Self-expression through art may heal our souls. When we find our voice we find ourselves.

When we find our voice we find ourselves. Self-expression through art may heal our soul.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The goal of art is the vital expression of self. Alfred Stieglitz

Last night in the art course I am attending we created an intuitive collage. We were told to get maps (I printed a world map from the computer), and newspapers, magazines, or pages from a book. We outlined the part of the map with clear water we wanted to keep and then tore them out. We were limited for time so we only did one layer of collage. Our instructor Thaniath Siddiqui often does about ten layers. She has videos you can watch on YouTube about Art and Mindfulness and is offering a course online in July called Whyology.

The idea behind intuitive painting and collage is to explore our experiences without knowing where we are going or what memories, ideas, or experiences we will remember. This can be a healing practice for people. As we put words, images, maps, objects, or whatever we can think of onto canvas or watercolor paper.

We need to be careful of bringing computers and water together. Last night I dumped my water container all over my desk. Fortunately, I had put a few pages of paper on the top and the water didn’t hit the keyboard or mouse but I had quite a mess to clean up. One word of advice is to use a flat container for your water and not a tall container as I used.

The painting for this post is the painting created last night. We didn’t have a lot of time but the paintings created by the group were varied and beautiful. Even when we are following the same instructions we are not creating the same piece of art. Different moods, images, and emotions are evident and what the art invokes in others is different.

We don’t know where our journeys into self-expression will take us. Many people may hesitate to put into words what they can express in art. The art is open to interpretation and part of the art may be hidden under layers. It might be the first time we’ve expressed something. As we continue we may express more. We may have hidden dreams or hidden hurts, things we are proud of, or things we are ashamed of. We may have things we don’t understand, things that have always puzzled us, things we question, and things we think we know for sure. Art is a way to get to know ourselves on a deeper level and explore relationships with others, communities, and the world.

Without self-expression, life lacks spontaneity and joy. Without service to others, it lacks meaning and purpose. Lawrence G. Boldt

Finding our voice, expressing ourselves, through art, dance, music, writing, clay, cooking, gardening, quilting, sewing, building, etc is important. How we express ourselves may affect our daily life. If we can express our feelings in a positive way they may do us less harm than when they are bottled up inside. Unexpressed feelings may erupt in our lives in negative ways that had we found a way to express them may have impacted our lives and those we interact with, in a big way.

In art, we can express our fears and we may find acceptance of things we cannot change. We can look at uncomfortable truths about ourselves and history. We may learn to make peace with what is, and make the most positive choices presenting themselves to us.

Listening to Pastor Mark Hughes on Sunday he said, two sons were talking about their life. One said, “I drink because my father did.” The other said, “I don’t drink because my father did.” The same circumstances but different choices and those choices impacted their lives in big ways.

We can’t control the circumstances we were born into. What we get to control is the daily choices we make. and what we make important in our lives. Life is a garden our thoughts are the seeds. We can plant flowers or we can plant weeds. Unknown.

We are who we are, we’ve been through what we’ve been through and self-expression may help us deal with the wounds and heartbreak we feel. What do we have to express and have we found a way to express it positively?

Art is a way to express yourself and through that, you can escape a bad situation. Russel Simmons

Telling the story, acknowledging what has happened and how you feel, is often a necessary part of forgiveness. Unknown

Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways. Sigmund Freud

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

Intuitive Art: How to Have a Two-Way Conversation with Your Higher Self by [Rachel  Archelaus, Jennifer Pesavento]

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Finding our groups, making contributions to society in big and small ways. We build the communities we live in.

We build the communities we live in. Finding our groups, making contributions to society in big and small ways.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. Vince Lombardi

What can one bumblebee do? They do their part. Yesterday, sitting out on the patio with my daughter and husband I watched a bumblebee busily buzzing among the pink and white Weigela flowers. Looking at a bumblebee I marvel at how it can fly. There are many things in life we see and wonder how can that be?

Often it seems we are control freaks we want to control what visits our garden. We are happy to see bumblebees but not hornets. We like certain birds and cute rodents but nature is not in our control.

My son tells me about the benefits of dandelions to our soil. Some of the plants we don’t like create soil conditions for plants we do like to flourish. This may be the same in other parts of our life. We don’t like the hard parts of life that create us into who we become. The obstacles, challenges, and problems we face help us grow and develop.

It is important to find a place where you feel trust, you feel belonging, and stability. Bojan Krkic

We don’t know what other people are dealing with just by looking at them. We don’t see their struggles, what they have overcome, or what they may be working to overcome. Taking an art course over zoom is turning out to be a wonderful experience. I now ask myself why I hesitated when given the opportunity. We think we don’t have time and if we don’t make time for things in our life we don’t know what experiences we are missing, who we are not meeting that would bring something into our life. We don’t know what would be the spin-off from that experience.

Joining groups is one way to add to our lives. We meet new people, exchange ideas, and learn new things. In groups, we share our stories and learn from others. I am meeting people in this art class I’ve met through Toastmasters. We’ve lived here for decades and it is only now I am getting involved in the community. We can be too involved in the community and neglect our family. As I am becoming more connected to the community my life is expanding. My horizons are opening up, and opportunities are presenting themselves. A Toastmaster I met over thirty years ago has reached out to me and asked me to come and speak to his club. On zoom, it is easy to go into the den, turn on the computer, and voila I am with his club.

We don’t know where life will take us, who we will meet, or what opportunities we will be offered. Maybe we need to say yes to life more often. Yes, I would love to… We need to keep a balance in our life so we aren’t stretched too thin and husbands or wives feel left out. When we get energized by outside activities and meeting new people do we bring that energy back to our relationship? How do we keep our spouse from feeling they are left out of important areas of our lives? How do we balance this? Are we like the bumblebee doing our part?

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. Amy Poehler

Success is about creating benefit for all and enjoying the process. If you focus on this and adopt this definition, success is yours. Kelly Kim

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about. Margaret J. Wheatley

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.

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Thank you to those who have read my book. A special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale 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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Laughter is the best medicine. Bringing more laughter into our lives, looking on the funny side of life.

Bringing more laughter into our lives, looking on the funny side. Laughter is the best medicine.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Laughter is an instant vacation. Milton Berle

Last evening we had our second module for the course I am taking. What a fun group to be part of. We are an amalgamation of people from different groups in Mississauga. Our guest facilitator was Anto Chan a performance artist and comedienne. If I get a chance to catch one of his shows I’ll take it. Two of the funniest women I’ve met in a long time stayed back after the course, they work together and must play off each other all day. They both have self-deprecating humor and Anto offered them a chance at performing stand-up. They are that good.

I tried stand-up one night. In Toastmasters a woman was putting on a comedy show at a local bar. She was looking for Toastmasters to step up and I took the challenge. I got compliments on my material which was observations about life, men, and women, but I hardly got a laugh. Humor is not easy but some people are naturals at it.

Listening to the two of them made me think I need more humor in my life. I’m not sure how it will go over if I start making jokes about some of the serious stuff in life. There are things I can’t change and instead of letting them get me down maybe a good laugh would be better. My husband will be looking at me wondering what got into you. Maybe I’ll get a smile or even a laugh and won’t that be better for both of us.

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. Victor Hugo

One of the questions we were asked is what metaphor would we use for ourselves when we are at our best, challenged, and at our worst. When I look at my notes I think we were to try and make it funny. I missed that. Here is what I came up with.

When I am at my best, I am like a tree with deep roots and large branches giving my gifts to the world. When I am at my most challenged I am like a desert, dry, hard, and unyielding waiting for the rain to soften me and bring forth flowers.

I could have tried to come up with something funny, but I didn’t because funny isn’t my go-to. Could it become my go-to? Would that be irritating to those I live with as they feel I am making light of what they face? One of the goals I set last night is to listen with an open and reflective heart. I sometimes think people think I belittle what they feel like they should get over it, and move on. I’ll have to be careful with the humor as feeling laughed at isn’t better.

If I can bring self-deprecating humor into the situation will that be the balm that makes things better? They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. I expect to get a lot out of this course because we are learning about each other’s stories and everyone has a story to tell. When we find our voice we find ourselves. This course is all about finding our voice, telling our stories, and connecting with others.

Is laughter the best medicine? Do we have enough of it in our lives?

Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. Jarod Kintz

A day without laughter is a day wasted. Charlie Chaplin

When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am tempted to ask, “Compared to what?” Sydney Harris

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.

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

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The Goldilocks rule of setting goals. Are our goals “just right” not too hard and not too easy?

Are our goals "just right" not too hard and not too easy? The Goldilocks rule of setting goals.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A goal properly set is halfway reached. Zig Ziglar

On Saturday I started a course through the Mississauga Art Gallery. The theme of the course is “How can we use stories and art to convey our experiences of border crossings, both literal and metaphorical?”

