Now is all there is, living in the present. Accept what we cannot change because it is what it is.

Accept what we cannot change because it is what it is. Now is all there is, living in the present.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Live in the present; launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment. Henry David Thoreau

Now is all there is! We’ve heard it, we know it’s true but it is easy to have our thoughts everywhere but on Now. this very moment. It is this moment where life happens.

I remember reading of a woman getting the chance to go back to a time in her life. She chose to go back to one of her favorite birthdays but what she found was everyone hurrying and scurrying, no one had time to spend with her.

We have to be careful that in trying to do things for other people we aren’t so busy we have no time for them.

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday; can I get everything done today so tomorrow can be a day where I am free for whatever he may want to do? There is a dinner to prepare for Sunday but if I can get the shopping done today then tomorrow is free.

It is easy to get overwhelmed thinking about what we have to do. It is easy to spend our time thinking of what has happened, what might happen, or what we hope won’t happen. What about right now? This very moment is our life? Are we enjoying what is happening at this very moment, sipping a coffee, writing words, enjoying the still small hours of the day before everyone is up? The temperature is comfortable, the chair is supportive, and the keyboard is responsive. Now is great, and often the now is great, but we infringe on Now with all the burdens of yesterday, tomorrow, and even later today. What if we deal with each moment as it comes?

Our days blur into one another if we do not savor the moments. In Practicing the Power of Now Eckhart Tolle asks what problems do we have at this moment? He says it is impossible to have a problem when our attention is fully in the Now. A situation has to be dealt with or accepted. Why make it into a problem? “Problem” means that we are dwelling on a situation mentally without there being a true intention or possibility of taking action now. Or we are carrying in our mind the insane burden of a hundred things that we will or may have to do in the future instead of focusing on the one thing that we can do now.

Wherever you are be all there. Jim Elliot

I have to pause and take my hands off the keyboard to sip my coffee. Eckhart Tolle tells us when we don’t create problems; we don’t create pain for ourselves. We need to accept that things are the way they are and that they can’t be different than how they are. When we are willing to accept reality just the way it is we have peace. It is what it is and if it is to be different we will change it in the future but we can’t do that until that future becomes the now.

This is easy to write but not so easy to do. If we can quit beating ourselves up for mistakes we made, and know going forward we can change what we can change, and the rest we need to accept. Surrendering to what is can be the way through what we cannot change. Maybe we need to surrender to grief, despair, loneliness, or whatever form our suffering takes. Can we witness it without labeling it mentally, and embrace it? He tells us the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace.

There are many ways we try to escape our pain, work, drink, drugs, anger, food, projection, suppression, but they don’t free us from the pain. Suffering does not diminish in intensity when we don’t face it. When we turn it inward it becomes unconscious. When we deny emotional pain everything we do becomes contaminated by it. We broadcast it as the energy we emanate and others will pick up on it subliminally.

Turning away from pain doesn’t work. We need to face it, feel it fully, and express it but not in anger toward someone else. We need to give all of our attention to the feeling, not to the person, event, or situation that caused it. When we find ways to express it we move through it, we feel it. As we do this we are bringing light into the darkness.

Many great works of art, music, dance, or other creative expressions are expressions of pain, grief, and sorrow. Through expression, the pain is transmuted into something outside of ourselves. Sometimes this expression is a thing of beauty. Other lives may be touched by our expression.

Are we living in the Now? Are we finding ways to surrender to our feelings and express them?

If you are depressed, you are living in the past, if you are anxious, you are living in the future, if you are at peace, you are living in the present. Lao Tzu

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Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now Hardcover – Oct 5 2001

by Eckhart Tolle (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 80 ratings

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Are we the South or North Pole to our partner’s South or North Pole? Do we embrace the differences between masculine and feminine? Like complementary colors, we need the contrast to bring out the vibrancy.

Do we embrace the differences between masculine and feminine? Like complementary colors we need the contrast to bring out the vibrancy. Are we the South or North Pole to our partner's South or North Pole?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won’t be an end. Unknown

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite haunts to look at used books. Five books for the price of four and I always seem to be able to find five books that speak to me. Yesterday was no different. Sometimes I’ve even left a book behind that I went back for, sometimes it’s still there, but often it’s gone.

Love is a many splendored thing, and those lucky enough to have love in our lives know how empty it would be without love. Some of us are better with the realities of love than others. We wanted a boyfriend or girlfriend that became our spouse but didn’t want all that came with it. Sparks were flying because we were like the South Pole meeting the North Pole. Their masculinity met our femininity and we couldn’t get enough.

