What Ruins Your Christmas?


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A little while ago, I overheard a conversation between two people about holiday shopping. They were lamenting the running around and deciding what to get and how much they were spending and THEN getting it all wrapped up and ready to go. One of them commented at the end of the conversation, “It really almost ruins Christmas, you know?” The other person solemnly agreed. I was left speechless.

I know it’s likely that they weren’t even considering the words they used, and technically they did say “almost”. However, those of you who’ve read more than a few of my posts know that I regular comment about the words we choose to use. In this case, maybe the words don’t directly affect the health and well-being of the person using them, but then again, maybe they do.

Are they taking for granted the fact that they have time and money to run around holiday shopping for family and friends? Are they grateful for the fact that they have family and friends to shop for? Do they think about the fact that there are people out there who don’t have a festive tree set up in their homes, and who haven’t done any Christmas shopping because it’s all they can do to afford food?

What “ruins” a holiday for someone, particularly Christmas? A difficult shopping schedule? Or putting away the special ornament you bought for the baby that was never born? Too many family members to buy presents for? Or wondering what to do with the gift you bought for your father who just passed away? Too much prep work for Christmas dinner? Or wondering if you’ll have anything to eat on Christmas Day?

Don’t forget that other big holiday we just celebrated that maybe sometimes gets lost in perusing glossy store ads and early morning “doorbusting” shopping sprees. Once the leftovers are gone and Black Friday passes, it is still the season to be thankful.

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Good News Day 11: The Power of Touch


 

Setting aside judgement and fear to help someone in need. ~Tricia


 

Source: Ehab Taha

A woman’s kind-hearted gesture made a world of a difference to a man who was “being aggressive” on a train.

 

 

Source: Photo captures elderly woman’s kind gesture to aggressive man on train

To Bee or Not To Bee


Bee on Dandelion

It’s spring in Maine, finally! The insect life is waking up, and I’ve had a few encounters with bees recently. I try to pay attention, and even follow my own advice when I have more significant or unusual animal encounters. If an animal makes significant repeated appearances, or if you find the appearance particularly meaningful, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something you should pay attention to.

In this case, the bee encounters certainly stood out. There was one or two bees who chose to follow me for a walk, another one very determined to get into my car, and a fourth one was a bumblebee just meandering through the produce section in the grocery store. So, should bees of any variety make their way into your life, it might be time to look into what the buzz is all about (just one pun, I promise!).

Bees have long been a powerful symbol in many cultures, representing the sun, fertility, royalty, gods and goddesses. Their seemingly improbable ability to fly can represent achieving the impossible. They gather pollen and contribute to the fertility of countless plants, creating food for themselves and ultimately the world. In their creation of honey, they transform sunlight into liquid energy.

If the bee is buzzing into your life, you may need to find faith in your ability to to take flight and achieve the impossible. Maybe you need to become more aware of what information you gather, distribute, or ingest. Make sure you’re taking the good parts of life and leaving the destructive bits behind. Share only the positive, energy giving honey.

Are you being too much of a worker bee and attempting to do too many things? Do you need to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors? Maybe you’re working so hard that you’ve forgotten that you even once enjoyed what you’re doing. Wallowing in the labors of collecting your pollen and forgetting to enjoy the beautiful sunshine that has made it all possible.

A visit from bee may be reminding you to stop and smell the flowers, value your own productivity, creativity, and industriousness. Take time out to enjoy the sun and the honey. Trust in your ability to get done what you need to without working yourself into a frenzy. And maybe, just bee.

For All The Childless Mommies On Mother’s Day | Owning Pink


A beautiful post from Owning Pink:

For All The Childless Mommies On Mother’s Day | Owning Pink.

A Gentle Reminder: What You Create Has Value (and so do you)


cotton grassYou might have noticed in reading my posts that I have a bit of a pet peeve about watching what you say. I’m a big fan of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And this doesn’t just apply to what you say about others, it applies to what you say about yourself and the things that you do/create/share.

I see this happen a lot with creative people. They produce a beautiful photo, brilliant art work, or incredible writing, and then, when they show it to you, almost instantly devalue their own efforts by adding “it’s not very good”, “I really don’t know what I’m doing”, or “it’s not my best work”. It makes. me. crazy.

Okay, I admit that it makes be MORE crazy because I used to do it – a lot – and I understand where their head is at. But it also makes me crazy because if it is something that you created, it comes from you, and from your heart, by saying that it’s not any good, you’re also devaluing yourself on a subconscious level. You’re holding yourself back, limiting your creative potential, and beating up your own self-confidence.

It may have started subtly enough. We might discover that by saying, “Oh, it’s not very good.” a friend might disagree and insist that the work is truly wonderful. Instantly, the reward part of our brain goes “Heeyyy… I say it’s bad, I get a compliment!” Soon we automatically unveil the fruits of our creative labor and simultaneously announce “it’s really not my best work”, while preparing for the freshly delivered reassurances and compliments from our audience.

While getting compliments is nice, this is really not the greatest way to validate the worth of your work. You create a pattern of constantly devaluing your creation and at the same time your own worth. This doesn’t mean that you have to go flying off in the other direction and declare to everyone who’ll listen how fabulous your latest work of art is. (Which may result in your friends running for the hills when you appear.)

