Sunday, March 27, 2011

A little seed that grows.

Think small. Planting tiny seeds in the small space given you
can change the whole world or, at the very least, your view of it.
- Linus Mundy

I copied this quote from a gardening website that I like to peruse. I like this quote and web-site a lot. But I wasn't thinking about gardens when I read it. I was thinking about a movie I watched last night instead.

In the movie "Inception," which is an action packed thriller about the act of stealing one's thoughts during dreams and the planting of an idea into a target's subconscious, was not the best movie I had ever seen. As a matter of fact, I thought the movie stunk.

But today, as I was going along doing my work, I kept thinking about that movie. Its premise. And about how we all are victims of inception, each and every one of us.

The definition of inception is this; an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events.

We all have had seeds of something planted into our minds at some point in our lives. Many times those seeds die out; a word tossed here and there that may have hurt, but never grew.

But many did not die out. Or maybe just one grew. Perhaps even a good one. But many of us have suffered from one small bad seed our entire lives. And it changes our reality, how we see ourselves, our world and our place in it.

Scary stuff. But in fact, true.

We like to think we are the creators of our own destiny. But the sad truth is that many of us suffer. And it may have all started with that one small seed.

I wish I had not seen that movie. I worry now what seeds will grow in my own daughter. We cast a lot of seeds to the wind, never really knowing which one might stick, which one might grow.

I read a story once about a girl who, when she was naughty, was punished by having her dad make a pretend phone call to a little girl named Diana. He told Diana what a wonderful girl she was and how he was going to buy her all sorts of presents because she was so good. He only did this a few times, mainly as a joke. He and his wife laughed about it. It was a long forgotten memory. An attempt to get a child to display good behavior that many young parents make.

When the little girl grew up, she thought she had forgotten about Diana. She never thought about it. She struggled with self worth, but was in therapy and on medication that seemingly helped. She was close to her dad and they spent many wonderful, happy years together. He was always loving and supportive of her. Overall, she loved her childhood and had many happy memories.

It wasn't until she had children of her own and watched as her dad was playing with them in her family room that it hit her. Suddenly, her heart steeled as she watched. And then a memory whispered, "Don't forget Diana."

We may never know what seeds we plant or when the seed was planted in our own selves. And we could spend a lifetime trying to figure it all out and never arrive at any true understanding.

I know I don't have any answers, that is for sure. But the movie, as much as I hated it, planted a seed in my mind that I hope will stay. That words and actions are powerful. That they can truly change lives. As innocent and well intentioned as they may be.

So, I guess my goal will be to plant as many good seeds as I can as often as possible and nourish them to help them to grow. Hopefully, they will choke out the weeds that I will also inevitably plant as well.

I will end this post with a little gardening tip from a book for kids about growing healthy plants:

Seeds are the basis of all plants. That's how they come into this world. Without seeds, there would be no plants.

The basic things a seed needs are light, food and water.

Water is essential to all living creatures.

When the area their roots are in becomes dry, some plants will grow roots out to find a new source of water.

A seed has all the things that the growing plant needs. It has a covering, a protective outer layer that helps keep it from damage, and a good supply of food for the newly sprouted plant.

A seed is a little package of survival.

My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view. ~H. Fred Dale

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Respect Yourself.

Definition of Respect:

To take notice of; to regard with special attention; to regard as worthy of special consideration; hence, to care for; to heed.

To consider worthy of esteem; to regard with honor.

How many of you have respected yourself today? Have regarded yourself as worthy this week? Have honored yourself in anyway lately? How about yesterday. Or last month.

Probably not. But you should.

Perhaps we are waiting for someone to respect us first. Or to compliment us or to even just take notice of us. But we are then putting the power of respect for ourselves in the hands of others.

That seems to always be a mistake. Yet we do it time and time again and are always disappointed.