Over the years if we want the sparks to still fly we need to keep our poles polarized. We all have feminine and masculine parts of ourselves, but we need to make sure we don’t become too much the same and become more friends, and buddies instead of husbands and wives where the polarity of masculine and feminine is still strong. This is the nature of attraction even in same-sex relationships.

It seems to me some people want someone else to change for them to be happy. The only people we can change are ourselves. We change things about ourselves for better or worse and then there is a reaction in our relationships. If we want to bring out the masculine in our man maybe we need to bring out the feminine in ourselves. We can be the best man or woman we can be, that is what we can do. We cannot through cajoling, criticizing, or manipulation turn people into who we want them to be.

A great relationship doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end. Unknown

If we are trying to change our partner we are trying to change the wrong person. Al-Anon a self-help group helping spouses of alcoholics tells the partner of alcoholics to quit trying to control others and focus on their own attitudes and behavior. The other person is always the problem in our eyes until one day if we are lucky we realize we are the person who can change things for our self. We have the power and although we may not like the truths we have to face. Once we face the hard truths, and accept that change is ours to make we can take charge of our life. Our attitude is everything.

What we resist persists and grows stronger. When we accept the person we are trying to change warts and all, and love them how they are even if that person is our self we can begin to effect change.

Life can only be how it is this very moment. It cannot be different. We cannot be different and they, whoever they are cannot be different.

Anything we allow to be exactly how it is, completes itself. When we don’t struggle against the reality of life and accept it for what it is it will complete itself. If our heart is broken we need to accept that. Resistance is futile, but acceptance is powerful. It is what it is, and that’s okay and once we deal with what is we can go forward.

Women need to focus more on our feminine energy and men need to focus more on their masculine energy to be the best we can be. We need to find the balance in our lives but balance isn’t more masculine women and more feminine men. Being feminine women and masculine men does not impact social, economic, and political equality. It will help us to give our greatest gifts, at work, in our relationships, and spiritually.

Are we embracing our masculinity or femininity in positive ways? Are we the South or North Pole to our partners South or North Pole?

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in the casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable. To love is to be vulnerable. C.S. Lewis

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A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, Friendship, and Purpose in Your Marriage by [Thomas, Gary]
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What if our memories are not as infallible as we think they are? What we remember is impacted by more than we think. Is our memory how we saw it, not necessarily how it was.

What if what we think we remember isn't how it was? We like to think we have infallible memories. What we remember is impacted by more than we think.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Is your life story the truth? Yes, the chronological events are true. Is it the whole truth? No, you see and judge it through your conditioned eyes and mind – not of all involved – nor do you see the entire overview. Is it nothing but the truth? No, you select, share, delete, distort, subtract, assume and add what you want, need and choose to.
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

Have you ever tried to remember something and all you draw is a blank? Have you ever been called a liar because you couldn’t remember something and the other person was incredulous that you didn’t remember something that was so important to them?

Why do we remember some things and forget others?

Some things are relevant to our life. We remember the relevant things. If something is likely to help with our life goals it is more likely to be remembered.

We remember emotional pain. If something or someone causes us emotional pain the event is more likely to be remembered.

Our subconscious mind makes us remember the things that are important and useful to our life. If our subconscious mind makes the deduction that something isn’t useful or important to our life we will not remember it.

It is easy to see that two people could experience the same event and one of them would remember it and the other would not.

My husband thinks I remember everything. I do remember a lot of things he doesn’t remember because they had some relevance to me. He is remembering things I don’t remember, but he thinks I should remember them because they are so important to him. It is easy to see how when people are having disagreements what each remembers can be very problematic.

It may even explain why witnesses do not witness things exactly the same way and all are telling the truth as they see it. When we are upset we do not stop to think that there is another side to the story. Why can’t you see what I see? We don’t trust the other person who doesn’t see what is so plain. How could they not see it? Are they lying?

Memory plays tricks. Memory is another word for story, and nothing is more unreliable. Ann Marie McDonald

It could be that no two people ever see anything the same way. It might depend on their emotional state at the moment, experiences they have had in the past, and how they interpret things. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable, but probably through no fault of their own. I hope I am never called on as an eye witness. I couldn’t tell the little girls apart on the soccer field. Little blonde girls with ponytails all looked alike to me. I can’t imagine a line-up.

Some say the brain does not store information as data but by association. What we do know about memory is it is processed by the hippocampus and stored continuously in our cerebral cortex. We will store a memory if it is important and has emotional value, forever.

