Saturday, May 14, 2022

NEW ROADS


On any given day, life can feel so messed up. It can feel crazy. It can feel miserable. It can feel so hard to understand. It can feel so difficult to maneuver. It can feel so challenging to navigate. It can be so hard to deal with. It can feel utterly frustrating. It can be so this, that and the other!

I have lived a long time and I know this! I have been there and done that. My hand is raised. I've got the T-shirt. I've got receipts. But, enough of that kind of talk! 

Guess what? Now that I've taken you down that rough road, let's take a detour. There is a NEW WAY we can take. Let's look at the map of our lives and see if we can chart out some new directions. Sound good? Well, we must! Those rough and rocky times in our lives are sometimes really hard to manage, but we have to remember that there can and will always be smoother highways ahead if we dare to chart them for ourselves.

We have to make an effort to hold on tight to the wheel and see what new roads we can take. We will need to decide on some new destinations. We will need to design some new travel plans for the journeys ahead. The more we focus on the possibilities, we'll lose sight of those prior problematic predicaments and pursuits that got us off track.

We must exit every road that is taking us nowhere and get ourselves going in the direction toward the things in life that put us on smoother trails. It may not be the easiest drive forward, but as long as we know that we're moving closer to our goals, our peace, our balance and our success, we gotta keep it moving straight ahead! You going? ~ S.R.F.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

FINDING YOUR "I CAN"

Have you been wanting to do something, but it's been sitting on the back burner for a long time? Have you allowed your dreams to diminish? Did you put aside the things you really want in life because the journey was too long and tiring? Did you lose the energy and enthusiasm you once had that fueled your confidence? So many of us have been there, having lost the wherewithal to believe in ourselves and that goal we had once set. 

Time can change many things, but it doesn't have to steal the "I can" that had us moving full speed toward our hopes and dreams. There is still time and opportunity to grab hold of that vision and launch yourself into goal-setting mode again. You can still do it. Find your "I can" and believe in it, and believe in yourself again. 

It's very possible that challenges and obstacles will appear again, but this time you will understand that it is all a part of the process of getting where you want to go. Each time something shows up as something in your way, you will remind yourself "I can" do this regardless of these hurdles. 

This time there will be no stopping you. This time you will be focused and determined. This time your "I can" attitude will be unshakeable. This time you are going to make it happen, because you know you can. ~ S.R.F.


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

ANOTHER WAY?

It's a fact that life is full of unexpected twists and turns. For instance, our plans may be set in one direction, and suddenly something happens that changes our day, our course, or maybe even our life.

How do we face the unexpected? Here are a few key things to remember:

1. Life is happening to all of us with no guarantee of having perfect days. As negative as that may sound, it's not meant to sound that way. Instead, we must realize that each day things will occur that were not a part of the plan, and we must face them with awareness, intelligence and emotional disciplines. 

If we don't understand that the "unusual" is the "usual" we will live with a defeated mindset regarding daily upsets and setbacks, chaos and drama. That stuff is going to happen. We don't have to like it, but we have to deal with it in ways that don't change our momentum, our drive to keep navigating through the day, through the plans, and through life.

2.  Decide that you will ride the tide. Surely, there are those people and predicaments that seem like they will pull us under, leaving us in a sea of discouragement and despair. However, if we make the determination that we will keep our heads held high and our thinking also on a higher plane, we can cruise through many situtations with our emotional well-being kept in tact. 

We must train ourselves to "rise above" the fray, the noise, the distractions, the detours, and those sinking feelings that creep up on us, and ride through all that stuff with the knowledge that the tide is taking us to safe shores.

3.  When things seem to be pulling us in directions that are uncomfortable and unfavorable, we have to make up our minds in the moment to choose another way to go. If possible, and if it doesn't cause further disruption, choosing to bow out altogether with grace and composure really does work. Bowing out of circumstances, situations, relationships, or whatever, may be the best answer in many cases. In other circumstances, recognizing or creating a different and more positive direction is a choice as well. We often forget about the myriad of options and possibilities. They appear when we begin to look for them. 

We have to remember that there is usually a choice we can make, rather than being stuck dealing with our own discontent because we did not make the critical move to do something else. It's on us to look for another way, and to remember that those ways are there before us. We can go out. We can go through. We can go another way, and choose to keep our sanity, happiness and peace. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, January 8, 2022

FOCUS ON "HAPPY"


When a year ends and another rolls in, we throw the words "Happy New Year" all over the land. We say it in such a celebratory sense because it gives us the feeling that the slate has been wiped clean and a new chance at something is right in front of us. Riding high on the possibilty of the "new" is great, but how about focusing on the "happy"? Here are a few thoughts on that idea:

1. Put yourself on your priority list, way up on top. Your health, your mental and emotional well-being are critical to your happiness and the happiness of those around you. To be at your best, you MUST take the best care of yourself that you possibly can. Give it your 100% effort.

