Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Good In Shutting My Big Mouth!

Since the mid 80s, I have been keeping a personal journal where I write about what's going on in my life or what I've got on my mind at the time. One of the greatest benefits of journaling is that I can read back and see patterns. Recently, I have been having a lot of fun putting together a little book of my blog posts and poems. I also have spent some time reading my old journals. Seeing the contrast between my journals from the past and my "Look For The Good" blog posts of today has really helped me to see how far I've come over the years. Things are so different for me now, just in the last year or so. And I think I know why. Here's what I think I've learned.

When I looked back at my journals, I was struck by the repetitiveness of what I wrote. Year after year after year I wrote about the same things over and over and over. The same PROBLEMS! I even made the comment frequently that I always seem to have the same problems. I recognized this pattern and it makes perfect sense to me now why my life was so miserable like it was.

*The more I talked or thought about my problems, the bigger they seemed.
*The bigger they seemed, the more I worried about them.
*The more I worried about them, the more mentally tense I got.
*When I was mentally tense, my body responded by tensing up.
*The more tense my body was, the tighter my muscles got.
*Tight muscles are prone to injury.
*The tighter my muscles got, the more pain I felt in my body.
*That added ANOTHER problem! Body pain.
*The more I talked about the body pain, the worse it got.

And the cycle started again!!!!  And I stayed on that cycle, sadly, for about two decades of my life. For two decades, I lived in misery both physically and mentally all because I wouldn't stop running my big stupid mouth about my perceived problems. All because I wasn't looking for the good. Now that I look for the good and try to talk about good stuff and think about good stuff and I try to laugh and giggle and be silly, guess what???? Very little body pain! Very few problems. Life is good because I shut my trap! And a good life is a good thing!  I'm gonna keep looking for the good!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finding Good in Imperfection

When I was living on the farm, I spent many hours sitting on the side porch gazing out over the beautiful landscape that surrounded me. And there was this one tree way across the yard that was "perfectly" shaped except for one branch that sprawled out awkwardly from the rest of the tree. When I first moved out there, that tree bugged the crap out of me. Whenever I would see it, I would fantasize about taking a chainsaw to it and cutting off that wayward branch. But as time went by, I relaxed and began to see things from a very different perspective. I noticed that, in nature, things aren't perfectly symmetrical or lined up just so. Nature is free and spontaneous! Sometimes plants grow sideways or one side gets bigger than the other. Sometimes flowers bloom pink when all the rest of them were white! Sometimes the deer munch on the apple tree and there are no low branches left.

Life is not perfect. People are not perfect. Who decides what's perfect anyway? What's perfect for one person is totally wrong for someone else. There is no such thing as perfection. That's one of the things that makes this Universe so interesting. Imperfection. After livng on that farm for a while, I came to really treasure the beauty of imperfection. It was very freeing to realize I didn't have to color within the lines, that I was beautiful just the way I was and that "imperfection" is another word for unique. How grateful I am that everything is not perfect. Because that would mean that everything would be the same. We live in a world of never ending posibilities, which could also be called imperfection. Imperfection is very very good! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The good in doing nothing!

I was born and raised in the city. Lived in the city all my life until I got to live on the farm for a couple years. I remember when I was little and our family would take a trip out of town, we'd drive down a lot of country roads and we'd see people sitting on their front porch doing absolutely nothing, just watching cars go by. I can remember hearing my parents talking about those lazy country people. Later in life, I married a man who always had to be busy. He had to be making "productive use" of his time. You'd never catch him just sitting around doing nothing. He thought of that as a good thing and so did I, I guess. I certainly didn't want to be lazy!

Well, when I moved out to the country in 2007, I would see people sitting on their porch and I would think to myself that I didn't want to be like them. There was too much that needed to be done to be just sitting around. I just didn't "get" why they did that.

The side of the farmhouse I lived in had a long porch that stretched the entire length of the house and on that porch, my landlord left a rocking chair and a little wooden table.  When I first moved out there, I'd go sit in the rocking chair and read or work on whatever project I had going on. I'd sit there and rock and rock and it was nice. But a little at a time, I started rocking slower. Then, after a while, I didn't rock at all. And eventually, I didn't take anything out onto the porch to read or work on.

Finally, I got it! It took me a while but eventually I realized that sometimes the most productive thing you can do with your time is.....nothing! I learned the fine art of doing nothing and I learned the value of being still and quiet. It's in that still, quiet state that I found healing and peace. I cried a lot of tears out there on that old porch and let go of a lot of anger and fear. And I didn't do it by "doing". I did it by "being"! I heard once that we are human beings not human doings. Finally that made sense.

