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Reflecting On Life

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I sometimes I sit and reflect upon my life. Past successes and failures circle lazily through my mind and I replay events, often adding a different twist to them. I wonder what the outcomes might have been had I made a different choice, said something else or done things differently.

I am a strong believer in fate and feel that I am guided through life, not only by my own doings, but also through guidance by a power much greater than myself. How much of what has occurred in my life has been through my own actions and how much has been guidance, I may never know, but I do know this…I get out of life exactly what I put into it. If I strive for a positive outcome, I get it. It may not always be exactly what I had wanted, but it is something beneficial in the long run. If I look at something in a negative way, I will always find something negative within it. But mostly, I try to look at my life objectively and as an ongoing lesson.

I could choose to linger on the horrible things that have occurred within my life or choose only to see the good, but I feel that it is important to look at it all and to recognize that, good or bad, I have learned something from each experience and I, hopefully, will take that knowledge into the next chapter of my life and apply it in a constructive manner.

So no matter how much I wonder where my life might be if I had changed some small or large part of it, I am confident that I am right where I should be. I am also hopeful that I will do my best to learn from the past and continue to create a bright future.

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Lessons From A Springer Spaniel

Lilly Dog is a very important member of my family. She spends so much time by my side and has learned my daily routines so well that I rarely have to give her voice prompts. She knows when to sit, when to stay and has an inner clock that seems to know when everyone in the household is supposed to leave or come home.  Lilly has been such a sense of joy and comfort to me through the years and has taught me a lot.

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These are ten things that I have learned from Lilly…

1. Love unconditionally, even if it sometimes is not returned.

2. Be patient and good things will come.

3. Pay attention to detail.

4. Exercise daily.

5. Be supportive of the people you love.

6. Play often.

7. Take naps.

8. Accept praise.

9. Listen to your gut instincts.

10. Find joy in each new day.

I hope to remain mindful of these lessons and to keep them in practice throughout my life. It just goes to prove that anyone can teach, if we are willing to listen. Thank you, Lilly!

What’s In A Life

My grandmother passed away today at the age of ninety-six. She had been ill for the past six months and our family has been blessed to have the time to spend with her and to show her how much we loved her. As hard as it is to lose someone that I love so much, I feel blessed to have had her in my life for as long as I did. I also know that she has joined my grandfather, the love of her life, and they are together once more.

Saying goodbye to my grandmother has made me think a lot about life. So many of us are so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we forget how truly short our time on earth really is. How many of us step outside ourselves and really think about the person we are or the person we want to be? Do we strive to be present in the moment or do we spend most of our time chasing the mighty dollar? Too many days are filled by rushing from task to task without stopping to enjoy living. It makes me stop and think…our we leaving legacies that we could be proud of?

I hope that I am someone, like my grandmother, who has given more than she has taken. A person who has tried their best to help others, even when it has come with sacrifices. I want to be the type of person that people mourn the loss of and not someone who walked this earth with hate in my heart.

I’ve always said that it isn’t the objects you own or the money you have that people will remember you for when you’re gone, it is the memories and, ultimately, the love that you leave behind. That is truly what’s in a life.

Life’s Flow…

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Every living entity has a flow, a rhythm that adds to the greater melody. We can choose to close a blind eye to this rhythm and fight against it or we can embrace the flow and see where it carries us.

I Was Blind But Now I See…

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The World Health Organization states that there are an estimated 285 million people with visual impairment worldwide and 39 million people with blindness. I have worked in the field of Visual Impairment and Blindness for seventeen years and have witnessed amazing feats and met some incredible people. Here is some of what they have taught me…

1. Losing your vision doesn’t mean that you have to lose your life.
Before I began working in the field I couldn’t imagine losing my vision. I felt, like so many others, that it would mean the end of my “life”. What I had forgotten was that life is what you choose to make of it. Just like with any disability, you can let it define you or you can choose to overcome it and work with what you have to offer. One of my clients has a fully functioning woodworking shop and creates beautiful furniture. He does this by creating specialized jigs for his saws so that he can cut and carve safely. He never let blindness stop him from what he wanted to do in life. You always have the option of having a successful and happy life, you just need to choose to do so!