We had an after meeting on zoom which was very interesting and I look forward to getting to know some very interesting people over the course of five weeks. The course is quite intensive. We have Asynchronous learning (on our own) and two zoom sessions per week. In the course I don’t have to set goals, everything is set up for me and if I attend every session I will remain on track.  It will be a very interesting course, and it only lasts five weeks

When we are not involved with something as structured as this is when we have to set goals. Not being a goal-setting person I wondered is there a downside to setting goals and it seems there is.

One of the problems with goals is they can bring about tunnel vision. We can abandon other important things to focus on “one big thing.” When goals are too big or the cost of not hitting them too high people can resort to unethical behavior to reach their goals.

Setting too big of goals can backfire. If only ten percent of “stretch goals” ever get hit is it worth making them? We may feel like a failure if our goals are so big we can hardly or never reach them. Sometimes our goals don’t inspire us because deep down they aren’t what we want. My son told me about the author Mark Manson who was studying to be a musician and when he realized he had to practice six hours a day he thought this isn’t for me.

He spoke to one of his fellow students and asked him, “How do you manage to practice six hours a day?” The student looked at him blankly. Years later Mark Manson was a blogger and someone came up to him and asked him how he could write so much and he looked at the questioner blankly. He realized there is a difference between feeling like you have to do something and wanting to do something.

Had I set strict goals for my writing when I first started writing, I think I would have made myself feel like a failure. 2012 to 200 would not have been the timeline I would have set to complete my first novel. The goal I did set was to write. The goal is still to write, although I am setting milestones I hope to meet and the stretch goal is to write and publish my second novel in one year.

People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them. Tony Robbins.

I am embracing Bill Gate’s quote, “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in ten years.” Moving forward in a slow and steady way may not seem exciting. We may think we need “big goals” but progress, steady progress may get us somewhere that a “big goal” would have left us feeling pressured resulting in us giving up completely.

I’ve set goals when I’ve been involved in multi-level marketing and it has never worked out for me. I always told myself I got in too late, but of course, that isn’t true. The truth is I heard about big audacious goals but I didn’t persevere and perhaps didn’t believe in the products or program and work as hard at it as those who became successful. Eventually, I quit. I know a few people who stayed with multi-level programs – they haven’t made it “big” but they also haven’t quit and they love what they are doing, the people they meet, and the difference they make in other people’s lives.

Making it big is not a goal we have control over. We can set a goal to write a book, we can set milestones, we can look for a publisher or self-publish. But, we can’t control what books are going to fly off the shelf. We can’t know what song will be the hit this year. What toy everyone will be looking for at Christmas?

It seems there is a Goldilocks Rule of setting goals. The human brain loves a challenge, but only if it is within an optimal zone of difficulty. If we work on challenges at an optimal level of difficulty they have been found to not only be motivating but also to be a major source of happiness. Regardless of how it is measured, the human brain needs some way to visualize our progress if we are to maintain motivation.

Do our goals fit into the Goldilocks rule of setting goals? Is what we are setting out to do within our ability but be a bit of a challenge?  Can we see the results of our progress?

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach. Benjamin E. Mays

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau

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

Inspiration to set goals and change daily habits may be what creates the life we dream of.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. John C. Maxwell

Is inspiration a call from the soul to express itself through us? Is it true when we are inspired and pursuing our passion, time stands still and we are oblivious to our surroundings?  If this is what inspiration looks like many of us may think we have never been inspired at all. This can be part of a problem when we expect things to be a certain way and they are not. I read a book about a woman who all her life yearned for a religious experience. She was very devout but she never felt what she heard other people feel when they felt the hand of God on them. Her husband was not as devout as her and he had a religious experience. She always asked why it didn’t happen to her?

If we don’t feel what some people tell us they feel we may think we must not be doing things right. I’ve heard some mothers don’t feel that overwhelming love at first glance yet become wonderful mothers. I’ve never felt the inspiration for art I’ve heard my sister talk about. What if I waited for that feeling that never comes before I express myself? I would still be waiting.

What if one of the problems we have is that we have bought into this idea that things should feel a certain way, look a certain way, and affect us a certain way. What if our inspiration is quiet instead of loud? What if some of us are making mistakes hoping to discover our passion and connect with our purpose? We are expecting fireworks to go off so we’ll know when we’ve found what we are passionate about.  