So now I have no problem whatsoever sitting and being still and quiet and giving my mind and body time to rest and rejuvinate. And I find that when I regularly take time to just "be",  then I'm more productive when it's time for me to "do". And that's a good thing! Keep looking for the good.

Here's the farmhouse and the porch where I got back in touch with myself. I just sat there and my self just showed up! Cool, huh?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finding Good When We're Looking for A Different Good

Since I rearranged my bedroom, I've had a little problem. I no longer had a lamp right next to the bed so I can turn it off when I lay down at night. I had to turn the lamp off from across the room and then get into bed in the dark. But I feel more comfortable being able to turn the light on and off from bed...for whatever reason. So I decided I'd get myself one of those extension cord thingys they make with the switch on it. You plug the lamp into the cord and the cord into the wall. Then the other end of the cord has a dimmer switch where you turn the lamp off and on from across the room. I stopped by the hardware store but they didn't have one. Next stop was going to be Lowes but I just hadn't made it over there yet.

Well, a couple days ago I was rooting around in my utility room looking for something and I saw a cord with a strange end. I pulled the cord out of the bag and lo and behold!!! It was one of those dimmer switch thingys!!! I remembered later that I had bought it for another lamp I used to have in the farmhouse.  I had forgotten all about having it. I went straight inside with it and fixed up my lamp so I can now turn it off and on from bed.  Woo hoo! I'm happy!

But being the philosopher that I am, I couldn't just leave it at that. When I thought about how I found that cord among some other things that I already had, my mind expanded the idea to life. It seems to me that I've always had everything I needed. Sometimes I didn't know where it was or where it would come from. But it always came. I think it was there all the time and all I had to do was look for it. And sometimes we find what we need when we're looking for something else. But if we pay good attention, we might find what we're looking for and something else good too!!! How cool is that??? 

Life can be kind of like a great treasure hunt if we let it be. There's so much great stuff out there in the Universe just waiting for us to grab it and enjoy it. I think life's all about joy. And about fun. And about love. And about good. Keep looking for the good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Enjoy the good...while it's there

Sometimes when I write in this blog, it's because I've been successful at something or have made an observation I think others might benefit from. Other times, it's because I've screwed up and learned from it. This post is the latter.

One area where I'm really good at screwing up is the area of enjoying what is good in my life while it's still there to enjoy. We live in a Universe that is constantly swirling and shifting and changing. Nothing is permanent in the Universe. Everything will end. Some things are short lived, others are more enduring. But to everything there is a season.

My mother would have been 84 in a few weeks if she was still here. I guess I thought Moma would always be here. She always had been. And everybody in our family lives to their early 80s. Surely Moma would too. It's a tradition, you know? But Moma broke the tradition. She left us at the young age of 74. And boy have I realized what I jerk I was with her. I have regrets. My mother was a very kind and caring person and she wanted nothing more than to love me. But I wasn't capable of receiving or returning that love. I am now but Moma is gone, at least in the physical sense. Moma's love still lives in me and I will always have that. But I hope the next time someone comes into my life who wants to love me, I will be able to handle it better.

I believe that once you really love someone, you always love them even if the relationship ends or one of you leaves the physical world. And we leave a part of ourselves with everyone whose path we cross. I want to leave a good part of myself. So I'm trying to focus on the good so that good is what expands in me and in my life. And I'm practicing enjoying what's good in my life right now while it's here! Don't put off joy! It's here right now, look for it, embrace it...while you can! Keep looking for the good! :)

Here is my favorite photo of my pretty little red headed mother. She was about 60ish there. Wish I was more like her.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good We Already Have

If the way it works is that what we appreciate the most, or think about the most, expands in our lives, then it makes sense to me that we could start by appreciating and thinking about the good we already have in our lives, no matter how small that may be. If we think about the good that's already in our lives and then it gets bigger and we end up with more good then, over time, our lives would be really full of good stuff. But, honestly, it's not my natural tendency to do that. I will admit that I sometimes don't appreciate what I already have.

One area where I have REALLY not appreciated what I already have is my home. I've lived in this little two room apartment for about 18 months and had done nothing but bitch about it ever since I moved in. I bitched about how small it is. I bitched about the noise from the traffic outside. I bitched about the school buses waking me up at 5 am. I bitched and complained for 18 months and all I could think about was wanting to move back out to the country.

