Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘positive thinking’

Luke and one of his toys

When we first got Luke, we were warned that German Shepherds were territorial around their homes, the cars that they routinely rode in, and their food. Luke never lived up (or should I say down) to any of those labels. Labels are dangerous things. They don’t have to be at all true for our subconscious minds to accept them (especially when we are very young) and then we tend to live them out. I’ve met brilliant people who believed that they were only marginally intelligent, thin women who believed that they were fat, responsible people who believed they were untrustworthy….and the examples could go on and on. We’ve all met “them”: people who believed lies about who they really were, and so were destined to live out these smaller existences, constrained only by a false idea.

We are all here to spiritually wake up to the wondrous, magnificent beings that we really are…To make friends with our true Self.  Here is a big assignment for the weekend. Think of one “label” that you have accepted as true about yourself and question it. A wonderful prayer is: “I wonder what my life would feel like, if I was willing to let go of the idea that I am (fill in the blank with the negative label)” You don’t have to dig through your past and find the root of the negative image. You can simply start claiming the opposite, and just like the negative was accepted years ago, the new thought will also be (eventually!) accepted if you stay with it. It is time that we all made friends with ourselves.

“There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man’s lack of faith in his true Self”. William James

The song “Friends” from Elton John is the link below:

Read Full Post »

Bodhi relaxing on the radiator

At some point in my life, I started to believe that I wasn’t any good with plants. I don’t remember how it began, but it ended up with me not having any house plants at all. If offered one, I’d politely refuse it saying that the cats ate them. If I received one as a gift, I always tried to re-gift it quickly before I killed it. A number of months ago, I was walking through the farmer’s market and saw a gorgeous cactus. The woman selling it assured me that the only thing that would be death for this plant was too much water. I figured that I could handle not watering it. As I tried to get it into my car, I grabbed it, and spent much of the next hour picking spikes out of my hands.

I won’t get into the “Getting a thousand thorns in my hands” episode again, but since the day of my purchase, the cactus has been sitting on a window sill in my office. It hadn’t died, but it hadn’t grown either. I didn’t feel happy when I looked at it. It was a bit like a white elephant; sort of cool but not wanted by anyone either. When friends would visit the office, I’d try to give it away and I usually heard either, “No thanks”, or “When you move, if you don’t want it I’ll take it”. No one seemed enthusiastic about it and I didn’t blame them.

Then one day a couple was in my office, and the man walked over and started looking at the cactus. As he looked at it, I could see his genuine interest. He stood there quietly for a couple of minutes and finally I asked him if he would like it. He didn’t hesitate at all. We arranged to meet again in a month for the pick up. After they left, I found myself saying to the cactus, “Well, you are going to a good home. A place where you will be loved.” Within days it started “budding”.

I heard a minister on the radio a while back, talking about a plant in her house. She said that every time she looked at one of the branches, she thought, “I need to cut that off”. She never did cut it, but noticed one day that the branch was dead. In that same talk she told about shopping with her daughter and how she kept thinking that her daughter didn’t look good (had a bad-hair day or something). After a few hours together, her daughter actually said that she didn’t feel good and the trip was cut short. Her mother made the connection between her thoughts and the life around her.

I made the connection too.

People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”  Thich Nhat Hanh

Read Full Post »

smiling sky...today

I visited my mother yesterday who has been ill for a couple of weeks. When I first saw her, I felt alarmed. She  looked scared; her skin was grey and she had  huge dark circles under her eyes. She hadn’t wanted me to visit but when I insisted, I think that she was relieved. Toward the end of the visit, she just happened to mention that the person doing her taxes was very concerned about a large chunk of money that seemed to be missing. They found the issue a couple of weeks ago and told her that they would get back to her but she hadn’t heard anything and had not called them either.

I asked her what she had done about this and she said that she was using “positive thinking” and every time she thought about it, she got so sick to her stomach that she wasn’t thinking about it.  She hadn’t really been able to eat in a couple of weeks. I realized as we talked that she had been so frightened about this tax issue, that it was compounding her illness. I asked her if she would mind if I made a call to a friend who is a CPA and then my mother herself, made a call to the tax preparers. I looked over at her talking on the phone, while I made her a quiche, and I could see the color returning to her face. She called last night to say that she was feeling much better. Nothing about the tax issue has been resolved yet but she wasn’t afraid anymore.

Positive thinking is not ignoring feelings. It is not just repeating rote affirmations over and over, while underneath feeling terror. It is acknowledging the feelings, and working to change them before we take action. I always ask myself the question, “What thought can I think right now about this situation that would make me feel better?” and then I stay with it until I actually feel the change. As I begin to feel better, either the solution (or next step for me to take) presents itself or the problem seems to dissolve. Sometimes I need to take action, sometimes I don’t, but either way, I never ignore my feelings. They are my internal compass, letting me know if I am going in the right direction.

