10 Minutes to Italy, 10 Minutes to Roam

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Most people think that a mini vacation is one where you take off for a long weekend. But I’m talking about the kind of vacation you can take in a minute…. no matter where you are.

And you can take this respite to faraway places and even to other eras. There is no restriction on time, money or airline schedules.

One of my favorite movies of all times is Dances with Wolves; so much so that when it was playing in theatres, I went to see it 8 times.( That is a big deal for me, because I just don’t see movies more than once. )

Anyway, when I drive to Wichita from my home close to the Missouri Ozarks, I drive right thru the Flint Hills on Highway 400.

There is about a 10 minute stretch of road where, with only a small amount of imagination, I can transform my car into a covered wagon. I do this by pulling out the Dances with Wolves soundtrack and slide it in my CD player.

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And viola! I’m on the frontier. In the words of John Dunbar, “Before it is gone.” …expecting any minute to see a buffalo. The music fills me. The prairie is pristine, peaceful. I’m in a more simple time.

 

One could go even further and imagine that Kevin Costner is with me. And there is a blanket, a cabin and …. I hit Leon and my fuzz buster starts beeping. (There is always a speed trap at Leon)

My covered wagon becomes a Camry again, foot to the breaks, eject the CD, and pay attention to the road. I’m back in 2016, so much better off for my short trip the 1800s prairie.

Put a New Spin on your Old Story

Never be discouraged

 

Are you one of those people who continue to beat yourself up about things of the past?

It’s time to stop that nonsense.

 

 

“Never be discouraged about your past. You may not fully realize all you have learned from it. Those who have weathered the largest storms are most able to understand how to help those who struggle. You have a rare and unique gift to offer the world.” The Baglady

It’s time to look at those old events as valued experiences for your present and future success.

Having grown up in a loving family, physical abuse was never part of my experience. I was unsympathetic to anyone who would put up with bad treatment. My thought was, “Get out!”

Imagine my surprise when I found myself in an abusive relationship and could not leave? My friends begged me and continually worried for my safety. Of course, I had my reasons (like all abused people do) for putting up with it.

While I was in the situation, it seemed like there were 2 voices in my head fighting with one another. The old me kept yelling “Get out.” The abused me found so many reasons why leaving seemed impossible.

Long story short, I finally escaped. But I also learned so much from the experience. I’m much more understanding and compassionate now.

Instead of beating yourself up for your past, what did you learn? How are you better for it?

The answers to those questions are now part of the gifts you can share with others.

Falling Apart in Reverse

images83N6J625Right before Christmas, my legs both stopped working. Walking became so painful that, after consulting 2 chiropractors, I went to minor emergency on Christmas Eve.

Imagine going from perfectly fine to feeling disabled in a matter of days.

It was kind of scary, but I’m good in a crisis.

So I followed the doctor’s instructions, took the drugs, and went in for tests to see what could cause this major upheaval in my ability to function.

The tests came back with no insight as to my problem.

Yesterday marked a month from the beginning of this little detour into the world of sitting still with my leg up.

I’d been handling it pretty well. Well… let’s say I’d been maintaining my sense of humor about the situation.

Still, it was starting to get scary.

There are so many things I had to alter. My friends were going to the store for me, etc.

My leg seemed to be getting worse by the day instead of better. I still have a week before I can see the orthopedist and I really felt like I was further damaging my leg with every step I had to take.

Last night I called on a friend who is an athlete. I knew that he had dealt with his own sports injuries for many years. I conveyed to him all the issues I was having.

He brought over 3 different kinds of knee bands and explained what he thought might have a happened to start me on this downward spiral.

The very minute I put on the bands, the massive pain of taking a step was relieved by such a great degree that I almost cried.

Suddenly, I felt like I would get better.

Long story short….

This is the way it always goes for me in a crisis. I’m cool as a cucumber… just plodding along trying to find an answer or solve a problem.

Then, the moment the crisis starts to abate, all the scary stuff I must have been holding inside come gushing out in the form of such overwhelming gratitude.

I’m actually walking around my house today. Both legs doing their share. And I’m crying.

Why cry now?

Should I call it “falling apart” or “falling together?”

No matter what I call it, the reason is gratitude. Beautiful, sweet, pure and simple gratitude.

Stop Eating Worms

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You’ve heard the little song, “Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I’m gonna go eat worms…”

People will come and go in your life, but there is one person you can always count on. That is, if you make of yourself your own best friend.

We are actually taught something early in life that does not serve us well. That thing is to put all others before ourselves.

Before you stop reading and call me a fraud, give me just a minute to help you see a new perspective on it.

I’m NOT saying to put yourself first. I’m saying to make your needs equally important to those around you. Make sure you give as much love to yourself as you would want to share with others.

Contrary to public opinion, this is not selfish.

There is actually a very ‘Un-selfish’ reason to do just that.

When you are filled up with love, your connection to God and to humanity are ever greater. When you give from that fullness, there are endless stores of generosity that can pour forth.

Wisdom will tell you that you cannot give anything that you do not have.

