Wealth and scarcity. Having more isn’t always the answer. What we do with what we have is.

Having more isn't always the answer. What we do with what we have is. Wealth and scarcity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Buddha

What does it take to consider ourselves wealthy? Is wealth just money? According to Dr. Jim Muncy author of One Door Two Locks, wealth is having what we need to fulfill our purpose in life.

If we go with this definition then adding things to our lives that don’t help us achieve our purpose is not necessarily a step in the right direction. Everything we add takes a chunk out of our life. When we go to the gym that’s a chunk of time we can’t spend somewhere else. Belonging to community groups, taking roles in the Church, starting a side hustle, hobbies, time spent with family, friends, watching TV, going to sports events everything takes time away from something else. Owning a larger home, a second and third property, these take chunks of time to maintain.

I’ve watched parents spend so much time coaching a sport after their child no longer plays it that their child appeared deprived of the time they needed with their parent. The parent was so busy being the volunteer of the year they didn’t see how much their child needed them.

It is easy to be so busy helping others we deprive our families of what should be theirs. The other day a pastor was talking about how his marriage was falling apart because he was looking after the Church flock but his wife felt neglected and last on his list. The members of the Church always needed him, and he was always there. When his wife needed him he wasn’t. Even when he set aside time for his wife the members of the Church would need a ride somewhere and they were going that way so the date or weekend they planned had a parishioner in it. The Pastor’s wife never complained because she was a Pastor’s wife. His wife signed up for a shared ministry but she was on the sidelines.

Jim Muncy says wealth comes from having what we need and not being distracted by what we don’t need. Poverty comes in two forms. There is a poverty of scarcity, which happens when we don’t have what we need. There is also a poverty of bondage when we are tied to things we don’t need.

True wealth is not of the pocket, but of the heart and of the mind. Kevin Gates

There is a book I picked up in Indigo one day and I can’t remember the title. The author was talking about abundance and scarcity in relation to hornets and honey bees. When you look at the hornets’ nest they have an abundance of materials to make their nest out of so they are not elegant. The premise of the book is how we live more elegant lives with less, and cluttered wasteful lives with more.

We live in a wasteful society because we have an abundance. When we didn’t have abundance people did more with less. If we watch documentaries of the Victorian Age everything was used. Even bones were sold after they had been used in every way within the household.

There’s a blog called The Zero-Waste Chef she asks how can colonizing another planet that cannot support life be easier than mitigating a crisis on a planet that can and does support life?

It is an abundance that is causing most of our modern problems. It is abundance creating the plastic garbage disaster in our oceans. It is the abundance of food around our waistlines causing most of our health problems. Our healthcare costs are skyrocketing because we are killing ourselves with our knife and fork.

What would it take to consider ourselves truly wealthy?

Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. . . . Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. ” — Robert F. Kennedy

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One Door, Two Locks: The 7 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Success in All Areas of Your Life Paperback – 2009

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Food is the stuff of life. Who are we depending on for our next meal?

Who are we depending on for our next meal? Food is the stuff of life.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Maimonides

If you ate today, thank a farmer. If you are able to accomplish anything in life you need sustenance and our food comes from land or sea.

Only a few countries in the world produce enough food to feed their population. 16 percent of the world’s population today depends on food produced somewhere other than in their own country. In 2050 that number is expected to jump to 50 percent.

Canada is one of the countries listed as being food self-sufficient. We should be very careful to keep it this way. If we can’t grow enough food for our own people, we are no longer in control of our own destiny.

One of the things growing up on a farm teaches us is the carrying load of land. There is a limit to how many cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, or chickens that can be raised on a finite piece of land. It isn’t different for people or countries.

We haven’t done that well with famines in the past; will we do better with a much larger population?

Just like they tell us in an airplane we must put our own oxygen mask on first. When it comes to food self-sufficiency every country should be figuring out how they can feed their people if no other country has a surplus to sell to them.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. Alfred Austin

A victory garden is a vegetable garden, especially a home garden, planted to increase food production during a war. These victory gardens were started in World War 1. In 1917 Charles Lathrap Pack created the National War Garden Commission to encourage women at home to grow and preserve their own food. Crops in commercial production would then be available for troops and allies overseas.

