The call to adventure. When we get it, will we take it? Do we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do?

Do we regret the things we don't do more than the things we do? The call to adventure. When we get it, will we take it.?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. Eric Roth

A year ago I was contemplating creating a blog. It was in the works but I hadn’t posted anything yet. There were possibilities but no realities. At some point, we just have to do. We can’t continue getting ready; the dress rehearsal we’ve been living has to turn into actually doing. The journey needs to actually begin.

Starting anything makes us question are we doing the right thing? We won’t know if we don’t try. Does that mean we should try every hair-brained scheme that pops into our head? Last night we were watching TV and American women were going to various parts of the world to marry men. One of them went to India where her new husband or soon to be husband is thirty years younger than herself. He told her he quit his job “so he could help her settle in.” She said she had six months savings and wondered what would happen. What security did she now have? She was wondering if she would be able to get a job in India. Maybe her savings will go so much further in India that it is actually a good decision.

Another older woman was leaving her son in America and traveling to the Middle East to get married. The son wondered if he would ever see his mother again. How will these adventures turn out for these women? I hope well, but one has to doubt the wisdom of these decisions with retirement looming. How do they rebuild if they are just being used for their resources? I question anytime I see a thirty-year-old man marrying a sixty-year-old woman, “for love.”

Maybe I’m just a “material girl.” It’s always been important to me where I would be staying, how I would live. My husband was asking me the other day about staying in a bad situation and I wouldn’t give him a “Well I’d just leave.” It was important to me even in our scenario to know, what leaving and going forward looks like.

Oprah said, “One of the fears women fear most is ending up as a bag lady.” I think she’s right. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is an old saying I grew up with.

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. Eleanor Roosevelt

We can be too careful, and we can take too many risks. How do we know when we are being too careful, or too risk-averse? When are we throwing caution to the wind with a good outcome unlikely? Listening to that still small voice can be hard. I signed the contract on a condo when that still small voice told me it wasn’t a good idea, the market went down. How many people have been scared to get into hot housing markets that have continued roaring? There are corrections and had we not been in the situation of a business and two children in a condo we would have weathered the downturn. In a downturn, the house we eventually bought was a better price also. In the end, it was probably a wash.

If I were single at my age and a young thirty-year-old wanted to marry me would I get swept off my feet? Would I take a chance on love? Would I take the call to adventure, or get a cat? That he might love what he thinks I have instead of just me, well let’s face it men have gotten young women this way forever. It works for some men; maybe it will work for some women.

I was watching an old rerun of friends and one of the girls was dating an older successful man and he said he would be willing to have children with her because he didn’t want to lose her. She said, ” I’m not okay with you being “willing.” I want someone that wants to have children with me. The problem with the older women/younger man is that isn’t even an option. Willing or not, there will be no children. It is one of the reasons I can’t see it working. When young women marry older successful men, they get his success for their children. They don’t take a chance on a young man with a future, they step into ready-made success.

Young men with older women give up a future if the legacy of children is part of what we consider an important part of our future that is. What we get out of marriage are our children and a loving partnership. If the loving partnership doesn’t work out we still have our children, our legacy.

It’s why young women can’t waste their good childbearing years, on flakey men. Men have the luxury of time; we do not, at least not in our early years.

We don’t know where life will take us. Adventure calls, will we accept? There must be a few questions we ask ourselves before we ditch everything. What is the worst that can happen, and can we live with that, should be two of the questions.

When we are a sixty-year-old woman and alone, how long does a love affair have to last, to be worth it? When we are a thirty-year-old man how long does the money have to last to be worth it?

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind. Anthony Bourdain

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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A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe: Uncommon Ideas for Living an Unusually Happy Life Hardcover – Mar 5 2019

by Mike Dooley (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews


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The power of words. Can we always re-frame the negative into a positive and the positive into a negative? What’s the difference between pre-disease and health?

What's the difference between pre-disease and health? Can we always re-frame the negative into positive, and the positive into negative?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Old age is not a disease – it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses. Maggie Kuhn

Sometimes things happen that make us realize the power of words. Yesterday I got a manicure and pedicure. I chose to have an accent nail on each hand and foot. The manicurist did a fabulous job, and I was totally happy with the result until my daughter called my accent nails “ghetto nails.” All of a sudden I didn’t like it so much. Nothing changed but my perception.

