Be friendlier

November 1, 2019

It’s an age old wisdom that we should look in the mirror first if we feel there is something missing in our lives. Thus when I decided that I needed more friends and that I would have to be more welcoming to bring people into my life. In other, I would have to be friendlier.

Ok so how do I become friendlier when I thought I was already a nice person who was polite and congenial to those that I met anyway? Well I guess it came down to my energy. What was the message that my energy was sending out? Although I felt friendly, perhaps I was inwardly insecure or afraid, which sent a similar awkward message out to the world. This was not what I wanted. In other words, as is quite common, I was guilty of sending out a mixed message. My outer voice wanted one thing while my inner voice was reflecting another. I needed to become congruent.

Thus I had to really become a happy person, feel good about myself, and raise my self-esteem which in turn would send out a happy vibe to the world. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I booked a social group and just smiled and talked with people being non-judgmental and accepting them for who they were. Suddenly people began to like me more. When I became more of a listener reflecting back to people what they were saying, staying present and really hearing them, even more people liked me. In turn, I was laughing more.

Before I knew it I was in my authentic self, feeling good and sending out positive vibes. Soon, I was getting return positive glances at my gym class at Zumba and in social circles. Then on travel, people would engage with me more. All of a sudden, I then realized that i was really making friends. I had become a friendlier person with all the associated qualities. My energy changed and I attracted healthier people into my life that warranted my friendship. As far as I can tell so far, these are people that really want to be friends, have no ulterior motives or axes to grind, no mood disordered and just healthy happy people. What a relief it is. It’s been awesome so far and I certainly hope it continues. I offer my personal experience to you so that you can give it a try and see what happens. As always comments are welcome.


We are our own worst critic

October 5, 2019

We know that being judgmental is not good behavior yet we judge ourselves all the time. That voice inside our heads can be positive or negative; this is called self-talk. Unfortunately, that inner voice is more often negative than positive reminding us of all of our faults rather than of our wonderful qualities. Why do we do this? The answer is low self-esteem.

                                                            
There are times in our lives when we don’t feel good about ourselves like when we decide that we’re not moving forward in our lives in some way that we think we should. We have a tendency to look at others then judge ourselves. They have the house already or a better job therefore we failed. We should be thinking that the other person is just ahead of us and we will get there in our own time. Everything in its own time, right? Or that’s how it should be. Instead, we judge others for having more or being prettier or thinner or going on a neat vacation.

Rather than judge ourselves, or others why not just accept the situation for what it is? Its human nature to compare one to another; we are creatures of a pack, team or community. But in those relationships we must take care not to think less of ourselves for our points that are just different. We all do this. Last night I almost didn’t go out dancing because I’ve gained a few pounds due to less activity while my ankle was healing from an injury. I convinced myself that I needed to go out and that being with people would make me feel better rather than being alone. The woman in charge of the dance who is very tiny commented that due to her hurting foot she had gained 8 pounds. Wow I was surprised. So it happens to many people. I felt ok and decided that rather than judge myself for having gained weight I would focus on losing it now that my activity could increase.

In other words when your self-talk becomes negative find a way to stop yourself to make it positive. Life will flow better and you will soar along with your self-esteem. Comments are always welcome.


Personal Accountability is the Way to Go

September 5, 2019

There is so much in the news lately about planning for retirement. We have at least 40 years to start putting some money away to take care of ourselves when we get older. Yes but you say, what about the current house, kids and bills? There just isn’t anything leftover. Well I disagree. I see how people spend their money. The kids have to have candy and soda at the movies or the parents have to have the next version of the iPad, cellphone or tablet. Perhaps it’s the necessity of eating lunch hour or going to Starbucks…

Yes you can enjoy your life when you’re young but one must pay the piper when they are finished playing as the saying goes. Whether its small change or dollars saved, there are ways to do it. Something has to be given up in order to have something later. Sorry but one cannot have their cake and eat it too. Why is it the government’s responsibility to provide for all that a person can’t pay for? I’m not talking about those truly in need. I give plenty to charity and believe in helping those less fortunate. I’m talking t people that get caught up in living the good life and then wonder why they are still working at 72 because they can’t retire….as they don’t have enough money to live on.

