will that fix everything? There might be nothing that fixes everything. But we can live our lives in a way that we do what we can in most areas of our life. Sometimes we are the catalyst to make things better or worse. Disciplining ourselves to always try to make things better will give us the best chance at a good life.

Jordan Peterson’s, “12 Rules for Life” and Jocko Willnik and Lief Babin’s, “Extreme Ownership” are in the same vein. They are telling us what we have been told all of our lives by folk wisdom, religions, books, teachers, parents, etc. We have more control over the unfolding of our lives than we think we do. The small decisions we make for good or bad each day compound. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into years, and years turn into our lifetime. All those decisions that didn’t seem like much add up.

We hear about people who win lotteries or made it big and we hear they are broke. How could they be broke? Poor decisions over time have brought them to where they are. We hear of people who never made much money but they die millionaires, the result of good decisions over time.

Life is all about the choices we make in the circumstances we find ourselves in. We may wish we had better circumstances but we need to make the best choice and move on from there to make another good choice. Enough good choices and we will look like one of the lucky ones.

Are we making the best choices in our life daily, weekly, yearly?

Never blame another person for your personal choices – you are still the one who must live out the consequences of your choices. Carolyn Myss

Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: We are what we chose to be. Graham Brown

Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters. Dan Coppersmith

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Life is a fight for territory. There is no standing still in life, we grow or we rot.

There is no standing still in life, we grow or we rot. Life is a fight for territory.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is a fight for territory. Les Brown

Is living a fight for territory?  The full quote is, “Life is a fight for territory and once you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will automatically take over.” I think this is true and if you grew up in a household with lots of siblings we were all fighting for territory, for our place, our niche. Maybe we were the funny one, the dependable one, the level-headed one, the smart one, the troubled one, the sick one, the healthy one, the complaining one, the happy one, the smiling one, or we found another niche.

Then we get out into the world and we are finding our place again. How many of us have been to a gathering of some type and one person takes all the air in the room. They have all the jokes; they are the loudest and most boisterous. We might not like to be the loudest jerk in the room but doesn’t our voice raise when we think we are not being listened to, we are not heard, and we are not acknowledged.

When we were in the dating world we were fighting for territory. My sister tells me when she watched her husband walk into the singles group she was a member of she said, “Ladies, he’s mine.” She staked a claim and they have been married for years.

Maybe when we claim things as ours it is easier to get what we want. What do we want? Maybe we haven’t voiced what we want and that is why we don’t have it. If we stake a claim we then need to do something with that claim. We can register our business but that is the easy part. Building a business is a challenge, but staking our claim, declaring our intent, and then going after it and doing what needs to be done will get us where we want to go. We need to know where we want to go all through life. If we quit setting a goal, quit working toward what we want we may have to settle for what we don’t want.

I don’t think this means we should always be striving and not enjoying the beauty and bounty of our lives. I think it means we should be making things better in our lives in every way we can while we enjoy the beauty and bounty.

The spring bulbs are up under my crabapple tree which should be in full glorious bloom this weekend. If I don’t keep planting new bulbs my spring flowers get sparser and sparser. I used to have crocuses but they have died out. If I want crocuses or any other spring flower I will have to plant them. The beautiful garden doesn’t just happen and nor does a beautiful life, family, marriage, business, or great accomplishment of any kind.

Life does not stand still. Where there is no progress, there is disintegration. Grenville Kleiser

Staying healthy as we age is definitely a fight for territory. If we don’t exercise our body ages at a faster rate, we feel more aches and pains, and we have more health problems.   

Some people may laugh at the idea of living our best life. But when we say we are living our best life, we are staking our claim and then we have to do what it takes to make that happen. If we aren’t staking our claim we get what we get. Too many days of not staking our claim of going for a walk may mean we are not able to walk as far, we are stiff after our walk, or we can’t move as freely in our day-to-day life.

If we don’t stake our claim for eating healthy food, we won’t be healthy as we make choices that are not good for our health. Doctors are great for the things they can do for us but they cannot make us healthy. We have to do that for ourselves.

