Do What You Can, BUT Don’t Blame Yourself For What You Can’t Do!

“I’ve always admired how you do everything you can, but never blame yourself for what you can’t do” a loving friend said to me one day. 

Yes, i grieve  when i can’t accomplish what i set out to do. But i have to let the failure go, then i need to reflect about what i have to learn from the experience. I’m too much in my head some say, but that’s just one of the things i have to do; so i do what i can, without blaming myself what i can’t do.

“The how and why of self-blame and self-criticism: The adult habit of self-blame is often an internalization of childhood experience. This is especially true if you grew up in a household that put a high premium on everything going right and looking blame 2-fingers pointingperfect, and if a parent, or even both parents, needed someone to be the scapegoat when things didn’t.” Continue reading Do What You Can, BUT Don’t Blame Yourself For What You Can’t Do!

Letting go anything, requires that we become vulnerable. It’s fear which stops us from moving forward, or even exploring what it is that frightens us!

fear of the unkwn - lge_Teal SwanLetting go means we will first have to manage the fear which makes us procrastinate, or even to discard our dreams. Some even go back down the unhappy path they’ve been following. 

If we want to change our persona, our behaviour, our lives, our relationships, our jobs, or our living environment, most of us have to let go what was, before we can move towards our goal. And most people resist changes, and resistance to anything means the possibility of less than happy outcomes is first and foremost in our minds.

Change is scary to most people to a greater or lesser extent is what i’ve seen and experienced. Such fears can and often do generate anger, anxiety, generating inner conflicts, and even depression.

So why do we feel anxious and angry?

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-and-anger#connection

“In the rich and varied panoply of human emotions, two feelings are closely linked to each other — and to survival.”

“Anxiety is the worry or fear you feel in response to a perceived threat. Anger is also a threat response, but it’s coupled with a strong sense of annoyance.”

“Researchers think these two emotions may play an important role in our ability to sense and react to danger.”

anger-and-anxiety

But are there other ties between anger and anxiety?  This article may increase your understanding of these 2 human motivators.

  https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-and-anger#connection

Many interpersonal conflicts require resolutions to inner (with ourselves) or outer (with others) conflicts; and that might (and most often does) mean modifying our behaviour, and our beliefs about ourselves. 

One such person, a grandmother in her 70s, was in bitter conflict with her adult daughter, also a mother. And as the mediation process evolved, the grandmother decided that she wasn’t able or interested in becoming the reflective, curious person her daughter wanted her to become. She didn’t want to know the “whys” behind the acrimonious behaviour, the anxieties, or the anger which had motivated them to build an almost “insurmountable wall between them 

barriers obstacles - strength comes fromovercomingShe didn’t want to explore “triggers” or motivations. It was all “psychobabble” anyway. “Why couldn’t they just get along, she asked?” 

But when her daughter emotionally shared that “she just wanted and needed to be with her mother like she would be with a friend” Her mother understood what was being asked of her, probably for the first time.

The older mother still didn’t want ‘peel any onions” to discover what was below the frustration and anger both regularly experienced, but she did modify her behaviour so that they could co-exist as friends with boundaries. And breaks from each other.

She didn’t need the “whys,” she just needed the “whats.”

 Anger and anxiety are always motivated by fears; fears about consequences which are scary.  How scary is always up to you. Remember, being afraid of the unknown may be a counter-productive use of your imagination.

So however you do it, you will have to manage the fears if you want to let go what was, and move forward towards your new reality. And if you want to let go the fear, most of us need to know what those fear and consequences include. 

 

transitions personal-bridges

 

So yes, many like me need to peel our inner onions, with tears being part of the process. William Bridges calls this process “grieving what we’re letting go” in his book Transitions.

 

barriers obstacles - be grateful - learning

 

For me, it’s been a rewarding mission for over 40 years on a beautiful, eclectic, sometimes challenging, but always gratifying and satisfying path.

Sometimes we all need a tree!

Sometimes, “We all need a Tree!”

Sent to me by a loving friend. 
interdependenceI hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.
 
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.
 
When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterwards he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
 
‘Oh, that’s my trouble tree,’ he replied ‘I know I can’t help
having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home.
 
Then in the morning I pick them up again.’ ‘Funny thing is,’ he smiled,’ when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.’
 
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

tree and houseWe all Need a Tree!

 
Wishing you a wonderful day!

Don’t be like a “dull knife” if you want to have meaningful relationships, discussions, or if you just want to impress others.

loud mouth in tie“You’re like a dull knife, just ain’t cuttin’, just talkin’ loud and saying nothing.” 

This observation is attributed to singer James Brown, which tells us what he thought of those who loudly proclaimed their ignorance to one and all.

children_the way we talkSince the beginning of time, humans have used the power of words, voice, body-language, their perceived intellectual supremacy, and physical violence to overpower others to try and satisfy their needs. Bullying is a human disability, and it’s often taught to their children.

