Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tearing Down The Jungle Gym


Our brains needs to be re-programmed out of the negative states we identify with, if we want to find peace of mind, serenity, and a sense of happiness and fulfillment in life.  If we don’t change our state, we our victims to being moody, depressed, feeling guilty, remorseful, resentful, lonely, and experience a feeling of inadequacy.

We can change our state by making a choice to do so.  When we experience a loss in life, the power we give that event over our mental state, is our choice. Let’s say our child is diagnosed with a rare disorder or illness that can not be identified; which happened to our little Cammy.  Do we make a decision to learn as much as we can to help our child and adapt our life to this new experience?

The alternative is to believe we were robbed by life.  That life presented us with a cruel challenge.  This is not to be confused with the healthy emotion of sadness.  Sadness and suffering are not the same.  Sadness is a natural response to loss.  It is meant to be felt and processed.  We don’t have to fake an unnatural or happy response.

Suffering is when we allow sadness to turn into an unhealthy emotion; rage, bitterness, regret or a sense that life has not treated us fairly.

We had a recent incident in our life, where someone had the right to take some of our things.  When they arrived to recover the assets they were told our children’s jungle gym essentially had no value; the cost to remove it far exceeded the value it may have.  We offered to pay the appraised value and were told the buyer would rather tear it down then let us pay for it.

This is the darkest state of humanity when we would consciously attack little children in hopes that attack will make the parents suffer.  Of course our children were sad and we were sad for them.  However, they do not suffer and neither do we.

We explained to them that when people are afraid or in pain, they lash out. That we all do this; just as they have done it to each other.  The solution is not to be mad or angry but to pray for the other person.  My children replied “Mommy we are not in a praying mood”.

I understand!  Sometimes we are not in a praying mood. However, to be bitter about an attack only causes us to suffer.  To wish the other person would or could change, to dwell in the past, to relive the experience mapping out how things could have gone differently, or to allow vengeance to blacken our own hearts; are all negative states that will cause us to suffer.

Instead we can choose to feel our sadness.  Then we can choose not to dwell on those thoughts which can not change the reality of NOW but can cause us to suffer immeasurably and keep us stuck.

The irony is they are still not done tearing down the jungle gym and the spiteful person will now have to pay for a third trip to accomplish his mission of destruction.

This opens a question for all of us to live in; “How much does my vengeance cost me?”  How many trips do I pay for when I allow this negative state to have power in my life?  What is the cost to my own psyche and sense of inadequacy?

It seems hard to forgive until you train your brain.  Like any new habit it may seem impossible at first.  Then when you see the payoff; your own emotional maturity, sense of well being and purposefulness in the lives of others; it becomes rather easy.

It’s also ironic that vulnerability is the key to peace.  When we have the courage to say this hurt me and I am sad; without the need to make the other person wrong, or attack them or expect them to change.  Just this hurt and it made me sad.  Then we move forward with our life.  They may not choose to do anything about our sadness, but when we come from this place of vulnerability it quickens the process of letting go and we realize they don’t have to do anything.  We did everything we needed to do and now we can move on to the next chapter in our lives.

Don’t tear down the jungle gyms in your own life or in others.  Instead, let go of whatever negative thoughts you have, feel your sadness and then keep trudging the happy road of destiny.

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Embracing Uncertainty


“Uncertainty is a sign of humility, and humility is just the ability or the willingness to learn.” Charlie Sheen.

Humans like guarantees. There is a billion dollar industry that capitalizes on our need for certainty. We purchase extended warranties so we are certain we have recourse should our new purchase malfunction. We buy insurance for our home, car, life and things; all in an effort to hedge against uncertainty.

This may work for our things but what about our emotional certainty?  There is no warranty to protect us against our reactive thoughts.  Will the baby come on time, will my child be ok at their new school, will my spouse leave me for another, will my career be what I hoped for?

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Great Friendships


When your house is burnt to the ground.  When your child dies in an unexpected car crash.  When your life is turned inside out.  When some negative influencers focus their hatred into your lives.  What you may find through your vulnerability is the best side of humanity through such tragedy.  People that you may not even know very well come to rally their love and support; to offer you their shoes when you have none. Continue reading

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“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.  When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

….unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

In recent events this ideal has been pushed to its limits.  There are circumstances in my life that I feel sad about.   It is hard to accept what has happened.  It is hard to see how to move forward.  If you have faced a loss; are struggling right now; then perhaps these tips may help you; as they are now, helping me:

1.  The past can not be changed.  It has happened.  Train my mind to stay focused on the present; not dreaming about how things could have been.  Not wishing they could be different.  Just sit with the sadness.  Let go of any guilt if I had a part in things.  Guilt and shame keep us stuck.  Acceptance must be applied to ourselves first.

2.  Accept that things will be uncomfortable.  When we start a new job, get divorced, experience the loss of a loved one, or lose things that are valuable to us, we are left in an uncomfortable state.  When we embrace those uncomfortable feelings instead of wishing them away they pass more quickly.  We can feel our feelings and move forward.

3.  Change our thoughts.  What if this was meant to happen for my personal growth?  It is not what I planned.  It does not seem fair.  It may seem cruel and inhumane.  But thinking those thoughts causes me to suffer.  Believing this event had meaning brings me peace.  What if we choose to believe the thought that brings us peace even if we don’t fully understand or even believe it to be true?  If it brings us peace does it really matter if it is “true”?  Who is to say what is really “true”.  So much of life is a vast mystery behind our human comprehension.

4.  Remember this is temporary.  Everything in life changes.  Things may stay the same for a time.  They may get worse.  They may get better.  History has proven that things will ebb and flow.  When I am happy I am mindful to savor it.  To enjoy the moment.  When I am sad I remember it is temporary.  I remember the good times and trust they will once again return.

5.  Be vulnerable.   When I need support I call a friend.  I usually share a feeling – simply sharing that “I am sad”.  I don’t make my friends suffer through detailed stories of all the sordid events and every nuance.  The greatest gift we can give a friend is love and support.  When we listen, when we are present and when we empathize, we share the essence of who we are.

6.  Focus not on what we’ve lost but on what we still have.  I reach out to help other people when I have experienced a loss.  I pay extra attention to my children.  I kiss them and hug them and hold them tight.  I tell them they are the best thing in my life.  I thank friends for their love and support.  I do kind acts of service.  This helps me see all the abundance in my life.

We have control over our reactions even if we don’t think so.  We have a choice in how we choose to meet life’s challenges.  This is character building. Sometimes the payoff is slow to come.  Sometimes we endure months or even years of grief before our hard work can yield results.  The result can be healing, personal growth, spiritual maturity, and a sense of well being.  They will most certainly be whatever we declare we want in our lives.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie.


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Empowerment – Fear – Deception


What does this word really mean?  In my 20’s it meant giving someone my piece of mind and then feeling really proud for doing so.  That was reactivity and I didn’t know any better.

Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, gender, or economic strength of individuals and communities.” – Wikipedia.

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