March 3rd: Serenity

March 3rd-Serenity

Serenity for me is putting what I can in my life in order and letting the rest go: the things I cannot control.

This means that I complete tasks/chores in my life that will add to the quality and balance of my daily existence.

Paying the bills in a timely manner.

Keeping my house clean and orderly.

Exercising each day.

Eating well.

Praying.

By keeping my physical and mental house “in order” I am creating structure and balance so that when unforeseen events tax my emotional or physical state… I am centered and better prepared to handle the situation: I am calm and able to offer support to those I love when they may be negatively affected by a crisis.

“Dear God, help me to keep my house in order. Help me to make time each day to complete the tasks that will help me stay in serenity.”

May 2nd: Joy and Expectations

May 2nd

Last night I spent time with an old friend… someone very dear to my heart.

Yet there was a time, when I was so attached to the idea of what I expected of our friendship, that I couldn’t even enjoy my time with him.

I projected an idea of what I thought it “should” be and I held to it; what I wanted… what I believed was needed… my rules… my way.

Tonight, with no expectations, no projections, I found great joy in his company once again.

We laughed.

We caught up on each other’s lives.

And I was reminded how much joy the friendship had brought to me, before I started placing so much emphasis on how I thought it “should be.”

What do I know about “should?”

Preconceived notions regarding what life “should” be only leave me unable to grow and see the limitless possibilities of having an open mind.

Maybe it is time I took a step away from what I believe life “should” be and let my Higher Power take the lead for awhile.

“Dear God, help me to let go of what I believe life should be… and live life as it is… one day at a time… with an open mind and an open heart.”

Photo credit: Bill Thompson

May 1st: Detachment and Other People’s Opinions

May 1st Obsessive Thinking

Recently one of my friends, who has acquired a bit of “status” over the years was asked, “How do you feel when people make negative comments about who you are and what you are doing?”

I was interested in how he would respond. His power, his wealth, his education, and the fact that he was a well-known leader put him in a position where he was continually watched and judged for each of his choices.

I began to feel nervous myself just thinking about it: such a large audience of people paying attention to each of his day-to-day moves.

I imagined my own life and how difficult it was for me to detach, at times, from other people’s opinions of me.

His answer surprised and pleased me.

He said, “I can’t let people’s opinions of me get in the way of who I am. It’s not my business what they think. That is their idea of who I am… their projection… it has nothing to do with me. I know what my intention is when I make a choice or take a risk. They do not. If I spent each day upset that someone has a poor opinion of me… well then… I’ve wasted a lot of time now haven’t I?”

How much time have I wasted fretting over someone’s opinion of me?

Has that helped me to move forward in my life or on my spiritual path?

I cannot stop someone from thinking badly about me nor do I have a lifetime to fret about it.

I know my own intentions.

I know when I act from a place of love and humility, from my true self, and when I act out because of my ego, self-esteem, fear, anger or frustration.

I am the only judge of my actions.

I must detach.

I must allow them the freedom of their opinions and keep the focus where it matters: on my own life.

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“Dear God, help me to detach with love. Help me to detach without losing compassion.”

April 30th: Perspective

April 30th

It is so difficult when caught up in an intense moment of passion, anger, frustration, obsession, pain or despair, to let go of the “immediate” and embrace perspective.

There have been many times in my life, where I found it difficult to step back and allow time to bring me insight, but none as emotionally, spiritually and physically trying as my divorce.

Each time my emotions were engaged during this painful period, I would find myself consumed in the moment, reacting without thinking, caught in an all-or-nothing mentality that would leave me emotionally worn and physically ill.

I remember feeling like a small bird, throwing myself repeatedly at a glass window, trying to escape my pain and fear, yet too terrified to calm down, and wait for the window to be opened and my inevitable release.

It was a very disheartening experience for me but, my divorce did show me that time will carry me through a difficult period in my life… and that someday… I will get to the other side of any emotion if I continue to move forward and work towards understanding the situation, and my part in it.

Today when I am suffering, I use the experience of my divorce to remind myself that… “This too shall pass.”

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“Dear God, thank you for the gift of perspective. Thank you for helping me to move through my pain and for getting me out of my own way.”

April 29th: Choices

April 29th- Choices

During my marriage, my husband and I were at a party together for one of his male mentors.

We were all in the middle of a conversation, when I noticed an elderly gentlemen, about eighty, sitting all alone, watching the activity, and hoping that someone would sit and talk with him.

I asked about him and my husband’s friend said, “Oh that’s my dad. He doesn’t really know anyone and he’s a bit shy.”

I immediately excused myself from the conversation and went to sit with him and keep him company.

Later that night, when my husband and I were driving home, he admitted something to me.

“When you left to sit with my friend’s father,” He said. “I turned to my friend and said snidely, “Oh what a good little enabler. What a lovely little people-pleaser. She’ll save him!”

My husband paused here, embarrassed and said, “Do you know what my friend said to me?”

I waited… not sure what I was about to hear.

“He said that you are a kind, thoughtful person, and he appreciated how sweet you were being by making his father feel welcome in the group.”

I smiled.

I was not smug or self-righteous.

I did not use the moment against my husband.

We had both learned a lesson regarding choices.

I knew that my choice was not related to enabling, or people-pleasing, it was my higher spiritual self, choosing to be compassionate and present for another human being.

I had not chosen to go sit with our friend’s father to please anyone or make an impression: I had chosen to sit with my friend’s father because it was the right thing to do, the loving choice.

My motives were clear.

And my husband learned… that he had used poor judgement in his choice of words; his motives were suspect and so… he made an immediate amends.

We ended our night on good terms with each other, both of us reminded, that when we make a choice we must check our motives, and listen for our own unique inner voice of guidance that will ensure we are walking firmly on our spiritual path.

“Dear God, thank you for guiding me in all of my day-to-day choices. Help me to keep my motives focused on love and compassion.”

April 28th: The Gift

April 28th-The Gift

My divorce was very difficult for me to accept.

I had been with my husband many years.

We had experienced life at its best and its worst.

We had raised children, buried parents, struggled with financial burdens, and rejoiced in financial gains.

We created a world together and when we separated, it was very hard to let the dream of what we were… what we could be… go.

I have been asked by many people since, “Do you regret the time you spent with him? Do you wish you could take it back so that you wouldn’t have had to feel the pain of divorce?”

And the answer has always been and always will be, “No.”

How could I regret the birth of my children?

How could I regret the joys I have witnessed as they have lived and grown into the truly wonderful people they are today?

To give up all the pain I have experienced would mean I would also have to give up all the joy:

The togetherness that we shared as a couple, the history of our lives during that specific period of time: a moment that will never be known by anyone the way it is known by my former husband.

I do not regret the love he gave to me.

I do not regret the love I gave to him.

I learned many things from our time together, both good and bad, and now I use those experiences to help my own grown children navigate their relationships. I offer my experience, strength and hope, my extensive time in a marriage to be a guide, a voice of reason, an advocate to help them when they struggle with those they so dearly love.

“Dear God, thank you for the gift of marriage. Thank you for allowing me to experience true joy, through giving myself honestly and openly to someone I loved.”

April 27th: Growth

beautiful ocean April 27th

Today I celebrate my spiritual growth.

The relief at a day spent living in the present instead of allowing my mind to obsess on the mistakes of my past or worry about the uncertainty of the future.

I celebrate a day where I acted loving and kind to the people I love.

I celebrate my creative accomplishments and the time I spent resting and caring for my own needs.

Often growth is messy, upsetting, and traumatic: the change… difficult to accept.

How wonderful it feels… just for this moment… just for this day… to see my spiritual growth… to see how far I have come since the pain and despair of my divorce to enjoy my life right now… and be thankful for this change.

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“Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for this moment of celebration. Thank you for giving me clarity and the ability to see the growth I have made on my spiritual path.”