The Rashomon effect is a phenomenon where different people have contradictory accounts of the same event. In fact, research shows that implanting false memories can be as simple as asking someone to recount an event that didn’t happen. It also seems that each time we remember something we rewrite it in our brain. If that recollection contains errors, we’ll strengthen those errors until we are positive they are correct.

How can a couple tell who is remembering things correctly? Research suggests they may not be able to. Couples often remember things differently because of cognitive biases and the influence of mood. Experts suggest focusing on the emotions of an argument to move past a disagreement. Couples should accept our memories are flawed and not be so reliant on what we remember is right and what the other person remembers is obviously wrong.

Are we sure what we remember is actually what happened? Do we sometimes have to agree to disagree on how we remember things?

Memory, like so much else, is unreliable. Not only for what it hides and what it alters, but also for what it reveals. Anna Funder

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The Memory Illusion: Remembering, Forgetting and the Science of False Memory Paperback – Nov 28 2017

by Julia Shaw (Author) 4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Uncommon joy in common hours. We all have twenty-four hours. Are we making the most of ours?

We all have twenty-four hours. Are we making the most of ours? Uncommon joy in common hours.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke

Uncommon joy in common hours, the thought came to me this morning as I walked Lulu (my little dog). I think the idea came from Henry David Thoreau’s quote. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Getting up at 5:00 and giving myself time to exercise, reflect in a journal, read and walk my dog before I sit down with a cup of coffee to blog is giving me joy in common hours. This time used to pass by unnoticed. Who has time to walk Lulu? Not me, I said. We don’t have time for anything in our lives unless we make time. We all have twenty-four hours, what some people accomplish in theirs is amazing.

Most of us think that people who do things have something we don’t have, they do something we don’t do, and that is all it takes most of the time. We think we couldn’t possibly do that, but once we do it we wonder what the problem was. We do things incrementally, no one sits down and writes a novel in an hour, it takes days, weeks, months, and in some cases years. It is the same with playing an instrument, art, exercising and getting fit, building a business, or learning anything, doing anything. If we are willing to set a goal or work toward something we never know where it may lead.

Sometimes setting a goal is even too much, it seems too hard but we can practice something daily and it becomes something even if we didn’t have an end goal in mind. We don’t know where life will take us. We don’t know in what circumstances we may find ourselves.

The other day a young disheveled man came up to my husband and me at Tim Horton’s, “Did we have any spare change.” My husband pulled out what he had, which wasn’t much.

I wanted to know but didn’t ask, “What brought you to this? What would get your life turned around and back on track?” I hope he finds his way. I hope he has family or friends that can help him on his journey back to getting on his feet. I hope when someone extends a helping hand, he takes it.

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

“There but for the grace of God go I,” springs to my mind. We could all find ourselves in a situation we never imagined we could be in. Oprah said, “Women’s worst fear is ending up a bag lady.” I think she’s right. 

People bemoan the fact that money is “too” important, too important for what? It is money that will keep us from being a “bag lady.” Money can give us only the things it can give us; security is one of those things.

I doubt I am the only one that thinks, how would I manage, if? It is something we should all think about, and know that we can get through the worst life can throw at us. Even that disheveled young man we saw is getting through whatever he is going through. Hopefully, he will be stronger for having gone through it. He may learn some lessons he would learn no other way.

We never know what journey someone else is on. Often we don’t even know the journey we are on. If we take one step at a time, do some of the things that scare us and work on progress, not perfection. We too can experience uncommon joy in common hours, and unexpected success in ways that bring meaning and purpose to our lives.

Unmet expectations are the root of many of our problems. Unexpected success, joy, and happiness are what make life worth living. Can we set aside expectations, and instead work toward our goals accepting life will unfold how it will? Can we learn to live with “what is” instead of wishing things aren’t how they are? What if we embraced everything just the way it is, and worked to make things better?

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Friedrich Nietzsche

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Walking: All Good Things Are Wild And Free. Paperback – Mar 19 2014

by Henry David Thoreau (Author) Be the first to review this item

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At some point, we will all need to rebuild trust.

Trust will need to be rebuilt in our lives, probably many times.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Two people cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other’s little failings. Jean De La Bruyere

Trust is essential to our relationships, our government, our companies, our lives. Where trust is high we live in peace and plenty, we work together, we raise families together, and we progress.

There doesn’t seem to be an origin of the “Gentleman’s Agreement.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary P.G. Woodhouse, an English author used the term in his 1929 story collection Mr. Mulliner Speaking. The phrase appears in British Parliamentary records of 1821. It also appears in Massachusetts public records of 1835.

