Recognizing Your Angels

IMAG0088We’ve all experienced it. Trying our best to make something happen and there are barriers at every turn.

First we try Plan A. Then go at it from a different angle.

Plan B. We back up and try it again, but someone, or some thing is messing up the plan.

Two things can happen next.

  1. We rage against the person or thing standing in the way.

2. We sink into the ‘why me’ syndrome

“Why me? Why can’t I make this work? Why is this person being mean? Why won’t my car start? Why, why, why?”

angelsIf you are encountering a lot of resistance in moving toward something you are wanting, you may be in the company of angels you just don’t recognize as such. The Angels of Closed Doors.

I’ve come to realize that there are no enemies on the way to fulfillment; only signs, angels if you will.

They’re helping steer us away from the wrong path as well as toward the right one. To get on board with this idea, we must accept that we don’t always know the whole story behind a dead end. The very thing that is an aggravation could be steering you safely away from a problem yet unseen.

Life is not meant to be a struggle, but an adventure! Thank heaven I’m getting wiser to this truth as life goes on.

When I find myself hitting road blocks at every turn in a project, it’s important to step back, take some time for reflection and offer up a thought or prayer of willingness to see the situation differently.

After all, when I’m not supposed to go in a particular direction, I do want to know!

If the universe is all loving and God knows the deepest yearnings of our hearts, how can he help us, even protect us, if the noise in our heads is so loud that it drowns out his quiet voice?

The answer: The Angels of Closed Doors.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

the “Common Core” Generation

untitledRecently I was asking Dakota, a 4th grader, how she was doing in school. As it turns out, her grades were straight ‘A’ except for math. In math she got a ‘D’.

Cody, Dakota’s dad, overheard our conversation and immediately voiced his contempt for ‘Common Core Math’. He said there was no way he could even help her with the homework as he could not figure out why 2 + 2

 

couldn’t just equal 4 like it used to. (I know this is a stretch, but bare with me for a minute.)

I commiserated with him, being as confused by the whole thing as he was.

A few days later I was talking with my Tabitha, my Goddaughter who is a middle school math teacher. She is teaching “Common Core”. What an enlightening conversation!

Tabitha explained that kids grow up today with computers, debit cards, etc. they do not even experience the same things we grew up with. For instance, they have no reason to learn how to count back change. Actually, people are even getting away from using real money in their transactions. Many things are handled automatically that used to be ways for learning basic math skills in real life.

Therefore, kids in this new age do not develop the natural deductive ability to discern whether or not the mathematical answers they get make any sense. If they use a calculator to add up 285 + 300 and they push a wrong button, the answer may come up 3,285. They have not developed any skill for being able to immediately see that it cannot possibly be the right answer. The world they live in did not teach them that logic.

“Common Core” is geared to teach in such a way that the kids learn to estimate. Through that method they learn the logic we acquired naturally by simply growing up in a different time…. In a different world.

For many of us, it is almost impossible to fathom that things could be so different than when we grew up, but actually they are.

Some 3 year olds know more about operating a smart phone than I do. I was in my 40s before cell phones even existed.

By the time they get their first account, they will graduate to a debit card and the bank will do all their calculations for them. They will not look into their billfold to see how much money they can spend. They will go online and the bank records will tell them.

“Common Core” is a way of teaching what many of us think of as ‘common sense’.

 

The Ultimate Turn-off

flipOur world is so full of diversions that we are essentially tuned in and turned on all the time.

Even though we’re not supposed to be texting or talking on the phone while driving, we’ve always got our Garmins to keep us connected.

All our kids have smart phones, laptops and televisions in their rooms. Let’s not forget video games.

We are a turned on society every waking hour of the day.

textIf we get up in the middle of the night we even check our texts.

But it is actually the ‘Ultimate Turn-off that would be the biggest ‘Turn- on’ if you would give it a chance.

You know why?

God talks to us in the space between our thoughts. But when you keep your space so occupied with external things, your internal life is what suffers.

Silence for many is a scary thing and so we keep our minds rushing from one thing to another not realizing that what we are missing is the peace and contentment of our spiritual connection.

