I Share My Thoughts with Love

I Share My Thoughts with Love

I’m a nice person, but that doesn’t mean my head is always filled with nice thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts can be quite mean-spirited and unloving. Over the years, as an avid avoider of conflict I’ve had a tendency to keep my feelings inside to the point of being detrimental both to myself and to the person they were directed at.

When we’re in a relationship of any kind, whether it be personal or business after a while we start having the unrealistic expectation that the other person has somehow become a mind-reader. We can’t understand why they don’t see their actions or hear their words as hurtful or upsetting. It’s most likely true that they wonder the same thing about us.

Being honest about our feelings isn’t always easy and we think it comes with risk. The risk of hurting someone’s feelings or opening the “can of worms” that may lead to an outcome we’re not sure we want or are ready for. So instead we often-times keep those feelings inside, waiting for the “right time” to bring the subject up.

Not being honest comes with a higher risk than being honest. Swallowing our feelings of frustration or anger only makes the size of the emotion bigger, hotter, and more volatile. It stays inside of us until it spews out in angry words and accusations or it stays inside and poisons us.

In recent years I’ve learned that there is a “right time” to be honest. It’s when the problem is the size of a pebble in your shoe and you can easily address the issue and toss the pebble to the side of the road, not when it’s become a boulder that’s too heavy to move.

Timing is always important and so are the words we choose, but unless we share our feelings we can’t expect others to know what they are and we certainly can’t expect them to change. Reality is that they may not change even after we’ve shared openly and honestly with them, but at least our feelings are out in the open and not eating away inside of us.

Honesty, sharing our thoughts with love, gives us choices and opens up doors. Not all of the outcomes are pleasant, but certainly better than the alternative, which going through life carrying the burden of buried feelings.

I Share My Thoughts with Love

We Create Our Own Reality

I Create My Reality

What do Mahatma Gandhi and Ray Kinsella, the character played by Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, have in common?  One man is real, of great historical significance, and influenced people around the world. The other is a fictional character who hears “a voice,” builds a baseball field in the middle of his farm in a film which is described as fantasy-drama.

Gandhi stood firm in his conviction that the British would leave India, Ray Kinsella followed his instincts and did something that seemed crazy.  We all know people who have achieved great things that have nothing to do with being famous or wealthy.

From everyday heroes to world leaders the thing they have in common is that they were not only brave enough to have a dream, they believed in it, they followed it, they inspired people, and they made it happen. I’m sure that even Gandhi had a restless night or two and felt doubt creep in between his head and the pillow, but when morning arrived he was true to his beliefs and didn’t waiver in his pursuits.

On a much smaller and maybe more practical scale, what they do is what I like to think of as creating their own reality, which for me means choosing to look at things in a positive way and not from a negative perspective. If the thoughts that are constantly going through our minds are things such as:

  • Why is life so hard?
  • Why do “these things” always happen to me?
  • I’ll never get ahead”
  • If only “this” hadn’t happened…

You get the gist. We all know people who are all doom and gloom and on the one hand it maybe seems understandable because they have a lot of bad or difficult things going on in their life. But on the other hand maybe they are creating their own reality.

I actually started experiencing the power of words and how they affect our reality many years ago. I was working at a job in which I was very unhappy, felt overlooked and under-appreciated. I was “hoping for the best” and sitting back and doing nothing to proactively better my situation.

My passwords rotated every 90 days between things like “life sucks,” “my boss is an ass,” and worse. One day I noticed that every time I signed onto my computer using one of these passwords I immediately went into a negative state, even if something positive had just happened.

I’m not sure what prompted it, but I decided to try something new and I changed my password to “new opportunity.” Believe it or not things started to change. I started getting emails from recruiters, which led to interviews. Internally things seemed different as well. People were listening to me and doors were opening.

