Too Blessed…To Be Stressed…

Walking the fur babies this morning led to a wonderful quote from a woman I greeted with, “How are you?”

“Too blessed to be stressed”, she replied and smiled a smile that competed with the brilliance of the sun’s rays on the sidewalk

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What a positive way to begin one’s day. A new day, without the anger and disappointment carried over from yesterday or the worries and fretfulness of tomorrows ‘what’s to come’.

 

Too blessed to be stressed.

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Those words remind me to heed and acknowledge the power of Gratitude.

Gratitude often ignored, often forgotten while one concentrates on the wants of what to have, and not  of what one already has.

It’s hard.

Life gets in the way and ruins all the good thoughts.

I don’t have a shower with cold water-at least I have a shower.

I don’t like the food I’m forced to buy due to finances-at least I have food.

I don’t like the apartment I live in as it’s overheated, too humid and needs new flooring and tiles-at least I have an apartment to call my own and it keeps me warm, with a floor to walk on.

I don’t have enough money-at least I have some money.

I don’t like having to make my own lotion and shampoo because I can’t afford to buy the ‘good stuff’-at least you have the ingredients and the stove and fridge to make the lotion and the shampoo.

I don’t like Fios or Time Warner service and can’t afford the full package deal-at least I got cable and a tv to watch it on.

I can bathe, cook, clean myself up, wake up from sleeping in a comfortable bed, have fur babies whom I love ( and where my salary goes to), a salary of some sort, food (okay it’s not all organic and vegan as I’d like it to be), once again FOOD, clothing (okay most of it’s from Sears)-so I need to shut up, get my butt back into volunteering and going to church to ease my mind and get the balance right in my head.

Yes.

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I am too blessed to be stressed.

 

**images from the Word Wide Web.

Muchness

More words…

Soon to come.

For a bit of a spell,

 I lost my muchness.

But… 

IT’S BACK!!!!

 

Taking a leave of absence…

The church I attend is going through a transition of the most unnerving kind.

Transition= looking for a new priest to take over the helm.

Our Rector of 25+ years retired.

The process involves the Vestry, the interim priest, the Finance Committee ,the Search Committee, Park Slope, Brooklyn USA and a dilapidated rectory in need of major remodeling. It also involves, the Bishop of the Diocese and his Canon-all must work together in the interest of the church and its ministries.

Okay.

I am a member of this church, on the Altar Guild and once served as an LEM (Licensed Eucharistic Minister). I am also on the Vestry. The same Vestry that will soon receive my resignation letter. Hopefully someone who has more experience ‘playing in the sandbox’ with others (team player and head nodder) will sit in the empty chair.a6

This person will be:

-Someone who can weave in and out of the verbal obstacles, disagreements, rudeness, and get the job done.

-Someone who has patience to listen to rhetoric without seeing double after two minutes.

-Someone who tithes and sacrifices for the church-basically having a vocabulary where “no” is blasphemy.

-Someone who thinks as a whole for the greater good instead of the one.

-Someone who loves and cares about the future of this church more than how good we look on financial fiscal reports.

I am not a team player.

I prefer my own sandbox, with my organized grains of sand and my shovels, coordinated by size. I don’t like to clean up big piles of mess I didn’t make and usually don’t make my own big piles of mess to have to clean up to begin with.

Church politics and spirituality does not mix well for me.

It’s hard to play the game, be fake and smile while I would rather stare at you and throw imaginary lethal eye darts that turn to green ooze upon contact. Yes, it’s not the Christian thing to do. But, Christians do. We are not perfect no matter how hard we project to be.

In order to navigate through church politics while keeping spirituality in place one has to be malleable with a soft heart. Know when not to say hurtful things or at least think before saying the hurtful things (Oh yeah, the Four Agreements). Listen with reason, argue with love and never roll your eyes at someone as they look the other way.

What is difficult to be is why my resignation takes place.

I am not a team player.

But, with time and space, I may learn to play with one or two, definitely not three…maybe.

**photo from the web

The Four Agreements…

The Four Agreements are four sentences, written in simple words, but simple does not describe the act of putting into practice on a daily basis, what those sentences contain.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.

Easily done on my end as I can consciously think before speaking or better yet stop the flow of nonsense words from leaving my jabbering lips before my brain has a chance to edit, omit, rephrase…

What of gossip?

