Posts Tagged ‘affirmations’

I Took the Road Less Traveled…Now Where the Heck am I?

November 3, 2015

                                                          country road

I was raised to take the safe path. Although I certainly wasn’t stifled in any way or discouraged from trying new things, I was taught to act rather conservatively when it came to trying new things or taking chances. There is nothing wrong with that, and most parents probably try to protect their children with the “better be safe than sorry” theory.

I heeded that advice for a while, even into adulthood and then I began to wonder what would happen if I stepped out of the box, climbed up onto the box for a better vantage point and looked to see what other roads were available to me.  I did just that and guess what? I saw lots of great opportunities and took advantage of some of them. And guess what else? At times, I fell off of the box and flat onto my face!  Things haven’t always gone the way I planned and I often find myself wondering where I’d be if I had taken the well-traveled and proven road. But, the bigger picture is that I usually end up counting the failures as successes because at least I dared to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

But what happens when you take a new path and you end up lost or somewhere you don’t want to be? As I see it, you can become fearful, hit the panic button and stand screaming in the middle of the road; or you can use your wits and creativity to find your bearings, try another road and enjoy the journey!

It’s scary to make plans and have them go wacky! It can be disheartening when you think you’re on the right path and then a troll jumps out and scares you! There are roadblocks and detours and there will always be those who say, “I told you so” when you try something new and it doesn’t work. There might even be times when you wish you were back in your familiar territory because at least you would know where you were and it would be less lonely.

Every one of us has to make that decision for ourselves, but the older I get (and in dog years, I’m dead), the more convinced I am that when I am a little uncomfortable about a new path, but still willing to venture out; I know that I’m still alive!

Linda Henley-Smith is still traveling on unfamiliar roads and is still alive to talk about it! Check out her website at www.lindahenley-smith.com

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Laugh Or Go Insane!

August 27, 2015

The above title is from a quote by Robert Frost; the entire quote is “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” I’ve always been a huge believer in the healing power of humor, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot more about its importance in a world that seems to be full of anger.

You may think that in times of conflict and crisis, there is no place for levity. If that’s what you think, you may want to think again! Laughter is one of the greatest tools we have in battling disappointment, discouragement and fear. Mark Twain said, “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

Let’s take a look at the nature of laughter…what it really is and how it affects our bodies and minds. Gelotology is actually the science of the effects of laughter on the body. The word comes from the Greek gelos, meaning ….you guessed it….laughter. When you laugh, you are setting off a chain of healthy reactions inside of you. Endorphins are released, oxygen intake increases, blood pressure goes down, and you just feel better!  It’s no wonder, because MRI scans show that when we laugh, multiple areas of our brains light up. Medical science recognizes that laughter is good for the body and the spirit.

There is a fine line between laughter and pain and sometimes it seems that we laugh at seemingly inappropriate times. Laughter is the ultimate coping mechanism. It allows us to break through the tension and look at things with a different perspective. Many of the most famous comedy teams came together during the WWII and the Great Depression. People need a break from stress and crisis, and laughter provides that much needed respite. When the tension mounts, there has to be a release valve or we’ll blow up! You’ve probably heard the expression, “I laughed until I cried.” Or perhaps you’ve heard it the other way around. The emotional cycle can be like a snake eating its own tail. You laugh until you cry and you cry until you laugh…they are both essential for emotional survival and stability.

Laughter can be a valuable tool in recovering from an emotional shock or trauma. We sometimes have difficulty breaking out of the cycle of negativity and we become emotionally paralyzed. If we keep some humor in our lives, it can help us facilitate our healing and regain the joy of living.

It may seem irreverent and disrespectful to think about laughing when the world is in such a state of chaos. But just the opposite is true! Negativity breeds negativity and positivity is contagious. We can’t help a bad situation by dwelling on its hopelessness, but we can do a lot of good for ourselves and other people, if we refuse to honor the bad stuff! We can switch mental channels and look for ways to turn negatives into positives.

But how do we find joy in times of intense stress? Don’t let finding ways to add levity to your life stress you out even more! Just try to take yourself less seriously. Go back to your childhood and find the elf in yoursELF. Buy yourself a coloring book and crayons, blow some bubbles, get some Play-dough, decorate your work environment with things that remind you of happy times and make you laugh. Rent a comedy movie. I have a fun file in which I keep cartoons, funny pictures and other things that can break my negative mood. It really doesn’t take much, if you really want to do it! Don’t be afraid of appearing childish and frivolous; clearing your mind of negative thoughts allows more room in there for possibilities! Oh…and if you really can’t find anything about which you can laugh, contact me and I’ll send you a picture of myself in a swimsuit. That will do it!

Laughter doesn’t make everything better for us, but it sure makes us better for everything. It has been said that laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. Don’t let the woes of the world keep your soul off of the dance floor!

All the Sounds of the Earth Are Like Music

June 24, 2015

The opening song in the Broadway musical, Oklahoma, tells of the beginning of a day that promises to be beautiful. One of my favorite lines is “All the sounds of the earth are like music.” It reminds me that if we focus on listening to the positive things around us, the sounds can be glorious!

I am not discounting the horrible events that are happening in the world nor am I suggesting that we ignore them. But if we focus only on the hurt and anger, and don’t consider the positive aspects of life, we will start to see the world through bleak and hopeless lenses. Negativity breeds negativity. A kind, loving and hopeful attitude can help us to break that cycle.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, frightened or angry, I have found that if I stop for a moment, move away from sound pollution (noise), take deep breaths, close my eyes and just listen…something magical happens. It as if my sense of hearing is heightened. Everyday sounds of the world around me become music. Sounds odd…I know. But you see, every sound that we hear has a tone. The law of music is working throughout the whole universe. A bird chirping, lawn sprinklers turning, the squeal of a child playing, even the wind blowing through branches…all become a symphony when we listen with a different ear. They are the soothing sounds of normalcy…the sounds of life.

People have been acknowledging this for years and years. You may have heard the phrase “Music of the Spheres.” Pythagorus was the first to theorize that the whirling planets produced tones. Today, musical terms appear frequently in astronomer’s descriptions of space. We may not be able to perceive all of these sounds with our ears, but the music is deep within us, and it is exquisite if we will just be still and listen. And we hear with more than our ears; we perceive the world with all of our senses. As Einstein wrote, “We all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”

The wholeness of the universe is so much greater than what we see on the news. While we can’t turn a blind eye to what’s going on, we will be much more able to make a difference and contribute in a productive way if we take time to listen to the sounds that are good and life-affirming. When we do that, we can reenergize and refocus our thoughts and look at the world with fresh eyes and a new attitude.

It has been said that music soothes the savage breast, and to paraphrase Johann Sebastian Bach, the purpose of music should be to refresh the soul. How wonderful that it is all around us!

“But”-Kickin’ Affirmations

September 19, 2013

We all have a supply of excuses that we can pull out to explain why we hang onto things that are no longer serving us well. I call these big “buts” because they find their way into our conversations which sound something like this, “I would take more time out to have a balanced life, BUT….” or “I’d be less stressed, BUT…..” or even, “I’d try (fill in the blank) because I’ve always wanted to, BUT….”

So, I put before you, some “But”-Kickin’ affirmations, which might remind you of your priorities. Pick the ones that apply to you and post them in a place where you can see them on a daily basis. Then, use and apply them!

I will evaluate troublesome situations in my life and set boundaries.

I will change one thing which is making me feel stressed, unappreciated or crabby!

I will stop making excuses for not trying new things.

I will hang up my super-hero cape and resign as “Fixer of All Things in the Universe!”

Knowing that there are only so may hours in the day, I will decide what responsibilities can be delayed, delegated or dumped!

I DO deserve to enjoy life and will make no apologies for it!

I cannot change anyone else (unless they’re in diapers) but I CAN change my attitude.

When the elastic of my life is stretched to the max, I will take time to find balance in mind, body and spirit.

I will not measure my appearance, success or life against anyone else’s, nor will I live my life to please others. Instead, I will strive for self-improvement.

I would rather climb the mountain and slide down, than to sit at the base of the mountain looking up and wondering what it would feel like to be at the top.

I know that laughter won’t make everything better, but it will make me better for everything. Therefore, I will laugh at least two times per hour. If I can’t think of anything funny, I will fake it ’til I make it! I will continue to connect with the elf in mysELF!

BITE Through the Chains That Bind You

July 29, 2013

It is a sad truth that many people just don’t like themselves. This is a sad state of affairs because you really can’t get away from yourself. Imagine spending time in a room with someone that you really just can’t stand…at least you can eventually leave the room to get away from that person, but you can’t get away from yourself because wherever you go….there you are!
I recently realized this while talking to someone who seemed quite negative about everything and everybody. It finally occurred to me that this person was disagreeable and critical of other people because she didn’t really like herself very much! Many of us are bound up in these chains of low self-esteem and self-loathing; and those feelings of disappointment in ourselves affect the way we look at other people. We can become judgmental and snarky. When we are chained by negativity and feelings of inferiority, we can’t be free to reach our potential or even have any fun! Chains bind us and keep us in darkness.
Unfortunately, we tend to judge ourselves a tad too harshly at times. We compare ourselves to other people when there is no need for that, because we all have our own special talents, opinions and personalities. So what if you don’t look like a model or sing like a rock star or have as much money as someone else? You have gifts that others probably admire or even wish they had, so focus on being the best YOU that you can be because nobody else can be you the way you can.
Believe in your value and don’t worry about fitting into anyone else’s mold. I offer these suggestions to help your BITE through the chains that are binding you and are preventing you from loving yourself and loving your life:
• Believe in yourself, your uniqueness and your value. Be glad you aren’t a carbon copy of everyone else.
• Invest in yourself. Take time to develop and use your own special gifts. You can’t give away what you don’t have, so put yourself on your “To Do” list. Relax, rejuvenate and rejoice!
• Thank your Maker for your life! Develop it, nurture it and enjoy it!
• Encourage others….and yourself! Rather than to compare yourself to others or envy their good fortune, be supportive of their endeavors and know that someone else’s success doesn’t diminish your own. Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend and encourage yourself to be thankful, proud and joyful about being who you are!