Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Inspiration on a locker door

Jane likes quotes. Yes, she does, and it's not uncommon for her to stick them here and there so she can repeat the tidy bit of wisdom whenever she wants. So when Friend of Jane...let's call her, say, Linda...mentioned one of her own favorites and how she has it posted on her locker at work, Jane was happy to add it to her collection. Jane does not have a locker at work, but she has a refrigerator and that serves nearly the same purpose.

The quote? Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket. Keep it in your own. This goes rather nicely with Jane's recent thoughts about responsibility. It's not that you can't share your happiness. That is a dandy thing to do. Share it. Radiate it. Project happiness beams all over the place. But don't rely on someone else to provide your happiness. That's just not going to work out well.

It should be mentioned that Linda also has the Serenity Prayer on her locker. That deserves its very own blog post, so Jane will just add that she loves it, she really truly does. Powerful stuff, that prayer.

But back to lockers and refrigerators and inspiration. Jane wants to share a few of her favorites. They might appeal to you, good reader, or they might leave you scratching your head and wishing Jane's taste were more like your own. That's the thing about quotes. They are special to the mood and the moment of the individual.

A couple about dreams...important to Jane because she believes dreams are the essence of our goals and goals are the essence of our future.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
--Henry David Thoreau

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the pateince, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
--Harriet Tubman

The power of imagination makes us infinite.
--John Muir

And a couple about growth.

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
--Chinese Proverb

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
--Mahatma Gandhi

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
--Guatama Buddha

And something about creativity.

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
--Grandma Moses

Something about making your own way.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
--Harold R. McAlindon

And one last one because it makes Jane laugh.

There go the people. I must follow them for I am their leader.
--Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

Whatever quotes are your favorites, think about putting a few of them here and there to remind you. Remind you of what? Well...whatever you need reminding about, that's what. If you need inspiration, encouragement or a laugh, you'll appreciate finding just the right words on your locker (like Linda) or on your refrigerator (like Jane) or on your desk, taped to your mirror, tucked into your purse...you get the idea.

Oh, okay. Just one more.

Remember to light the candle of joy daily and all the gloom will disappear from your life.
--Djwhal Klul

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jane ponders responsibility

Who is responsible for your happiness? Who is responsible for your success? Who is responsible for your state of mind? Who, who, who? Is there an owl in here? What's with all the who who-ing?

That's just Jane's way of getting your attention. The who is, of course, you. Yes, that would be the *you* sitting here reading and wondering who else might take on the job. Nope. Nobody will, because in spite of how convenient that would be it just isn't happening. It's all up to you, baby. All up to you.

This is one of those situations where we might look around hopefully in case someone steps forward...and they won't...before sighing and squaring our shoulders and gearing up to claim responsibility for our own amazing selves. It does not matter if you have ten children or two children or none. It does not matter if you have a wonderful spouse and partner who stands by you throughout it all or if you have been tossed aside for greener pastures. It does not matter if you are at the top of your career field, still climbing or a very fulfilled at-home parent. Or if you have thirty close friends or three. When you get past all of that stuff the fact remains that responsibility rests with you.

Now, Jane realizes that we are all human. Oh, yeah, she's human, too. She gets disgruntled, too. She even thinks sometimes that Dick ran off with her happiness, darn him. He messed up her state of mind. Because, you know, it's far easier to blame someone else, to put the responsibility on someone else and then to sit back and wait for happiness and success and a positive state of mind to return. Going to be a long wait, with that attitude. Do you want to put your life on hold, to put yourself on hold, while you wait? Jane does not.

So on go the big girl panties once again while Jane contemplates this whole thing and realizes that it all comes down to a choice (her choice) to get on with the getting on and claim the amazing life that is hers. Not that will be hers, mind you. Remember the affirmations? There's no "will be" about it. This life IS hers, for the taking, as soon as she steps up and assumes responsibility for her own state of mind.

You know that passive aggressive stuff? It's no good. Guilt trip? Nope. The woe is me routine? Forget about it. Woe is me is out. Go, me is in.

Marianne Williamson, in her book A Woman's Worth, mentions some things that help us find the spiritual renewal necessary to nurturing our personal power and healthy energy. Jane read the list with interest.

Engage in some kind of daily spiritual practice
Treat your body well with yoga or exercise.

That list looks familiar. Bits and pieces of it have been on this blog in prior posts and can be found all over in books dealing with things like your state of mind and your power and your energy. Coincidence? Jane thinks not.

The peace and security we all want, the strength and the happiness and the success and the power all come from within. They start inside and work their way outside. You can have the life you want and the joy you want. You can have the love you want and the hope and strength and laughter and peace. You can claim whatever it is that you want.

