Monday, May 23, 2011

Empathizing a little to much?

My husband has always worked in the sales industry for software companies. They are quota and quarterly driven. In other words, every quarter they have to sell a certain dollar amount of software. Mind you, this is not an industry for the weak-hearted.

Ten years ago, I used to get on the roller coaster ride with him. He’d come home and say, “We’re going to miss our number this quarter and it’s going to be a disaster.” So I would react to that with, “Oh My God! What are we going to do? How are we going to pay our bills and so on?” Then the last week of the quarter would come and he’d say, “You know what, this deal that I’ve been working on is actually going to come through and we are going to exceed our number for the quarter. Isn’t that great?” I don’t know, is it?

I’ve come a long way … or have I?

I’ve come a long way from those days of worry. I’ve studied the Law of Attraction and the power of being positive. I’ve realized that our thoughts are energy and what goes around will eventually come back around. I’ve trained myself to be positive and not let the ups and downs of someone else’s journey affect me.

So now I find myself wondering why I’ve regressed to that point of 10 years ago again. I have to say I’m not quite as bad as I was, but I have been finding myself empathizing a little too much again. I need a refresher course. I need to remind myself that we are all on a journey called life. We all have chosen the challenges and lessons we’d like to overcome and no one can take that on for someone else.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of challenges and I have to honestly say that I probably wouldn’t trade any of my experiences in for anyone else’s. Death is the only one that I have a hard time saying that I’m OK with, but the reality of it is that life has birth and death in it.

We all have choices in life

I have had to remind myself lately that we are the creators of our life. We have the choice to be happy or to sit in a corner and sulk. Experiences will come our way and it is up to us to allow them to bother us or not. I haven’t been as good about that lately. I have chosen to get sick to my stomach about a lot of things.

We are all intuitive beings and very open energetically to experiences around us. My teacher used to say that if you find yourself sad for no reason, turn on the news and maybe you’ve somehow tuned into some disaster or situation somewhere. I have found that to be true on numerous occasions.

I was reading the other day about Mark Kelly’s space mission. He talked about the beauty of the Earth when viewed from space and how it’s hard to believe all the suffering that happens on it. He also talked about everyone doing their part in taking care of the Earth. I thought about that statement for a while after I read it. The only thing we can do is our part. We can’t do anyone else’s work.

I am very passionate about recycling, but my husband is not. I find recyclable plastic bottles in the trash all the time. I dig them out and put them in the recycling bin. I am not with him all the time though. He will be in a hotel somewhere and throw out a plastic shampoo bottle in the trash. All I can do is my part.

Having compassion is very different than feeling sorry for someone

What I truly am talking about is empathizing to a point where I am robbing them of their experience. I never say the words, “Poor such and such.” I find that to be a very victimizing statement. I will always have compassion because naturally that is who I am. My mom always says, “Do your part and leave the rest to God.” I’ve always found that to be a comforting statement.

I recently donated to a maternity hospital in Somalia called Edna Adan University hospital. Apparently, that part of the world is among the highest in infant and maternal mortality rates. I felt awful reading about it, but at the same time I was grateful that this wonderful woman has dedicated her life to helping these mothers and children. I also was grateful to be able to contribute to their well-being in some small financial way. That’s a much better approach than feeling hopeless and bad about it. Obviously, I just have to remind myself of that attitude more. If you’d like to check out this hospital, the link is as follows:

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Obviously, I have to continue reading “The Art of Happiness!”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living"

I haven’t written a post in a while. I realized this morning that was a reflection of where I am right now. I am in a very introspective mode.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I felt very scattered. I can’t pinpoint the reason for that, I just was. I felt like I was getting too caught up in every little thing that was happening around me.

Things that normally I would blow off were all of a sudden turning into major stress points of my day. It’s great when I’m able to realize that and get back to center.

Going within …

I had to withdraw and go within. I find that to be the healthiest approach any time I felt as if I’m about to spiral emotionally. I meditate more and become a lot more cognizant of my interactions.