Posters with sayings such as “Sow the Seeds of Victory” promoted this idea. Instructions were given on how to garden, from sowing seeds to harvesting and preserving crops, as well as saving seed for the following year.

There is a resurgence of victory gardens based on self-reliance, sustainability, healthy eating, and ecosystem support. It gives families food security. It also protects against the effects of multinational seed conglomerates gobbling up small seed companies in an attempt to control the world’s food supply. The “Victory” in modern victory gardens is freedom from the conventional food system. It is taking charge even to a small degree of what we eat. It is about making a difference in our own lives, being the change we want to see in the world, and giving up feelings of helplessness by doing something meaningful, something positive, something productive, and something important.

We can wring our hands and worry, or we can be proactive and make a difference. Is it possible that everywhere in the world people can do some small thing to make life better? Does better everywhere start with plants? Can every country improve its potential for food self-sufficiency?

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. Michael Pollen

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Self-expression. Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey.

Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey. Express yourself.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

The joy of self-expression is the true joy in life. It is when we express our thoughts, feelings, and ideas as beautifully as we can that we find true joy in life. When we feel, see and experience the expressions of nature and other people we feel a connection to others, the greater world and even to ourselves.

How great it is to go for a walk and see the first flowers of spring. The sunshine, the spring flowers, a blue sky with fluffy clouds, the first shoots of green grass, the chirping of the birds. Regardless of what is going on in our life this expression of new life, of a new season gives us a sense and feeling of joy.

When we express our self we explore who we are. We examine our thoughts, beliefs, goals, dreams, ideologies, fears. Through self-expression, we may find out what is most important to us, our purpose.

It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. Humming, singing to our self, doodling is all self-expression. It isn’t important if our self-expression is shared with the world. It is important that we do it.

We may hesitate to put our self forward as an artist, but when one looks at the works that are put forward there seems to be room for everyone. A painting may look like a mess but when we notice the title “Feelings” we realize they captured the subject perfectly.

We hear journaling, art, music, and dance is recommended as therapy because they are forms of self-expression. They help us get what we are feeling on the inside, outside of us.

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is. Jackson Pollock

The first thing we all worry about is, are we doing it right, instead of worrying are we doing it at all. We judge and second guess our self, we are our worst critic.

We can get into trouble if we express ourselves in inappropriate ways. Just yesterday I was shown a video of a young woman expressing herself outside of her house with nothing on her bottom half, the police were called. She looked full of joy but obviously was having an episode of some kind.

They say the second regret of the dying is they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Even on a bad day, we have so much to be grateful for, so much to enjoy, yet we sometimes wallow in self-pity, misery, and despair. Even if life isn’t always what we make it, it is probably how we see it. We hear people in the depths of despair finding the positive in the life of their son or daughter no longer with them.

We can be happy, we were fortunate to have had someone in our life, even if they are no longer with us. Had they not been in our life, we wouldn’t have this hurt, but we wouldn’t have the joy they brought us either.

Often people who have been to the depths of despair have much to teach us. They have a depth and understanding of life that comes from facing the worst, rebuilding their life, going forward from the darkness into the light.

Many people find a way to express themselves after a tragedy, they find it healing. It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. There are many ways to express our unique self; they aren’t just singing, dancing, writing and art. Can we sing, dance, hum, doodle, paint, knit, quilt, play an instrument, write, do public speaking, photography, fashion, coding, plan a special event, build something, bake or cook, journal, make a comic book, write poetry, quizzes, create games or anything else we can think of? Just do it!  Can we express ourselves and make our self and the world better?

A labor of love is exalted because it provides joy and self-expression to those who perform it. Dennis Kimbro

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Painting Abstracts: Ideas, Projects and Techniques Paperback – Nov 1 2008


Set new goals, and dream new dreams. Explore your creative side.