A gentleman’s agreement is an informal agreement in which people trust one another to do what they have promised because of their sense of personal honor.

In 2016 after carefully examining the evidence, the British High Court ruled that a gentleman’s agreement could be legally binding. However, there must have been an intention to create legal relations.

An Associated Press-Gfk poll finds declining levels of trust among Americans. Only a third now say most people can be trusted, down from half in 1972. Are we actually becoming less trustworthy – or are more of us less trusting? Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? If we don’t give trust, we don’t get trust.

Social trust brings benefits to our society: people are more willing to compromise, make deals, and work together. Trust boosts our economy. If there is an area where our trust is put to work every day it is on our roads. We trust the other driver to stay in their lane, to observe the rules of the road and drive as safely as they can so we all arrive where we are going safely. It mostly works.

We’ve always had people in our societies we couldn’t trust. How could we have any commerce if we don’t trust? Do I give you the goods before you pay me? Do you pay me before you get the goods? Someone has to trust someone.

I was at Toastmaster’s one evening and I watched a transaction going down. A young man took a buddy to sell a cell phone. The buyer looked at the cell phone then took off as fast as he could and broke the door to the Community Center in the process.

How could anyone sell anything online without trust? Will reduced face-to-face interaction reduce trust as we aren’t dealing directly with someone? Will the ease of non-face-to-face transactions make our life so much easier we can’t afford to not be trustworthy?

Trust, of course, is very important in our relationships. I recently read about a parent who had a son who got into problems. They said they could not have him living in their home doing drugs. He was welcome to come every Sunday for dinner and bring as many people as he wished for a no judgment hot dinner. They said it was a motley crew they served dinner to many times. Eventually, he changed his ways and one of the things he said that got him through it was he believed he could show up for dinner with his assortment of friends, and they would be fed with big helpings of love, and no sermon.

If because of one’s mistake you lost trust, then no one in the world is trustworthy, including yourself! Unknown

I’m looking at a blog by Jeremy Brown he says. “At some point or another, no matter how wonderful your marriage is or how many bluebirds chirp on your windowsill in the morning, someone will screw up and trust will be broken. It could be something small (watching a show you are both enjoying without your partner or pretending to work late to get out of plans with those friends), or something big (not coming clean about a secret credit card or, gulp, an affair). When something of this nature happens, one of you will need to work to earn the other’s trust back. Sure, groveling can help. But the process of earning someone’s trust back is nuanced and requires thoughtful actions and quite a bit of patience. So how do you rebuild trust? Here are some steps to take.”

Own up to it.

Offering any sort of justification for our actions or minimizing them will only make our spouse shut down and feel doubly hurt.

Be honest.

Keep your promises.

Realize that things might never be the same. We can do our best, but we can’t make our partner forgive us entirely, or forget. If we can be respectful and go into the process of repair with an open heart and mind, and an awareness of all outcomes being for the highest good for both parties it is what we can do.

Accept that earning back trust takes time.

If we are committed to earning back trust we have to be in it for the long haul. If we want someone to forgive us on our timetable we are being selfish. We need to learn to sit with our own shame and not let it destroy ourselves and those we love.

Focus on consistency.

Keep our words and actions consistent. Our spouse’s image of us has been shaken and they are looking for stability wherever they can find it. Doing what we say we are going to do will show we are trustworthy. We should not discount the power of consistency when it comes to rebuilding trust.

Mistakes will happen in our marriage, getting through them is part of having a lasting marriage. If we forgive when it’s our turn we can hope they will forgive us when it is theirs. Have we forgiven when it was our turn to forgive or do we hold onto old hurts?

To regain trust you need to prove how much you love through actions not words. Words fall empty to the person who lost trust in you. Unknown

Rebuilding trust when it’s been broken is not dependent on the person who has broken it, or how many times they can prove they are honest. It depends on the person who has decided not to trust anymore. Though they may be totally justified in their decision not to trust, as long as they choose not to, the relationship has no hope of survival.

When they decide to trust again, there is hope reborn.  Doe Zantamata

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The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything Paperback – Feb 5 2008

by Stephen M.R. Covey (Author), Stephen R. Covey (Foreword), Rebecca R. Merrill (Contributor) 4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Unspoken agreements. Is this the price of peace? Is the price too high?

Is this the price of peace? Is the price too high? Unspoken agreements.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. Unknown

A healthy relationship is one where you share your true feelings without fearing the end of the relationship.