You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration nor its master, but something far more interesting – its partner – and that the two of you are working together toward something intriguing and worthwhile. Elizabeth Gilbert

Last night I was in an impromptu speaking contest and the word I was given was “Inspiration.” What popped into my mind was Jim Rohn saying, “It is easy to make changes to our life, and it is just as easy not to make those changes.” It is easy to jump out of bed when the alarm goes but it is easy to push snooze. It is easy to go for a walk (for most of us) but it is easy not to. It is easy to make good food choices and we all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables.

What is the inspiration that makes us reach for an apple instead of a chocolate bar? What inspires us to put our runners on and go for that walk? Why do some of us think our morning is not complete without coffee and other people never touch it? A big part of this is our habits. We can make our habits work for us or against us. A habit makes it so everything we do is not a big decision. This means we can save our brainpower for what is important.

Is a big part of being creative making it into a habit instead of waiting for inspiration? Often I don’t know what I will write until I sit down to write. Painting is the same. If I didn’t sit down to do it, nothing would get done.

How many of us are wishing we’d been inspired to buy cryptocurrency when it was cheap? What if we set aside a small amount of money to invest in cryptocurrency every year – an amount we can afford to lose? Instead of getting inspired when it is high and uninspired when it is low, we can create a habit of investing. Inspiration may be great when it knocks us on the head but what if it doesn’t? We need to make choices and create habits that create the life we want. A life built on good choices and habits may rival one built on inspiration. As one contestant said last night, “Perspiration is a large part of inspiration.”

Is setting goals part of being inspired? If we can come up with what we want can we figure out the how? Goal setting is intimidating. That might be why I have been remiss in setting them. If I set a goal I would be giving myself a job. For many years I didn’t set goals because it seemed that keeping the work done, the family fed, and the house picked up was all I could manage. Of course, it wasn’t true because many other people in the same circumstances went back to school and got degrees, published books, made lucrative investments, learned languages, to play instruments, and started businesses.

We are where we are and we need to start setting goals if this is an area of weakness. I started reading the book, “Big Things Happen When You Do the Little Things Right” by Don Gabor. We need to be willing to make small changes and set small goals because small things add up. So often we are waiting for that big inspiration but if we start small we may be surprised what it can grow into.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. C.S. Lewis

Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis

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

Big Things Happen When You Do the Little Things Right: A Five-Step Program to Turn Your Dreams into Reality by [Don Gabor]

Life is about growth, and growing demands changing, adapting, and regrouping.

Life is about growth, and changing demands growing, adapting, and regrouping.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is growth, and growth demands change. Virend Singh

Living in the present moment.  Enjoying everything there is to enjoy in our lives. Are we living life to the utmost or are we waiting? If we are waiting what are we waiting for? Are we waiting for a certain stage of life when we can… Are we waiting for the money to come in when we can finally… Are we waiting for someone else to tell us the direction our life will take… Are we waiting to get married, divorced, have children, or the children to grow up and have lives of their own? What are we waiting for? When are we going to feel like this is it, this is our time? Or are we thinking about our time back in the day when we were…

Have we made the most of every decade of our lives? Have we laughed enough, played enough, dreamed enough, loved enough, forgiven enough, and been grateful enough for the lives we’ve lived?

It is easy for me as a woman of a “certain age” to be jaded about where our world is heading. But, we are living life forward and it is probably true the best is yet to come. I’ve been very lucky I haven’t had a lot of misfortune or angst in my life. I didn’t live through turmoil, war, or scarcity. I was born lucky with parents who built a farm and created an idyllic life for growing kids. We had animals of all kinds and wide-open spaces to ride horses.

I loved growing up on the farm and yet I never wanted it for my future. I still think I would like to ride more horses. I have stables near enough to me that I could go riding, but I never have. Why have I deprived myself of this simple and not that expensive of a pleasure? Is it a form of penance I’ve imposed on myself? I wanted to backpack across Europe, but I didn’t want to do it alone. I had no one to go with but that is probably just an excuse. Why didn’t I make it happen?

What does it say about us, the things we make happen, and the things we don’t? Why can we pour our heart and soul into some enterprises and give up so easily on others? I don’t know the answers to the questions I ask. I know achievement feels better than failure. I know looking back over accomplishments feels better than looking at where we gave up on a dream, even small ones that no one else knows about.

Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self-esteem. Jillian Michaels

I know sometimes we have to get through to the other side of whatever our problem, challenge, or crisis is. Life doesn’t seem fair in how it metes out trouble and misfortune to some, and luck and good fortune to others. Reading and listening to people’s stories it seems greatness doesn’t come from easy lives. Perhaps that is the reward for the hardships they’ve faced.

