Are we waiting for permission to live our lives? Write our own permission slip.

Are we waiting for permission to live our lives? Write our own permission slip.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Abundance arrives in the physical world when the inner world is ready to receive it. When we give ourselves permission to experience abundance, it always shows up. Pam Malow-Isham

I’m reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown in it she says she absolutely loved Maya Angelou’s writings, but she came across a quote by Maya Angelou that bothered her. “You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high, the rewards are great.”

Brene thought how could not belonging be the answer when she spent so much of her time longing to belong and trying to fit in.

I’ve felt that way; I was a farm kid in the town school. When everyone or so it seemed could be on teams I had to take the bus and go home. One of the best things that happened in high school was our gym teacher set up team sports during lunch hour. This was how I got to play team sports.

Brene Brown says she was going to be on Oprah’s Soul Sunday and she had dinner with a friend the night before. He said, “Brene, where are you?”

She gave a flippant answer but realized she wasn’t really present; it was like she was flying above her life, not really part of the moment.

H said, “This is a big deal, I don’t want you to miss it.”

Brene says she was in her hotel room before going to Oprah’s studio and her daughter called about a school permission slip. Brene said to herself, that’s what I need a permission slip to not feel so serious and afraid. So feeling kind of goofy, silly, and knowing no one was looking she wrote herself a permission slip on a post-it note saying, “Permission to be goofy and have fun.”

She tells us this would be the first of many permission slips she would write herself. We still need to follow through, as when we give our kids permission to go on the school trip, they still have to get on the bus.

Are there things in our life we need to give our self permission to do, enjoy, want, attempt? How are we holding ourselves back from doing, becoming, achieving, attempting? We can give ourselves permission to go after what we want in life. Do we need permission to do more or less? If we don’t feel we belong or fit in, we need to at least feel we belong to our self. Where ever we go, there we are.

We may think we are the only one who feels they don’t truly belong. Maybe we all have parts of our life where we are round pegs in round holes and other parts where we feel like square pegs in round holes. Could this be part of the growth we need to go through as we develop ourselves over our lifetime? Is it just an illusion that other people belong more than we do? Another way we compare ourselves to others and come up short. If we actually shared our feelings, experiences, and stories would we find they also felt alone, afraid, and vulnerable? Do we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable? Is getting out of our comfort zone one of the keys to growth?

When people change they do not ask your permission. Jennifer Pierre

Could it be the more uncomfortable we are with being our unique selves, over time the more comfortable we become with ourselves and we learn to accept ourselves and others for who we are and embrace and enjoy our differences? When we get comfortable with being uncomfortable, do we also get uncomfortable with what was comfortable?

We find when we leave our homes, families, and former life to develop a different life somewhere else; we never fit back completely into where we left. We are changed, we look at things differently. Nothing stays the same; we need to enjoy the moments because we won’t come this way again.

All of our today’s, become yesterdays; we need to enjoy each and every one of them to the fullest. We need to give ourselves permission to truly live, love, enjoy, experience, take chances, succeed, and fail.

If you were to give yourself a permission slip today, what would it say?

Mine says, “I give myself permission to live, laugh, and love, truly, fully, deeply, richly, and with abandon.

When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret. Shannon L. Alder

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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Hardcover – Sep 12 2017

by Brené Brown (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews


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Becoming ourselves, the road less traveled. Do we have the courage to become who we really are?

Do we have the courage to become who we really are? Becoming ourselves, the road less traveled.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you’re searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror. Unknown

What a joy to wake up to another beautiful morning. I didn’t hear the rain last night but the ball diamond in the park is half covered in water so it must have been pretty hard.

Some areas are getting too much rain, some are getting too little. The garden and grass are lush and green, so are the weeds. Should I weed this evening or go to the gym? My front walk is being infringed on from both sides by lush vegetation. The grass that is growing in my little planting under our crabapple tree is tall enough to cut as hay.

Do these plants growing where we don’t want them to, feel when we pull them? They’ve exerted as much energy as the plants we want. They are growing where they were planted. That grass seeding is not exact is not their fault. If they were growing a few feet over I would leave them alone, except for being shaved by the lawn mower that is.

Do we sometimes feel like these grass stalks? We are growing, thriving but we don’t quite fit in.

Brene Brown writes, “In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order for them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely – it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are – love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.

Many of us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted. (Take it from me: I’m an expert fitter-inner!) But we’re not letting ourselves be known, and this kind of incongruent living is soul-sucking.”

Brene tells us we need to be okay with who we are, our gifts, our shortcomings, our weaknesses, and our strengths. We need to be willing to be the unique individual that we are. Maybe we feel we haven’t achieved enough, or maybe we’ve achieved too much to fit in. What is fitting in? Fitting in seems like pretending, becoming “Me too.” Instead of having our own interests, talents, goals, we do what we think is acceptable.

Don’t let anyone make you be who you aren’t. Stay true to yourself at all times. Even when it’s not trendy. Unknown

I remember going for a job interview and being asked what my interests were. One of my answers was writing, and I was told, “don’t mention that.” Why are we being asked what our interests are if they don’t really want to know? What was the accepted answer? I still don’t know what kind of interests I was supposed to have to be a suitable employee. I can’t remember if I got that job, only that my interests weren’t acceptable.

Maybe part of our growth and development is being okay with being different. We are all different. Maybe we need more people embracing their uniqueness instead of so many of us trying to fit in. Is fitting in a survival skill from long ago? Ostracism from the herd was death so conforming was required.

Sometimes we will need to stand alone, other times we will need to stand together. We need to be okay in both instances. Some of the worst things have been done because no one stood up to what was wrong. We can’t wait for someone else to stand up to make a good society. We make a good society when we are each willing to stand up for what is right, and good. We may be part of a chorus or a lone voice in the wilderness. Our contribution is to be our best selves, embracing who we are, not pretending to be someone we are not by fitting in.

If we are going to live lives true to ourselves we will have to stand up for what we believe in. We must do things as our heart bids us, we must walk to the beat of our own drummer. Will we be willing to stand for some things and against others? Can we be okay with people disapproving of us because the other option is turning our self into a pretzel trying to figure out whom to be for each person we meet?

We can’t please all the people, all the time. It is better to make peace with who we are, stand up for what we believe in, pursue our dreams, and live our life on our terms. It’s the only life we have, we need to make it count. The only corner of the universe we can improve is our self. Are we vulnerable and comfortable with being uncomfortable, and dealing with people without sacrificing who we are and what we value? Do we have the courage to be ourselves and make connections with others without conforming or asking them to conform?

This above all: to thine own self be true. Shakespeare

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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Hardcover – Sep 12 2017

by Brené Brown (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews


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Is happiness a choice? Are we about as happy as we choose to be? If we aren’t happy enough, can we make better choices?

If we aren't happy enough, can we make better choices? Are we about as happy as we choose to be? Is happiness a choice?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is more than doing fun things. It’s about doing meaningful things. Maxine Lagace

People who live in Ontario and Atlantic Canada are not as happy as the rest of Canada. British Columbia and Quebec are the happiest provinces; Vancouver and Toronto are Canada’s two unhappiest cities.

The reason given for Toronto and Vancouver’s unhappiness is:

Traffic congestion. Waiting in traffic is not likely to increase one’s happiness quotient.

Housing stress: Where will we live and will we still be able to eat causes stress.

High-density unhappiness: People in crowded urban neighborhoods are physically living close together but they don’t necessarily have good social networks.

The reason why people are unhappy in many cases is probably because of their unmet expectations. Maybe we moved to a big city for the opportunity and often the opportunity we find is not necessarily what we were looking for. If we get a better job the cost of living is so much higher we don’t feel better off. We are so busy working we don’t have time to create close social connections.

We are the happiest it seems after age fifty-five. We’ve made peace with the fact we will not be the rising star of whatever we’d hoped for. We’ve built a life, found a partner or made peace with the idea we won’t have one.  A lot of our happiness is not because our life is terrible it is the unmet expectations that make us unhappy.

Maybe we thought we would move to a big city and… What was the and… At one of the Toastmasters meetings, a member said he moved from a small city of six million to Shanghai where there was “opportunity”. He since moved on to the greater Toronto area for “opportunity”.

It is hard to swallow that the secret to happiness in life and our relationships are low expectations. It seems it isn’t how well things are going, but whether they are going better or worse than expected.

To feel big and contented, look down more gratefully and up less longingly. To feel small but ambitious look down less gratefully and up more longingly.  This is our choice would we rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in an ocean? When we move to big cities we probably hoped to become a big fish in the ocean and are unhappy when we are still small fish.

Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. Unknown

After age fifty-five when we start to make peace with who we are and what we’ve accomplished, we become happier. Life is short starts to become a reality, and we are still here. We count our blessings and hopefully they are many, we count our regrets and hopefully, they are few. Life takes on a sweetness because we can’t take life for granted quite as much. A few friends have already been cut down in the prime of their life, and they seemed as healthy and active as us.

Do higher incomes, lower stress, and home ownership lead to greater happiness? It perhaps isn’t how high the income but as Charles Dickens said, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings, and sixpence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

Managing our life, expectations, finances, attitude, and relationships affect our happiness.

We can be grateful for what we have. Being grateful increases our happiness quotient. Learning when to hold on and when to let go increases our happiness and lessens our stress. Sometimes it is what it is, and we have to be okay with that.

We can choose to stay connected with family, friends, and develop new connections with people through religious or other groups. Personal connection creates mental and emotional stimulation which are automatic mood boosters, while isolation is a mood buster. We can focus our interactions with positive people, and minimize our interactions with negative people. Volunteering is a way to boost happiness by providing a sense of purpose.

If we aren’t as happy as we want to be, what can we tweak in our life to bring more happiness into it? We choose the changes we want to bring into our life. If we don’t make the changes our life calls out for, who do we think will?

Happiness is a place between too much and too little. Finnish Proverb

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The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT Paperback – Jun 3 2008

by Russ Harris (Author), Steven C. Hayes PhD (Foreword) 4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews


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Living in the now. Marriage is a dance. Following and holding our own. Following is not being dragged along. Following is being engaged, together, and accepting the call to adventure.

Following and holding our own. Following is not being dragged along. Following is being engaged, together, and accepting the call to adventure. Marriage is a dance. Living in the now.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Marriage, families, all relationships are more a process of learning the dance rather than finding the right dancer. Paul Pearsall

What happens when we don’t live in the now? Right now we can choose to be happy, grateful, and filled with joy. Why aren’t we? Often we are carrying something around that happened long ago into our now. Something we can’t change, something was said, something was done, and it’s over. But, it isn’t over in our mind, we keep going over it, we keep making worse scenarios, we keep blaming, and reading things into what was said or what was done.

It isn’t nice when people say things to us we don’t think are nice, true, and fair, etc. Could there be a kernel of truth in what they said? That makes it worse, doesn’t it? I’ve been told I’m a black and white thinker. This doesn’t seem like it should carry the weight I’ve given it.

I don’t think I look at things as all good or all bad, all or nothing, friend or foe, love or hate, right or wrong. I do think I take things that don’t seem like problems and can see where they become problems. I’ve always thought of that as positive. One more drink is too many. Not, no drinks are too many, even though I know for some people none is the right amount.

At Toastmasters when I was still a new member we did a roast at the Christmas party. The Toastmaster who roasted me said he could see me as the leader of a small country giving orders. My way or the highway might be where I have a little black and white thinking. Is this what the person who mentioned my black and white thinking was talking about?

When I’m right, I’m right. Is that a bad way to think? It’s worked for me all my life, maybe not as good as another way of thinking but it would be hard to change now. We are what we are, and certain characteristics are almost set in stone. What would not being stubborn look like? Would it actually be better? Don’t the people in our lives have to love us warts and all?

Not to say we can’t try and improve ourselves, but what is an improvement to us may not be an improvement to them. I would like to become more disciplined, more knowing what I think since I write about it every day.

We shouldn’t want to become an egomaniac where only what we want counts. Nor do we want to be I want whatever you want. It may seem like we’ve changed when all our energy was put into shared work, family, and our relationship. Those things needed all of us. There comes a time when our children no longer need us, our work life may ease up a bit, this gives space for us to develop interests, passions, and goals we had no time for earlier.

A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time. Anne Taylor Fleming

This doesn’t mean our partner is not just as important as they’ve always been. We are filling some other love tanks, finding meaning and purpose in other pursuits. Bringing a more fulfilled us to the relationship.

It can be scary as we think what if they find someone else, more interesting, successful, adventurous, attractive? We could always go looking for someone at any age. It is a chance we take in relationships; they will end at some point, through death, divorce, or separation. Thinking our partner can’t or shouldn’t grow and develop and become who they think they should be outside of marriage, jobs, and parenthood is stifling.

We had to learn to let our children take faltering steps out into the world. Our partners get to take their steps out into the world too.  Kahlil Gibran tells us, “Let there be space in your togetherness. For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”.

Some think Kahlil Gibran is telling people to hedge their bets, to not give too much, to guard their possessions and them self, to keep a clear boundary between themselves and their spouse. That individualism is greater than the unit created in marriage.

This isn’t what it says to me. It may be sweet when one spouse says, “You are the cream to my coffee.” Is it so great if individuals do not develop their own interests, gifts, creativity, and find the things that feed their soul? We are expecting too much from one person to be our “everything”.

I believe we can eat from the same loaf, drink from separate cups, have our own interests, grow together in love and understanding, support each other in our endeavors, be there for each other in sickness and in health, be there for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live.

Marriage is a dance, and if the man leads, the woman must choose to follow. We can’t be dragged into following. We can’t make someone follow. We must lead in a way that the two can dance and both enjoy them self. There is a responsibility on both parties to contribute to the dance. A woman at toastmasters spoke about taking dance lessons, she was told, “She had to hold her own”, so her partner could lead and they could dance beautifully. They gave a demonstration dancing beautifully she was holding her own, he was leading. She was not being dragged along, she was not the lesser of the two, she was a full partner in the dance and they were on an adventure of dancing. We need to do the same if we want adventure in our marriage. We can’t be a lump they just shuffle from pillar to post, we must hold our own and contribute to the happiness of ourselves and our relationship.

Can we dance in the now, grow in the now, laugh in the now, plan for the future while living in the now, living as if today is our last day but planning as if we’ll live forever? What a great life we can have?

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Kahlil Gibran

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The Dance of Intimacy Paperback – Mar 28 1997

by Harriet G. Lerner (Author) 3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews


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Gratitude and happiness. Are we happy with how we spend our time? These are our happy, golden years. If not now, when?

These are our happy, golden years. If not now, when? Are we happy with how we spend our time. Gratitude and happiness.

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. Ashley Smith

What happens if we don’t use the gifts we were given? Does a little part or big part of our self shrivel and die? Do we become unhappy, critical, and miserable? We sometimes think when we hear “using our gifts” it means finding a way to be financially compensated for our gifts. We have many gifts we can use to help us in ways that bring joy, contentment, adventure, excitement, and maybe money into our lives. Is one of the mistakes we make only focusing on the money?

How many people make us laugh? That’s a gift. How many people give us an encouraging word, that’s a gift? How many people smile and say good morning? How many people inspire us? Some people inspire us by not believing in us. We’ll show them can be one of the most inspiring attitudes pushing us forward.

We hear about people who need to find their way back to when they felt alive and happy. Often this journey takes them back to when they were young and using their creative gifts. As they became adults they took on the adult mantle of being serious and doing work that would make a living. They were making a living but the joy in life was given up.

We need to find balance in our lives where we have time for what brings in an income and keeps body and soul together, find creative outlets, and use our gifts. The 5 AM Club tells us gifts and talents neglected become curses and sorrows.

We need to build our every day in ways that uplift us, feed our soul, and bring joy to our lives. Work is part of our lives, not our whole life. We don’t make time for ourselves and our interests at our peril.

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

Since I started following the 5 AM Club and getting up at 5:00 my little dog gets a walk at 6:00. What a joy it is to get out in the fresh air, see the beautiful flowers, and enjoy the early morning. It seems like a gift I give myself, why has it taken me so long to do this? We are both better for our morning walk. Elevating my mornings elevates my life, my mood, and my interactions with other people.

This morning my daughter said, “You need to travel, and putting it off isn’t good.”

We think we have all the time in the world. If we look just a few years ahead of us we see where we’ll be. Tomorrow is not promised, it is a gift. The time to do things is now, but taking time off from business seems like one of the biggest challenges. Is it really? Or is it just fear?

What do we want? That is the question a lot of us don’t answer. What if we can have anything we ask for, but we have to ask? We have to figure out how to bring the things into our life we want. First, we have to decide what we want. We have to make a decision. Are we living our life on autopilot?

We worry there won’t be enough money. What if our problem is a lack of imagination, planning, foresight, and implementation? What if adventure is waiting for us to discover, dream, and do? What if using our gifts is the same. What makes us truly happy, feeds our soul and we do just for the sheer love of doing it is waiting for us to discover or bring back into our lives? Are we stopping to smell the flowers? Are we bothering to plant any? Are we hoping to reap what we aren’t sowing? Do we look for happiness in someone else’s garden?

This is our life, the only one we’ll have, are we living our lives the best way we can? Are we wringing all the joy out of it there is? What are we waiting for? Are there things we aren’t doing, that everyone thinks we should want to, but they aren’t that high on our list? Do we need to recognize the joy and beauty in our lives and quit comparing our dreams, goals, and accomplishments to someone else’s? We may have everything we need, everything we want, because we’ve actually built the life we wanted, and love. Are we seeing the beauty and bounty in our lives? Is it with gratitude we meet each wonderful day filled with 24 hours to be filled how we choose?

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today. James Dean

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The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. Hardcover – Dec 4 2018

by Robin Sharma (Author) 4.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews


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Does our life call out for editing, tweaking, or a complete makeover? Life is growth. Change is the only constant.

Life is growth. Change is the only constant. Does our life call out for editing, tweaking, or a complete makeover?

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

I’m working on editing my novel. I found a book Beginnings, Middles & Ends at Value Village on Saturday. It seems almost like serendipity I go there perusing the books and voila something jumps out at me. Editing, I’ve been putting it off, because it seemed just moving commas around wasn’t getting me anywhere. This book has helped already.

Our lives may need tweaking, editing, or a complete makeover. Often they need care and attention and we need care and attention. Have we been last on our list? Or are we like they tell us on the plane, putting our air mask on first so we can help others. If we don’t take care of ourselves we have nothing to give at some point, we are depleted.

We don’t know where our growth will come from. We don’t know what the future holds. Could Nelson Mandela possibly have known what greatness was in store for him as he was thrown into prison as an angry young man? Was there any other way for him to become the statesman he became?

Do we learn more from adversity? Is adversity the best thing that happens to us we would never choose. We must rise up and become stronger. It is like a sharp pull on our chain, we have to rethink, regroup, and grow. We will never be the same after we go through adversity, we won’t look at things quite the same way. We may think having to take off our rose colored glasses is a bad thing but is it really?

Maybe we thought we couldn’t fail. Maybe we thought our spouse couldn’t leave, maybe we thought devastation could never come to us. Maybe we thought petty quarrels and situations others face wouldn’t happen to us because we handle things better than that. We wouldn’t have those petty misunderstandings in our relationship.  

The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

Well handle this, life says. Handle it we must. We might handle it well or badly but we must handle it because we can’t ignore it. If we can ignore it, eventually it will become big enough we can’t pretend we don’t see the giant bean stock of a problem that has become our life.

We might even pat ourselves on the back because we always deal with the little things. One day a “little” thing may become something we can’t believe. As the tsunami takes over, we are hanging on for dear life. It could be anything that starts this process. A diagnosis we can’t believe, we eat well, we exercise, and we think good thoughts. How could this happen to us? It could be a misunderstanding and unmet expectations that morph and grow into something seemingly insurmountable. The economy could tank, or just our job or business sector be affected. Maybe we are reaching a stage in our life we don’t feel ready for.

Whatever is before us we must handle, grow, and deal with. We don’t know what will become of our life, relationships, but things will be different. We may think we can just go back, but we can’t.

Even if the diagnosis we are waiting for is negative, we dodged the bullet; we are given a clean bill of health. We will never be the person we were before we worried about that diagnosis. Confronting what we thought might be the end of our life may spur us on to do the things we want to get done. We’ve contemplated the end, we’ve been given a gift, and we need to use it.

Wherever we are in our life, there is probably some tweaking and editing that can be done. Do we need more, less, or different? Have we been doing too much for others, or not enough? Is there a hole in our life we need to fill? Are changes happening we don’t want but must accept? It is what it is, it can’t be different. Will it make us better, or bitter?

We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what, we are. Max DePree

Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.  Bryant McGill

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, meaning, change, and love.

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Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by [Dyer, Wayne W.]
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Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life Kindle Edition

by Wayne W. Dyer (Author)

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Be the hero in our own life. Teach our children to be heroes in theirs. Make a choice and stand behind it. Support our children in their choices.

Make a choice and stand behind it. Support our children in their choices. Be the hero in our own life. Teach our children to be heroes in theirs.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. Keri Russell

We are the heroes of our own life. We should not be the bit player, the sidekick, the odd but quirky character, nor the unfortunate woman with the heart of gold, the maiden in distress, or the sage and the wise fool. Even if parts of us are all of these characters we are the hero of our story. If we are the hero of our story, why don’t we feel heroic?

Are we looking around and comparing the worst of ourselves to the best of someone else? Are we looking down at our own accomplishments and magnifying someone else’s? Are we sitting on the sidelines of our own life, wishing, hoping, dreaming, but not doing?

This morning I was not the smart hero. It’s nice enough to not have to wear a jacket and without pockets where is one to put keys? “It’ll be okay”, I tell myself as I take Lulu out for a walk leaving the door open and my keys at home. We are rounding the last corner before home when I see my son in law go off to work.  When I reach the door I realize he locked it. Why wouldn’t he lock the door? He’s a responsible young man. I looked through the blinds and finally, my daughter walked by, I rang the doorbell and she opened the door.

All I needed to do was get my fanny pack and put my keys and phone into it and I was master of my own fate. We can count on people in ways we shouldn’t. We should be in control of most of our own life. We live with our spouse or family but it’s our life. No one is going to live if for us but us. If we don’t step up and build a life we love, who do we think will do it for us? There is no magic fairy, and there is no magic wand. If we don’t make things good for us, who do we think will? If we don’t treat ourselves like we are someone we are responsible for helping, why do we think other people should help us?

My dog Lulu does not expect us to watch her feet. She is very protective of herself and we should also be like that. We need to take care of ourselves; we are worth our time and attention it shouldn’t just be lavished on the others in our life.

If we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, isn’t it at least part of our responsibility. We need to protect our self from the users and abusers in life. We put ourselves in vulnerable situations we shouldn’t when we drink too much especially when we are young and likely to be prey to trolling men looking for easy pickings. It isn’t women bashing to tell young women they need to be their own control board. Trusting people who haven’t yet proven they can be trusted is not smart.

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

My husband tells me someone has made a derogatory comment, “Thank you, fathers, for dropping off your virgin daughters at the university.” We may not like the fact that there are many users out there wanting to get their hands and other parts on our young daughters. Pretending it isn’t true isn’t helpful. Not letting our daughters grow up, get an education and take their place in the world doesn’t help. We need to teach our daughters to be smart, don’t let people ply them with drinks. Don’t over drink and become a victim. It can be hard to keep our head about us when we aren’t in a mind-altered state. It can be almost impossible to keep our wits about us when we are, and that is what the users and abusers count on. If we don’t teach our daughters to protect themselves and think about what they want and make the choices they want to make, who do we think is going to do this?

It isn’t that our daughters shouldn’t live fun lives, the fun should be on their terms. They should know the consequences of their actions, and they should choose those actions, not just deal with the consequences afterward.

If that rather ignorant but true comment makes some parents and their daughters think about what is in store for them as they go off to university then saying it was a good thing. Not everyone with a smile and a drink is a good guy. Girls just want to have fun is often true, they need to be smart about it, and take care of them self. It isn’t more fun because you are irresponsible or less fun when you are. Living a life of few regrets is worthwhile at every age.

We need to teach our girls and young men to think for themselves. We need to teach them to be able to say, no, that doesn’t work for me, that’s not what I want. We need to teach our children to choose, not just accept what is offered, expected, or coerced. If we taught our girls they could say “Yes” when they want to, maybe they would be better at saying “No” when they need to.

Are we asking our kids, “What do you want?” Not just what do you want to do? What do you want out of life, relationships, and this journey that is your life? What if they could tell us the truth, and we were okay with it? What if our girls didn’t have to pretend it was a mistake when they have sex? What if we made them believe they have the right to make choices, and they should make choices they can stand behind?

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Denis Waitley

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I’d Listen to My Parents If They’d Just Shut Up: What to Say and Not Say When Parenting Teens Paperback – Nov 1 2011

by Anthony Wolf (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews


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The emptiness of winning and pursuing happiness. Finding purpose and meaning in our lives.

Finding purpose and meaning in our lives. The emptiness of winning and pursuing happiness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso

Yesterday in Toronto was a day of celebration and revelry celebrating the Raptors championship win. It was marred by gunshots. My husband had talked about going down there Sunday night but we have work to do, and the crowds, oh the crowds.

My son’s girlfriend went down with friends, and the friends were close to where the gunshots were fired. That no one was hurt in the inevitable stampede out of harm’s way is very fortuitous. People were knocked down and couldn’t get up but it seems the panic was not so great, and people helped up those who fell.

There are always idiots it seems. What is amazing is there weren’t more.

As a fair weather fan, I’ve enjoyed the win. Sports don’t mean that much to me. Winning is good for our morale as a city and as a country. We get a little excitement in our lives as we cheer for our team.

Will there be a bit of a letdown now? The high and hope are over. I found a quote on a blog “becomingminimalist” The emptiness of sports, is most felt in victory.

We pursue many things in our lives that lead to emptiness. We don’t notice the emptiness until we obtain our goals. Money it seems or at least we are told is an empty victory if all we get is money at the end of our pursuit. Zig Ziglar said, “Money won’t bring happiness, but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”

What are the pursuits in our life that bring the most meaning? Family and relationships are where we find most of our joy and happiness. Using our resources to do some kind of good is also a meaningful pursuit.

If we spend our time pursuing material possessions, public accolades, fame, or early retirement do we feel empty when we finally reach our goal? Is part of our problem focusing on the goal and not the journey?

Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. Marian Wright Edelman

Early retirement sounds like a laudable goal if one has plans after retirement that are as compelling and engaging as what we were doing before retirement.

A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness. Albert Einstein

What are the pursuits that lead to meaning and purpose? Meaning comes from belonging to and serving something beyond yourself and from developing the best within you. Martin Seligman

Even though life is getting objectively better by nearly every conceivable standard, more people feel hopeless, depressed and alone. Emily Esfahani Smith argued in a Ted Talk that despite our culture’s obsession with the pursuit of personal happiness, understanding the meaning in your life is the secret to your resilience and success.

Pursuing purpose and meaning what does that even mean? Can seeking happiness make people unhappy?

Finding purpose and meaning will be different for everyone but I think part of it is when we impact someone else’s life in a positive way. We do this in our families; we impact our spouse’s life, our children’s lives, our parent’s lives, our sibling’s lives. We can move out into a wider sphere and impact our communities and still wider and impact our society, countries, and the world.

Victor Frankly tells us we should find meaning by not caring about it, not pursuing it, let it happen. He suggests we embrace activities that connect with something greater. While having meaning present in our lives may be associated with greater happiness, searching for meaning may be associated with less happiness.  The most satisfying forms of meaning may blossom not when we pursue them but when we seek beauty, love, justice or a cause greater than ourselves. The secret to meaning may be to remind ourselves every day to do the right thing, love fully, pursue fascinating experiences, and undertake important tasks, not because we are trying to increase the meaning in life, but because these pursuits are worth pursuing in themselves.

Do we love fully, pursue fascinating experiences, and undertake important tasks? Are we giving our gift away, do we even know what our gift is?

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Mitch Albom

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, meaning, purpose, and love.

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The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters Hardcover – Jan 10 2017

by Emily Esfahani-Smith (Author) 3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews


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Is gratitude the key to happiness? Is the key to life living with a grateful heart?

Is the key to life living with a grateful heart? Is gratitude the key to happiness?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Anonymous

Is gratitude the key to happiness? Is this why we can go places where people have very little, and yet with broad smiles on their faces they seem in love with life. Can we become grateful for everything in our life? The smell of the coffee before we drink it, the pink of the sunrise as we walk in the morning, the dew on the grass, the profusion of flowers, the song of the birds, the smell of rain. Do we revel in the ability to inhale fresh air in large generous breaths and the rhythm of our footsteps as we walk enjoying the bounty and beauty of nature?

Can we enjoy all of our life? Enjoy the big moments and the small. When we were little we exuberantly enjoyed life, laughing, dancing, singing, running, everything was fun. Where did all that exuberance go?

We couldn’t wait to get out of our parent’s house and start living life. We wanted money to spend, and places to go. Life was an adventure, is it still? We need to somehow keep that zest for life, or get it back. Don’t we all love to be around people who are happy, fulfilled, joyful, adventurous, optimistic, and engaged? Are we one of the people others love to be around?

It’s a question we need to ask ourselves. Is our attitude affecting others in a positive way? Is our attitude affecting our own life in a negative way? Are we grateful for all we have, even if it isn’t what we thought it would be? Are we pursuing our dream for our self or someone else’s dream for us?

Did we somehow get locked into expectations that if we don’t meet we feel like a failure, even if those expectations don’t mesh with what we want out of life? Are we willing to ask ourselves what do we want? For ourselves, our future, our present, our family, our livelihood, our retirement? Are we scared to ask questions because the answers might require something of us we don’t feel prepared to give?

This is our life, the only one we have. If we don’t love it, what needs to change to love our life, our self, our livelihood, our present, our future? What is the change that would need to take place to make it so life could hardly be better than it is?

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Denis Waitley

To be able to have the capacity for gratitude Tomasz Fortuna, a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust said, “You must be able to receive and accept something helpful or good from another person. It helps if this is something you see happening around you from infancy, so you can learn how it works.”

Alex Wood a psychologist and the centennial professor at London School of Economics said, “If someone has grown up in an environment in which they cannot rely on the people who are meant to take care of them, in which their need for love is met with neglect and abuse. I think it would be very difficult for them to experience gratitude, with that particular lens through which to view the world.

Fortuna says in these situations, “What gets mobilized instead is a sense of threat, a fear of annihilation and the feeling of being persecuted, and deprived.”

We can develop gratitude Fortuna says, “Suddenly, the patient, who has felt for a long time that everyone is threatening and that they are being persecuted, discovers something friendly, in an interaction. That is a sign of gratitude where none was seen before and it can be a pivotal moment in therapy. You can see the emotional development of a person; their internal world becomes more enriched, more balanced. It gives us a sense that this work is worthwhile.”

It seems gratitude can be a learned behavior. Some people feel there is a downside to gratitude. That if people are grateful for their bad circumstances it will keep them in servitude, poverty, and abuse. Can’t we be grateful for what we have in our life that is positive even if we live in servitude, poverty, and abuse? Isn’t this where the power lies, to be grateful for what is good, even if it isn’t much. We can still be grateful for food to eat, a place to sleep, the beauty and bounty of nature, love in our lives, kind words. As we appreciate the good we do have, perhaps we can figure out how to bring about the changes our life calls out for. We can be grateful for the strength to bring those changes about.

Is developing an attitude of gratitude one of the most positive things we can do in our life?

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. Henri Frederic Amiel

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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Gratitude: Increase Happiness with the Simple Act of Giving Thanks Paperback – Dec 21 2017

by Joanne Hillyer (Author)5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews from Amazon.com | Be the first to review this item


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Father’s day is a day to think about and remember all the great things about our Dads, and men who were mentors and role models in our life. We all benefit from the heart of a father.

We all benefit from the heart of a father. Father's day is a day to think about and remember all the great things about our Dads, and men who were mentors and role models in our life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song. Dan Brown

Father’s day is a bittersweet day for many of us. We’ve lost our Dad’s or worse yet they were never in our lives, or the relationship wasn’t good.

We all have a father; we couldn’t be here without one. He occupies a place in our heart or leaves a hole in it. We can’t ignore our father’s impact on our lives.

This morning I thought about the time the horse I bought kicked a hole in his new barn. He never said anything “that I can recall,” just patched the hole.

I drove the tines of the front end loader into the big rear tires of another tractor. He never said anything about that either, but I did have to help fix the tire.

He helped me break my horse Chinook. She’d never been ridden when I bought her. Looking back Mom and Dad had a lot of confidence and faith in us kids. We had the freedom to ride our horses, and Chinook and I traveled the trails around our home. It was an idyllic life growing up.

Having a dad who is there for us, a constant fixture, guiding and encouraging us is a blessing. We didn’t have a lot of expectations placed on us; we were encouraged to live our lives our way. We were given examples of how to deal with life.

Dad loved us, loved mom, and loved the farm. It is a great gift when you grow up where people are happy. You don’t even think about not being happy, it is not about everything going well. I came home for a visit one year, and six cows had gotten into the chop (ground grain) they died because they don’t know when to quit eating. It had just happened the carcasses were still lying where they died. If you are going to deal in livestock, you’ll have to deal with dead stock. It was just another fact of life. Dad was good at dealing with life.

Having parents who are good at dealing with life, is one of the great blessings I’ve had. They’d both been in other marriages and appreciated what they had, each other, and us kids. My mom said to me once, “the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their father.” I think she’s right. Growing up in a house filled with love shows you it can exist.

We can only build lives we can imagine and having an example makes imagining a happy marriage, with happy children easier. Shared accomplishments are a big part of a happy marriage I think. When lives are as intertwined as they are on a farm you need to be all in or it can’t work. Small businesses are the same.

One of the things that Dad and Mom always tried to be is fair. What they couldn’t do for all of us they didn’t do for one of us. When one of your biggest qualities is fairness I think that is pretty good.

What you teach your children, you also teach their children. Unknown

One regret I have is that I moved so far away, and then in retirement Mom and Dad moved to B.C. which made it even further. My children haven’t had the close experience of grandparents with Mom and Dad. They missed out on that. We drove out in 2007 to see Mom and Dad. Dad wasn’t doing well, but maybe we don’t see things we don’t want to see, he didn’t make it to the next Father’s day.

Dad had a good life, and he had a good death, he didn’t suffer, he didn’t end up hooked up to machines, he didn’t linger. He always said he wanted to die in his sleep; he had a massive heart attack at the breakfast table. He left Mom in a good financial position; he was a good husband, father, provider, example, and person. I was waiting to call him for Father’s Day, a call I never got to make.

We didn’t have anything left unsaid. There was no angst we needed to deal with. Miles and distance don’t have to mean we aren’t close to our families. That is a choice, many people live close but distant lives. We lived distant but close lives. Dad always had good advice, he was encouraging, he looked on the bright side, and he could see what was important. He was willing to give people a chance; he was willing to see the best in them instead of the worst. I don’t remember Dad ever not talking to someone because of his choice.

He made an effort to heal relationships that weren’t broken because of his actions. I’ve always been impressed by that. You can’t fix the hole in someone’s life, but you can do what you can do, and doing is better than not doing. When we help someone deal with an unfair hand they were dealt in life, we’ve done a good thing.

I miss you Dad. It is with a grateful heart I think about Dad this Father’s Day. I think he did his best; he built a good life for Mom and all of us. He was steady, strong, encouraging, and positive. He was an example of living a good life. When we would visit my Uncle who had calendars with semi-nude women on them, the pictures were turned to the wall because Dad didn’t like them. Our home was a place of equal opportunity. Dad loved us all equally, or so it seemed to me.

If on this Father’s day we can think back to the wonderful times we had with our father we have a lot to be grateful for. If there was no father in our life, maybe someone filled that role to some greater or lesser degree. Their presence was a gift. To all the men who have stepped up to father someone else’s children kudos to you. Being a stepfather is one of the hardest roles to fill. We all need to be grateful for men who step up and take on responsibilities that weren’t their responsibility.

To all the father’s, and step-father’s that do the best they can. Where would we be without you?

The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature. Antoine-Francois Prevost

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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The Life of Dad: Reflections on Fatherhood from Today’s Leaders, Icons, and Legendary Dads Hardcover – May 7 2019

by Jon Finkel (Author), Art Eddy (Author)5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews from Amazon.com | Be the first to review this item