  Sadly, those who know the least and those who consciously or unconsciously believe that they’re not very smart, often talk the loudest; they also argue their positions the most aggressively. The internet is plagued by many, and for the first time in history, we can see how many “dull knives” there really are, and not just the ones around us. 

Elevator volume control.
Elevator volume control.

 

  

Don’t you sometimes wish you had a remote to turn down their volume?

 

 

Most of us grew up with such people at home, at school, or at work. At times, i was one of those loud-mouths, until, way back in my 20s, a loving friend and a caring boss pointed out to me that i was shooting myself in the foot if i wanted to have meaningful debates and discussions. 

From that point on, if i didn’t know something, i just STFU! Then i went out and learned what i needed to know about myself, and my behaviour.

The first step is always realizing and accepting that we don’t know everything we think we know. 

And the learning never stops, at least for me.

I also often emotional intelligence - intersection of heart and headhope that those i see yelling in person and on the net access and apply some emotional intelligence, look in a mirror, listen to themselves, then modify their behaviour.

It will make their lives so much easier. emotional intelligence - leadership

So why do people bully others instead of questioning how we can more effectively communicate with them?

bullying at work“The sad truth may be that for some people, there are significant social and personal benefits to bullying.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/brick-brick/201405/knowing-why-bullies-bully-is-key-stopping-the-trend

“Almost everyone has been bullied at one time or another, and we often take solace in the assumption that living well is the best revenge. We will have happy and fulfilling lives, whereas bullies are trying to compensate for their own low self-esteem and will lead miserable lives.” 

So here are five components of Emotional Intelligence, which apply everywhere in life where we have relationships and have to make decisions.

emotional intelligence 5 components

Why do people hurt those they say they love, including their fur babies?

The Featured Image is a stock photo, and not situational. 

Approaching the lovely park across the street from my apartment on this gorgeous spring-like sunny day, i was stunned as i watched a beautiful young Dalmation being locked into a pristine red car.

In my head i heard ‘but it’s only for the drive home, so she’ll be ok’.

baby in-locked-car-trunk

 

Would a mother ever lock her baby in the trunk of her car, on purpose?

 

I’d even bet that the Dalmation fur-baby’s mother(?) loved her 4-legged family member no less than she would a child. But she and her two friends looked like they didn’t have a care in the world as they got in the car with a fur-baby in the trunk,  and drove away. I wondered heart-brokenly what that poor Dalmation was experiencing in that cold, dark, cramped space?

I was shocked and upset to watch such probably-unconscious yet ignorant cruelty!

“We only hurt the ones we love” is inaccurate; we do hurt the ones we love, but not only. Many people say they love others, but does loving mean ‘not hurting regardless of other considerations’?

So when we see we’ve caused pain, stress, or sadness, are there alternative behaviours we might adopt which would more accurately reflect our loving? 

Or are we even empathizing with those we say we love? 

Are we always ‘walking our talk?

How do our “loved ones” experience our loving them?

love- its what you do not what you say

“Just as a snake sheds it’s skin, we must shed our past.”

snake skin discarded

“Just as a snake sheds it’s skin, we must shed our past.

 

 

“This is the secret to Mushin, living life in the moment with your mind an empty cup so it can be filled with new constructive and functional material. If it doesn’t add value to your life, why keep it.

To remain relatively calm and controlled in the heat of conflict, a disputant must “Sit relatively comfortably in the discomfort!”

When helping people resolve emotionally-charged interpersonal conflicts, i see that the longer disputants’ differences and a disputant’s experiences remain unresolved, the more their history affects them. Sometimes to the point that their experiences are traumatizing

As we know, carrying unresolved issues like those traumatizing experiences with you everywhere you go will be like carrying mountains on your back as you follow  your paths. They will slow you down, or even stop you dead in your tracks.

Mount Fuji

 

“Mountains exist for you to climb, not for you to carry.” 

 

Carrying around ‘mountain-like’ obstacles like past traumas both great and small will do nothing to resolve your inner conflicts, or those external conflicts with those involved in your trauma. They will certainly do nothing to ease your mind. So the choice is yours:

      • live in misery consciously, unconsciously, and subconsciously, or
      • manage and resolve your historical, traumatizing experiences yourself, so you can put them behind you where they belong, or
      • find the help you need to learn from your history so you can move on to the life of your dreams.Self development - letting go - courageous

“Remember the past to learn from it, but live for the present, because even the present will be the past some day.”

Zen aphorisms sourced from books authored by James Patterson  

 

 

“Life is not about finding our limitations, it’s about finding our infinity.” – Herbie Hancock.

