Daughters

My two daughters are known as Irish twins. There’s only 10 months 3 weeks between them; so for a couple of months a year, they are the same age. I used to dress them in the same style but different colors. My blonde haired youngest in blue, and my brown-eyed oldest in red or pink. They are as different as two people could be.

My beautiful Libra daughter will do anything to balance the situation, and my beautiful Virgo daughter, although a comedian at heart…is always striving for perfection. I am blessed that my daughters love me; I haven’t always been the best mom on the planet. When we moved to the USA in 1983, they were nine and ten years old. I became very depressed being in this new country with no friends, no family and no job.

There were times when my eldest packed hers and her sisters own brown lunch bags for school. Even so…writing that seems lame when I consider that some children don’t even have food to pack into a non-existent brown bag. The thing about being a parent, is that it’s easy to see the bad things we do—and not so easy to think of the good things we did. It’s like having a ‘critical parent’ talking in my head, “You didn’t do a good job….” “You were too….” “That wasn’t very good.” And on and on.

The wonderful thing however about daughters is that if you ask for forgiveness—there’s a good chance they will forgive. That’s my experience anyhow.

I’ve been completely honest with my two girls and they love me anyhow. They’re close to me. I didn’t have a mom growing up, so I had no good role model until I met my mother-in-law. I am her daughter-in-law and although it took me a while to be a loving one—we have come to love each other very much. She’s almost 90 and had a stroke which paralyzed her left side, and yet she always beams when she sees me on Skype. She lives across the pond in Whitley Bay, so we don’t see her too much.

What’s my point? That whatever has gone on with the ‘daughters’ in your life, you can for sure ask them to forgive you anything. Daughters are by nature nurturing and loving—they want to love and be loved. They want to have a great relationship with mothers, mother-in-laws, and step moms. We crave to be nurturing and nurtured. I saw it with my friend Joanne and her elderly mom. The way Joanne spoke to her, gently helped her walk, and nurtured her spirit even when she passed.

My  friend, whatever your relationship with daughters—be it good, bad or neutral—up it today. Write a letter, pick up the phone, send a card. Every time we nurture a relationship in our lives we are nurturing other similar relationships across the globe. Our energy goes out and touches the hearts, mind and spirits of other people—it’s impossible not to. We are in the universe—uni-verse—one song! Sing it loud, sing it strong and sing it with love.

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Equilibrium

It’s a lovely word; equilibrium. It flows like a river, or a breath of fresh air. It feels like it sounds:  balance, symmetry, steady, even. But in a world that sometimes seems so out of balance; when we are in the midst of wars both in the outside world and in our own lives, equilibrium seems impossible to attain.

Yet it is possible. It begins with a breath. We may not be able to change the world, or end wars, but we can change our own inner equilibrium. We can bring balance into our lives by breathing in a slow, deep breath. I was watching a TV program about Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg who was working at a camp for children battling cancer. He was witness to their pain and discomfort while undergoing medical procedures.

One day, he was trying to soothe a 5-year-old camper screaming in pain during treatment. Goldberg a black belt in Choi Kwang-Do, taught the boy some breathing techniques, “In martial arts, you learn that pain is a message that you don’t have to listen to.” And when the nurse removed the needle after chemotherapy, he said the boy had hardly noticed.

Goldberg realized he was on to something, “When we are able to breathe through pain and imagine the pain lowering,” he said, “the brain has an amazing capacity to put us into a different place.” In 1999, Goldberg founded Kids Kicking Cancer. The program offers free martial arts classes focused on breathing techniques and meditation for children battling serious illness.

“When children get a diagnosis like cancer or any major disease, they lose any sense of feeling that they’re controlling their lives. They’re prodded and poked and touched, and they’re often so afraid. We teach kids how to control their pain and make them feel powerful.”

I watched all these kids in their white martial arts outfits taking in a focused, conscious breath and then kicking out with a foot, or chopping with an arm movement. It reminded me of equilibrium. It takes a powerful person to bring equilibrium into their lives; and it begins with a breath.

My friend, stop what you are doing and take in a deep, conscious breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Control the pain of your life and bring in balance, steadiness and stability. Breathe in whatever you need today to bring you into balance. Breathe out whatever pain you are feeling. Bring in the power to control your actions and if you need to chop the air with your arm, or kick out with your foot, do that too. Hey, you could even go take a martial arts class just to find out more about breathing techniques. Happy breathing, happy kicking, happy equilibrium.

