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?

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Childhood Days

 

It’s 8am and I hear singing off in the distance. I just finished my shower and getting dressed and this faint singing is not coming from my house! I look outside to find my little neighbor girl on her swing set singing. She just finished the third grade and she is starting her summer break. How many almost fourth graders are outside playing and singing on their first days of summer break at 8am? This brought not only a smile to my face, but a thought into my head. How nice would it be to go back to those days? To go back to those care-free, no worry days and just be happy!

My first memories started forming in kindergarten. I can’t remember much before my first days of kindergarten. I remember my elementary school days being the happiest. My only responsibility was to get up, go to school, and come home to do any homework I had. Other than that, I was a kid with little responsibility and very little worries. All I had to do was be a kid!

Then junior high starts and this is where it all begins. Cliques start to form, peer pressure starts, and attitudes begin to take shape. The care-free life I once knew was gone and I was still only a kid. How fast those worry free days go. Those days slipped between my fingers and disappeared even before I knew they were there.

High school starts and ends. Before I know it, I’m off to college. It wasn’t until I was in college until I began to think back to my childhood days and miss them. Responsibilities grow and I am not a child anymore, but an adult. As much as I wanted to at times, it was difficult be in the childhood mindset as I grew older. Things change. We change. The world changes. My future begins to form and my life takes shape. With that comes duties, worries, and things to do. I start to wonder where my childhood went.

Fast forward life to many years down the road to this morning when I heard my little neighbor girl sing and play outside so early in the morning. It brings back good memories of my childhood, but also makes me wonder why I can’t have that back. I believe we all can take a lesson from a child and have our childhood back, if only for a little while. As adults, we need to let go from time time, stop taking life too seriously, have some fun and play more. Forget about responsibilities and worries. Learn to go back to those childhood days. Don’t let your children grow up too fast. My two nephews and one niece are growing like weeds and not only does that mean I am getting old, but their childhood days will be gone before they even know they had them!

Life Is About Balance

 

When one walks on a tight rope, balance is the key. When someone stands on one foot, balance is the key. Life is all about balance. Too much of anything is not good for you. Too much of anything will over whelm a person. Too many sweets gets a person sick. Too much work makes a person dull and stressed. Too much play can have a negative effect on a person. Even too much water is not good for you! Your life and even your day is about balance.

Creating balance in one’s life can be difficult. It’s easy to get wrapped up in life and forget why we are all here in the first place. It’s easy to get so down on life where all you think about is yourself. It’s also easy to be so high on life where all you think about is yourself. It all comes down to balance.

Think of the man or woman who works 60 plus hours a week. They may or may not enjoy the work, but either way it’s stressful. There is no balance.

What about the man or woman who stays home with the kids. There is no break. It’s all about the kids, tending to their needs, driving them here and there. Yes the parent loves their kids and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but where is the balance? How do they relax? It’s all about balance.

Think of the anorexic who does not eat, but exercises too much. Or the opposite habits in some people. There is no balance to this kind of life either.

Think of the depressed person who can’t leave the house on some days or get anything done on some days. There is a soul in that person waiting to be set free and soar. Too much depression in one’s life, and quite frankly, the opposite of that, is not good. It all comes down to balance.

There is time to hold on and a time to let go. There is a time for work and a time for play. There is a time for family & friends and a time for yourself. There is a time to splurge and a time to hold back. There will be down times in a person’s life and high moments in a person’s life. It is so simply really, but difficult at the same time to keep balance in one’s life. The key to life, if you can find it, is balance.

Everything Changes

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Found on sayingimages.com

 

The sun rises. The sun sets. We get up. We go to sleep. Day in and day out we do what we need to do. We tend to our jobs, raise our children, go to school, and help out in the community. Seems pretty routine. Our days sometimes blend into others and it feels like we are doing the same thing over and over. We get bored. We need a change; something different. What many of us don’t realize is this is a gift. Routine can be a gift at times. We need to cherish these days. We need to hold onto these days because eventually, everything changes.

There will be a day when something or everything changes. A loved one will pass away, a child off to college, a child getting married, a move to a different city, a different job, the loss of a pet, a divorce, a new love, etc… There will be a day when then “day in, day out” routine will be something that is wished back. Cherish each new day whether it is a “routine” day or not. Each day is a gift for all of us. Make the most of it!

I Believe

I believe in God.

I believe in Heaven & Hell.

I believe our souls live on after we die.

I believe there are more than just angels watching over me.

I believe in second chances, but I also believe in starting over.

I believe love is stronger than hate.

I believe there are more good people than bad people.

I believe family and friends are most important.

I believe in helping others.

I believe, deep down, that everything will be okay even though I worry too much.

I believe in doing whatever makes you happy unless it hurts yourself or someone else.

I believe our pets are on this Earth to help us more than we are here to help them.

I believe we are all connected in some way.

I believe we are never alone.

I believe no one besides God is perfect and no one ever will be.