In relationships, we sometimes have a silent agreement “unspoken “rules” of our relationships. We may give someone a pass when they are drinking for what they say that hurts us. They may have mood swings and we disregard there hurtful behavior but we don’t do the same for others in the family. We don’t bring up the “sensitive” subjects that should be talked about.

A silent agreement could be that we disregard negative comments from our spouse’s parents, “to keep the peace”.

These silent agreements can come back to bite us when we say things like, “you should have known that, or why would I have to tell you that?” It is often silent agreements that let us get along on the surface. In some relationships, this is the best policy. People are in our lives, we didn’t choose them, we just have to deal with them, and they are difficult people to deal with.

If we have unspoken agreements in our personal relationship this can be a problem, because the other person doesn’t know what we expect of them.

I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies. Pietro Aretino

One of the things that can happen is we end up with unmet expectations. We expect things from someone, but they have no idea what we expect. This can lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. We still have the wishes, needs, expectations but we didn’t share them, so how is someone to know what we want, hope for, or dream about.

Silent agreements grow out of the things we don’t say. For instance, we don’t bring up the subject we know would hurt someone we’ve gone to visit. This seems like a good agreement. Where it can get worse is if we never talk about things that need to be said. Things like “Mom is it safe for you to still be driving?”

Often we think our silent agreements are understood by other people, that we share the same meaning of an unspoken expectation. Maybe there are issues that could be dealt with that aren’t. Issues that if discussed could be fixed, worked around or at least acknowledged.

I’m reminded of an advertisement about sexual dysfunction where a man is in the Doctor’s office and the Doctor asks, “Is there anything else?” The man fidgets but doesn’t say anything. The man likely goes home berating himself, he probably went in saying, “I’ll talk to the Doctor, this time.”

His wife may not know about his problem, she may think the problem is with her, and she’s dealing with menopause, aging, and all that fun stuff. A difficult conversation could get a lot of these things out in the open. We can’t deal with what we don’t acknowledge. We say we want the truth, but we are afraid to tell our partner our fears, shortcomings, and failures. We may instead make them feel inadequate, unloved, and unappreciated.

Another example may be the division of labor within the home. If one person always cooks, and the other always washes the dishes that may be an unspoken agreement that works. When the one that doesn’t cook all of a sudden cooks, the unspoken expectation may be the other person washes the dishes, but they may not realize that and agree to it.

We may think some of this is such small stuff, but what if we each talked about what we wanted, expected, and dreamed of. What if we really said, and meant it, “this is our life, the only one we get, let’s make it the best for both of us.”

One of the ways our silent agreements may cause us huge problems is when we don’t acknowledge problems with overspending, maxed out credit, job insecurity, etc. When we pretend everything is okay in our relationship when it’s not. When we pretend our health problems aren’t a concern.

It takes courage to have hard conversations. Things can’t get better if we don’t acknowledge our problems. There is no guarantee they will get better if we do, but we are guaranteed they won’t get better if we don’t.

We have to be careful we don’t just look at our partner and tell them how they should change. The only change we can control is how we change our self.

If the cook in the family decides everyone is eating better because they are cooking better that is one thing. They can’t now tell everyone what they can eat when they are out. Or what they can purchase when they go to the store. They can only tell them what they are willing to cook and then cook it.

If we can’t agree on what a healthy diet looks like that might be a problem. If one of us is vegan and the other paleo at least we are both trying to be healthier. If we deliberately sabotage our partner’s efforts to eat healthier we may need to discuss what is going on. Is there a payoff for a not so healthy partner, is there an unspoken agreement that we are the “thin” one?

If we can talk about whatever is going on in our life. What movies we want to see, what places we want to visit, what’s happening with our health, finances, children, parents, in-laws, jobs, retirement, interests we’d like to develop, places we’d like to live. Doesn’t sharing our lives, mean sharing our thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, and our dreams? The more we share with each other, the closer we will be, the more we can make this life work for everyone.

Assumptions make an “ass” out of you and me. Can we get it all out on the table, be honest, vulnerable, kind, generous, and deal with real life with a sense of humor? Maybe it’s our spouse, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, co-workers, Doctor, or someone else we need to have a difficult conversation with. Does putting it off make it easier? Is courage to deal with the things we don’t want to deal with, what we need?

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. William James

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Unspoken Agreements: A Journey Towards Your Inner Light by [AKK]
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Time is the secret to a long marriage. We win when we don’t give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other.