2. Find a "happy" place to hide. Find a great corner of a cafe, coffee shop or restaurant where you can enjoy your favorite cup of coffee or tea, or a favorite meal. It's satisfying to find time for yourself, to be with yourself for a quiet, happy, alone-time couple of cherished hours. 

3. Refresh yourself often. When we get bored with our routine lives, we get frustrated and unhappy quite easily. You may not be able to take a flight to Paris (do it if you can), but you can visit new and fun places right at home or in nearby cities that will surprise and delight you. You will find them if you look for them.

4. Make adjustments. Just because you have been doing things the same way doesn't mean there is not a better or more effective way of doing it. You can take the load off of several "duties" or chores by rethinking how it can get done. Don't hesitate to pay someone to do things for you that lighten up your responsibilities. You might be suprised at who might appreciate five, ten or twenty dollars to run an errand or clean your bathroom. Lighten your load. You will be happier.

5. Focus on being happy. My list of suggestions is short, but there are many, many ways to make sure you feel the joy you need to. Sit down and think about it. Write down some things. Follow through on them. Don't let frustrations and distractions convince you that there is no way you can be happy. There is: don't lose your focus on it. HAPPY New Year! ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, December 10, 2021

LOOK FOR HOPE


Christmas is likely the most celebrated Holiday of the year, and with it comes an atmosphere of joy and hope. Happy feelings are at an all-time high and lovely get-togethers are, too. Usually, that is.

This year, not much unlike last year, we continue to hope that the pandemic drama is nearing and end. We hope that masks will come off, that loss of life will cease and that we will again have some sense of stability in our society and in our own little worlds. Yes, that is what many of us are hoping for.

Will it happen? Of course, it will. Time has proven that we can get through the worst of challenges and somehow find some sort of normalcy to life later on. On the other side of the challenge we see that we have changed, but often that change has enhanced how we do things for the better. Importantly, we realize that it was hope that brought us to that place.

So, in the midst of this beautiful season that is now surrounded by fret and fears of COVID19, we must continue to look hopefully toward the future and what having dealt with such an extraordinary time will unfold to us in future revelations and understanding. Will it be filled with emacipation from feelings of doubt and doom to great and overwhelming elation about what it's like to feel free again? Let's hope so. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, November 6, 2021

ARE YOU THANKFUL?

In pressing times like we've experienced recently, it could be a challenge to feel thankful. However, like so many who may be out of breath trying to keep up with life, we tend to lean heavily on spiritual help and resources to help us. When we do, our thinking shifts and we appreciate things that really matter, and usually it's not "things". 

Since we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, how about focusing on a "THANKS for GIVING"prayer for some important non-tangibles for a few minutes? It may help you appreciate the simple fact that you're living and breathing:

1. Thanks for giving me the strength to deal with the conditions and circumstances we are all in. It's not the easiest thing to do, but we press on as we continue to believe in the better days to come.

2. Thanks for giving me the ability to see through the eyes of faith. When we don't see and experience what we would like to see, and we are unable to make a situation better, relying on our faith is the best course of action. Faith tells us we can get through most anything, and we do when we believe it.

3. Thanks for giving me the wisdom to not give priority to my frustration and anger about the things I cannot control. Instead, help me to trust that there is a process that will ultimately get me past the challenges and difficulties to a stable and comfortable place in life. 

There is power in gratitude. Lift your head. Lift your thinking. Lift your heart. Be grateful for things that are not things. Yes, be thankful for that. Gratitude will lift your life. ~ S.R.F.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Who Stole Your Joy?

 

It's always something, right? Something agitating. Something aggravating. Something upsetting. Something unsettling. Something uncomfortable to deal with. Indeed, the "joy thieves" arrive on a daily basis, and they hijack our joy.

Well, you don't have to give it up, not so easily anyway. You need your peace. You need your sanity. You need your sense of well-being. You need to maintain your joy. Here are a few suggestions on how you can do just that with some "adjustments":

Adjust mentally:THINK. All kinds of things are going to happen out of nowhere and unexpectedly. Will it help at all to respond with dismay, criticism and anger? No, it won't. So, instead, try using common sense responses to the "occurrences" and trouble-shoot them wisely. Think about exactly what you need to do to gain ground before the joy robber wins the territory. Is it a call you need to make? Is it an explanation you need to provide? Is there an action you need to take? Do you need to correct something? Do you need to lay low until the situation settles itself? If any of these approaches work, and they save you from yourself and the joy thief, do it.

Adjust your attitude: STAY COOL. Does waiting annoy you? Does bad customer service get under your skin? Do your co-workers constantly stir up drama? Do you find yourself wanting to pull your hair out over things both big and small? Those robbers are stealing your joy.