Do we realize how little things, change how we perceive situations or people.? Do we need to be careful we don’t let our perceptions interfere with our life? Yesterday we were talking about going to the doctor for a checkup. I said, “I don’t want to go looking for a problem?”

Am I being irresponsible? When we don’t want the drugs that drug companies and doctors say we need are we being contrary? Is preventive medicine a way to get more people to become patients, or are we actually preventing disease? Once a doctor has said we are pre-whatever, we can’t un-know that, and we are likely to go along with a prescription that will prevent a reality we don’t want, from coming true.  How can we say no to a drug which might prevent a problem we don’t yet have?

What are we to do when we are confronted with preventative medicine that entails taking drugs for the rest of our life, for a problem we don’t yet have? The United States is 4% of the world population but they account for 42% of global prescription drug spending, Are all these drugs making them healthier?

Do the drugs advertised in Direct to Consumer ads (DTC) increase our health care costs? Are normal bodily functions medicalized and stigmatized by prescription ads.? Is someone getting richer, are we any healthier?

The fear of being put on pain meds that would lead to a problem has made it so when I have been in pain, I waited to see if I really needed to see a doctor because I thought a drug habit was a worse result than short term debilitating pain. Am I just paranoid?

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. Voltaire

Health care is a great thing, but we will have to be careful we aren’t allowing ourselves to be exploited by drug companies looking for ever bigger profits by creating ever more diseases they have a drug to cure.

Just like the use of “ghetto nail” instead of “accent nail” made me like my manicure less. Being told we are pre-disease instead of healthy may make us think about our self differently. What is the difference between pre-disease and healthy?

There are a few diseases where “pre-disease” may be a thing, precancerous lesions, increased intraocular pressure (pre-glaucoma), pre-diabetes, and pre-hypertension. These “pre-disease” states are causing a lot of problems and extra costs to our health care system. Are the treatments of these “pre-disease” conditions doing anything for our health?

What is a normal person to do? Do we look for “pre-disease” states and take the drugs prescribed? Do we try and live as healthily as we can without looking for diseases until they actually are present in our life?

For me, I think I am choosing not to look for problems I don’t have. When a problem presents itself, first I look to my diet. If diet and exercise can’t fix things then a doctor may be needed. My goal is to stay off the patient treadmill. I understand it can be hard to get a un-diagnosis if we feel we have been overdiagnosed.  Of course, this makes sense, would you want to stake your reputation and career on saying you didn’t see a problem someone else has diagnosed?

All of this overdiagnosis may lead to underdiagnosis as those of us afraid of being overdiagnosed stay away from doctor’s altogether. What a conundrum?

Obesity is awesome from a Wall Street perspective. It’s not just one disease – there are all sorts of related diseases to profit from. Anne Wojcicki

Physical activity – even if you don’t lose an ounce, you’ll live longer, feel healthier and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis. It’s the closest thing we have to a wonder drug. Tom Frieden

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, health, and love.

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You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought Paperback – Mar 1 1995

by Peter McWilliams (Author) 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews


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Find answers through walking. Ask questions as we walk.

Ask questions as we walk. Find answers through walking.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes when nothing is going right in our life the best thing to do is go for a walk. Pierre Trudeau went for his famous walk in the snow. Walking is recommended for artists to work out their problems with their writing and art while they walk. I have found when walking, answers will come to me about art, writing, life, relationships, directions to take in life.

I’m working on a painting and nothing about it was doing what I wanted. Yesterday my dog and I went for a walk and I thought about the blues I was using and two of my blues Cobalt and Ultramarine are dried up. The thought came to me I should go to the art store and replace my dried up paints that adding those blues to my painting might be part of the answer.

One has to be disciplined in an art store, the array of colors is dizzying, and there are always colors that call out to me and I pick up but then put back on the shelf.

When I spent time in my studio last night I struggled less with the painting and I attribute that to my walk. Using the new blues created more harmony. It’s starting to come together.