From that point on I’ve used what I call “the power of the password” to help me create my own reality. It’s gotten more difficult in the age of special characters, capital letters and numbers but I still find a way to keep my passwords focused on the direction I want my life to go and not on what’s wrong with it.

My point isn’t so much about the power of using a positive password as it is about how we create our own reality through our thoughts and the messages we send ourselves throughout the day.

I wonder what people like Mahatma Gandhi did to help them stay positive and focused on their dreams and not on the obstacles in their path. In the end it doesn’t matter what we use to do so, as long as it works for us.

Negative thoughts create a negative reality and positive thoughts create hope and opportunity.

I Create My Reality
Inspired by: “I am the creative power in my world.” Louise Hay

Author’s note: I stole the introductory paragraphs for this post from one I wrote a couple of years ago, they just seemed to fit. 🙂 If you want to read the rest of the post, you’ll find it here.

I Create My Life

Have you ever heard of Sometime Isle? Neither had I until I attended a book signing and luncheon at a small cafe’ in Dorset, Minnesota. The author’s style wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but her ardent fans clearly loved her story-telling and the God-fearing characters who lived on the plains.

I didn’t connect with the personalities she described from her stories and I was relieved when she moved from her books to her personal experiences because that meant the lecture was drawing to a close.

Suddenly I found myself listening and not daydreaming.  She spoke of career, marriage, and motherhood; she revealed the dreams that had been tucked away with prayers that ended in “Sometime I’ll…

She provided inspiration with her story of taking a risk, attending a writers conference on a whim, and becoming a published author after she turned fifty. I’ve often thought about that day and marveled at the fact that someone so different from me had such a big impact. She planted a seed that day and even I was unaware of it.

Creating your own life is about more than claiming your creativity and following your dreams. It’s also about growing up and taking responsibility for our lives and letting go of blame, excuses, and being brave enough to live our lives the way we want to and not the way others might expect us to.

I was raised during a time and age in which pursuing a practical curriculum followed by an equally practical and hopefully financially rewarding career may not have been expected, but it was encouraged.  I attended college during one of the first times in history that a career for a woman was not perceived to be limited to a teacher, nurse, or wife.

Like most seventeen year olds I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and in 1979 anything in the Business College was the degree of choice for those of us without an obvious gift or burning passion.

I let societal expectations guide my choices instead of following my instincts and being true to myself. I don’t regret my choices. I am the mother of three of the most amazing young people I know and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Now the time has come to move off of Sometime Isle and create my own life the way I want it to be.

I Create My LifeIt is time to explore

Listen With an Open Mind and Hear with Love

I Hear With Love

Listening with an open mind isn’t always easy. As human beings we come into most situations with our own predefined thoughts based on our individual experiences and beliefs. Most of the time we believe that what we think is right and often-times we go into conversations with the intention of changing someone’s mind and not our own.

Listening with an open mind means more than being open to someone else’s opinion or point of view, it means that you are receptive to being influenced by what you hear. It means listening to each and every word without jumping to conclusions and striving to understand what the other person is saying without judging whether or not they are right or wrong.

Hearing with love is partly about listening with empathy but it’s more than that. Empathy helps us understand better where someone else is coming from emotionally and conceptually but it’s not the same as hearing with love.

Hearing with love takes it a step further, hearing with love not only means understanding it also means compassion, kindness, and goodwill. When we listen with love we listen with both an open mind and an open heart.

Our opinions may or may not change as a result of the conversation but if the end result is a greater understanding of the other person and  a mutual feeling of acceptance and goodwill, it was a success.

Strive not only to understand another person’s experiences and thoughts, love and embrace them for who they are because of them.

I Hear With Love

Inspired by Louise Hay ~ “I Hear With Love.”

March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Release the past and embrace today and tomorrow

Friday night I went to a drum circle. Yep, I did. I had no idea what to expect and was utterly amazed and delighted.

I entered a room full of people, (all strangers outside of 3 familiar faces), a circle of chairs, and an assortment of drums and hand held instruments to choose from.

