Gratitudes for the Day After Thanksgiving

I spent part of my day yesterday with my in-laws and like a lot of other people, I’m sure that they see that as the mixed “blessing” that I do.  You don’t get to choose your family, and you also don’t get to choose your in-laws; they just happen to be related to your spouse.  So, when I need to spend time with them, I try to ignore the bad (excessive drinking) and concentrate on the good (they make pretty good food and their house is clean and organized beyond belief).  I would truly like to take lessons in organization from my brother-in-law.  And their kitchen!  What can I say, it’s about three times the size of mine.  What a lot of cupboards they have…however, I wouldn’t want to clean it, as it’s all white.  As I said, clean clean clean.

Thanksgiving is all about family, and even if we can’t choose the families that we have, we need to find the good in others.  Sometimes the good can be as simple as someone being a good provider for their family, or being a loving mother. Even if their treatment of you isn’t as you’d wish it, if they are loving to their immediate family members, that’s what they can do, and it’s a valid and good choice.  Besides, where would we be if we didn’t practice love of others in the face of intolerance and/or indifference?

Every Thanksgiving I look ahead to the day with dread in my heart.  I make my contributions of chili and pie; and try to attend with peace in my mind, and love in my heart.  Sometimes that’s enough, and sometimes I leave feeling with that sickness in my soul that indicates a sleepless night is lying ahead of me.

You can’t change other people.  You can only change how you react to them.  Try to bring love and peace to those you interact with.  That’s the only change you can make.

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Being Grateful

Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday. Many people I know have to work; I’m a vegan and my in-laws (where we go for the holiday dinner) aren’t; and then there is the whole Native American thing…I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown when I was taking American History in high school. That led to my first and only visit to the Principal’s office when I informed my teacher that our history book was lying about the entire “Indian Affair”. To say that he didn’t take kindly to my observation would be understating the facts; hence my trip to “the office”.

So, as you can see, I have conflicted feelings regarding this beloved holiday. Which doesn’t seem to be much of a holiday these days, with “Black Friday” starting earlier and earlier than ever before. Just to note, I have never gone shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, since just the thought of going somewhere that’s so crowded and crazy is the last thing I’d want to do.

Instead, I try to think about all the things in my life that I have to be grateful for: my family; my pets; what I’ve learned and done during the past year. This year I’ll be including becoming Vegan in that list. Also, starting this blog which is something I really never thought that I would do. Taking part in NaNoWriMo and learning how to put time in my day to write is another one for my grateful list. Life is a learning and growing experience, and I feel that even though I never really do live up to what I want to accomplish, I didn’t do too bad a job so far this year.  What are you going to be grateful for on your holiday?

Why Having Goals Are Important

Every two weeks I “meet” with a goal group. We meet online since we’re from different places. We may not be from the same locale; but we all have the same objective. We want to move forward in our lives and make goals and strategies to get there. We hold each other accountable, and provide support to help each other.

Many people want to change their lives. They may want to get healthy, change their job, and go back to school or whatever. But they want to live the life they want. And in order to do so they’ve decided to make goals and strategies to get there.

Every morning I make a list. This helps me know what I need to do for the day, but most importantly I can get a sense of accomplishment from crossing off each thing as I do it. Goals are like that. I’ve been taking a big goal – get healthy, and have broken it into smaller goals. The ones I’ve been working on lately are: becoming Vegan and learning new recipes; working out consistently to get stronger and healthier; and changing my attitude to a “can do” one. I have found that as I cross more things off my lists, my attitude has changed to a more positive one. But in order to do any of these things, I have to break them down into smaller goals. Otherwise they seem too big and easier to fail at.

Big goals can be really overwhelming and they seem to force us to fail. We are overcome by the sheer size of them, and just stop trying to accomplish them. So, I took the big goal of becoming healthy and broke it down into changing my diet; and working out. My diet goal is become Vegan (which I am); so now I’ve been trying two new recipes out a week. This is great, since it’s simple to do. I just use the internet to find new recipes that look good (most of them are). Easy peasy. The second part of this goal was to work out consistently. This I have done. I figured out that if I got up (early) and just worked out, I would do it. So, by 7 in the morning, I’ve gotten that out of the way. I moved my alarm clock so that I have to get up to shut the stupid thing off. Since I’m up I stay up and get dressed. I hate getting up, but love the feeling that I’ve accomplished a work out so early in the morning and can now go about my day.

Each day is a challenge, but by having a goals group, we help each other to stay on track. And, having to be accountable to someone besides myself, I feel that I don’t want to let them down, since they’re also struggling to accomplish their own goals.  How do you set and accomplish your goals? Let me know.

