Saturday Gratitude Post — 02/15/2014

It’s Saturday evening, here in Maine, and we are supposed to get our second significant snowstorm in as many days.  I must begin this post with great thanks that all the people I know and love, who are traveling today, have so far arrived safely, and I hope the same for all travelers.

Speaking of traveling, my best friend and big sis, S., had a ticket to fly up for my Dad’s surprise 80th birthday, but the airline cancelled her flight a couple of days in advance.  We all wish you could have been with us, S., and Dad knows what happened with the ticket.  He was really happy you were planning to attend.  Maybe for his 85th!  He looks terrific and was really surprised when he arrived — not always an easy surprise to pull off.

I did see some of my sisters, and a couple of cousins, whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  When my cousin M., and his wife K., are around, we laugh like we’re out of control.  Today was no different.  I also rode to the party with my sister DB, and home with M., so we all got a chance to catch up.  Lots of fun.

Mom received some good news this week — her right hand is growing more numb by the day.  Now she has seen a specialist, and they are going forward with the surgery.  Yay!!  I know this will make life easier for her in so many ways.  I am really thankful that you hooked up with such a good specialist, Mom.

I am, as always, grateful for my life, my health, my lovely little home, my family, and all of the good people with whom I surround myself.  I feel well, and I’m making a point to enjoy every minute of each day, to the best of my ability.  I completed three paintings this week, but I just painted over the last with white — I want to try the same subject, surf, again from the start.  Most of my readers will understand when I say how much fun this new hobby is — I look at my finished work, and I get all bubbly with joy and satisfaction.  I do need to slow down, though — I can see going through $100s-of-dollars-worth of canvasses in just a few days.

I consider all of my blessings, and I count myself one of the most fortunate women in the world. That makes me smile!

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Truly, How to Win

I have worried about being a success for a long time.  In fact, I often fret the most when I am actually succeeding at some difficult situation in my life.  How odd is that?  I suppose it’s a combination of my own rampant perfectionism as a young woman, and my parents expectations when I was a child.  Abraham-Hicks offers an affirmation today which fits perfectly here:

The standard of success in life isn’t the things. It isn’t the money or the stuff. It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.

Abraham-Hicks

Excerpted from the workshop in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, October 15th, 1996,    #641

I wish I could tattoo this affirmation on the signing hand of every person who is cruising stores, buying stuff that makes each of them feel more like a success.  And if that person buys a very rare object or service, he or she may believe she is more successful than people she knows.  The employee who is selected for a promotion feels like a winner.  Thinking herself a winner is a dangerous thing to do, because she runs the risk of thinking of others as losers by comparison.

I was intimately connected with the ideas of right and wrong since I was a young child, and I adopted a perfectionist attitude, which plagues me still.  For mistakes, I was sometimes punished, sometimes told that I was bad, sometimes disappointed one or the other of my parents.  Of course, this was in the early sixties, and there were no self-esteem concerns, no “you are good but what you did is bad,” none of the focus on the way children’s feelings shape their adult behavior.  I believe my parents raised me, and my siblings, the best way they knew.  When someone is dong their best, I’ve finally learned, I can’t expect more.

Almost all of the common definitions of the word success fail a test against the idea of this affirmation.  Abraham tells us the same idea the author of the bible said:  I can’t take it with me.  But Abraham adds another aspect; having those material possessions or the regard of others, in this life, doesn’t even make us successful.  The way to do that is to surround ourselves in contentment and happiness; to live each minute with joy.

Joy for who we are — no matter who we are, or what we’ve done or thought or said; joy for how we live — in relation to our opinions of ourselves, and of others; and joy, for what we want, as Abraham’s Law of Attraction says.  Like draws itself unto itself.  If we are joyful, more and more joy will flow into our lives, touching every part of our existence, strengthening every decision, and infecting the way we look at each other and the world.  Yes, infecting.  Wouldn’t joy be a lovely condition to catch? and wouldn’t we want it to be contagious?

Of course, in the same way, unhappiness draws itself to itself as well.  The Law of Attraction applies equally in all directions, including polar opposites.  I have been very unhappy at times, and that unhappiness didn’t make me receptive to joy.  It made me receptive of more sadness, even despair.

My life and my spirit operate in these vicious cycles most of the time.

On the sky deck

On the sky deck

Imagine if I booked a vacation on a cruise ship, thinking that the voyage proves I live a life of leisure, and am able to splurge.  I might embark on this spiritual cruise feeling pretty good about myself, that I deserve this indication of my success in the world.  There I sit, in a chaisse lounge on the sky deck, tanning and being served by handsome waiters.  But if I am upset because of how much the trip cost, or unhappy with my cabin, or jealous of others in even better accommodations than I; if I don’t like the food, and locked every possession away for fear that a chambermaid will steal it, all of the Margaritas and handsome cruise staff aren’t going to make me happy.

On the other hand...

On the other hand…

Instead, if I am on the same cruise, and I saved and scaped for a year to get here, and I’ve been anticipating the fun I will have on the cruise, I am happy and satisfied and fulfilled, just stepping onto the deck.  Even if I am sleeping in the smallest bunk in the bowels of the ship, even if I’m not allowed to walk on the sky deck at all, I will most likely find all kinds of pleasure anyway, because that is what I expect to find.  I am served the same Margarita, by a slightly less physically-appealing waiter, (who is the friendliest man on the ship; he will stop and answer my questions, and not look down his nose at the fact that I have never cruised before.)  I chat easily with the strangers at my dinner table, until they become onboard friends.  I am happy, and my joy brings me more joy and wonder with every nautical mile.

