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Archive for September, 2012

I think I may have a birthday hangover…and not one caused by the delicious wine I enjoyed last night either.

It’s a happiness hangover. As in, the happiness from the celebrations and well-wishes have hung on over til today.  Okay..that might be stretching the analogy just a wee bit.  Still I gotta say I woke up this morning with a huge smile on my face none the less!

Before I share the list of the acts of kindness and compassion I have to say a couple of things.  The most important thing being I LOVED THIS.  I am so SO going to do this again but better next year.

Random is fine…but a bit of planning would have made this a thousand times better.

So here’s the list.  Some of them you would might have seen on my fan page. I hope if this inspires you to do something (even one thing) yourself you let me know.

1. I’ve already left a Starbucks gift card with the person behind me in line. They said no at first! lol I explained it was a birthday gift..mine. I then asked them to pass it down the line til it was empty. Talk about smiles!

2. I also made it a point to hold the elevator for an older couple who were way at the other side of the garage. They were all smiles and surprised. It only took an extra 8-10 seconds but that elevator can take forever to come back if you miss it.

3. Took extra time out of my morning to walk with an elderly gentleman that Charlie and I sometimes see and lament with him over the loss of his driver’s license. I let him talk it out and nudged him to think of things differently. He was smiling at the end. It would have been easier to simply wave across the park and keep going but he seemed deflated today. I’m glad I took the time.

4. Stuck up a flyer in my building’s elevator that said “I am in charge of how I feel today, and today I choose to feel fabulous! Make it a wonderful day”

5. Dropped off some clothes/shoes and a couple of motivational books at a women’s shelter

6. Waved over a packed car that was looking for parking in the very busy lot. Told them I parked two rows over and I’d meet them there as I was leaving. Now that got me a HUGE smile!

7. I went to Chapters today to use up my gift card I had received as a thank you a while back. The book I wanted was on sale so I had just over $2 left. Handed it to the lady in line who I noticed searching in the kids bargain bin with her  two little ones. Many of those books are around that amount so yay!

8. Driving down the busy street I noticed a car trying to leave a lot. I know that lot and its a pain to see whats coming so I slowed, stopped and waved her out. The reduction in stress was almost visible.

9. Picked up a big bag of cat litter, cat food, added in Charlies collars/leashes he outgrew before they barely saw the light of day and dropped them off at the local shelter.

10. Brought the volunteers at the shelter a box of chocolates. I am so grateful for people who do this heartbreaking work I figured a thank you was nice..but a chocolate one was nicer.

11. Offered to let the lady who was just buying one thing at the check out to go ahead of me.  She was so surprised.  Hey, it only took a few seconds extra for me and I was in no hurry.

12. At the grocery store near me you can get a small discount for bringing a reusable shopping bag.  I love that.  Behind me was an older lady who said she wished she had one like mine because the straps are wide and wouldn’t hurt her hands like the plastic shopping bags do.  I had three…needed only one…so I left one with the cashier for her.  Goodness knows I tend to collect them and certainly have enough!

13.  Walking Charlie at the park I made it a point to say hello to all the people who walked by us.  I said it with a smile and almost everyone smiled back.

14. I spent extra time with a child at the park who loves Charlie.  It’s pretty clear to me this boy has some trouble socializing with the other children.  I realized this over time and also noticed how much he enjoys petting and talking to Charlie.  I think he feels important too when I ask him to tell the other children about holding your hand out so Charlie can say hello by sniffing it before they pet him.  It’s amazing how a simple thing can transform a boy from withdrawn to confident.  We spent a long time there but this kid thrived at least for a  while.  (way to go Charlie!)

15. Left a gift of children’s books for a family I know of with some pretty lovely kids.  I know the family isn’t well off and I also know the kids will love the books. 

16. Helped my a couple wrangle their groceries and two huge boxes of pampers and a stroller with a sleeping baby into the building.  How do you parents DO it?  Baby stayed asleep and the parents were pretty  happy about that.

17. Let someone know that they were parked in a tow-zone.  They had no idea.  They didn’t understand the sign…I swear the government wrote the days you can’t park in such a cryptic way as to confuse people on purpose.

18.  Searched out the caretaker in my building and thanked him for all his hard work. I know that he works his butt off, especially as they cut his hours recently.  He still gets everything done and with a smile.  I let him know my appreciation for that.

19. I printed off all the coupons for Michael’s and when they were still out of the glue I needed I found someone to give the coupon too. In fact, I had 4 coupons.  One was only for frames so I wandered over to the frames/pictures area and looked for someone.  I found a lady who was really excited to get a 40% off coupon.  She stated that now she could get the frame that she really wanted! who hoo!

