What kind of memory will meeting you become?

May 28, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog today comes this bit of wisdom from Dr. Seuss – “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Jack went on to write about attending the Memorial Day observances in a local cemetery and noticing people standing alone by tombstones remembering those who are buried there. Many of us may think of those who have passed from time to time, but do we ever consider what the memories of others about us will be? Will we represent pleasant memories, fond memories, maybe even loving memories? Will remembering us bring athis-is-me smile to the faces of those who pause to reflect upon knowing us or will there be a frown there?

More than any possessions, that one might be able to amass; the collective memories of us in the minds of those who we have met are what really make up our true “legacy”. Will you be remembered as a friend, as a kind and compassionate person, as a good listener, as dependable and trustworthy; or will your legacy be that of a self-centered, arrogant, boorish person who was best avoided? Most of us will probably be remembered somewhere in the middle; hopefully closer to the former than the latter end of that scale.

being kind 1Another aspect of the Dr. Seuss quote is realizing that the moment that you are in will become a memory someday. I hope that it will become a fond memory and, realizing that, will allow you to savor it even more. In some cases it is a moment that you just need to get through and put behind you. My wife and I have a little saying that we use for some of those moments, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” You just have to realize that every “now” becomes a “then” with time. The pain of a loss now will become the comfortable memory of the many “thens” that you had together. The sting of a disappointment or a failure will fade as you process the experience into understanding and wisdom. The joys of successes, victories, friendships and loves will take their places on the trophy shelf in the back of your mind, ready to be revisited and savored once again, when you need a lift.

So, one take-away from today’s quote is that the moment that you are in is a future memory – make the best memory of it that you can. If you are just meeting someone for the first time, treat it as if this will be the only time that they encounter you. What memory of you do you want them to have and what memory of them do you want to keep? If you are doing something, make sure that the memory of this effort is one that dinosauryou can look back on with pride. Place a high value on your time and how you spend it. Each fleeting moment is a memory being formed. Make sure that your memories are those of a life well lived and not a dull still life full of coulda, woulda and shoulda’s. Go out and make some great memories this week.

I’ll remember the time spent writing this and smile.  Have a great week ahead.

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You can’t stop it, but you can embrace it…

May 20, 2019

A post from the Jack’s Winning Words blog from some time back inspired me to write this morning – “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”  (Sydney J. Harris)

None of us can stop change from happening in our lives, but we can resolve to embrace the changes and make the best of whatever comes our way. Many try to resist changes in no-changetheir lives, even in the face of inevitability. They try to ignore the changes or refuse to acknowledge that they have taken place. They want things to remain the same as they always were. Some rail against change and try to roll back the clock. None of those approaches makes any difference. The changes occurred and there is no going back.  A better use of your time is trying to embrace the changes and adjust your life to accommodate them, as best that you can.

Some changes, such as the loss of a loved one or the dissolution of a relationship, are highly emotional and difficult to put behind you and move on.  However, move on youlife-choices must. That person is out of your life. Feelings of loss are natural; however, feelings that you cannot go on without them are what can lead to depression or worse. Rather, try to embrace that change by celebrating the memories of the good times that you had together and being thankful for those times. Make the place where you store the memories of them a good place to go and not a sad place. Try to find comfort in those memories and not sadness.

Sometimes change points us off in very new directions in life – a job change, a graduation, a wedding. There are usually remnants of the past still in or lives, but many new things, too. The key in those changes may well be understanding how to let go of the decisionsthings from the past that just don’t work anymore or embracing the new elements into the context that we brought with us. Welcoming and embracing the spouse that is the new member of the family or accepting the adult individual that your son or daughter has become, come to mind. Maybe embracing a new role as a grandparent is the change that you are facing. Whatever it is; you can’t stop it, but you can choose to embrace it.

Take some time to stop and think about the changes that have occurred in your life and reflect on how you have reacted to them. Are you in denial that they have occurred? Areproblem-solver you fighting against the new reality in your life or have you embraced those changes? Once you realize what has changed and how it is effecting your life, you can take steps to embrace the changes and figure out how best to adjust your life to accommodate them. Once you do that, things will get better.

Have a great week ahead dealing with changes in your life.


Opinions, prejudices and bad habits…

May 17, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this bit of sage advice – “We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.”  (G.C Lichtenberg).

I took the liberty to add prejudices and bad habits to the list in my title for this post. It is unfortunate that so many young people are exposed to, and influenced by, others to form those opinions, prejudices and habits before they have developed the intellectual capability to make decisions on their own. The recent case of the teenager who decided to go against the wishes of his mother and be vaccinated is an example. His mother’s ill-considered notions that vaccines are bad for children put him at risk and he eventually developed the intellectual capability to see that for himself and decide on a different course of action.

Unfortunately, many never seem to re-look at or rethink  things that influenced them at a arrogantyoung age to become opinionated or prejudiced about certain things and people. They just continue throughout their lives to jump to conclusions about people or events that are driven by unsupported opinions or prejudices. Some look back at a lifetime of misconceptions with regret when they get older. They finally see how fear or mistrust that was fueled by prejudices held them back from meeting or knowing some really great people with whom they crossed paths in life.  They see missed opportunities for friendships or even relationships. There is a melancholy sadness about finally realizing how one’s own ignorance or misconceptions have dulled what could have been a much richer life.