We have to stake the claim in our relationships that we will expect the best of ourselves. We will overlook our partner’s missteps and they will overlook ours. Too many missteps on either side won’t create a good marriage but nor will holding our partner to standards that normal people can’t attain. We can have such great expectations for our children they feel no matter what they do it won’t be good enough. We need to stake the claims for our own life and let others stake the claims for theirs.

Are we fighting for the territory in life we want? Is it true there is no standing still there is only going up or sliding down?

There are many ways of going forward, but there is only one way of standing still. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Marriages either move toward communication, connection and intimacy or they move away from these things – they don’t stand still for very long. Unknown

Self-development should be a perpetual process. In life you are either growing or rotting. You’re moving forward or backwards; there is no standing still. Al Duncan

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To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to all those who read my book. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

The Best of Les Brown Audio Collection: Inspiration from the World’s Leading Motivational Speaker

Learning from the masters. Can we too become masters if we work hard and practice?

Learning from the masters. Can we too become masters if we work hard and practice?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s not so much staying alive, it’s staying human that’s important. What counts is that we don’t betray each other. George Orwell

My cousin called me yesterday and said, “I met Hemmingway.” Of course, she means she started reading one of his books. Other than what she read of him in school she has never read any of his books. I haven’t read his books either.

What makes a Master? I have a book called “Write Like the Masters.” I started reading it and will take notes. We tend only to see the results of masters we don’t see what they did to become masters. We figure they must be special, but we often underestimate the amount of work it has taken to develop their skills to be masters. It isn’t just innate skill that makes masters it is also hard work and practice at their craft.

There is a story that Pablo Picasso was in a bar in Paris having lunch. A woman who recognized him came over and asked him “Excuse me, sir, aren’t you Pablo Picasso?” As Pablo confirmed he was, the woman handed him a napkin and asked, “Can you please draw something for me?”

Pablo took the napkin and got to work. 10 minutes later he was done and as he handed over the napkin back to the woman he said, “That’s $10,000.”

The woman looked flabbergasted and said, “$10,000? But it only took you 10 minutes to draw that.” Pablo looked at the woman and said, “Yes, but it took me 25 years to know how to do this in 10 minutes.”

I’m looking at an article from The New York Times dated January 12, 1992, “Reading Hemingway without Guilt” by Fredrick Busch. He says, “It is not fashionable these days to praise the work of Ernest Hemingway. His women too often seem to be projections of male needfulness. There are too many examples of his lifelong anti-Semitism, his affection for denigrating black people in just too many forums private and public. And he was violent: he loved bullfights…

He is so very incorrect, except in this: he gave the century a way of making literary art that dealt with the remarkable violence of our time. He listened and watched and invented the language – using the power, the terror, of silence – with which we could name ourselves.”

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. George Orwell

Writers don’t write only about what is correct, beautiful, noble, and good because that is not where the story is. Writers know their characters do not always do what they should, and think what they should because people don’t do those things. If there is nothing to overcome, if everything is how it should be, then there is no story.

Can we judge people by the standards of our time that lived in other times? If we get rid of all the works of people who didn’t live how we wanted or think what we think they should have thought, how does that serve us?

In this era of political correctness, some people seem unaware that being squeamish about words can mean being blind to realities. Thomas Sowell

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. George Orwell

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Thank you to all those who have read my book, and a special thank you to those who have left a review on Amazon. I receive a small percentage of the sale if you purchase an item through the Amazon link from the Amazon affiliate program.

Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

To live in beauty and bounty we must be part of the providers of it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. Gary Snyder

Yesterday we woke up to snow-covered daffodils, cherry blossoms, and snow-laden branches it was unexpectedly beautiful and I wish I’d taken pictures. We had twin crabapple trees that for a couple of days in spring were covered with pink blooms. Our neighbor has cut all the limbs off of her tree and only the stump is standing and I expect it will be pulled out too. It seems like sacrilege to take down an over twenty-five-year-old tree when we are trying to create tree-lined streets.