The simplest way to stop devaluing your work really is, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” or “keep your mouth shut”. Oversimplified, maybe, but the idea is to get you to stop trash talking yourself and smothering your creativity and self-esteem. By all means, show friends and strangers your art work, but do not tell them how awful it is. We create art for art’s sake, what you have created is what it is, good, bad or ugly, but it is a part of you, treat it the way you want to be treated.

Beaver Lake SunsetWhen someone compliments what you do, a “simple thank” you is the most powerful phrase you can utter. On a subconscious level, you’re validating that what you have made has value and so do you. It takes a conscious effort to stop whatever else you were going to say and just say “thank you”, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a truly liberating experience.

Those two small words can help grow your confidence, boost your creativity and inspire your faith in your own creative processes.

Trust Your Intuition


Deep Blue - Tricia GriffithI’ve been meaning to write about intuition for a while now, but I was giving myself a neat little roadblock by feeling like I had to get all technical about “what is intuition?”. I did a bit of research, looked at various definitions and explanations of what intuition is, from psychological to anthropological. Of course, this all led me to dead stand still, because if you try to look at intuition in such a scientific manner, it’s pretty mindboggling.

In reality, or at least in my reality anyway, it doesn’t necessarily matter how intuition works or why it exists, but simply that it does. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, if you’re working spiritually or scientifically, or if you’re baking or raising children. It’s those moments of inspiration, those sudden flashes of intuition, that instance when you “just know” what you need to do. That is intuition.

Working spiritually or psychically, intuition is the foundation of recognizing and understanding our gifts and how to use them. Perhaps it is our connection to our higher selves or a higher power, but whatever it is, it’s an awareness that on some level, you have the answer.

You don’t have to be working as a healer or a counselor to begin to listen to and trust your intuition. Some call it instinct, a gut feeling, mother’s intuition, inspiration, et cetera, but however you name it, it is at its most basic, trusting yourself.

How do you know your intuition is working? It’s that nagging feeling you’re missing something, or need to do something. Perhaps you’ve been feeling all day like you need to call a friend or a family member, and when you finally do, you realize they were in trauma or really needed to hear a friendly voice.

Raindrops - Tricia GriffithIt might be mother’s intuition, just knowing what your child needs, from instinctual care to that feeling that they’re up to no good. You might be working out some sort of problem that on the surface is very cerebral, scientific or intellectual, but then you get a sudden flash of an idea just where you need to look, or just what formula you need to use.

Many artists work intuitively, those little bursts of inspiration of what form lives in that block of wood they are about to sculpt, what mixture of color and textures that painting needs, or where to point their camera. Taking an intuitive leap leads to new paths of creativity.

How is your intuition trying to get your attention? Unfortunately it’s not always as simple as a sticky note left on the refrigerator that says you might want to avoid that lunch meat, or you might want to phone your friend, she’s having a bad day.

Sometimes you “just know”, but often it’s matter of repetition. If I’m not paying close attention to those little feelings of “I should do this” or “I feel like something is wrong here”, I will start to notice that it comes up more than once. So, I go by the “rule of three”, if it comes to mind, or presents itself in some other way, three times, I really better pay attention to that message.

It might be as simple as, you see shop you haven’t noticed before and think to yourself, I really should stop there some time. A day or so later you find yourself going by it and noticing it there again. Then of course, the next day it catches your attention again, so okay, perhaps you should really stop in. Maybe you just find that piece of furniture you’ve been wanting for years, or maybe you find out that an old friend you had lost touch with owns the shop.

Three Watermelon Gerbera - Tricia GriffithYou don’t need to wait for that third reminder. If you get a feeling, a flash of a thought or an idea, just stop for a moment. Quiet your mind and ask yourself if that feeling is relevant. Ask your higher self or higher power if it’s something that you need to address. If you’re not sure if it’s for you or for someone you know, ask that question too. The same source within that brought you the intuition can help you figure out what you’re supposed to do with it.

Whatever source you think that intuition comes from, however it manifests itself in your life, it is well worth the practice of paying just a bit closer attention to what it’s all about. This could mean being aware of when a friend needs to talk about something painful. It could be that intuitive feeling that you need to cut something specific out of your diet.

Intuition and awareness walk hand in hand. Being self aware allows you to recognize those little intuitive feelings. Stretching beyond yourself and becoming aware of the world around you and your place it in can help you to recognize intuitively where you need to be, how you can positively change your world.

Six Right Livelihood Guidelines


Water Lily - Tricia GriffithI stumbled upon this on the internet today (quite literally, I was using StumbleUpon) and I appreciated its message, so I thought I’d share it with you. With a bit of digging around, the primary source for this content seems to come from this University of Pennsylvania link. I am not sure what the original source is beyond that.

Consume mindfully.
  • Eat with awareness and gratitude.
  • Pause before buying and see if breathing is enough.
  • Pay attention to the effects of media you consume.
Pause. Breathe. Listen.
  • When you feel compelled to speak in a meeting or conversation, pause.
  • Breathe before entering your home, place of work, or school.
  • Listen to the people you encounter. They are Buddhas.
Practice gratitude.
  • Notice what you have
  • Be equally grateful for opportunities and challenges.
  • Share joy, not negativity.
Cultivate compassion and loving kindness.
  • Notice where help is needed and be quick to help
  • Consider others’ perspectives deeply.
  • Work for peace at many levels.
Discover wisdom
  • Cultivate your "don’t know" mind (= curiosity).
  • Find connections between Buddhist teachings and your life.
  • Be open to what arises in every moment.
Accept constant change.

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