Explore your creative side. Dream new dreams, and set new goals.

Your creative work will tell your story. Pamela Slim

Yesterday watching a makeover show a woman was talking about letting out her inner self. We can call it our inner diva, Goddess, artist, entrepreneur, poet, comedian, or spiritualist. Whatever part of our self has been put on hold or not yet developed while we did the important job of looking after home and hearth, husbands and children. We can be in the workforce and not have this hidden self-developed, maybe because we are in the workforce. He or she is longing to come forth, sometimes we don’t know what is missing in our life and this is what is missing, the part of our self that isn’t being expressed.

We think it is a simple thing to get a new hairdo and makeup. It might be best if we can do the two together but it is so easy now to get a new hairstyle and many makeup places will do full makeup for a reasonable cost.

When my daughter was getting married everyone encouraged me to get highlights. I was making do with a little box of hair color from the drug store and doing it myself. What he has done with my hair is so much better than what I was doing, so I’ve kept it up. When we find the right hair stylist they make us feel more like our self.

Men may decide to change their facial hair, grow a beard, mustache, or shave off the beard or mustache, or even shave their head. A new look isn’t only for women.

When a makeup artist shows us what a difference a little makeup can make and how to apply it, our life can change. We look at our self differently; we get a spring in our step. They highlight our best features and play down the ones we least like.

That little change can begin to show up in the rest of our life as well. We may realize it is time to bring something into our lives that didn’t fit in when our life was so full of child rearing.

What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit. John Updike

We can take ourselves out for creative exploration dates. Visit art galleries, art shops, spoken word venues, comedy clubs, maybe a choir is looking for members, we could visit local churches to join a choir, or maybe a local band is looking for musicians or singers. Check out our local Toastmasters, the library book club, take a class in something that has always interested us, attend a seminar, come out to a local club, visitors are usually welcome. We can join the local arts group.

At the writer’s group, we are mostly people who built a life doing something else. Becoming a better public speaker increases our confidence, and gives us the courage to explore other areas of our lives. When we find our voice we find our self. That may be our singing voice, artistic voice, whatever avenue we explore changes us in some way. Taking a dance class, or Zumba at the local gym can change our body image. We get over being self-conscious as we gain confidence and love the way we feel when we move our body.

This is a journey no one can do for us. We have to take it for our self. We have to accept we will not be good at anything new in the beginning, once we silence our inner critic we can enjoy the process. It doesn’t matter where we start if something doesn’t seem like a fit we can look at something else. There are so many ways to be creative, so many ways to express our self.

It may be clichéd but shouldn’t we all be on a journey of self-discovery? This is our life. Can we find what feeds our soul? Find what is the contribution we are to make, the one that leaves everyone poorer, especially our self if we don’t make it.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, learn, experience, or understand? Is the time to do it now?

The world needs your art. Go forth, and create it. Brian Gardner

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The hero’s journey and the dark night of the soul.

Butterfly signifying the hero's journey and the dark night of the soul.

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The cave you most fear to enter contains the greatest treasure. Joseph Campbell

It’s always darkest before the dawn. We feel like giving up. Our work doesn’t seem to be noticed. We feel unappreciated, we feel we can’t do anything right, our best still isn’t good enough. Our strength and confidence wane. Starting over seems easier than plowing through. It wouldn’t take much to quit.

We’ve all reached this point at some time. Some of us have spent quite a bit of time here. Some of us have quit, and we had to work hard to get going at whatever again. If we quit we can be like starting a diesel engine in the cold. If we keep going we feel like even though we are still going forward it’s probably pointless.

These times can be our “dark night of the soul.” This is different than depression. Saint John of the Cross wrote, “If a man wishes to be sure of the road he’s traveling on, then he must close his eyes and travel in the dark. Dark nights of the soul are not strictly religious experiences although they can be that. We may feel betrayed or forsaken and have no solid or stable ground to stand on.

Somehow we need to reconcile ourselves with whatever dream or fantasy we had about life that is no longer or was never true. Maybe we have become disillusioned by someone, something, a career choice, a life path; we actually reached a pinnacle or milestone and found it less than we thought it would be. We may be coming to grips with our mortality, our shortcomings or shortcomings of someone we love.

The truth it seems is before great things happen there is destruction. We need to somehow make peace that even though things are not what we thought they were, it’s okay. We are growing and changing. We need to make peace with the fact we are not in control, it may be better or worse, but it will be different.

People rebuild their lives, marriages, families, relationships, homes, businesses, communities, and countries all the time. When it is our turn we feel we’d like to pass this round. We were comfortable; can’t we just go back to bed and wake up to our old life?

Our dark night of the soul may seem insignificant compared to what other people are going through. Many people may think that’s hardly anything at all, do you know what I went through? Comparisons are odious. Our reality is our reality, our challenge is our challenge, and what shakes our life to the core may hardly cause a ripple in someone else’s life. We may look at what brings them to their knees and wonder, what, over that?

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. Khalil Gibran

They say a dark night of the soul leaves a lasting impact on us. We are changed completely. When we exit a dark night of the soul we will discover that something was taken from us (for the better) our mistaken beliefs, our mistaken perceptions,  or our mistaken view on things.

The dark night of the soul is the Herald, the omen of change, our call to adventure. We are on the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell describes the hero’s journey. “A hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won; the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

The steps on the hero’s journey are:

Separation

We experience a call to action. Something shakes up our ordinary world, divorce, illness, the birth of a child, the death of a parent or someone close to us. Some form of crisis or suffering forces us from the comfort of our complacency. Our journey begins. If we refuse this call to adventure our life stagnates. For those who accept the call to adventure, life will never be the same again.

We may meet a mentor who guides us. We may pick up the right book, or watch the right video, or listen to the right podcast. We cross the threshold into unfamiliar territory. There is no going back. We are leaving behind who we were and opening up to what is waiting.

Initiation

We are joined by more allies, or we acquire new skills or develop an aspect of our self we’ve had on hold or previously ignored. We face the monsters. We are tested. This is the dark night of the soul. We must acknowledge our worst fears and use all of our skills and wisdom to overcome the challenge. We may be victorious, or we may not be.

Return

We have survived the initiation, but our journey is not over. We must take what we have learned and integrate it into our lives. We cross the threshold, we are different, we are more aware, and we have something to offer those around us. Maybe what we bring back is the knowledge of how to get through the obstacles and challenges. We may be called to teach others the skills we have learned. We resume our life in its new upgraded form.

We faced inner or outer demons, the feeling we can never be enough, that we must constantly strive to do and achieve to be worthy, we find our authentic self. We learn to listen to our self, our intuition, and our body. We find community among other seekers, and we feel reborn, healed and whole.

There are those who may take umbrage with the fact that many myths and stories of the hero’s journey are about men. The man goes out into the world, kills the monster, frees the maiden, comes back a hero and the maiden is his reward.

We don’t have to belittle the male journey and exalt the female journey. There are journeys for all of us, the whole point of this is we didn’t want this journey, we were forced into it. The take away is we were forced on a journey, we learned things we didn’t know, survived, thrived even, and now our life is better, stronger, different, and we are better, stronger, and different.

Do we all have a ‘dark night of the soul’? Have you gone through one? What were the rewards, lessons, and changes it brought to your life?

The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One or another, a guide must come to say, “Look, you’re in sleepy land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.” And so it starts. Joseph Campbell

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough" by [Brown, Brené]
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You Are a Heroine: A Retelling of the Hero’s Journey by [Liller, Susanna]
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You Are a Heroine: A Retelling of the Hero’s Journey Kindle Edition

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We may be alone but is it loneliness or solitude, is this our choice?

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Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. Paul Tillich

Last night I watched identical twins marry identical twins on TV. This was their dream, to all live in one house and have their twin-ship be understood and supported. The two women are both lawyers and the only time they say they understood loneliness was when they went to separate Law Schools.