Gossip seems to be a cultural norm and almost impossible to avoid. There is gossip at my church, gossip at work, gossip at home, gossip running into neighbours. Some gossip is good and positive while most is downright ugly. I feel guilty when I indulge in the ugly gossip, miserable after I participate in it and ready for confession to purge my guilt after listening to it.

Speaking against myself?

I speak against myself all the time. It is an everyday occurrence between me, myself and I. Rarely do all three agree except when doubt, self-esteem, finances and negativity issues come to the surface. Then it’s a fiesta!

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

Truly a hard one as I take everything personally! I try to please, all the time, with people and especially animals. If someone is negative towards me, I chastise myself. That someone of negativity is not blamed for something I probably did to warrant that kind of treatment.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions.

Are you kidding me?

We are a country of assumers and you know the saying, “When you assume you make an a** out of you and me…”. ‘Nuff said.
Assumptions lack clarity. It is easier to assume than to strive for clarification because one avoids confrontation and there are those who would rather face plague than confrontation.

4. Always Do Your Best.

This, I must pay attention to, as doing, my best is always 150% and I am treated often as if it were only 10%. (That’s another topic to cover in the future dealing with race-Your 100% = My 150%) Always doing my best is just that-doing my best, not more, not less, just what is needed to the best of my ability. A hard agreement to put into practice but worth it when done.

Part of my Lenten observance is adherence to three themes and the Four Agreements offer an opportunity to combine the themes with a practice.

Contemplation, Action and Resolve are in relationship with the Four Agreements. Examination of one’s’ past in order to move forward with understanding is a requirement. Action is placed in motion through understanding how past actions affects our present thoughts. Resolve is reckoning and moving forward with a new perspective.

There is a much deeper level towards interpreting and understanding the four agreements and the effects on ones’ life. This entry was my interpretation.

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*For more information

40 days…

LENT has arrived!

Forty days meditating and fasting in the wilderness left HIM hungry. The Not so Nice One turned hunger into opportunity and tried to tempt and persuade on three occasions. Each temptation met rejection. Each persuasion met rejection.

Every year at this time within churches around the world, this passage from the Gospels is read and discussed. This year while figuring out what Lent means to me and how I plan to celebrate, three words, Contemplation, Action and Resolve have settled into mi alma and are now my personal goals for LENT.  Supposedly,  LENT represents doing without or giving up, a sacrifice of some kind, but it also represents a chance to deepen our faith, study scriptures, discuss, argue, about our faith, our church, goals and most importantly acknowledging spirituality within and amongst each other.

Contemplation-Meditating on scriptures, mindfulness and fasting (no alcohol, fish on Fridays)

Action-to give more of what I can which is volunteering and to put into practice the Four Agreements

Resolve– what was experienced after 40 days, what stays, what goes…    

 

 

 

 

 

***Photo taken from internet

On turning the big…

A major milestone birthday passed.

So major was this day that the words ‘anti-wrinkling cream’ and ‘Oil of Olay’ are now part of my vocabulary. ‘Life Style Lift’ would gladly join the ranks but plastic surgery costs let alone the thought of going under anesthesia with the scalpel standing by is-well- I’ll leave those three words by the curbside.

The milestone birthday…

Of course reaching this birthday is in itself a milestone. I feel fortunate, lucky and grateful, for many do not have the opportunity to live this long. Although celebration is in order, reaching this birthday also stirs the pot of regrets, disappointments and failure.

Yes, midlife does come with a price tag.

It serves as a thermometer to the highs and lows of life’s accomplishments or lack of. I guess the most important thing at this point in ones’ life is to concentrate on the GOOD, ignore the UGLY and pretend the BAD does not exist.

For me the GOOD is where the gratefulness and gratitude flourish:

-Finding out what I really want to do work-wise instead of sitting in my rocking chair later in life regretting not finding it
-Having a warm bed to sleep in at night with the security and comfort of two mini schnauzers and a tabby by my side
-Not going to bed hungry, having a roof over my head and not waking up to hunger out in the streets of NYC
-Being an Anglican-Episcopalian/ Roman Catholic/ Wanna be Buddhist –surprisingly it does work, just don’t let the Anglican/Episcopalian priest know about the Buddhism and don’t mention the Anglican/Episcopalian stuff to the RC priest

For me the BAD is where reflection comes into play:

-Not understanding or caring to understand the sometimes-psychotic nature of the interim priest at my Anglican-Episcopalian church
-My home living conditions-sometimes finding what one wants to do work-wise requires great sacrifices such as sharing a living space
-Not making enough money to buy that bread maker or take a trip to Germany or better yet BUY A GRAND PIANO!
-Feeling completely helpless in dealing with life’s drama
-Wanting to have five dogs and six cats but lacking the space or resources or better yet money for therapy to figure out where the desire to have that many animals comes from

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on…”

For me the UGLY is where regrets linger and ferment:

-Not owning the condominium I so longed to purchase when the funds were secure and growing
-Leaving California
-The What if’s, Should haves, Could haves that refuse to go away and just die
-The why the hell did you allow this to happen scenarios and now you have no recourse dramas
-The, Why did I marry? Sorry M.
-The years lost spending time being angry with my dad, Noel before our reconciliation

“One of the happiest moments ever is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change…”

A lil Griping…

I know few people who enjoy spending 30-40 hours working for a company that is not their own. I know few people who own a business and I know few people who enjoy spending those hours with co-workers from hell.  I am one of those few people that I know.  I am also one of the millions of busy worker bees not seen on TV bragging about my wonderful fourteen hour a day job at a Fortune 500. Instead I gripe-no, it is not complaining for gripers are unique in their own right as the word gripe is. For me, griping is done silently, in the form of internal dialogue-not to be confused with voices barking out psychotic orders.

When griping graduates to redundancy and excuses are used up and I can no longer blame myself, I blame GOD and angrily ask, “Why are you punishing me? What sin did I commit that deserves this unjust reward? Where are the guardian angels, the spiritual ones, the keepers and watchers of anguished souls?  Why can I not win the lottery? If you let me win, I’d never complain about anything…EVER…again!

Of course, my questions go without response. At God’s doorstep, questions are presented and often left under the ‘Welcome’ mat. HE does not operate the way I would like HIM to and who am I to tell HIM what to do? HE may also not give me what I demand and after time has passed and I am mad at him again, I realize what was given turns out to be what was needed.

After the tantrums, the whining and sniffling centered on my wretched circumstances brought on by my own poor planning subsides- I pray. My prayers surprise me for I pray in gratitude mode, sending out thanks for the stuff that is going right, for the stuff I do have, for the stuff I enjoy and the people, I enjoy doing stuff with.

When I pray, HE listens and when I don’t, HE listens- to the silence. 

At times, I pray for better circumstance such as the time the “C” diagnosis came for a short visit, an uninvited guest who decided to move into mom, my mom’s colon. The eviction chemo was trying and draining on mí alma (my soul).  I prayed, screamed, hollered and read aloud Mathew 7 with a concentrated effort on the ask and it will be given to you part. The asking, begging and bargaining on my part was relentless. And now, three years later, I thank HIM every week, after receiving communion for saving my mom and allowing the chemo to do its’ job.

Griping about work-now back to the beginning of all this.

In due time, once the fog has rolled out or better yet after the first three weeks in this new position, I  am able to see the commonality shared with the so-called co-workers from hell.  We love to eat lunch and enjoy doing so. I will eat healthy, they will not.  I believe in integrity and working hard regardless of the crap pay and the lack of Thank Yous from the higher ups while the co-workers complain and back stab one another, smiling, as they walk out the door fifteen minutes before quitting time, well, so much for commonality.

I need to and have to work. No choice, for the bills gotta be paid and the insurance must be active. So I work, begrudgingly for I’d rather be home writing, chasing the internet, FBing, emailing and sometimes just basically wasting time while my fingers punch in alphabet keys.

Wasting time does not pay the bills-so I work, begrudgingly.

A lil griping relieves the frustration and the tension.

 

Thank you…

Watched a replay of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions on television and felt an intense respect towards the awardees for their lists of “Thank You” shout outs to those who shaped and maneuvered their careers. As in many interviews following an awards show, the recipient will apologize for leaving out that one important name, usually the spouse or significant other who, while supportive of their artistic other halves, dealt with a lonely household.

A public “Thank You” is gratitude and acknowledgement-giving credit where credit is due, sought of, you scratched my back, now I will scratch yours.

Often, “Thank you” is omitted from our vocabulary. Maybe we have become complacent or self absorbed to the point where acknowledging another’s deeds takes the spotlight away from ourselves.

Thank you-I appreciate what you have to offer.

Thank you-your contribution to this project was awesome.

Thank you-for doing what you had to do to get the job done.

Thank you-for donating your time.

For the most part, I try to give of myself anonymously. It is nice to remain in the background, viewing the results of my hard work and knowing the impetus for the work lies in serving a higher caller, which in turn, helps the greater good. If a “Thank You” flows my way-Wonderful! If not, no problem.

But…

The effects of a past weekend’s lack of “Thank You” in regards to my participation in an important event had me feeling bad. My Sunday routine was sacrificed in order to pick up an item and bring it to the planned event. I franticly ran up and down aisles from store to store in search of another item necessary to compliment the first item and inhaled (through my mouth) a Kit Kat bar for breakfast due to time constraints and poor planning (on my part). This was okay. I felt nothing but joyous anticipation and was happy during the event and glowing afterwards.

But…the following weekend…I learnt a lesson.

The dynamics change when a group effort with shelved out duties are involved. Before publicly announcing and publishing names in a “Thank You” speech, caution and critical thinking should be implemented before the letters of the alphabet go unto to that piece of paper. Play it safe, and if there is a group to thank, mention the group as a whole to avoid what happened to me.

The “Thank You” shout out of names for the event I participated in was published and publicly announced-EXCEPT my name, which was Left Out Completely.

I felt like one of Lazarus’ wounds waiting for the dog! I felt bad and that sent me into a feeling of worthlessness, alienation, and a depressed state of mind.  Through ruminations, talking and venting, denial and finally acceptance, the feeling bad feeling dissipated.

The lack of “Thank You” brought about a new understanding of the importance of being acknowledge and knowing someone was grateful. The acceptance part was hard but knowing there were some who knew of my input and responded to my omission verbally with, “ I saw what you did”, “You took the time to do…”, made up for it.

I will not go into specifics as to how it happened, why I think it happened, forgiveness or any other crap that comes up, for it is irrelevant and I may start to sound as a slighted BULLHORN.

I will carry forward, stronger from the experience with a major adjustment to my psyche.

And…

I will always acknowledge and show gratitude to those who have helped me by a THANK YOU that comes from mi corazón ( heart) y alma (soul)!

Un pensamiento de la manana

Attended a pastoral training workshop last weekend and it was a breath of renewal and a “skip outta my comfort zone”. The workshop was informative and invigorating as was meeting new people and hearing other points of view. I also contributed with my points of view and it was accepted. No criticisms, corrections or judgements. A nice feeling-a nice prompt to continuing “skipping”.

Familiarity is a safety net but it’s not necessarily a healthy one. One might fall through a hole in a neglected net, while a healthy net will cradle and nurture. If one’s environment does not nurture, stimulate or encourage growth then it’s time to search for one that does. This not mean abandon the old environment, rather accept it for what it is and loosen the dependency. Nuff said-babies need to walk.

My Favourite Quote

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3 (Pg. 190-191).

Reading Williamson’s quote, for the first time and realizing how often I had dimmed my own light in order to let another’s shine was difficult to admit and more so difficult (and still is) to stop.

I did not ask myself, who was I to be brilliant gorgeous, talented and fabulous, but rather, I criticized, butchered and self sabotaged any of my attempts to be. Playing small, protected me and kept others from emotionally hurting me at a comfortable distance. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you, protected me, once again, from others who indulged in stripping away my emotional defenses and once raw, delighted in tearing at my emotional skin. We were meant to shine, as children do, I grew up with children should be seen, seldom if possible and never heard.

Then, surprisingly, as the years progressed, I grew up emotionally and continue to do so.

You are a child of God, and yes, truly I am. And I was, born to manifest the glory of God that is within us, for to hinder or ignore HIS glory would be to deprive myself of a wonderful gift that was freely given to me. I will let my own light shine, although there are times when the output may fluctuate between 25-150 watts, but nonetheless, it will shine.  And, as I celebrate my own light so will others around me for joy is infectious, unless one has been inoculated.

I continue to struggle with liberation from my own fears and eventually, I will get there.

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