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?

My Own Little World

 

There is a place, a couple places actually, where I go to forget about all of my worries and all of the world’s troubles. As soon as I am there, my troubles melt away. I don’t think about what worries my mind nor do I think about what is going on in the news. For a short time, the outside world no longer matters. It’s almost like I am in my own little world with the doors shut to the outside. Nothing else can make it’s way inside and until I open those doors to leave, nothing can make it’s way outside. While I am there, I am in a state of bliss, happiness, and peace. There are unseen, loving arms around this place letting me know everything will be okay.

Being the type of person that worries all the time and contemplates every possible outcome, a place or two like this, is what I need. It releases the tension inside me. For a while, I am able to let go of all the stress on my shoulders or all the stress that I think is on my shoulders! I would describe these places like being in Heaven, but since I have not been to Heaven, yet, I will say it is like being on vacation. There are no worries, troubles, or stress. Only happiness, peace, love, and a state of relaxation exists. When I leave this place, there is a longing to go back. It is almost like a piece of my life is missing until I return. Once back at this place, life makes sense again. I feel like I have all the answers and nothing can pull me down.

Everyone needs a place or two like this. When the outside world consumes us, we all need a place to kick our feet up and let go. If I am not able to physically be at these places, I go there in my mind, if only for a little while. I urge us all to find a place or two that makes us feel that nothing else matters. It could be when you are with your loved one(s) you feel this way, at a beautiful park, looking at a sunrise or sunset, a place you volunteer at, or maybe it is going for a walk or a drive. Whatever & wherever it is, go there often. If you don’t have a place like this, I urge you to find one. Doing so will only help you, not hurt you.

 

 

How to Think More Positively

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

How many people tell us to think positively? It’s good for you everyone says. Or are some of you the one’s telling others to think more positively or look on the bright side? We all go through tough times and times where we want to quit whatever is getting us down. it’s too much work, it’s too hard, it’s not worth it. It doesn’t matter what our excuse is, sometimes we just want to give up. There are a few circumstances where giving in may be worth it. However, most times we need to keep on going.

For me personally, I have always thought negativity rather than positively. Could be because of my personality, life circumstances, the way I grew up, or none of those things. Most people around me know I want to get into freelance writing. The more I look into it, study it, and read about it, the more I want to keep going. I find it fits my skills, my personality, and my wants and needs in a job. It is also easy to get stressed out over. It is hard work and won’t come easy. Yesterday was one of those days where I thought for a second to give in and do something else. Only for a second though! I asked myself, what else would I do? What else interests me? After coming up with a few things, this interests me the most. I am at the point where I am doing a lot of reading concerning freelance writing. Not only is it interesting to me, but stressful as well.

I came across the quote I used at the start of this blog this morning. It started me on a path of positive thinking. I have always enjoyed learning about Abraham Lincoln. I enjoy watching movies & TV shows concerning him. I enjoy reading about him. I have read many interesting and positive quotes said by him. It made me think of how many people tell others to look on the bright side of things, but do not follow it themselves. I don’t think Abraham Lincoln was one of those people. I have been trying to learn from that and increase my positive thinking. It increases one’s mood, decreases stress and has health benefits. Positive thinking doesn’t always come easy, but it’s worth a try!

I thought of a list of things to help myself think more positively. I hope they help others needing it, not just myself.

1. Just do it! Don’t think anything differently. Just think positively.

2. Ignore what others think of you.

3. Use positive words & thoughts such as, “I can” and “I am able.”

4. Smile and laugh more.

5. Get rid of negative thoughts.

6. Think about a successful outcome.

7. Read positive books and affirmations.

8. Exercise.

9. Sit up straight. It will improve self confidence.

10. Don’t watch the news too much.

I hope that these few tips draw out the negative talk and draw in the positive talk for my readers. It is difficult at times to always look on the bright side of things. We are not always able to do that. When we find ourselves feeling negative energy around us, look at these few tips I listed and think positively!

When One Door Closes, Another Opens

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.  – Helen Keller

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. How many of us have said that to ourselves at some point in our lives? All of us, I assume. Growing up I had this vision of a perfect, happy, no problem life. Well, no major problems. I pictured myself doing well in school, doing well in college, getting a job I could be happy with, getting married & having it be easy, having kids, no major problems, the white picket fence outside the house, and of course owning a cat or two or as it turned out, three. How many of our visions actually turn out perfectly? How many of them turn out exactly liked we planned and hoped?

I have learned that I am not alone when it comes to visions and plans not working out. Life happens. Life intervenes. I did go to school and college and enjoyed it, but did not do well. I wasn’t the smart kid. I could have been if I applied myself. I have had jobs, but nothing I was extremely happy at. Does that job exist? Some say yes. I could have had that job if I applied myself. I did get married, but of course, it is not perfect. What marriage is? We tried to have kids, but going through loss after loss, we gave up. My point in all of this is, I had this perfect vision of my older life when I was younger and nothing has turned out the way I visioned it. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way, but it did.

I decided to stop searching for answers as to why things did not work out. I decided to simply live and let go. Life has this funny little way of actually turning out. When a problem arises, nine times out ten, it works itself out. Either the problem is fixed or I accept it for what it is and move on. It is true what the say; when one door closes, another one opens. Looking back on my life, I realize that has happened many times in my life. I just didn’t see it until now. I have been going through my life on a fast pace, worrying, and not paying attention to detail. It is amazing when you start to slow your life down, stop worrying so much, and pay attention to your life’s wants and needs, things do work themselves out. Instead of saying, “it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way,” accept it for what it is, learn from it, let it go, and move on. Everything happens for a reason. It was supposed to happen that way. We were supposed to go through that, learn from it, and continue on with our lives. When one door closes, another one opens.

Jump Out of Your Comfort Zone

A recent episode of the CBS TV show “Mike & Molly” made me think about getting out of my own comfort zone. The character Molly was trying to get her husband, Mike, out of his comfort zone. After having lunch out at their usual spot to celebrate her first published article, she did a number of things to get Mike out of his comfort zone. With being a police officer, Mike is set in his routine and has to be careful what he does. Molly does a good job of showing him some fun out on the town & she gets him to do some things he normally would never do. It was an enjoyable episode to watch and made me realize that I need to do the same thing.

Many of us are stuck in our routine and follow daily habits. Daily habits turn into weekly habits and before we know it, it has been years before we do something out of character. Depending on what it is, doing something out of character, can be healthy and fun. We tend to get bored with the same ole daily grind and even frustrated at times. We can become irritated with the people around us and our job. Yes, being in your comfort zone generally has little stress and little worry. Who wants the extra stress anyway? Jumping out of your comfort zone to do something you normally would not do would mean you might become nervous, have sweaty palms, your heart might race, and you might take on a little more stress. In the end, it would be good for you to jump out of your enclosed area to try something new. Do you tend to avoid social functions? Do you sit in the back row of church? Do you hold your tongue back when you shouldn’t say something? Okay, well, maybe on that one, it might be good to do just that! There are other things you can to do get yourself out of your comfort zone. You can do something once a week or do something daily for a week or however you want it, but thinking and doing a few things to get your heart racing and a little nervous is good for the body and soul.

Here are just a few ideas to do just that:

1. Do something different or out of character for you. Add some spice & fun to your life.

2. Recognize what makes you scared and change your thinking pattern on it.

3. Meet new people.

4. Whatever it is you keep putting off, do it and get it done.

5. Find a new hobby.

6. Change your daily routine.

7. Join a club or a committee.

8. Learn something new.

I believe doing some things that we don’t want to do or generally would not do, can help with personal growth and confidence within ourselves. Trying something to lift us out of our comfort zone could make us happier people. It could also make us become risk takers instead of watching the world go by. What are some things that make you uncomfortable? What are some things you fear, but always wanted to try? For me it is meeting new people. I tend to be a loner and I like that, I am okay with that, and that is me. When it comes to meeting new people, I don’t generally like to. I am happy with being in my house, working on my writing, and having a few close friends. What I need to work on this year is meeting new people, joining clubs, and networking more. This would get me out of my comfort zone. Whatever it is for you, change your thoughts on your fear, take a leap to get over your fear, and do whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable! You will be glad you did!

Find Joy in the Little Things

Life passes us by so quickly. Whether you are lucky enough to live to 75, 80, 85 or older or your life is cut short sooner, life goes by fast. One minute you are born naked and crying, and the next you are graduating from college and the next you have been married for 25 years and your kids are grown and moving on. We all get caught up in our day to day lives and we are often reminded that life does not always go our way. Your job may not be going well or something goes wrong at work. Your kids are struggling in school, things are stressful at home, your car breaks down at the same time as your furnace, and someone you know becomes ill. At times it can be difficult to find joy in the little things, but it is not impossible.

When life stresses you out, relax in the sunshine.

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Make sure to stop and enjoy the scenery.

ImageEnjoy one of life’s greatest games.

baseballgame

Enjoy time at the beach.

beach

Enjoy your favorite drink….or in this case, the actual coffee pot!

SandycoffeepotSurround yourself with pretty flowers.

MackinawTFalls 046There are things we all can do to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures. Wherever you are at, look around you and find joy in where you are. Give thanks for the good things in your life and be grateful for them. Give thanks for the trying times in your life and learn from them. We all are run down by life from time to time, but if we remember to “stop and smell the roses”,  life will be easier.

“Be patient eno…

Quote

“Be patient enough to live one day at a time as Jesus taught us, letting yesterday go, and leaving tomorrow till it arrives.”
– John F. Newton

What a great piece of advice, but something I do not follow. In today’s world of being busy with work, family, kids, and other priorities, how does one let yesterday go and concentrate on only today? How does one not think about tomorrow and what it will bring or what it could bring? I do not have  the answers because I have never been able to only think about today and live in the present day. I would love to hear from people who can live in the present day and not worry about yesterday or worry about tomorrow. I do think it is time for me to start living in the present moment, in the present day. It is difficult sometimes to let yesterday go and leave tomorrow until tomorrow. However, if we don’t let some things go and leave other things until it happens, if it happens, life will become harder to live. It sure seems that way to me. So if you have any advice on how to do so, I’d love to hear from you!