Let’s break this down. Daily Starbucks is $25 A week just for the world week. Then lunch is another $50 if it’s kept simple. What’s wrong with fixing a teabag in the office or a cup of coffee? And there are a ton of options to save money lunchtime from prepared meals from the store to actually making something or even just sandwiches from home. If one adds up 40 years of teabags and lunches from home we have lots of money. Ok not enough? Vacations once a year versus every holiday.. staycations can be fun too. An event locally can be fun and usually a lot less expensive than a quick trip to the Caribbean over  four day break. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but I know people like this…

I might be the exception but I took my lunch to work most days, ate a nice salad at the salad bar otherwise, was careful about electronic consumerism and was moderate about vacations. I paid extra on my mortgage to pay it off by retirement and saved yearly. I can now reap the benefits of the savings that I slowly put away year after year. In other words, I’m living the American dream. I worked my 40 years in a normal corporate job, saved my money and now can pay my bills and do a fair amount of travelling. I feel blessed that I have the money for doctor bills, household expenses and a trip here and there. Being in abundance by giving to charity means that God lets me keep the rest.

In summary, personal accountability is the way to go; slow and steady for 40 years not trying to screw the system in the last few years to make up for what you did or didn’t do all along. We pay into social security and Medicare so these are earned benefits not optional entitlements. That’s my version of the story and I’m sticking with it! Comments are always welcome.


People and processes don’t always cooperate

August 26, 2019

We all know, or have learned the hard way that human communication is not an exact science. The old adage is that’s why there are lawyers! Today, I’m going to relate a situation that I experienced regarding a transaction on EBay. The whole interaction went from a misunderstanding to bad then to worse. Then it got ugly! Sometimes people and processes just don’t go as one might expect.

 First, let me say that my perspective on EBay is pretty laid back because it’s not my main business; it’s very much a hobby and a casual one at that. I sell stuff to get it out of my closet and if I’m lucky, I get a few dollars for it. So what’s my story? I offered a beautiful designer red silk dress for sale at a fabulously low price plus shipping. The woman in question, whom I will call “The Buyer”, sent an offer. What I saw on my end was “an offer to buy at $50” which I accepted. I’ve been doing EBay for about 8 years so I don’t question offers. I just look at the figure and either accept the bid or not. Usually people pay within a day or two. My listing clearly states that non-payment after 48 hours will result in a cancelled transaction. If someone made a mistake in pushing “buy”, then an email to me indicating such will solve the problem. I’m not out to force any sales, so if there’s a mistake, I’ll cancel the transaction.

I accepted the offer and the EBay system put the offer in as a sale and sent the Buyer an invoice for the price plus shipping. No response. Several days go by. I sent a nice note with a reminder invoice – “is there a problem, I ask?” No response. More time goes by.  The EBay system opened a non-payment case against the Buyer automatically, which when she received the notice made her furious resulting in her sending me a scathing email stating that I hadn’t read her offer. What? I never saw any email or further detail about her offer. Apparently, she writes that she’s retired and doesn’t have the money. (Why buy if you don’t have money??) At this point it was very confusing to me because she referred to 8/30 which I assumed meant August 30, but it was August 20. I had no idea what she was talking about. Rather than calmly explain to me that she’d get money at the end of the month which eventually I realized, she raved at me that I hadn’t read the offer details (that I’d never seen) and basically was saying how stupid I was for causing this problem. As it wasn’t an auction item, just a fixed price, make an offer, she could have waited a few days until her pension check arrived. Rather, she chose to expect me to make the system work according to what was best for her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

It became obvious to me that she had anger issues and was venting at me for other situations where she hadn’t been heard. I was just the one getting her venom over these frustrations in her life. I kept trying to write to her calmly explaining that the system was automated, that offers are translated into purchases, and that non-payment cases can be opened without me doing anything. She insisted that I cancel the transaction at this point which was impossible according to the EBay system even after I tried calling them directly. I wasted so much time over almost a week for a non-sale with this woman. I had packed this gorgeous dress with tissue paper in a strong box so that it wouldn’t get wrinkled… basically for naught. After 2 days of her insisting that I cancel the transaction, I find that she paid. It was the night before the payment was due or a negative mark would go against her. I figured that she paid to clear the case so that I could cancel the transaction. So I went into the transaction, which was now clear, and cancelled it. I thought this was what she wanted. She had not sent me an email to tell me that she changed her mind about cancelling the transaction and now she wanted it. So what happened next?

The next morning I got a wailing email, “oh, I’m going to cry. You cancelled the transaction after I paid for the dress!”  Well, yeah, after receiving email after email insisting that I cancel and no communication indicating otherwise, what else could I do? Then I get more communication about why did I do that? It’s like being in Wonderland! Ok, so I thought about it and my final email to her was my best attempt to be spiritual, “I’m sorry that you’re not happy with this transaction. Sometimes people and processes don’t go as one might want or expect. Rather than directing anger at me, a bit of patience might have been a better idea. It would also be a good idea to find a healthier channel to vent your frustrations that to direct them at me”.