Make a big decision to stay cool. Be adamant about keeping your composure under the pressures of the day. Make every effort to keep your head on and straight when things get twisted. These daily common issues are going to happen, and how you handle them is everything. Handle them by staying cool, calm and collected. Your efforts will prove themselves with great results, and your joy will stay in tact.

Adjust emotionally: REACT the "RIGHT" way. Will it help to yell and scream about it? Will it help anything if you retaliate against others for what they do or didn't do? We often put ourselves at risk when we don't keep our emotions under control. Many negative consequences occur when we don't react in a "right" way for the circumstance or situation. 

When you hold back your negative emotional responses, it gives you time to assess and make a better choice about how to react. Once you explode, your potential for keeping your joy is shot, and you may have killed the joy of others involved as well. "Emotional Intelligence" is a key factor in keeping peace and balance in your life. When you choose your battles wisely and with a cool head, you will always choose joy as a result. ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, September 10, 2021

The Power of Your Thoughts

What are you thinking? What's on your mind? Whatever it is, is it helping or hurting you? What is my point? Let's take a look:

Theory says that our lives go in the direction of our most dominant thinking. The belief is that the way we think contributes immensely to outcomes, incomes, blessings and burdens; to success or lack of it, etc.. What this means is that there is great value or deficit when we pay attention to our thoughts, particularly all decisions and choices, because all decisions and choices ultimately take us somewhere, good or bad.

I think of it like driving a car. Where do you want to go? We usually know where we are headed, and our car drives us where we determined we wanted to end up. We control the direction to that destination. 

Our thoughts are driven much in the same way, but of course it's a mental process instead. If you are headed to the mall or to the grocery store, you take a specified path to get there. If your mental process is telling you to start a business for instance, and if you follow those "specific" thoughts, ultimately you will be running your own office one day. If your mental process says you can't go back to school, you can't start a business or you can't succeed at something, your thoughts will drive you right there, right into those  places in your thinking that take you no place, or in the opposite direction to your success.

What am I saying? Well, in short, you are behind the wheel of your thinking. Your thoughts, choices, decisions can be guided by you. Where do you want to go? Think about that. And then, realize that you have this big, wonderful, luxury "vehicle" which is your powerful mind, that can get you there. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Remaining Strong in Perilous Times

When life as we know it from day-to-day gets upset, how can we be ready? The truth is, we can't always. Things like COVID19 take us by surprise and our personal worlds get flipped-turned upside down, and it's serious trying to come to grips with all that has happened. Is there a way to cope successfully? We have to try.

Hold on to your hope. Trying to get our bearings comes with fear, pain and tears for so many of us. Work life has changed. Family situations have changed. How we come and go has changed. How you adapt to our new conditions will come with many decisions you will have to make, often each day. When life is at its most difficult, the answers don't always come easy, but they come. 

A starting place is realizing you are truly at a "starting place" that may require you to bear down hard and move inch-by-inch, but progressively, toward a more secure and comfortable time and place. It will take all the hope you can muster up, but change will come as you go.

"Change the things you can, and accept the things you can't." I'm sure you know those words from the Serenity Prayer. They hold great truth. For some of us, our lives and circumstances have been changed forever. We have lost people we loved. We lost businesses that we depended on. We had jobs with benefits and security. A lot has been lost for so many. In the midst of it, it can be difficult to think futuristicallly about everything getting better, but it certainly can; and, it certainly will as life progresses. Keep your faith focused on moving forward, changing things that you can: getting a new job. Rebuilding your business. Eventually buying a new home. Establishing a new normal. Finding happiness again. 

We can't change the loss of those we love, but we accept the pain and grief, and know that even though we won't get over those losses, we can and will get through the paralyzing grief at some point.

Learn everything you can from this experience. All of us have learned something important and significant from the past couple of years of dealing with this pandemic. I learned to be stronger. I learned that I could quickly adjust to an upsetting condition, even if I didn't like it or want to. I learned that when required, I could hunker down and be still. I learned that the world can change in a split second. I learned that we only have so much control, and it's very little. I was dazed by it. I was amazed by it. I'm still learning stuff from it.

The list of lessons from this pandemic is long and in some ways very wearying. I don't plan on taking anything I'm learning for granted. As I wish better times ahead for all of us, I hope you won't either. Stay strong. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Truth About the Opinions of Others

My Mother used to often say "to thine own self be true." For her, that was freedom. From observation, I can tell you about one thing that meant as she lived her life, and maybe there are some revelations that many of us can understand and relate to:

She lived apart from other people's opinion of herself. She never seemed to participate in gossip or foolishness. She treated it as something that she was above, and she shut people down in no uncertain terms when they would try to impose "news" or nonsense about other people upon her. Once she told them she really didn't care about other people's business and "BS" in that way, there was little to be said after that. She made sure of it. She was emphatic about not caring how people responded to her nonchalant manner. In her own words, she'd say "I just don't give a _____ about that." You can fill in the blank with any four-letter word you choose. She used them all.