2. Most things can be accomplished, you may just have to do them a little differently.
Imagine cooking dinner. You slice up vegetables, peel a potato, cook a hamburger, whatever the task may be. Now, imagine doing that with your eyes closed. Pretty terrifying isn’t it? Slicing and not knowing quite where you are along the vegetable or how close your fingers are to the blade. Cooking, but not being able to visually check the meat for doneness. The list could go on and on. These are the tasks that millions of people with a visual impairment or blindness are faced with every day and they successfully complete these tasks. It’s because most every task is possible, you just need to know how to adjust your mind and look at it from a new perspective or use a different technique to achieve your goal. The next time you peel a potato, close your eyes and feel the potato. Can you tell which part has been peeled and which still needs to be done? Now wet the potato and with your eyes closed, feel again. You’d be amazed at what you feel. Again, you didn’t change how you essentially peel a potato, but you used a different technique to tell what parts still needed to be done. Open your mind to new possibilities and techniques and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

3. You can tell a person’s real beauty by listening to their words and noticing their actions, not by seeing their appearance.
When you listen to your intuition and regard people according to different standards other than their physical appearance, you can truly “see” people for what they are. Some of the most beautiful people I know would be considered ugly by just gazing at their appearance and some of the ugliest hearted people are ensconced within a beautiful facade. Take the time to note a person’s words and actions if you really want to see them for what they are!

4. Self Advocacy is something everyone should implement within their lives.
Too often we swallow our needs and don’t stand up and declare what we desire in our lives. We expect people to read our minds and instinctively know what we need, when we should just communicate with each other. You avoid a lot of miscommunication if you advocate for yourself and let others know what you want and need. Self Advocate!

5. Losing your vision doesn’t make your other senses become heightened.
It is a common myth that your other senses become better with vision loss. What actually occurs is that you start focusing more on your other senses. You rely on your auditory skills or your olfactory skills much more when your ability to see is no longer present. And, like any skill, when you use those senses more, you become more in tune with them and using them becomes second nature. Just think how much more rich your experiences could be if you took the time to fully experienced them with all of your senses!

6. Losing your vision doesn’t mean that you lose your hearing or your mind.
So many clients have told stories of how people shout at them when they are blind because, somehow, to an amazingly large number of people, a person who has lost their vision must also be deaf. Now there are people who are dead/blind, but that is completely different. No one likes to be yelled at and people who have a vision loss are not inherently deaf. Nor do they lose their mind! I have been in a restaurant with my friend who happens to be blind and the waitress or waiter will ask me what she wants to eat. I always turn to her and say, “What do you want to eat?” cueing the wait staff that they can speak directly to her. Losing vision does not automatically mean that the person isn’t highly intelligent and capable of making their own decisions. I have clients who are lawyers, psychologists and many other high ranking jobs. Losing sight doesn’t mean that a person loses hearing or their mind! Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity!

Do-Over!

Do you remember when we were all children at play? We would be ensconced in a world created by our overflowing imaginations. This world would be filled with great fun, much laughter, and the pure joy of creation. Perhaps we were knights and damsels in distress or cops and robbers, but it was always a game purported through our innate need to fully enjoy life. And as we played, something unpredictable and uninvited would happen, perhaps it was a misfire, a trip or a fall. Invariably someone would shout, “Do-over!” and, just like that, our world would be reset to just before the misstep occurred. Our play would continue as if nothing had ever happened to change our initial plans.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if our lives as adults also had that Do-over Clause? Just imagine the best time in your life, a time when you were fully at peace and felt like everything within your world was just as it should be. You were at the top of your game, having the time of your life! Then you made a wrong decision, an error, something that changed your life in an unfavorable way. Oh how simple it would be if we could revert back to our childhood games and just simply shout out, “Do-over!” and our life’s plan would reset back to that place where everything felt so right in our world. Now I know that sometimes we are able to get second chances in life, but they are never quite as simple as when we were children at play.

As I ponder my own life, there is one certain timeframe within my life that I felt like everything was just as it should be. I owned my own successful business and only needed to work part-time. My daughters were young and it was summer here in Maine. I was able to spend so many hours with them, picnicking, swimming, and at play. Carefree hours were spent laughing and snuggling without the threat of stress or responsibility. Our time was our own and we were right where we wanted to be, with each other. I didn’t have to feel the weight of responsibility bearing down upon my shoulders or the stress wearing me thin. I was with my girls and only they mattered. It was the best time in my life! I felt like I was fully present.