20.  Left 2 other coupons in the areas because I didn’t see anyone there.  Hopefully someone who needs ’em finds ’em!

21.  Opened my change purse and dumped all of it into the Seeing Eye Dog charity box.  The work they do is amazing.

22. Bought the man in a wheelchair asking for money a coffee and a cookie.  He’s there all the time, rain or shine, with something positive to say or simply hello even if you have no change for him. I had already given all my change away so used my debit card to get him something to warm him up at least.

23. Took a moment to tell the cashier I see all the time at the grocery store that I enjoy seeing her when I come and always come to her line.  I told her she is so warm and friendly that it’s a treat to chat for a few moments with her.  All true! 

And that’s what I have for my list.  I know I said I’d do 27 things for the 27th day of the month. I didn’t quite make it.  I had lots of great ideas but needed more time to implement them.

Next year, I’m going to plan ahead a little for at least some of them.  I thought maybe making some doggie cookies for the doggie friends at the park, cookies or pies for friends to surprise them with might be fun but there just simply wasn’t enough time in one day.

I also think I’d like to take some pictures next time.  The smiles lifted my hearts and I think it would be lovely to have a photo of some of the ‘event’s that took place don’t you?

That being said I learned a few things.

  • it doesn’t cost a lot of money (or any for that matter) to change the course of someones day
  • it doesn’t cost you a lot of time either
  • random acts are something we can always be on the look out for..like the car in the tow-away/fine zone
  • planning an act of kindness that is random for the other person is pretty awesome too…like the drop offs for the shelter
  • one random act can ripple out into a beautiful wave of positive energy
  • this is what Grace looks like

Walking through life looking to serve others brings a great deal of joy to ourselves.  It isn’t as a servant of people that you do them. It’s as a servant of love.  That is what makes all the difference.

It was my imagining that if many people started to do these types of things we might send more positive energy out into the world.  Perhaps it would start a shift in the total energy and move all of us to a happier and more joyful life.

A big image, a big goal…but I think it can be done…one act of love at a time.

Join me?

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Yup, tomorrow is the 27th of September and I am officially another year older. Now, I have a special birthday request from all of you out there in the big wide world.

I want you to join me in my birthday celebration.

I haven’t always had a lot of great luck in celebrating my birthday. So this year I’m not waiting for anyone else to do anything to celebrate. I have been disappointed far too often so this year, I’ve got something fantastic in mind!

I’m going to celebrate MY way!

I am going to do 27 random acts of compassion starting today. Yes it’s not quite my birthday but hey…I might need the travel time!

I’m asking that you join me in this fun and do a few of your own then head over to my facebook page and simply bombard it with your comments and stories about what you did and what happened.

This would make my birthday amazing.

Pull your kids into it, grab your partner, keep in simple and do it with love. Whatever you can, with whatever you have. That is what real compassion is all about after all.

So far today,

  1. I’ve already left a Starbucks gift card with the person behind me in line. They said no at first! lol I explained it was a birthday gift..mine. I then asked them to pass it down the line til it was empty. Talk about smiles!
  2. I also made it a point to hold the elevator for an older couple who were way at the other side of the garage. They were all smiles and surprised. It only took an extra 8-10 seconds but that elevator can take forever to come back if you miss it.

See? Easy peasy. I really hope I see you over on my wall!

Blessings!
Bonnie

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There is a well – known saying that ‘success attracts success and failure attracts more failure’.  Or at least its something close to that.  Either way it’s pretty much the truth.

And the idea of it used to scare the crap out of me.

You see I didn’t really understand it.  I didn’t have a clear definition of success or failure.  More importantly I would struggle with the last part.  I mean, if I screw up doesn’t that mean I’m now destined to continue that cycle?  I really struggled wrapping my head around this idea.

No, no, no!  That is not what I wanted at all; so I would kill myself making sure I didn’t fail or mess up. At least not too badly! I became what I used to call a perfectionist.  Now I realize it’s a terribly deep, ingrained fear of being stuck in the failure trap.

Here’s the truth.  There is no trap.  It doesn’t exist unless you make it so.

Let me give you some examples.  I would work on school projects til the wee hours of the morning.  I’d change this or that, edit until the words swam in front of my eyes and re-write til my hand felt numb.   I once had a job at a fast food place (no, I won’t say which one) and I hated it.  I really, really did but I still worked my tail off and would even stay til after my shift to ensure that ‘my’ stuff was done and done right. 