Mom tells me in her complex it was decided to remove a beautiful ten-year-old maple tree and replace it with something else and she is not impressed with their choice.

It’s not my business it’s her tree. What if everyone cut down their tree and we ended up with barren ugly neighborhoods? Whose business does it become then? When does our business become someone else’s business? When do our actions infringe on other people?

Jordan Peterson talks about how we can’t take living in safety, peace, and plenty for granted. Is there a correlation between happiness and beauty? When we live in beautiful surroundings it makes a difference in our lives. We are told to clear the clutter to clear our minds. How often when we look at pictures of stark, minimalist décor does it still have a plant or flowers somewhere in the picture. Nature feeds our soul. What is someone thinking as they pave over every blade of grass and root out the trees on their property?

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own. Charles Dickens

The World Happiness Report suggests wellbeing is positively affected by spending time in nature. The trend is to cover our property with concrete or pavers. We want a low maintenance option but what about the option of living in an urban forest where we offer habitat for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

I love watching the squirrels. We have grey, black and recently little red squirrels have moved into the area. I haven’t seen chipmunks in our yard but I have seen a skunk ambling through the back yard and I came home from a walk to see one on my front walk one morning. We see a pair of cardinals in our yard all the time. Occasionally we see a blue jay in our trees and goldfinches in our front yard. I would hate to live in a sterile yard with no life, no trees, and no nature.

Life changes and my crab apple tree lost a friend. I think of the two trees nodding in the breeze like two ladies talking about the goings-on of the street. Mine is now the lone pink crab apple on our side of the street.

Nature is messy, beautiful, and irreplaceable. We may think we want stark, lifeless yards because they are easy, maintenance-free spaces. It’s probably okay if a few people think like this but what if everyone on the street thought this way? Cities can be deserts or they can be beautiful urban forests with birds and other wildlife. It’s our choice and I pray most people choose the trees.

We live in beauty and bounty, but we can’t take it for granted that someone else will provide it for us. We have to be careful of the choices we make lest we someday no longer live in beauty and bounty and wonder where it went.

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play and pray, where nature heals and gives strength to body and soul alike. John Muir

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. William Wordsworth

Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time. Katrina Mayer

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to all who read my book, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon. I receive a small percentage of the sale from the Amazon link through the Amazon affiliate program.

Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Fundamental choices are what we build our life on. Are we happy with the direction our life is going? Do we need to make a fundamental choice to change it?

Are we happy with the direction our life is going? Do we need to make a fundamental choice to change it? Fundamental choices are what we build our life on.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you. John C. Maxwell

How do we make fundamental choices that change our lives? We know people who make fundamental choices they quit smoking and this time it worked. What is the difference between when it works and when it doesn’t? According to Robert Fritz in The Path of Least Resistance, there are ways we avoid making effective choices.

Choice by possibilities – choosing only what seems possible or reasonable.

Choice by indirectness – choosing the process instead of the result.

Choice by elimination – eliminating all other possibilities so that only one choice remains.

Choice by default – the “Choice” not to make a choice, so that whatever results happen seem to occur without choices.

Conditional choice – imposing preconditions on choices.

Choice by reaction – choices designed to overcome a conflict.

Choice by consensus – choosing by finding out what everyone else is willing to recommend and following the results of that poll.

Choice by adverse possession – choice based on a hazy metaphysical notion about the nature of the universe.

We can choose results we want to see manifested or we can make choices based on what we want to avoid. If we can have a clear vision of what we want to create and then actually say the words, “I choose to have…

We have different kinds of choices to make. We have primary choices which are choices about major results. A primary choice is about some result we want in itself and for itself. It is not a step to something else it is the thing itself. It is the ultimate goal it might be something like a superb relationship, a beautiful home, or a wonderful vacation.

Secondary choices help us take a step toward our primary choice. Booking the tickets for the vacation, going on date nights, and going to the gym.

Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision. Tony Robbins

A fundamental choice is a choice upon which primary and secondary choices rest.  A fundamental choice is a choice in which we commit ourselves to a basic life orientation or state of being. When we have made a fundamental choice about the way we want our life to be all other choices support that choice.

