Archive for December, 2009

Why on Christmas?

Friday, December 25th, 2009

First of all, if you celebrate Christmas I would like to wish you a most magnificent day! However, for a variety of reasons not everyone does celebrate Christmas, what does that say about them and how are they treated?

I happen to be a Christian so for me Christmas is a no-brainer celebration. After all, as a Christian my faith tells me that this is the day to celebrate the birth of our savior. In honor of that amazing fact, we as Christians gather together to sing praises to our God, we often exchange presents and offer good cheer to those we meet. So far, so good. I have many friends who are not Christian, no problem. I wish them a most blessed day on religious holidays that I know are important to them and they return the heartfelt wish on the days important to me. And then there are my friends who are agnostic or even atheist, no problem. Many of them celebrate the day in a totally secular manner, again that seems to be considered¬¨‚Ć acceptable to most people, Santa Claus visits, egg-nog is enjoyed and the world continues to spin to everyone’s satisfaction.

Enter Jeff. One of my favorite sons, Jeff¬¨‚Ć was raised Catholic,¬¨‚Ć however he has decided that’s simply not his belief system. He doesn’t rain on anyone else’s parade; he doesn’t disparage our celebration he simply doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas himself. It’s interesting what sort of conversations and interesting comments take place when he mentions this fact to others. Apparently this actually aggravates some people, my question is why? It seems that the common thought is that he is somehow a living, breathing, unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge because he doesn’t buy or expect presents or put up a tree. Huh? While I have no problem with folks celebrating in any way they choose it seems to me that we should be just as tolerant of someone who simply chooses not to celebrate.

I’ve heard some pretty disparaging comments about this and I don’t get it. Jeff¬¨‚Ć frequently asks simple but thought provoking questions, such as why so many people pretend to like one another this time of year, but can’t tolerate one another next week. Why do they spend money buying presents for these people if they don’t truly care for them? Why are people expected to overspend to show they care about one another even if they cannot afford to spend money?¬¨‚Ć Do any of those things have to do with the birth of Christ? From what I understand Jeff considers this sad and more than a bit hypocritical, I tend to agree. So, there are very unkind comments about him being unfriendly, stingy or even uncaring. While I don’t know the situation regarding every person who chooses not to celebrate Christmas I happen to know this is not the fact with this young man.

Jeff is always thoughtful about the feelings of others. If he is in town for Christmas or Easter he even attends mass with his Dad and me, not for himself, but because he knows it makes us feel good. I consider that very thoughtful. He’s absolutely not cheap or unwilling to spend on others; he is very generous without any special occasion in mind, because that’s just who Jeff is and the way he likes to treat people. More to the point Jeff and others I know who do not celebrate this particular holiday tend to treat people pretty much the same, day in or day out. Willing to know strangers before they judge them, loyal to friends and pretty firm in their stand regarding those they dislike. Now that seems very fair to me.

It seems that Jeff had a few things to say about this himself, you can read his thoughts if you visit Walden Ponder. http://www.waldenponder.com/2009/12/christmas-comes-every-year

Today I am celebrating Christmas with the members of our family who are in town. We will eat, open presents and enjoy being together all in the name of celebrating the birth of Christ. I’ve got to say that I appreciate Jeff and others who don’t celebrate for the gentle reminder they offer. I will try to keep his position in mind all year long, hopefully it will be a good reminder for me to keep in contact with those I care about, offer my love and generosity throughout the year and not only on particular days. I have to believe that is the best way I can honor my own Christian beliefs and respect the beliefs of others at the same time.

For those of you who celebrate, I wish you all the most wonderful blessings of this marvelous day. For those who don’t celebrate, I still wish you all the blessings of this marvelous day. Gosh that feels good.

Warmly,

Sandy

Please Be Patient, My Dog is Still Training Me

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

I’ve lived with animals my entire life. For some reason I keep forgetting that the training process is on-going. Hmmm, for the record, that means my training, not necessarily theirs.

I grew up always living with a dog. From time to time we also had other animals, birds or turtles and I will never forget my wonderful horse Barney, big blue eyes and sweet personality. For some reason during all of those years I was convinced that I was training these companions. Yeah, right.

Boxers have been my buddy of choice since I have become an adult. First there was the unforgettable and most dignified Rocky. Followed by the very undignified, joyful clown of the dog world, Rascal. Now I live with Indiana, or Indy who makes it clear to me on a daily basis that this training stuff is not even close to being over.

