It is up to us to change the negative rhetoric and trajectory that has us on a frightening path. And how do we do it? By slowly changing the mindsets of our children who will be our future leaders. It will be their world one day and we can start by altering world viewpoints through them.
There are no quick fixes for decades or even centuries of wrong thinking but as purifying rusty water in a tainted glass, it can happen one drop at a time. We can add clean, healthy, soul-lifting thoughts one at a time and over time, the contents will look a lot different.
As those piercing drops clear the waters, we know that there will be drips at the bottom of the bucket. Yet, if we keep mending the holes and continually pour positive thoughts armored with virtuous deeds, the souls of our children will evolve as they become more altruistic and balanced adults.
They will be able to rationalize and make good, useful, and sound decisions. They will be able to push the ‘pause’ button when their guts tell them that something is not right. They will be able to think things through and follow the elders’ advice and sleep on it before moving forward.
Then, with each new dawn, our future leaders will know the best paths to take which will benefit all people. They will have confidence in themselves and know their own values and worth. Then, it will be quite easy for them to extend a helping hand to others in the strong spirit of agape love!
Life is full of choices! Should we turn left, or should we turn right? Should we talk to this person or to that other one? Is this a person that I can trust with my feelings or not? We make hundreds of decisions each day and most are unconscious reactions.
Some answers come like clockwork and we oftentimes rely on that gut-like prompter to lead and guide us. Small signs and signals point us in the right direction and inaudibly whisper, “This is the way.” A letter may fall out of a book or a card with a certain logo may appear and we receive the needed information.
Choices do, however, have long-standing consequences. The easiest and most popular way may not always be the best route in the long run. Convenient? Maybe. Productive? Probably not. Those of us who are more seasoned have witnessed this time and time again simply by observing others. We have learned that slow and steady does indeed win the race.
What may be lucrative now may have some long-term costs that outlast the good times. Those that chose the nearest way may find themselves shaking their heads and wondering, “What was I thinking? “ Or, better yet, they may ask, “Was I even thinking?” They may have to admit that they were just participating in the moment.
When we find ourselves at a crossroad of indecision, it might be best to push the Pause button. Wait. As many have advised over the years, “Sleep on it.” See if it still makes sense the next day. We may find that our viewpoints may have been altered to some extent. We will know exactly what plan of action we should take and then proceed with confidence!
It’s those little foxes, those small taunts or jibes and ridicules that we must jump over as we journey through our lives. Like a track athlete, we see the hurdles ahead, leap over them and try our best to land on our feet.
I had a friend who advised me to step over the Lilliputians or the little people that Jonathan Swift mentioned in Gulliver’s Travels. He was offering comfort after I shared an experience from a hostile job environment. We must overlook a lot of things if we want to keep it moving.
It often seems as if those obstacles are strategically placed to hopefully get us off course. But as we keep our eyes on the prize we carry on. Nehemiah in the Bible kept a weapon in one hand and a chisel in the other as he built his wall. He refused to be distracted by the shouts from down below him. We can do the same as we build our personal treasure troves and stay armed with our faith in ourselves to succeed.
Charles Barkley recently reminded us on a talk show that the spectators don’t scream when the mediocre guy shoots the ball. They bring their noise-makers, raise their voices and sit right behind the basket to do all they can to break the concentration of the winning players.
We too can ignore the detractors as we run our races. We can pass the little foxes, the hurdles, the little people, and even the invisible barriers. When we get to a resting place, we can take a breather or pant, if need be. We can even channel Maya Angelou and sigh, “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for the Journey, Now!
We find in life that there are rarely long stretches of joy. As a result, many participants of life see themselves as being unhappy. But in reality just as joyous parties end, so must our zealous laughter.
When we see through a glass clearly, we recall glimmers of light from snippets of good moments. Good moments plus good moments add up to give us good memories. When we refer to some part of our journey with fondness, we have unconsciously minimized the dark periods. .
There were certainly some low points for they are a given. There were brief times of worry, self-doubt or some other angst, but we have somehow pushed them to the back of our minds. We, in turn have allowed the good moments to flourish forth. That could only mean that the good outweighed the bad and we have labeled that period in our lives as a good time.
As we continue on with our daily journeys, perhaps we will stop searching for the illusive butterfly and continually gather all of our happy moments and put them in our proverbial baskets. If by chance, when we move on from that place, that era or that time in our personal histories, we can label that experience as great or not-so-great. It all depends on our tally marks of the lights and darks that we ticked out along the way. Yet, deep down inside we know that there was indeed some rain in the backdrop of our sunny memories.
Try Cecil B. DeMille’s advise to Gloria Swanson: “Take the cream. Leave the milk!”
These pandemic times have awakened high waves of turbulent emotions in many of us. Several feel that their senses’ of normalcy have been taken away from them and they are angry about it. Thus, fractured nerves, illnesses and staggering numbers of death have shaken us all.
But we are not children throwing temper tantrums because some of our comforts are no longer in place. Many are feeling misplaced rage and don’t know who to lash out against. Yet, we are adults who model correct behavior to our children who are silently watching, taking it all in and stuffing our actions into their memory banks.
What type of video are we creating for them? Good footage or earth-shattering footage? Let’s face it, they do emulate us. They do what they see not what we say they should do.
For all we know, this could be the new normal. Hundreds of classics of literature have been written about seismic shifts which forced people to accept unwelcoming changes. The good, old times could be just that. Good memories of times that have floated by.
