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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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Getting Over the "Humps" in Life

 

Life has many uphill climbs. We all have them. Some of them are easier than others, but some are truly very hard to get up and over. What do we do then, when scaling looks difficult and we fear we'll fail?

1.    Our mindset must come into full play under those circumstances. We know some things will be hard, that's a given. However, we can't strip ourselves of victory by not even trying. Things will be hard either way, if you do it or if you don't. The defining factor here is that going up and over will give you certain victory. Staying at the bottom of the hill, hump or difficulty, will leave you in a place of disappointment, discouragement and defeat. Instead, make up your mind to get up on your feet and start your trek even if you can't tell yet how you are going to do it. This is how you start: Put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

2.    Don't say to yourself  "what's the use?" If that kind of thinking is happening, it may be because you just haven't yet fully developed your climbing skills. Maybe you have tried to get over humps before and slid right back down to the bottom too many times. Listen, don't give up, because your next try may be your best try. Sliding back down to "bottom" is not unusual, it happens often, just don't stay there. It's not where you belong. Be determined enough to see what the other side of your difficulties has to offer. It is probably much better than you could have imagined. What's the use, you ask? You'll see that your climb was well worth it. You'll see the benefits. You'll see the rewards.

3.     Get yourself ready, rise and climb! Battle against the thoughts that say you can't make it. You can. Don't waste another minute wondering about that. Don't waste another second giving in to self-defeat. Until you are where you want to be, keep trying to get over those humps in life. If you fall down, dust yourself off and keep going. The only way to keep going is to keep going. The only way to get there is to get there. You can do it. Keep going until you get there. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Over the Hill? No Way! Come On Back Down!

Old?! Trying seeing things differently.
 Aging isn't what it used to be. I've heard 30 and 40 year-olds say "I'm getting old!" It helps us see why many people by the time they hit 50 and 60 have climbed "over the hill." Many have decided they're tired and have retired at the bottom of this proverbial "hill" and some have decided to just simply die there.


A new and different attitude is emerging about aging. This new perspective is helping change what we have previously thought about "old age." We are entering a new "age" revolution, embracing new thoughts about what's happening up the hill and over it. Yes, it's an aging journey for sure. However, this one takes you to a "peak" but this one hardly allows anyone who is climbing to head over it to just sit there until all is said and life is done.

We're taking care of ourselves better, more deliberately combatting and defying previous aging cognitions. We have become exercise enthusiasts. We're taking vitamins and supplements that we know renew our minds and bodies, and that restore our very cell structures. Our health "consciousness" is a key to getting a hold of the aging process. When we do the things that address good health, we redefine our lives. We look better. We feel better. We age better.

Most of us have had a bad habit or two, or three at some time in our lifetime. Habits are hard to break. We may have done things, and maybe still do things that abuse our body and mental health. A step toward breaking those habits is to stop making unrealistic reasons for not breaking them, and making excuses for everything, particulary why we believe we can't and shouldn't stop. We have to be audaciously deliberate about breaking bad health habits if we want to increase our longevity on this earth. Reaching those latter years is no guarantee, but we can have a healthier experience when we choose healthier things to live by.

Our happiness is a component that also needs to be on the top our lists of aging well. We must work on eminating stressors, the things in our lives that keep us anxious, worried and in discomfort, whatever they are. The process of elimination can be difficult and slow, but we can do it, and must for our own sanity and emotional health. Choose enjoyment over seclusion and stagnancy. Choose positive attitudes and actions over the things that tend to push us toward being cranky and judgmental. Enter into and enhance positive interactions with others and in personal relationships. Anything that makes you happy can affect how you face each day. You can face each day happier as you age.

What's it going to take for you to stop thinking and doing things the "old age" way? I'm hoping that something I said in this article will. ~ S.R.F. 

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Friday, February 5, 2021

THE WINDS OF FATE

 "The Winds of Fate"

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the seas are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through the life:
Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem "The Winds of Fate" has always been a favorite of mine. I came across it while investigating what it means to "journey" through life, particulary the faith journey. I'd been through many things, and I had so many questions about life. I've learned a couple of critical things that have helped me along the way, and things I believe can help any of us as we travel the landscapes of our lives: 


1. Winds blow from every direction.
Life's "winds"do also. We can either get blown away by them, or we can option to spread our wings and soar confidently in the direction of our issues and problems, knowing that we can save ourselves from being carried away in a fierce gust of life that could land us in a place of destruction. We can make the choice depending on our approach and attitude, as the poem so beautifully states: 'tis the set of the sail' which will take us in the best directions. We can look with gloom, or we can take a faith-filled, positive, opimistic view of what's ahead.

2. It is through our journey that we learn to tighten our ropes of faith. It doesn't happen overnight, or with our first, second, third or fourth difficulty in life. Winds vary, and problems do as well. Sometimes we can recognize and anticipate challenges that lie before us, but in most cases that isn't so. Varying problems bring varying challenges, as well as varying possibilities. We don't know what to do until we have to figure out what to do. Our hearts must be fixed on the possibilities. Our minds must be focused on all potential for survival. Our souls must be "set" in the direction of our goals, whatever that may mean or be.

3. Life's winds must be handled by maneuvering and mastering our emotional responses to our challenges. Ella Wheeler Wilcox says that it's neither the 'calm or the strife" that gets us through the stormy winds; it's because we anchored ourselves with the determination necessary for our journeys, the boldness necessary for standing firm against every 'east or west' wind that comes our way. Very often our emotions will take us in self-defeating directions, and we must be careful to avoid coasting on those winds and waves.

I hope you will let the words and the meaning of the poem sink in. You can be assured that regardless of the ways of the winds, you will learn to soar upon the stormy waters of life, without ever sinking because of them. ~ S.R.F.

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Saturday, January 2, 2021

Face the New Year with Faith

 


Life Holds the Unexpected. 
 
Here's another kicker: It probably won't be the last time something devastating and unexpected happens. We lack the control to maneuver and monitor everything that will occur in our lives. The one element that we can use to our advantage is our faith. Faith says we can get over, through and past the challenges that come our way. How? We don't always know how, but when we move on and move forward by faith, we just know that we can.

Life Holds us Hostage Sometimes.   Often when things happen, we can experience a setback. We can experience what feels like immobilization in our lives. We can feel like we are inbetween a rock and a hard place, and there is no way out. Dark times, dark places and dark feelings come and seemingly put a halt to any efforts to move out of those valleys. 

Again, faith plays the most critical role in getting ourselves free from the bondages of hopelessness. Faith is a courageous act. It tells us that regardless of the terrible experiences we face, facing them with faith will pull us out of it. It may be inch by inch, breath by breath, but faith will help lead us toward freedom. Faith will help us take the handcuffs off of the thinking that holds us back. Faith will challenge the doors that seem closed, the roads that seem blocked, and the clouds that seem to loom. We must practice with emphatic determination this fact:faith is the greatest and most effective approach to dealing with daily life, and the difficulties it can bring us face-to-face with at any juncture.

Life Holds Victory.  Life will have many ups and downs. We will have critical moments when we are unsure about what to do. We will have situations that appear to have no promising answers. However, life keeps moving along, and so must we. We must remember that with all that can and does happen, as hidden as it may be, we can have victory again and again. We must believe that. We must know that. We must fight for that, no matter what the circumstances may present to us that say otherwise. We may lose some battles, but we will always win the war when we allow faith to be our most formidable weapon in life; and we must carry that conviction with us at all times. When we do this, we can always win, and we always do. ~ S.R.F.

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