We need to be careful because, “Hard times create strong men, and easy times create weak men.” Even in good and easy times, we need to be challenging ourselves enough so we don’t become too soft, weak, and undisciplined that we can’t handle what could be around the corner.

I’m listening to an audiobook “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. He talks about an army instructor that taught navy seals how to open an airway in the neck if someone couldn’t breathe. The next day they had to perform that procedure on him to save his life. Listening to some of these books on military training I can see how we would all be better off if we went through some of this training.

Switzerland hasn’t taken part in armed conflict for over 500 years. To maintain a fighting force, all men are required to do military service. They also have to keep a weapon, or stock it in an armory, meaning Switzerland has some of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. They might be the epitome of, “I’d rather be a soldier in a garden than a gardener in a war.” Jordan Peterson tells us, ” Meek is not weak it is having a sheathed sword and knowing how to use it.”

It is always a good time to take stock of our lives. What we want to accomplish, how we want to improve, learn, and grow. What are the goals we are working on? Who do we need to forgive? Sometimes the person we most need to forgive is ourselves because we haven’t been or done what we’d hoped. We need to go forward better. We can only change ourselves not other people and often what we know for sure is someone else has to change. Sometimes when we change ourselves we will see other people miraculously change. This is our life what do we need to do, be, or change?

Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change. Richard Branson

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. Abraham Maslow

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Gail Sheehy

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 for reading my book Secrets and Silence. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon and Good reads. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Flexibility and growth. Forgiveness in our own lives and others. Moving ever forward.

Moving ever forward. Flexibility and growth. Forgiveness in our own lives and others.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis B. Smedes

Flexibility is all around us in the newness of spring. Green shoots are growing and pulsing with life.

Last night I finished the book Metamorphosis by Isabella Macleod. It was my book club pick, she has piqued my interest and I may have to get the sequel. Miranda the main character is dealing with Morgellons disease, a disease some believe is caused by Lymes disease, and some doctors believe is a psychiatric illness. How awful to have a debilitating illness and doctors and people around you think it is all in your head. Her already failing marriage erodes and she is picking up the pieces of her life and dealing with this strange illness when this book, ends.

On my walk last night I was listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear. He gave an analogy of what happens to us in life. He said boiling water softens a potato and hardens an egg. We don’t know how the things life throws at us will affect us. Will we be the potato or the egg? Can we choose to make choices in our lives where our particular characteristics, talents, interests, and strengths are in line with what we can be best at?

We can make small changes to our habits to improve our lives. But, if we are trying to excel in an area we are not cut out for no amount of improvement may get us to where the people who have natural attributes get. We self-select out of sports that don’t fit our physical body type – even the short basketball players are tall.

We might not like the challenges that lie before us; we may think they are not fair. Life in many ways is what we make it with creativity, tenacity, courage, and luck. Why should we have to go through this, whatever this is? It is ours and often we cannot skirt what is ours to plow through. Dealing with life and finding the silver lining makes some people become heroes they could never have become without that adversity. I think of Terry Fox, Helen Keller, and Anne Frank. There are many, many more people who rose above adversity, and who rise above it every day.

You’ll never know how strong your heart is until you learn to forgive who broke it. Anonymous

My sister says if we all hung our problems on the line, after surveying everyone else’s problems we’d take our own problems back home. It is a good way to look at things as they are ours, how we deal with them may make or break our life. I look at people in some circumstances and I think surely they could be doing better. I of course don’t know what brought them to where they are. What lessons they have to learn and how far they have already come. Judge not lest yee be judged. It is hard not to judge, even if we feel hurt at the judgments leveled at us.

The supple green shoots bend in the wind; the old hardwood will crack and break. We need to remain flexible. I say this as I know many who know me would say I am not flexible. Does being flexible mean we have no principles to stand on? Does it mean we don’t think some ideas, practices, and traditions are better than others?

I have always liked the expression “Love the sinner but hate the sin,” as a way of dealing with ourselves and others who miss the mark. We may have differences in opinion of where “The mark is,” but in general we can see there are more positive ways to live lives and more negative ones. We need to forgive ourselves and others as we build our lives, our country, and our world.

Do we focus on what we can do in our lives and let others focus on what they can do in theirs? Can we offer a hand up when we can, and let ourselves and others put the mistakes of the past behind us as we go forward? Perfection is the enemy of the good. No one is perfect but as long as life pulses in us can we be growing, forgiving, learning, and loving?