If, that is, you first claim responsibility.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Affirming your truth

Jane was out for a long walk on this sparkling spring day. Others had the same idea, including one huffing and puffing woman who jogged past saying...out loud..."Yes, I can." Every few paces she said it again, sometimes with different emphasis. "YES, I can." "Yes, I CAN!" This might have been deliberate or it might have been the result of huffing and puffing and affirming all at once. The point is, she was giving herself a boost with those words. Jane loves a good affirming kind of moment and she jumped in with applause and some of the "You go, girl1 Yes, you can!" stuff. "Twenty miles," the runner responded. "Twenty miles!" That called for more applause.

So there it was, an affirmation in action. Something declared to be true. A positive statement. There is a lot of power in affirmations, a whole big lot. What, you might wonder, is an easy way to incorporate them into your own life? Funny you should ask. Jane felt like discussing that very topic.

First of all, the strongest affirmations are in the present tense. If you say "I will" you are creating an event in the future. And it's always the future. So instead of "I will learn to control my anxiety issues," affirm that your goal is happening right now. "I control my anxiety issues." And because positive language is always more inspirational than negative, how about switching that up to "I am calm and peaceful. All is well in my world. I am safe."

Once more, with feeling. Yes, that's the second point. Affirmations are meant to inspire. Wishy-washy bland kinda sorta statements aren't fooling anybody, particularly your subconscious mind. Mean it, feel it, wrap it around you. Own that affirmation. It's yours. Speak it in a strong voice. Concentrate on the words and don't just hear them, feel them. Jane tried a few affirmations in front of a mirror, speaking them right into her own eyes. Not easy, she discovered. Not easy at all. And the ones that were the most difficult were the very ones she continued to say, because she recognized that those were what she most needed to hear.

Next point? Make time. Jane has said affirmations while walking her bestest buddy and finds that works very well. She also uses this time for gratitude. Either way, the approach is the same. Every few steps she is either thankful for something or affirming something. By the time she gets back to her house, she has had a good physical workout and is feeling on top of the world emotionally.

Does this all sound too simple and not worth your time? Ahhh, that's because you haven't tried it. There is a wealth of power and potential here, people. A wealth. You can pull yourself out of the deepest of emotional depths with affirmations. And before you say "well, Jane, how do YOU know?" stop and think for a minute. Yes, Jane does know.



Now, imagine an arrow leads from BELIEFS to ACTION and from ACTION to RESULTS and from RESULTS to BELIEFS. Which one starts the never-ending cycle? Who knows for sure? Affirmations lead to beliefs, right? That much makes sense. So if affirmations lead to beliefs, then the cycle starts and you get action and results and...it goes on and on. Jane offers this in the hopes that it sounds more logical and less woo-woo.

Jane writes her affirmations on index cards. Hers have been specifically intended to pull herself up after emotional hurt, but they can be as unique and personal and individual as the person creating them. What works for you? What is an area in your life where you need some help? What part of your life might benefit from affirmations that lead to beliefs that lead to...you get the idea.

Louise Hay is an excellent source for exploring the concept of affirmations. Shakti Gawain is another. Once you get comfortable with the concept, you'll find that your own affirmations come as readily as you need.

One of Jane's favorites...

I rejoice in my unlimitedness and know that before me lies the totality of possibilities in every area. I trust totally in the One Power and I know all is well in my world. So be it!

That's more to say, of course. It doesn't have to be that long. After all, for some people all the moment calls for is the very basics. "Yes, I CAN!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jane gets by with a little help from her friends

Everything Jane has discussed in the blog has been very helpful to her and in some cases has been life changing. But she would be completely remiss if she failed to mention the one constant in her life, there before the Big Awful and a steady force throughout. Jane wishes to acknowledge the awesomeness of her friends.

They have been wonderful, these friends. Scattered around the world and throughout the country, these friends have offered hope and encouragement, outrage and affection and always a steady long distance shoulder whenever Jane might need it. And the local friends? Who could ask for better? These terrific women have been Jane's sounding board, her cheering squad and a source for advice and entertainment. Jane will never forget the evening that cars pulled up at the favorite spot for ice cream and conversation and women jumped out and rushed to envelop her in hugs and support. She will also never forget a particular utterance from one of those friends. It was quite a surprise and this many months later Jane still chuckles when she remembers.

Jane is blessed. She knows this and thanks her Creator for the reminder that men might come and go but the friendship of women endures and sustains. Okay, that might not be the exact message her Creator had in mind, but at the moment Jane feels it's quite pertinent.

Sometimes shared laughter is all Jane needs. Sometimes maybe a movie, with popcorn being munched while the previews are discussed. Sometimes it's a volunteer activity or coffee with the group or a book discussion (here's a shout out to Jane's book club!) or a meal. And sometimes a meal turns into a conversation with lasting benefits, which is what happened last night when Jane told a friend that it was daunting to feel so replaceable. Her friend offered the opinion that just because Jane was replaced so readily does not mean that she should define herself as someone who is readily replaced.

