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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
There is an old adage of how we look at life” do you see the glass as half empty or half full?” This is a common theme that plays out time and time again when looking at situations. How one sees things is always in the mind of the beholder.
Recently, I sent a photo to two friends while visiting family out in California of Palm trees with a mountain background taken during my early morning walk. The caption to my one friend was simply a good morning to her. I received a reply that the photo looked serene and peaceful. In other words, she had a positive response to an image that was pleasantly received. As my other friend lives in a northern climate still experiencing chilly weather, I captioned the photo that I was sending sunshine. His response involved questioning the temperature to which I told him over 100F… “an oven” was his response… he knows that I totally enjoy my morning walks in the sunshine because I don’t do it at home. Yes it’s a bit warm even at 7 am, but it’s so beautiful looking at the mountains and the Palm trees that it’s my favorite thing to do while out west. We don’t have Palm trees in Virginia.
So where are we in this story? My
first friend is a positive person about most things so it’s not so surprising
that she’d have a positive response to the photo I sent. She takes life well
and I enjoy being with her. She holds down an important management consulting
position and juggles being a Mom to two young adult boys. She’s a genuinely
My other friend tries to be a nice person too but he gets lost in the negativity of the world. As a result he sees the negative in little things that people do or say and in this case, he missed the beauty of the moment or the kindness of the act by over analyzing the situation. I still like him for he has some lovely qualities, but he struggles to get through life. Such a small thing like looking at a photo and deciding what you will see. But that’s the point.
It’s a decision how we will
interpret what comes into our mind. So will you see the glass as half empty or
half full next time? Try to catch yourself if you start to be negative. With
practise we can move into being more positive people and in the process we will
be happier too. Comments are always welcome.
When you remember someone that has passed, are there funny
sayings or mannerisms that come to mind? In the case of my father, I always
remember what he used to say when I asked him about his getting another year
older and his practical response, “every day above ground is a good day”. So
each year when I’d ask him, “Daddy, how does it feel to be 85, or 86, etc.?” “He’d
reply, every year above ground is a good year”. Even though I knew what the
response would be, I continued to ask him every year until there wasn’t a
response. He passed the day after his 90th birthday and he wasn’t
able to talk on his special day.
What is the
alternative? If one is not above ground, then obviously, one is not alive. But to
live, really live means to be more than just above ground and room temperature.
This is the lesson for this article. Sometimes I feel like life is moving so
fast that there isn’t time to do more than just keep up. When I thought about
all the things I had to do today and realized that I was tired, I decided to
just take a nap. Once I woke up I realized that none of the really important
things that I had on my list were important at all. If none of them got done,
it was really ok. In the overall scheme of the universe, none of it was
So what is important? When we are above ground, during our
living years as the song goes, we should aim to make each day count, but for
what? What’s really important? Some possible answers are to be a good person,
to love, to help others, and to learn our lessons. Now you might ask how one
knows what their lessons are? I’ve written many articles about life lessons so
it’s not an easy answer here except to say that we have to pay attention to
what happens in our lives and do our best to follow the path that’s best for
us. Sometimes what’s best is not what we really wish to do. When I think about
my father, he was always busy with hobbies and studying things. He valued
education and taught us to do the same. He also valued hard work, probably a
product of his depression-era younger years; although still a good foundation
for him and a good legacy he gave to his children.
We each have to figure out how to use the time we have above
ground and make sure that every day above ground is a good day.
Ever walk by an interesting tree and wonder about it? Old is It? Do animals live in its branches or inside part of its trunk? What stories could it tell you about people that have been walking 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.
After a heavy rain storm, I decided to get out and take a walk on my to find the path blocked by this fallen tree. For some strange reason I actually felt sorry for the tree, as it had come to the end of its life. Then I thought again. No, perhaps it was the end of its living life but in death it would provide a means of life to other creatures. Does that mean it continues on in another fashion?
Can we say the same thing about our own lives? When we end our physical lives and change our form do we continue on in another fashion and live life in another form ourselves? It might be another version of us; the spiritual version that is eternal just like the tree continues on even when it decays into bits of wood and then into bits of earth. It then becomes elements that give nourishment to plants and other living things. As we change form do we help other living things to flourish? Does the spirit inside us help others to flourish? I believe we can do so when we become spirit guides also known as guardian angels. This is when our souls choose to help others while we are in spirit form.
Just as this tree will one day provide a place for a nest for birds, a home for squirrels as well as mosquitoes or even other little creatures, we too can help other people thrive once we cross over.
Inspirational memoir capturing a love that extends beyond the veil of death, of care-giving, of the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease as well as a widow's restructuring her life after the only man she ever loved was gone. Buy safely via PayPal