Anyone who has ever met Indy has generally commented on his sweet demeanor and very nice manners. It turns out that it was all a scam. I didn’t train this boy at all; he’s been training me for more than five years. And he’s doing a pretty good job of it; at least I think he is.

Indy recently suffered his second stroke. Actually, I’m not at all sure that ‘suffered’ is the right word to use as this boy doesn’t seem to be suffering at all. He now tilts rather dramatically to the left and stumbles quite regularly, especially on the vinyl floor, but he has adapted very well. And he’s training me¬¨‚Ć to adapt right along with him.

This smart boy waits for me when he reaches a step. If I don’t notice right away, he will sit there and either make little dolphin squeaks or Chewbacca noises, they seem to be used interchangeably so I can’t say why he chooses one over the other. Once he gets my attention, he starts butt wiggling and waits for me to grasp his collar to walk down the stairs. This way he is avoiding any more falls. One smart boxer boy!

Apparently, Indy is also feeling the chill in the air much more than he used to. He will curl up on the edge of¬¨‚Ć his large comforter and wait for me to cover him up, usually tucking his snout down into the blankets as well. For some reason Indy doesn’t seem to feel that my husband or son need as much training, or perhaps he has decided they are not capable of being trained as he doesn’t seem to do these things for them.

More proof that my training isn’t finished? Indy keeps reminding me that I owe him some one on one time, whenever I return home. The guys will tell me that he has been happily curled up into a ball for hours, but as soon as I come home he begins to act as though he is losing his mind. Doing the boxer kidney-bean, making all of his favorite sounds he calls me into the family room. This continues until I sit on the floor. He then promptly curls up with me, waits to be covered up and the snoring commences. I usually feel the Reiki begin to flow immediately. I’m convinced that Indy is very aware that I am able to offer him Reiki and he knows that Reiki offers him healing energy and support.

This could go on and on. The way Indy has trained me to offer him a treat when I want him to come in, rather than simply calling him. He sits in front of me and offers unconditional love with those big chocolate eyes to get his ears rubbed. It’s really an endless story.

Animals are so much more intelligent than many of us give them credit for. They watch, learn and adapt to situations quickly and adeptly. No time is wasted on remorse or recriminations, they simply move on. Learning how to make the best of the situation they are in and generally training the humans they live with along the way.

I try to keep this in mind when I’m working with life coaching clients as well. Facts today are simply what they are, period. How do we cope with the moment and bring about the results we desire? If we learn from the animals I have lived with, we will achieve better results, if we focus on what we want to happen, and then try our best to communicate this to ourselves, those who are around us and have the ability to affect our lives and the universe in general.

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How does this apply to people, cause you know it does right? We are constantly teaching others how to treat us. How do we respond when someone is kind, negligent, friendly, rude, helpful, etc? Our response teaches or trains others that certain behaviors are acceptable or not. We teach others to treat us with kindness or contempt depending upon our expectations and on our response to their treatment. I try to keep this in mind when I’m working with life coaching clients as well. If we learn from the animals I have lived with, we will achieve better results, if we focus on what we want to happen, and then try our best to communicate this to ourselves, those who are around us and have the ability to affect our lives and the universe in general.

No doubt Indy has much more to teach me. Just yesterday he convinced me to move his food to an area that is much easier for him to eat. It seems that the training will continue. I’m grateful that Indy is a patient trainer and of course he always rewards me with snuggles, very sweet.

This week I encourage you to focus on training. What you are teaching and what you are learning. Awareness will allow you to fine tune and embrace that which is important to you.

Warmly,

Sandy

You are an Energy Super Hero

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

I was reminded by a wonderful gentleman the other day of the power we have over one another. Pull out your super hero cape; you’ve got the power too.

Did you ever go into a room and know that something very unpleasant was going on, even before anyone said a word? Perhaps the room felt tense or just generally unwelcoming as you entered. You were feeling the energy of at least one person in that room, possibly that of everyone in that room.

Alternately, do you know someone who just makes you feel silly happy to see them? Most of us know at least one person like that; we are truly blessed if we know many. These people share their loving energy as naturally as you and I breathe.