After a couple of icebreakers, we selected a drum. Mine was was a  Djembe drum with a rich red base. The leader had each of us introduce ourselves by speaking our name and playing a drum beat. The rest of the group followed each person’s individual beat and repeated their name like a chorus.

“My name is Beth.”

A gentle tap on the outer edge of the drum preceded each word before my name and two open palmed strikes to the middle of the drum emphasized my name and a non-existent syllable.

After that he had one person start a rhythm, guided the rest of us to follow along, and then invited us all to “do our own thing.” The result was amazing.

A group of complete strangers, each with our own rhythm and beat composed a beautiful and harmonious song of drum beats. The leader passed out some of the hand instruments, transformed into conductor and directed our tiny orchestra through the movements of the impromptu song.

It was amazing.

I experience left me feeling energized, inspired, and relaxed all at the same time.

It inspired a change in direction in one of my current projects. It occurred to me, that the process of journaling positive thoughts and affirmations will be even more powerful and meaningful if I make it truly my own rather parroting another person.

That night, I started with the concept and quote from Louise Hay ~ “I easily and comfortably release that which I no longer need in life.” But I created my own.

Release the past and embrace today and tomorrow

I don’t know exactly what form the rest of my journal will take – I imagine it will be combination of original thoughts and shared quotes. I’m making this up as I go along. 🙂

If you ever get the chance to attend a drum circle, I highly recommend it.

P.S.

Here are my journal entries from the past week. I’m having a lot of fun with this project.

“I love and approve of myself. I am loving and loveable.” ~ Louise Hay. I added the word Beautiful.

release aches_I Love and Approve of Myself_04_06_2014

“I now discover how wonderful I am. I choose to love and enjoy myself.” ~ Louise Hay.

This little entry has a “writo” which wasn’t intentional, but I think it’s meaningful.

I discover how wonderful I am

“I love and accept myself at every age. Each moment in life is perfect.” ~Louise Hay.

I love myself at every age

The original Louise Hay quote is “I live in now. Each moment is new. I choose to see my self worth. I love and approve of myself.” I changed the last sentence to “I choose to live life not hide from it.”

I live in the now

“I deserve to rejoice in life. I accept all of the pleasures life has to offer.” ~ Louise Hay

I deserve to rejoice in life

Inspired by Louise Hay ~ “I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life.” I am safe.”

I trust and follow my instincts

All is Well in My World

Rain doesn't make a day awful. It just makes it wet

I recently discovered the teachings of Louise Hay, author of “You Can Heal Your Life.” She has an amazing story and her beliefs are very thought provoking.

Her philosophy includes many points which center around loving oneself and how our thoughts affect our present and future.

“Every thought we think is creating our future.”

This sounds like something super philosophical and esoteric, but it’s really very practical and true. A few chapters into the book I had a huge “aha moment” when I read:

“Rain doesn’t make a day awful, it just makes it wet.”

Rain doesn't make a day awful. It just makes it wet

Wow, it really is up to us to make each day a good day or one that we want to forget.

She firmly believes that we can heal what ails us through the power of loving oneself and that aches and pains in each part of the body are associated with things like past experiences, negativity, fear, and a lack of self love.

Self love is not the same as self indulgence or self acceptance. It means that we treat our bodies and our minds well, enjoy the person we are in the present, forgive and release the people and things from our past that hold us back, and embrace our future with confidence.

Part of her teachings include using daily affirmations as a way of changing one’s world for the better.

After reading the book and thinking about this concept for a while, I decided to create a journal with the affirmations from her book that resonated most deeply with me. For the next 100 or so days I will create my book one a page at a time and continue to change my world one affirmation and one day at a a time.

At the end of each chapter is a longish affirmation that speaks to the lessons within the pages before it. Each one ends with the phrase “All is Well in My World.”

Just that affirmation on it’s own has a powerful meaning and I thought it was perfect for the cover of my new journal.