We win when we don't give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other. Time is the secret to a long marriage.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. Unknown

Is you being you really narcissistic? In the fable of the frog and the scorpion, the scorpion asks the frog for a ride across a river. The frog hesitates and says, “But you’ll sting me.” The scorpion says, “No I won’t because then we’ll both die.” The frog agrees and in the middle of the river, the scorpion stings the frog.

We need to recognize the frogs and the scorpions in our life. It doesn’t make sense to volunteer to be stung. It doesn’t make sense to be so careful not to be stung that we eliminate people from our lives. We need to find a balance in our lives and relationships. If we think we will always feel loving, never feel jealous, never feel insecure we are fooling our self. We have to deal with what life hands us, but we don’t have to make friends with the scorpions. Chances are we didn’t marry a scorpion. As I write this I have to see the humor in the fact I am a Scorpio.

We need to be ourselves and we need to let others be themselves. Some of us are so fearful of the scorpion stinging us we don’t take chances with people we should take chances with. People who have proven they are worth the chance.

Forgiveness is important in our relationships, but if we constantly pick people we will need to forgive there might be more going on, do we need to be a victim? If we never give people a second chance because we can’t forgive anything isn’t that also a problem?

We need to find the balance somewhere between victim and martyr. One of the things we may learn is there are worse things than feeling jealous, insecure, and unloved. It is worse when we are so numb, and withdrawn from our lives we don’t feel anything at all. When we see an attractive woman eye our husband and we feel a little, whoa, what’s that? We are normal. If we just shrug it off too easily or carelessly we may be in withdrawal. If we get too jealous we need to ask ourselves why? Why are we thinking our partner would be interested in someone else? We know why other women are interested in our partner, he’s a great guy.

A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning but how well you continue building love until the end. Unknown

We may feel our partner should never make us feel jealous. Is our partner making us feel jealous or are we going through things in our lives where jealousy rears its head? We may be feeling everyone is younger, prettier, more fun, more everything and why wouldn’t our partner dump us for them? We can’t blame our partner for our thoughts, inadequacies, feelings of inferiority, and feeling sorry for our self.

We all need to appreciate the people in our lives, especially our spouse who we spend our time with, make our plans with, dream our dreams with, and share the parts of our self we share with no one else. If we would rather fight with and for our partner than be without them that’s a good thing. Feeling “Oh well, whatever,” is surely worse.

We may be uncomfortable with our feelings, but not having those feelings is worse. Feelings make us feel alive even our uncomfortable ones. Sometimes we stuff down our uncomfortable feelings with food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, and any of the isms.

If we aren’t afraid to feel even our uncomfortable feelings we will live a fuller life. People can and will hurt us, but we can’t be afraid to love, make friends, take chances and build relationships. Life is not about being safe; people who play it safe and didn’t take a chance on love are not the happy people.

We can’t be guaranteed a happy ending, we can’t be guaranteed we will never feel betrayed, or hurt. If we are willing to deal with what is, the messy situations, what needs to be rebuilt in our lives, what needs to be overcome, what needs to be endured, we are living our lives. We will get to the end of our lives, and if we have been brave and looked everything in the face and dealt with it, however painful we will feel better about our lives. If we give up, run away, don’t take the chances life presents we will feel we didn’t really live.

Can we live through all life has to offer? Can we accept the challenges as they come? Don’t we have to get through the difficult winter to get to sun-kissed spring? If we don’t give up on our self, others, our dreams, goals, life, we will get through the hard parts. If we can realize life isn’t easy for anyone, we all make mistakes, we hurt others without thinking, life is what we make it, and what we might regret the most is giving up too soon.  We will look back on our life, the hard times, the loving times, the sad times, the bleak times, the building times, the whole of it and be glad we had tenacity and perseverance.

So that thing you were so excited about turned out to be harder than you dreamed. Things that matter always are. Endure, harvest will come. Beth Moore

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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell | Dec 23 2003
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Be brave; love truly, fully, deeply. We regret the chances we didn’t take to fully love and be there for someone.

We regret the chances we didn't take to fully love and be there for someone. Be brave; love truly, fully, deeply.

No one ever fell in love without feeling a little bit brave. Mario Tomasello

We all want love, isn’t that what we tell ourselves? Yet Psychology Today says many of us are afraid to really let ourselves be in love. Our defenses raised offer a false sense of safety, we think they will keep us from getting hurt but all they really do is prevent us from achieving the closeness we desire. What is it that drives this fear of intimacy? What is it that prevents us from having the love and relationships we say we want?

