Let that child out to play again…

June 4, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this post –

“We speak of educating children.  Do we know that our children also educate us?”  (Lydia  Sigourney)  Jack went on to write – Yes, children can be teachers, too.  Sometimes we seem to forget what it’s like to be a child…how to be carefree, and not to worry so much about tomorrow…how to forgive and not hold grudges…how to be creative.

I’ve written here before about the inner child that is still there within us and the value of looking within and find that child again.

As we grow up our inner child is more and more confined and pushed down in our opinionatedminds by the rules that we are taught about how we are to act, if we want to be an adult; although I’m not sure why we ever thought that was such a great idea.

Slowly our carefree lifestyle is replaced by one of worries and responsibilities, many of bored2them imagined or self-imposed. The companionship and  camaraderie of play is replaced by the competition and stress of career advancement, making a living and getting ahead. Selfishness replaces sharing and anger and revenge displace forgiveness in our lives. Our imagination is replace by ambition and drive.

Yet, somewhere in the back of your mind, hiding perhaps in the little corners of your memory, that inner child still lurks, wishing that he/she could come out and play again.

Perhaps there is an apex in life where the drive to “act like an adult” peaks and we start back down the other side of the bell curve towards that innocence of childhood again. smell-the-rosesThe revelation that we don’t have to “act your age” can come at any time in life. It occurs when we stop taking everything so seriously and “stop to smell the roses” – to just enjoy being alive.

Faith can play a big role in getting back to an innocent, inner-child state of mind, because faith allows you to off-load those adult concerns and pressures to God by woman-prayingsaying “not my will, but thy will be done.” Once you have arrived at that point, the next step towards, “Let’s go play”, comes much easier, happiness comes much easier, listening toi music.pngcontentment comes much easier. God would much rather see us having fun and playing than being worried and serious all of the time.

So, get right with God and give him your worries and concerns; then, go find that inner child that is still within you and play again.  God will be smiling as He watches you play.

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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.


Are you happy with what you get?

April 15, 2019

“Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get.”  (Dale Carnegie) – as seen in today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sometimes I think back to the simpler times of my childhood – ancient times, before smartphones or the Internet or even television. Wow. That is ancient. Yet, we were happy female soccer playeras children running around the neighborhood playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers or just hide and go seek. We were happy with what we got and did not spend our time wanting things that we didn’t have. Perhaps ignorance was bliss, since we didn’t have the ubiquitous Internet and Google to show us all of the things that we didn’t have. We just had fun and that was enough for us. We couldn’t wait for the next day, so be able to get out and play again. Nobody sat around with their head down, staring at a tiny screen.

It is harder these days for kids to just be kids and have fun. Even babies are often parked in their Bubble seats in front of TV screens, which serve as electronic babysitters and provide visual distraction. Young children, sometimes not even old enough for pre-school, are handed electronic tablets with simple, cute games on them to occupy their selfie 2time and keep them quiet. It’s no wonder that by the time they are old enough to go to school they have become completely hooked on electronics for their entertainment and as their source of information. It’s somewhat sad to think that there are only 1-2 generations alive today that did not grow up in the electronic age and who remember what we did to entertain ourselves before all of the electronics came along.

Getting back to the quote of the day, are you constantly chasing the things that you think you want; or, are you happy with the things that you have? In his post today, Jack went on to write about Loretta Lynn’s title song in the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which she sings “We were poor but we had love  That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of.” That song makes the point that it is in our relationships with others that we find true mother with childhappiness. After all, you can’t have a relationship with a thing that you might want. Hugging your new car will never satisfy like hugging your wife and kids – they hug back.

Perhaps, it is that insight into what is important in life that allows some to be happy with what they get. They focus upon the relationships in their life – the love that they receive from and give to others –rather than upon material things. The happiness that they can recall is usually centered around events and activities with others and not about the car that they were in or the house that they happened to own at the time. Good times are almost always about sharing things with others – activities, events, milestones or whatever.

So, one can be successful and attain lots of material things that they may have wanted; but to be happy usually has less to do with those things than with the people around us with whom we share life’s events. If you focus upon those people, instead of things; you will find that you are happy with what you get, because you had them there to share it with you.

Start by putting down that phone and looking to see who is around you. Instead of couple-looking-at-phonestexting “WYD?” to someone that you can’t see; start a conversation with someone that you can see. It may be hard at first, actually talking to someone; but you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll probably find it to be a lot more rewarding than staring at a screen and waiting for a reply to your text.  Who knows, maybe that person that you are talking to may become your new BFF.