“Success comes from taking the initiative and following up… persisting… eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?” Tony Robbins

Read Full Post »

fred relaxing last evening

A number of years ago, someone close to me had been looking for a house to buy. It was pretty urgent that he find one quickly, but nothing that he looked at felt right. One day, he was driving around, and there in front of him was the home that he had been looking for. He called his real estate agent and told her that he had found “his home” and wanted to see it as soon as possible. She got back to him the next morning with the news that the house was under contract and it looked like it would go through.

I love what he did next. He told me  that he drove by the house and “claimed it”. He said out loud, all alone in his car,  “I believe that this is my house, and if it’s in the highest and best good for everyone, it will be mine.” A few days later, the real estate agent called and told him that somehow the previous contract had fallen through, and the house was back on the market. My friend now lives in that house.

Sometimes it is hard to stay positive when it seems like our dream has slipped away, or will never materialize, but this is the very time when we have to redouble our efforts to stay optimistic. The energy of thought is a powerful creative force in this Universe. We cannot see it, but it affects everything around us. In a 1961 interview in Life magazine, Robert Frost said, “The founding fathers didn’t believe in the future. They believed it in. You’re always believing ahead of your evidence.”

So today we celebrate President’s day. Instead of thinking of the past, lets start optimistically imagining the future that we want.

“Optimism doesn’t wait on facts. It deals with prospects. Pessimism is a waste of time“. Norman Cousins

Read Full Post »

Jack and I went to a party last night (which was a couple of hours away), and didn’t start for home until 10 pm, which is about 2 hrs past my bedtime! As we drove along, a natural silence fell over us, which wasn’t what we wanted or needed at that moment, so we played a little game that I knew would wake us up; we started talking about all of the things in our lives that we loved and appreciated. The more we talked, the more awake we felt. It’s hard to imagine, when you are tired, that a thought can wake you up, but it is true. Our bodies respond to our thoughts. Happy thoughts contain energy.

Thoughts can destroy or heal our cells, make us sadder or happier, make our bodies feel drained, tired and achy or energize and revitalize them.

Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects…”Norman Cousins

Below is a link to a great bunch of kitty photographs (thanks so much Leslie)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/animals/awkward-cat-sleeping-positions

Read Full Post »

A week ago, I noticed a red spot on Noah’s head. The day before Thanksgiving, it had turned into a large, uncomfortable-looking open sore. I had no idea what it was and suddenly I was having visions of creepy diseases, painful and expensive visits to the vet, oral and topical antibiotics, all of the other cats (and myself of course) catching it too, and our home turning into a mini leper colony. The mind is a scary place when left unchecked!

Happily for all of us, I did catch myself (eventually), and started to say out loud, “This is going to be easy to heal. I know that the perfect solution will present itself and all is well.” That afternoon, I had the idea to put some ointment on it. By the next morning, it looked worse. It is really a challenge, when I am looking at something that scares me, to see the outcome that I want to happen, and “turn a blind eye” to the situation that is staring me in the face (while still treating it). But I kept up my positive talk and refused to let my mind go down the path of doom, disease and disaster. I finally saw improvement on Saturday morning and today it looks much better.

When my mind was mired in fear, the simple solution (of trying the ointment that I already had at home) didn’t present itself. A more relaxed, easy and hopeful mind allowed a simple, easy solution to “surface”.

Turn a blind eye and a deaf ear every now and then, and we get on marvellously well.”                                                                          Martha Wilmot

Read Full Post »

Bodhi in the window at dawn (one day last week...we don't have any snow at the moment here in upstate NY!)

For years my mother complained that the town trucks always plowed her in after every snow fall. One year they pushed so much snow onto her lawn that it broke part of the fence. She said that after every storm, when she heard the town trucks coming, she ran to the window to see how much they would dump on her.

Last winter, she was standing at her window, thinking about how much she dreaded this continual inconvenience and she had a revelation. She’d been listening to some inspirational cd’s about blessing all circumstances in life, and realized that she had been doing the opposite, in this situation, and so she started, at that moment, saying, “Bless those town workers and the trucks that they drive. I know how hard they work.” She then headed outside to dig herself out.

As she shoveled, a small town truck drove by and stopped in front of her house. One of the men got out, came over to her and said, “We are so sorry that we have been plowing you in. We’ll be more careful in the future, and if you do get plowed in like this again, just give us a call and we’ll come back and take care of it. Here is the number to call.”

My mother said that she was so surprised, she almost couldn’t say anything, but then thought to ask, “How did you know that I was being plowed in?!” He told her that her neighbor had called them, several days ago, and said that there was an 82-year-old woman up the street who had to spend hours shoveling herself out after they came by.

The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude”. Oprah Winfrey


Read Full Post »

Esther getting away from it all (napping inside my pack basket!)

I had a pretty irritable day last week. I could just feel that I was off. Every little thing seemed to bother me and while usually a good run, meditation, or nap will turn me around, nothing did. I also had an important meeting to attend, and couldn’t reschedule, so I grabbed a bunch of inspirational cd’s to take along on my drive and after trying to find a radio station with some good music (of course I didn’t; all of the songs that I generally liked, annoyed me) I reached down into my stack of cd’s, pulled one out and popped it into the player.

