Shifting Our Focus

“Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go.”

– Katherine Weber

I came across this quote today and it hit me like a slap in the face. I wasn’t searching for quotes; it was just there like it was meant for me to read. I really started to think about my life, my thoughts, and my attitude towards certain things. For the last number of years (too many years to put an exact number on), I have said to myself, “my life is a series of losses.” It is all I have been focusing on. My losses. My life has been one loss after another. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of money, or a number of other things; my life is a series of losses. However, I am not the only one who is alive on this planet. So many others feel the same way as I do. So many others have it worse off than I do. Our eyes are sometimes open only to our pain and closed to the pain other people go through. We get lost in our own pain all too often. We forget what matters. We give up. Once we start shifting our focus to others and helping others, our own lives improve as well. Not only do we make someone else feel better, but we feel better for helping someone else. I will slip and lose my focus from time to time, but before my life ends, I am hoping to help other people see things in a more positive light. After all, isn’t that what we were put on this planet for?

Advertisements

Find Your Inner Peace

John 14:27 (New American Bible) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

Have you ever experienced true, inner peace before? How do we as individuals have peace and harmony in our lives while the world is constantly at war? Every time I turn on the news and read the newspaper, there is conflict somewhere between two or more groups of people. That does not even count the conflict, grief, and pain I hear just by word of mouth throughout my own community. With so many of us suffering through grief, pain, and conflict, it is no wonder that very few of us, if any, have found true, inner peace.

Hearing about the civil war in Syria every time I turn on the news made me think about peace in our communities, or lack of peace in our communities. The world is full of violence and heartache and yet, I bet there is someone out there who at one time has experienced peace in their life. However, I am not sure how long that peace lasted for them. Maybe a loved one on their death bed has experienced peace at the end of his or her life. Maybe a person just finding God in their life, has experienced peace at that moment. Maybe parents experiencing the birth of their children, has gone through moments of peace. Unfortunately, as long as we are on this Earth, peace does not last in our life. We have to move on to the next phase of our life with God in Heaven, to experience lasting peace.

I was thinking about my own life today and wondering if I have ever experienced peace, even short lived. Sadly, outside of being in a complete state of rest or sleeping, I have not experienced peace. I am the type of person who is always worrying about something, even if that worry is small and unimportant. I am always thinking back on my past to see how I could have handled things better. I am always looking ahead and thinking what might happen next. Living in the moment is something I have never been able to do. It is no wonder that all that worrying over so many years is doing a toll on my body, mind, and spirit. I started thinking of ways for myself to find peace in my life. No, it won’t last, but it will be a good change of pace to what I have been going through in my life. One thing I started to do a couple months ago is go to church on a regular basis. Now I have been a member of my current church for two years, but like so many people, I would only go on holidays or sadly when a loved one passes away. When I was a kid, church was long and boring. I would even fall asleep as times when I was younger! Now that I am older, I figured I should give it a try once again. Wouldn’t you know I actually enjoyed it! It brings me one hour of peace every week. The second thing I started to do was read the Bible. I bought a new Catholic Bible, a highlighter, and even new pens. I am reading the Bible from cover to cover and marking up the Bible when I feel it is appropriate. This brings me a few moments of peace in my life every day. Is it a coincidence that the two things I started to do to bring me peace has to do with God? I think not.

You don’t have to follow my examples of peace by going to church and reading the Bible. This is not what this blog post is about. I ask you in this world of turmoil, to find a few ways to bring yourself some peace. If you don’t find ways to bring yourself moments of peace here and there, you will struggle each day. Pain, heartache, and grief will be a common thing in your life. It is difficult to avoid being afraid and troubled because everyone experiences that at some point in their life. Taking a few moments each day to not only rest and relax, but to truly experience a few moments of peace and harmony is essential to our daily lives.

“Always realize…

Quote

“Always realize whatever causes you grief or pain makes up the person you are. You make a choice to have a good life or a bad life.”
– April Pinkard

A story on the news caught my eye back in 2008 so much so that I wrote the lady’s name down who the story was about. She said something that has stuck with me since I listened to her story. Her name, April Pinkard. At the time she was 31 years old and went to the doctor’s and her doctor could not find her heartbeat. Can you imagine being at the doctor’s office and your heartbeat can not be found? I would panic. She had such a positive attitude that I had to write down part of what she said when I was listening to her story. She has a rare condition where her heart moved to the other side of her chest. That would be a scarey situation for anyone. I think I would be afraid to do anything with my life if I had this rare condition, but not her. I wonder how she is doing today.

There are some things in our life that we have no control over. Some things will happen, good and bad, that you won’t be able to stop. We have no control over mother nature. We have no control over other people. We have no control over certain situations. Life is going to happen. Why spend the rest of our lives worrying over what will happen tomorrow? Enjoy the moment you are in. Worrying about the next move of others when you have no control of them is pointless. Worrying over certain situations that might happen or could happen is pointless. When we do this, we cause ourselves more pain than really necessary. Let life play out without worrying and wondering what can happen next. If you find yourself in a painful situation, accept what has happened, change what you can, and let the rest go.

Moving On After the Hurt & Pain

If I take a poll of how many of you have been hurt before whether it is physically, emotionally, or mentally, I bet everyone’s hand would go up. How sad of world we live in that everyone has experienced pain in some way. In a lot of people’s lives, we experience hurt over and over. We have all been involved on both sides of the coin. We have all hurt someone before and we have all been hurt by someone or something. It doesn’t matter what side of that coin we are involved in, we always feel like crap. In either case, we are unsure what to do next or what to say next. If we hurt someone, we want to make it right and apologize, or we should feel that way! If someone has hurt us, it is difficult to listen, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to forgive them and to move on. One of the hardest things in life is moving on after a hurt or after some sort of pain has been done to you. However, moving on is what you must do not only for your sake, but for the someone or something that hurt you.

