We’ll Take A Cup Of Nyquil Yet

auld-lang-syne-1 I give up. I was actually trying to write a post every day this month for the Holidailies December challenge. You don’t have to have a theme, but I did, and my theme was – wait for it – holidays. 😉

Then, the day before yesterday, I got sick. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not just a cold. Sometimes I think it’s bronchitis (I’ve had that before) and sometimes I think it’s something worse. And my doctor is on vacation until next Wednesday. Fortunately, this morning his office phoned in an antibiotic for me, so we’ll see if that works.

But I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck and then some.

I can’t finish.

I. Quit.

So sorry for the ones who were following me through the challenge. I just can’t do it.

Five Easy Ways To Fight Holiday Weight Gain!

Woman holding red apple on black background Oh, come on. It’s just a cookie. It’s not even a big one. You can eat it. You’ll get back on your diet after the New Year.

How often have you heard those words, or even said them to yourself over holiday foods during this season? Don’t despair, it’s never too late to learn new habits or try something new. Here are five ways to fight holiday weight gain starting now:

1. Absorb: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A glass of water before a meal is a good idea, too.

2. Activity: Exercise is always a good idea. I recently got a Wii console for an early Christmas gift, and Zumba to exercise to. I don’t always do it, but it’s on my list of New Year’s resolutions, to exercise to Zumba at least four times a week.

3. Avoid: Don’t eat for emotional reasons. When you reach for that ice cream, ask yourself if you’re sad, bored, angry, or even joyful.

4. Await: Slowly count to 10 before you cheat. Then, if you still want it, eat it, You’ll know you made a conscious choice.

5. Always: Always eat breakfast. It helps start your day right by making you feel full to begin with, and it really is the most important meal.

Peace out.

 

Happy Boxing Day!

BOXING_DAY Boxing Day traditionally falls on the first weekday after Christmas day. It’s a British holiday, but some others celebrate it I am sure. The custom is linked to an older English tradition. Since the servants would have to wait on their employers on Christmas Day, they were given the next day to go and visit with their own families and celebrate together. The employer would give the servant a box to take home that had gifts in it, or bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

Today is also the beginning of Kwanzaa, created in 1966 as the first holiday specifically for African-Americans. So Joyous Kwanzaa as well!

Try to see the world around you with the eyes of a child. In the words of Aldous Huxley: “For every man, the world is as fresh as it was the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them.”

Love and good cheer.

Peace out.

 

Five Merry Christmas Makers!

from Clouds In My Coffee Facebook Community

from Clouds In My Coffee Facebook Community

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
—Dave Barry

This Christmas, don’t forget to:

1. laugh: humor can help any situation, and it seems at holidays it is absolutely essential. So when you notice your uncle is once again drinking too much as he always does, try laughing about it instead of getting angry. See what that does.

2. smile: I think I’ve said this before, but if so it bears repeating. It takes less muscles to smile than to frown, and it’s been said that one can actually smile her way to being happy. So if you’re not really feeling the Christmas cheer this year (hey, that rhymed!) try smiling your way there.

3. be grateful: Your aunt gave you another atrocious Christmas sweater which you wouldn’t even wear once a year? So, be grateful. It’s really nice that she thought of you. (And there are starving people in China. 😉 )

4. breathe: Take a minute to take a deep breath. So often when we are in high stress situations, and even though Christmas is fun, it’s still considered pretty stressful . . . we forget to breathe. Breathe. 

5. meditate: This is where we remember to take things one day, or one minute at a time, and remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Take yourself off to a little corner and whip out a thought for the day book, or say the serenity prayer. Call your sponsor.

And have the Merriest Christmas!!

Peace out.

 

The Wisdom To Know The Difference

detach I went to a meeting this morning. I was so grateful there was an Al-Anon meeting on Christmas Eve morning that I could attend. The topic around the meeting was taking care of ourselves, but I heard a smattering of frustration and fear on the topic of holidays in general, my own included. I talked about how I was trying to remember the Three C’s: I didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it . . . and the Three M’s to avoid for myself: manipulation, martyrdom, and mothering.

It all comes down to the wisdom of knowing the difference between things I can change and things I can’t. It should be such a simple thing. All I can change is myself or things about myself. Period. Can’t change circumstances or other people.