People are always disrespecting themselves for one reason or another. And when a compliment does come their way, they feel as though they don't deserve it somehow. Or that the person complimenting them is just being nice or polite; that they don't really mean it at all. But we should not wait for others to validate us. We should use our own power of self respect instead.

Don't think you have power? Don't think that respect is powerful?

How about the power of a smile. If someone looks you in the eye and smiles at you, how does that make you feel? How about when they grumble at you or are rude? How does that make you feel? Those people, they have power.

But so do you.

And that is just another reason to respect yourself. You are powerful. You can make or break someone's day. You probably do it a lot without even noticing your power.

Treating others with respect is important, but be especially respectful with how you treat yourself and your body, the inside of your body. The part that allows you to live. We are always so caught up with our outside appearance, never minding the inside. But the inside is what really counts.

We feel we may be too fat, too simple looking, too tired looking, too old looking, not pretty or handsome enough. And when we feel that way about what we see in the mirror, than sometimes we disrespect the inside of ourselves. We do it in a myriad of ways. Maybe by eating or drinking things we shouldn't. Maybe by not resting enough, or resting too much. Maybe by not getting to that mammogram appointment or to that dentist appointment. Maybe by not doing something nice for ourselves. Or perhaps even by being mean to others. And that can affect the inside more than we think.

After all, if we can't respect ourselves, that leaves little hope that we can truly respect others. When the well is empty, it is empty. So others cannot drink if we can't.

And it all stems from respect. Respect for self.

So practice respecting yourself. Even if you are not perfect, because you are not. None of us are. Respect your body by listening to it, by nourishing it with what it needs, not with what your brain wants.

And respect your power. Use it for good today. Go out of your way to smile more. Be happy. You should respect yourself enough to allow yourself to feel happy. Happiness is contagious.

We have told ourselves and others a million times that if we had just one wish for our kids, or for the people that we love, we wish for them to be happy. To live happy lives. But no one can be happy if they do not respect themselves. It just simply cannot happen.

So, forget about that extra 10 pounds you need to lose, or the creepy boss who scowls at you, or the new wrinkle you noticed yesterday. Respect the fact that you are not perfect, but pretty darn special anyway. Respect the fact that your body allows you to get up each day, walk, eat and drink, breath easily, see lovely things, read a book or that your arms are strong enough to hug those that you love.

Respect that wonderful body of yours.

Respect the fact that each day you are here, you make a difference.

Then, make one.

Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are. ~~~Henry Van Dyke

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves; there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. ~~~Joan Didion

Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough. Good enough. Successful enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Socially responsible enough. When you have self-respect, you have enough. ~~~Gail Sheehy

Monday, March 14, 2011

Go Outside.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
~Albert Einstein

By now we have all pretty much seen the devastation that occurred recently in Japan. Nature at its worst. Destructive. Deadly. Scary.

But nature is life. And many of us are seemingly removed from its beauty and awe.

And that is a shame.

I hate to date myself, but I spent pretty much most of my youth outside. I looked for and watched all sorts of things, even bugs; I actually watched ants carrying food into their anthill for hours. I sat in grass and searched for four leaf clovers. I clearly remember the smell of spring, the crispness of a fall day and ran outside with delight to catch the first snowflake on my tongue. I can remember playing in the rain on a summer day and splashing in puddles. Even as a teen.

And now? I don't do any of those things. Not really. And neither do many of us. Nor our kids.

Which is even sadder.

I am not sure what brought about this disconnect from nature. Maybe TV started it all. Or perhaps it was even further back, when clocks first started appearing. We used to tell our time from nature. From the sun and the moon, the stars, the seasons. We were in touch with the world and that was a good thing.

Once clocks became the way to tell time, we became prisoners to it. We ignore nature's call, and instead look to the ticking of an inanimate object to guide us. Why, we even change time so that we can have more daylight. Seems wrong somehow. Messing with nature like that.

Anyway, I guess the time change, the earthquake, the resulting tsunami and all that devastation got me thinking about all of this. About nature. And time. That and a blog I read about a guy and his dog who climb mountains near our home in the White Mountains of NH. And I realized, I have not climbed them. What am I waiting for?