The Legend of Me

I think that it’s time that I tell you the legend of me.  According to my son, I’ve been alive for millions of years. I’m an extra-terrestrial witch who arrived here on my broomstick after falling out of the sky and crash-landing on earth. This landing was caused by my extreme nosiness; I just had to take a closer look at what was going on. The Popigai impact crater in Siberia was created when I crash-landed on earth approximately 33.7 million years ago. I lost my witchy powers when I landed, not to mention that my broom blew up and now I have no means of leaving earth. I have spent the many millions of years living, “dying” and being reborn in human form.

This is an interesting theory, and he claims that not only am I an extra-terrestrial witch, but he’s afraid of me, since I’m so “scary”. I’m the only one in the family that when I tell my dogs to sit, they stand there panting and just looking at me. That just goes to show how extremely scary I really am. This is his latest theory on just who and what I “really” am, since he doesn’t believe that I fall into the realm of “normal-ness”; whatever that is.

But, this theory of his made me think. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have lots more time than we do? I would probably spend hundreds of years attending various universities learning all the things I’d really like to know. Then I’d spend time traveling the world and getting to see all the places I’d like to go. Of course, I’d want to find out how to solve and stop the wars, world hunger, global warming, etc. I could go on and on with all the things that I would love to do, but probably won’t ever be able to do due to a lack of time (and money). What would you do if you had all the time in the world?

Meanwhile, I’ll just be busy trying to replicate my broom. I have a feeling it might come in handy sooner rather than later.

Activation Energy: or, Get Up Off Your Butt

Every morning when my alarm goes off, my first thought is “I only have 5 seconds to get up!” I do, I have five seconds to get up and stay up. Why?  Because our brain, the fabulous mastermind that it is, doesn’t want us to change. It wants to perform, and keep performing on auto-drive. So, no matter how bad our habits are, our brain wants to keep doing them. That way, it doesn’t have to change, and most importantly, it doesn’t have to make new grooves. Because when we change our actions and think new thoughts, it makes new grooves and forms new habits. New grooves, in our brains that we can force it to make. But, like the rest of our bodies, our brains are lazy. It doesn’t want to make new grooves; it likes the old ones just fine, even if they are killing us. Who cares? Obviously not our brains, it’s comfortable just the way it is.

The only way to trick our brains is called Activation Energy. That is when I actually get up when my alarm goes off. It’s when you take a physical action to change a habit. Then, if you do that action long enough, you will make a new groove in your brain, and a new habit has been born. Hopefully a good habit and not a bad one.

Do yourself a favor and watch this video. Mel Robbins really knows what she’s talking about.  I thought it was a game-changer, and really helped to explain why habits are so hard to change.  Watch the whole thing, and put her 5 second rule into action. It’s how I’ve been forcing myself to get up and work out every morning. In fact the knowledge that I only have five seconds actually gets me up and out of bed. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Another Monday, Another Motivation

 

Mondays are hard.  I don’t know what kind of a weekend you had, but playing Destiny on the XBox One that my son bought me featured a little bit too much into mine.  So, I need a little motivation, and I bet you do too.

I hate to say it, but that first step is the hardest.  It seems like every morning is that first step, but if you take it, you feel much better about yourself.  And that makes the rest of the day easier.

Even when you have to decide all over again each and every day.

Just to let you know, I did laundry, took the dogs for walks, cleaned the house, made dinners and a pie.  So, I wasn’t just a gamer all weekend.  Just part of the weekend.  After all….what are weekends for?

Why Can’t We Just Respect Each Other?

I just watched the news clip regarding the Neo-Nazi Rally in Rockwall, Texas. At the same time that the white supremacists were having their rally, other groups were having a counter-protest. These groups included: Anonymous North Texas, the New Black Panthers, Occupy Dallas and Open Carry Texas. Quite the mix. When I started this blog, I really didn’t think that I’d say anything political. This wasn’t the reason I began writing this. I wanted to share my transformation with others, and find other people who were positive and trying to live in a peaceful way. But sometimes you just run across something that is just too crazy and you need to say something.

Now, I realize that everyone has their right to speak, but seriously? I need to ask the age-old question: “Why can’t we just get along?” At this rally the Neo-Nazi speakers were claiming that half the people counter-protesting were illegal immigrants. Did they know that, or did they just jump to that conclusion?  There were people interviewed who just couldn’t understand why this rally was happening. One woman said that she’d lived in Rockwall all her life and what was being said at the rally didn’t jibe with how her town was. She seemed extremely upset about the whole thing.

I have never understood the whole “us” against “them” thing. Maybe there is something wrong with me, but it never made any sense. We’re all the same. As Shylock stated in the Merchant of Venice, “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?” In other words, are we not all the same?

To me, a person is a person is a person. We all carry the same blood in our veins, we all need the same things: love, shelter, food. Where is the respect we owe each other?

As I try to transform my life, I long to see other peoples’ lives transform for the better. The homeless a house, the cold some heat, the poor the ability to earn enough to live and the war-torn some peace. I wonder how much better all our lives would be if we just respected each other.