Circumstances will be different for me this Christmas Eve with my family. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control whether or not people have a good time, or are upset about something. I can control my own responses and reactions. That’s about it. There’s not a lot I can do otherwise.

When I think of the word detachment it helps. If I’m too enmeshed with someone or something, I can’t possibly back off enough to even BREATHE, let alone know the difference.

Have a great day today. Whatever you do, take care of yourself. Even if you just need to go to a quiet corner and meditate, do that.

Peace out.

You Are Enough!

be you Accept everything about yourself—I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end—no apologies, no regrets.
— HENRY KISSINGER

Here’s something not everyone knows about me. As much as I love the holidays, it’s still hard for me to be around other people for too long, even family. I never know what to talk about. I’m on disability, so I can’t talk about work. I do read the news, so I can talk about that to some degree, but I don’t argue well. 😉 So when it comes to arguing a point, I always lose. I don’t mean argument as in a fight or something; just differing views, I’m not good at defending my own. Never have been.

So I get a little nervous as Christmas Eve and Day approach. When I see family, what can we talk about? I’ve heard advice in the past: “news, weather, and sports.” Well, okay, that can work to a certain extent.

What I find most helpful, when I’m stuck, is to ask about the other person. What’s been happening with them? People love to talk about themselves (well, most people 😛  ). One question can lead to other questions and before you know it, you’re having a whole dialogue and it’s all okay.

But here’s something I need to remember this year, and maybe you do, too. I’m enough, just the way I am. In fact, I’m wonderful. There are unique qualities about me: my sense of humor, compassion, ability to empathize, that make me a good listener and a fine companion for the holidays.

What about you? What are your unique qualities that make you wonderful and fun to be around? I’m sure you can think of just one. Here’s a trick. Do like I just did. Write it out. Then say it out loud. Even if you don’t believe it yet. Because it’s true.

And hey, it’s all you. 😀

Peace out.

Holiday Peace Be With You

peace_3 Peace, both individual and world peace in general, has everything to do with the 3rd step I’ve learned in Al-Anon – made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 

Yesterday was both Humbug Day and Look at the Bright Side Day. How unusual, even ironic, to have two polar opposite views and feelings during the season occur on the exact same day.

I have had to revisit Step Three a whole lot during the last few weeks. Because of my codependency, I sometimes still have issues with boundaries. I let other peoples’ feelings leak over into me, and think that my positive feelings about the season should be enough to lift anyone’s spirits. It’s like I forget about the invisible line that separates me from other people.

It used to be for me, if you and I went to a movie and you didn’t enjoy it, it became a personal affront. I almost couldn’t stand the idea that you didn’t like it, didn’t have a good time, and felt like what you were saying was “I didn’t like you. I didn’t like being around you.”

In the past while, since Thanksgiving, I’ve come across several people I care about who are – to put it bluntly – humbugs this year. They would rather the season pass, the days go by, without acknowledging anything special. It started to bring me down. A couple times I even got angry. I was losing my own joy and inner peace. My serenity felt lost at sea.

Then I remembered that part of the Third Step is turning other people and their lives over to God. I remembered, when the alcoholic in my life was drinking, that I used to pray, “God, this is too big for me to handle. I don’t know what to do. But nothing is too big for You, so I’m turning this (person, situation) over to You.” And I would feel, if not immediate, then very soon after a peace wash over me.

That helped me this morning, when I logged onto Facebook and again saw an expression of humbug over Christmas. I turned that person over to God, and I let it go. Peace and happiness over Christmas day are both an inside job. Nobody can ruin that inner peace unless I let them.

I wish you peace and joy this holiday season. And I hope your day is lovely. I pray we can focus on the people around us, the loved ones we are with, thankfulness for what we already have as opposed to what we don’t, do only what we can, or do even less, and remember that serenity doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free existence. It does mean that we can maintain inner peace though the troubles. I pray we can look on the brighter side, and let go of what we can’t control.

Peace out.

kids

Hold Out A Helping Hand

helping-hand Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~William James

Do you realize that things you do, even little things that you might think nothing about, resonate with people for a long time? It’s true. We might not see the consequences of our actions immediately.

