Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘challenges’

What Makes You Happy?

Pharrell Williams’ song, ‘Happy’ puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. Such a simple melody with uncomplicated lyrics yet it speaks to me. I am immediately transported to a place that tells my feet to dance and warms my heart. What puts a smile on your face? What makes you happy? It’s important to go to ‘our happy place’ as one my friends calls it, whenever we get a chance. It recalibrates our thinking and can give us a shot of much needed energy.

Positive energy is more than a concept. It’s a feeling of vibrancy, strength and even love which says, ‘I can do this, I am confident, I am worthy, I am grateful.’ You can actually feel and recognize this type of energy in others. Check it out as you are walking into work, or at the store. How many people do you come in contact with during a given day that radiate this type of energy? Are you radiating the same back to them? Remember energy is a like a magnet what you give off comes right back to you!

As we all know, not everyone radiates positive energy and that’s unfortunate. When we run into someone that seems to radiate a ‘ poor me’ mentality it’s important to give ourselves permission not to engage in their latest drama and simply recognize it for what it is …. an attention getting device that for some has been honed into an art form over the years. We can’t seem to make them better no matter how hard we try and that’s okay. They have a right to their mindset but it doesn’t mean you have to buy in or accept it. Think of putting up an invisible shield around yourself when you are dealing with someone who is negative. Don’t let them effect you.

As individuals, the way we generate positive energy for ourselves differs in innumerable ways. Regardless of our chosen form of ‘happy’ the importance of it remains. We have a limited number of days on this planet. We can learn the lessons we have chosen to learn through a mindset of positive or negative energy. When difficulties happen if we look for the lesson in them rather than allow ourselves to blame or become angry we win. Remember the saying – every cloud has a silver lining. The choice of how we face life’s challenges is always up to us.

When I am around a person who seems to generate positive energy it lifts me up and I am grateful for their presence. Being happy isn’t always easy but it’s important to constantly work at – little by little – until it becomes just a natural part of our being. The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Recognize and celebrate all the good in yourself and others. It’s worth the effort!

As Pharrell ‘s song says, “No offense to you…can’t nothing bring me down, Happiness is the truth.” Yes it is …

Have a great few days!

It’s All About the Energy!

Constantly expanding our comfort zone is important since it keeps our blood pumping and gives us a richer, more interesting perspective on life. Following this thought I watched my first Super Bowl game ever – and was astounded to watch how the energy of both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots changed throughout the game. You could practically feel the energy radiating from the T.V. screen as first one team led and then the other. Since I am not an avid sports enthusiast and would have preferred to have both teams win I was really more interested in the energy thing than the actually score. I found myself talking to each team throughout the game and telling them to ‘buck up’ and ‘make it happen!’ It caused me to think about how obvious our energy is to others. People can actually feel it, regardless of what our face is saying and they act accordingly by either moving toward or away from us. Just think, it all starts by the energy we are choosing to give off.

When things are going well the positive energy just seems to flow. It seems that good things just keep happening as the Universe sends back to us more of what we are giving out. Likewise when we are down things seem to happen, one after another, that overwhelm us. If we find ourselves falling into catastrophic thinking or creating mini dramas tomorrow will surely be the same as today.

Obviously none of us are Super Bowl players but we constantly have our own challenges and opportunities to handle in our own game of life. How do we learn to look for the bright side, the probability of future success when our own energy seems to be at a low ebb.

When we inhale deeply and remember that everything happens for a purpose, that we will get through this and that there really are no mistakes in life it’s a good start. Regardless of our challenges when if we calm down and realize that we can either admit defeat or look for the silver lining behind every cloud that surrounds us it goes a long way in giving us the energy to face our tomorrows. Whatever we do to help keep perspective and realize any setback we experience is really temporary it helps us dig deeper and regain a more positive attitude.

Life is not a walk in the park. Each of us has chosen unique life lessons to overcome. Some of us might even wonder, from time to time, why we wrote so many challenges in our script and may look at others and think to ourselves that their life seems to be so much easier. Caution is advised here because when we look more closely it becomes obvious that all of us experience our fair amount of challenges and disappointments- albeit in different forms.

Life is a huge balancing act. But the good news is that each of us can create our own safety net which will give us greater security and confidence along the way. Those safety nets are created from individual threads which are formed each time we overcome a life challenge. Before we know we have learned to smile with confidence as we overcome another challenge because we realize that ‘All is as it Should Be.’

Have a great few days!

A Little Christmas Humor!

There’s only 14 shopping days ’till Christmas! The parking lots in the malls are packed and in some parts of the country policemen on horseback are attempting to oversee crowd control as they gingerly ride their horses between motorists coming from opposite directions who are both eyeing the same ‘soon to be vacated’ parking space. You know the one – it’s closest to the entryway to the store. You just know the policeman is hoping that this will not boil down to a game of chicken as the space is being vacated by a smug shopper who unlike many of us arrived early and with tons of bags in hand has finished their shopping. Not to be deterred we push on and once inside the department store we are confronted with 25% to 50% markdowns on many items. We think to ourselves, ‘How can I pass up that deal? And find ourselves buying two of something we had intention of purchasing! We will simply review our list and decide who still needs a present and purchase their size – voila it’s done! Never mind the ‘super sale’ was on winter jackets and the family member who is still in need of a gift lives in a climate that experiences 70-75 degree winters. We justify sending the ‘super sale’ item to them by thinking, ‘they may need it when they visit a colder climate’ and we triumphantly cross off their name on our list. Yes! Oh, the fun of the season.

