Getting out of our comfort zone. Facing the fear. Being the change we want to see in our life.

Being the change we want to see in our life. Facing the fear. Getting out of our comfort zone.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. Unknown

Getting out of our comfort zone what does that even mean? It happens at Toastmaster’s every week. We pay to have the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and see other people getting out of theirs. It is as encouraging, perhaps even more encouraging when we see the progress other people make as they get out of their comfort zone again and again. We watch people who never thought they would win an award as best speaker, evaluator of impromptu speaking, proudly having their picture taken.

These small steps out of comfort zones can have big effects on lives. We never know where getting out of our comfort zone will take us.

The night we moved into our house a man put his fist through our sidelight trying to get to a phone because he and his friends got out of their comfort zone and decided to do off-road driving in the undeveloped site across from us.

We need to think about the comfort zone we are leaving. Is it safe, is it wise, is it dangerous? Some of us are too cautious, and some of us are too brave. Putting everything on red might be out of our comfort zone, it will usually for sure be out of our partner’s comfort zone.

Sometimes I buy a lottery ticket, often I see people who don’t look like they should be spending the amount of money they are on lottery tickets trying to get out of their comfort zone. They aren’t going about it in the best way. That amount of money saved and invested would build them a future, buying lottery tickets is unlikely to pay off.

Last week we watched a video on YouTube telling us that a high percentage of people without high incomes spend a high percentage of their income on luxury goods. Frugality is not being embraced by those who need it most. When we want to look successful before we are successful chances are we will never become really successful.

You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. Brian Tracy

Habits of the rich:

Eat right. 70 percent of wealthy people eat less than 300 calories in junk-food. 97 percent of poor people eat more than 300 calories in junk-food.

Keep fit. 76 percent of wealthy people exercise at least four days per week, and only 23 percent of poor people do.

Set goals for themselves. A goal is a dream with a plan to reach it. 80 percent of the wealthy focus on a goal. Only 12 percent of poor people have a goal written down.

The wealthy don’t share all their ideas. Only 11.6 percent of the wealthy blurt out what’s on their mind compared to 69 percent of the poor.

Keep a To-Do list. 81 percent of the wealthy keep a To-Do list compared to 19 percent of the poor. 84 percent of the wealthy believe good habits create opportunity and luck versus 4 percent of the poor according to Dave Ramsey.

Wealthy people never quit educating themselves. Wealthy people read at least thirty minutes per day compared to 2 percent of the poor.

Stay in touch with people. Wealthy people show their love by keeping in touch.

Rich people watch less TV. Poor people have a big TV. Rich people have a big library. Jim Rohn

Wealthy people are not big gamblers. Only 23 percent of wealthy people gamble compared to 52 percent of the poor.

The wealthy make daily positive choices. 74% of wealthy people teach good daily success habits to their children versus 1% of the poor. Dave Ramsey

We are building our life by the choices we make every single day. More of our life is up to our behavior, attitude, and habits than a lot of us want to believe.

Are there choices we could make that would move us out of our comfort zone and make our lives better? If we only do what we’ve always done, we’ll only get what we’ve always gotten. If we want change, we have to change. Who but us can be the change we want to see in our life?

I was born poor, raised in poverty and watched my parents die that way. I worked hard, eliminated my bad habits, started doing what the wealthy did. Mostly I stopped blaming others for my lack of wealth. Now I am wealthy, and I help others who want to be helped. Dave Ramsey

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

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Do we tell a redemptive or a negative story? Will our story make us better or bitter?

Will our story make us better or bitter? Do we tell a redemptive or a negative story?

When we focus on gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in. Kristin Armstrong.

We create our own narrative, history, and story we tell our self and others. How we tell it can shape our lives to have more meaning and purpose.

We choose what we include in our story, mostly the highest highs, and lowest lows. We may include something in our story that someone else would leave out because it has no significance to them. It may be a positive thing in our story but would be negative to someone else, or it may have helped us grow and created the wound that will not heal in someone else.

A Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams is an expert on what he calls “narrative identity. This is the internalized story we create for ourselves. It is our own personal myth. When we want people to understand us we share parts of our story, when we want to understand other people we ask them about parts of their story.

McAdams asks research subjects to divide their lives into chapters and to recount a high point, low point, and turning point. He also encourages participants to examine their values and beliefs. Lastly, he asks them to determine the central theme of their story and to interpret their story’s central theme. It is the interpretation of, not the actual events that are important.

He has discovered how we interpret our lives and our experiences have a huge impact on our lives. The people who are driven to contribute to society and future generations in big ways are more likely to tell redemptive stories about their lives. They see the good in the hard times they went through. People who tell redemptive stories rate their lives as being more meaningful than those who don’t tell or tell fewer redemptive stories.

A psychotherapist’s job is to help people tell their story in a more positive way. It isn’t only what happens to us, but how we interpret what happens to us that shapes our life. We can’t control the events that shape our lives; they are usually outside of ourselves. Where we grew up, the economy, the culture, and opportunities shaped our lives.

Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything. Alan Cohen

What is in our control is how we react to what happens in our life. Why do we call the people who grew up in the depression and fought in the second World War the “greatest generation”? They lived through momentous change, they had an incredible work ethic, they were frugal, and they understood sacrifice and honor.

Living through any time in history everyone has to make sense of their own story. No matter when and how we grow up we have to make sense of the circumstances that shape our lives. If we look through the lenses of redemption or contamination we change our reaction to our story. When we can realize we can glean some meaning from the hardships in our life we start to appreciate our life and our lessons. These lessons we might not have been able to learn any other way.

Finding meaning in the hard parts of our life doesn’t mean we wouldn’t change things if we could, but we can’t, all we can do is grow through adversity and pain. We don’t need to be grateful for the horrible things that happen to be grateful for the lessons learned. It is the hardest experiences that teach us the most powerful and transformative lessons.

As I write this I am thinking of someone whose daughter died too soon, with a young baby and a new husband. Her mother has written a book about getting through her and her husband’s hardest days.

Are we better, or bitter because of our story?

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

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Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy Hardcover – Feb 26 2019


What do we want to accomplish in ten years? What dreams and goals can we bring to fruition?

What dreams and goals can we bring to fruition? What do we want to accomplish in ten years?

It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. Unknown

We all know how our story on this earth ends. Can this be one of our happiest, most creative, harmonious decades that lay before us?

What would it take to heal the breaches, heal the hurts, wounds, and make this the most loving decade of our lives? Is this the decade we discover our creative voice? Is this the decade we make our biggest contributions to the world? Is this the decade we encourage, help, mentor, or volunteer?

Is this the decade we get our finances in order and live in peace and plenty? Is this the decade we get our health concerns addressed, change our way of eating, get more exercise, and change our attitude to gratitude?

Is this the decade our family grows, we become parents, grandparents, or great grandparents? Is this the decade we meet one of the great loves of our life? We often use this expression for romantic relationships but I think we have more great loves in our life than just romantic relationships.

Some of our great loves haven’t been human. If you’ve never had a dog, horse or other pet, you’ve missed out; maybe this is your decade to experience something new.

The world with all there is to see beckons. I met my cousin and her husband last year at Niagara Falls, one of the places she had on her list to see and experience. Is this a decade of globetrotting?

Is this the decade you finally get to read the books you’ve always wanted to read? Do you long to ponder the big questions? Is this the decade to paint, quilt, write, sing, play a musical instrument, become a comedian, put your big idea out into the world, start a company, take up public speaking, dance, learn, or make something new?

If we have no enemy inside us, the enemy outside us can do us no harm. African Proverb

Ten years will fly by as fast or faster than the last ten. What will we do with it? When we look back in ten years will we say wow, we fit a lot in, or will we be thinking of what we wished we would have, could have, or should have done?

What do we want to achieve?

Do we want to be the best person we can be?

The best wife or husband we can be?

The best mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather we can be?

Do we want to encourage as many people as we can?

Is it our goal to be the change we want to see in the world?

Can we make a difference?

What do we have the world needs more of?

Who can we help, encourage, support, and mentor?

What kind of legacy do we want to leave?

What do we want to be said about us when we are no longer here?

What do we want to accomplish in ten years?

Use our energy to get on with life. Our past achievements don’t reflect our future potential. Unknown

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Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule Audible Audiobook


Embracing what is. The only constant is change.

The only constant is change. Embracing what is.


We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell

I come down to my kitchen this morning and the topic is fighting cancer. Some people on the radio are saying they don’t

like the term fighting cancer. They don’t want the focus to be on what they don’t want. Others are saying even when you fight cancer and you don’t live, you didn’t lose. The winning was the courage, heart, and fortitude you showed every day you lived.

These are two ways of looking at things but we have the attitude, we will gird our loins and prepare for battle whether that is poverty, drug addiction, or cancer. Some people believe the more we concentrate on what we don’t want the more of it we get.

Should we concentrate on having enough, prospering, instead of poverty? It may be helpful to focus on being clean and sober, finding meaning in life without altering our mood, and concentrating our energy on building health instead of fighting cancer. When people are going through things it is theirs to go through. Who are we to tell them what they should focus on and how they should look at it?

My daughter tells me as she leaves for work this morning, a woman she works with told her that her mother was diagnosed with cancer and overcame it through adopting a plant-based diet. Even though everyone in the family sees the difference it has made in the mother’s life, they haven’t adopted it themselves.

I don’t know which camp is the right camp. It seems foolish to me from the outside to try and tell anyone how they should feel or what they should focus on when they are going through the worst life can throw at them.

I remember a cancer survivor said he envisioned the cancer cells in his body being taken out by his immune system. He recovered.

I watched my brother-in-law go through cancer and when he got the diagnosis of brain cancer it seemed the fight was already over. He had already lost a lot of his ability to control his life. He died within six months. Some people thought he should have fought it, he accepted it.

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. Carl Jung

When it is something we are going through we may instinctively know even if we can’t articulate it, whether this is a fight we have a chance of winning or not.

Cancer will be a journey of its own. We probably need to let people control their own decisions.

In the early fifties, the war on cancer was just starting. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it. She lived for a year and a half. My mom believes she would have still had that year and a half but without recovering from the treatment she could have enjoyed her year and a half.

There are people who believe in early diagnosis and people who believe they don’t want to go looking for problems.  There is probably not actually a correct way to look at it. I personally don’t believe we can afford to test people for everything. By early diagnosis are we living longer, or just living longer knowing we have a disease?

Is food our best chance for health? Are we what we eat? If we eat what nourishes our body, we may be as healthy as we can be. Food may not give us as long of a life as we want. Maybe nothing will, but if we eat the best diet we can, maybe we can live till we die.

Is changing our diet something we can do? Even if we thought our diet was perfect, can we tweak it? In this way can we take control of our health?

We don’t know what we don’t know. Isn’t how people handle crisis up to them? From the sidelines, we can support them, encourage them but do we have the right to judge how they look at things? Are there lessons to be learned, we can’t learn any other way? Do we need to embrace all life has to offer?

Byron Katie author of  Loving What Is says she doesn’t like to suffer, so she doesn’t argue with reality. She says there are three kinds of business: “mine, yours, and God’s.” Suffering is when we get out of our own business and into someone else’s, including God’s.

She says, “Until you see everything in the world as your friend, that includes the fatal diagnoses as well as poor drivers in traffic – your work is not done.” It takes courage to face reality without telling a story that things should be different. This is a strategy for learning to love what you get, whether it’s what you wanted or what you thought you didn’t want. It means living in a state of love – a lot more of the time.

Can we learn to accept what is, because, well it is, and is there any use fighting against reality? Are there things we can do when we accept what is? Accepting what is, maybe what we need to do, to change things?

The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan Watts

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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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Life is change. Only death is stagnant. We are changing if we are living.

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For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction. Cynthia Ocee

Life is filled with change. Growth is messy, chaotic and rips everything apart. If we want to live smooth lives we don’t grow in ways that create upheaval and chaos. Many times when life changes it isn’t smooth.

Marriage brings together two disparate human beings. Starting a business is not often an easy seamless process. Moving to a new house is a huge undertaking. Yet people move houses, cities, countries all the time. They take what they can, what is most important and they leave the rest.

I look around at all we’ve gathered while we’ve lived in this house. Some serious editing will have to be done if we move. Life is a series of changes some we don’t acknowledge, some we worry and fret over.

Nature is growth and growth is messy. We are growing into the fullness of life or we are like ripened fruit on the tree. There is no point mourning where we are on the circle of life. It is best to acknowledge where we are, take stock and plan what we want for the next twenty, thirty, or forty years.

No matter what our choice it won’t necessarily be easy as we move from here to there. When we plant seeds in the ground have we ever wondered at the process they must go through to become the shoot that pushes through the ground?

Renewing of life is all around us. Even as the snow covers the ground things are happening down there. Life is getting ready to burst forth. We may think our growth is done, but until we die there is more to learn, do, accomplish and accept.

We may be in a gathering stage, growth stage, or letting go stage. It may seem so slow it is as if it isn’t happening at all.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail, is they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death. Anais Nin

Lessons on handling change.

Reduce our expectations. Unmet expectations are one of the biggest challenges we have in life. Pretty good relationships aren’t good enough. Great jobs aren’t what we thought they’d be. Parenthood isn’t that feeling of love and fulfillment we thought. We long for what we’ve read about, and we think moments should last longer. If we are lucky to have great moments, we are disappointed when they don’t encompass the whole of our life.

Our children and our spouse can’t meet these expectations. Where is a relationship to go when it is filled with so much disappointment? When we lower our expectations we can enjoy what is.

Acknowledge change. We may not want the change that is coming, but it doesn’t ask our permission. We will have to deal with what is. We can actively look for ways to bring change to our life. We can bring new people into our life by joining groups. We can learn new things, try new activities. Travel to see another side of life.

Accept change. When circumstances don’t turn out how we want or how we expected it can be disappointing. Change can be our greatest teacher if we will learn from it.

Learn from the experience. There are gifts in all areas of life if we recognize them. Is life trying to teach us something we can’t quite grasp? Do we need bigger, harder lessons, when we could have learned from small quiet lessons?

Recognize we are growing stronger. We can accept, learn from, and embrace change. We will grow stronger, it is inevitable.

Embrace wisdom. The more we change and grow as people the more wisdom we amass and have to share. If we can develop a sense of inner peace and accept change with calmness, peace, and courage, we will look back and see how much we have grown. When change is no longer our enemy, it becomes our teacher.

If change is going to happen anyway, why not embrace it? If we go back over our life we can graph the changes in our life. How would we feel if we had not had those changes? Sometimes one door has to close for another one to open. Change allows us to grow. As we embark on new challenges we are opening our self up to change.

We may feel something negative is happening in our life that is the chaotic unfolding of change. Nothing can change, until something changes. We may long for change, but when we are in the midst of it the mess, the chaos, the destruction seems too much. We must push forward to see what will become of the change we are going through.

We can’t stop something in the midst of change without killing it. The butterfly must struggle to get out of its cocoon. The baby must struggle to get out of the womb. The bud struggles to burst forth in flower. Life is struggle, life is change. Would we really want it to be different?

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao Tzu

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Change: Learn to Love It, Learn to Lead It Paperback – Jan 2 2080

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Love is a decision. Love fully, truly, deeply.

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The human race is like a bunch of porcupines huddling together on a cold winters night. “The colder it gets outside, the more we huddle together for warmth; but the closer we get to one another, the more we hurt one another with our sharp quills. And in the lonely night of earth’s winter eventually, we begin to drift apart and wander out on our own and freeze to death in our loneliness.” Arthur Schopenhauer

Does anyone want conditional love? Is anyone capable of unconditional love?

Do we feel capable of loving absolutely unconditionally? People who are religious feel they have unconditional love. Sometimes they pull away from God because they feel too unlovable. Do we feel unlovable and pull away from those who love us. Do we make it almost impossible for them to love us?

Even porcupines huddle together for warmth but they must be careful to not get too close or they prick each other. Do they do a dance like we humans, drifting too close and then too far from each other? Do they find a happy medium, do we?

A study from Princeton University tells us four out of ten infants born in the United States do not form a strong bond with either parent. The main problem according to the Princeton study is forty percent of infants in the US ‘live in fear or distrust of their parents’, and this will translate into aggressiveness, defiance, and hyperactivity as they grow into adults.

I was reading that parents of newborns that are not compatible with life, who do not bond with them. Have a harder time accepting the loss than those parents who loved without caution the little time they had. We may think we are inoculating our self from pain by guarding our heart. It doesn’t seem to work that way, the more we love, truly, fully, deeply, the more at peace we are with the inevitable. This also seems to play a part with the death of a spouse. The better the relationship the easier it is for the remaining spouse to deal with the loss.  When everything was said, that needed to be said there are no regrets for what could have been or should have been. When Dad died I don’t think any of us had anything left unsaid.

A husband and wife may disagree on many things but they must absolutely agree on this, to never, ever give up. Unknown

Marriage is on the upswing it seems for the over sixty-five-year-olds. Dr. Kate Davidson co-author of Intimacy in Later Life says older men and women said: “they never thought they would feel like that again, and it was lovely.” It seems men want someone to come home to, and women want someone to go out with. Widows tend to marry widowers. Widowed men marry women, single, widowed and divorced. Davidson tells a story about a wealthy man of 75 who married a divorced woman in her early 60s. “She used Botox, went to the gym twice a week, a real dish. “How did you get someone so scrumptious?’ his friends asked. ‘I lied about my age’,” he replied. ‘I told her I was 90.’

Couples in their sixties-plus see a much longer term future for themselves; it’s another adventure to be had in life. Older couples have more time, some have more money, they no longer have childcare commitments, and they are free of stress from work. There are boulders to be dealt with, grown children are not always ecstatic for their parents. The children sometimes worry about inheritance, sometimes rightly, sometimes not.

Love at every age is a minefield. If we worry too much about what could happen, we miss what is happening. We need to love fully, truly, deeply, knowing what will happen, will happen, and we will deal with it when it does. Worrying about what might happen doesn’t change it; all it does is keep us from enjoying what is to be enjoyed now.

We don’t need to wonder if pain will find us. It will, but we won’t feel less pain by loving less, we will feel more pain because we will look back with regret at what we can no longer change. Can we live without regret, and  love without caution? We can only do our best, but when we know we’ve truly done the best we could, gave all there was, we feel the loss but not the regret for what we could of, should of, but didn’t.

Love is a decision, we make it every day. Sometimes it is like loving a porcupine, sometimes it is like loving a puppy. We don’t get to love during the good times if we can’t love through the cold, dark, winter of our lives. As they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming, but then again so is spring. If we give up when it is cold, windy, stormy, then the spring sun will not smile on us.

This may be why widows tend to marry widowers, they know about getting through the stages of marriage and they feel divorcees do not.

Whatever stage we are in, another stage is coming. We may be looking forward to the next stage or enjoying the stage we are in. If change is the only constant? Can we hold on for the wild ride?

My husband has made me laugh. Wiped my tears. Hugged me tight. Watched me succeed. Seen me fail. Kept me strong. My husband is a promise that I will have a friend forever. Unknown

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Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs Hardcover – Sep 5 2004