All is Well in My World - Journal Cover

As I see it, the focus of her teachings is for each of us to love ourselves and use our thoughts and actions to “Be Whole,” which is the phrase that came to my mind and wrote on the back of my journal.

Be Whole - back cover of the journal

I already know how the story turns out so I created the final page and glued it to the inside of the back cover.

I Am - back inside cover

It’s interesting to me that this simple phrase, “I am,” keeps appearing in my life through different experiences, authors, and artists. Like, “All is Well in My World,” it stands on it’s own as a powerful affirmation.

I created the backgrounds for the first set of daily inspiration with watercolor. A fun side benefit of this project is the opportunity to explore and experiment with this medium.

watercolor pages for journal entries

The first affirmation is, “I release the pattern in my that created this.” I am at Peace. I am worthwhile.” (Louise L. Hay)

There’s a theory that we often-times create a pattern of chaos in our life without even realizing it. The chaos leads to accidents, mishaps and mayhem. Well mayhem might be a little strong, but the word fit nicely. 

I’ve begun to wonder if we have “strings of bad luck” because we start and persist with internal thoughts that, “life is hard,” “nothing is easy, “things never go my way,” and “I wonder what’s going to go wrong next.”

It could be that life just simply runs in cycles or there could be some truth to the belief that our thoughts create our reality. Maybe it’s a little of both.

release accidents_04_05_2014

I’ll be sharing these daily inspirational quotes on Facebook and Google Plus. In sharing them, I hope the right affirmation finds it’s way to others just when they need it.

Today and every day, all is well in my world.

Treat Yourself Like You would Treat Your Best Friend

A couple of months ago I was asked to speak about Google Plus (Google’s social networking platform) at a conference for Freelance Medial Writers. I was really flattered about the opportunity and last Saturday was the day.

I took the train even though the hotel is a mile away from the airport. I like to avoid the stress that comes with driving on I95. It seems I almost always learn something new and I now know that the cabbies at the airport won’t give up their spot in line to take someone to any of the nearby hotels. It also turns out that calling the hotel to arrange for a shuttle works better than running down the sidewalk trying to catch the one that passed right by.

I was both excited and nervous when I stood up to speak; I teach workshops on a regular basis, but it’s entirely different to stand in front of a room of people holding a microphone. It went well overall and people enjoyed learning about the platform and my experience with it.

By the end of the afternoon I was tired and anxious to get home. My plan was to catch the 5:15 train back to Yardley. I missed the first shuttle and the next one was late, which meant I had to take the 5:43 train into Center City and catch the 6:40 train home.

Because of the delays I ended up with a traveling companion, a woman who had attended the conference. She was headed to Trenton and I helped her maneuver the airport logistics and read the train schedule. I convinced her to get off at Market Street instead of 30th Street because it’s a much nicer train station and she’d still be able to catch the right train.

I was right about the first part, it is a nicer station. As for the second part, I knew that the Trenton Line has departures from the Market East Station because I took it once by accident. What I didn’t think about was that even though the trains leave from different platforms it was impossible for both of them to leave at the same time.

Thankfully my new friend turned out to be a plan B sort of person and chose to laugh about the situation and make the best of it. It’s funny how sometimes you meet a complete stranger and within minutes feel like you’ve known them for years.

I shared some of my recent artwork with her, and my Embrace Your Second Grade Art Girlsparked a conversation about the importance of being kind to yourself. When we parted she left me with a hug and this thought, “Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.”

I woke up Monday morning feeling positive about the weekend and looking forward to the week. My first self-assigned task was to delete my extra profile on Google Plus so the next time I wrote or spoke about the platform, my presence would be “perfect.”

Long story short, I deleted my active profile instead of my abandoned/duplicate one. This may not seem like a big deal, but I was devastated. Google Plus has become an important part of how I share content I write for my business blog and it’s been an amazing place to network and generate opportunities.