Walking gives us room to think, making time to think can be the most productive part of our day. I can’t seem to manage meditation, but walking meditation is a thing. People will teach us how to do guided mindful walking. For now, I just want to walk more, enjoying the scenery, my dog, the rhythm of footsteps, the thoughts that float in and out of my mind.

The healthiest people on the planet walk. We think we should join a gym if we want to be healthier. We should walk. Walking is a proven method to stave of cognitive decline. This might be why my Mom is doing so well. At 94 she goes for a walk almost every day. Dad in his later years didn’t walk much. Mom says even in his early life he wasn’t a great walker. He got old a lot quicker than Mom. They were only a year apart in age but he aged more quickly and declined more rapidly.

When you hear the word “disabled,” people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted.  But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter. Teri Garr

Friends from Toastmasters climbed the CN Tower yesterday. I applaud them but hesitate to even think of joining them on this endeavor. Running and climbing stairs has in the past caused knee pain. Knees are so important I protect mine by not abusing them. Even at the gym, I don’t buy into the “no pain, no gain” ideology. Sometimes pain is telling us something and I listen. I’ve ignored the pain in the past and then dealt with the healing I wouldn’t have needed to deal with if I’d listened to my body in the first place.

It may be if I ran properly it wouldn’t bother my knees. There may be a proper way to take the stairs as well. All I know is if I run when my knee starts to hurt, I walk.

Yesterday we were talking about “runners high”. My husband says he’s experienced “runners high”. I’ve only ever experienced being grateful and happy I’ve quit running. I’ve watched people run with grace and ease I can only envy. I don’t think its something one develops, that seems like a gift one is born with, like being musical, having a great voice, or talents in any area.

Talent, of course, is not all it takes. The most famous singers don’t necessarily have the best voices. Sometimes their gift was promotion and picking great songs. I’ve heard the best writers aren’t usually great oral storytellers. Some people can have you laughing till you cry recounting their trip to the grocery store.

Whatever we do, whatever we want to accomplish, whatever we dream, taking a walk often will help us do it, accomplish it, dream it. If we don’t know what to do, maybe we should go for a walk. Answers may come, or at least we’ll have gotten some exercise, and fresh air.

The landscape painter must walk in the fields with a humble mind. No arrogant man was ever permitted to see Nature in all her beauty. John Constable

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, peace, and love.

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Beneath My Feet: Writers on Walking Hardcover – Apr 2 2019


Life is what we make it. Facing our fears and dealing with what is.

Facing our fears and dealing with what is. Life is what we make it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there” – as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering – the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise. Byron Katie

When we face our fears we go forward. We might be afraid to cut our hair and try something different. Sometimes we are afraid to start things; sometimes we are afraid to finish them. We may make too few changes and other times we may make too many.

Finding balance in our lives can be hard. We feel stagnate, we seek change, the change makes us feel insecure and precarious. Do we naturally vacillate between too little and too much change?

We are careful, and then we throw all caution to the wind. Some people start to change their life and everyone looks at them and labels them as having a midlife crisis. Why is a new hairdo, a new car, planning to see the wonders of the world a crisis?

Dumping our wife or husband may seem like a crisis but maybe it’s been something that has been simmering for years. There comes a point when we all have to evaluate where our life is and where we are in it. If we feel stuck in a rut, this could be a rut of not feeling well; we can take charge of our nutrition. It could be the rut of employment, relationships, the heavy burden of our mortgage, or other life responsibilities.

Just the other day I was encouraging a friend to get a makeover. She doesn’t need a makeover because she doesn’t look good. She needs a makeover because it can punctuate the new beginning she is looking for. Kick start the new stage in life that is here for her. The new adventure she is embarking on.

I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. Byron Katie

We can look at our self in the mirror one day and see this old hairstyle has to go. This happened to me when my daughter graduated from high school. As we were looking for her graduation dress, I kept seeing myself in the mirror and I realized it was time for a short cut. Then it happened a few years later when I saw a picture of myself taken at a friend’s shower. Taking charge of our hair can seem like we are taking charge of our life.