When I made the primary choice to be a writer something changed from when I was just hoping, wishing, and thinking I would write someday. I can’t put my finger on it but reading this book has crystallized that being a writer is a primary choice for me. Getting married was a primary choice and having children was a primary choice. Going into business for ourselves was a primary choice.

The more we are willing to make fundamental choices in our lives about the direction we want our lives to take the more control we have in our life. We can’t control the outcome of many things but we can control the direction. If we are in a reactive response we are waiting for circumstances to make us happy. If we are creating our own lives we are creating our own satisfaction and we are happy from the inside out. When we make fundamental choices to be true to ourselves we may deal with the circumstances differently to remain true to ourselves regardless of what the circumstances are.

The four fundamental choices Robert Fritz offers in his book The Path of Least Resistance are:

To be the predominant creative force in our life.

To be true to ourselves.

Health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual).

Freedom

He says we should not assume that we automatically want to make these fundamental choices. He says if we make the choice for these four fundamental choices circumstances may change slowly or quickly as the structural tendencies of our life work to fulfill these choices.

What choices do we need to make? Are they fundamental choices, primary choices, or secondary choices?

You have a choice. A single choice, whatever that choice may be, you have to live with the consequences it brings. That’s all. A Choice. G. Gutierrez

One of the most important things that I have learned… is that life is all about choices.  On every journey you take, you face choices. At every fork in the road, you make a choice. And it is those decisions that shape our lives. Mike DeWine

We’re making decision right now that shape our lives. Even indecision is a decision. What’s going on today is a result of the choices we’ve made in the past. Toni Sorenson

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my book, and a special thank you to those that leave a comment on Amazon. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Path of Least Resistance, The - Kindle Book - Kindle eBook by [Robert Fritz]
Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Are we choosing what we want? Are we letting life choose for us? Are we happy with the choices?

Are we letting life choose for us? Are we choosing what we want? Are we happy with the choices?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you don’t do the choosing, life will choose for you, and it may not be the choice you want. Robert Anthony

In the smorgasbord of life are we choosing what we want or what we don’t want? Do we say, “Well I don’t want to be poor, sick, or homeless instead of rich, healthy, and well housed?”

I’ve been the person that found asking for what I want, and sometimes even stating it, has been tough. We may even put processes in place we think should give us what we want without actually stating what it is we want.

I look at my writing as an example. I developed the habit of writing when my husband brought home a laptop and I used it every night at the kitchen table and developed the habit of writing. I never asked myself what do I want to accomplish with my writing, what do I want it to become? At that point maybe it was too much to know. Maybe I needed to learn that I could stay on the path of writing without knowing or thinking too hard about where that path would or could lead.

Jogging might work the same way for some people. When they take up running they may not think one day they will be part of the Boston Marathon. My family and I signed up to do a little 5k marathon and last year it was canceled but this year they are going ahead so we are to be part of a “Virtual” marathon.

I can remember at times being asked, “What do you want to eat?” All I knew is what I didn’t want and that isn’t very helpful. What if we wander around the smorgasbord of life and look at all the choices and each one isn’t what we want, but we can’t articulate what we do want so we can’t figure out how to bring what we do want into our life.

Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of all your happiness or misery. H. Jackson Brown

One of the lessons I’ve learned from painting is a limited palette is often more pleasing than using every color. I picked up the book, “Color Harmony for Artists” by Ana Victoria Calderon and she creates a 28 color palette for paintings. The book is page after page of a picture and the 28 colors she chose for the palette. Why did she choose 28 colors? I haven’t found an explanation in the book for why the number is 28 and that probably is not important. What it does do is give a starting point for creating our own color scheme and putting a limit on it so instead of reaching for one more discordant color we pick one from our palette. I haven’t been working with her concept that long but color harmony in paintings is part of what makes a painting work or not work.