The moral of the story is that when crazy interactions occur like this story; take a moment to reflect on the situation. Chances are there’s more going on than the immediate reaction. Usually, there are related experiences that the person is reacting to in this lifetime or a prior one. It’s easy to ignore the person but just a bit harder to consider how you can be a guiding light. Just consider that she needed to be reminded of her behavior and it took me going beyond the physical to tell her about it.

Although I had planned for this to be the end, there’s more. The woman wrote back telling me that “You’re a fool!” Well so much for being a messenger of light. I thought about her response a lot and I truly believe that I was guided to write back to her what I had to give her a chance to reconsider her self-righteous position. Unfortunately, she failed the test. Now the universe takes over and karma steps in. I believe that she’s really in scarcity and has a lot of hatred, anger and hostility built up over being in a compromising financial situation. But what got her there? Meanwhile, I live in abundance and reap the rewards. Comments are always welcome.             


Adopt Yourself!

August 1, 2019

Love yourself in order to be the best you can be!

Do you have a dog or a cat? If you’re a pet owner and your fur baby needed help, whether special care or a visit to the vet, would you go out of your way to make sure they got what they needed? If you have a child, to what extent would you go through to help your child? The subject of this article is to treat yourself as good as you would treat your child or fur baby. In otherworld’s, it’s time to adopt yourself!

There are people that take such good care of their pets that they’re like children, my guy Skylar is a case in point. He’s in renal failure and needs a lot of daily treatments as well as medications. I’ve had people tell me they’d like me to adopt them! Skylar gets all kinds of vitamins and really good food. He likes his water bubbly and fresh and he loves his greenies that clean his teeth. I’ve even started to use a liquid that cleans his gums to help with gingivitis. Skylar especially likes me to kiss his head and purrs when i tell him Mommy loves him. Sometimes it’s hard for me to do all these things for myself!

Do you make sure that you eat properly, have clean water to drink and get exercise? To what extent will you go to make sure you leave space in your life for friends and love in your life? I’ve asked one of my close friends who runs around for mothers doing for them, helping with their lives, with her own children yet rushing to get her hair or nails done. Sometimes I feel that I have to remind her to take time for herself…real time. She does goes to her yoga class but there is very little down time… then she gets headaches; it’s no wonder with the pace of her life and what she squeezes in.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours. How you divide it is up to you. Allowing some time for others is great but leave time for yourself. Love yourself enough to do for you as you do for others. Adopt yourself!


If a tree could talk

July 17, 2019

Ever walk by an interesting tree and wonder about it? How old is it? Do animals live in its branches or inside part of its trunk? What stories could it tell you about people who have walked by. Some trees are called witness trees because they’ve seen horrible events… or maybe two people got engaged under a tree. All of these are possibilities if a tree could tell you what it’s seen or heard.

What is precipitating this question for me? Recently there was a tree that fell across the walking path behind my townhome. As I stood looking at this huge brown tree devoid of leaves, essentially dead, it fell across the path, having fallen due to excessive rain, I wondered about its life. It was a very large tree and yet during a bad storm it was taken down. After many years of standing tall, its root system gave way to old age and poor drainage. It was a product of a bad ecosystem.

Yet, this downed tree lying on the ground still had a story to tell. I stood there and just looked at it. There were lots of holes where animals could make a nest and live. Perhaps birds were born in its branches when it stood tall. I’m sure that it provided shade to other smaller trees, to animals that ran through the nearby vegetation as well as for people who might be passing underneath. There are many possibilities of how this tree could have been productive during its life. Even now in death, this tree will eventually decay to nourish the soil around it to help other plans and tress flourish.

I’ve heard stories of witness trees. These are trees that are normally over one hundred years old that were standing during revolutions, wars, major events, hangings, or other atrocities. Or, on a happier note, there are trees that have witnessed people falling in love, making babies, having lively conversations or passing important information along. One can only imagine what a tree might say, if it could talk!