Rather than fighting the crowds at the stores today I decided to try to put up my Christmas lights on the outside of my house. One of my friends bought those umbrella lights that you just stretch over the bush and it’s done. Well, I think to myself, why spend money on that convenience when I have 20 or so long string of lights from last year that could be used. As I drank my second cup of coffee I could visualize myself successfully placing the lights in the bushes and smiling at the fun of it all. My courage buoyed, I decided it was time to go outside and make it happen. How hard could it be? Success is right around the corner!

First, I diligently checked each string of lights to be sure they still worked. Next, I remember with trepidation that I will eventually have to figure out how to set the automatic timer – you know the one with 9 settings or variations on it. Not to be overwhelmed so early in the process I continued to string the lights. Then a strange thing happened… After all the lights were connected to each other I discovered I didn’t end up with the proper end that has the plug on it to connect to the extension cord. How can this be? I could call the manufacturer and tell them that they made a grievous mistake but what if some loving Chinese woman with hands the size of a five year old ended up getting in trouble over my complaint. No, I better go to plan B. Maybe I should take all the lights down and start again but wait – I realized the beginning of the first string did not have a plug either! Seriously! This can’t be happening! After trying at least five different ways of connecting the various strings of lights and noticing that some of the lights that previously worked were now refusing to light up when independently connected to the extension cord I feel myself getting terribly uptight. At one point I swear that one strand which wasn’t connected to a power source appeared to be on. OK – now I am really freaked out! Are the lights smarter than me I wondered?

I must go to Plan B and call in the Calvary. I remembered my friends close by that just seem to know how how things work – as opposed to me who still gets confused about which key unlocks my door unless I put fingernail polish on the ‘special one.’ Or I could go to Plan C – my local hardware store. Maybe they would have some sort of gizmo that attaches to this or that thing to make it all work. Then I remembered how challenging it is to communicate my needs to these strange men who know 50 names for something yet become apoplectic at the use of my words such as ‘thingy’ or ‘whatchamacallit.’ Maybe that should be my last resort I think to myself. So I tried calling my friends and they weren’t home. They are probably keeping the headless horsemen on the police force entertained as they circle the parking lot looking for someplace – anyplace to park. I realized that when we are frustrated it’s hard to think clearly so I took a break and decided to walk away from my project. I remembered the phrase, ‘walk away and no one gets hurt!’ and I did. As soon as I calmed down I remembered that I’m not the straw man from the Wizard of Oz who just wanted a brain. I already have one – somewhere – and decided that given enough time I will figure something out- just not today. Sometimes avoidance is the only worthwhile salve for a bruised ego!

Since wasting time is not an option at this time of year I decided to tackle the Christmas tree instead. Realizing the tree has lights already on it I felt I was halfway home but here is the caveat for those glorious faux trees. You need to be able to manage to hold all three parts of the tree (which together are quite heavy) to get them out of the box. You must be very careful because although the three parts are independent of each other they are mysteriously connected with delicate wires that one must be careful not to damage for the pre-lit effect to work (think of an umbilical cord here to get the picture). Well, the tree is up now and I look at my carpet…how can an artificial tree shed its needles? They are making fake trees too real for my liking! I’m not kidding – is this a conspiracy I wonder as my vacuum goes into overdrive to sweep up that mound of green.

By now, I’m exhausted and think to myself, ‘Maybe tomorrow I’ll attack the outside lights again or just take them down – after all Christmas will be over in 14 days. But who knows, if Santa is watching, he knows I have been good this year and maybe he’ll send one of his elves to my house tonight as an early Christmas gift and make those *+#* lights work! Hey… once an optimist always as optimist!

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the absurdity of what we put ourselves through and yet the memories can make us laugh for years to come.

Have a great few days!

Loss Comes in Many Forms

Many times we think of loss in terms of death or divorce.  However, as we age we experience a loss of physical, mental and emotional capacity. We aren’t quite as fast as we used to be.  What happened?  Just last year I could do…(fill in the blank). What happened was simply life. These changes are difficult for us to accept and difficult for others as well.

As a Hospice volunteer, I see the full range of loss. Regardless of the type of loss, there are predictable human needs. Everyone wants to be appreciated and treated with respect. From time to time we all experience unease about the future. Most importantly, we all need unconditional love and support from our friends and family.

Our journeys – our challenges – are unique, but our human need for meaningful connection is the thread that holds our lives like a beautiful tapestry – together.

An excellent book on the topic of loss in reference to dementia is “I Will Never Forget” by Elaine Pereira. It is a daughter’s story about her mother’s arduous and humorous journey. Please read and/or recommend it to others. You will be helping others – one person at a time.

All is as it should be.  Have a great few days!