Then I started University.  I had to wait a year to go to earn some money but I decided to take a night class to get my feet wet so to speak.  What I didn’t know is this particular class was about to teach me a lesson not related to psychology. 

Big secret reveal – I totally bombed my first paper.  Failed it; I mean REALLY failed it…I was horrified, devastated, mortified and embarrassed.  I wanted to run and hide but thankfully the Universe is kind, even in its harshest lessons.  The professor with over 500 students didn’t have time to see me anytime soon.  I was desperate to find out what I did wrong.  After all the next paper was coming up! My goodness that feeling of failure and feeling lost was hard to swallow.  Then the blessing arrived in the form of an upper class TA.  She offered to quickly look over my paper.  The content was good but the format was all wrong. 

Turns out this is a pretty common problem for first year students.  In fact, the University runs a workshop during FROSH week to get everyone on board because so many are not taught proper format for different papers in high school. Of course, because I wasn’t a regular student (one class only) I had no idea.  She also told me that she bombed her first paper too and not to worry because University is all about learning.

What a blessing this woman was to me.  She suggested the reference book that could help me, which I not only bought but ended up almost wearing out by the time I finished school.  Even with that failure, I managed a B+ in that class at the end of it all.  Not too shabby a jump!   I often thank her again silently when I think about it.  She gave me about 15 mins of her time and shared some of her knowledge and it changed my life.   I wonder if she knows…

The lesson this class gave me was two-fold.  Failure isn’t a cycle you can’t break.  What seems like a minor kindness to you, can be everything to someone else. 

But I want to talk more about this failure business.  I realized something that day, the day of my first big, public crash and burn.  I was okay.  I didn’t die, or get ridiculed.  No one branded me with a giant ‘F’ on my forehead to tell the world I was now just a big ol’ failure. 

In fact, no one but me really gave it much thought.  I had good enough sense to try to figure it out and that made all the difference.  failure

My failure morphed into a lesson that created success. 

I changed my path; broke the cycle or whatever you want to call it because of my mental mindset and my attitude.

I could have done things differently.  I could have cried into my pillow and then just given up assuming that I wasn’t cut out for higher learning.  Trust me, there were a few people in my life who would  have supported that decision.  I easily could have taken that path and there would have been easy ways to justify it.

But I didn’t.

This is why I say to you there is no failure trap other than one of your own making.   It’s all in how you handle your mess ups. 

Have some faith that you can and understand that failure just means that you still have something to learn

 

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You know how it’s become quite the thing to share these beautiful photos with uplifting and inspiring quotes?

I love them.  I really do and I think it’s a wonderful, beautiful thing that this is becoming so common.  The thing is how often do you come across one that really grabs you and sits you down and says “pay attention to me”?  It happened to me…true story!

It was a quote by none other than Dr. Wayne Dyer. Truly one of my most beloved teachers today.  His message speaks deeply to me and I’ve heard him say this before.  He talks about our thoughts creating our world (you see why I connect with his message right?). 

What he said was

“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
 
I get that.  I see where he’s going with it.  However lately I’ve had this quote come at me from many different sides and places.  The other day I ‘clicked’ on something in my own files and my hand glitches and clicked the wrong link.  Take a wild guess what came up?
 
 

I was actually surprised to see this picture.  I honestly don’t remember saving it but that isn’t what surprised me. I had been thinking about this quote over and over for days and here is was again.  Oh how the universe whispers can turn into a shout.

 
You see waaaaay back when I was sleep walking through life,  I expect I was content enough. I had no major illnesses and had a fairly solid set of goals.  Sort of a one step in front of the other routine.  But I wasn’t in love with life.  I was just marking time.
 
I think of it this way..it’s like a car.  I was alive – engine on – but hanging out in neutral.  Occasionally I’d hit first gear and move forward..accomplish a goal or two.  Some people live their entire life this way. 
 
Somewhere along the way I discovered the rest of the gears.  I threw the top down and let myself  love my path.  The wind in my hair, radio up and singing along.  Detours?  No problem!  They were simply new ways and new scenery. 
 
Then a problem showed up that I couldn’t overcome or gloss over.  I not only slipped gears, but may have stalled out for a while.
 
As I started to heal physically, I went back to living nice and safe in neutral.  But you know what? After experiencing real happiness and true living, neutral can feel more like reverse and leave you kind of sad.  I felt let down and in my own words ‘screwed over’.  Life got kind of dark for me.  I realized so much that I’d been missing as I sped along.  Relationships I thought were one way fell apart or simply disappeared.  People I would have sworn would be there…weren’t.  And to my surprise a certain person who I would have put at the top of the fade away list, stood up and came through.
 
My world and what I thought it was, was turned upside down and inside out. 
 
I started, for a while, to see the world through a victim’s eyes.  I know this might tick off a few people but you know what…being a victim is a choice.  What happened to me..or to you may not have been your choice true.  The really crappy fall out may not be your choice, but being a victim to it..well sorry..but that’s a choice.
 
I know this for a fact, because I chose that role for a while.  I saw the world as a cruel place.  A place where people were waiting to see you fall, to find a mistake and mess you around all over again.  I thought the world was uncaring and heartless.  I walked around waiting for more shoes to drop and scared to feel happy in case it was yanked away again.  It’s a dark and unhappy place to be.
 
I think this is what Dr. Dyer is talking about.  The world hadn’t changed from when I was happy and looked at the world as full of opportunity.  I had changed.  ME.  My perspective and what I chose to see.  
 
Think of it this way.  If you are full of joy you will see beauty in the rain, the lovely sound, flowers growing again after the summer drought and pretty reflections in puddles.  If you are sad and bitter you will see the same rain as dark, dreary and see the deadness of the flowers, weeds to be pulled and puddles of dirty old mud.
 
It’s the same world…the same rain and the same garden. 
 
Despite all that I still have coming down the line to test me, I choose to see the joy.  I choose to think that for the most part, other people are kind and want to do what is right given a chance.  I choose to bring love and kindness to the world and belive I will have it returned to me.  It’s been a long spell of ups and downs.  A hard road but even the worst roads will get you somewhere right? 
 
My lessons are my own.  I share them so that you know you are not alone.  I share them so that you can see there is a light and you have the right and the choice to see it.  I’m letting you know that even amidst all the pain and struggle it’s okay to get better and it’s okay to feel joy.
 
I choose to believe that the rain is going to bring me some freakin amazing rainbows.
 

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It’s so important to take that time…the time to pause.

We rush, rush, rush through life.  So often we wonder just how we got to where we are.  We say things like “how did it get so bad?” or “where did the time go?”

Sitting with yourself  in silence is so important and we so rarely take the time to do it. Taking time to sit in silence with yourself provides you introspection and allows you to not only see what baggage you’ve been lugging around but let’s you choose to put it down.

I’m not really talking about meditation here, although that can be a place to start.  I’m speaking to taking moments to BE in the moment. To feel the sun, brace against the wind and taste the raindrops.  Experience the emotional aspects of who you are.

To figure out our why.

To learn where your ‘stuff’ has come from and face it before you drag it with you to the next experience.

To really, really live we must stop once in a while and be in our moments.  We must look at all we carry with us and see what needs to be unloaded and left behind.

This poem is a beautiful reminder of how it feels to be in a moment and to experience it.

I love to sit in silence beneath a shady tree and listen to the song of birds and to the buzz of bees.

I love to sit in silence and watch the clouds go by and then read a book or hear a song and hear the wild bird cry.

I love to sit in silence when the day is almost done and see beyond the distant hill the paint glow of the sun.

I love to sit in silence in the evening twilight and listen to the whippoorwill sing with all its might.

I love to sit in silence beneath the starry night and pray to all in earnestness to live in silence all the while.  – author unknown

To do this sort of soul searching we must learn to be still.  We must stop being afraid to listen to our own voice.  We are all a work in progress but as with any important project we need to stop and evaluate where we are from time to time.  We need to occasinally pause and ask ourselves ‘why am I doing this?’

The world is a beautiful place.  You have a beautiful soul.  It would be simply a shame to not take the time to appreciate and experience this.

Feel free to use this affirmation “Today I take time to pause and drink in all the beauty that is life.  I stop to use all my senses to be in the moment

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I learned very early in my life that things aren’t always fair.

Recently I have had to face a hidden part of my self, and it wasn’t pretty.  What I discovered was a new level of honest and raw emotions. 

To be honest, I’m in a weird sort of way quite impressed with how well I’ve ignored and/or covered up these feelings and got on with life.

But  no more.

The pain, the emotions are out and they are staying out and they are going to change.

There has been a lot of people in my life who have, by actions (or lack there of) and by words shoved the idea that I was not really worthy of their time and affection.  I could earn some of it by doing for them, or giving to them but I, by myself wasn’t really making the cut.  So I became a giver of myself and in process gave away so much I ended up empty and lost.

I don’t believe for one minute that any of these people meant to teach that to a child and then re-enforce it over and over as an adult.  I think, for the most part it was a double-edged sword.  Maybe even triple edged…is there a triple edged sword? 

My family repeated what they had learned.  I don’t understand how they can not see the hurt, but they simply cannot and will not.  I have had to learn to let that go.  I have to hand that back to those people and let them own it until the day they are ready to deal with it themselves.

As I got older, I repeated this learned patttern on my own.  I gave and did for others and didn’t value my Self.  This included my time, money and love.  And if I didn’t value it I was only going to attract those who also didn’t.  Not bad or mean people…but people who were going to help me repeat this pattern over and over of not getting what I need.  And at one point I was really in need emotionally and physically and ended up pretty much alone.  You want to talk about painful?  Yup..that really hurt and it still kind of does. 

In the past, I would change myself, adapt who I was and what I wanted in order to keep the peace. I’d hurt, but never show it.  I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore.

What I’ve learned is I’ve repeated these relationship dynamics over and over again.  They hurt deeply, but it is what felt normal to me.  I just simply made excuses and shoved my own needs down figuring I can just deal with it myself.  As I mentioned … sometimes you can’t.

I wanted to change this.  I started to see that it didn’t have to be this way.  I wanted OUT of this pattern.

Sadly, it meant inflicting more pain on myself in order to break free.  This is not an easy thing to do.  It can be lonely and scary and well…leave you wondering if it’s worth it.  This is really tough when your boundaries have to change with your family.  People don’t like change, they get uncomfortable with you making changes especially when it affects the relationship.  I had to, at one point step, back and decide to let them initiate contact and do some follow-up on the relationship.  The lack of interest was heartbreaking for me. 

The one big lesson I’ve learned is it’s far more painful to be lonely when you are with someone, then it is to be lonely when you are by yourself.  I rather like myself and so don’t really feel sad at being alone.

I am learning my worth every day.  I have found some kindred spirits who do value my spirit.  It has taken a lot of time, tears and many, many lessons along the way.  It seemed like each time I reach a new understanding, it opens up a wound that must be bathed in tears in order to begin to heal.

I find though that each day I am more ‘me’.  I know more about what I need, what I want and I’m not shy about it anymore.  I still enjoy being a giver, but only so far as I am happy doing so. I won’t wreck  my health or life to make someone care for me because that isn’t real anyway

I wanted to share this because I have also discovered that many people travel the same path and never understand that it can be different. It is possible and it is better.  It was during this journey (and I say during because it’s never-ending I think) that I was lead to coaching.  My life journey is taking me places I would never have suspected once I started living it in an authentic way.

Do you have trouble with boundaries and repeating the same types of relationship dynamics?

We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made of us.
Jean-Paul Sartre

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Every get up in the morning and just wonder just how you’re going to get going?  (My answer to everything in the morning is coffee so you might want to keep reading. ;D)

Or perhaps you’re like me and take a big breath at times and say..”okay, you can do this – get going”  in the hopes that this will actually get you going? Yes, I talk to myself…a lot.

Then you see people who bound out of bed ready to tackle anything.  They go, go, go with seemingly unbridled energy.

What gives?

Why are these folks so freakin motivated all the time?

Well, they may be hyped up on energy drinks I suppose, but there is another possibility.  Everything might be related to how they choose to think about and see the world.

You see there are two ways to view things that expressly affect your internal motivators. Those feelings that you can do it, and you are about to!

You see, there is this way of thinking that far too many adhere to.  Wayne Dyer called it “deficiency motivation”.  Basically you are motivated because you think you are lacking.  You don’t have as much as the other guy. He’s smarter than you; she’s prettier than you.  You are not enough, you don’t have enough so you  must work, work, work.  You are motivated by a deep down core of fear; a fear of not being enough. 

Yuck.

 

And guess what? It really doesn’t work.  Think about it. You will only find frustration and self-depreciation here.  You can NEVER win this one.  There is always someone who is or has more of something.  What kind of life is that you creating then?  One that can never be fulfilled or joyous.

So, where do we take this then?  How do we motivate ourselves?

We learn to be grateful and celebrate all that we already have and all that we are.  We live in the right here, right now in a joyous way.  It’s vital to understand that you are enough.  Where you are is exactly where you should be right now.  Your journey should never be compared to someone elses because it is uniquely yours.  Apples and oranges my friends.

This is not to say you shouldn’t work towards goals and dreams that you have.  Not at all.  It just means that as you work towards each new step in life you are taking time to find gratitude for that which you already have.

You are a gift in this world.  You bring things to it that no other person can.    When you stop doing things to impress or compete with others your purpose will speak much louder to you. And really, there is no greater motivator than living from within that purpose.

Try working with this affirming thought each day.  “I am grateful and appreciate all that I am and all that I have.”

 

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