When you come from emptiness, you leave yourself starving.

And what does that lead to? You can end up begrudging others if they do not give back to you.

Thus, the song. You feel unloved.

Be your own best friend. Treat yourself well and there will be no more eating worms in your future. Best friend

The Broken Link

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If you really believed……

 

 

….. that your trip to the grocery store,

….. your interaction with the plumber,

….. the phone call from your elderly aunt,

….. the dinner you served your family,

….. and the way you treated the waitress at Denny’s was sacred, how would your day be different?

Your life would be different. That’s for sure.

You would be living it consciously.

You wouldn’t pass by today dreaming of a better, more perfect tomorrow.

You’d actually be present in the NOW, seeing all the small miracles in every moment.

It’s a tall order to BE in the moment. But if you practice it, you will see a world that real dreams are made of. It’s been right here the whole time.

You were the one who was missing.

 

 

 

 

Life Questions

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Most of us are actually living someone else’s idea of what is right or wrong.

 

 

Think about it for a minute. Your family and peers have had a great deal of influence over everything you think today.

It only takes pondering a few ‘facts of life’ to see the truth in it.

Junk food or health food?

High school, trade school, college degree, graduate studies?

How often should you change the sheets on your bed?

Community college, state university, ivy league school?

Resort vacations or camping?

Driving or flying?

Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s?

Those early childhood and school experiences do influence us into adult life. Unless you actually look directly at your influences, you are basically living the dreams, thoughts, and norms of the people you have surrounded yourself with.

In the past, these people helped us set a basis for life as they saw it.

By becoming conscious of your influences, you start to have an opportunity to consider which ones are in alignment with the real you and which ones no longer fit.

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No one completely escapes the pull of other people’s expectations.

And there is no denying that it does take a degree of personal fortitude to take in all those opinions of who you should be in the world while still attempting to strike the perfect balance of what will also work for you.

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t been swayed by other people.

Your parents have expectations. So have your friends, co-workers, siblings and even the person behind you in the checkout line.

We all want the other people in our lives to be happy. And many of us, for most of our lives want them to be happy even if it means that we compromise what we want for what they think we should want.

So what do you do?

It’s good, first of all, to acknowledge how your early choices have been made.

New awareness gives you a chance to take another look at those choices. Assess what serves you well and make changes to those things that are no longer in alignment with the new, more enlightened, You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Take on Journaling

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Yes, it’s true. Many people are touting the positive effects of journaling, especially about gratitude.

And…. So am I. But do you know why it is so important?

Do you know how to quantify the value?

MATH!

The more good you put out, the more good you get back. It’s just math.

Ask yourself this question. “What percentage of my life do I approach from a positive perspective?” That will be just about the same amount of good you see coming back to you.

For example, if it’s 50%, about half of your life is working right now. Every small improvement you make in your attitude will result in more good coming your way.

When you set aside time every day to consider the things you are grateful for, the time you spend becomes part of that math equation. Because of your effort to focus time on the bright side of life, you tend to notice more good in your world. Thus, you continue to expand the percentage of the positive in your life.

Don’t wait for the outside to improve first. Be grateful for what you already have and more will follow. Once you see that a gratitude journal is a small effort with a huge benefit, you’ll be sharing this ‘New Math’ with everyone you know.

 

 

Mustard Seeds, Mountains & Men

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Several years ago a strange thing started happening in my life. At first I didn’t even really notice.

It just happened to be in the men who came into my life.

 

A guy had just broken my heart and I was sitting across from a dear friend crying over my lost love.

Larry listened patiently to all my woes, handing me tissues at regular intervals and letting me vent.

I was totally burned out with the life I’d been living. A bonafide workaholic, my values were all materialistic. I lived in a huge home and had surrounded myself with all the creature comforts. It sounds good on paper, but I was really unhappy with every aspect. The man was just the icing on my cake of discontent.

After I’d calmed down, Larry got my attention and asked me, in all sincerity, “Dina, what do you really want?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, I told him that I wanted to move to a commune and grow vegetables. I could see myself standing in a beautiful field of green in a gauzy dress and large brimmed hat, my apron holding today’s bounty. I wanted a more spiritual life, one that had meaning.

At the end of my description he said, “ You probably wouldn’t want to leave your ivory tower.” (That’s what he called my house.)

I assured him that I would gladly leave it for happiness.

Then he countered with, “You wouldn’t want kids.”

And I convinced him that I was finally ready to have kids. I could do that.

After letting me get my whole idea out, we ended our conversation and life went on.

tumblr_mo3r2x82bq1s8b6s6o1_500Within a few days, I met a widower with 6 young children who lived way out in the boonies. He was 100% back to nature; wood heat, no air conditioning, composting, gardening, home schooling. You get the picture.

 

Basically everything I had asked for. But, at the time, I didn’t tie it all together.

He ended up being too difficult for me. His religious views and dominating ways were over the top. (But then I had asked for something kind of ‘over the top, hadn’t I?

