From the WordPress prompt book: Have you ever made a New Years Resolution that you kept?
Well, of course I did. I kept them all. Just some of them better than others and for different lengths of time.
I’ve done all the popular ones. Get fit. Save some money. Lose weight. Drink less. Quit smoking. Eat healthy. Put my family first. Be a better person. So, you know, been there, done all that, with varying degrees of success. Perhaps my best one was vowing to no longer drink a whole pot of coffee a day. Then I got one of those coffee makers that dispenses a cup at a time and has no carafe. So you can’t drink a pot if you don’t have a pot, right? I never said I didn’t cheat.
Anyway, after all these years of making sensible resolutions, maybe it’s high time I became more daring. I should resolve to have more fun, do something crazy, go on an adventure, wear more purple, rock the boat, break all the rules!
Yeah. Now that I’ve scared myself sufficiently with the possibilities, maybe I’ll just calm down and keep it simple. Keep breathing, be content with the way things are and thankful for my ordinary life. Read more books. Be kind. Focus on the now, be still and listen, hold no anger, find inner peace. Easy things like that.
With retirement looming in the very near future (this September I hope) I am also looking at ways to spend all my glorious free time. I’ve always said I’ll take up painting again, so I resolve to do that. I will need a studio and lots of supplies. And some ambition would be helpful.
It’s funny how we think we need a brand new year to make a brand new start when every day is a new beginning. As far as I know, no one is ticking off points on a score sheet, measuring my progress, or waiting around to give me a grand prize for whatever I’ve done. Most days I like me. When I don’t, there’s always tomorrow to turn things around and be better.
Keep those resolutions non specific and vague, and you just might be astounded at your success.
I think in terms of the days resolutions, not the years. (Henry Moore)
No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself. (Madonna)
I’ve been told I never ask for help (although heaven knows I need it and we could all use some.) Being independent and stubborn and believing if I try hard enough I can do it on my own often leaves me feeling alone, confused, frustrated and afraid. You know this, you’ve heard me whine and complain about it. It’s too hard, I’m so lost, I just don’t know. Finding this elusive thing called inner peace can be one colossal struggle.
There will always be issues, problems, and challenges; I get that. I know I’m just another wandering soul in this vast universe searching for enlightenment, and I know I’ve come this close. I’d like to know why I shut my eyes tight at the last minute, sure that the light will blind me.
So I guess I could just yell “Help!” into the void and wait to see what happens, but I’m thinking you might want me to be a little more specific than that. If I chose this lifetime, forgive me, but I can’t remember why. Please give me some small hints and gentle reminders.
Please help me reach deep inside myself for compassion, sympathy and understanding. Help me to be more loving, more caring, more giving. Help me to see and appreciate the beauty and the miracles that are all around me in every smile, every laugh, every hug.
I could use a little help remembering that when I can’t figure everything out – it’s okay. Tell me to simply be still and listen. Stop me when I’m too hard on myself, and when I take myself way too seriously.
Make me grateful for the people who are in my life, even when they drive me crazy, because they are here to teach me something. Could you please speed up that learning process a bit though? Meanwhile, I will try to stop wishing I could change who they are, because we both know that is never going to happen. They are who they are, and there is good in everyone, even if it’s hard for me to see. I’m a little skeptical about true unconditional love for everyone, but I know it’s not impossible.
Don’t let me be tossed about and influenced and messed up by the decisions of other people. Help me stand my ground, but don’t let limiting beliefs close my mind. I know, that’s a tough one. I want to take my own steps forward, without being pushed or pulled. Help me to accept responsibility for my own happiness, to believe that every ending is simply a new beginning, taking me in a different and better direction.
I promise to joyfully accept the happy accidents, the beautiful chance encounters, the strange and mysterious coincidences that happen in my life. I will try to do everything I can do with what I’ve got, loving and appreciating myself and feeling worthy. Stamp all that on my brain somewhere, would you please? Along with the fact that I am strong, I am safe, and I am deeply loved. I tend to forget all these things on a regular basis.