I know. I am waiting for the right time to do it. When I have more time.

And that is where we all go wrong.

We think we will have more time. Someday. We are all just so freaking busy. There is so much to do, so little time. We just can't get things done. The clock is on the wall and on our wrists and lit up on our phones constantly telling us to hurry up, we are almost out of time. The clocks imprison us. We need to be somewhere, doing something. We have no time to waste. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

It is maddening.

And that is why it is time to go outside.

We need to get in touch with our own internal clocks, our own rhythm. We really are one with nature. And the more we remove ourselves from it, the more isolated we feel. More stressed. Not understanding ourselves anymore. Sometimes I think it makes us sick. Physically sick.

We need to take back our lives, our time. We need to own it again, just for a while.
For one day it truly will be gone. We will have run out of time. Our time. For real.

So turn off the phone, the tv, the computer. Take your watch off and look around. It doesn't have to be a mountaintop that you are looking out from. It can be just your own backyard. There is nature there as well. And don't look at what has to be done in your yard. Look instead at what is happening that is just part of nature. Look at how the trees know when to bud and bloom. The flowers now starting to come back up from the earth. Look at the grass getting greener, the birds flying and picking up twigs for a nest. They don't need a clock to know what they need to do.

And neither do we.

We just think we do.

When was the last time you left the drapes and windows open and let the sun awaken you? When was the last time you sat in grass or looked up at clouds or the stars.

I know it will soon be spring. The calender and the clock will tell us. But just go outside and let nature tell you. There are signs of spring all over the place. You just have to take the time to look.

I know that we have to keep track of time. We have jobs and kids and deadlines and responsibilities. But every once in awhile, we need to get back in touch with nature, with ourselves. With life. Real life.

So, just go outside. It is there waiting for you. It is as simple as that.

Be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions, to despise nothing in the world except falsehood αnd meanness and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts, to covet nothing that is your neighbour's except his kindness of heart αnd gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends and to spend as much time as you can with body and with spirit."
~~~Henry Van Dyke

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
~~~John Muir

What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!
~~~Logan Pearsall Smith

Here is the link to the blog I mentioned, it is excellent:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The luxury of complaining about nothing.

I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. ~Joe Walsh

All of us complain about things. Sometimes daily, sometimes several times a day. We complain about the weather, the traffic, our jobs, our kids, our lawns, our dogs. We complain about the price of things, the lousy meal we had last night or how bad our favorite team played. It never seems to end.

Sometimes it seems that we would not have much to say to each other if it weren't for complaining. And it seems to me that some people simply enjoy complaining and it has become one of their favorite pastimes.

What we don't seem to realize is how lucky we are to have the luxury to complain about such trivia.

I see so many people who have a lot to complain about. They are watching a loved one die. They are in pain. The services we lined up didn't go right for some reason. The hospital made a mistake. But the funny thing is, I seldom hear them complain. About anything.

It seems like when we really see how bad things can be, we realize we have nothing to complain about. All those things we thought were so important just simply vanish.

A patient summed it up this way as she looked out her window on a recent snowy, cloud filled day:

"Why did I used to complain about the weather all of the time? Now I am happy just to see another day. I could care less what the weather has in store. I am just glad to be here. But I feel like I wasted so much time complaining about it. Too cold, too hot, too windy, too much snow. Like the world was doing this just to make my life miserable. What I failed to realize was that I was making my own world miserable. I wish I could have those days back. I would never complain again."

There is wisdom in what she said. How many of us make our own life miserable by looking for things to complain about? Perhaps time would be better spent looking for things to rejoice about.

Anyway, pay attention to what you are saying. See if you can catch yourself complaining about nothing. And then, rejoice in the fact that you can.

“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.”

I personally think we developed language because of our deep need to complain.
~~~Lily Tomlin

Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.