If a short hair cut, hi-lights, low lights, or a bright splotch of color in our hair makes us feel better, do it. It’s only hair, it will grow out, and we can always change the color back if we went a little too drastic. What if we love it, what if this is the lift we need to help us through whatever we are going through. Or what if it makes this age we are in feel right.

For my daughter’s wedding, I got hi-lights. One of the best things I’ve done to make what I see in the mirror and what I think in my mind mesh. It’s not about not getting older if we are lucky we will get older.

Mom tried to have straight hair a few years ago; because she thought curly perms were too hard on her hair. She didn’t look like herself, and I don’t think she liked what she saw in the mirror. She looked lovely with a curly perm when I was out to see her. Even at ninety-four, we should do what makes us look and feel our best.

Some of us have a fabulous silver color as our hair grays, some of us don’t. If we look fabulous with our silver hair then wear it proudly, it is very becoming on those it looks good on. For the rest of us find a color that looks good. When we feel good, we feel motivated to live our best life.

Now that I am old enough to be a grandmother I marvel at how young grandmothers are. Mom has always said she didn’t feel her age, to be forever young if only in our heart and mind is a great thing.

Maya Angelou said there was something great about every decade. There was a time when being fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety were beyond my comprehension. Now that the reality of these higher numbers hits what is important is how healthy, happy, active, and grateful we are, not the number we’ve reached.

Life is what we make it, at every age, and every stage. Happy, grateful lives can be ours; it’s a matter of attitude not circumstance. Are there fears we need to face? If we know it could get worse but we can deal with it we can go forward. We can feel free to live, not just wait for something to happen. We will deal with it, whatever it is. There isn’t really any point in worrying about all the things that might happen while we are blindsided by those that do.

Can we live our lives with gratitude and joy? Can we live one day at a time, and enjoy it? Can we make the best of what is, instead of worrying about what could be?

Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them. Byron Katie

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 and love.

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Who Would You Be Without Your Story?: Dialogues with Byron Katie Paperback – Oct 15 2008


Time waits for no one. Use it or lose it. Live a life of few regrets.

Live a life of few regrets. Time waits for no one. Use it or lose it.

Life is meant to be experienced. Put yourself out there. Do things you’ve never done. Live a life where at the end, you will have no regrets. Unknown

Tomorrow I fly out to see Mom. I always feel so lucky she’s here to visit and my husband holds down the fort while I go. One of the perks of self-employment is we make our own schedule. The downside is no work, no pay, and the fear customers will find someone else while we are gone.

All work and no play makes us dull, we are trying to figure out how to fit our travel bucket list into our life, maintain a business and have new adventures. Over the years the balls we have in the air change. The seasons of our life change and we must change with them.

There are gifts in every decade if we look for them. If we look at our garden as it progresses, the tulip season is short, but if we are moaning the loss of the tulips we may not appreciate what is newly in bloom. Is there anything as beautiful as the last rose with snow on it?

If we can be like that rose; still blooming as the winter of our life hits. That will be the pinnacle of a successful life. This is how I look at Mom, still quilting, knitting, walking, looking after plants, staying in touch with family and friends, looking after her home at ninety-four.

It isn’t just about getting old, it’s how we get old, what we can still do, accomplish, get out of life. My aunt always said, “I want to live till I die”. She was ninety-seven; I think she was still bowling until she was ninety.

We hear about the plight of the old. Many of the older family members and people that I know have lived great lives after retirement. They were frugal in their working lives and had a little something to tide them over.

It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that” than to look back and say “I wish I did that.” Unknown

My oldest aunt is over one-hundred. We need to stay active in our young retirement years if we hope to remain active in our older years. Use it or lose it. We have examples all around us of what to do and what not to do. It’s our choice which one we follow.

All our best choices may not lead us where we want. We can do everything right and not get to be one-hundred, but is that the goal? Or is the goal to live the best life we can for as long as we get. Leave as few things undone as possible, as few fractured relationships, as few things we didn’t get to. Living a life of no regrets is probably impossible, but living a life of few regrets can be our goal.