Perhaps you have been living with bad opinions, habits and prejudices and may not even realize it. Take the time to stop and ask yourself a few questions. When I encounter people who are different from me, do I have a reflexive response to draw away or girl with nose chainbecome concerned and fearful? Why? What is it about their appearance or actions that I find threatening or distasteful? Why? Do I avoid going to certain places or events because I fear encountering “different” people? Why? Do I immediately become “on guard” when encountering people of a certain color or who are dresses a certain way. Does seeing a person with blue or pink hair immediately bring to mind something bad about them? Why? Do I really have an opinion of my own about events or news that I hear or do I immediately call to mind something that I was told by someone else?

Once you stop to think about what drives you to have reactions to people or events you can begin to see which of those reactions are actually yours and which might just be Controllingopinions or prejudices that were “planted” in you by others. That is the first step towards both understanding and towards formulating your own opinions. It is a major step towards taking back control of your life. You can’t do it all at once. Perhaps take the time at the beginning of each week to reexamine a habit or opinion or prejudice that you have fallen into and resolve to either prove or debunk the basis for it. The young man who decided to be vaccinated did a lot of research on the subject and concluded that his mother was wrong in her opinion against vaccines.

There are many things in your life – opinions, fears, prejudices and bad habits – that will not withstand intellectual scrutiny. See if you can be debunk one of those in your life each week and things will become much more pleasant for you. You can still have visualizingopinions, but they will now be informed opinions. You may still have habits, but make them good habits. There is no reason to still have prejudices. Thinking about, and understanding these things in life, will shed light on the dark corners of your mind and drive out the bad things that lurk there. Understanding is the antithesis of the ignorance that drives those behaviors.


Focus upon what you can control…

May 7, 2019

At my Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce referral network meeting this morning our norma-nickolosonspeaker was Norma Nicholson, author, motivational speaker and owner of Wise Owl Enterprises, a life coaching business. Norma helps people deal with what life throws at them and live a better life. If I boil down what Norma talked about in her advice it is this – “Focus upon what you can control.”

Norma uses several examples of things that have happened in her life and in the lives of others that she has helped, to set the stage for how she helped herself and now helps others. Her examples are all things that happen to many people – the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job. These are things, most of which are totally out of our control, that just happen to us. What Norma focuses people to look at is how they react to those things and how to take control of those reactions.

I’ve posted here several times about letting go of things and realizing that we cannot control all of the events in life that happen, no matter how hard we try or would like toabusived wife believe that we are in control. What we can control is how we react to those events. Almost all of life’s big events cause an initial, sometimes overwhelming, emotional reaction. There is nothing that we can do to avoid the fear or sadness or sense of loss that washes over us at the moment of impact of such an event; however, we can, and should, try to recover and regain control of ourselves as soon as we can. Why? Because we are also often called upon to make quick decisions and to answer the immediate question – What now?

If we just surrendered to the grief, anger, or remorse that initially overtook us, we might slip into depression, lash out in response, or otherwise react foolishly. We would be letting the event control us, instead of controlling our response. The beginning of facing the wall 2regaining control of the situation is the admission to ourselves that we cannot or could not have controlled the event. For some that is difficult. They tend to spend time in self-recrimination, searching their minds for something that they could have done differently to prevent the event from occurring. What a waste that is. It did occur and there is no going back, no do-overs. There is only, “What now?”

So maybe you’d benefit from buying and reading one of Norma’s books. You might also benefit from going back to re-read some of what I’ve posted here about dealing with life’s challenges, such as this post on letting go.  Maybe reading about being in control of your life instead of life-s event would help. There are other posts about how to deal with life by dealing with the issue of control. The point of most of them is coming to grips with the fact that you are not in control of anything except how you choose to react to what is happening around you and to you. That is up to you.

Many people find that turning to prayer in difficult situations helps. Perhaps it is that momentary need to refocus upon God that gives them the peace that they needed to start woman-prayingto think clearly again. Whatever, the cause, the effect of turning to prayer can be immediate and dramatic. Most importantly, when you turn to God you have to let go of control of the situation and admit that there was nothing that you could do to change it, it happened. Then you can move on to the question of – now what? Your most effective prayer might be, “Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this situation.”

Whether you turn to prayer or not, the advice that both Norma and I provide is to focus upon what you can control – your attitude and reaction to the situation. Don’t allow yourself to become self-defeating, but rather be self-empowering, through a positive attitude. A saying from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words Blog comes to mind – “If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.”  (Unknown)

There will be a tomorrow. Focus upon what you can control.


Take the first step today

May 6, 2019

Let’s start the week with a quote from my favorite source for inspiration, the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass anyway.”  (Earl Nightingale)

Whether you call it a dream or a goal, sometimes when we think it up and then think about it, our dreams seem too big to get done or we think that it will take too long to bootsaccomplish. Sometimes we defeat ourselves before we even start with those kinds of thoughts. I’ve posted here many time about breaking seemingly impossibly large problems or tasks into smaller pieces and accomplishing them one at a time. Making steady progress, even in small steps is important, as is rewarding yourself along the way for having accomplished whatever small step you were focusing upon.

There was a story this weekend in the local paper about a man who walked out of the rehabilitation facility that he has been in for the last three years while he fought his way back from a horrific automobile accident. The accident initially left him paralyzed and there were probably those who thought that he might never walk again. Apparently, he was not one of the naysayers. It took him three years of hard work to learn how to walk again.

What dreams do you have that seem too daunting, too far out in the future? Have you thought about the steps, no matter how small, that you need to take to get to your dream? Which ones can you accomplish today, this week, this month? Remember the advice of Lau Tzo – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”walking man

Take your first step today.