I wrote a guest post for a friend’s blog sometime this past year. It was about my experience, strength and hope as a woman who loves an alcoholic. I wrote from my heart, but I had no idea it would make a difference. Several months after I wrote it, I got a Facebook message from my friend saying that she still gets people who read that post and sometimes comment on it.

It amazed me, that statement, but what I realized about giving, whether it’s your testimony at a meeting (or on a blog), your time, your money, whatever we give . . . comes back to us ten-fold, in that – well, it makes us feel good. I don’t know the science behind it, and I’m not going to pretend I do, but I know I read somewhere that helping someone else boosts our own moods.

Feeling down this holiday season? Volunteer somewhere. The Salvation Army still needs bell ringers in my area (I did it a couple of times, so I know) and they must need them where you are too. Check HERE to find help on how to be a bell ringer.

Just be kinder, gentler . . . if we look around us, we can find all sorts of ways to help others this season. Know a neighbor who spends the day alone? Invite her to your home for Christmas, or take her a plate to eat. Open doors, smile more, be patient with store clerks and other patrons, and try not to swear in traffic. 😉

Hoping your day is lovely.

Peace out.

 

Eight Easy Exit Egresses!

way-out-437864_89164372

So, you’re at a party and you’re read to go home. Trust me, I’ve been in this spot many times. Just as my own take on things, here are several ways you can take care of yourself and not call too much attention at the same time:

1. Park a little ways away from the madding crowd: When you arrive at the party, try to park away from the cluster of cars. In other words, don’t box yourself in so that it becomes a hassle (so-and-so needs to move his car, which is behind whats-his-name’s car, which is behind your car . . . ). Even if you have to park a block away, it’s worth the extra effort.

2. “I have to go let the dog out.” Pets are a fantastic excuse for having to leave a party that’s still going strong. If you have a dog, bring it out and make it earn its keep. 😉

3“We need to check on the kids.” You’ve left the kids to fend for themselves, and they’re just at that age where they are competent enough to be alone, but you need to make sure they haven’t trashed the place or started their own party. Wonderful.

4.  Take a break. If you just can’t leave yet, take a break. If you smoke (which I am in no way advocating, but I am addicted) use that as on excuse and take a smoke break. Leave the room for a few minutes to clear your head. If you are at all like me, sometimes the voices can get overwhelming at a party, to the point where I’m seeing the person’s lips move but I can’t make out what they’re saying. That’s when I know for sure, I need to get out of here for a bit.

5.  Go to the bathroom. Everybody uses the restroom during a party, don’t they? If you don’t make it a practice. When in there, do a 30-second stress reducer. Make a fist. Find the place on your palm where your 3rd finger touched. With your thumb on that spot on your palm, and another finger meeting it on the back of your hand, massage that exact spot for 30 seconds. It’s a guaranteed stress-reliever!

6. Text your partner. If you’re with a spouse or significant other, text him/her that you’re ready to go.

7. Plan ahead. Know ahead of time that you have somewhere else to be (another party, you social butterfly?) and let the host know you won’t be able to stay long.

8. Decide on a signal. This one only works if you’re with someone else. Similar to texting, but something you both agree ahead of time that will be your signal to go. A nod of the head, touching the earlobe, bending down to tie your shoes, putting your hand in your pocket, saying a special word (mistletoe or dreidel, anyone?) . . . any of these can be your go-to signs.

Well, I hope this has helped. With Christmas and Kwanzaa approaching, and Hanukkah just past, we still have some parties and places to go.

Peace out.

Take Pride in Small Achievements

our CHristmas tree Finally finished the paper-chain around the tree. It’s up, it’s beautiful (I guess), and I’m supremely happy. I only have to make a tinfoil star for the top, and that’s really optional. I could buy one at the store just as easily. But—I feel like making one.

That’s my mom and dad’s wedding picture in the background. I sure wish Dad could have been around to see this tree. But I believe in heaven and the afterlife, and I fantasize that he’s looking down from heaven and can see it.

This will be a short post. I’m still whacked out from staying up all night the night before last. Something I will never do again! Twenty-nine is definitely too old to continue to pull all-nighters. 😉

Be proud of the small things you achieve. Cut yourself slack on the things that don’t get done. Be gentle and go easy.