Mom tells me not to put off travel too long. There comes a time when the only travel we want to do is in our “old rocking chair”. We may shudder to think about it, but when we see people living it, they seem at peace. Life is what it is and if they’ve lived their life with joy and good humor they appear to continue in that same vein.

If there is something we are putting off, when does it get on our to-do list? Is there a family member, or old friend we should be in touch with? Should we make the arrangements to visit before it’s too late? Is it time to learn something new, or do something different?

Time waits for no one, but we all have twenty-four hours in a day. What we do with it is up to us. If we are lucky and get to our “old rocking “chair with our wits about us, will we look back on our life with few regrets?

Your past is done so forget it. Your future is yet to come, so dream it, but your present is now, so live it with no regrets. Unknown

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On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old Hardcover – Jun 26 2018

 


 

Life is like a garden, what will you plant? We all have twenty-four hours.

We all have twenty-four hours. Life is a garden, what will we plant?

 

Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers. Or you can grow weeds. Unknown

We all have twenty-four hours in a day, but we only have twenty-four hours in a day. Successful people have learned how to make the most of their twenty-four hours.

The garden of life spreads before us, but we can’t plant and grow everything. Women especially have to be careful with our choices. The choice of career, marriage, kids, home, family, success, travel, carefree fun, what do we choose?

Marriage and family is the one choice I believe most of us should put front and center. We can make a lot of choices throughout our life but the window for motherhood is smaller than we think. Women who passed up the eligible young men in their youth are wondering where they all went in their thirties and forties.

We can have a hierarchy of choices. There is no such thing as being “just a mother.” It is the most important job we’ll do. It only lasts a short time, twenty years goes by in a blink and we can then devote more time to career or other interests.

Making a name for oneself in a career usually requires a huge investment of time and focus. Marriages and children require a huge focus of time, energy and focus. How are we to manage everything?

We need to have our priorities. We may only be able to manage three things at once, but three things are a lot. Many women manage their lives with marriages, children, and prestigious careers. It can be done.

Luck plays a role in our life, it’s a bit like flying a kite, the best kite may not be the one that flies the highest. It depends on the wind, and who can control the wind? Artists have become famous in their lifetime and not noted in history, and not noted in their own time and famous throughout history. We don’t know where life will take us. Can we do the best we can; make the choices, do the work with passion and purpose, put it out into the world and hope the wind helps our kite fly high? Or do we just want to quietly do what we want to do?

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. Chinese proverb

We may have many interests but to succeed in one we may have to give others up to focus on the one in front of us. Last night I didn’t go to Toastmasters so I could finish an edit of my novel. My goal was to put my entire novel through “Grammarly” by the end of February. I didn’t have a role at Toastmasters, and by staying home I reached my goal.

Goals haven’t been a strong suit of mine. I’m working on setting goals. Creating habits that support what I want to get done has worked, so now I have something to set goals for. It is by creating a habit of writing, not a goal of writing, that writing has gotten done.

Our choices shape our lives. If we are happy with our choices, we’ll be happy with our life. We can go back and make another choice. Many people turn their back on unfulfilling choices and make a different one.  A phase in our life has run its course, our children are grown, our work life is over, and a marriage may be over because of death or divorce.

The constant is change, we must adapt, and we must find a new focus. What we dreaded most when faced may lead to fulfillment. We may find a new passion; we may start a whole new life we couldn’t imagine.  If we take the step will the bridge be there? We didn’t know we would love being empty nesters, retirees, or life after our darkest moments.

We can’t imagine not living in the house where we raised our kids. Many people talk of how liberated they feel when they downsize, or right size their home and life. They embrace what is before them instead of longing for what is past.

Can we go forward in gratitude for what has been, and for what is to come? We don’t always know what will be blooming in our garden. Did we plant something long ago that may finally flower? Is there something that with a little tender loving care, and attention could become the focus? Do we need to plant something new? Do we need to make room for the new? Can ending one thing be the beginning of something else? Is it possible to always have something blooming in our garden of life?

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy

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Gardens of Awe and Folly: A Traveler’s Journal on the Meaning of Life and Gardening Hardcover – Mar 1 2016

What kind of flower are we? Early, late or a repeat bloomer?

What kind of flower are we? Early, late, or a repeat bloomer?

