My husband and I were sailboat cruisers. We moved to the beautiful northern Washington area so we could take advantage of the wonderful cruising opportunities available in the San Juan Islands.
When you do any serious sailing or cruising it is important to learn the rules of the road, know where the shipping lanes are, what the different buoys mean, know how to chart a course and take into consideration prevailing winds, tides and currents. Without these basics you can easily get into trouble.
So it is in life. We need to learn what it means to be comfortable at the helm, where the rip tides are, how to avoid submerged but dangerous rocks and where the safe passages are located.
Preparation not only includes knowledge of the areas where we are sailing, but also preparation of the boat and ourselves.
There were times when we had charted a course, set the boat on its path and then were able to activate the automatic pilot – a self-steering apparatus which enabled you to take your hand off the wheel and allow the automatic pilot to take over. But you never left the area – you continued to monitor where you were going so in a moment’s notice you could resume control of the helm.
We came together to pray and plan and encourage and find out where we were on our career paths.
Author, counselor, coach, teacher – we all congregated at my home for our annual retreat from life as usual to catch up and listen and ask for and receive clarification of our goals.
Sometimes our talking went on so long we failed to realize we were hungry when it was time to eat.
Friends: they support us and are willing to give us the valuable information we need from a trusted friend.
Our friendship circle was formed so we could support each other and encourage one another in our life’s work. Setting aside our wants and wishes, we reached out to help each other visualize and test their goal ideas. We shared information from the educational and training backgrounds we had along with articles we have read and books we recommended reading. At times it was like a think tank – exploring what we could accomplish if we set our hearts and prayers to it.
Every day, we have the opportunity to observe and be blessed by the wonders of our world. These wonders and blessings come as a gentle falling rain after a hot dry summer or silently tumbling snowflakes that shimmer like diamonds in the winter sun.
Who hasn’t felt refreshed by a cooling summer’s rain or been touched by the quiet serenity of an earth blanketed in mounds and mounds of downy snow?
At such times, nature is silenced and time suspended.
And who hasn’t experienced the deep, enduring and gentle peace that comes from looking over a countryside bathed in the light of a full moon. And what person hasn’t marveled at stars so dazzling and vivid it seems we could reach up and touch them.
And yet, the snow is only frozen water, and the sun, moon and stars are nothing more than hardened, desolate, uninhabitable rocks and dangerous gasses.
What transforms these unattractive objects into things of beauty? And what happens to change the mundane of everyday events into things of beauty, miracles and blessings?
I don’t. But we’ve all had them. While we may not remember our first attempts at walking, we remember snippets of running and jumping and falling down with scraped knees and scaring our parents half to death as we climbed and explored places where danger was adventuresome.
As we march through life, we take steps full of confidence and those filled with timidity and hesitation.
There were those hesitant steps as we entered kindergarten, and then bounded through grade school and high school, entering college with a false sense of self and doubt but soon striding with self confidence. Soon we were light footing it into romance and love and then that solemn walk down the aisle. Steps in tandem soon slowed down as we tried to match the baby steps of our first toddler.
As the years marched on, we became more sure-footed, learning not to make the same mistakes twice.
But then just as we had found a comfortable gait, life throws us some unexpected hard balls and we learn we don’t have as much control as we thought we had.
She was petite, perky, and full of life. Her smile brightened a room and you felt uplifted as soon as she walked in.
She never made a big deal about the obstacles she faced in her life. With severe food allergies she would bring her own food with her to any event without any fanfare and nobody noticed. It wasn’t a big deal to her. Life was to be enjoyed and not spoilt by little things you could or couldn’t do.
Her outlook on life carried through in all situations. She looked at problems and found solutions.
Be in the moment. Take 15 minutes and simply disconnect from life as usual and connect with your self and your surroundings.
From the time we get up until the time we go to bed we are running – even when it is time to relax we are bombarding our thoughts and minds with media sites, posting, texting, zoning out with TV, video games, and on and on and on. All the things we must do, should have done or ought to do. I get tired just writing about it.
I propose a 15 minute reprieve from the madness of the day to day business of life.
Yes, there is a lot we have to do to pay the bills and take care of our families. And it may seem like a ludicrous suggestion to add another 15 minutes to my list. And yet, it may be the most important 15 minutes of your day.
As I was sharing with a friend a page from my book, “A Love so Great, A Grief so Deep,” I thought about all the times in life when we get overwhelmed and lose hope.
Here is what I wrote about hope when my husband was dying.
Hope is the effort to fly with wings not yet grown. If I don’t hope – don’t try – don’t struggle, there will never be the possibility of flying.
I was still hoping that he would live – even as I knew he would not.
We cannot live without hope. We may feel as though we are getting bruised and bloodied in the process, but that is a part of living. To live without hope is worse than struggling – you are only flapping your wings without going anywhere.
But with hope, our wings get stronger, and soon they are not just flapping but carrying us – taking us beyond sorrow to healing, recovery and beyond.
“I have to hurry, I will be late, there is so much to do, where will I begin, I wish I could have slept longer, I wish I hadn’t stayed up so late, did I make the kid’s lunch………
From the moment we wake up to the time we finally lay our thoughts down for the night, we are focusing on some part of life. Our thoughts often revolve around all the “have to’s” – the things we have to accomplish in order to survive.
After awhile our thoughts become so adrenalin filled we become highly charged and stressed before we leave home for work.
Before we know it, stress is ruling our lives – we aren’t. We are creating a pattern – a habit – a way of thinking that creates tension that works against us.
Stress. Everyone lives with it. But can you make it work for you?
When we allow ourselves to remain in constantly activated high stress, we are impacting our health on many levels. That stress maintained over time has an impact on your pocket book.
Many health costs experienced today can find their roots in long standing stress levels. But we can lower those levels when we become aware of those things that trigger unhealthy stress.
Several years ago, I put together a Wellness workshop and compiled facts and figures about stress at that time. Although these statistics are several years old, they still give us a picture of some of the costs associated with stress. Here are some of those statistics:
Life will give us those Ah-Ha moments where we are able to get a glimpse of a larger truth that can forever alter our thinking. But we need to be ready to recognize them.
I was given such an Ah-Ha moment many years ago that changed my thinking forever.
We were preparing for a summer camping trip with the kids. I was doing loads of laundry in preparation for leaving the next day. But the job was hindered by a water pressure problem. For some reason the water filling my laundry tub was so slow it seemed to take forever.
It was one of the things on my husband’s to do list.