This might possibly have made more sense over pad thai, but say it out loud a time or two and you'll understand why it made such a big impression on Jane. That little statement, offered over Thai food on a Saturday evening is something Jane will hold very close to her heart. And the friend who said it? She is also held close to Jane's heart. Because that tidy bit of wisdom sums it all up. And the fact that it was given to her by a friend makes it even better. Jane's friends, bodacious babes all of them, are valued beyond what she could possibly describe here. Though she is making a commendable attempt to do just that!

With credit given to the Beatles...

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you're on your own)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends.

Thank you, my friends.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Turning the negative around

How do you respond when faced with a zing? Jane considers a zing to be an emotional hurt, but this term could apply to any aspect of your life. However you define it, a zing is a negative. So what is your response?

Well, when it comes to relationship issues and what Jane is experiencing, it's all too easy to wallow in the zing. Dwell on it. Allow it to fill the moment, the day, the heart, the essence. And since this is a negative, that means filling the moment, the day, the essence and the heart with negative energy. Jane chooses to avoid that.

Notice the word there? Chooses? Because as Jane has learned and shared here already, there isn't always much she can choose about what is happening in her life. But she CAN choose her response. So this is more of that kind of thinking. How to turn the zing into something positive and not something she pulls out each day to examine in careful detail. What Dick said, what Dick did...these are Dick's actions and his choices and he has to own them. He can examine them in careful detail, if he were inclined to...which he most certainly is not. But for Jane, the best way to handle these zings is to challenge herself.

Everyone's got their own range of options here. Jane chooses physical challenges and mental challenges and also is experimenting with creative challenges. This might sound like a lot, but she doesn't run around in a constant state of exploration. She's building her own strengths and deciding what works best. And because her situation is particularly overwhelming at times, she needs a good supply of challenges and successes.

It pleases Jane to set the challenge and meet it according to her own terms. For instance, starting the P90X Arms and Shoulders workout was in specific response to something that zinged her in a significant way. This workout is a significant challenge. She's doing well with it and every single time she lifts those weights she feels more and more powerful and the power grows greater than the zing. This works for Jane. It might not work for everyone, but it works for her.

The mental challenge comes from learning something new. Jane will be training this summer to achieve her Reiki Master certification. To prepare for that, she is reading and studying, reviewing and sending out a whole lot of Reiki energy. This is all about Jane, not about Dick and not about his choices. Again, that keeps Jane's focus on positive growth. Same thing with creative challenges. What hobby might be worth pursuing? What talent should be dusted off and explored again or encouraged as a new interest?

When you draw your attention back to yourself and then spread it outward in whatever new and interesting direction appeals, you are changing the negative into something far better. It is very hard to dwell on the source of your pain when you are filling up with so many other things. Positive things. Positive energy. And the act of doing those things will create more possibilities and bring them right into your life. But there has to be space for them...which is why you are pushing out the zings and making room for the good stuff.

Jane realizes this is an investment in herself. She also realizes that she is worth it. And you are, too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jane explores the concept of karma

Jane hears a lot about karma these days. And she admits that there is a strong temptation to wish that karma would come around and bite Dick on the caboose. However, Jane also knows that she had best be concentrating on her own karma. There are many occasions in life where it is wise to tend to your own garden. Karma definitely falls into that category.

So what IS karma, anyway? If you translate right from the Sanskrit root, karma means "action". So anything we say or do or think is karma. But in the yoga tradition it's defined a bit differently. There are three parts to the definition. First, karma is the actions we are committing now, in the present. Second, karma is the effect that our past actions have in our current life. Third, karma is our destiny.

This is summed up by the following statement: actions have consequences. In the Bible, there's a phrase for that. "As you sow, so shall you reap." No matter how you put it, the meaning is the same. What goes around, comes around.

In the spirit of tending to your own garden, Jane offers a little saying that keeps the gardener focused on her karma rather than the behavior...good or bad...of others. "Sow a thought, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny."

Really, all we can do...all we have ever been able to do...is work on ourselves and our own karma. Starting from the inside out, this all begins with thought. If thoughts are a template used to model our lives, what sort of template do you want? And if actions follow thoughts...okay, this is logical...and actions become habits and habits build to form a character...well, what sort of character do you want? And then if character builds to destiny, how do you want that to go?

Jane knows how easy it is to think about what other people did and what that means in her life. Starting from childhood, there are many reasons to act a certain way, to be a certain person, to think certain thoughts. To make that...events that happened to you in childhood or at any other time in life...the framework for your thoughts, habits, character, destiny.

But seriously? This is one area of your life where you have far more control than you might realize. No matter what has gone on in your life or is still going on, you can turn inward and start creating. Yes, creating. From the inside out. It starts with a thought.

Actions have consequences. Actions begin with a concept, a need, a desire, an impulse, an urge, a justification. You can sow thoughts that will reap a glorious harvest in terms of your karma.