I have a library of over 100 books. I just love books. I can’t claim that I have read all of them and I am getting better about buying a book knowing I will read it at a much later time.

I was browsing my books the other day, when I came across, “The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living” by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. I started reading it and found that it was exactly what I needed. It’s amazing how things work out that way.

Going back in time

While reading it the other night, a paper fell out of it. It was from a day timer I had in the year 2000. On November 1, 2000 I had an appointment for a manicure at 11:30 am. That was pretty wild to see.

I started remembering my life in the year 2000. It was the year we got married, the year we moved to Colorado, the year we took tons of trips everywhere, the year I bought my first mountain bike, we didn’t have kids but we had two awesome dogs. It was fun to go back in time for a while. That exercise alone brought me happiness.

Words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama

What has stayed with me the most from reading this book so far, is the thought of compassion. The Dalai Lama implies that our whole existence is to achieve happiness and the method to do that is to have compassion for humanity.

If you have compassion, then the person who just cut you off while driving will not make you mad. If you have compassion, then you can pretty much deal with any situation that comes your way.

I’ve really thought about that concept these last couple of weeks. It’s a very settled way to be. He also says that we are inherently compassionate and happy. It’s the experiences that come our way and how we take them on, that allow negativity and sadness to become part of who we are.

He goes on to say that we need to realize what experiences make us happy and bring more of them into our life. We also have to face those experiences that don’t bring us joy and challenge them. It’s a different approach than not dealing with them at all. It’s a much healthier way to approach something.

More introspection to come

I am still in a very introspective mode. I find that when I’m there, the TV doesn’t come on at all, I hardly surf the internet and I talk much less. I feel that this book is ideal for where I am right now. As a matter of fact, the chapter I was reading last night started off with the idea of meditating when you feel things are getting a little chaotic.

The concept of chaos within your life is very personal. I find that my threshold is not as high as it used to be. I love the feeling of being balanced and find that as soon as I start leaving that center, I have an extreme need to get back to it.

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Back to reading,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Will it matter in a month?

We decided to get our hardwood floors refinished last week. I timed it to where my boys would be out of school being that I couldn’t use the kitchen for a week. I didn’t want to worry about making breakfast and packing lunches while they had school.

The daily routine

Our daily routine was breakfast out, an activity such as the Museum of Nature and Science, lunch out, yet another activity and finally came home late in the afternoon. Day one was fun and then having to be out of the house all day started to get on everyone’s nerves. After reprimanding my oldest son for some annoying thing he was doing, he answers, “Mom, give me a break. I’m only eight years old and I haven’t eaten a meal in my house for three days.” There really wasn’t much I could say to him after that. We were all ready to be back in our routine and in our comfort space.

We had to be out of the house one night so we ended up at the Westin in downtown Denver. It was fabulous. We had the greatest weather so the kids swam and I sat on a lounge chair reading my magazine. My friend sent us milk, cookies, cracker jacks and Voss water to our room. The boys thought it was better than Christmas. It was awesome.

Being out of the house was getting to me

Even after a fabulous hotel stay, I couldn’t wait to get back to the house the following morning. My husband had been out of town so I hadn’t seen him in a couple of days. I just wanted some normalcy again.

By Friday afternoon, the hardwood floor project was done. Then came the surprise of not being able to move the furniture back into that space for another week. I realized that I like things to be organized and Feng Shui happy. I couldn’t really take the couches being on top of each other much longer.

Really, in the big scheme of life, does it matter?

I had to stop myself from going any further with the internal chaos I was feeling. I decided to ask myself, “Will this matter in a year?” or “Will it matter next month?” The answer is no. This was a phase that was so temporary that there was no need to make it worse than it had to be. Everything comes to an end no matter how tiring it is. I just think being able to keep that perspective in mind while it’s going on is huge.

The entire process was four days of being out of the house and ten days of having furniture not in its place. Think about it, 14 days of my life and now that the furniture has been moved back to my perfect floors, I can look back and say it was worth it. I will keep this in mind for future experiences.

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Writing this in my beautifully redone family room!