The human race is again challenged by barriers and limitations, including illness and death. That is our common reality; some riot, some act out their deepest pathologies, but the majority use their built-in abilities to adjust, survive, and thrive.

chaos managing - white water

Being human really means using our intrinsic abilities to go with the flow regardless of what happens to us.

When you look back at your life, what do you want to think, feel, and believe. Because most of you will be there one day.

Each one of us is challenged as we journey through life, successfully or not. It’s our ability to manage and to overcome the obstacles we encounter along the way which will decide how we view our lives retrospectively. Think about this.

barriers - overcoming

What do you want to think or feel when you look back at these challenging days?

I am grateful for reaching the first of my adult life’s barriers at 20. It was my JR Comachoice fed by a  perception that i was indestructible. Without going into the gory details, it took me about 3 years to recover physically, emotionally, and psychologically to a point where i functioned as i wanted. But i refused to die (the doctors said), also refusing to accept any prognosis except a full recovery.

barriers obstacles - be grateful - learningI am very grateful, but some people who know me  still don’t believe me when i say that the long struggle was the greatest gift i ever received.

The truth is that rebuilding my body and self actualizing (partial amnesia erased much of who i had been) enabled me to live the life of my dreams for the next 50+ years. 

I learned early that if i persisted mindfully, no challenge was insurmountable. In time i also learned that I didn’t need to travel through life overcoming barriers unaided. I learned that asking for help was not a sign of weakness, but a strategic necessity which just made life easier. The gift was that many of those trusted allies and mentors became lifelong friends.

The bottom line is that the pandemic, like so many other challenges, can be a gift, or a torpedo. The choice is ours.

barriers obstacles - strength comes fromovercoming

An Australian definition of a Canadian – in case anyone asks you who a Canadian is.

Posted by Daniel Eliadis on Facebook

Once in a while someone does a nice job of describing a Canadian, this time it was an Australian dentist.

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian – any Canadian. An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

canada culturally diverse

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians.

A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

But they also welcome the least – the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds.

These are the people who built Canada.

You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour.

This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.

Please keep this going! Pass this around the World. Then pass it around again. It says it all, for all of us.

‘Keep your stick on the ice’

Some call it luck, some call it fate, coincidence, or synchronicity. Our realities are always affected by what we see and learn.

Coincidence: A concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. eg; they met by coincidence

synchronicity

Synchronicity: The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.“such synchronicity is quite staggering”

Luck is the residue of design” (Branch Rickey) Since we make our beds, then have to sleep in them, comfortable or not, reality will be what we make of it and take from it. 

50 years ago, almost dying changed me forever. One minute i was playing at what i loved, the next i woke up in a hospital bed not knowing where i was while machines and feeder tubes kept me alive. 6 weeks had disappeared except in the deep recesses of my psyche.

The experience changed me in ways which i only noticed and acknowledged as years flowed by.

supremes

Most of my life, others have observed how fortunate i have been. I agree. But i haven’t won any lotteries and the only prize i’ve ever won was 2 tickets to a Diana Ross & Supremes  concert in Montreal back in the 60s.

Nevertheless, the ah-ha moment landed on me when i realized that the angel on my shoulder needed my help to make her magic.

So synchronicity, with my help, has enabled me to live a wonderful and exciting life by inviting people and situations to my path so i could learn. 

Now in my 70s, and as recently as this year in the middle of a pandemic, she’s done it again!

coincidence - messenger - Winspear

During these difficult times when so many are suffering physically, emotionally, and psychologically, we have options. We can’t stop change, but most of us can control how we respond to challenging changes. And we never have to do it alone.

As i’ve experienced and seen, the challenges presented me and many others with opportunities.

We could embrace changes which make our lives and our societies more satisfying and pleasurable, or not.

Learning_When student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear.

It’s all up to us; and that’s no coincidence.

 

coincidence we're shaped by

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

farmer with gun-Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

Words of wisdom from an old farmer.

Picture and text courtesy of Malcolm Roy Olson

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Learning_When student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear.

 

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

 

 

Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older & think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

ignorance_Learning by pissing on fence_rogers

 

“Wanting to understand something that is not possible to be rationally understood, can be incessantly frustrating.”

“Wanting to understand something that is not possible to be rationally understood, can be incessantly frustrating” she said to me with a stressed but accepting look on her face. She went on to say, as if accepting her inevitable fate…

 To be free of that persistent feeling when i die is, in some kinda way, something to look forward to. Until then, the world could certainly use more confused minds like yours, wheels spinning, still trying to understand. Far better more of those than those who are happy to con themselves into thinking they have it all figured out.”

So how do people react or respond when they don’t understand something of more than less importance. Some carry on regardless of the shock they might earn….

ignorance_Learning by pissing on fence_rogers

The epiphany i had about never being able to figure out ‘life’ and ‘living’, or ever to control life, only came after having several near death experiences.