Peace out.

This Too Shall Pass

ThisTooShallPass When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, I’m reminded by this slogan to hold on loosely; when things are going well, as they sometimes do too, I remember to hold on loosely but treasure each moment. Nothing lasts forever, and this too shall pass. 

I made a choice yesterday in reaction to confusion, anger, and fear—none of which are, of course, good foundations for decision-making. I decided to stay off Facebook until December 26th. There had been too much sadness, arguing, and general ugliness which I witnessed, and there were some other personal issues involved.

Holidays can be so difficult, especially if we have lost a loved one during this time of year. A staggering 25% of losses occur during the holidays, for various reasons. What happened last Friday will add to your stress and difficulty, if you let it. 

I don’t always remember to hold on loosely, but when I do, it makes it much easier to practice that other tried and true slogan Let go and Let God. Just—let it go. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel sad and concerned about the families going through this holiday without their loved ones recently lost in Newtown, Connecticut. It means we give it to God, because it’s too big for us to hold. And YOU have a life to live . . . that’s not selfish, that’s a fact.

Take care of yourselves, and each other when you can. Be sure you get plenty of zzz’s (some people swear by five hours of sleep, but it’s recommended that we get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Eat properly. This means sitting down once in a while and not standing at the microwave, unconsciously eating while you ruminate about your to-do list. Pray. Pray again. Even if you’re not sure you believe, what can it hurt? Play. If you are living in an area of the world lucky enough to have snow right now, go out and build a snowman. I saw a hilarious picture of a snowman built upside down, with the arm sticks pushing down into the snow, as if he were doing a headstand.

Caveat: I feel it’s important to say here that I don’t always follow my own advice, so that’s a gentle warning to you, dear reader. 😉 I don’t nearly get enough zzz’s, because I have a dog who wakes me up sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. And last night I didn’t sleep a wink, finishing paper chains for our Christmas tree. I’ve been off my diet for the past month or so, but I plan in getting right back to it today. I’m learning how to play, but I’m no expert. So the words you read here on this blog are written by an extremely fallible human being.

But I do believe that this too shall pass. 

Peace out. take_care_of_yourself

Celebrate the Underdog!

thriving through the holidays Today is National Underdog Day. Established in 1976, National Underdog  day keeps our unsung heroes in mind. The term underdog is believed to have come from the shipbuilding industry. Planks of wood were called dogs. Two men were assigned to supervise the placing of these dogs; one from up top, and one from under, in the pit, where he got covered in sawdust and mud. So today we tip our hats to the underdogs, the unsung heroes who are never expected to make it out of the pit.

I’m a big movie buff, and the greatest movie underdog of all time (in my humble opinion) is Rocky Balboa. No one ever saw this guy coming. Who would’ve expected a nowhere nobody to come from left field and win the way he did? He had many obstacles against him, but he plugged away. Nobody believed in him, but he kept going.

To say that these times, right now today, are tough for people around the world, is largely an understatement. I’m confused, feeling unsafe, and unsure of an environment I thought I knew pretty well. As one who (I hate the word “suffers” but I never know what to say) struggles with several mental health problems, I know in my heart that we need better resources out there for people who are mentally ill. That’s what we need. That is all. (That is all period, not That is all as in “oh, piece of cake!”)

In the meantime, I hope you will take to heart the 10 things listed in this picture. Are you an underdog? *gasp* Then there’s two of us. Maybe we should start a club. 😉 Are you having a hard time wrapping your mind around what happened on the 14th? I think there’s a club for that, too. It’s collective grief, and it’s not a sign of weakness to cry (as some of us were raised to believe). Rather, it takes immense strength to show one’s heart to others. Tears, sobbing, crying . . . all of that discharges pent up feelings and helps us heal. Only then can we truly let go.

Peace out.

 

Take A Nap!

pooped Things can get pretty hurried and fast-paced during this time of year. Although taking a nap is generally a good idea under normal circumstances, during the holiday season it should be a rule. 😉 

I posted earlier this month about dogs, and how we should try to be more like them. Animals know intuitively when they need a break. Dogs are not far removed from their wolf ancestors, who needed to conserve energy for hunting and gathering. When I take my Lucy out for a walk, you would think she’s on a hunt. Her nose is constantly to the ground, unless she hears a noise. Then she has to see what’s going on. 😉 But when she’s not playing, walking, eating, or otherwise occupied, she sleeps.