Life can be good; is good at times. Life can be fun; is fun at times. Life is full of joyous events and memories. Look back on your life and think back to all the joyous memories. Sure there are a lot of them. Do you remember what you learned from those joyous events? I bet you can pick out a couple things you learned from those happy events. Now look back on the not so good moments. Look back on the moments where you have had to go through pain, hurt, anger, grief, & distrust. From the moment we are kids, we experience hurtful situations. It is all part of life and growing up. We don’t get our way, so we cry and make a fuss. As we grow older, the hurtful situations become more painful, but we learn more from them. Once again, do you remember what you learned from those not so joyous events? I bet you learn more from the sad times than you do the happy times. We grow more as a person going through pain than we do going through happy times.

Moving on after the pain is hard. You may not want to at first. That is understandable and normal. You want to stay locked in your anger and grief forever. You may not be able to handle moving on at first and that is normal too. However, the most important thing you can do for yourself and for the person or situation that hurt you, is to move on. Don’t let that person or situation drag you down. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Show them that you are the better person. Show them you can overcome their hurt and their stupid actions. Don’t hang on to the pain. Grow from it, learn from it, and make your life better because of it. Take something away from the situation and do something positive out of it. Help someone else in that same situation. Volunteer your time. Write for your self only or write something for others to see. Change careers. Exercise more. Make yourself healthier. Do whatever you can think of to improve your life from that situation and move on. Last, but not least, forgive the person or people that hurt you. It will take a long time. It will be a long road back to “normalcy”, but the journey will be worth it. Forgiving someone else shows them are you the better person.

Going through hurt and pain, makes the happier occasions special. Going through grief makes you appreciate the happier moments more. Life is hard. Life really sucks at times, but the journey is worth it. We learn from the situations, good and bad, that we are in. Those situations make us a better person. Life is not all about hurt and grief. There are many happy moments to take pride in. Move on from the hurt and pain. Don’t let the hurtful memories overcome you so much where you forget all the good times.

Life Goes On

If its one lesson I have learned over and over, it is this one: Life goes on. No matter what happens to you or someone else, the world keeps moving. I learned this lesson early on and for some reason life keeps throwing it at me. We all have our issues and our problems to work through. No one goes through life unscathed. Some seem to have an easier life than others. They may have a few issues to deal with, but they seem to have less hurdles to jump over. Than their are others who at every turn have an obstacle to work around. Why is that? Why are some lives easier than others? Why do some people have lessons thrown at them and problems to deal with one right after another while others seem to breeze right through life? I wish I had that answer.

I think some people are stronger than others. I think some can handle having problems thrown at them at a faster speed than others. God made all of us different and he made some of us with stronger souls than others. There is a reason we go through what we go through. There is a bigger plan for us. There is a reason for it all. Although we don’t fully understand why some have an easier life than others and why we go through the things we do, I do believe whatever is thrown at me, I can get through and overcome. I have that confidence in myself.

We are all at a different point in our life’s journey. Even though we have company along the way, we have to walk the road alone. No one can walk our journey for us. We have to complete it ourselves.

So how do you keep going after once again being thrown in a hole and forced to get yourself out of it? Just like you did the first time. You move on one day at a time. You let yourself go through the emotions of hurt, anger, pain, grief, and once that is done, you pick yourself back up, and climb a little at a time until your feet are on solid ground again. It is possible to do over and over. I am living proof of that. It may take a while, but it can be done.

  I read something online that fits just about every obstacle life can deal to you. I don’t know who said it or who wrote it, but it sure does fit. “Allow yourself to hope to believe and to trust again. Don’t let a few bad memories stop you from having a good life now.” Remember not to wallow in pity for too long or you will be stuck. You won’t be able to move on. There is a point in all situations where it is time to find a way out of that hole you were thrown in and get yourself out of it. At some point, you need to continue with life and move on. Remember,  life does not stop for anyone or anything. Life goes on!

A Brighter Side

No matter what, things could be worse. How many times have I said that to myself? How many more times will it take for me to actually believe it? We all have bad days where our alarm clock does not go off or we sleep through it. We are late for work or appointments because of it. We get stuck in traffic and upset at whatever is causing the delay. Everything goes wrong at work or your day is not going to plan. At night all you want to do is relax. However, your kids need your attention, the phone keeps ringing, endless house chores, and whatever else is calling your name.

Have you ever thought sleeping through your alarm clock prevented you from getting into an accident? Have you ever thought that accident on the highway could have been you or someone you loved? The construction delay could be a sign to slow down, breath, & refocus your thoughts to something positive. Your day not going to plan is actually going to plan and is trying to teach you something or show you something. At night your kids need your attention. Have you thought about what it is like for people who don’t have kids & want kids? They would give anything & I mean anything, to be in your shoes watching their own kids grow up. The phone ringing off the hook could be forever silent. Do you know what it’s like for people who don’t have friends or family? The endless house chores. Have you thought about what it is like for homeless people living on the streets. They would love to have a house and have the problem of endless house chores.

So you see, there is always either a positive side, a better way to look at things, or something to learn from each situation you are in. Yes, I do realize there are some pretty horrible things in this world. I do realize that all too well. I do realize everyone goes through hard times, grief, & loss. All I am saying is there is a reason certain things happen & in most situations when you catch yourself grumbling about this or that, slow down, breath, and think about what your situation is trying to teach you or tell you.