If you are truly flexible and go until… there is really very little you can’t accomplish in your lifetime. Anthony Robbins

You have to have the capacity and the ability to take what people did, and how they did it, and forgive them and move on. John Lewis

Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Carl Bard

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Thank you to all who have read my book. A special thanks to those who leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Metamorphosis by Isabella MacLeod by [Isabella MacLeod]

Pruning the deadwood, change is the only constant. Are we going forward better?

Are we going forward better? Change is the only constant, pruning the deadwood.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain. Rick Godwin

I’m sore this morning from pruning the deadwood from my honeysuckle bush and weigela this weekend. I always get a lot of deadwood every spring from my weigela, but rarely have to trim the honeysuckle but this year all the big trunks of the honeysuckle were dead. We might not know why we get deadwood in our gardens and our lives but it has to be pruned to make way for new growth.

I’m looking at a post where Jeanne Grunert writes that she met an old farmer who told her the secret to his orchard producing such great fruit was in the pruning. “Prune hard in winter, gather the fruit in the fall.”

Our own lives need pruning as we decide what we want more of and what we want less of in our lives. Pruning TV from our lives may give us time to paint, write, exercise, read, or have long conversations with our family. Pruning bad habits like smoking will give us untold benefits to our health and finances.

Some things we may need to prune completely out of our lives and other things we may need to snip away at without removing entirely. I watched a lovely movie last night with my husband about family, fitting in, and letting a job be the only important thing in life. Changes that are forced on us sometimes make us see that life can and should be different.

The lockdown means I haven’t been to the gym since March of 2020. I have an exercise machine I use and I’m walking.  Fasting two days a week has kept the covid 19 off. Hard pruning is going on in our lives and our lives may never look the same again. That is life, we can use the lessons we learn to go forward better. What is better is up for debate as people are worried about the direction our lives and country will take.

I’m listening to people who have fears on both sides and I am trying to have faith we will go forward better. We will find the balance between socialism and capitalism, freedom, and support, being self-made men and women and building a society that can help us get back up if we stumble and fall. We will be able to continue to build and maintain a health care system that works but is not so heavy it crumbles under its own weight.

There will never be equality of outcome as some people think there should be. Look at our gardens even when we plant the same plants in the same space some thrive and others don’t. Some tomato plants bear more fruit than others. Some trees and shrubs require more pruning than others. Some like my honeysuckle die off and only young growth is left.

He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is halfway there. He who blames no one has arrived. Chinese proverb

Even equality between men and women which I believe in intrinsic equality, worth, and value does not mean we are the same. We need to embrace our differences, what makes us unique is also what makes us more impactful in life. We want to live in a society where we give equal opportunity, and as noble of an ideal as that is we know it is not possible because some people are not capable of taking advantages other people can take.

The outcomes of our lives are dependent on innate gifts, talents, and challenges at birth, the soil we grew up in, who inspired and impacted us. The opportunities that presented and we took advantage of, luck, good judgment, who we chose as friends, what habits and systems we developed, and the times we lived through.

We may have a lot of pruning needed for our lives to progress how we want or little pruning needed. We may think we are doing okay until something happens. How we live our days is how we live our lives. People who excel at things have pruned out many things in their lives to accomplish one goal.

Does luck fall in some people’s lap? I’m thinking of the pizzeria that years ago was offered bitcoin as payment for a pizza. One bitcoin equaled one dollar and they accepted the bitcoin payment. Did that pizzeria keep the bitcoin and now are bitcoin millionaires?

Why didn’t I pick up bitcoin at a dollar? I had no foresight. What if I’d been smart enough to say what if this becomes a thing and picked up a couple of hundred dollars of bitcoin when bitcoin could be bought for a couple of hundred dollars? Can I expect to be a bitcoin millionaire when I didn’t have the foresight some people had? Is the person that bought the bitcoin pizza a bitcoin millionaire because they had foresight?

A small habit of taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves would make a big difference in my life. Too often I only see the opportunities when someone else has made them into something.

Pruning the deadwood, developing systems and habits that create the best life, and recognizing opportunities that present themselves is what I want in my life going forward.

If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is true beauty and imperfections go together wonderfully. Matthew Fox

Trees don’t worry about their shape or size, they teach us to focus on growth. Vijaya Gowrisankar

You can only go halfway into the darkest forest. Then you are coming out the other side. Chinese proverb

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.

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

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

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

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. A special thanks to those that leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I do receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

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

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. A special thank you to those that 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.

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