What I learned from this, from her, is that we can live free of others' opinions. Opinions can matter if they are helpful, healthy and meant with our best interest in mind. However, oftentimes we can be tossed to and fro listening to people attempting to, and successfully shaping our perspectives and views about ourselves and other things. For my Mother, that meant making her own rules about how she handled things, people and nonsense, and she lived and died by it. If she offended you by living her truth, she would leave it up to you to get over it. And, a bigger freedom for her is that she didn't care if you didn't.

Living out loud and as boldly as she did isn't for everybody. Even so, realize that the big takeaway here is that we have to define ourselves and our personal truth. Our own sense of self, confidence and strengths are at stake if we allow ourselves to be shaped and conditioned by the negative actions and opinions surrounding us. If the opinions are truly meant to help us, swallow hard and take it in. Use it. If not, try using my Mother's technique and let people know clearly you just don't care, using any languaging that can help you get your truth across. ~ S.R.F.

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Monday, June 21, 2021

SAY IT IS SO

Did you start your day by saying this is going to be a happy, wonderful, awesome, amazing, incredible, phenomenal, marvelous and magnificent day? No? Well, I don't use every one of those adjectives daily either, but I do make an attempt to to say what I believe will be a catalyst for carrying me through the day with the right attitude. Does that make things go right? I can say this, it keeps my thinking right, and that seems to attract many happy and marvelous happenings into my day. That's the truth.

I want everything good and wonderful for myself, but I know that if I don't think good and wonderful things, and say that my blessings (plans, goals, etc.) are coming to me, I won't have it. If I get up saying that today sucks and I gripe about everything throughout the day, I can be assured that no good will come of that. I can certainly say that people would not want to hang around such negativity either. Those are risks I dare not take. Understanding that my thoughts and words have creative power is going to guage what I think, do and say.

Are you following where I'm going? Don't be afraid to speak things that are positive. What if your miracle is in the manifestation of your words? Isn't it better to say that something is so even if you find it pretty unbelievable at the moment? It won't work against you like saying, "I want that, but it will never happen." Saying it like that cancels the transaction immediately. If you want something, say it is so. A house? A job? A business? Say it is so. It can happen, but not if you cancel it out with a "it will never happen" attitude. It just won't work.

Get a made up mind that you will stop saying things that don't bless your life or situations. Will things manifest immediately? Some things do, and others take process and time. Believe me, you will like the results better when you choose words that are positive, that speak potential, productivity and possibility. Speak what you want to see and what you want to be. Those negative words can curse and cancel not just the wonderful day you can have, but also the potential for a wonderful life. You want things to be good, don't you? You want a great life, right? Okay, I dare you to say it is so! ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Dealing With The "Crazy"

                                                  
Some stuff can really get to us. Things can go crazy in a split second, and throw us into a spin. If that second turns into minutes and hours, or even days, we can feel pretty crazy ourselves if we don't do something about it.

If you can't make the "crazy" go away, you have to make an uncompromised effort to go away from the crazy. What do I mean? I mean making an escape plan to get as far from it as possible.

Find a safe, quiet spot and gather yourself together. It may be a quiet breakfast or lunch alone. It  may be sitting in your car somewhere in a peaceful place. It may be in your bedroom closet. I used to go to the coffee room and gaze into the clouds for fifteen, twenty minutes when work felt like pressure. Those minutes looking into the calm skies gave me just enough peace and balance to keep working at my optimum, unstressed by things going on around me. Do whatever works. You and only you can protect your sanity when all else is going nuts.

Choose your battles wisely. Everything crazy that happens isn't an opportunity for you to step into the center of it. Even if the craziness is in whole or part about you, you can bow out. Bow out respectfully, until you can choose or decide how you need to remedy the situation, circumstances or problem. It's easy to make a thing crazier because we think our part in it is necessary. Make sure you know your position. Every battle is not yours to fight, especially those crazy ones.

Assess the craziness by asking yourself a few questions: Is this stealing my time? Is this any of my business? Can I fix this? There are other questions, however, prioritize keeping your head in place. Make the "agenda" about you maintaining your peace and balance. No one has to know that you are protecting your mental and emotional well-being in that way but you, but it's a must. It's not selfish, it's actually a very wise approach to being okay. This works whether you are the one who is putting out the fires at home or at work, or if things are swirling around you that you have nothing to do with. At all costs, guard your mental and emotional health. You will thank yourself for it again and again and again. ~ S.R.F.

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