The choices we make in our life are what make our life work or not work. I’ve started working out my own 28 color palette and when I look at my colors I can’t choose the ones I don’t want. I have to make choices of what colors I am going to choose. Am I going to mix colors or use them from the tube?  Is the color scheme going to be warm or cool, complementary, triad, split complementary, or some other choice? If I like the look of the 28 colors together in my notebook chances are I will like the color harmony of whatever I paint.

Sometimes we don’t choose because when we do we are responsible for that choice. The only way to get what we want is to choose and be responsible and if that choice doesn’t work out be willing to make another choice. Every day we can choose to feel blessed, grateful, excited, happy, and thankful for the choices we have.

The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Heraclitus

We are free to choose our paths, but we can’t choose the consequences that come with them. Sean Covey

You have a choice each and every single day. Choose to feel blessed. Choose to feel grateful. Choose to be excited. Choose to be thankful. Choose to be happy. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my book, and a special thank you to those that leave a comment on Amazon. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Planting what we want to reap. Making things better. Bringing the worst out in people.

Bringing the worst out in people. Making things better. Planting what we want to reap.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut. Stephen Covey

Yesterday was a day of April showers. The spring bulbs are up and the Star Magnolias are blooming in all their glory. This is my favorite time of year and my cousin who lives in California was telling Mom her spring starts in January. That sounds perfect, but spring whenever it comes is welcome.

I was reading about a word for green called “Dog Barking Green” because even the dogs are happy to see the new shoots that come with spring. Don’t our hearts lighten in spring? Wasn’t it terrifying when we watched Game of Thrones and winter was always coming and they didn’t know how long it would last? Years went by without winter and then when winter came they didn’t know how long they had to be prepared for and it seemed they were never prepared enough. How could we prepare for a winter we didn’t know when would end?

It is easy to think things should be different. It is not easy to know what is the difference that makes things better instead of worse. In our hubris, we think we know. Some of us think it would be better if we got back to normal. We think decisions being made are not the right ones. Some of us think the cure is worse than what we are being saved from.

The load some are being asked to bear is more than is reasonable. No matter what happens in life there are always some who do well and some who do worse. As they say, there is never an ill wind that doesn’t do somebody some good. It is easy to get sucked into rhetoric on either side. The middle view is so much less attractive it seems and yet when we live our lives in the middle isn’t that when life works the best.

When you act within the darkness of lies and untruth you attract experiences towards yourself that are equally as disturbing. Unknown

I digress, what about spring because spring is what we need. New beginnings, new expectations, and new directions always seem so great but we don’t always like where new directions lead us. Who do we trust for our information, who do we trust for news? We think we don’t know the whole story about anything and those who want us to believe their side, tell us what they think will convince us they are right.

What seeds are we planting? What germinates will grow. What we tend will flourish but is what flourishes what we want to harvest? My son put it succinctly last night: when we are individualists we take the power and control we have and we can live our lives in a way to bring about the best results. When we are waiting for someone else to fix things we have given up our power and even if they do fix things, will they fix things to our satisfaction? Isn’t it better to use our own power to build our own lives?

People looking to profit off of others, is real, but can we live our lives in a way to keep ourselves out of the clutches of such people? We may do our best and still come into the clutches of some, but if we take control of our lives we can often overcome mistakes and missteps. Expecting society to change so there are never people looking to take advantage of, step on, or just be mean and nasty doesn’t seem reasonable.

How do we make routine traffic stops not turn into fatalities? Most of them do not and we need to remember this even though too many that do are in the news. I think of my dog when we are out for a walk. She reacts to very few dogs, but some of them elicit a response I don’t understand. My little twelve-pound cock-a-poo is agitated and snarling, sometimes at a dog that with one bite would snap her in half. What brings this on? Does the same thing happen to people?

Is there a way to plant what we want to reap and ensure a peaceful outcome to routine events that scare us?

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. Thomas Paine

The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become. Unknown

The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel the evil with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. (Quran, 41:34)

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts please click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my book. A special thank you to everyone that leaves a review on Amazon. I receive a small percentage of the sale for any purchases through the Amazon affiliate program.

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

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