Real love makes us vulnerable. We believe if we care less, we will be hurt less. The truth is if we care less, we don’t build the life and love we want. We live a life of wasted opportunities for closeness.

The person who loves us, who wants to get close, at some point may give up on us. They may still be with us, they may still come to visit us or maintain a marriage with us, but it won’t be the relationship we long for.

Life is about giving and getting. We may feel completely justified in judging our partner, questioning their loyalty, fidelity, commitment. We may feel a small mistake or oversight on their part was actually something bigger, and they meant to hurt us. It may be a sibling or a parent we feel we can’t forgive, for something that slipped out of their mouth and landed on our self-esteem, and opened up an old wound, a wound that never healed.

We might all be the walking wounded. We won’t feel better if we don’t love fully and something happens. I know from talking to someone who lost her husband too soon that making plans that never came to fruition was more healing than if they hadn’t been making plans. We might think it is worse to have plans that will never develop, but it isn’t. It might be counterintuitive that the more we love, and give everything we have to our relationships the happier we are and even the better we can deal with the loss of those relationships.

If we love our children as deeply as we can, even newborns that die, research tells us the parents who loved fully, are better off than the parents who tried to protect themselves from the pain of loss. There is no protecting ourselves from loss, there is only protecting ourselves from feeling, the regret is we can no longer have those feelings and we didn’t even feel them when we had the chance.

We can live on the sidelines of love, or we can love. Love is not about getting, but about giving. We are afraid to trust, and we think that is justified, but what is the cost of withholding that trust?

We don’t trust the drivers on the road, so we don’t let our children walk to school, or ride their bicycles. At a park, I saw a little boy on a strider bike going over rocks and his mother watched him. He’s brave and so is she, letting him become himself. Of course, he took a tumble, cried, she picked him up, but it wasn’t long and he was off adventuring again.

We can’t hold on tight to love; if we do we stifle it. Our children need to grow and develop, keeping them needing us is stifling them, we need to encourage their independence. We need to give them encouragement to be who they are to be, not hold them back out of fear.

Hold everything you love with an open hand. It’s like holding sand in your hand, the tighter you close your hand the more sand you lose but if you hold the sand with an open hand, you lose no sand. Prince Willis

If we are brave enough to love with our whole hearts the people who come into our lives and enjoy our time with them we will enjoy all there is. They may depart; they may move away, they may build lives that leave us on the periphery. It is still better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The real tragedy of life is not to love when we have the chance. Once that chance is gone we may flog our self with our regrets. If we gave all we had to the people in our life when they were with us, we have no regrets for what was, even as we may feel pain and sorrow for what is. We need to feel every part of our life. We think we protect our self by not feeling because we don’t want to be hurt, but we hurt our self by not feeling, we make our self feel dead even when everything in our life is alive and vibrant. Worrying about what might be, we miss what is, and what could be.

This can happen in all our relationships. We hear about families who plan great get-togethers and then spend it fighting instead of enjoying the brief time they have together.

Often families fracture instead of coming closer in times of bereavement. We will face loss in our lives, it will hurt, if we made the best of the time we had with that relationship it can be with no regrets and we can be truly happy for what we shared even though our hearts are broken with their loss. Isn’t that better than regretting the words we didn’t say, the fights that broke out because… the hurt feelings, the missed opportunities? We will face loss, but we don’t have to have regrets about the relationships in our life if we made them the best they could be while they were with us.

Can we live a life with few regrets?

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength, joy, and beauty. Love deeply, fully, truly.

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A Mind at Home with Itself: How Asking Four Questions Can Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Turn Your World Around Paperback – Sep 11 2018

Winter wonderland, can spring be far behind?

Snow covered bushes photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is also a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found. J.B. Priestley

Mother Nature has given us a lot to deal with this morning. Some dreams of a snow day have come true. My husband has already shoveled the driveway and my son in law has braved the snow to go to work. My daughter is reveling in a snow day.

I’m thankful to be snug and warm with nowhere to go today. Our little dog was surfing in the snow this morning when I let her out. She loves the snow for a little while, comes in, dries off, and then wants to go out again.

My husband jokes we should move to warmer climes. Would we miss the seasons if we lived in perpetual summer? The joy we feel each spring as chartreuse buds appear on trees would be one of the things we’d miss. In a book I have on color, chartreuse is called “dog barking green”. In some places, even the dogs are glad to see the first green of spring. Driving in spring and spying the first flowers blooming warms my heart.

How is it for those of you who have left four seasons? Do you miss the seasons? Is the joy we feel in spring worth it, or overrated?