I can’t repeat what I said, but there was nothing kind about how I described myself after I realized what I’d done. Words like stupid, idiot, and failure followed me around all day. “How could I,” “why didn’t I,” and “I should have,” started nearly every thought that went through my mind.

I spent the day doing as much damage control as possible and accepted the fact that I was going to have to start over and make the best of the bad circumstances. I couldn’t help but think about the irony of the situation. Less than 48 hours after speaking about Google Plus as an “expert,” I did the unthinkable and deleted my account. I see the humor in it now, but I can’t say I did that day.

As I often do when something happens, I took out my journal  to write about it. I find writing cathartic and it helps me work through the emotions and move on. That night the negative self-talk continued until I thought back to my traveling companion’s parting words.

I stopped and asked myself, “is this how you would treat your best friend?”

The answer was clearly no. If my best friend had done the same thing, I would have given her a hug, let her cry, and reminded her that she is smart, beautiful, and lovable. I’d have taken her hand, helped her put things in perspective, and come up with a plan.

The phrase, “Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend,” replaced the negative self-talk. It should come as no surprise to me that when the negative thoughts were replaced with kind ones things didn’t seem nearly as bleak.

The real point of this post is this – we all make mistakes and they are recoverable. Remember to be kind to yourself and sometimes you need to be your own best friend.

treat yourself like you would treat your best friend

 

treat yourself like you would treat your best friend_the back

 

 

Celebrating Life – An Afternoon in New Hope

the Delaware River on a Breezy day in March

The second weekend in March is an anniversary of sorts for me. Five years ago was my first visit to New Hope and in many ways it was the first day of my new life.

It would be an understatement to say that the move to Pennsylvania was a challenge on many fronts. At that point in my life I did nothing but worry, and in my mind I had a lot to worry about. The company I moved to here to work for declared Chapter 11, the adjustment to living in a new state far away from friends and family caused many emotional difficulties, and the fact we hadn’t sold our house were at the top of the list.

It didn’t help matters that we didn’t leave the apartment for anything other than to go to the grocery store or to go to work. I was thrilled when we finally found a dog sitter and arranged to take a day trip.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The forecast prompted a last minute change.  It was a Sunday and we’d made plans to go to Manayunk, PA but the chilly March temperatures, threat of rain, and dog sitter schedule limitations caused a change in plans. Instead we went to New Hope, which is twelve miles away not fifty and going anywhere was better than staying home. All I knew is I was desperate to get out of the apartment.

Our first stop was Made In Italy. Elaborate Venetian masks covered the walls, glass shelves held hand tooled leather belts and accessories, and black velvet jewelry busts showed off bright colored beads and bangles.  I was drawn to the case dedicated to less elaborate necklaces and fell in love with a solid silver sun with wavy rays.

I’ve always had a thing for the sun; it could be because I’m a Leo, but it’s more likely because my favorite memories are made of endless days spent playing in the sun at Big Sand Lake in Minnesota.

I started to play the rationalization game to justify the purchase and promised myself that if the necklace was still there when it came time to head home it was meant to be mine. We visited all of the eclectic shops we could and at the end of the day, my mood was lighter than it had been in months, the grey skies parted just enough to let a bit of sunshine and blue sky peak through, and of course the sun necklace was still in the case waiting for me.

I put the necklace on as soon as we got in the car and it immediately became a tangible symbol of the promise of a new and happy life. It didn’t seem like a coincidence that the threat of storms changed our destination and led us to a place called New Hope.

I wear the necklace as a daily reminder of hope, happiness, and the importance of being me. I also take a day trip to New Hope every year on the same weekend to celebrate life and the woman I’ve become. This year I added a few additional stops to my day.