So, the next thing I decided I wanted was someone educated and logical who didn’t believe in God at all. And, if he did, I never wanted him to talk to me about it.

Low and behold, along came the perfect match to my latest asking.

That was also a disaster. If there is anything that is important to me, it is my spiritual life. For me to say that I never wanted to talk about it was strictly the pain of the moment .

I still had not made the connection between my thoughts and my results.

God, needed to finally get me to see what was going on……

A few weeks later I attended a lecture where the speaker talked about manifesting the things you want in your life.

I had a eureka moment. I had unconsciously been asking everything that was happening to me.

I argued that manifesting was not all it was cracked up to be. And, while he was teaching people to do it, everything in me was saying “no.”

At some point I asked him why, considering how much trouble it could cause, was it something to experience.

His answer shook me. “Only thru the experience will you see how very powerful you are.”

As it turns out, our asking, is a form of prayer. I did not know that I had been praying.

My outcome was disturbing, but the results sure did teach me to monitor my thoughts.

Now that I know that my thoughts/prayers are so powerful, I finish all my asking with “If it be Thy will.”

More than anything, I want my life to be what is in the highest good for all concerned.

The faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. I only want to move the ‘mountains’ that God would have me move.

And men?  My prayer for a good man?

Lord, only if it be thy will. And you choose.

Tornados, Earthquakes and Terrorism

Having grown up all my life in Kansas, Dorothy’s neighborhood (think Wizard of Oz,) tornados were our biggest terror.

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Even though they can be frightening, you can do something to protect yourself from a tornado. Even though people in less windy parts of the country find them a horror that can’t be lived with, in Kansas it’s just business as usual.

When I moved to California in the 70s, my mom kept begging me to come home. Even then, it was predicted that one day the “Big One” (earthquake) would break the state off into the ocean and drown us all without a moment’s notice. But I loved it there so I decided to live life to the fullest and take my chances.

The difference between earthquakes and tornados is that in a quake, there’s really nowhere to hide and no warning of one approaching so you can try to protect yourself.

We now live in terrorism country, where some person or persons can all of a sudden create the same kind of fear. Unlike a tornado, there is no advance warning. When you are in the midst of a situation it’s too late to wish you were back in Kansas.

In this unsettling time, instead of letting your fear take over, remember that life on earth is always risky business. I could walk across the street and be hit by a car. Your heart could stop beating tomorrow.

Now, more than ever, we need to look more deeply at the life behind the life we seem to be living to our bigger life, the eternal one.

Why am I here in the first place and am I ready to be called home to my bigger life at any moment?

Do I trust, have faith that I will be taken care of here and through eternity?

Have I loved well?

Have I taken the time to really know the people in my life?

Is there anything important that I have left unsaid?

With these important things handled, let us go fearlessly into our days knowing that while we are here…. We live a life of great worth.

 

Rule Followers and Rule Breakers

Maybe there are more than 2 types of people in the world… (DUH)… but for today’s conversation, let’s just break them down to 2.

Rule Followers (RFs)

Rule Breakers (RBs)

Now let’s add a little twist and give those 2 sub-types.

Enlightened Rule Followers (ERFs)

Enlightened Rule Breakers (ERBs)

I’d be the Rule Breaker type. So I’ll just put that out there right up front. There was a day when I lived a RB kind of life, but I’ve now graduated to the enlightened group. Let me explain.

There are such vast differences in perception between RBs and RFs that often they can’t get along with each other at all.

The down side of the rule breaker category, I must admit, is living outside the law, and that is not good. But the upside RBs are the innovators, the creative sorts, often entrepreneurs that just dare the world to tell them something is impossible so they can go out and make it happen.

Those at the low end of the RF category are pointing fingers at those who break out of the norm and sometimes push the envelope to the limit.

So, there can be a lot of judgment going back and forth between the 2 groups even though it is these very differences that make the world go around.

The enlightened ones on both side have a lot going for them. Having dropped their judgments about people who think entirely different from them, they are now open to enjoy and revel in the unique and special talents of the opposite group.

One of my best friends is the ultimate Rule Follower. She follows the rules, TO THE LETTER no matter what. Don’t try to get her to fudge on anything. She doesn’t go even one mile over the speed limit, always uses her blinkers, gets off the phone when there is lightning, etc. You get the picture.

Me being a rule breaker, I ignore all of those at times. And some of them ALL THE TIME. Speed limit? What’s that?

So, how can we be the best of friends?

It is the word ‘enlightened’ that makes the difference.

When I suggest that she do something that might be a slight infraction of ‘the rules’, she starts to explain why she can’t. And… even as she starts, I say, “Oh yea, you’re a rule follower.” And then we both laugh.

You can’t make a person go against their basic nature and, we should all give up on trying. We’d be a lot happier.

When I tell her my hair-brained ideas, or wend a wild tale about something that seems too far out to be possible, she just cheers me on.

Breaking the rules seems as impossible to her and keeping them is for me, but we take joy in the differences and use them for comic relief.

Secretly… I think there is a hidden rule breaker somewhere inside her… that lives vicariously thru me.