Monday, March 29, 2010
Meditation or prayer, whichever you choose, can be the means to allow you to find peace in your life. I know some of my readers may not be of a Christian background specifically and recognize that your spirituality may be a meditation tradition. I believe in God as my higher power and hope you will still find encouragement in this writing. I grew up in what I would term a fundamentalist religion, permeated with rules and religiosity with not a lot of grace and forgiveness going on. My first husband did as well, though my family was Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night attenders, his was Sunday morning at best. Nevertheless, we brought our children into this religion as well. And then somewhere about the age of thirty I just could not bear to be a part of this any longer. My questioning actually started around sixth grade, when I began to really read the Bible for myself. I started questioning my Sunday school and Wednesday night Bible teachers as to the inconsistency in what the Bible said and what I witnessed as the behaviour of people in church. Here Jesus was talking about love and the power of prayer, but I was seeing a lot of judging, nonacceptance of "sinners" and unkindness, and I just wanted to know WHY???? Why weren't people following the Bible? Why did they talk about prayer and then not believe that God would answer those prayers? Why, when other religions come up did the leaders in this church I attended say others were all going to hell? Could they not read? Could they not see that God, right there in every book of the New Testament talks about the GRACE of God? Exhorts us to pray and ask specifically for what we need from God? To believe that he will ANSWER prayer? I actually even gave up on God during a really difficult time in my life, thinking there was no point. Then divorce occurred, the absolute most difficult point in my life, and something in me knew I had to rely on someone higher than myself and I turned back to God. I attended church with a Catholic friend and when I started viewing people engaged in their beliefs, I started feeling a spark of belief in myself again, and though I was unable to buy into a religion that needed me to pray through a priest, I soon started praying on my own and attending other churches. Though for many years I did not connect with a church home, I began to have an active prayer life again and started seeing a difference in my life. When I knew I was ready for another relationship, I even began praying specifically for the kind of man I hoped to meet, to love, and to love me. I also began to study how to pray and realized God wasn't looking for our poured out list of wants, but specifically gratefulness and awe in what he provides and in all created. My life has been blessed far more in the years since I began to pray in this manner than in all the previous years of my life. I hope in this difficult season of your life you are looking to God and praying for strength and peace. I have found that writing a prayer list and writing some of my prayers helps me to be more mindful and thoughtful. Try this in your journal and see if you don't find a difference in your life. Spend some time in study about prayer. There are many great resources available. One of the best articles I've read on prayer can be found at: www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn83/lesson-prayer.htm This goes through the "model prayer" often known as the Lord's Prayer and explains the model he provided us and how to follow the tenets of the prayer. I believe in the power of prayer. I hope this will encourage you to give prayer some thought in your life and try the power! Prayers and love to you all as you choose happiness!
Friday, March 26, 2010
There is nothing like being with family! Enjoying the smiles, the laughter, shared meals, long ago stories retold to grandkids, and the talk. I love talking with my sons, their wives, girlfriends, grandkids; such an amazing experience. Time flies and I realize, as I say over and over: live your life!! Live it now and live it well! Enjoy the moment! Time is so short and who knows how many days we have. Spend some time writing about the times you enjoy with your family. Remind yourself there is so much for which to be thankful. Choose happiness and live!!!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Hello readers! Sorry I have been away, but I'm now getting settled into the teaching routine again and so I will be back to posting regularly. Thanks for your patience. I have to say, teaching again has been a bit exhausting, but very energizing and especially in a totally different environment than I have experienced before. This has reminded me that when our circumstances change, the stress can be quite overwhelming. Psychologists report that change, whether positive or negative, often causes the greatest stress in our lives and I have definitely been feeling the stress. However, being aware of this and really paying attention to the simple things I can do to alleviate stress is keeping my level to a minimum. A couple of ways to keep stress to a minimum when you know you are going to be dealing with change is to be sure and get plenty of sleep (see an earlier blog on sleep deprivation) and to also eat as healthy as possible. When stress levels are out of control, depression, anger, frustration can definitely set in and none of these are going to help your happiness level. Divorce is certainly a huge change and next to the death of a spouse or child, the most stressful life event you will face. If you are recently divorced, or even going through divorce, you will need as many stress fighting strategies as possible. You may need to seek psychological counseling if you become overwhelmed. There is nothing wrong with doing so. If you have recovered from the divorce, but still dealing with many changes, whether positive or negative, try the two simple stress relievers mentioned above. You might also consider a yoga class or stretch and relaxation class. Finding positive ways to deal with the stress is important. This makes choosing happiness much easier!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I listened to Earl Nightingale's The Strangest Secret while on a road trip this weekend and was reminded of the most important key to choosing happiness. That key is: you are what you think! Every thought that we allow in our heads affects how we think and respond to life. Negative thoughts will breed negative actions. Self-defeating thoughts will find you defeated and on and on. So I had to stop and think about what my thoughts have been lately and take stock of the importance of staying on top of those thoughts and not letting them spin into the negative. I'm doing pretty good these days, but then I've been working on this for many years. Teaching yourself to avoid negative thoughts takes time, but can be done. One of the best ways to avoid the negative is to turn off the television. I know all the reasons people say they watch television, but the thing is, none of the reasons really hold true. It is not relaxing, it is mind numbing; it is not thought provoking, it is thought manipulation; it is not a way to spend your spare time, it is a means to waste time, time that could be spent in so many more relaxing, thought provoking, time enhancing ways! Television is addicting too and believe me, that is one of the reasons I say it should be avoided because I LIKE television and know how addictive it can be; however, I have realized the amount of time it takes away from my life and once I quit watching I really didn't miss it. I have a much easier time staying positive and I waste far less time than I once did. You will find this to be true too if you just give it a chance. Trust me, a month from now you won't even miss it and when you do happen to watch, you will find it tedious and annoying. Ten years from now you won't be saying, "darn, I sure missed out by not watching television," but you will be saying if you continue to watch, "where has my time gone? Why have I not improved my life or become more successful?" You can't grow your personal life if it is spent in front of the T.V. You cannot change your thought processes if they are numbed or over stimulated by television. You are what you think! What are you thinking these days? I hope you are spending time thinking about your life and about happiness. Choose happiness!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
When I opened the blog tonight, there was last Friday's blog on sleep deprivation and I am feeling that way right now! I want to share with you that I just went back to teaching English full time. I was hired Friday and started work Monday and I am EXHAUSTED! But incredibly happy in these hard economic times to have found a job and one that I am enjoying greatly. It will take me a week or two to get on top of things no doubt, so please bear with me and I will be back on the blog daily as soon as possible! Have a great weekend everyone! (saying that a little early as I probably won't have the chance to post again till Monday!) Choose happiness everyday!