What will we do? Accept the change and as Gladys Knight and the Pips sang, “Make thebest of a bad situation?” Or will we pout, throw things, scream and destroy the peace of those around us? Perhaps, we should recheck the calendar and year of our births.
Are we babes, teens or adults? Then, as Prince sang, “We should act our age and not our shoe size.” Take a deep breath in, then exhale. We are full-fledged adults and we can act like those who are expected to calm the waves. It is our call.
There is a coined phrase in literature that speaks of accepting one’s lot. It means that people learn, at some point, to accept their personal missions in life and make the most of things. We are all put here for specific reasons.
We come with our own inner compasses that point us in the direction of our pre-destined purpose for existence. It is buried deep down inside from the beginning but sometimes others’ ideas about our lives may cause us to veer off course. Yet, if we are fortunate enough to survive the detours and regain our footing, we can get back onto the right path.
I was listening to a first grader the other day who is already fascinated with all types of ships. He knows the history of several famous ships, the year some sank and the actions of the captains and crew members in the wake of disaster. I said to him, “You probably will be a great Naval officer someday.”
His inner compass is already leading him in the direction of his charted interests at such an early age. Hopefully, he will not be thwarted and can fulfill those desires that are coming from somewhere deep down within him.
We may sometimes wonder why we did not get what we thought we wanted in life, but as The Rolling Stones remind us, “We get what we need,” in their song You Can’t Always Get What You Want! So, once we stop peering over the fence at our neighbors’ gatherings, we can count our own blessings, review our stockpiles, and say, “Hmm. Not bad. Not bad at all!”
Take out the trash! It’s the end of 2020 and my best response is, “It’s been a lot!” Our cups runneth’ over. And the unfortunate part is that we have an overflow of darkness this year.
Time to sort it out just like we separate the lights from the darks before washing our clothes. We put the darks in one pile and the lights in another. We could, in this case, call the dark items things to release or even call them garbage for they need to go out with the outgoing year.
Darkness include dark thoughts, painful experiences or even a series of unfortunate events. Sometimes, they are opaque and hard to detect like in bowling. Just when we think that we have hit a strike there stands that hidden pin to burst our bubbles. We know that we still have more work to do.
We must turn on all of the lights as we clean and locate that hidden dirt deep down in the corners and crevices of our minds. We have to turn on that spotlight to make sure that we have swooped up all of the darkness to add to our trash piles.
Then, we should do a second check. Are there any unseen barnacles trying to attach themselves to the bottom of our boats as we embark upon the new year? Well, we will have none of that!
No more free rides and extra weight to bow us down! Now take out the trash! Make it a ceremonious event if need be, but get it done! Then, breathe. Let out a big sigh of relief and get ready to walk into 2021, as we put ourselves Number One on our lists!
Have you been naughty or nice in 2020? I know. I know. You think you’re too old to ask yourselves this question, but whether you are 7 or 77, it is still pertinent today! Yes, this year has been a doozy but how do you think you fared? When you think about Santa’s question, it basically refers to how you treated others.
Were you mean or curt in your dealings with others in some instances? Or were you mean or curt with others on several occasions? In this narcissistic, selfie world, did you focus on your needs, your wants and your desires while stepping on others like cobblestones on paved streets? Did you pilfer from others or accept things from others without returning a simple thank you?
Well, if you recognize yourself here, then Santa would label you as being a naughty person. Hmm. That could mean that your gifts might be limited because you unconsciously created some bad karma. You might find yourself crying “Boo- Hoo,” like the Grinch.
Or were you rather nice this year on a few or in several situations? During this ever-reaching pandemic which has touched all points of the globe, did you reach out to others around you? Did you give a comforting phone call or send a text filled with soothing words to hurting family members or friends? Did you share a podcast or a link to some reassuring music to lift someone’s spirit?
Did you add an emoji to share emotions, drop some lines of wisdom or even risk it and hug someone in deep despair? Did you pay a bill or buy groceries for someone less fortunate than you? Did you volunteer at a food pantry when you had nothing else to give but your helping hands?
Well, if you did any of these things, then you conducted acts of kindness and you will indeed fall into the nice category. Yes, your returns will come forth pressed down, shaken together and running over. Your joy will be full because you applied The Golden Rule. You did to others what you would have them do to you. Santa would like that at any age. There is still time to sprinkle in more acts of kindness as you help others and mostly help yourself!
In a matter of weeks or shall I say days, we have gone from rich colorful leaves of gold, bronze and red to barren trees. Life! It is ever-changing whether we notice or not. The earth is still turning on its axis and doing what it has always done.
Seasons change. People come and go as do some jobs. This is a stark reminder that as the adage goes, “Time waits for no man.” It would behoove us to a take a moment out of our busy schedules, whether that includes those Zoom meetings, tapping on our laptops or scrolling on our devices and stop, look, and listen to nature.
Poets, writers, novelists, painters, and songwriters have always acknowledged nature’s magnificence. It tells us stories and warns us of things to come. The weather even helps us make conversation with those who we otherwise have no common ground.
Taking notice of the sky has served farmers and planters for eons as they make decisions about their crops. They can see the rain clouds, or the storms brewing and then they know if it is the best time to sprinkle seeds, cultivate, pull up weeds or gather their harvests.
Looking at these swift changes that have taken place with these trees pictured here, remind me that OldMan Winter is on his way. And before he makes his frosty arrival, we all should check our stockpiles, put our houses in order and prepare to hunker down so that we can ride out those ensuing storms.