Which me do I want to be here?  I have experienced the latter, and had more fun than I dreamed I could.  I have not experienced being the former, but I have been in other circumstances in which I carried my unhappiness with me, and became more frustrated and sad with every minute.

Most people likely fall somewhere between these two extremes on the spectrum of joy.  But almost everyone has a positive, or a negative overall attitude and approach to life.  The trick is knowing that, no matter how hard I try, my negativity will not bring positives into my life.  But if I can only discover a Glass-Half-Full outlook on my life, I will be open to every chance at happiness that comes along.

Think again about me on the sky deck.  I am unhappy, and frustrated, over little situations on the boat, and over those at home.  But as I sit on my chaisse lounge, looking out over the ocean, I begin to notice how lovely is this little piece of the globe, and I smile.  I have begun the journey back to satisfaction, to joy and wonder.  All I needed to do was recognize one thing around me that made me feel good.  The Law of Attraction takes over from there.

I remember times in my life when nothing looked good; when everything that happened to me was a reflection of my sadness and depression.  I wanted to be happy, with all of my heart and spirit, but I just couldn’t get there.  Now though, after fighting my own unhappiness for so long, I have turned the corner.  I have found my joy.  My glass is always half-full, or more; even great sadness and anger, which I have felt in the last year or so, cannot hold out forever against my underlying belief that everything is okay.  What a change!

The Law of Attraction operates in all of our lives.  The big question is, what are you attracting — unhappiness or joy.

Share You World — Week 40

I’m very late with this, but I still like answering the questions.  This challenge comes from Cee, and it’s one of my very favorites.

Share Your World

From Cee:

Here are the four Share Your World questions for this week.    I hope you have some fun playing along.  It sure is fun learning about all of us.

  1. Where did you live at age five?  At age 5, I lived with my family in Travis Air Force Base Housing.  I can see it as though I were standing right there.  Typical white military 2 story box, but we had an enormous peach tree on our front lawn.
  2. What five things in life would you like to get paid for but would choose to do even if you have to pay to do them? (Reinventing the We’ll)  Snorkeling and underwater exploration; marine biologist; cashier at my hardware store, where I work now; leader of a church-like organization for atheists, agnostics, and pagans, (in order to offer fellowship and shared learning, but with no deity-related focus; a tour guide in Western Turkey, including ancient Ephesus.
  3. Describe yourself in a word that starts with the first letter of your name. (teedeevee)  This one is very hard!  I do my best to be joyous every day, but I am also jumpy and jacked up most of the time!
  4. “What do you have to be so happy about?”  (Caddo Veil)  Well, I am alive, and I love myself.  I come closer every day to ridding my life of guilt, and I act and react from a place of content in my life.  As the farmer says in Babe, “That’ll do, pig!”

My friend Paul

When I was 14, and up until my late thirties or forties, I knew a lovely man named Paul Legard.  He must have been in his late forties, or early fifties, at that time.  He was a fixture in our town, and I knew him through the choir at the United Methodist Church. Continue reading

Abraham Hicks and happy endings

You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.

— Abraham

Excerpted from the workshop in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, September 13th, 1997 # 462

******

I know what Abraham is getting at here, but I have a slightly different take on this notion of happy endings.  I understand that Abraham is trying to help people create happy, positive journeys, and I am all for that idea.  But the first 50-or-so years of my life were an unhappy journey, with occasional cloud-breaks of self-satisfaction.  My sister S. told me today about hearing from someone else the following descriptions:

  • An egomaniac with low self-esteem

The idea of self-importance describes fairly well the way I lived most of my life.  Of course, everything was about me, because I was the center of the universe, and if you didn’t believe that, I was always ready with examples.  Depression and hopelessness were my watchwords, but rather than retire, I pushed myself onto the world, by drinking too much alcohol, smoking too much marijuana, and having way too many meaningless sexual encounters.  This was my life.

And then, as I have said here before, everything changed.  All of the concepts of high self-esteem, forgiveness, and new ways of relating to others that I’d been hearing from people for years came together in one shot, one night, and since then I feel like a brand-new  person altogether.  I decided not to be sad anymore.  I decided to be happy.  I slapped a smile on my face, which took about two minutes to become genuine.  And I’ve only infrequently  stopped smiling since.

So if I were to restate Abraham’s idea, based on my experience, I would say:

You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey, unless you are willing to set aside sadness and choose joy instead.

That sounds far too broad; arrogant as well.  Let’s try this:

I cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey, unless I am willing to set aside sadness and choose joy instead.

That’s what I meant to say.

Share Your World — Week 26

Time once again for Share Your World, which comes to us from Cee, at Cee’s Life Photography Blog.

Share Your World

Cee sends out 4 questions a week, and we bloggers answer them.  It’s a way to learn more about each other, and the questions are a lot of fun to answer.  So, here’s Share Your World, Week 26:

  1. What made you smile today?  A few things made me smile, but if I have to pick one, it was a post from kittybloger called 25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions.  The entire post had me smiling from beginning to end!
  2. Have any hidden talents?  Do I have any hidden talents?  My hidden talent is:  I can tie the stem of a maraschino cherry into a knot with my tongue.  An old bar trick.
  3. Are you usually late, early, or right on time?  I prefer early — in fact I’m a pathologically early person.  The worst part of using Coastal Transportation is that they are often late, or so ridiculously early that I have time for a great nap before I’m called into the office.
  4. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?  Joy.