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I mentioned in the last blog the joy of reconnecting with Ellen, a friend I had seen very little of since our graduation from high school in Indiana nearly 55 years ago.  As I write that number, I am absolutely amazed at how quickly time passes, never to be repeated.  Moment by moment our lives pass us by and then an event occurs that triggers a “look back,” and we’re shocked.  The reality of who we have become startles us.

The mini-reunion we had in Chicago last week end provided that “look back” and I remain in a state of shock.  We felt young yet, or so we claimed.  For sure we didn’t feel our age nor did most of us look our age either.  But the minutes had ticked by any way, slipping through our fingers like through a sieve, and the many fond memories of years gone by could only be recounted, not lived again.

There is some thing very special about reliving fond memories.  For one, they can be “used” to lessen the hold of a conflict with a friend or family member.  No one is in charge of what we dwell on but ourselves.  Making the choice to think another thought rather than the one that is creating inner angst is a great choice to make.  And one we can practice repeatedly with out announcing to anyone what we are doing.

The little joys that call to us for a show of appreciation can be as small as a barking dog, a chirping cardinal, that first cup of coffee in the morning with a spouse or a friend, or a child’s whimper to be picked up.  That note of thanks from a friend that was entirely unexpected deserves our acknowledgment too. When ever we seek to notice the many opportunities for showing signs of appreciation, they will seem to multiply.  Funny how that works, wouldn’t you say?

Today, look for the many times you can express appreciation.  Many will be woven within the tiniest of experiences.  The more we cultivate within us the willingness to really see, the greater will be our level of joy.  Sign me up!  How about you?

It’s not so easy to accept this aphorism.  Particularly when bad news has been passed on to you.  And that’s what occurred in my life this morning.  I heard about the death of a good friend’s spouse.  He was a wonderful man, remarkably joyful and caring.  She is a wonderful woman.  One person is always left behind.  And when that happens,  the rest of us are invited to step up to the plate to remind the survivor that she matters to us.  That she will be thought about and that even though life goes on, the memories of the one who has passed will provide sustenance for all of us.

At a time like this I need to remember that God never gives us more than we can handle, with His help.  That’s the key.  With His help.   I need to also remember that we have been prepared for whatever befalls us, even when we doubt these words.  My spiritual belief system has changed over these many years in a 12 step fellowship.  I no longer believe in death, the way I did as a child.  Instead, I believe our bodies are like suits of clothes that must eventually be laid aside while our spirit, indeed, lives on.  Furthermore, I think the spirits of those we loved and who loved us hover around us forever.  That’s where my comfort comes from on a daily basis.

My friend has lost her husband’s body but not her husband’s presence.  The presence of our loved ones “on the other side”  will comfort us like a snuggly down blanket if we desire.  I surely do.  How about you?

1.  Look carefully at all the people you interact with over the next few days.  Take a moment at the end of each day and write down some reasons you think certain people crossed your path.

2.  The people who trigger anger in us are teaching us the most, some would say.  If this is true, what have you recently learned and how has your world view changed?

3.  Some one who disagrees with you is giving you an opportunity to broaden your mind or make the choice to remain quiet.  Have you experienced either response recently?  Write in your journal how it felt.

4.  Hope is contagious.  Make a note of every time you perceive it in others for even a day.  How does that recognition change you?  Share your feelings about this with a friend, in your journal, or in a conversation with your “god.”

Do any one of these once or twice a day and see how your personal world changes.

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