I believe money does not buy happiness.

I believe we are put on this Earth for a reason.

I believe everything happens for a reason.

I believe we will never learn some of those reasons until we go home to God.

I believe in good over evil.

What do you believe in?

 

Six Ways To A More Meaningful Life

“It was not the feeling of completeness I so needed, but the feeling of not being empty.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

My walk Sept 11 2013 015Do you ever wake up to start your day and feel like pulling the covers back over your head so you can go back to sleep? This is common from time to time, but feeling this way a lot is not an easy life to live. The feeling of emptiness that humans have is not an easy pattern to break, but it is possible. All humans need a sense of purpose or meaning to get out of bed each day. Some have more trouble with this. Others it comes easy. Whether you are one to climb out of bed most day with a purpose or not so much, read on to find ways to stop the empty feeling inside and bring more meaning to your life.

1. Change things up in your daily or weekly routine. Some routines are hard to change. For example, taking care of your kids/family, work, school, and appointments are just a few examples of everyday tasks that are difficult to change. However, volunteering, joining a club, and finding a new hobby, are a few examples of doing something different. Meeting new people and doing new things introduces a new purpose in your life.

2. Take control of your life. Are you doing things that you want to do or are you doing things because your family or society says you have to? Are you studying what you want in college or are you studying what your parents want you to or what your friends are studying? Do you have the job you want or do you have a job because society says you should have this job? Are you doing things that you truly want to do or are you doing things that just looks good to other people? Take a break, a breath, and determine what it is you want to do with your life, not what anyone else wants you to do.

3. Stay away from the habits that make you feel empty. This seems obvious, but it is easy to hang around with the wrong crowd, drink & eat too much, watch too much TV, play too many video games, etc… These harmful habits play a role in why people have these empty feelings. Have a healthy lifestyle and that will in turn, make you feel better.

4. Spend time with people who truly support you and want what is best for you. This may be family, friends, church friends, or co-workers. Stay away from people who do not have your best interest at heart.

5. Consider adopting a pet. If you have the time and money, pets are a wonderful way to bring a smile to your day. They know how to bring purpose to your everyday life.

6. Seek help. Whether it is a trusted family member, friend or a therapist, find someone to talk to. Talking to someone you trust and keeping a journal, can help you feel better and find purpose and meaning to your everyday life.

These few steps can help build your life back to a feeling of fullness. Adding these positive changes to you life, plus some of your own, will contribute a well balanced life.

Look and Learn From Each Other

There comes a time in everyone’s life when it really hits them that not only is there someone else out there going through something worse, but there is someone else going through a situation in which no one wants to trade places with, regardless of how much or little drama is involved. It opens up their eyes and helps them realize everyone has something to deal with. Everybody has their own set of issues. Some problems are more serious than others, but it does not mean they are any more or less important. Everyone has a cross to bear. There are people who are struggling to survive. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. There are other people just going through the emotions of life and not really experiencing life to the fullest. They are either too busy, going through life too fast, or not paying attention. There are few people who live life to the fullest no matter what is thrown at them. Every single person has high points and low points of their life. It is not necessarily the actual high points or low points of a person’s life that matters, but how a person deals with those high and low points. Do they grow and learn from those high and low points or do they act out and ignore the potential lessons that come from those things in life? Every single person has done both. This is how people grow and learn.

Picture the homeless man living in a box on a dangerous corner downtown. He lost his job and not able to pay his bills. He was forced out of his home. Now people pass by him, judge him, and look at him with contempt.

Picture the loving wife and mother addicted to alcohol. She hides bottles in the attics, closets, and under a loose floorboard. She easily explains away lost money. She tries to quit over and over, but keeps relapsing.

Picture a troubled teenager. She comes from a loving, close family. Somehow she starts hanging around with the wrong crowd. She doesn’t do her homework and discovered drugs and alcohol. She is out of control, angry, and unhappy. Her parents are doing everything in their power to try and help her, but she refuses any kind of help.

Picture a healthy, elderly man living alone. His wife passed away recently. He is lonely. He pushed his friends away. He doesn’t want help from his kids. He is depressed and tired all the time. He has little interest in anything. He doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t want any outside help.

Are any one of these situations more important than the other? No. How many people would want to be in any of these situations? No one. Life happens. There are some situations in which people have no choice in how certain matters turn out. People have control over some things, but then there are other things in which they don’t. People need to judge less and leave the judging to God. People need to realize they are not the only ones hurting in this world. We all are. We are all dealing with something. Learn from each other. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and picture what they are going through. Look at what they are dealing with. Everyone is in this world to help each other. What matters to everyone in the four scenarios described above is that they are not alone. They want to know someone cares for them. They want to know that when they are ready to change their life and turn it around for the better, not only is not too late, but at least one person will be there to help them. Look around. What can we as a society and individuals do to help someone today? When people help others, they not only help improve someones life, but they improve their own as well.