I find it difficult to sleep during the day due to some of the meds I take for bipolar disorder and CFS. But this is what I do when I know I absolutely need a nap and I’m having trouble. I go into my bedroom, close the blinds, get a light blanket, and turn on a cd, maybe Sleepy Rain: With Delta Brainwave Pulses. I have other cds I listen to, including a Brahms Lullaby for babies. 😀 Hey, whatever works.

Just be sure to get lots of rest this holiday season. It helps your immune system fight off these nasty colds and flu that are making the rounds.

Peace out.

Steps To Save Your Sanity!

sharing-light1 I hope it doesn’t make me heartless to not write about the tragedy in Connecticut yesterday. I’m just as shocked and broken up as any of you, but I’m just choosing not to write about it.

Today, keeping in the holiday theme of the month, I thought we’d talk about how to hang on to our sanity during this time. It can be difficult with family obligations, financial crises, or other high stress situations.

Just fill in this blank: “The toughest part of the holidays is most definitely _____.”

Now, let’s figure out how to deal with whatever you (or me, which for me, it is family stress for sure) wrote in the blank.

1. Keep conscious contact with your Higher Power: I didn’t always believe Step Two. It took a long time for that step to work its way down from my head to my heart. I had been burned by a church and burned in my family, and I felt betrayed by God. So I prayed, because I thought it “worked” for other people, whatever “it” was. My prayers were wooden and automatic at first. When I read passages in the Bible about people crying out to God, I could never imagine myself getting that passionate. In anger, maybe. Even that, I felt more numb–like a shell-shocked victim. It’s been very gradual . . . years of tilling the soil, planting seeds, just . . . sitting with God without talking . . . times like that. But I do maintain daily contact, even if I’m so busy all I can manage to pray is Help! and Thank you! It’s a relationship. It’s different now. And when we speak, it’s as if it was just minutes ago.

2. Get support: Find a place that gets to feel like your home away from home, whether it’s a recovery group, Bible study, therapy group, prayer circle, knitting circle . . . even a book club if you all get close enough that you can share your deepest darkests. You know? I don’t know what I would do without Al-Anon. Or my knitting circle, for that matter! 😉

3. Have a sponsor: I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a sponsor, and establish boundaries and guidelines from the get-go, about how often to keep in touch, when to call, how often to meet, and so forth. I do have the best sponsor in the whole wide world, but you might could find the second best . . . 😉

4. Use a phone list: Each time you go to a new meeting, and you like it, and you start to make friends there, get phone numbers. If the meeting has a phone list, get that. Then, use it. People put their names down on phone list because they want to be called. So go ahead. Make someone’s day.

5. Read some recovery-endorsed literature daily: I have several daily meditation books, but only . . . hmm, I think four, are endorsed by Al-Anon as conference-approved literature. So I make sure every day to read from at least one of those, usually a couple, because they are each so different. I’m reading the Al-Anon Bible through for the 3rd time.

6. Help someone else: When you light someone else’s candle, your own light never goes out. Ever notice that? Even if all you feel able to do is to hold the door for someone coming in after you, or to get an extra chair for someone who came in late . . . whatever you can do to help someone during this holiday season . . . maybe you are in the parking lot and you notice someone burdened with many shopping bags. Carefully approach and ask if you can help. We just don’t do things like that anymore. Let’s start a revolution . . . a love revolution.

You’re beautiful. You know that, right?

Peace out.

Getting Through The Holiday Blues

holidayattitudeEver feel like this cartoon? That if you had to turn on the radio and hear one more freaking Christmas carol you would hurl the bleepety-bleep thing across the room? You’re not alone.

Getting together with family members we haven’t seen in a while and expecting perfection can bring us down, especially afterward when the holiday meal wasn’t at all what we had hoped for.

Too much advertising can be depressing, and put added pressure on us to buy more, decorate bigger. We can get through this by donating to a charity, focusing on our traditions, zeroing in on our beliefs, or spending time with people we love.