Then the economy declined. Work and, subsequently, income weren’t as plentiful and instead of trimming down our lives to live more simply, it was decided that I should get a full-time job. One that would bring in a steady income and allow us to maintain our way of life. I bent to the pressure and traded in my business for a full-time job. The sad part is that I now find myself working triple the hours and for less pay than I was making out on my own. I answer to a supervisor and there are no more last minute trips to the beach, or days taken off to simply be with my girls. I can’t ever go back to owning my previous business as I have become an employee of the company that used to contract with me and it would never be allowed.

Looking back on the last four years of my life, there are times when I wish with every fiber of my being that I could transport back to that perfect time when my life was my own and I could spend so much more time with my girls. I would give anything to yell, “Do-over!” and have my life reset…just like that.

Daily Prompt

My Soul Wants…

My soul wants…

To feel the warm breezes and to dance in the rain. It wants to skip and jump and twirl! To soar high through bright blue skies as it dips and glides.

To sense the salt in the crisp night air and to touch the cool sand below. To be lulled by the lapping waves under a pale moon light and to feel deep peace.

My soul wants…

To dance to the rhythm of tribal drums. To soak in the heat of a bonfire while watching the flames dance and glow.

To embrace new opportunities and to expand its horizons. To cultivate knowledge, as well as compassion. It wants to feel the companionship of kindred spirits and a true sense of affinity.

My soul wants…

To hold my children close and to wrap them in love. A devotion so strong that it will be felt throughout their lives and long after mine ends.

To drink in the earth’s vitality and rejoice! To flow through the forest feeling the strength of lush greens, the beauty of brilliant colors and magic in the life all around.

My soul longs…

To find what is missing, what it yearns for most. That other soul who it has yet to encounter, at least not in this lifetime, but it knows must exist. That very soul who radiates the same energy and flow as its own…the perfect mate.

Looking Back

As I sit here tonight, my mind wanders to how I have changed as a person throughout my adult years. Yes, I’ve had some regrets, such as never having traveled abroad before settling down, never taking the plunge to live in a southern state, and trading in my midnight blue Grand Am for a more reasonable family vehicle come immediately to mind. I can also say that I had different goals as a young woman than I do as being someone in their early forties. I am more confident in the woman I have become and I am no longer that insecure teen. But, I must say, I feel like I have stayed true to who I really am, despite an occasional meandering over to the dark side.

I grew up in a single parent household and we were, by all definitions, poor. We did not have a shower and we bathed in a galvanized tub that we would haul out into the kitchen. I know some of you who have just read the previous line are appalled by how awful that must have been, but it was not. No, our house was not much above a shack, but I wouldn’t change my childhood in that respect. I was loved. I didn’t have the latest electronics or the trendiest clothing, but I had a mother who loved me unconditionally. My meager upbringing taught me a simple reality, it’s not the objects in life that matter, it’s the people and the memories.

I would much rather have a handful of close friends who love me for who I am, the good and the bad, than have a thousand friends who are only friendly to my face or when they want something from me. I cry during humane society commercials, stop to assist shoppers who can’t reach a product in the grocery store and I donate to charities. Not because I want the tax write off, but because I truly believe that we all need a little help sometimes. My perfect day would be any day spent with my two beautiful girls. I love gazing up at the stars and listening to the rain. These characters within me have never changed.

I have trusted too easily and gotten hurt, been used and thrown aside, but they were lessons learned. I have worked hard to prevent any of the negatives I have encountered in my life to permanently change my positive outlook. Instead of building bitterness and walls, I have chosen to look deeper into the reasons someone might have chosen a particular action instead of condemning that person for their actions. I’m no saint, no, not by a long shot, but I hope that I have apologized when it was warranted and have not been too proud to admit defeat.

I am human and though my body has gotten a little older and my vision a little worse than when I was a twenty-something, I have always tried to remain true to myself because at the end of this life, we all die alone. The most important thing to me is that I want to make sure that I am proud of the woman I was throughout my life as I take my last breath. So, I must say that in looking back, I have tried to show unconditional kindness and love, remain genuine, be strong, and, above all else, be a positive influence in my daughter’s lives. And, for me, that is enough.