Simple Things Can Be Fun

July 3, 2019

We take so many things for granted. Sometimes even the simplest things in life can be really fun. This is an article about how we can miss the simple things in our quest for the Holy Grail – that is, for the big things we think are more important.

traveling to Ghent, Belgium

On my recent trip to Brussels, Belgium I had the opportunity to ride the train to Ghent. For the locals, taking a train is no big deal. For me, each step of the journey was a jigsaw puzzle requiring a complex analysis to figure out and once completed, a sense of accomplished was attained. Anyone looking at me must have been amazed at how much joy I was getting out of successfully procuring my 18 Euro roundtrip ticket to Ghent and then actually finding the right train track, correct car, and then a seat. Each piece of the puzzle coming together to accomplish the first task – get on the train! I sat there so pleased with myself! Others must have wondered why I was smiling to myself. I was so happy to just be able to figure that much out.

Honestly, it’s really not that complicated; it’s just when it’s a different country and you have no idea where a place is, the concept of first or second class seat in a special car and many trains travelling on a single track the whole thing becomes more complex. Where I live in Washington, DC there are rarely more than one train travelling on the track at a time. And if there is, I find it difficult to tell which train is arriving. Now multiply this by very many trains going to ever so many places all on each track and going in either direction, one must decide, and quite quickly I might add to jump on the train. Trains are on time and everything moves very quickly. One cannot stare at the trains and wonder too long. People are jumping on with or without luggage, and it’s important to get on and find a seat; unless it’s a reserved spot. Whew! So, again, I was quite pleased with myself.

I had briefly checked out spots to investigate once in Ghent. I was in Brussels for the Tango Festival and had completed the 5 days of the program having danced my legs off. I was sufficiently tired and could hardly get up the morning of my trip to Ghent, yet, I was determined to ride the train! Ghent was a good destination, being less than an hour and easy to maneuver, or so I was told. However, when one is on foot, getting around can be a project.

Then there was the issue of which station to disembark. One of the websites indicated one station while fellow travelers informed me that no, in fact it was better to get off at a different station. So I complied with the advice. After disembarking at the station, the next piece of the puzzle was to get to the downtown or centreville. There were many trams running on tracks to take people here and there. I had no idea which was the one I should take and. I became a bit panicky until one of the attendants indicated that I could buy an all-day tram pass inside the station. I was really having trouble buying the tram ticket from the machine outside. There might be a button to push to get English, but I had no idea of how to get there. Even for a bit more money it was worth it to me to get the all-day pass so that I’d know that I could get on the tram to get back to the station. It was only 7 Euros, so not a lot of money.

Once back inside the station I waiting in the line to buy the all-day tram pass and with a bit of explaining was successful in procuring it. Yeah, step two completed! Then I went outside once again and looked for Tram No. 1 that would take me into town. Now I had to make sure I was going in the right direction. The Tram was packed with people on this unusually warm Tuesday afternoon in June as I watched the landscape change from the station through winding streets to the centreville. Just that little trip was a bit of a sightseeing experience. It all was a wonder to me.

Upon arrival in the actual center of Ghent, I disembarked and realized that the main sights I had in mind to see where nearby. I headed towards the canal and walked along as many tourists were doing. I really felt like I was in Disneyland except this was a real place. The United States is only a couple hundred years old but this area of Europe dates back many centuries; this charming town had cathedrals, churches, and other types of buildings dating back to the 15th century. It was definitely a walk back in time. I loved it all! What a joyous day, totally alone with no one to talk to but happy within myself.

Once I understood how the streets followed the canal I felt safe that I wouldn’t get lost and began to wander around looking at this place or that for several hours. Of particular note was the Castle, called Gravenstein of which I took the audio tour. Whoever wrote the script was a real comedian and listening to the voice describing stories of the goings on in the castle during its history made me laugh. I must have been a sight myself walking around laughing to myself. One fun story credited this Castle as having the first fireplace.

When I got tired, I found my way back along the canal, like Goldilocks with her breadcrumbs, took the Tram No. 1 in the opposite direction to return to the station. Within minutes the train came to Brussels. The train system in Belgium is amazingly efficient and very fast! I never waited more than a few minutes for a metro or train even on Sunday.

I arrived back at my hotel about 9pm very tired and ate a salad that I’d put away in the room frig happy that I didn’t have to find some place to eat. Sometimes it’s just nice to go into the kitchen and get something to eat and not have to go out. As this was a hotel, the next best thing was to keep food in the frig for one of my meals.

All in all, I’d had a very good day filled with simple activities, yet quite satisfying. I appreciated not getting lost, all the people along the way that had said a word or two of guidance, and especially those that could speak English! Sometimes the best things are very simple! As always, comments are welcome.


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