Help me every day to fall in love all over again, with my family, my friends, and this wonderful life adventure in our magical world. Remind me that every small act of kindness has a ripple effect which reaches out and expands, helping to heal the broken hearts of people I’ve never even met. Being kind is not a sacrifice, it is a joy.
Most of all, don’t let my past rule my future. Don’t let me put off celebrating today, this moment, the power and the freedom of now. Today is the only thing that matters. There is nothing else.
Well, there you go, I think that’s about it. I know you can handle all this, being that you’re all-powerful and all-knowing and eternal and all that celestial stuff. And I know you do all these things for me already even when I don’t ask and for this I am truly grateful. Inner peace is not an illusion and I know I will find it.
After 41 years of being married to W (42 in November if we both live that long) I totally understand how you might think of me as a relationship guru with all the answers when it comes to making commitments that last. I often think of myself that way. And then I give myself a good smack on the forehead and come back to earth for a while. Because really, who knows why some relationships last a lifetime and others are just practice runs for something better? We’re all different, and we all relate to each other in different ways.
This is an excellent challenge for all the Bloggers for Peace, and for anyone who is now or has ever been in any kind of relationship, wants to end an old or start a new relationship, or wonders if relationships are all they’re cracked up to be or worth the effort it takes to maintain them. So that covers pretty much every human being on earth.
Every one of us has our own individual recipe for a peaceful home with a list of ingredients that makes relationships with others work for us. It should never be carved in stone. We grow, we change, we evolve. My personal formula for happiness is in constant revision. At this particular moment in time, these are some of the things that work for me. If I come back and read this post in five years time and wonder how I could have been such an idiot, that’s probably a good thing. It means I’ve learned something new and changed, hopefully for the better.
Okay! Here we go. Grandmalin’s Relationship Advice Column.What makes a peaceful relationship and what you can do to become a better partner. Because there is nothing else in life I enjoy more than telling people what to do.
1. Make peace with yourself first. You have to create your own happiness first before you can share it with someone else. There is no one out there who can make you happy. That’s your job. Another person can help bring out the best in you, but the best has to be there in the first place. There are also no positive relationships with emotionally unavailable people. If the people you’re currently hanging around with are not happy, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. If you and your significant other have grown in different directions and can no longer connect or appreciate each other, by all means consider that it may be the right time for both of you to move on.
This is number one on my list because it cannot be stressed enough. When you love yourself and are at peace with who you are, that love will spill over into all your relationships with your family and your friends and with every one you meet. And it will open your heart to receive the peace and the love that comes back to you.
2. Don’t try to change each other. Go bang your head against a brick wall instead. It will get the same results. Accept, adapt, acknowledge. Change and growth cannot be forced. Overlook the little things that bug you, because they really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, and work on your own reactions to them instead. Don’t nag, don’t harass. You could maybe try crying and pleading, and see if that works. But don’t get your hopes up. Sometimes you just have to readjust your expectations and carry on.
3. Speak up/Communicate. Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to talk to each other. Express your own feelings instead of trying to make the other person feel something. Saying “I care deeply about what is happening” means “I care deeply about you.”
4. Shut up/Listen. Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to really hear what is being said to you. Don’t blame, don’t judge until you’ve truly listened with empathy and compassion. Everyone wants and deserves to be heard.
5. Admit that you don’t know everything. Because, hey – you don’t know everything. Confess when you mess up. Step back when you are angry. One person should not get to be the boss all the time. Not even you. Apologize when you need to and don’t stay mad.
6. Slow down. Life is short and should be savoured at a leisurely pace. What’s your hurry, anyway? You’ll get to the end of it soon enough. Be patient with each other. Enjoy the learning process together. Shoot for less drama and more calm. Work through the issues. Be strong enough as a team to weather every storm.
7. Be kind. Keep your promises. Each of you deserves to be seen and heard, loved and appreciated. Be grateful for the time and energy and tolerance it takes to support a loving relationship. Be supportive and helpful and happy for each other’s successes. When you fall flat on your face it’s nice to have someone around to help you pick yourself up. Be that someone for the people you love.
8. Give each other lots of space. Respect the other persons right to do things on their own, to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. You may be a couple, but you are still both individuals working hard on whatever it takes for you to be the best you can be, investing time and energy in your own personal growth. Sometimes we simply need someone to be there, not to fix anything or even to do anything in particular, but just to stand beside us so that we know we are cared for and loved.
9. Play. Have fun. Laugh. Be silly. Life does not have to be so serious. Spend part of every day being a bit wild and crazy. See how that feels. Pretty good, hey? Do it again tomorrow.
10. Never forget why you fell in love in the first place. The older you get, the harder it may be for you to recall what the hell you were thinking. Just remember, your relationship does not define you and it does not own you. You are now, and forever will be, yourself, living your own life. But since you’ve decided for now that you’re in this together, don’t stop working on your relationship and everything that makes it sweet.
Love yourself, give love, receive love, be in love. Practice, practice, practice. That’s how peace happens.
Every day I am amazed when I sit down at my computer to connect with people from all over this planet in some small way. They are simple, brilliant, funny, complicated, emotional, practical, talented, angry, happy, bewildered, kind and beautiful. And so much more. They are my extended family. I like to share their joy, sympathize with their problems, marvel at their creations, laugh when they’re funny, shed a tear and send a virtual hug when they’re sad.
I’m trying to be a better blogging friend but because I’ve spread myself so thin and followed so many incredible people, there are days when I don’t have enough intelligent comments in my brain to go around. I’m lucky to make two or three passably interesting observations a day. But if I click that LIKE button, I’m not joking, I’ve done it because I LIKE you and I like what you have to say.
The other thing that amazes me is how I can get inside so many heads, and project into the feelings or state of mind of so many people. And then I think maybe that’s not so amazing after all, because despite all the ways we’re different, we’re also all the same.
We want an end to violence, oppression and injustice.
We want to eradicate ignorance, poverty, intolerance and discrimination.
We don’t want the earth to be destroyed before our children grow up and discover better ways to look after it.
We know (although some of us won’t admit it) that waging wars will not solve our problems.
We hope and pray that a positive affirmation of peace will start the creative process and that mankind will find solutions leading to peace and prosperity for all.
We hope to build worldwide relationships based on compassion, empathy and love.
We all just want to be happy and stop the insanity.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all these lofty ideals, and to shrug our shoulders and wonder what in the world one person can do when so much needs to be done. But if it doesn’t start with me and you, where is it going to start?
“Ultimately we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.” – Etty Hillesum
“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.” – Dalai Lama XIV
We are all connected, and we are all interdependent. Our individual survival depends on the survival of this earth and everything on it. It’s time to stop competing with each other to see who can amass the most money and the most possessions. It’s time to start co-operating and sharing, being grateful for what we have, learning how to live a simpler more joyful life by celebrating and appreciating each other.
If I am deeply committed to peace, and you are deeply committed to peace, the idea will spread. I know it already has. Peace on earth will be more than just a dream, it will be our new reality.
“In the hearts of people today there is a deep longing for peace. When the true spirit of peace is thoroughly dominant, it becomes an inner experience with unlimited possibilities. Only when this really happens, when the spirit of peace awakens and takes possession of men’s hearts, can humanity be saved from perishing.” – Albert Schweitzer
“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.” – Carlos Santana
Yesterday I spent one of the most peaceful days I’ve ever had at work. Or was it simply the most boring? We get these two concepts mixed up all the time, you know. Everyone professes to want peace on earth, but the way we live our lives sometimes tells a very different story. Perhaps we wouldn’t know quite what to do with peace if it was handed to us on a golden platter. I think we need to learn what it feels like to be a peaceful person first, and then we need to learn how to share this knowledge with the rest of the world.