You can be happy with what you get in life, if you are first happy with those around you when you get it.

Hello. How are you today? Did you have a good weekend? OMG, we’re talking!

 


Stop faking it…get real

April 8, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog cones this bit of advice from Ice Cube – “I think, to me, reality is better than being fake.” 

At first I thought that the word “fake” might be a little too harsh when talking about people; but, then I considered that it really just means trying to be something that you aren’t. Who hasn’t tried that at some point on our lives? In my youth, we all tried to beJames Dean “cool”. In those ancient times, being cool was associated with the “beat generation” and role models in Hollywood included James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Being cool meant combing a duck-tail into your hair and wearing jeans and black leather. It was all just fake and we weren’t really cool; but, most of us tried anyway.

Today’s society in America is much less homogeneous than it was back then (and that’s a good thing), so the roles models that today’s kids are faking it to try to emulate are all over the place. Each generation adopts its own set of role models and goes through its own phase of faking it. It’s part of the journey through childhood. Eventually, almost everyone accepts the reality of who they are and makes the best of it.

It is a key to happiness in life that you stop faking it and accept and get comfortable with who you are – that you “get real” as Dr. Phil would say. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can love others – see this post on starting your day off right.  A part of getting right with yourself is getting right with God. You can’t really fake it when talking with God. You know that He knows. So, instead of asking God to “let me woman-prayingbe like him (or her), ask instead that God help you accept yourself as you are and for His help to make the best of that – “help me be the best me that I can be”. That is the premise of the self-help advice in the 1967 book, “I’m OK, You’re OK”, by Thomas Harris. The gist of that book and the training that was built upon it is understanding and accepting where you are coming from and being comfortable with that when you interact with others.

So, instead of being fake today; be yourself and be OK with that. Accept yourself first and you will find that others accept you, too. Rather than waste your time and energy on trying to be something or someone that you aren’t; put that energy into being the bestthis-is-me you that you can be. You will be pleasantly surprised how many other people like that you, too.

Have a great and real day and week ahead.


What do you see in your mirror?

March 22, 2019

Today’s entry in the Jack’s Winning Words blog has this quote – “Smile in the mirror.  Do that every morning, and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.”  (Yoko Ono)

funny face 2Readers of this blog will recall that I’ve posted here more than once about making a funny face in the mirror in the morning to get your day started off right. In this morning’s paper these was a review of the new scary movie “Us” (click here to watch trailer), in which mirrors play a frightening role.

The point of looking in the mirror and smiling or making a funny face is to be more aware of what people see when they look at you during the day. Most of us go through most of our awake lives without any idea what we look like. When we aren’t making asad looking man conscious effort to smile or “at rest” face is what the world sees. It’s not that we are trying to look unfriendly or angry or sad. In fact, we aren’t making any effort to look any particular way. It’s just that, when our facial muscles completely relax, our faces tend to droop into looks that can easily be mistaken for any of those feelings. Have you ever had someone ask you , out of the blue, why you are frowning or what you are mad/sad about? It’s your at rest face giving you a bum rap.

It’s possible to see what you look like by looking in the mirror and relaxing; but most of us would probably still consciously put on some kind of “face” in the mirror.  A better way to see what you normally look like is to have someone take a picture of you when you are not aware of it. You will probably look at those pictures and ask, “I don’t really look like that do I?” The answer is yes. Most of the time the average person’s “at rest” face looks bored, or sad or maybe even a little angry. They are usually not all that inviting and friendly. It takes an effort to smile and when we relax, we don’t make that effort.

What are we to do so that we don’t turn off the world with our at rest face? Well, you can smiling dogstart with today’s advice and conscientiously make the effort to smile in your mirror in the morning. Make that funny face to help you get in the mood. Then fix that feeling of the smile that you are wearing in your mind and try to be aware of your face as the day progresses. You won’t be able to maintain that thought all day, no one can; however, it will pop back into your mind during the day and you can bring the smile back to your face.

An interesting thing happens when people encounter you with a smile on your face, instead of the frown that your normal “at rest” face presents. Instead of avoiding you handshakebecause you look unhappy, they will engage you to find out what you are smiling about. You will look upbeat and people want to associate with upbeat people and not with the Debbie Downer’s of life. A smile presents a mystery to the world that they will want to share, while a frown just says, “you don’t want to know what’s bothering me”.

So, take Yoko’s advice (or mine) and start the day with a smile or a funny face in your mirror and see if your day doesn’t go better because of it.

this-is-meOh, look at her; I wonder what she is smiling about?


