“Great leaders don’t rush to blame. They instinctively look for solutions.” Nina Easton
Unplanned interruptions are annoying. Unnecessary complications are upsetting. During the course of a busy day, any number of these undesired occurrences can wreck havoc on otherwise engaging plans. When they barge into our lives we can react in a variety of ways:
a. We can fume and pout, stomp and complain. However, once we stop our ranting we still have the problem.
b. We can blame others. Call people onto the carpet. Dole out disciplines. However, at the end of the confrontation we still have the problem.
c. We can assess the problem. Plan a course of action and implement the proposed solution. We will still need to review how the problem came to be and what consequential actions may be required so that the problem does not re-occur. But at the end of the problem solving, we no longer have the problem.
Efficiency is part of my reason to forgo the ranting, complaining and blaming. It is just a waste of energy. Energy is so precious.
“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” Henry Ford
“On the good days, my mother would haul out the ukulele and we’d sit around the kitchen table-it was a cardboard table with a linoleum top-and sing.” Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett is an actress who has brought me many rounds of riotous laughter. However, her life was not easy. She inspires me.
I understand, and generally accept, that the way I feel about my day, is fueled by the way I see my day-my perspective. Some days perspective can be a little on the pessimistic side. I have discovered a pretty sure-fire way to turn that around—MUSIC.
The power of music never ceases to surround me in a symphony of awe. It soothes the soul, sounds the march, releases my tears, and clears my focus.
Listen for your music. It is always available. Sometimes we just need to shut out the noise to hear the song.
“Music is the strongest form of magic.” Marilyn Manson
“Thing is, I don’t really like free time. People are always warning me that I’m going to burn out. But the truth is, the only thing that tires me out is hearing people tell me that.” Michael Strahan
During a busy, demanding time in my life I created the poem below. Sometimes I recognize the warning signs to back off and relax. The quest to have a balanced life screams from inside. However, I do not always respond to that cry.
Frank A. Clark said, “A man’s conscience, like a warning line on the highway, tells him what he shouldn’t do-but it does not keep him from doing it.”
Spring is trying to come to Ohio. Winter dormancy is trying to shake itself free. My desire is to open the windows, clean every inch, dust away all cobwebs. Out with the old, in with the new! My history-which often repeats itself-is to work till I drop. But I am going to try and obtain a balance. That is a new skill. New skills take time to develop. I am going to try and listen to that cry within me to strike a balance. I don’t want to lose the fire that is me.
“Any form of over-indulgence creates within the body warning signs of destruction.” Mother Angelica
“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of his fellow beings.” Mahatma Gandhi
My husband often quotes Max Hermann “If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” My father often said, “It takes a lot of different people to make a world.” I grew up with the concept that we are all similar-regardless of our race, ethnic background or financial standing. Yet, as I entered the adult realm I realized that not everyone shared my sentiment. I was saddened to see that there is discrimination, bigotry, and even hatred from one group of people to another. That is a mystery to me as well.
People argue over what language should be taught in schools, or placed in public settings. I say let’s use the language of kindness.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain
“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self.” Pearl Bailey
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare
These are familiar sayings that we often recall when we are making a decision. We try and find our core which we believe will speak to us and provide us guidance as to a decision.
But does our ‘core’ change? Do experiences change who we are and therefore how we might decide? We are rehabbing a 200 year old home. As we work on the house, I often wonder how the house was originally arranged. The internal walls have changed many times. Even the external walls have been altered in a few places. But the ‘core footprint’ has remained the same.
Perhaps it is that way with people. The basic core of who we are-kind, compassionate, thoughtful, truthful-remains unaltered as we journey through our lives. Yet, some have experienced hardships and become bitter, cynical, and even hateful. How does that happen? To which self are we to be true. The one pre-hardship? The innocent and naive person? Sometimes I mourn the loss of my innocence and naiveté. Or the new core honed by hardship? Honing can provide new skills-patience, perseverance and tolerance.
Truth, as we understand it, is also tricky. What we once knew-with so much certainty that lives were taken for questioning the truth (such as the world is flat, the sun revolved around the earth…many individuals were tortured who dared to question that truth of the day). As we grow, learn, and explore our life we may alter our perspective. Is that being a fraud to ourselves? or is that becoming new and fresh again?
“I am a fraud. I have cobbled together my personality from hundreds of little bits. I am simultaneously the most genuine and the most artificial person you will ever meet.” Sebastian Horsley
“No man is an island.” John Donne
Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.
By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.
One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.
So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape? Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.
“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
“Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” Robert Burns
Countless. Our blog challenge for the day. Countless is often defined as being too numerous to count.
Very few things would be countless by my thoughts. If there is an item to count, given the patience and time, those items could be counted. Even the number of a human’s breath. At the time of their death, the breaths could be counted as there was a first breath and a last breath. My thoughts could be counted; again, because I would have a first thought and a last thought.
But the impact of our actions, could indeed be countless. People who have been affected by behavior could pass the resulted impact of that behavior on for generations. From continent to continent. Behaviors vary from cruelty to kindness. From selfishness to sacrifice.
Memorial day is a day to remember those who have passed from us. While those we loved may be gone, we feel their presence by the influence and impact they had on us. Many have lost loved ones to war. Some from hate crimes. Others from illness.
Some of us are who we are today because of some kindness which touched our lives. A person who touches another with an act of kindness may never realize the impact of that one act. There may be a beginning, but as the affect of that action continues, there may not be an end. Therefore, it is countless.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop