Accepting That You Are Not Alone

Accepting that you are not alone is a difficult and yet immensely rewarding accomplishment during difficult times.  Making decisions and dealing with suffering leave many feeling lost and alone and in need of comfort and support.

This weekend in our community was Relay For Life, a time for coming together after months of fundraising to support the American Cancer Society with research, education, advocacy and service.  Team members take turns walking the track  (the concept behind the word Relay) so that someone is always on the track.  A great deal of symbolism is involved in the planning based on what cancer does to its victims.  It is 24 hours of people walking to demonstrate that cancer never sleeps so neither do the walkers.  Survivors and patients and their caregivers are honored and those who have died are remembered.  It is an uplifting, emotional time for participants probably mostly due to the electricity of the participants so dedicated to the elimination of cancer.

The theme of the morning sunrise service, ‘you are not alone’ initiated more faithful thinking on my part. The youth minister spoke of the presence of God with us at all times.  The songs and poems were of His nearness,  reminding us of the gift of life.

‘Remember when you heard the words and your mind went blank you were in another world’

‘Remember in your darkest hours when all that surrounds you is pain and sorrow’

These words written by an unknown cancer survivor  speak of unlimited situations that humans encounter.  They speak of those times when every thought is of the affects the situation causes personally.  They speak of those times that fear controls the thoughts.  The faithful eventually on their own time, regain what they have known, that God is with them.

Last night as I meditated, I expanded on not being alone.  Within me is my higher self, holy spirit; I am not alone.  Surrounding, opening me to the energies of the universe, healing and loving are my guardian angels; I am not alone.  Around me are my family members waiting for cues as to how they can help and support me,  but I have to open up and share my thoughts, concerns and needs so that, I am not alone, as well as accept they have their fears, too.  The same goes for my friends and neighbors; I am only alone, if I choose to be by suffering in silence.  As I was told yesterday, ‘You call me with anything you need, and if you don’t need anything, call me to come have a cup of tea and a chat.’ I am not alone.

Fear is what can keep us deaf to God, His angels, our higher self and intuition, and separate us from our friends, neighbors and community.  Fear keeps us alone.  Aloneness is only the physical situation if you allow it to be.  Open yourself to accept that you are not alone.  Open your heart and let the light in.  Sit physically alone in the quiet and listen and feel the presence around you that is love.  It is there always; let it in. You are not alone.

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Take the Easy Route

How many times a day do you think you make a choice?  Depending on your outlook you may think it is a lot, or none at all, being assured that others make the decisions for you.  We all make choices from an extra  10 minutes of sleep, to grabbing an umbrella, or washing the coffee cup.  The thing is when we think we are taking a short cut, or taking the easy way we often are creating a more time consuming or difficult situation later in the day or somewhere down the road of life.  Not washing your utensils and placing them in the sink throughout the day saved seconds that created a bigger mess at the end of the day.  But washing the cup when finished seems at the time to be wasted time.  Grabbing the umbrella might be something you “don’t have time for” and yet makes life easier when the downpour the weather prediction called for barrels down on  you.

Why does the easier ways seem more difficult at the time we make the choice?   Perhaps we see the future as having no limits on our time.  We won’t be rushed, or pressured in any way. Perhaps there is a rainbow at the end of our thoughts that isn’t there at the time. Perhaps we are just too involved in the moment and not at all thinking of our future.

Most of us have experiences in which we afterwards think to ourselves, “I wish I had done it differently.”  Hopefully they are small situations, but sometimes the consequences take years to develop.

For me it has been nutrition.  I am not overly educated nor ignorant, knowing enough to live a healthy lifestyle, but I didn’t.  I had some interesting stories I told myself as well.  One of the greatest limiting beliefs was that if all this food being offered and advertised was so unhealthy, “they” wouldn’t be allowed to advertise it as they do.  There has been another story in my mind concerning deserving a treat.  How different things would be if that story told me I deserved optimum health.

So now after all the years of assuming that it is ok to be acidic, to drink, eat sugar, not exercise regularly BECAUSE I am really not sick, I am now diseased. My body as  a petri  dish tells the  story.  And simply put, all disease grows in an acid environment.

I take this very seriously now.  I am not looking for sympathy but for others to see that eating processed food daily, sugar daily, ignoring vegetables or only eating the ones high in sugar (yes vegetables have sugar!), and convincing themselves that it is OK because they feel fine, is not taking the easy route.  It is being short sighted because decisions made today can have effects in the future.  Caring for yourself is so much easier than caring for a diseased, injured or weak body later, when you are tired and run down or the “cure” wears your body down to nothing.

Some things that are the easy route to a happy healthy life:

Drink water to keep  hydrated.  Other things like juice, soda, and alcohol  should be limited. Think of them as an occasional treat.

Brush and floss your teeth.  It is not time consuming!

God didn’t invent bras.  Use bras in public and let the girls hang free in private, allowing the lymph system  to do its job.

Move Frequently! Don’t sit for too long for the same reason.

Pack a lunch you make yourself that doesn’t come prewrapped. Think fresh.  No, it doesn’t take forever! Avoid fast food.

Get a water bottle that isn’t plastic or aluminum and take fresh water with you everywhere.

Laugh!

Limit sugar anything to a couple times a week.

Listen to music.

Be mindful, meditate or pray.  Get out of ego state whenever possible.

Be around people you love and who love you.  There is nothing more important. Hug!

Be grateful for everything and feel that gratitude .

Smile! Smile!  Smile!

Sending you blessings for health and happiness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Model What You Want Them To Be

Today I am borrowing from a much wiser and well known writer to help convey an important parenting concept.  If like me, you grew up hearing “Do as I say not as I do,”  and tried that as a way of parenting, you probably have already discovered that it doesn’t work.  Integrity is a much better basket to put your eggs in.  Kids today see through anything less.  Being the role model you want for them, empowers you as well.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Wayne’s Weekly Wisdom “If you model self-pride and self-worth for your children, they will in turn leave the nest with an absence of stress and turmoil for all concerned.”

I have the following saved on my desktop because it profoundly demonstrates the importance of our awareness of our own behavior.  I notice too much explosive behavior, loss of control, and spewed anger that is justified with ridiculous excuses that make perfect sense to the person explaining them.   Is society becoming numb to inexcusable behavior? Parents and other relatives of children are their role models and need to be cognizant of their actions at all times.

This was Wayne’s last Facebook post.

I was preparing to speak at an I Can Do It conference and I decided to bring an orange on stage with me as a prop for my lecture. I opened a conversation with a bright young fellow of about twelve who was sitting in the front row.

“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked him.

He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”

“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”

“No!” he laughed.

“What about grapefruit juice?”

“No!”

“What would come out of it?”

“Orange juice, of course.”

“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”

He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point.

“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”

I nodded.

“Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”

It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezingyour mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.

When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.

Thanks, my young friend, and here’s an orange for you!

I was impressed with Wayne’s understanding and explanation that negativity within is a choice.    Choose peace, calm, patience  and love and you and everyone around you benefits.

 

 

 

Kids Can Follow the Mindful Path to Peace and Joy

Can your kids be quiet and be IN quiet without getting antsy?  One kid very dear to my heart has a hard time in the car with nothing to do.  “I’m bored!  There is nothing to do!” is a constant complaint.  My response, “We are doing something, we are having a conversation,” for some reason has no impact on the perceived dilemma.   If this sounds familiar, I wrote about this several months ago, in “Too Much Boredom”.  In the blog, I wrote, “Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.”

Mindfulness was mentioned in the article and deserves much more consideration.mindfulness5  It not only has to be taught it has to be practiced.  Its value is addressed by Jon Kabut- Zinn.

“It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

“Of course my life matters”, you might say, but how often do you actually think about it?  Do you value the moments in your life or allow them to slide by without any focus? mindfulness7It is easy to lose connection with the moments when you are checking off the many items on each daily to- do list.  That is why it is important to stop, breathe deeply and bring yourself back to the moment from time to time.

Mindfulness practice is valuable in controlling thoughts.  And of course, to teach your children, you need to do it yourself as well.  This is one of those things that you might not do for yourself but will do for your children and gain personal growth, peace and empowerment in the process.

“The purpose of teaching mindfulness to our children is to give them skills to develop their awareness of their inner and outer experiences, to recognize their thoughts as “just thoughts,” to understand how emotions manifest in their bodies, to recognize when their attention has wandered, and to provide tools for impulse control. mindfulness6 It is not a panacea, and it will not completely get rid of what is, frankly, normal kid behavior, like tantrums and loudness and whining and exuberance and arguing…” wrote Sarah Rudell Beach in  “8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids”

Mindfulness gives all of us including our children, power.  Controlling thoughts by releasing thoughts, keeping thoughts positive, focusing on what needs to be done, and regulating emotions is powerful and can begin to be learned at an early age.  Mindfulness helps with impulse control and assists children in refraining from speaking and acting out uncontrollably, something some adults could use as well.

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I will write on this again, but don’t wait, check out these links for yourself!

http://thehawnfoundation.org/mindup/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2012-4-9-power-of-mindfulness

 

 

 

Fearlessly Free to Be You and Me

In the 90s as a middle school teacher, I assisted a bit in the production, free to beas much as my talents allowed, of the play version of Marlo Thomas and friends’, “Free to Be You and Me “. I remember that the kids really enjoyed it as did I. Listening to sound bites of the songs brought up thoughts of changes facing children today.