I had heard this particular workshop recording before and always felt uplifted by it, but that day, when I heard the woman’s voice say, “Now take a deep breath and breath out all of the negative energy…” I thought, “Yeah right! As if it is that easy!” and I fantasized throwing the cd out the window.  All the sudden I imagined that I had thrown the cd out, and that some person, who was having a rough time, found it and  felt like they got an answer from heaven. I imagined them listening and thinking that something/someone had heard their prayer for help. For one split second, I was that person and in that moment I thought, “I asked for help (which I did by taking the cd’s in the first place) and pulled this one out and now I’m going to discount it? Throw it out mentally? If I ask for help and then don’t even try it, I am, beyond help. I am going to listen to this and try to be open.” Within 5 minutes, a relaxing wave came over me and the ill-will and crappy feelings left.

There is an old expression, “familiarity breeds contempt” and that would have applied to me in that previous moment. All the help that I needed was there, waiting in that little 15 minute meditation cd but my mind “knew it”, had heard it before, so discounted it. Wisdom is all around me. Sometimes it come out of the mouth of my mother, the person ahead of me in line at the grocery store, Jack, the radio, a cd, book or movie. Whether I hear it, and take it in, or not, is up to me.

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” Gerry Spence

Read Full Post »

Luke: friendly and trusting!

I started going to the Manchester Thrift store 10 years ago. Oddly enough, I was somewhat intimidated by the volunteers…most were older women who lived in Manchester (a wealthy town) and wanted something to do with their free time. One woman in particular, Barbara, made me quite uncomfortable. I would try to be friendly with her, always saying something like, “Hi, or Good morning” but she rarely even acknowledged me. It seemed like she almost scowled when I entered the store.

I started imagining that she was thinking negative things about me like, “Why does she shop at the thrift store? This is for people who need help.” As time went by, I began thinking that I just wouldn’t go back there. Then one day, when a woman ahead of me was checking out, I noticed that Barbara was not acknowledging her either. The woman assisting at the checkout said, “You need to speak up. Barbara is almost completely deaf.”

Everything changed in that moment. It was my perception of the situation that was completely wrong and all I needed to do, literally, was speak up. Barbara has become one of my most favorite volunteers. She is 90 and funny and sweet and always saves me good books, after she reads them (the last one was The Help). I believe that we live in a friendly universe but we have to drop our unfriendly, fearful, insecure thoughts to access it.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. Mark Twain

Read Full Post »

"Looking through a key hole" (photograph I took on retreat several years ago)

Last year, I was telling a friend that I met my father every Sunday morning for breakfast and she said, “Oh, I wish that I had a relationship like that with my dad.” I just smiled but also thought, “You probably really don’t!” It took a lot of determination for me to see that relationship differently and to be genuinely happy to meet with him on Sunday mornings in the summer. I don’t see him during the rest of the year because he lives in Florida, and I have never been invited to either home. He told me last year, at breakfast, that this was not going to change, (and he is 86 so I tend to think that he is right). I see him on Sunday mornings before the track opens. He comes to Saratoga for the racing season and leaves right after.

This is in no way meant as a “poor me” post. I lived with a lot of anger about my past and it ate me up. Ten years ago, I was experiencing such stomach pain, that I really thought I might have a serious illness, and realized that I needed to seriously address my non-acceptance of the past. I had “worked on” forgiveness, done tons of therapy, but was still carrying around resentments and they were beginning to negatively impact my health. I began a process of opening up to a new way of being, to a new way of seeing my life, and everyone in it (or not), to basically save my life. I wrote to a friend last night and said, “One of my concerns about this blog is that people will think that when I propose and idea such as saying, ‘Everything in my life is exactly as it should be’, that someone struggling will feel like I have done this work in one fell swoop and now am saying it is easy”.

Changing the way that I think, has been, hands down, the hardest thing that I have ever done. Accepting where I am now, who is here with me, who is not, is huge work. I removed yesterday’s post because I could feel that it need more explanation. I present concepts and new thoughts with the sole intention of offering a thought/idea that could lead to a more expanded, easier and happier life.

I am posting yesterday’s post again here for anyone who would like it.

I’ve been thinking about a powerful question lately…asking myself this question, “What if my entire life has been ‘perfect’?” I spent many years feeling that I did not quite measure up, that I somehow disappointed my parents, then my children…felt I was not quite a good enough friend or wife or even pet owner. I believe that it is important to make amends, set things right, when I know that my actions have harmed someone, but perpetually feeling bad/wrong/inadequate for actions of the past, only drags those low energies into my present moment. There is a belief system that if you forget the past, you are doomed to repeat it, but the truth is, if you keep it alive, by negative thought and stories, you are attracting similar experiences. Feeling bad about the past does not change it, but it does change my present moment, and makes it more difficult.

I am ready to live today as if everything in my past has been perfect; no person was there by accident, no split-up was ultimately “wrong”….every person who came and left was “right” at that time. There is a peace inside when I quietly sit and say, “What if everything is exactly how it is meant to be, and my life is perfectly on-track.” Maybe Labor Day is a good day to stop “laboring” and struggling about things that we cannot change (the past) and to start living now.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,347 other followers