Communion with God will be challenging until you learn to quiet the negative self-talk running rampant in your head.

If you can’t hear guidance until your head is quiet and…. you feel like you can’t get quiet without some guidance….. it can feel like a catch 22.

Replacing your ‘head noise’ with a positive thought is a great first step. Find an affirmation that feels good to you. Anytime you notice negative thoughts, calmly repeat your affirmation. Repeat it several times if necessary.

It’s all worth the effort. Soon you will be listening to the sound of peace.

Paint Your Masterpiece

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Right before you were born, God placed in your right hand a brand new artist’s canvas, rolled up like a scroll. And in your left, a handful of bright colored paints.

 

He hugged you tight and kissed you on the forehead. “Go into the world my child and make of your life a beautiful masterpiece.”

Shocked at the sight of a newborn armed with such sophisticated materials, the doctor pried your little fingers from the gifts you were born with to your screams of protest.

“A baby cannot possibly have the skills to paint on canvas with oils.”

Soon they were replaced with a page marked with soft blue lines, each with a number in it and crayons labeled with matching numbers. As they tucked these in your crib, you were assured, “Life was about staying in the lines and painting by the numbers. If you do that everything will work out fine.”

And that is a lie!

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Who Will You Be Today, Your Authentic Self or …?

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Think about all the personalities we employ as we go about the days and years of our lives.

For most of us there is the daughter, the employee, the mom and the wife. Or the husband, father, employer, brother, etc.

There are also more complex versions of all of us that we employ based on the circumstance and our frame of mind at the time.

Some show us who we want to be more of and others give us a view into our… well… let’s call it our “self improvement needed” side.

I’ve recently had an extended encounter with my ‘Over Accommodating’ persona.

Those who hire ,e can get a very good idea of the subject matter of my talks by first reading The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living or taking my on-line courses.

A running theme throughout my work is that of figuring out who you really are and living from that place.

As I prepared to work with a new group, it was requested that I put in writing what I would say. Trying to be accommodating, I did that.

They had other requirements of what I needed to include and so I added and rearranged. We were working back and forth for quite some time, and I was beginning to be concerned that in order to meet the restrictions I would either have to memorize or read my talk.

That is certainly different than my normal presentation method, but I wanted to be cooperative.

As restrictions became overwhelming, I started dragging my feet. It affected all my productivity and enthusiasm. Not on just that presentation, but on my work in general.

Something just didn’t feel right and I found myself doing everything I could think of to avoid my work.

I finally realized what had gone wrong. I’d lost my way, forgotten who I was.

The ‘Over Accommodating’ personality had descended upon me like a thief in the night.

A round peg doesn’t fit into a square hole, but we can sure wear ourselves out trying.

All it took was remembering my true self and recognizing that I was out of alignment. Once able to see the problem, I got back on the right track. Immediately things changed.

Enthusiasm returned.

Unlock the Mystery

all the answers

If you just read the box, I bet you’re thinking, “ Oh yeah, RIGHT!”

Believe it or not, you actually do have some internal wisdom that you can tap into.

Everybody has it, but most of the time it is that nudging that we try to ignore. You may have spent so many years denying it that you are completely oblivious to fact that it is still there, quietly in the background .

Here’s one that is a sure fire sign for me.

Whenever I am in the midst of a project or a situation….. and I’m having a degree of unrest with some aspect or another and I think to myself…..

”Oh…… it will probably be all right….”

Well, that’s my hint. My intuition is telling me ‘no’ and I am attempting to ignore it.

And then, when things have gone to ‘hell in a hand basket’ (as my mother would say) I beat myself up with this…. “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!”

Sound familiar?

On the other side, it is what brings a smile to your heart when things are working out ‘just right’ or you are moving in the best direction. You feel lighter, optimistic.

Listen up….that’s your intuition talkin’.

The good news is that the more you pay attention, the more clear your messages will be.

“All the answers to the questions you have been asking really are right in front of you.”

When in doubt, take a moment to access your intuition, your God connection. It will never let you down.