Loneliness is a problem for many people, it makes us irritable, depressed, self-centered, and is associated with a 26% risk of premature mortality. In industrialized countries, one-third of people are affected by this condition, with one in 12 affected severely by it.

There are many types of loneliness caused by different situations.

We can be lonely because we’ve moved to a new city, country, job, or school.

We can be lonely because we don’t fit in. We don’t share the same faith, background, are socially awkward, or have different interests.

We can be lonely because we have no love interest in our life. We are single at the family wedding. We are newly divorced, separated, or widowed.

We may be lonely because we don’t have an animal in our life and without one we feel deep loneliness.

We may be surrounded by people who don’t have time for us. They are friendly “enough” for them, but not for us. We want a deeper connection. Maybe their life situation has changed and we wish it could be how it was when they had lots of time for us. Maybe our best friend just got married or had a baby and her life revolves around her new life, we feel stuck in the old one.

Sometimes we are hurt by those we trusted the most. A friend may have hurt us deeply. We have not replaced that friendship yet. Sometimes we never do.

We can feel lonely because our family has grown up and we miss the boisterousness that used to be our home as children go off to build their own life.

We are all born alone and die alone. The loneliness is definitely part of the journey of life. Jenova Chen

It is important to understand why we are lonely. If we can name it, we can change it. We go through stages in our life that when they are over, they are over. Sometimes parts of our life we didn’t know how we’d get through we miss when the busyness of that time is gone.  Are we are adrift with time we don’t know what to do with?

Can we be in a relationship and still be lonely if we don’t spend time with each other and create intimacy? Do we need to make the effort to connect with people, our spouse, grown children, friends, groups of people with similar interests, or would a cat or dog fit into our life and mitigate a degree of loneliness?

Maybe having roommates is a better fit for some people than living on their own? It was for me. I’ve never lived on my own. I never even thought of getting an apartment on my own. I went for shared accommodation and I stayed with shared accommodation. I’ve even thought for widowed and single women that shared accommodation may be the answer in later years.

Is living in an apartment building or Condo’s more social than living in a single family home, alone?

Many people will say they are alone, but not lonely. Others will say they are lonely but not alone. This is an issue we will have to deal with for our self. It won’t be something others can do for us. We need to learn to make new friends, fit into groups, or find groups we fit into. We need to make the effort.

All the lonely people need to get together. The lonely hearts club should become a real thing. It takes courage to reach out to people. They may break our heart. If we don’t reach out we live lonely lives. We never know what could have been if we’d made the first move toward friendship, or love.

Is there someone we’d like to reach out to or get to know on a deeper level? What is holding us back? Are we lonely, or enjoying solitude?

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother Teresa

Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering. Dalai Lama

Dealing with Loneliness: Learn How to Deal With and Overcome Loneliness to Never Feel Alone Again by [Perruso, Mary Jane]
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Life is a journey, stop and smell the roses, and give a hand when you can.

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Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu

Yesterday my brother called me and we had a lovely long conversation.

We talked about anything and everything. He told me about two books he’s been reading about sailing around the world. The authors of one of the books met a man sailing solely around the world who said, “I’m going to be the first person that sailed around the world and didn’t write a book.” It’s a shame he didn’t because people who love armchair adventures are missing out on his.

My brother tells me “the girls” at the library he goes to want to read my novel. It isn’t published yet but he has a printed copy. How great is that? Like Drake said last night at the Emmys, “if you can get people out in the cold and the rain to hear you perform, you don’t need an Emmy.”

It may be, some of the artists and writers that remain connected with their fans, who never become famous enjoy their experience more. My writer’s group would probably love to have a famous author join. It would change the dynamic, would J.K. Rowling, Daniele Steele, or Stephen King fit into our writer’s group? Probably not, but not because of them, but because of how the rest of us would react toward them. The feeling of being trapped by our own talent is a phenomenon written about in the Harvard Business Review May/June issue in 2017.