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Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid only of standing still. Chinese proverb

Have you ever wished you’d been an early bloomer, the star, of your school, town, city, or country? Or were you an early bloomer, but now that is past and life isn’t over? Do you need to find something that feeds your soul, passes time, and gives you purpose?

If we look at the early bloomers in our garden, their season is short. By summer you can’t even find remnants that they exist unless you dig out the bulbs. If we want a long, healthy, productive, satisfying life we may need to bloom many times. We may need to be a repeat bloomer or a late bloomer.

We all love the showy flowers; many of us want to be the showy people. We want extravagant success, but perhaps that is not our lot in life. It could be that some people with extravagant success would rather have less of it, so they could live a more normal life. We tend to look at other people’s lives with envy. It would be so much better if…

What if we put all our energy into making this our best life, filled with meaning, gratitude, purpose, and love? What if we quit comparing our self to others and only compared our self to who we used to be? We need the contribution of everyone. Have you noticed that the showy flowers aren’t the most important plants in our garden? Wheat, potatoes, rice, corn, aren’t the showy plants, yet they have built civilizations over the millennia. What if we only wanted to grow roses?

Try calling a singer when you need your toilet unclogged. Our world works because people have jobs that contribute to the greater good. They build their lives only known by family and close friends. Life is about sharing our life with family and friends, finding purpose and meaning, and raising our children to be productive, happy adults. This is the circle of life; this is where joy lies.

A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms. Unknown

A Toastmaster buddy’s husband plays in a band. He had a performance we missed. It would have been fun to go and be part of the audience with people we know and can laugh and have fun with. It would be the loneliest experience to go see all the best performers, alone.

It is probably a lonely experience for some people who have no one to share their achievements with. They were so busy achieving, they forgot to build a life filled with people who they love, and who love them.

In Harmonic Wealth by James Arthur Ray, he tells us we already have everything we want in our life. We need to recognize it; it’s in a different form than we want. We need to notice how the things we want are already present in our lives and be grateful for them.

For instance, if we are looking for love, we have love in our life, we have friends, family, maybe a dog. When we practice gratitude and appreciation we get more of what we are grateful for. If we focus on what we don’t have and don’t want, we get more of that too. If we count our problems instead of our blessings we get more problems.

We think our life will be simpler if we find our great love. It will be a lot of things but simpler is not one of them. How can life be simpler when two people’s dreams, wants, and expectations are in the mix? Two people’s careers must be managed, and then if children come into the mix, we get a crazy amount of balls to juggle.

If we want a simple life we live like Buddha under a Bodhi tree. Messy, complicated, lives are not simple. We need to embrace all of our life, how it really is. Give thanks for the many blessings we already have, and quit looking over at other people’s blessings. We need to tend our own garden, if we didn’t plant roses we won’t get roses, if we didn’t plant potatoes we won’t get potatoes. Sometimes we may have to choose between roses and potatoes. Choose wisely.

We are already on a course in our life, it may be a dream to dump everything and go in a different direction. It may be possible, for some it may even be what they should do. For most of us, we should make the best of what we have, edit out the things we don’t like, make better choices about where we put our focus and energy. Learn to be grateful for what we have. We need to be careful with what we want, wanting keeps us wanting because what we are asking for is to want something, and we get what we ask for, we keep wanting.

When we are grateful for what we have, then more will appear. We can’t want the outcome before the output. We can’t become a great writer before we write. A great singer, before we sing. A great painter, before we paint. A great anything until we do the work that is needed.

When we realize what we must give up to get what someone else has, we often don’t feel it is worth it. If it isn’t, then we should be happy with our choices, if it is worth it, we need to roll up our sleeves and get busy. They say it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something. That is between six and ten years depending on how many hours per day we spend on it.

Those ten years will go by, will they go by doing what we want to do? Will they go by wishing, and hoping? Are we an early, late, or repeat bloomer?

In the garden of life, late bloomers are especially beautiful. Susan Gale

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Moving forward, trying new things.

Stock photo of colorful flower.

