The Choice is Yours!

Today I am thankful for choices.  I love the fact that we have so many choices each day, starting with our attitude.  We can choose to be happy, choose how we approach the day ahead and choose the direction our day will go. 

 Even if you have a day when everything seems to fall apart, you keep making mistakes, or other people get on your nerves, you still have the ability to choose how you will respond.

 Choices are among the most important things we have available to us.  Our choices will lead to decisions that over time will show others who we are and what we stand for.

 Today celebrate your ability to make choices.  There is always hope when there are choices to be made and there are always choices to be made.  Today choose to have a cheery attitude, choose to share your time with others, choose to make a difference, choose.

 Cherry Coley ©

Visualization, Meditation and Healing for the Journey

So many times we are asked to give, then expected to keep going though we’ve grown weary and worn.  As a caregiver and mom there were times the weight of carrying that kind of load seemed so heavy.  Yet what do you do, you must keep going.

Many times I found myself trying to juggle being an only parent with running errands for my parents and falling short of getting everything done.   Many times I’d go to bed and lie awake thinking of all the things I didn’t get done, couldn’t do and couldn’t afford.

You can wear yourself out taking care of others and everything that you know needs to get taken care of, but if you don’t take time to rest and take care of yourself, then you will suffer emotionally, physically, even mentally.

So it became that it was in the darkest moments that I sought solitude.  Alone, I could meditate and pray for strength, sit under the moonlight, feel the cool night air.  Meditation has been my saving grace in so many ways.  I was taught to meditate by an Indian woman when I was 10 years old.

She noticed right away I was a very visual person.  She taught me that when life becomes too heavy, you meditate, focus and see the darkness like liquid smoke, surrounding you, then let it begin to turn to liquid running down and seeping into the earth at your feet until you no longer feel the burden.

I also learned to meditate by walking and when I had Nacona – my malamute – we would walk about 12 miles a night.  Exercise and especially walking is a terrific way to relieve stress and do some mobile meditation.  I learned to see my troubles left like wet foot prints on the pavement behind me as I walked.  I don’t claim to be an expert, I’m just stating a few things that have worked for me.

Now days I look back and see how much I missed by trying to be so many things to so many people.  I should have been taking more time for myself, it would have benefited both me and my kids.  They say hindsight is 20/20, I am not sure about that, but I will try to help my children not to make the same mistakes. 

Caregivers, mentors, and parents are the heart of the world, trying hard to hold the balance, keep the peace and make sure nothing is forgotten.  Yet the one thing we seem to forget is ourselves, then later when the job is finally done there are regrets in some ways and a lot of ground to make up in others.  There is a period of feeling lost, like you’re coming out of a dark tunnel into the daylight and suddenly you have to adjust your eyes and try to figure out where you are.

I have learned to tell myself that I did the best I could with the information and resources I had at the time.  I didn’t always succeed, I wasn’t always right, I’m not the perfect parent, I did fail now and then, I missed out a lot, but still, I did my best as far as it goes.  I’m good with that.  Now on to the next phase of the journey, but where do I start?  Ah, yes….meditation.

Cherry Coley ©

 

Peace – A Personal Perception

What is your perception of peace?  It’s an interesting word isn’t it?  Some think of peace and they are thinking about there being no hostilities, no war, or arguments.  I think of peace and it brings to mind pictures of serenity, which for me always turns to nature.  I love the quiet walk in the woods, or sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in and the seagulls playing in the air.  I love walking at the duck pond not far away from where we live on a nice day.  The sounds of the ducks and geese as they waddle along in the park give me a feeling of peace. 

I love the serenity that can be found in a garden, walking among the flowers, listening to the rustle of the leaves in the wind, hearing the occasional song of a bird, watching a squirrel scamper up a tree then turn and peek back at me. 

 Peace for me is also found in front of a fireplace, propped up on a pillow and reading a good book in the winter.  I love taking time to meditate with candles and/or incense, releasing the anxiety and worries of the day and letting them drift away in the smoke as it rises.

 Van Gogh had the right idea when he created Starry Night too, I love watching the stars and moon at night.  I miss walking at night so bad sometimes it’s like a physical yearning, but it’s just not that safe to walk at night, and since I no longer have my wolf, I just don’t do it anymore. 

 For the most part I find that peace is simply a state of mind, and when the world is racing frantically around me, building up to some crash level of highly stressful activity, I have been known to “check out” go outside or even just to the car at lunch time and take a moment to close my eyes to escape to one of my peaceful places.  If I’m at home I might do some yoga or Tai Chi.  It just puts me in a better state of mind and helps me to be able to go back to whatever I am doing with a smile on my face and calm in my spirit.   Inner peace is something visualized, a spiritual connection, a gift that I am greatly thankful for.

 Cherry Coley (c)

Keeping the Peace and Other Disasters

 I used to be the peace keeper.   You know, the person in the group or family that always solved the problems, calmed the drama, settled the fights, helped to bring people back together, and generally wanted to keep peace no matter what.

 The problem with being the peace keeper is that, I often found that in order to keep the peace there had to be a “giving in” or a “sacrifice” along the way.  Unfortunately, somehow the person that seemed to be the one required to “give in” or “sacrifice” seemed to be me. 

 I don’t believe it started out that way, at least I don’t remember it starting out that way, maybe it did.  I wasn’t so good at negotiating back then,  I was inexperienced and just wanted the drama, arguing and unhappiness around me to stop.  So I would throw myself in the middle, volunteer to “make things better” and soothe the wounds so that everyone was happy, at least for the moment.  Except, they weren’t really, were they?  How could they be with me jumping in the middle of their issues and solving their issues my way?

 I see this happen quiet often with young girls even now.  One will get tired of all the drama between friends and try to be the savior of all by keeping the peace, running interference, and telling their version of the truth to protect everyone.  She becomes the “Dear Abby” of her group, the girl they all come to for advice, and turn to when things in their life fall apart, or when they need a champion for their cause, whatever it might be.  Pretty soon they are all spying on old boyfriends, girlfriends and each other in order to make sure each person is honest, and living the life of a soap opera quiet without realizing all the drama they are causing by trying not to cause drama.  Oh and then they also become the scape goat for when things backfire and get messy.  Then one day (hopefully) they wake up from this nightmare and decide to get off this rollercoaster. 

 I went through this to a certain extent when I was in high school playing this role.  Then one day, I just woke up and decided I didn’t want to live in the soap opera anymore.  I stopped relaying messages, stopped giving advice, stopped making it my job to hold everyone else accountable.  It’s not my job to police the world and make sure people treat each other the way they should.  However, this is nothing compared to what the teenagers and young adults go through now.  Now we are all constantly connected with cell phones, Face Book, and all types of social media.  The youth trade texts back and forth with one asking the other what they think about something, then that person forwarding the comments to another and another until things get blown out of proportion and of course, the end result is major drama.

 The only thing I have to offer is the same advice that my mom and my grandmother gave me a long time ago, “don’t say anything about anyone that you could not say to their face.”  That even includes the postings on Face Book and other social media, or texts, if you could not look that person in the eye and say the words then you have no business saying it any other way.  Hiding behind technology allows cyber bullying and misplaced courage even from people who would never be considered to be a bully, rude or mean. 

 Like Thumper’s mom used to tell him, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

 We don’t all have to be positive attitudes and thoughts, pleasant dreams, sunshine or roses, but kindness is never wasted and the effects travel like ripples on the water. 

 Cherry Coley ©