But in my effort to look for the good in my life, I have FINALLY come to appreciate this apartment. It's funny, once I stopped bitching, I noticed a whole lot of potential the apartment had that I couldn't see before when I was looking through discontented eyes. A negative mindset can really make you blind to the good stuff you already have in your life.

I've gained 25 pounds since I moved into this place and I've been saying it was because I didn't have room to exercise. That was one excuse anyway. And the way I had things arranged, I really DIDN'T have room to exercise inside. And the traffic noise made it unpleasant to walk outside. So I just quit exercising. But last week I started trying to find a way to make room to exercise and all it took was to turn my bed around in a different direction! That opened up a nice area to do my workout videos in. And I also found a weight bench that can be folded up and stored under the bed! So, after 18 months of stressing and straining and bitching and moaning and feeling sorry for myself, I now see that I could have made room for exercise all along. I was just too busy complaining and being negative to be able to see it. A simple turn of the bed!

Another thing I missed about my old place was my office. I had a big executive desk and I loved sitting at my desk looking out over the rest of the house. But when I moved here, I had to get rid of my big desk and I ended up with a small students desk I picked up at the Goodwill Store. I had it crammed in a corner facing the wall. When I sat at my computer, I felt couped up and boxed in. Again, all it took was to turn it around the other way and now when I sit here at my computer, I look out over the rest of the room, not at the wall. I no longer feel boxed in or crowded. I feel like I have an office again.

So, with a change of attitude, I was able to convert a cramped bedroom into a bedroom/workout room/office all in one! And it took maybe 30 minutes to move the furniture around!!! So simple! And I could have done it 18 months ago and had a much better life than I've had as far as this apartment goes. So from now on, I WILL look for the good that I already have. And then maybe I'll have more and more good to appreciate. And that's a good thing! Look for the good!!! :)Click "comments" below if you've got anything to say! :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Live and Let Live

Today is the first day of a brand new year! We have a whole new calendar to fill up with wonderful activities and experiences! I personally plan to make this the best year of my life. I intend to have more fun and more new experiences this year than ever. And I plan to laugh more and have more fun and get into just as much trouble as possible. (Fun trouble, of course!) So today I decided to get started right away. I decided that me and Bossy would go hiking since the weather was nice.

I love hiking in the woods because I love nature and I love getting away from the city and from people. But once in a while, there are humans on my hiking trail! I don't like it when they're there but it is, after all, a public trail. So I have to let them stay. Today Bossy and I were enjoying the beauty and the peacefulness of the woods and the lake when suddenly I started hearing loud talking and laughing. I knew we weren't alone any more. The closer the big mouths got to us, the more annoying their loud talking became. Do those people have a hearing problem or something? Why are they talking so damn loud? I wanted to shoosh them but I didn't. Soon enough they were gone and me and Bossy had the woods to ourselves again.

Sometimes when I'm out hiking, I see people jogging throught the woods or I see people walking with headphones on or talking on their cell phone. And I can't help but think to myself that those people are missing so much. The woods are so beautiful. That lake is breathtaking, the wildlife, the whole environment is something I really want to absorb and become one with when I'm out there. I go hiking to get away from cell phones and noise and loud music and being in a hurry. I sometimes even feel sorry for those people who, to me, seem totally oblivious to the beauty they're missing out on because they're not fully present.

But today I thought of a different perspective. When I hike with my dog, I am having a wonderful, wonderful experience. But those people who were talking so loud and laughing as they hiked probably were too!!! They're just having a different experience than what I'm having. They're having the experience THEY came there to have. They're enjoying each other's company. They're laughing with each other and connecting with each other. And they're getting exericse as well. That's what THEY came to the trail for. And I realized....that's OK. And I thought to myself how wonderful it is that the planet we live on is so accommodating to all of us and all our different desires and needs. And it also occurred to me that even I have a different experience every time I go hiking, even though I often hike the very same trail.

It's been said that you can never step into the same river twice. That's because the river is always swirling and shifting and changing. My hiking trails are like that too. In fact, the whole planet, the whole universe is like that. OK, I'll say it, LIFE is like that! And so I finally am OK with those humans being on my trail. And I'm OK with them having a different experience on my trail than I'm having. And I appreciate how that we're all unique individuals having our own special unique life that only we can live. So I will live and let live, as the song goes. And that's good! Look for the good! :)

Here's a slide show of my hiking trip today. First of many for 2011. Your coments are welcome. Click the word comment below. I'd love to hear from ya!