I started my afternoon adventure by treating myself to a few slices of margherita flatbread at a local restaurant called The Vault.

margherita flatbread

I’m not sure why but I find it amusing to think about a micro brewery in a building that used to be a bank. They have great beer that is brewed on site and the food is yummy. You can buy what’s called a Growler and have them fill it with your favorite brew and take it home, it’s re-fillable and they sanitize it for you. I don’t have one, but I’m tempted to make a purchase.

The Vault In Yardley PA

I turned right instead of left at the end of East Afton and drove toward my old apartment. In a moment of impulse I stopped to take a few pictures of one of my favorite views of the Delaware River.

the Delaware River on a Breezy day in March

Feelings of relief, happiness, and accomplishment came over me as I drove down the street toward my old apartment. The two years I lived there might possibly have been the most difficult time in my life. It was also life changing in ways that have turned out to be amazing.

I took a picture of the apartment building, but deleted it. Instead I chose to remember the gateway leading to the Delaware Towpath.

Tree Lined Path ledaing to the Delaware Towpath

I’ve spent countless hours on the towpath running, riding, taking pictures, and thinking. Lots and lots of thinking and also a few life changing and difficult conversations.

Before beginning my anniversary tour of the town I stopped a the playhouse to pick up information about upcoming shows. My new goal is to do something fun each weekend so when I look back on this time in my life I’ll have a list of “I’m glad I……” instead of a list full of “I wish I’d…..”

Bucks County Playhouse

My first visit in New Hope was to a psychic. There are almost as many psychic’s in New Hope as there are restaurants which has made it difficult to choose one. I finally decided on Readings by Edith because of the golden sun on the sign.

Readings by Edith Sign

The funny thing was that Edith turned out to be a 300 pound man. He happens to be Edith’s son, but I still found it amusing. He does palm readings, tarot cards, and has a crystal ball. He read my palms using a large magnifying glass and I have to admit even I was surprised at the details the tiny lines revealed.

I wandered through several of the stores. The doodle designs on these sticks were fun and reminded me of the many ways that art comes into our lives.

sticks with doodle designs

I ended my day with a glass of wine and a bowl of French Onion soup. I was lucky enough to get a bird’s eye view of the street from the restaurant’s outdoor patio.

Beth in New Hope

New hope has to be one of the best places in the world for people watching. My favorite from yesterday was the bird man. He walked around the street with his Raven and another unidentified bird on his shoulders.

man with a Raven on his shoulder

Of course I wouldn’t go near him for fear that one of the birds might decide to leave his shoulder and hover over my head. I wonder how many times he’s shared the story of his birds with strangers on the street.

My day of celebrating life ended on a perfect note and I completed the first version of my second grade art girl dress.

i am me - Doodle Art Dress

It was a great day of celebrating life and being myself.

She Thought She Could…so, She Did

What the heck, I may as well write about the snow. It’s been one of the snowiest winters in Pennsylvania history and I can officially add  surviving a Nor’ easter to my list of experiences.

I’ve decided that snow is much prettier when you don’t have to shovel it. (pretty sure I’m not the first one to come to this brilliant conclusion)snow covered natural grass

It could be my imagination, but I think even the stone lion who keeps watch over my front porch was distraught about the second snow storm in less than ten days.Feb 13 Round 1 almost buried my porch

Winter winds whipped through my summer paradise.too cold to go outside

I’m not sure exactly how much additional snow we got this week. My best guess is 8 – 10 inches and it was easily a foot or more at the bottom of my driveway courtesy of the snowplows.

snow the size of the state of texas

My shovel buckled under the weight of the snow. It’s amazing I didn’t as well.

001

It’s been the kind of winter that makes people wonder whether or not they can make it until spring, but they can and they will.

The events of the past few months have reinforced that we can’t control what challenges and difficulties will be sent our way, but we can control how we choose to handle them. It seems snow storms are a little like life storms.

They are challenging  and sometimes unexpected, it can feel like there’s no end in sight, but there is always the promise of spring. The only way to get through them is to have faith and believe that you can.

she thought she could..