The shorter days and lack of sunlight for some folk really does affect their moods. “About ten-percent (now up to 20%, at least – note added by me) of adults living where snow follows fallen leaves, experience a rather serious depression professionally labeled as seasonal affective disorder. Those who experience this seasonal depression tend to have a mixed sense of anxiety and depression and agitation.” (Dr. Bill Knass, “Beating the Holiday Blues and Depression,” 2006) Just getting outside for ten minutes can make a big difference, or use light box therapy. Always, always, seek professional help.

Also, if you happen to celebrate Christmas and are feeling down, type in Blue Christmas Service in your area to attend one of these.

Whew, long-winded today!

Hope your day is lovely.

Peace out.

 

 

Five Ways To Harness Holiday Stress!

SG_HolidayStress Sometimes it can feel like if we look up the word “holiday” in the dictionary, we’ll find the word “stress” next to it. It’s like a given.

But it doesn’t have to be, and today I’m going to list five ways to avoid holiday stress.

1. MEDITATE.  Meditation is different things for each individual.  I don’t think of it as necessarily getting into the lotus position and chanting an “oooohm”, although this does work for millions of people (truth is, I couldn’t get in the lotus position if my life depended on it – lol). For me, I remember what I was taught in DBT, which is based on mindfulness. I try to train my eyes on something. Then I focus on my breathing. That’s it. I might even say the words to myself as I breath: “iiiiin,” and “ouuuut.” Thoughts will come into my head while I’m trying to focus on my breathing, but I let them pass like clouds in the sky (this takes practice). Try it.

2. BREATHE. I am generally an anxious person, as a rule. If there is nothing to worry about, I will find something. Trust me. And sometimes, under stress, I think we can forget to take the deep breaths we need. We get oxygen-deprived. It leads to fatigue and irritability. It’s one of the reasons you find yourself yawning and thinking, “What’s wrong with me? I got a perfectly good night’s sleep!”

3. SHOP ONLINE. Monday, December 17th is Free Shipping Day online! That’s pretty fantastic. Over 1,000 merchants are on board right now to ship packages right to your door free of charge so you can stay at home and shop in your pajamas. No need to fight the crowds at the malls, no need to go out in the cold/heat/snow/rain.  How cool is that? Just click on Free Shipping Day, say “I want to stay home!” and there you have it: the magic ingredients to a happy ending.

4. LIGHT A CANDLE. Aromatherapy is excellent for calming frayed nerves. Try Vanilla, jasmine, and patchouli especially. Right now there are candles that smell like evergreen trees at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Go crazy, just be sure to keep them away from anything flammable and blow them out before you leave the house or go to sleep. 😉

5. GO EASY ON YOURSELF. There is no such thing as a perfect anything, most especially a perfect holiday. Someone is always late, or early, a recipe doesn’t look like the picture, or doesn’t taste like great grandma Edna’s, the dog gets into the snacks that are set out for company, and you don’t have enough time to do everything you wanted to do… There are many things that can go wrong. There is one thing that can go right. How you respond to all the things that go wrong. How you take it in. Go easy on yourself . . . don’t internalize. It’s NOT the end of the world. It’s one day, or one of eight days, or one of six days or whatever . . . it’s a moment in a bajillion moments in time. You will always be you. Fantastic, a miracle, one in a million.

Peace out.

Know When To Say No

saying-no This is the perfect time of year, I’ve noticed, to practice saying “no.”  There are invitations to attend parties, little get-togethers, even old friends call at this time of year and it’s normal want to, or even feel obligated to say yes to everything.

But, there is only so much time, and only so much of us to go around. Be selective and trust that your friends will be understanding if you can’t attend each and every party this year. Or, make a decision to attend for a very limited time, say one-half hour. If you are attending with someone else, have a secret password, like “eggnog,” or “wrapping paper.” Your +1 will know that when you say that password, it’s time to go.

Practice saying no in the mirror. Try it out. All the different ways that are shown in this picture, because you’ll probably be asked more than once, especially if someone is offering you, say, a piece of pie at dessert, or seconds for dinner. “Are you sure you won’t have some more?” “No.” “Just a teeny bit?” “No thanks, not now.” Be firm. Sit up straight and look the person in the eye. 😉 We can do this!

