Category Archives: looking for the positives

a good human

I’m not always nice.  I admit it.  I try to be, but there are times where that part of me comes through.  Sometimes I don’t even realize it.  This happened a couple of weeks ago, and I sat and pondered this after a friend reminded me to be a good human.  I’m still pondering it, if truth be told.

Now, to be fair, we all have our moments that we are not so proud of.  And this moment wasn’t even that bad.  However, I did appreciate my friend taking the time to bring my focus back to the positive side of life instead of following that rabbit hole down into the darkness where I could have gone.

Those who know me well know that there are parts of my past that have not been sunshine and roses.  Those parts have cast a shadow on me, left me laden with post traumatic stress disorder, and leaves me still with my abilities to cope with aggressive behaviour all but gone.  This is often the catalyst for my moments of not being able to manage my emotions.  And guess what? Sometimes I say things in the heat of the moment.  Who doesn’t?  It didn’t hurt anyone-this time; it didn’t necessarily make me feel any better either though.

Part of being human is to make mistakes.  Part of being a good human is to understand that we make mistakes, and learn from them.  When we know better, we can do better.  I am a good human, but there are times when I can be a better one as well.

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live in the present

Earlier this week I had a conversation with a colleague.  She gave me a valuable gift as I listened to her words.  Initially, she had approached me because she said I wasn’t looking as happy and chipper as I normally am.  She is used to seeing me with a smile on my face that, as she put it, lights up the room.  Now, she had not read me wrong in the least.  In fact, I wasn’t fooling anyone.  I thought I was hiding my emotions quite well, but clearly I wasn’t.  She wasn’t the only one who had asked me what was wrong either, so it wasn’t that she was so much more in tune with me than anyone else.

I have been struggling with some things.  I have been in pain, and still doing my best to carry on with my day to day activities.  I let her in on what was troubling me, in general terms.

Her response?

Live in the now.  How often have we gone about our busy days, and taken an orange and devoured it without even tasting it?  When was the last time you took that orange and examined the peel?  When you looked at each segment and its intricacy, when you actually tasted the sweetness of the fruit and enjoyed it?  Don’t worry about tomorrow and all the troubles it might bring.  Be here, with me, in the present.  Whatever tomorrow brings, you will handle it with grace.  So today, now, enjoy this moment.

These words were spoken to her years ago by a local monk, and they resonated so strongly that she was able to pass on these words of wisdom to me this week.  It was what I needed to hear.  She was right; and he was right before her.

Live in the now.  Take the present and live fully.  Tomorrow could bring a multitude of events that we have no control over, so why lose today to worry and dread when we can enjoy it.  Tomorrow will come in its due time.  And with it, we can handle whatever it brings.

puppies fix everything

Pet therapy isn’t a new concept.  Post secondary institutions have implemented therapy dogs for years now, and I even know of some elementary schools that have brought in therapy dogs for students who are having difficulties.  What a wonderful idea!

Animals in general are a great resource when dealing with stress.  They are almost always up for cuddles, and somehow just petting them makes you feel better.  Purring from kittens and cats seems like a magical fix for me, and always starts my day off right when my cat lays down and purrs until I rise out of bed.

The unconditional love that comes from a dog is irreplaceable.  They are always happy to see you, and they miss you when you’re away.  They wait at the door or snuggle with your slipper while you are at work, and even if you’ve only been gone ten minutes, they greet you like you’ve been away for a year.

So, have you had a chance to snuggle with a puppy lately?  Why not consider volunteering at a local shelter or rescue agency?  It does you and them a world of good!

earth angel

There is a lady who is very special to me.

She thinks I’m strong, but she’s stronger even on her worst day.  She called me an inspiration, but she inspired me more than she could ever comprehend.

She has the strongest faith of anyone I know, and it has served her well.  She has beauty both inside and it radiates outward.  She has a natural beauty that commands attention and a way about her that makes people adore her even in her most simplest form.

She is able to make people feel calm even during times of stress and tension.  She lets me be my real self in her presence and shows me love even when I had a hard time loving myself.  Never once have I felt insecure about showing my emotions when I am in her presence.

She gives me courage even when we are not together.  She gives me power to move forward in my life because of her words.  She is the type of person this world needs more of.  She is the type of person I have and continue to aspire to be.

friends in nature

September is in full swing with a successful start to the new school year.  My children are happy with their classes, and to be reunited with their friends.  The first week back isn’t typically heavy in workload, so we made sure to take advantage of the free evening time while the weather is warm.

Over the summer, my youngest one finally sparked an interest in photography.  Wondering if it would last, or if he was just “in the moment” as we were out camping with our photography club, I waited for him to bring it up again on his own.  He did, a few times, so it was time for him to have a camera of his own too.

One evening during the week, we took in a photo walk down through one of the local nature preserves.  There are wetlands with boardwalks built throughout the marshes to give people the opportunity to enjoy nature without causing harm to the ecosystem.  We were joined by over a dozen of our fellow photography friends.  My sons came along, cameras in hand, I helped the youngest with his first journey out with his camera.  He was beaming with pride.  Once he had the basics down, off he went, and I watched him as he started to take in the world with a new lens.  He is an artist through and through, but something changed as he walked through, looking to frame his images in his mind.  He made me proud.  He produced some incredible photographs that night, and he forged a deeper connection with the people who over the past few years have become important friends of ours.