Once talent turns into a set of expectations is where people feel trapped. When stars can no longer live normal lives it is isolating. They become defined by one small part of who they are. This also happens in organizations where someone becomes “the star employee.”

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. Walt Disney

Some people quit at the top of their game or on the way to the top because somehow their success is robbing them of being themselves. They are becoming only what their talent is and they are no longer seen as a rounded human being.

Once you become a star by definition you don’t fit into the group. Most of us think it would be a good problem to have, but a lot of us spend a lifetime feeling like outsiders. Belonging is important; not wanting to rise above the pack may be something we unconsciously engineer into our lives.

I just took a quiz on my wolf personality. I came up as “the wild one”. ‘You are almost always happy and optimistic. You would fit easily into a pack but would also do fine by yourself. You like to cheer and help whenever you get the chance. You are a fragile flower and easily swayed by love, though you don’t let it rule you.’

It doesn’t mean anything, but it’s interesting. The more we learn about our self, what feeds our spirit, what motivates us, the more we can become the best us. Learning to love our selves, how we are, embracing our talents, our gifts, and our contributions. We have our contribution to make to the world. Someone else’s contribution we may envy, but it is not our contribution.

If all of humanity is like an entity, a body so to speak. We can’t all perform the same task. We can’t all be hearts, or brains, or fingers, or toes. Whatever we are to do, we can do it to the best of our ability. Embracing who we are, loving our self and others, this I believe is our task. Finding our place in the world and making our contribution is the journey we are on. Where are we on the path?

I told my brother I would recommend the books he told me about. He especially liked that they talked about what was going on in the world during their adventure. He was young and remembers that time as well. We can’t find all the great books out there by our self. It is through other people’s recommendations we find some of the books that speak to us. It is one of the great joys in life to recommend a book that touched us and have it touch someone else too.

The journey is never-ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment. Antonio Brown

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Two On A Big Ocean Hardcover – Jan 1 1981

4.6 out of 5 stars   3 reviews from Amazon.com |

Finding inspiration and creating our life with mind, body, and spirit.

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

Where do we get our inspiration? Where do we get the resilience to keep on going, creating, doing what needs to be done?

We create a life with mind, body, and spirit. It takes energy to be the mother, father, partner, employee, entrepreneur, politician, artist, writer, musician, athlete, we want to be. Where do we get the inspiration and energy to build the life we want? We can’t just make withdrawals, we have to make deposits.

What we eat is a deposit, what we think is a deposit, how we exercise is a deposit, what we think about and what we read is a deposit. If we are alive we are depositing enough to stay alive. Are we depositing enough to create the life we want?

Are we eating the best food to fuel our body? Do we move, exercise, walk, and stretch? It will be hard to live our best life creatively if we can’t move because of pain, and stiffness.

Do we get enough sleep? Research tells us hardly any of us get enough quality sleep. Are there things we can do to improve this? Do we watch what we eat and drink before bed? Have we created a good bedtime routine? Do we have a good morning routine?

Everything we do supports everything we do. On days we don’t bother to cook or eat nutritious meals we won’t feel as well, we won’t have as much energy, we won’t have as much to give.

If we stay away from exercise our energy flags, we get stiff; we develop aches and pains caused by inactivity.

It takes discipline to create the life we want, to cook the food we need, to read the books to feed our mind and to stay away from negative thoughts. We need to create positive habits to create the life we want.

Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results. Robin Sharma

We can start at any point in our life to be the person we feel we should be. It all starts with a decision, and the easiest way to change our life is in small increments, hanging a new habit on something we already do.

We need to congratulate ourselves for something we start doing that is good for us. Today at The Writers Group a new person attended and she had never read her poetry out loud to an audience. She was encouraged to do so by my friend, she got up and read a poem when she sat down she looked like she had conquered a fear, and taken a step. She says she will be back. None of us know if that was a huge step for her or just a small step. It was a step. If we keep taking steps, big and small we accomplish things.

If we put ourselves out there we need to be able to accept criticism and grow from it. A friend’s daughter performed a one-woman show recently. I had another engagement and couldn’t attend. Last night at an event I ran into her, she started going after her dream years ago of acting and singing. As she was leaving she said, “The work of being self-employed never stops.”  I think she understands cultivating one thousand true fans. She is doing what she loves; it isn’t about fame and fortune so much as following our path, creating something meaningful and living the dream.

Last night at the event a performer sang, she isn’t an artist I recognize. She has a powerful voice, put on a good show and I heard a guy in the audience say to my husband, “finally, the song I came to hear.” This was another example of someone who has a following of true fans. We went because our friend was one of the DJ’s.

Someone I grew up with is promoting a Country Festival in my hometown; I have never had the pleasure of attending, yet. I hope the stars align and one year we can attend. She and others are building something. It takes work to create and promote an event year after year.

It might seem like a leap to think of yourself doing what you dream of. After you start doing it, it becomes part of you. You grow and morph into the goal and dream you’ve set for yourself.

At the writer’s group yesterday one of the members had her photographs on the cover of two anthologies put out by the writer’s group. The speaker suggested she get a picture taken of her holding the two books and find a space on a wall where she could hang other pictures of her accomplishments and see what pictures end up populating her wall. What a great suggestion for all of us. Isn’t this why we take graduation pictures, and wedding photos, we are celebrating the beginning of something.

What accomplishment can we congratulate our self on? What picture could we frame that will continue to inspire us as we continue on our journey? My daughter gave me two framed pictures for Christmas; one was me holding her when she was about three. The second was her and I on her wedding day with foreheads touching. It was a lovely, thoughtful gift.

Celebrating our achievements is part of the journey. We should acknowledge the moments that build our life, big and small. It may be a big or small step that leads us somewhere we want to go. Every journey starts with a single step. Aren’t we all on a journey? Don’t we all have something to celebrate?  Can we find inspiration if we look around us? Is it other people, nature, other great works of art, writing, or music? Many of the great works of art were created by depicting Biblical scenes. Finding what inspires us is part of our creative journey.

When the awareness of what is achievable brushes your life, your journey has begun. Lorii Myers

Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling by [Dyer, Wayne W.]
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Bell Let’s Talk Day.

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I lie about being sick sometimes because people understand if you have a cold, but not if you have depression. Unknown

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day and we have a lot to talk about. I just read an article written by Philip Moscovitch that was published in The Globe And Mail January 29, 2019.  He frequently writes about mental health and mental illness and is working on a book about life with psychosis – for those experiencing it and those around them.

Last night I watched a video of a young man experiencing psychosis and how hard it was for his mother and mental health professionals to get him to agree to treatment.

Philip Moscovitch’s article is asking “do we really need more talk?” His son who is open about his recovery from psychosis knows the flip side of fighting the stigma and how appearances are inherently built into how people respond to someone else’s mental illness.  His son says, “Even as a privileged person you are marginalized when you have a mental illness. There were nights when people I thought were my friends wouldn’t let me sleep at their place, I thought I was alienated from my family, it was minus-15, and I was just walking down the streets of Halifax with jeans that were frozen to the bone, unable to go anywhere and sleeping in underground parking lots.”

We want to help, we want to make a difference but when we are faced with helping someone whose behavior scares us, what are we to do? Once we know someone has had an episode or more than one episode how do we pretend we aren’t looking for signs of another one?

It may be true that Bell Talk Day won’t help those with serious mental illness. We may have to live with the fact that someone we know suffered through mental illness and we wish we’d done better. We wish we’d found a way to help.

It’s so common, it could be anyone. The trouble is, nobody wants to talk about it, and that makes everything worse. Ruby Wax

This disease comes with a package: shame. When any other part of your body gets sick you get sympathy. Ruby Wax

One of the criticisms of Bell Talk Day is although raising awareness and funding worthwhile programs and services is worthwhile. They don’t emphasize the kinds of fundamental change we need.

No matter how good we get as a society we will never meet everyone’s needs to their satisfaction, all of the time. We may not know what the fundamental changes are some people believe we need. What works for one person may not work best for others.

