Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow; whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.- Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu's teachings
How Well do You Roll with the Punches?
Change is the natural order of the world. When something tries to stand against the force of change, it's eventually destroyed. Cliffs are eroded, trees are uprooted, granite cracks. People can crack too. For us to grow and live--to flourish--it takes adaptation and learning. Stubborn attachment to a single set of "knowledge" or way of doing things leads to stagnation of the mind and spirit. Remember to keep an open mind to new people and new ideas. Challenge yourself to always be learning something new. Focus on the possibilities of a fresh start, instead of hanging on to old frustrations. Sails are made with cloth for a reason. When they're stiff, winds beat against them until they tear. But if the sails are relaxed and workable, the wind can take you to places you've never been before.
"Focus on the possibilities of a fresh start, instead of hanging on to old frustrations." This statement really stood out for me because I am a brooder. I spend a great deal of time by myself and what better way to fill that time than to brood on what I need to do, haven't done, can't change, wasn't successful at, is difficult to attain, or what is out of my league? I can't even THINK of anything more productive or entertaining than that! So I'm trying to get back to the relaxed nature I used to have. I want to be a cloth sail. I want to be a method of travel instead of something ragged and torn.
Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.- Maurice Setter
Appreciation of the Good Things in Life
How many times are we blind to the good in front of us because we're looking past it for something better? It's like watching the railroad track your entire life, waiting for a train to come in and never realizing that you're sitting smack in the middle of the splendid Grand Central Station. Take a second look at your goals. Are they building on the good already in your life? Are you taking full advantage of the strengths you already have? Is it worth giving up what you have for what you might have? In many cases, the answer is yes. To that we say "Go for it!" with all the enthusiasm we can muster. Those are the meaningful goals. If the answer is no, try reworking your goals to include ones that complement your present life rather than substitute for it. Whatever the answer is for you, we could all use a little more appreciation for the pieces of silver in our lives.
Looking at my current goals: Building on the good already in my life? Uh, no. Taking advantage of my strengths? Um, not really. Could I give up what I have for what I might have? Not working so well at this point, no. But, going back to the previous quotation/pep talk, I've got to stop dwelling on the crappy job I'm doing at trying to just spontaneously get happy and WORK ON IT already. What I really need to do is start seeing my therapist again (sorry KT! I did intend to go back, I really did!) and *long suffering sigh* I feel like I might need to start back on the antidepressants again. I'm nowhere near where I was a year or two ago, but I don't want to let it get out of hand like I did the first time either.
There ain't much fun in medicine, but there's a heck of a lot of medicine in fun.- Josh Billings, 19th Century Humorist
Are You Taking Life Too Seriously?
When was the last time your doctor told you to stay home and watch "Seinfeld"? Or suggested a night out at the circus? Or told you to play fetch with a dog? It probably hasn't happened, but the day may not be far off. Laughter and fun are great ways to break down the walls of stress, preventing both mental and physical damage. Play time loosens up joints constricted by tension and poor posture. It brightens your attitude and is a healthy outlet for the most troubled thoughts. Even during our time off, it seems like we still spend a lot of time working--as a handyman, chauffer, mechanic, negotiator, therapist, cook, activist, or whatever is called for. Next time you're starting to feel the strain, think about how long it's been since you just played for the fun of it. It might be longer than you think. Then go buy yourself a toy.
Here's where I really drop the ball. Taking crap home with me to work on. Coming in on my day off. Volunteering for too much stuff. I want the people around me to be happy and pleased even if it's at my own expense. Ouch, that was painful to admit. I've gotten a little better at sticking up for myself since Mrs. Roomie moved out. She was just so volatile that I would do practically anything to keep the confrontations to a minimum and that habit has been a B!TCH to break. I'm still very much in the process and I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a door mat for the world. I don't know where I'll find the funding for fun, but I've already got my thinking cap on for inexpensive fun things to do in and around Birmingham.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.- John Wooden, Hall of Fame college basketball coach
Believing In Yourself
Limitations can either define us or give us a challenge to outwit. When you look at your abilities, do you see boundaries and limits, or do you see possibilities and potential? Obsessing about weaknesses can blind us to the untapped abilities we already have. You have talent. Everyone does. The secret to success is to find that talent, develop it and push it as far as you can. Grandma Moses might have been a lousy bowler, Einstein probably couldn't sing a lick, Michelangelo could've been unable to speak well in public. So what? They knew what they were good at and rode that pony. Your talent might be right in front of you: where do you get the most compliments? What seems to come easily to you? What do people ask your advice for? Live there. Don't let the rest get in the way.
I don't know what my talent is. I mean, I have a librarian junk brain full of Dewey Decimal number schemes and book titles but outside of that? My pony is fairly small at this point. I guess the point is just as is says...developing talent. I'll have to work on that too.
We should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once.- Nietzsche, philosopher
Finding and celebrating the joy in life
Each day is a new chance to find joy and to dance. If you let it pass or think it useless, the chance is gone and you'll never get it back. When was the last time you played? Or just did something for the sheer fun of it? Joy is not found in the world around you, it's within yourself. You can make your own joy, especially during those dark times when you need to really feel alive again. Fun and play are healthy antidotes to taking life--and ourselves--too seriously. They're proven boosters of immune systems and mental health and make life worth the trouble. So do the twist. Sing in the shower. Learn a magic trick. Watch a cartoon. Challenge some kids to a game. Don't let a single day go to waste.
Sheesh, finding the joy in life. Sometimes it's easy, recently it's been tough. Today was exceptionally tough because I'm tired, I didn't want to go to the library, I was repulsed by the sight of the building when I got here, and it is SO beautiful outside today. The florescent lighting in here is not. I have not been nice to people. I have not gone out of my way to help them. Right now, I don't care if they find what they need or if they complain about me. I'd gladly be written up for it as long as they get the hint to leave me the F*#K alone.
So, cheerio everybody.