Friends.  Not just club members.  They are friends.  We joined together to enjoy the beauty of nature.  We captured pieces of it with only taking images away.  We harnessed emotion and feeling in those images, and we can now share them with the world.  My son can’t wait to go out again to show what he can do.  And I can’t wait to spend more time in nature with him and watch him see things through my eyes.

summer’s end

September long weekend brings with it the cool, crisp air of autumn.  Early, it seems.  I’m sure I say the same thing every year.  The leaves are starting to turn already in my little part of the world, and I find myself thinking about the refresh that comes with the new school season.

Many things begin in September.  It is another ‘new year’; a time to take a fresh start on things that haven’t been completed or were lost to the other pressures that life imposes.

I look forward to this time of year.  I plan a getaway to the mountains just to see the larch trees glowing golden on the mountainside as the sun hits.  The sight in its peak is breathtaking, and equally as beautiful as the mountain summits are in the height of summer.  It brings me peace.

While I will miss the unstructured days of summer, I also welcome the schedule and routine that September brings.  It is like a well organized sock drawer: everything perfectly in its place.

Renewal.  Refresh.  Restart.  Summer may come to an end, but Autumn is soon to make its debut.

alone or lonely

I had a discussion recently with a friend of mine. Where does the line get drawn between alone and lonely, or lonely and peaceful?  I suspect this is different for everyone. It’s possible to be alone but not lonely, however I do believe that one factor that affects this is how comfortable you are in your own presence.

I used to dread being alone. It scared me. I have come to realize that during that stage in my life it was because I was never left to myself, and I honestly did not know who I was. There are always forces at play when you are with others. The more dominant personalities take over in the group and you may be left feeling out of control or just going with the flow since that is the easiest path to take. That first time where you have a span of time to yourself can feel unnerving. Silence is deafening and you feel unsure about what you’re doing.

I assure you, the more time you spend in solitude, the more comfortable it gets. At least it did for me. I find that I sometimes miss my quiet space when I haven’t had it for a while even.

When you are by yourself, there is no one else to please. No one to apologize to for your behaviour. No fear of repercussions, arguments or disagreements. What is there is time to breathe. Time to be more productive with no distractions. Time to focus inward and on your own mental and physical health and well-being independent of everyone else in the world.

For some, this sounds incredibly lonely; for others, Eden.

Nobody knows you better than yourself. Have you taken the time to get to know the real you lately?

lessons learned from a weekend in the mountains

Living day to day isn’t much different than spending a long weekend hiking in the mountains; it’s just a matter of perspective. As I went along the trails, a few things had come to light for me.

1. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.

2. Be open minded. It gives you many more great experiences to share if you do.

3. Take your time. It’s ok to be slow; just keep moving upward.

4. Do or not do, there is no try. Thanks Yoda, it’s cliché, but at the same time holds much truth.

5. Sometimes it hurts. Keep going because it’s definitely worth it.

6. Every step forward is positive. Don’t lose momentum.

7. Savour every moment. They are all fleeting.

8. Find your happiness. There are meadows of happy little critters everywhere. Look for the one that brings you joy.

9. The accomplishment will only propel you forward. Never forget how good that first one felt.

10. The first summit is only the beginning.

Find your motivation and keep going.

stress management

Constructive use of stress energy has become a way that I manage stresses that I face.  When it happens to all come at once, it’s hard to face and can be overwhelming.  Stress from the workplace that combines with stress at home that gets complicated by stress from news of a tragic death in the family means that the stress takes on new heights.  It becomes more than one can typically manage.

I know how I react when this happens.  I can act before I have thought out my actions and speak without considering the impact of my words.  Sometimes its the irrational part of me that takes over, leading to added stress based upon my own actions.  I have learned this about myself and try to take steps to minimize it.

I have also learned that physical movement helps me deal with the stress.  Today, I took a long walk with my dog.  I talked to my soul sister; the one who knows me inside out.  I took on a new project that has been weighing on my mind and sitting on my to do list.  The physical work of manual labor takes away some stress and clears my mind to a point where I feel capable of managing it once again.  These are all therapies that help me when I feel out of control.

I’m not sure how I came to find this solution to my stress management.  I wonder what will be the solution when I finally have all my home renovations complete.  Perhaps I will need to take up a new hobby, maybe woodworking?

contentment

Being content with what you have in life is not an easy thing in the world we live in.  We are bombarded with advertisement, telling us that we need to buy this and that to make our lives better, or we need to travel here and there to get the most out of life.  What this does is rob us from being fully content with the life we currently live.  Living without that “fear of missing out” means turning off the noise of these merchants and looking at what makes you happy – not what these companies say should make you happy.

Contentment in my life comes from having affordable housing that provides the shelter my family and I need, my pets to love and cuddle, and the fulfilling relationships with those people I choose to spend my time with.  I am content with my daily walks with my dog, my bi-weekly date with one of my best friends, and the easy conversation with the man who is quickly becoming one of the most important people in my life.  There are, of course, other components to this, but these things are some of the most vital pieces that keep me happy.

Gratitude for what we have contributes to living a content life.  Appreciate all the good things that are present, and value the experience of the not so good things because it helps to truly see what blessings there are in life.  I hope to never lose sight of the truly important things that provide me with that sense of contentment that I have found.