So just do it, now…

March 18, 2019

I save quotes from the Jack’s Winning Words blog because I think I’ll someday use them to inspire a post here. That was the case with today’s quote – “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”  (Chinese Proverb)

Every now and then something that we meant to do just gets left behind and forgotten. We get busy with other things or other people and leave projects unfinished or let old friends drift away. I saw a recent episode of Chasing Classic Cars in which a man was selling a 1978 Datsun 280 Z that he had parked in his garage 40 years earlier. He had purchased the car and put about 2,000 miles on it during the summer months. He had some small problems with it, so he parked it in the fall with the intention of getting it out in the spring and make the needed repairs. Some 40 years later, the car still sat exactly where he had parked it and now he had decided that he was probably never going to get around to those repairs and it was time to sell.

Life is full of little stories like that, which usually use the words coulda, woulda, shoulda somewhere in the telling.

You have old friends that you used to be very close with, but life got in the way and now talking-2it’s been years since you’ve talked. You had a favorite bar or restaurant that you used to hang out in, but you started trying new things and it’s been a long time since you visited your old haunt. Maybe you promised your mom that you’d come visit her regularly in the retirement home, but with the kids school activities and other things putting demands upon you, you just didn’t get the time.

Maybe it’s not an old thing that has been forgotten but a dream that was never pursued. Perhaps you always meant to get back to school and finish up that degree, but family came along and there was always a reason to put it off. Maybe it was that sport that you hoped to take up or that hobby that you always wanted to pursue. Perhaps it was that person that you always wanted to meet or ask out, but were to shy to approach.

Whatever the unfinished things are that sit in the back of your mind and nag at you every now and then, the time is now. The tomorrows that you promised yourself youlife-choices would use to do those things eventually run out. Stop putting things off and just do them. Realize that it’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s that you aren’t using that time that you have to do the things that you want to do. You are letting the living of your life get in the way of the life that you’d like to be living. Take back control of your life and do the things that you’ve been putting off.

So, get that old dream out of your mental garage, dust it off and make it happen. Rekindle old relationships and fulfill old obligations. Do the things that you coulda, woulda and shoulda been doing.

It’s a great time to plant that tree today!


Who will run your day?

March 13, 2019

From an article on planning and time management that I recently read – “Either you run your day or your day runs you.”

The article wasn’t about trying to control things, which is good, because there is no way to be in control of the day; however, you can be in control of yourself…and that was the point the article made. It was about having the self-discipline to get up and spend some time thinking about your day and how you wish to spend it, rather than getting up, looking at your phone and immediately going into react mode. In fact the article phone with msgspecifically mentioned being disciplined enough not to look at your phone until you had created a prioritized list of the things that you want to get accomplished that day – call it a to-do list or a schedule or calendar.

When you eventually do look at the messages and news that have accumulated on your phone overnight, you will be able to slot any needed reaction to things you see there into the schedule that you have set for yourself. You may have to juggle the schedule a bit, but you still have an ordered and prioritized list of things that you want to accomplish. You are running your day, instead of the day running you.

Another piece of advice from the article was not to let “shiny things” distract you. Shiny things are those distractions that occur during the day that are attention grabbing and shiny thingscan cause you to wander seriously off course. For some it can be the little ding or musical notes or buzzing that indicates that a new email or message has arrived on your phone. Somehow, we have become trained to react in real time to the need of the phone for attention. Most of the time the attention-demanding message turns out to be spam or trash, but we have interrupted whatever we were doing to answer the demand of the phone for our attention. Other shiny things might be something passing by outside that catches our eye or someone entering the room. Whatever it is, if you let those things distract you from what you were doing the day is running you.

The key point in the article is constantly being aware of what you are doing and why. If you are aware of that, you will not let other things (distractions) take time away from the tasks at hand. You also need to be aware of those times when you have nothing on your tree slouthschedule and decide how you wish to spend your down time. A popular term in our vernacular today to describe such a time that has no plan is “I’m just hanging out”. A person who answers the question, “What are you doing?” with that phrase is letting the day run him/her. You are basically saying, “I have no idea what to do and have turned off my brain.” There are always things to do. Things that you have been wanting to do. Things that you’ve been putting off. Opportunities to spend time with family or friends. You are in control of that down time.

If you are in control of nothing else, you do control how you spend your time. Don’t just hang out, letting the day run you…grab the day and run it.

Oops, gotta go…my phone just buzzed. I must obey. Ooooooh, shiny thing.