We are trying and that is worth something. Are mental illnesses simply physical diseases that happen to strike the brain? There is so much we don’t know. It would be easy if one has a family member suffering from mental illness to feel not enough is being done. Someone who lives with a person with mental illness may even feel they know things about mental illness that aren’t being recognized.

We have a long way to go; we have a lot to learn. Raising money for research is one way to make a difference. It might not make much difference to someone in the throes of mental illness right now. Research on any other disease also might not help the current sufferers, research being done helps future patients, and it leads to future understanding.

It is easy to get discouraged; it is easy to feel not enough is being done. Bell Let’s Talk Day is trying to be part of the solution. It won’t happen overnight, it might not help the one we love. Isn’t it still worth doing if who it helps is not yet born?

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know about. Johnathon Harnisch

 

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Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will inspire others. Unknown

 

Use your talents to make a better world.

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

Tomorrow is the first writer’s group meeting of 2019. If I’m lucky one of the members will have read my novel and give me his feedback. I got feedback from an accredited editor over Christmas. Wow, I didn’t think I had so many errors. Her feedback is helpful because she didn’t just say, “I like it, she gave me things to do to make it better. One of her suggestions is to reduce the number of characters.

Ouch! I know she’s right; it makes it hard to get into a story with too many characters. She even gave me a suggestion of how to do it by using a character map. I need to tighten up the beginning because she said it was hard to get into especially with so many characters to remember and to lengthen the ending. This is specific, actionable information I can use to make my novel better.

If we want to get better we need honest critiques and actionable suggestions. Someone to look at our work with new eyes.

I’d been putting off doing the next edit until I got the critique over Christmas. It’s time to quit procrastinating and move to the next level.

Eventually, I’m going to have to say this is as good as it gets. Editing and re-editing can be a way of putting off putting our work out there.

Emptiness is a symptom that you are not living creatively. You either have no goal that is important enough to you, or you are not using your talents and efforts in a striving toward an important goal. Maxwell Maltz

I was watching a musician on youtube the other day. He had a chance to do a music session and he didn’t feel like doing it. He had no money, he needed to use the bathroom, and he was hungry. He thought going to the session he’d get food and a bathroom, so he went. Later when he played the song for his mom and sister, they were dancing. Then he put it on YouTube and it went viral. The song he wasn’t going to make has made him famous.

If he didn’t make that song, maybe he would still have no money and be looking for a bathroom and food where he could find it. We worry what if our work isn’t good enough? What if what we hesitate to put out there is something someone wants to hear, see, read, or experience?

Sing your song, paint, write poems or novels, start that business, do the thing that calls to you. What opportunities do we miss because we’re scared? Are we scared of failure, scared of success, scared of other people’s opinions?

Why do we even care about other people’s opinions who aren’t trying to do what we want to do? I’ve heard people talk about one hit wonders in the music industry. I’ve always thought, where’s your hit?

Do we think we aren’t naturally talented enough? Talent is a small part of success in most endeavors. Hard work, perseverance, and dogged determination are more likely to determine someone’s success than mere talent.

Not using our talents is robbing others of enjoying what we would have created. Don’t we enjoy Edison’s light bulb every day, computers, music, television shows, and movies?

Gallup research shows people who use their strengths and talents every day have improved health and wellness. They experience less worry, stress, anger, sadness, and physical pain. Positive emotions are boosted. They have more energy to face the day. They have higher engagement levels on the task.

If we use the inspiration we have, more will come, if we don’t use it, it will disappear. We don’t know where what we haven’t done or put out into the world can take us. We’ll never know unless we do it. Are we hiding our light under a bushel? Do we have a talent we should be sharing with the world?

We have unique abilities. Our talents are like our fingerprints. Lots of people may have the same ability but how we use it will make our expression of it unique.

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God. Leo Buscaglia

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We Inspire Me: Cultivate Your Creative Crew to Work, Play, and Make Hardcover – Oct 2 2018