Winter is a blessing and a curse, but more of a blessing in my opinion. It is my belief that society progressed because of the challenges we had to face in harsh climates. We don’t do things just to do them, we look for ways to deal with the challenges we face.

When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I’ll know I’m growing old. Lady Bird Johnson

Spring is coming soon and I have learned in my Horticultural society that some harsh climates have some of the most beautiful gardens. Overwintering container plants is popular in harsher climates. This allows the pots to be full and lush in a short growing season.

Spring is my favorite season. It is filled with promise, anything can happen in spring. We can only enjoy spring because we have winter. Would the days blur into each other even more where the climate doesn’t change?

Looking out the window at newly fallen snow is a sight to behold. It doesn’t take long for crisp white to turn to ugly gray and for me to get my fill of winter. I think I would miss it if I lived somewhere with endless summers? Maybe once we retire we’ll live without winter for a year and see what we think about it.

It could be we look on the bright side and enjoy winter to the degree we do because it’s our reality and we may as well enjoy it instead of curse it. After all isn’t life better when we learn to love what is?

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. William Sharp

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The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks Paperback – Oct 27 2015

Autumn is here. Reaping and sowing.

Autumn is Coming Photo of pond by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. Edwin Way Teale

Time to put on a sweater or jacket days are here again. Breathing in crisp cool air, and biting into crisp apples. The leaves are starting to change. Some parts of Canada have had snow already. It’s here.

It’s been a fabulous summer. Only a memory of a treasured time remains. A new time is here to treasure until it too is over. This is our life, we think it doesn’t change but it does. We should be treasuring these happy golden moments. A day holds so much hope and promise. Twenty four golden hours, ours to do with what we want, and what we must. What we must looks after our life and what we want feeds our spirit. A happy dance of the two gives us meaning and purpose.

I haven’t been down to my studio since the wedding except to look, sigh and promise I’ll be back to putter and paint. We never know when it’s the last time we’ll do something until looking back we realize that was the last dress we sewed. The last quilt we made, the last picture we painted, the last swim in the ocean.

It’s already years since I attended the soccer games my kids played. We often don’t know things are ending when they end. The last time you saw a friend you didn’t know it was the last. The last time I saw my dad, I didn’t know it was the last. We don’t know, we can’t know it is the  last phone call, the last touch.

Life is about endings and beginnings. If we are lucky, new people enter our lives as old ones leave. Knowing how to make friends is a skill, a gift that carries through life. Some people don’t know how to make friends, they are alone and lonely. People who know how to make friends may still be alone, but I don’t think they are so lonely. People can even be lonely in marriages. We need to reach out, make a connection to family, friends, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.

I don’t know how you learn to make friends. One of the things I’ve discovered is when you find like minded people, and I have found them in my toastmasters group, it’s easy to feel welcome and accepted.

At the gym I go to, no one talks. We grimly do our workout. If we take a class there is some interaction. Is it the group of people assembled there? Is it the solitary activity? Is it me?

We are social animals and soon we’ll be getting ready to bed down for the winter. In winter I feel it is even more important to have connections to other people. Poems and stories are written about cozy snow covered homes with smoke rising from the chimney.

There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves. Joe L. Wheeler

I grew up in a home with too few bedrooms for too many people. Now we mostly live in houses with too many bedrooms for too few people. Some people have show homes inside and out but I don’t think those are the happy cozy homes. The happy cozy homes are filled with bedlam, laughter, jostling for position and bathrooms.

We are all looking for belonging. Is belonging to a family, organization, club easy? That depends on the family, organization, or club. We play a part in that relationship, we can make it better or worse. We can be part of the fun and frivolity or we can be sour and judgmental. This choice is up to us.

I always feel autumn is the time of year for change. Probably because we spent so many years in school and autumn was the beginning of a new school year. Autumn still seems to me a time of new beginnings. After a summer of fun and sun I get back to painting. Back to the gym on a more regular basis. I look around wondering if there is something new I can or should bring into my life.

Life is great in all its seasons. Embrace the changes in your life. Reach out to people, rekindle old friendships and make new ones. Get creative. Become a volunteer. Host a dinner and enjoy fun and frivolity. What would you like to do you haven’t done yet? Could you start now? Autumn is here, winter is coming, there is much to do.

One of the great joys of life is living in a cozy home looking out the windows at snow covered trees and knowing you are happy and cozy with peace and plenty surrounded by loved ones.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. L.M. Montgomery

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Ageless Soul: The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy

Oct 10, 2017

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