Still in the same school in 2001, but as a supervisor, we were faced with the terrorism that day that the plane flew into the World Trade Center. Not far from New York City, we had a number of parents working there and for several hours, spent time locating them for terrified children. Where outcomes were devastating all around us, all of our parents were located alive and well by the end of the day. For one reason or another, they had not made it into the city that morning. For our students, a day of miracles. But I think that was the beginning of fear based living that has quietly permeated some of our society. Certainly it has drawn other negative fearful incidences to everyday life and removed that freedom to be, that was gaining strength.

Be wary! Be careful! Isn’t that dangerous? Is that safe? The vocabulary of fear is here. Don’t run, you’ll fall! Be careful! Watch out! I don’t remember this as a child. We rode bikes along the road for miles and miles. We played outside without supervision for hours. I remember one scary episode around age 10 at the Jersey shore. I was playing in the surf by myself with a small blow up inner tube. Don’t remember what I was trying to do, but I got the tube stuck behind my head and back with my arms and shoulders trapped inside the hole just when a wave hit and knocked me down. I was powerless to help myself, face down in the water without arms. I couldn’t roll over because the tube blocked me. As terror began to fill me, I was yanked up to a standing position and the tube ripped off. There was my mother who had been watching me all the time. I learned many lessons that day, many of which I probably am consciously unaware. The lessons were mine to learn, and although it is not a pleasant memory, I believe it made me a better mother, teaching me to let them experience life while watching from a short distance unencumbered by the vocabulary of fear.

That lesson is especially important today as there is so much more negativity and fear than ever before. Remove those words of fear, let them explore within the boundaries that may be necessary. Keeping watch, ever mindful that the greatest parent and His winged staff are ever present awaiting your awareness. Fear or love? That is the choice- love of God, faith in His protection, belief that you and your children are always in His hands, and gratitude- so much gratitude for the safety that surrounds them.  Or you can choose fear.

The world is full of experiences- joyful, exhilarating opportunities to do and to be and so much is missed because of fear. Fear of injury or judgment prevents living life to its fullest. Isn’t it time to remove the vocabulary of fear, and once again teach children we are all “Free To Be You and Me”?

 

About the Author

11115609_10204369689187957_9074883143868021693_oBeth Hoffman has a master’s degree in education, and after more than thirty years as a teacher and administrator in New Jersey public schools, she is now retired, giving her time to pursue interests in angels, energy healing and living from the heart. She has studied Reiki, IET (integrated energy therapy), angel therapy, and Magnified Healing. She and her husband reside in the Lake Wallenpaupack area of the Poconos in Pennsylvania where they are blessed to spend time with their grandchildren, one of the inspirations for this book.

Too Much Boredom!

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What parent likes to heart those infamous words, “I am bored!” None that I know of as it usually is the precursor to whining and complaining and a need to be entertained. Boredom comes with the belief that children always need to be doing something. Sayings like “An idle mind is the devil’s playground”, has lead us as a society to be doers. Yet, we are human beings, not human doings. And with the advancements in technology, we can be incredibly idle while doing something!

Teaching children to be at peace, and quiet their mind is a valuable tool. I wish my influence on my daughter and grandchildren had understood this when they were infants. I would give them time alone. Let them watch and interact with the mobile, play with their toes, find their fingers, make sounds and wonder where it came from, and laugh without interference. Quieting the mind is a skill most adults need to learn as well. There are so many sleep disorders, addictions and other problems caused by an inability to shut off the mind. We torture ourselves with our constant thoughts! Predicting the future, dwelling on the past, judging, criticizing, anticipating, all keep the mind active.

Kids are rarely born this way, we train them to be like us! They are asked, “Why aren’t you doing something? Find something to do!” I remember 40 years ago putting the container of legos in front of my stepson while he watched TV, thinking at least he would be using the creative side of his brain while he “wasted” time. Perhaps that is why those in their 20s and 30s are much better multi-taskers. However, that also leaves their brains even more active all the time.

Has the ability to “be” been lost? “The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.” Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.  Meditation, or mindfulness doesn’t need to be done in a yoga pose. Sitting quietly   imagesNQ20XDWCFor families that have quiet reading time, guided meditation can easily be a next step. While teaching them to breathe deeply and focus, you are quieting your mind as well. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

featured-thumb-curriculum-trainingMindfulness or self reflection is being taught in schools  now to help children lose the control their busy emotions have over them. With the help of Mindful Schools  in a San Fransisco school , a documentary was created called Room to Breathe. As the instructor begins, she tells a child, that she can’t expect to be entertained her whole life. Isn’t that what boredom is, the absence of entertainment? She also within the first few minutes, talked to them about finding their happiness through mindfulness. Is a lack of happiness part of boredom as well? Whether the term used is meditation, self reflection or mindfulness, children and the adults in their lives can benefit from the quiet mind that breeds happiness, contentment, compassion and love.