We read newspapers and watch the news on tv to keep up to date and freaked out by all the horrific things that are happening in our world. We rant and we complain. We compete. We quarrel. We decide what is good and what is right and which way is the best and then we knock ourselves out trying to justify our decisions and convince everybody around us (in our nation, city, neighborhood, workplace, or in our own homes) that our path is the right and proper one to take.
We are suspicious and fearful of people who have ideas and habits and beliefs that are not the same as ours. We would like everyone in the world to want the same things that we want, to believe the same things that we believe, and to live their lives adhering to our standards. But they don’t, and they won’t. It’s very stressful for us to have to accept this. Yes, we all start out the same, as babes of the human race, but then each of us lives and learns and grows and changes. Many of us learn tolerance and acceptance and how to have an open, loving heart. Many of us don’t. But before you decide that blowing somebody up is a viable solution for getting your own way, try to imagine how boring this life would be if we didn’t have our many differences. There would be nothing to discover and nothing new under the sun.
Most of us think of wars are those nasty things being fought in some distant part of the world. If we could we’d just march on over there and whap those idiots upside the head and tell them to stop all this stupid fighting and for the love of God learn to get along. Well, maybe that’s what would happen if moms ruled the world. But fighting for peace is like screaming for silence. Or as George Carlin said, like screwing for virginity. It’s as futile as whapping somebody on the head to teach them that whapping somebody on the head is wrong. There is violence and anger and frustration and fear all around us, but until we realize it’s also deep inside each and every one of us, we will never know peace.
“Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” Thomas Merton
Inner peace is where it all starts, and inner peace is often elusive. If there’s not enough conflict and chaos in our lives, we tend to rush around to drum up some more of it and then we whine about what a disorganized mess everything is in and that there’s never enough time to get everything done. If there’s not enough drama in our own lives, we watch some one else’s on tv. We demand it in movies. We create it in chance encounters by making snap judgements and assumptions.
We can also be pessimistic grumps from hell. (You say that this past year was the worst one of your life, and yet, here you are. Still alive. You have food to eat. You have a roof over your head. You have clothes to wear and you are not alone. Someone else might consider your situation paradise. So please shut up unless you can find it in your heart to tell us how blessed you are instead.)
And then, what if, suddenly, out of the blue, by some strange magical set of circumstances we find ourselves with that much-desired time on our hands? There is nothing to do, and nowhere to go and no pressing need to run off in six different directions at once. There is nothing to plan or organize or fix. What do we do with this beautiful gift of time? Instead of basking in this personal peace, we often let a restless panic take us over.
We become bored and we sigh and we fidget. It’s too quiet. We will go stir crazy with nothing to do. Geez, somebody start a war or something.
You know that song that says “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”? I truly believe that’s where peace starts. And these are the things I’m going to do to start the peace ball rolling. If there is peace in my heart and my mind and my soul, maybe peace will radiate in some small measure to the world around me.
1. Slow down. Time just speeds up when you try to race with it.
2. Don’t raise your voice or slam or throw things, rant, cry, pout, fret, or otherwise freak out. These are the actions performed in chaotic, dramatic gong shows, and your life is not one of those.
3. Be kind.
4. Do not let someone else’s bad mood or attitude dictate your own. Do not add fuel to the fire.
5. Learn to laugh at yourself and take life less seriously. No one gets out of it alive.
6. Learn how to bask in the sunshine of quiet moments.
7. Open your heart and embrace the differences and the diversities and the new experiences this world has to offer. Variety truly is the spice of life.
8. Let it go. Whatever it is. Find a way.
9. Stop doing the things that make you miserable. Stop listening to the people who bring you down.
10. Stop feeling responsible for the happiness of others. The only person whose happiness you can control is your own. If you are happy and at peace with the world, the world cannot help but become a better place simply because you are in it.
And as far as all the fighting goes, let’s just postpone wars indefinitely. If we’re very patient and wait long enough, the people who were going to fight in them will eventually die quietly in their sleep. Problem solved.
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