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We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Walt Disney

Last night I went down to my art studio and looked at my bookshelf. There I saw a book I bought years ago. Take The Step The Bridge Will Be There by Grace Cirocco. I was listening to the radio in the office one day quite a few years ago, and I heard a voice I recognized. We’d met when our daughters were in ballet.

She was on the radio promoting her book. The book is inspirational. I picked it up last night and started reading it again. I didn’t pick up my paintbrush. Instead, I read and started doing some of the exercises, answering some of the questions.

This morning I looked her up on the internet and she has a YouTube video. It’s a compilation of interviews. She’s talking about believing in our self, taking the step and knowing we are enough. She offers couples retreats and the reviews look good. I’ve never been to a couples retreat. I just looked her up on facebook and she does a Goddess Club workshop near here. There is one on February 13th, I’m thinking of going.

This is our life, it might be hard to fit everything in we want to do. We can fit in a lot if we put our mind to it. Is it time to pick up that guitar again? Or did you never put it down? If it feeds our soul it is worth doing. Visit an art store, a music store, a book store. Maybe it’s time to join a pickup band, an art group, a group of like-minded people. Is it time to attend seminars, take a class, buy a book and learn something on our own?

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs

What is something that would bring a new dimension into your life? Is there something old that if you picked it back up would feed your soul? What did you not have time for while the kids were being raised, or you focused on other important things?

We build our lives with moments; moments spent with people, pets, artistic pursuits, traveling, enjoying the outdoors, and reflecting on life. This is our life, is our life too exciting, we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses, or not exciting enough? Is our circle enlarging, or shrinking? Are we looking forward to the next stage in life? Are we afraid the best is behind us?

We don’t know whose life we will touch, or who will touch ours? We need to be open to new experiences, widening our circle, learning new things, rekindling old interests. Are we worried we won’t look as cool with our guitar as we once did? Get over it. Enjoying life is cool, at any age.

I’m reminded of the advertisement of grandparents looking cool and enjoying life, but when the family is coming over they get into their grandpa and grandma clothes so they look like what their kids and grandkids expect of them.

What do we need to add to our lives to spice it up? Is there a dream we would go for if we knew we couldn’t fail? What chance would we take? Is there an adventure that never fit into our life, still calling to us?

We can take the step at any time, the bridge will be there. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. If something calls to us we can explore it in small or big ways? It may become a hobby, or play a larger role in our life, we won’t know if we don’t try.

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. Louis E. Boone

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Volunteering. Getting more by giving more.

Getting More By Giving More - Photo of clematis by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good. Aristotle

Last night was our Christmas craft night at the Horticultural Society. Bundles of greenery were presold in bundles. Making a centerpiece was demonstrated and members set to making their centerpieces. My job was helping hand out the greenery, collect money if any was owed and sell the extra bundles.

I usually make a pot for outdoors but we don’t bring soil into the Church hall. This is a messy night already and soil only adds to the mess. My bundle of greenery is in the garage. I’ll assemble my outside arrangement over the weekend. The greenery is wonderfully fresh, all the way from B.C.

A few years ago the greenery was provided by a group of women who got together on a weekend and provided the greenery for free. They then put on a demonstration making fabulous Christmas decorations. They decorated a wooden sled, wooden skis, outside urns, and created centerpieces.

They are a hard act to follow; for years they entered contests at the CNE and Canada Blooms. Things change, they are less involved in the club and so am I. When we have extraordinary members in clubs the clubs thrive, the energy is palpable. Finding new people to take their place is challenging.  At one time I thought I would get more involved with the Horticultural Society but my interests have gone in other directions.

Being involved in a group is more fun than being on the periphery of one. It takes time and we only have so much of it. We have to pick and choose where we put our time. The Horticultural Society is now least on my list of groups. It is something a friend and I do most months. We are members but we don’t contribute much. Helping out last night was the most fun I’ve had at the Hort in a long time. Helping out, we talk to other members, we feel part of it, we belong.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. Muhammad Ali

I am so grateful to all the Churches that rent out space to organizations at reasonable rates. These groups help build our communities, give meaning to people’s lives, and help us connect with each other.

Everywhere I look people are building “online” communities. We need to not forget the physical communities we live in. If we don’t interact with each other we don’t learn to trust each other. If we don’t trust each other we don’t build good communities.