Sounds like super powers to me. You have this power as well. Experiment a bit if you don’t believe me. Go into a room and smile; deliberately think of sharing loving ‘vibes’. Most likely you will quickly notice that others are smiling back. Probably approaching you, offering hugs or handshakes. You are sharing your loving energy and infecting others with it. Wahoo!!! You are using your super powers whether you are wearing the cape or not.

You do this innately. But here’s the cool part. Now that you are conscious of this ability, you can be very deliberate about it as well. Naturally, I encourage you to use this power for good, not evil.

Take a moment before you enter a room, answer a phone call or start a conversation. Consciously align your thoughts to the vibes you want to give out. If you want to be cheery, recall a happy thought, notice that feeling, intend to share that energy with those you are about to speak with and put a big smile on your face. It will come through loud and clear. If it’s your intention to spread calm, take a few deep breaths; remember a place or occasion that made you feel calm and content. Hold on to this feeling and intend to share it with others. You’re on!

The gentleman that I spoke about earlier has come to realize this power in a very profound way. I applaud him for recognizing and wanting to share this with others. He now makes a very conscious point of starting conversations with a smile and asking for the other person to share something good that has happened to them today. I love that! He’s automatically releasing any thoughts or feelings of negativity, asking for and giving thoughts of happiness or joy.¬¨‚Ć He’s not only feeding his own sense and feeling of well-being, but he is sharing that same gift with others at the same time. Well done my friend!

This awareness strikes me on all levels, particularly professionally. As a Reiki master, I always encourage my clients to deliberately release any negativity they no longer need and to allow themselves to accept  positive energy as they are ready. As a Reiki teacher I encourage my students to develop awareness of their own energy so that they offer only healthy, positive energy to others as much as possible. Of course any of my holistic life coaching clients hear the same thing.   These energy shifts may be subtle, but they influence our thoughts, feelings andDSCF0521 behaviors. Powerful stuff.

I encourage you to consciously put on your cape every day. Take a few moments to think about what you would like to project to others as well as what you hope to receive from your interaction with others.¬¨‚Ć See what happens. Make a few mental notes, and notice that the more deliberate you are about sharing love, compassion and joy the more you receive of the same.¬¨‚Ć I’m willing to bet that you will very soon realize just how much you are able to positively influence the outcome of every situation. Intend to share, focus on those thoughts and feelings, notice the results, offer gratitude and begin the process all over again.

Try this for a day or two, I bet you’ll be hooked. I hope so. Then go on, share the secret with someone else. You’ll be giving them their very own super hero cape.

Warmly,

Sandy

My Life is Soup

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

head shot 4, resized smallerI got up this morning and had a taste for good veggie soup. Yummy. So I got on the Internet, found a couple of dozen recipes that sounded interesting and finally printed one.

The adventure had begun! A short visit to my favorite grocery store yielded all the perfect ingredients. A clean kitchen meant that I had nothing to stand in my way. So, I banished hubby to the garage to split wood and I began to make my soup.

I started off following the recipe – honest I did! However, it didn’t take long before I realized that the recipe I had searched out was serving more as a very loose guide, more of a suggestion than hard fast, specific directions. Soon the kitchen filled with the delicious aroma of garlic, sweltering onion and lovely vegetables blending their flavors like instruments blend their sounds, to yield something fabulous and almost magical. Alright, I was really hungry and it smelled pretty darned good! It turned out pretty good too, if I do say so myself.

What’s the point of sharing this story with you?¬¨‚Ć I wanted to share my epiphany. I had the very profound thought that I run my life pretty much exactly like I cook. In short, my life is soup.

I make plans, do diligent research and then refine those plans. When everything feels right and I’m silly excited, I get moving. Sometimes I stick right to the plans or the ‘recipe’, but I’m pretty amazed how often I throw the entire thing right out the window. Still I’m almost always pleased at the result. The soup almost always turns out at least as good as I planned, often much better.

This is going to be short today, because I’m pretty sure you understand my point pretty clearly without me elaborating very much more.¬¨‚Ć Especially if you are a Reiki or holistic life coaching client of mine, then you could probably finish this all by yourself. But I’m going to spell it out anyway.

The point is simply this. Go ahead, make plans, think things out and organize your future from where you are right now. However, be open to a change here and there, it may yield something remarkable and quite wonderful. Today’s soup wouldn’t have been nearly as tasty without the turnips, and they weren’t in the recipe at all.

My life is just like my soup and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I encourage you to make soup my way from time to time. You may like it!

Wishing you a most fabulous week,

Sandy