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Nothing

There is nothing going on, except that we make it so. There is no purpose except that which we give to things.

I have always thought that goals, and visions and a path to the future were really important, and they are up to a point. But if we are living a life that is always on a path to somewhere, when do we ever stop and just be. Maybe there is nothing going on except our thoughts and actions. Maybe our tomorrow’s never truly come because we are so busy chasing after them. A dreamer that never awakens.

What if our purpose is to be the best that we can be in this moment, and in this moment, and in this moment. A series of moments where we are being the best. So that when a child asks a question, we can actually stop what we are doing and pay them the full attention they deserve. When a co-worker wants our help, we turn around from the computer or the phone or whatever it is that is soooo important, and make them more important….just for the moment.

And when a partner, spouse, family member or friend needs our focus, instead of being too busy to give them time, we remember that we are human beings first and foremost. It is our connection to each other which holds the purpose of life. It is our relationships that hold the meaning of life. There is nothing going on which is more important than taking a moment to be with another human being and showing that we care.

Today my friend, be a little bit of nothing going on. Take a moment to be with a person that you enjoy being with. And if someone asks you a question, or needs your attention, turn away from whatever it is that you think is so important, and turn towards that other human being and put your focus on them. Be no thing so that you can be everything.

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Gold

We wear gold on our fingers, around necks and pierced into various other body parts. It’s shiny and bright and yellow and reminds us of the sun. Not surprising since it comes from various cosmic processes blasting elements into space and landing on earth in the form of meteorites.

Because of its high density, most gold probably sunk to the core of the Earth. But of the gold mined, nearly 50% comes from the Witwatersrand rocks brought to the earth’s surface by an asteroid that formed the Vredefort crater 2.020 billion years ago.

Gold is highly valued because it’s easy to handle, it’s non-corrosive and it doesn’t react to other elements. It’s a good reminder of how to bring harmony, peace and balance into our own lives. When we are easy to get along with, and react in a gentle way we attract equilibrium into our lives; stability.

Today my friend, allow yourself to be filled with golden thoughts, actions and deeds. Think of yourself as a valuable human being because you are. Every time a corrosive thought pops into your head, let it pass you by. Don’t pay any particular attention to it. Let it slide out of your mind and think instead of a golden thought. A thought that brings you peace, joy and happiness. You deserve it my friend. You deserve to be golden and think golden thoughts.

 

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Here

I love reading Joel Osteen, I have all his books, and if I wake up in the middle of the night feeling anxious, I read a few of his pages and instantly feel better. This morning I was re-reading Starting Your Best Life Now and specifically, the chapter Dare to Unpack Your Dreams, and the sentence, “What do you want to do with your Life?” made me think. What do I really want to do with my life? Sometimes, I have the thought that I am too old to have dreams. I’ve already lived 66 good years, how many more can I expect to have? But that is a defeatist thought. It’s the kind of thought that will keep a person in bed or just lolling through life aimlessly…and I am not up for that!

So I thought what do I want to do with the rest of my life? The usual dreams popped immediately into my head: write blogs, write a best-selling book, be on stage talking about my books etc., etc. And that is all well and good to have big dreams, but those are not my life. My life is being with family and friends and co-workers. My life is doing the small every day things; emptying the dishwasher, taking my daughter’s dog for a walk, playing with my grandchildren, flying to VA hospitals to teach workshops and so on.

If I’m unhappy because a plane has been delayed, or a family member is upset, or my finances are in a mess, then I am not having joy in my heart for my life. Life is the people in it and I love the people in my life…every one of them. And what I realize is that we are all connected; even the people who made the lamp that I read by, the laptop that I type on, or the house that I live in. And when I think of the millions of people who have envisioned all these things in my life–things that elevate my life to such a high degree–then how can I ever be depressed, sad or unhappy?

It is impossible to be anything other than happy, when I remember what an amazing life this is–what a fantastic and magical planet we live on–and what a beautiful moment it is to take in a wonderful deep breath of air! Breathe my friend….breathe and be thankful for this moment.

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Grandson

I’m eating breakfast with my 12-year old grandson when he says, “My life started dark. Nothing went through my mind; it was like in one ear and out the other.” I nod and he carries on, “Did anything happen, yeah, but my memory went away right after it happened. Before I had memory everything was nothing, and then suddenly in pops something and I remember it except I don’t. It’s weird to think that everything before was nothing….just all black…it freaks me out.”