Research shows people at the lowest income levels make calculated decision for a variety of reasons. They favor immediate financial rewards over larger delayed rewards. This is not a good way to build a community where much of what is done on a community level is volunteered.

When we get involved with community groups we are introduced to likeminded individuals, keep our body and mind active, and hone and grow new skill sets. A Stats Can survey finds Canadian volunteers feel an improved sense of well-being and health, meet people through networking, and contribute to the community. When we are in the throes of raising children and working full-time jobs, volunteering may be hard to fit in, as those responsibilities lessen we have opportunities to fit volunteering into our life.

We create the communities we live in. Communities change and grow as the individuals that make them change and grow. Many of us want to live in a great community, but do we want to be the ones that make that community great?

Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. Sherry Anderson

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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Volunteering: Personal, Social and Community Benefits Paperback – Mar 5 2013


Reconnecting with people. Loving what is.

Reconnecting photo of hydrangeas by Belynda Wilson Thomas

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. Thomas Jefferson

I’ve reconnected with people from my past this year. A lot of it has been on Facebook. Everyone makes Facebook out to be this nefarious entity. They tell us how it is ruining marriages. They don’t tell us how it is reconnecting people.

It’s a loose connection, but it gives us a window into other people’s lives. We put a comment on their post. We like a picture. It is a form of connection. It shouldn’t be the only connection with people but for those of us who live far from where we grew up it widens our circle.

We lose people along the way we didn’t mean to lose contact with. It takes an effort to stay in touch. This year of big changes has made me reach out to people. If not now, when? I want to live my life with few regrets. Relationships end or fizzle because of time and circumstance but they can end on a good note.

Many times they don’t end, we just get busy. We’ll call them a little later. When we call the phone number is no longer in service, the Christmas card (who does this anymore) came back. We go on with our life. We think about them but more time goes by.

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely. Pam Brown

Mom came up with a phone number for someone I shouldn’t have lost contact with. I called last night. We had a great chat. She’s far away but if we try we may be able to be in the same place at the same time to see each other. We can stay in touch by phone and Facebook.

I have someone else I’m going to try and locate. I haven’t seen her since I was six. She’s estranged from her father. Am I meddling if I try to reconnect them?

My circle is widening. The time of my life being all about work and home is over. I’m stepping out to develop the side of me I set aside when the responsibilities of mothering took all the extra time I had. It may not be true I didn’t have time to widen my circle then. We tell our selves things that aren’t true. We don’t have time, we don’t have resources.

In my writer’s group, the majority of the members are older. We’ve built our lives doing and being what society told us we should be and do. It may be the best thing that we are coming to writing later. It is a pursuit suited to older people. We’ve seen more, we’ve lived more, and we have something to say. Fortunately, we don’t need to live off our writing. We don’t have to worry if we are a commercial success.

We don’t have to write for an audience.  Instead, we hope an audience likes what we write. There is a big difference. We can be honest, authentic, and put our words out to the world. We understand writing is the joy. Once we put it out there we need to write something else.

I saw Maya Angelou recounting what she got from every decade. We need to look at life like that. Every decade brings gifts. We need to be open to what can be, not mourn too much what is over.

I was reading what some very unwell elderly people were saying about their life. They were still thinking when it gets worse. They were still seeing the beauty in their days even though many of the things they’d enjoyed were not able to be enjoyed any longer. They were enjoying what they still had.

If we go forward with humor and optimism we have no idea the gifts ahead for us. The people we’ll meet, the friends we’ll make, and the ones we’ll reconnect with. Life is about going forward, meeting the challenges of the day and enjoying the rewards. We may think we enjoyed our twenties more than we’ll enjoy our nineties (if we are lucky enough to get there) it might not be true. The truth is probably we need to enjoy each day, living fully in the moment. I think I’ll pose this question to my mom, is she enjoying her nineties as much as she enjoyed her twenties? Happiness is a state of mind, we can choose to be happy at every age.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust

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Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom: Witty, Wicked, and Wise Reflections on Well-Lived Lives Paperback – Apr 4 2017