Sunday, April 22, 2018

Red Car on the Horizon

Coutesy Pixabay - thanks MaxWaidhas

There are many of us who like to keep the destination in mind. There is always a red car on the horizon in our lives. It gives us something to work towards, a goal to head to, and a reason to keep doing what we're doing.

I know that it is contrary thinking in this age when there is much discussion of “enjoying the journey” and being present which I often write about here. However through my years of experience, I believe that a person can have a destination in mind and still enjoy the view getting there. (Tweet This)

For those of us destination seekers reading this, I think that you will agree.

    • If your intention is to earn a number of degrees, you might have to give up at least the occasional pub night. 
    • If you want to run a marathon, you likely will have to tie up your running shoes even when you don’t feel like it.
    • No one became honestly rich, without sacrificing something else, especially your ego.
    • And we certainly can't stay healthy with a recipe of consistent TV binge watching accompanied with pepperoni pizza.It just doesn’t work that way, at least in my life.

I remember being a young teenager when I was questioned about what my plan was for the future. It was answered with some disdain by a relative that all I wanted was to be “happy”. I remember thinking in that moment, but that’s a good answer! I’m not certain why it was perceived as a problem, or whether my relative had any understanding of what a monumental task that is in each person’s life. A life’s practise for sure.

If happiness is our goal through the ups and downs, the straight roads, the curves, the detours and someone can still smile, is that wrong? Does that mean that they missed out on something? I think not. Destination and journey can all be rolled into one.

Red Car on the Horizon

The most well-adjusted folks that I’ve had the privilege of knowing are not the ones who have had an uneventful life. They may
have paid with tears, heartache, loneliness and despair but they have always held on to the golden nugget of their hearts. They have given up a lot of dreams yet they maintain seeing what is to come with optimism.

These folks have gone with the proverbial “flow” not knowing where they were being carried. They didn’t know what the journey would bring, but they did know that it would somehow work out, that they would be alright. Because they had a destination in mind.

When we are travelling down the road to whatever goal is on the horizon, keep an eye out for the happy ones. They have a lot to teach us.

They are the ones who see the swooping of the first kite in Spring and smile at the fluttering robin on a bare branch. Happy people always have their eyes ahead. Looking for the red car on the horizon. (Tweet This)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Heap of Mish-Mash

Life in complicated and messy. It can really tear us apart.

I’m referring to how we manage what we are dealt with and the lives of those around us. We've learned how to pretend, hide and camouflage for the most part. We manage. Although at times, We can feel that life is dealing anunfair hand and someone is pointing a finger at us from above. Picking on us. (Tweet This)

Disabled spouse, death, concussions and depression. I know a family dealing with all this right now. And they are falling apart. Something has to give and they don’t know what. How do you hold together the strands of  “normal” when everything is a mess?

Heap of Mish-Mash

A four year old and I were recently talking about the word “tangled”. She asked me to explain, and I reached for examples that I felt that she would understand. Her hair after a bath, a knot that wouldn’t come out in her shoe lace, but still she questioned me as to what I meant.

You mean when “things are just a mish-mash?” she asked. Yes, I said.

It’s hard to explain to a little person how our lives get tangled with other people’s (ask anyone going through a divorce). How an extended family can appear to be well while sitting around a dining room table, but you still worry that night why one of yours was so quiet that day.

And then you add the mish-mash of unexpected and unwanted incidents. Oh, how they can confuse us and throw our days and dreams into a tangled pile.

Untangling these times involves focus, dedication, trust in others, patience, and self-care. It is not easy. But the day will come when the mish-mash will subside and we will be stronger and able to help someone else when it’s their turn.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Uncomfortable Fasting

Courtesy Pixabay - Geralt
I recently read a Becoming Minimalist’s article about fasting.  As this well-known (and worthwhile) writer explains, fasting is another way for each of us to become more aware.

When I read his words, I had to stop and think about the words “fasting from what would give me an uncomfortable feeling”? I’m okay without a cell phone (as every family member of mine knows), I wouldn’t notice if the TV was off for a day or two (it would give me an excuse to spend time reading one of the many books waiting on my shelf), I could even easily give up talking for a few hours (a privilege of being an introvert).

However, three scarier give-ups crept into my mind:

Chocolate – in any form! Cookies, cheesecake or tiny morsels straight from the bad. Yes I break up our large bar (Waterbridge - best chocolate ever) into 2 square portions. How harmful could that be? But the need I have to end many meals with those 2 squares of delight would be difficult to give up for a week.

Coffee – admission: I’ve only recently become a coffee snob. I was raised in a household where coffee came by the teaspoonful out of a NescafĂ© jar. Only years later did I realize how horrible that stuff was. My tastes and my budget have changed. Now it’s only Kicking Horse beans in our cupboard. This would be difficult to give up for a day.

Wine –And just to clarify, one glass is usually enough to make me see the world through rose coloured glasses. I have a little more money in my pocket as I did a few years ago, I no longer buy sweet 1.5l bottles and nurse them for the entire month. Wine is to be enjoyed, consumed in a healthy way and looked forward to over a weekend. But as long weekends come and go.. the wine sometimes starts on a Thursday night. Oh-Oh.

If these three things have taken away some of my control, where else am I wasting my discipline?

We all have our weaknesses. It’s when these flaws are acted on with little or no understanding that the problems can begin.

To make any kind of change in our life, we need to examine where we have given our focus, what we use as our crutch, and what this choice is taking away from us.

If we think about it, most of us might do something too much or too little: eat, sleep, watch TV, yell at our kids, spend the grocery money foolishly, work, time fretting about social media, exercise, complain, talk. Or eat chocolate, and drink coffee and wine.

My three things are not jeopardizing my physical or mental health, they are not ruining my dreams and my goals. But they have made me think about why they are important to me. They do not identify who I am. Could I give them up, yes of course. But what if I couldn’t? 

What if you can’t find your way out of a behaviour that is causing harm? They would have taken away our control, our discipline and that is indeed a problem.

So I agree with Becoming Minimalist, a Fast, for one hour or one day or one week will make us stop and think. And if the mere thought of doing this is scary, well that tells us that it is worth investigating.