The thing I love about my grandson is that we can talk about anything. He goes on to say, “I always have these big thoughts, like mind explosions. I’ll be sitting in my bed and suddenly….pow!”

I can’t remember having thoughts like this when I was 12, but he does and he tells me about it, “One time I had this long talk with God about why do you not like gay people?”

I ask, “What does God say?” And he says, “I don’t know how to know when God talks back. It’s just like a prayer.”

“Why were you thinking that God doesn’t like gay people?”

“Because that was the night I looked at the video of the guy who got abused by his parents for being gay. In the video they said it was a choice to be gay or not.” He goes on to say that science overrules it and that we evolved from apes and not Adam and Eve. Then he goes on to say, “The government annoys me. They are hypocrites. The constitution says there is ‘a separation between God and state’, and yet God is on our money: In God We Trust. We have to swear the truth on the bible. And gays can’t get married because the bible says so? It shouldn’t have anything to do with God.”

He continues, “When I had the gay talk with God. I said, ‘You’re God why don’t you make this world perfect?’ That’s sometimes why I question myself if there is a God or not. Would everyone be happy and have world peace? Anger is in your brain, you can’t stop it. Anger is like the fuse in your brain, and that fuse just starts going and it gets transported into the government…the anger you learn is in your families, you take it into the government and you take it into the world. Anger is a way of life.”

Wow. Can you imagine having a talk with a young person who says that ‘anger is a way of life?’ So I talk to him about God, and anger, and what we believe. It doesn’t matter to me whether he or you believe in God or not. What matters is that you have a way of communicating your thoughts and your beliefs. It matters that you have someone to listen to you and respect your thoughts. To my grandson, I say, “Anger isn’t a way of life. Anger is a learned behavior. It’s allowing our ‘animal brain/limbic system’ to take over and put us in the flight or fight survival mode. We have an evolving human brain/neocortex. This is the brain that wants to love and be loved. It accepts our differences and enjoys our cultural diversity. The human evolving brain doesn’t hate gays—it accepts our differences.”

Can you imagine if we accepted other traditions, beliefs and cultures? Would there be any need for war if we accepted other people and their differences? I don’t think so.

Today my friend be accepting of yourself and others. Come from love instead of hate. Let your anger go. If you feel it surge up, take a breath and know that you are in control of your anger and your peace.

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Pets

I’ve had many pets throughout my 66 years on planet earth. I was about seven years old when I had my first pet rabbit and 55 when I had my last bulldog. I love having pets, but since we travel a lot it doesn’t seem fair to have one right now. Maybe when things slow down a bit I’ll get a small dog.

Fortunately we do get to look after Wrigley. He’s my daughter’s rescue dog; a beautiful little Shih Tzu, and when they go away, Wrigley comes to stay with us. He’s sitting on my feet right now as I tap away on the laptop. He’s warm and cuddly and affectionate. He’s always happy to see me. Even if I go out for a few minutes, when I come back in, he wags his tail as if I’ve been away for years! He’s more excited to see me than my own family!

Pets take commitment, and sometimes that’s a great way to kick depression where it needs to be kicked. For example, Wrigley needs a walk and food at least twice a day and a few healthy tidbits in-between. He also needs to go to the veterinarian for shots every so often. So looking after a dog is definitely a BIG commitment. And that’s the great thing about having a pet. Like this morning.

We’re looking after Wrigley for a few days and he wakes up early. This morning it was 6:30 am. So up I get. I didn’t really want to, but once I was up—I was UP! And Wrigley is so happy—so encouraging—so pleased to see me up and about. Who else is going to appreciate me as much as Wrigley so obviously does. Yes, people can say, “good job” and “I love you,” but when a dog wags its tail and looks so lovingly at you there isn’t any room to feel depressed. It’s vitality, vitality, vitality.

Today my friend, maybe you don’t feel you want to be committed to owning a dog….but maybe a neighbor or friend would really appreciate you walking their dog. It’s so much fun. When you walk a dog there is no time to rush it. They love to sniff, and stop and smell the …. Roses?!! Okay, they may not be roses they’re sniffing, but it gives you and me the opportunity to stop and smell the actual roses. Wrigley slows me down enough to be in the moment instead of in bed. So enjoy a pet today!

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