Choose The Positive

We can choose to let negativity into our hearts and minds, but what good is it? Think of negativity as a contagion trying to engulf you. Our soul naturally gravitates towards the positive, if only we let it. Just choose to let the power of positivity into your life, program your being to look for the positive and terminate negative thoughts.

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If your mind starts to conjure a bad cognition, simply say to yourself, “cancel, cancel” and let something positive flow into its place. If you begin to do this, you will find that fewer and fewer negative thoughts manifest and that positive energy draws more positive things to you. Tap into the power of positive thought and uplift your soul and your life.

Midlife Crisis or Rejuvenation

I’ve been pondering about midlife crises as of late and here is my epiphany. We’ve all heard stories about people who “have jumped off the deep end” and done crazy things in their 40s and 50s. Some by Porsches or date people half their age and there are yet others who quit their long-term careers and strike off on a completely different path. These are the people who bear the brunt of whispered conversations about how they’ve lost their mind or are having a midlife crisis. But what if it wasn’t a crisis? What if it were a subtle rejuvenation?

Perhaps these people wake up in the middle of their lives and realize that slowly, over the years, they have morphed into someone completely incommensurable from their younger self. We all know how work, family, and life obligations tend to push out a lot of the lofty dreams we had as twentysomethings. When we are young we feel like the whole world is ours for the taking and that we can achieve anything. We set goals and, as we work to achieve those goals, we make compromises within our lives and within ourselves. We find that we must change in order to reach some of those goals. Fewer hours are spent on idle things such as hobbies, spending time with friends and family, and indulging in self-care. Evenings and weekends that were once filled with plenty of downtime are now overwhelmed with commitments. What used to be time just for you is now time filled with running the children to extracurricular activities or working longer hours at your job to meet deadlines or income requirements.

The tan young man with an athlete’s body or the gorgeous young woman with long flowing hair has transformed into someone quite different when you look in the mirror. Maybe the eyes that used to sparkle with all sorts of dreams now have dark circles under them. You have seemingly blinked and twenty or thirty years of your life have passed you by. Then you start to feel panic tightening your chest. What happened to that young person that had such lofty aspirations? Why did so many of your dreams pass by unfulfilled? Who is this person looking out at you from the mirror? Your mind whirls with thoughts about all the things that you had wanted to do or obtain within your lifetime. The years feel like they are quickly passing you by and you must take action! And that is when the sports car shows up in your driveway or you divorce your spouse of 25 years. You feel that you must grasp at every fleeting moment before it is too late.

Not everyone goes through a midlife crisis and why is that? If you take a good look at the people who don’t, I think you will find that most of those people have stayed congruent to the person that they’ve always been. These might be the people who found a way to balance their dreams and aspirations with the reality of life and all of its commitments. They are also the people who have listened to their inner voice and remained connected to themselves, even through all the twists and turns of life. They have found a way to balance all of life’s commitments and changes with valuable self-care.

So, how can those of us lingering between a midlife crisis and a lifetime of self-care move forward? I say with rejuvenation! Each day is a new chance for all of us to revise our life’s journey. We don’t have to make such drastic changes in our lives as to bring on the whispers from friends and family, but it isn’t too late to start taking care of ourselves either. If you have started feeling those little pangs of panic from a life that is streaming by, breathe deep, and take a moment to recall the things in earlier years that brought you a sense of purpose or that you most enjoyed. The activities that have quietly slipped away as the years have gone by. Could you work some of those things into your life? Maybe take an evening painting class if you used to spend your free hours immersed in acrylics with the music up and your creativity flowing. Or simply carve out a couple of hours an evening or on the weekend for you to tap back into your inspiration. Give yourself permission to do some of those lost activities that made you feel full of life! Though, I suggest that if you lived to party when you were younger that you might, perhaps, find a healthier alternative such as a class on wine tasting before you freshen up your beer pong skills.

It really doesn’t matter what restorative activity you choose, it just matters that you reconnect with what “filled you up” when you were younger. Just because we move on through the years doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice who we innately are, nor do we have to succumb to a midlife crisis wherein we make drastic changes to our lives. Reconnect with your inner self by making little changes for the rejuvenation of your life.

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