It’s not selfish to set up limitations and boundaries. It’s self-preservation. It keeps us healthy, wealthy and wise. 😀

Are you still here? I thought you were practicing saying no! 😉

Peace out.

What’s YOUR Earworm?

musical-notes We all get them. Sometimes they are annoying, but usually they are snippets of songs we love (or sometimes the whole thing) that we just can’t get out of our head. Yes, they have wormed their way in. 😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I have had several since the last choir performance Saturday. Still, Still, StillRise Up, and 

 have been running laps.

*sigh*

Lovely.

Oh, dear.

Are they in your head now too?

Let Go of Expectations and Outcomes

quote_expectations-are-premed-resentments I’m learning there’s a reason “Let go” comes before “Let God” in that particular recovery slogan. Have you ever watched a baby just before she falls asleep, if you happen to be blessed enough to hold her in your arms? The eyelids fight to stay open. They flutter closed, the tiny hands begin to relax . . . and then boom! The legs kick out again, the hands clench into little fists and the eyelids struggle sooo hard to stay open. Just one more minute. Not ready for sleep quite yet. Might miss something. Yawn. 

Finally, the battle ends and the eyes close and stay shut.

I’ve been there. Yep. But as a grownup. Not wanting to let go, wanting to control the outcome, wanting to make sure everything is perfect, just so . . .

Until we let go of this fantasy we have of the perfect whatever, whether it’s a person, a thing, a place . . . a holiday?  we will never have the chance to see what can happen when our Higher Power gets a hold of that person, thing, place, or holiday. Whatever circumstance, whatever struggle, whatever relationship . . . until I take my hands off and let God have the reins, nothing really fantastic can happen.

Last night was our final Christmas concert. Oy, were my expectations high. My nerves were strained, I was kaput and on fire at the same time. And I flubbed up twice. 😦 But the thing about a choir, a whole chorus of voices, is that not only do they surround you, they support you. I knew they probably heard my mistake, my mates did, the other tenors, and possibly the basses. But it’s doubtful the audience did. Like if you are playing a beautiful piano piece, and you know you made a terrible error, but if you don’t stop and call attention to it, no one knows? And hey – we got a standing O! How ’bout them apples? Look what God did when I got out of the way…

I’ll miss it. *sigh*

But on to caroling, which is this afternoon and next weekend. No expectations this time. No nerves, I promise. Just hoping for fun and fellowship and to bring some good tidings. 🙂

Peace out.

Tomorrow Can Wait

live-in-the-moment The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ~Buddha

Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat? ~Goldie Hawn

Forever is composed of nows. ~Emily Dickinson

Okay, I’ve posted a lot about One Day At A Time, but . . . well I guess it’s because I think for me it’s one of the core parts of the Al-Anon program. And today I really need it. So bear with me.

I’ve gotten three hours’ sleep in the past 48 hours, and it’s exactly because I’m not living in the present. I think I mentioned I’m in a local choir. One of the group members has made it his personal mission to make sure I know what I’m doing wrong. 😉 Well, after our 1st Christmas concert, which I loved singing so much, he made a comment that gave me my first sleepless night. Then I caught up during the week.

But – as Friday approached (the next concert) I anticipated more and more the comment he made about the glaring mistake I had made. Thursday night I slept about three hours. Last night, even though the concert went well, I worried because the director herself reminded us about the mistake I myself had made. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t the only one doing it, but . . . Then last night I didn’t sleep at all.

So I’m exhausted. Scratch that. I’m beyond that point. You know when you get so tired that you can’t even sleep? But you don’t want to move . . . Tonight is our final concert, and tomorrow we go caroling.

What would it have hurt me to take the comment in for a moment, accept it as someone trying to be helpful, and let it go? (Sung to the tune of “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. . . 😉 )

I would have been rested and happy today. Because all we can do is the very best we can with what we have been given at the time, and for this day, this moment. THIS is all there is. It’s such a beautiful thing, life, that to waste one moment of it in worry is to lose something we’ll never get back.

If you are struggling with anything this season: gift-buying, long lines in stores, traffic, harried customers, party preparations, parties to get to, difficult relatives . . . take several deep breaths. Remember this. Nothing lasts forever. You only have to handle this one day, one hour, one moment. 

Peace out.

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