The answer was that there was no answer, and that i didn’t need one.

The irony of living was that i controlled only myself, and not even that at times. So i began to pictured living life as being somewhere between a twig in a swift flowing stream and an albatross flying with and against the wind. Albatross _NOAAGreyHeaded

So whenever something confused me, i eventually learned that there was information i didn’t yet have, or had not yet seen. So all i had to do was try and understand what i could, and put aside what i couldn’t understand; in newspapers it used be called “spiking” an article for use at some future time; or not.

Buddha said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. In my life i have had many such epiphanies from human and situational teachers.

So for the 55+ years since that first significant teacher showed up unexpectedly, acceptance and appreciation of what is has worked for me, and funnily enough, it still does, beautifully.

bike - view over handlebars

 

One senior’s ode to coronavirus isolation …. an uplifting poem to lighten the load!

Life is what we make of it, even when in coronavirus isolation.

 Sent to me by a loving friend.

coronavirus - no more snacks

the covid is raging
my life is a mess
i live in pajamas
and don’t have to dress

i’m in isolation
just staying at home and
would give my last dollar to be free to roam

 

i’m seriously at risk
(or that’s what they say)
telling me to stay in
and not go out each day

in my head i’m so young
though my licence reveals
i’m a 70-plus senior
(but that’s not how it feels!)

when i run out of food
and deliveries are late
i have to buy groceries
between 7 and 8

coronavirus - seniors hours shopping

so early in the morning
i head out to restock
and discover a line up
that winds ’round the block

 

social distancing seniors
all 6 feet apart
make me wonder just when
i became an old fart

my meals are repetitive
(a lot like my gas!)
and i’m tired of discussing
why trump is an ass

my latest new outfit
is gloves and a mask
and i’m starting to wonder
if i’m up to this task

i wash all my groceries
all fruit, meat and veg…….
will this additional precaution
tip me over the edge?

my beautiful blonde hair
has wide roots of grey
no hairdressers around
to help wash them away

i’ve been talking to myself
now i’m answering back
is it monday or friday
i’ve really lost track

i’ve stopped doing housework
it’s weeks since i’ve dusted
and i know without visitors
i’ll never get busted

i facetime my friends
or we group chat on zoom
and try to pretend
we’re all in the same room

thank god liquor stores
are considered ‘essential’
without daily drinks
this would drive us all mental

every once in a while
it is good to reflect
on what this all means
and what we can expect

i’s a time to be grateful*
for all that we’ve got
like a warm house and food
that others have not

friends_crazy0415the bottom line here
by the time this all ends
is that we’ll get through it
with our family and friends

so even if your partner
is a bit of a grump
you can really be grateful
you’re not married to trump!

Stay safe. Play safe. Be well!

seniors laughing-jumping on bed

We are all connected by the Butterfly Effect, including all those we love and have loved. So what do we do with those no longer with us?

The departed want us “To Carry them with us – that is our task.”

How do i know? I know because we carry them with us whether we enjoy the ride or not. This is my reality and my gift; a gift available to all of us.

butterfly effect

“What task do the departed want us to do?”

“To carry them with us – that is our task. We carry them all inside us, all our dead and shattered loves. Only they make us whole.” 

“If we begin to forget or cast aside those we’ve lost, then… then we are no longer present either.”

All the loved, all the dead, all the people we’ve known are the rivers which feed our sea of souls.  If we refuse to remember them, that sea will dry up too.” 

Once upon a time i met a new friend, and love, who was visiting our small town, but only temporarily. We had an intense and passionate relationship. One morning she looked as if someone close to her had died overnight as she awakened me with; “I have to leave later today;  i know i may never see you again, and i feel like crying. You make me so happy to be with you but i know our respective realities make any longer term thing impossible.”

We spent the next few hours together but there was a cloud hanging over us under the clear and beautiful Spring sky. “You will always be with me” i said to her as she finished packing her car.

“Vanessa, you will be in my heart and in my mind through this life, and maybe even through my next iteration. (Yes, that’s the way i talk. LOL) Every time i remember you and our times together, you will bring joy to my heart, a smile to my face, and a tilt to my kilt. Once i’ve  grieved your absence, after crying whatever tears need to be expressed, i will forever after carry you with me.”

Plagiarizing Nina George’s character’s words, “I can only talk about the things i’ve experienced. I’d have to get into the pan with the potatoes in order to give my opinion on the french fries.”

I don’t know if Vanessa believed me because we never connected again. Nevertheless, within me i carry her, all those i love, and everyone i have loved, and they make me whole. That is my experience.

little paris book shop

Sometimes i find a book which inspires a cornucopia of relevant and inciteful “ah-ha” moments; The little Paris Bookshop by Nina George offered so many lessons; her words i’ve quoted (italicized) are just a few of those gifts.

 

Learning_When student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear.