Archive for the ‘Positive Thinking’ Category

I was reading the newspaper this morning. There was an article about a couple of prisoners and their resolutions for the new year.

Hmmmm. News does tend to get stale and I suppose something a bit different is needed to catch the reader’s eye.

After reading the piece I thought a little more about resolutions.

This new year tradition is not really about keeping the promise we make to ourselves late in the evening of December 31st. It’s not about commitment or will power. Or the disappointment when we fail to follow through on our declaration.

It is about hope. Pure and simple.

We make resolutions, year after year, because it represents hope. To be a better person. A healthier person. A kinder person. Whether we even realize it or not. It’s the hope for improvement.

Renewable hope.

Those two guys are in prison but they can still make resolutions. Hoping to be better in the new year. In some way.

We all can.

I wish you a new year filled with health and happiness. And that you carry hope in your heart all year long.

 

 

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Mark Twain once said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”

Yesterday I received a notification on my phone. From an app I’ve installed.

“Congratulations! 1000 Hours Smoke Free.”

The app “Smoke Free” isn’t responsible for me quitting. But it does reinforce that I made the right decision and I think it prevents me from sliding back into the habit. It charts how much time spent not smoking, money saved, physical changes, goals, cravings, triggers, etc.

All positives.

Quitting a decades old habit is not easy. Even if a person smoked one cigarette a day it’s still a habit. And kicking it can be difficult.

My husband told me he was quitting and I said, “I’ll stop also.”

I was just being a supportive friend to him. He didn’t ask me to quit.

I figured, “Why not? Let’s see how it goes. Maybe we will last the day.”

And we stopped.

Times have certainly changed when it comes to smoking.

Used to be everyone smoked. Everywhere!

At the kitchen table. In the bedroom. Watching television.

I remember men and women lighting up the second Mass was finished. The teacher’s lunch room in the parochial school I attended allowed smoking. When I got my first office with a door at the phone company I smoked while I worked. As did my friends who came and sat with me. At my high school lots of kids smoked on the property.  Alongside the teachers who were also smoking.

People smoked in cars, busses and trains.

I remember smoking on a plane to Ireland in 1983. Looking back I can’t imagine how the non-smokers two seats down felt.

That’s how different things were.

When the tides of change swept in it was sort of funny. You’d go into a restaurant and they’d ask, “Smoking or non-smoking?” If you chose non-smoking you were seated directly across the aisle from the smoking section.

It took years for the U.S. to create a non-smoking environment. But they did. Office workers are clustered so many feet from the entrance to their building. Airplanes have messages all over them. Campuses are smoke free. Even college campuses. Young kids are taught about the dangers of smoking at school.

My friend Mary Ann once said that smoking in some places would be akin to blowing your nose on a curtain in a restaurant. It really is that frowned upon.

I remember once having a cigarette after dining in a KL restaurant last year. You know the deal. Huddled up against the building hoping you don’t see anyone you know. Like I was smoking dope or something.

In the distance I saw one of my daughter’s teachers. I panicked and dropped it. Like I was smoking dope or something.

My daughter said, “Mom. Own it.”

I guess that’s the thing. I didn’t really own it. Because of society and its stance on smoking. I was embarrassed by it. But that did not prevent me from doing it.

I did not smoke in my car. Or in the house. But I still did it.

Even though it was a legal activity for someone my age it was verboten at just about every place I frequented.

Today I am smoke free. I do not consider myself a non-smoker yet. Maybe I feel that I  need more time to earn that moniker.

Not smoking is absolutely freeing.

I did not have to rush outside in freezing cold Boston once I got off the plane.

I did not have to go into the “smoking room” at the international airport. Which is the grossest place on earth. I felt that way even when I smoked. But I still entered.

I do not have to leave the dinner table when finished and go grab a quick cigarette.

You get the drift. It was inconvenient.

Just have to be conscious of “triggers.”

So I guess my message in this posting today is this. If you smoke and want to quit I’m here to tell you it is doable. I’m doing it.

It can be hard. We all know there are people who have/had scary health issues and they continue to smoke. It’s a terrible addiction. I know. I did it for nearly forty years. That’s a long time.

I also know loads of folks who were heavy, heavy smokers and are now happily smoke free.

It’s totally doable. And only positives will come out of the decision to quit. I promise.

One month, thirteen days and one hour……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was on one of my visits to New York City. This was a couple of years ago. Totally enjoyed it.

Happened to be outside the hotel one evening and a fellow strikes up a conversation. He was from England. First time in the States. Said that his fourteen year old daughter had wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial.

This guy had nothing good to say about his visit.

He talked plenty about his little garden in Leicestershire (or one of the ‘shires) and how peaceful it is. Also mentioned his work hours (an hour and a half for lunch and home by 4:30pm!)

Bemoaned the long lines (queues) and the expense of New York. He wondered how Donald Trump could have all that money when there are homeless folks in the city.

He said more than once, “How do people live here? How do they do it? It’s not for me.” And he apologized, “I’m sorry. This is just not for me.”

I told him there was no need to apologize to me.

He continued chatting. Said he did a lot of charity back home. His mother was giving and charitable. Had Diwali and Christmas celebrations where everyone was welcome.

He said, “But I guess we can’t change the world.”

I was quick to advise him that we can only do our part. That’s all you can do.

But I sort of felt bad for him. It did sound like he had a nice simple life (and schedule) back home. But he was on a holiday. No one was wanting him to give up his life in the garden or time at his Mom’s house. Cast it all away for a life in the Big Apple.

I kept trying to counter every negative (because there were so many) with a positive. “Well, did you see this? Did you go there? What about the food?”

No positive responses.

He was leaving at 6:00am the next morning.

Finally, I asked, “Did your daughter enjoy it?”

And he said, “Yes.”

So I said, “Well, alright then. There’s something.”

Hoping that everyone, as summer comes to a close, truly finds something to enjoy. It really is what you make of it.

 

 

 

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The first time I ever saw a red fox in the wild was after my Dad died two years ago.

I was with my brothers and we spent the day together-just the three of us- visiting the Cape. My father loved the Cape and so did we. We went to all the usual old haunts. Spent hours reminiscing, laughing and talking about Dad.

We were heading to the beach on the “other side” as we called it. My oldest brother saw it walking through the marshland in a residential area.

Dad and the boys would have seen a fox before because they spent a lot of time on golf courses. I was 50 years old and had never seen one in the wild.

I texted my sister-in-law who is into animal spirit sightings and symbolism. She said something like the fox is representing us as we navigate obstacles, decisions or difficulties. I no longer have the actual text or photo since my phone got swiped.

Found this in a google search.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Well, that was true because we had a lot of things to take care of after Dad died. It was all new to us.

Why would I be thinking about a fox today?

Couple of evenings ago I was in a local Malaysian neighborhood on my way to visit someone who had just been released from the hospital. As I was walking to the house I saw a big cage with an animal in it on someone’s patio.

The people were just doing normal things one does in a patio. Watering plants, sweeping the ground, etc.

I approached these people and asked, “What’s that in the cage?”

The man said, “It’s a fox.”

I replied, “Really??”

Didn’t look like a fox to me.

He said, “Yes, it’s a fox.”

Okay then. It’s a fox.

I asked lots of questions.

Where did you get it? Kuantan.

Is it nice?  Like can you pet it? Well, it bites.

How old was it when you got it? Five days old.

Did it have siblings? Don’t know.

And on and on. LOL

fox1fox2fox3

I never saw a fox that looked like this guy. LOL. So I’m not totally buying it but I will surely take the sighting symbolism just the same.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Sometimes it is hard for folks to move quickly when faced with things that are challenging.

If there are currently obstacles and resistance in your life I honestly wish you adaptability and the ability to move through them very quickly. Fox sighting or not!

 

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It’s my eighth anniversary of writing this blog! Amazing how the time does fly. Super amazing how many changes also took place during that time.

Apologies for not writing in awhile. It’s that whole time flying by thing.

A friend’s recent status on Facebook was, “Tell me something good.”

I thought the actual phrase, which I hadn’t heard used as a greeting in quite some time, was already something good.

Anyway, the response was fabulous. “I’m going to be a grandmother.” “The sun is out and the windows are open!” “I’m up and moving!” and many more. It was nice to read and see that people could immediately respond with something good.

We all know there are plenty of Facebook statuses that do not elicit good or positive responses. Especially lately.

Yesterday, I was in a hospital elevator. One that has no motion sensor so I get knocked in the upper arms on a daily basis if I’m not careful.

A fellow pushes a steel cart on to the elevator while I make sure the doors don’t shut on him.

I figured he was a florist because both trays on the cart were laden with gorgeous flowers, balloons and presents.

Of course, I have to engage in conversation.

I ask, “Wow! All those for one person?”

He smiled and said, “Yes.”

Then I spied the writing on one of the balloons. “Baby Girl!”

I said, “Awwww, a baby girl.”

He says with a huge smile, “Yes, my fifth.”

“Oh, she’s yours!!!! Five girls?”

“Fourth girl.”

I congratulated him, chatted and wished him the best.

Went down to the lobby and got my parking ticket validated and was walking by the front doors and see a little, swaddled baby in a clear, plastic bassinet on wheels. Looked like a pink burrito.

And she was just precious. Three days old. The mom is there in a wheelchair waiting for a car to pick them up. I see all the gifts that I had just seen on the elevator.

“Congratulations! I just met your husband in the elevator. She’s soooo beautiful.Bless you all!”

We chatted for awhile about the delivery and how she was feeling.

She looked so positively radiant. And it made me happy.

That was something good.

 

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When I lived in Southern California I had the most wonderful dentist. Loved going each and every time. I wouldn’t be lying if I said it felt like I was visiting family. Everyone always asking about the kids. Even asking about Thumper the dog. The staff had been the same for years. Never any new faces. That’s very telling.

She was actually my neighbor -lived about five doors up from us. But I never saw her in the neighborhood so we caught up during my appointments.

Kind, funny, smart, beautiful on the inside and outside.

And she was a refugee.

When she was just five years old her parents, four siblings and a ton of other family members boarded a boat to escape Vietnam. No idea where they were going but the Dad knew they had to flee.

She told me she could remember being in a sack and thumping her head on the bottom of the boat.

They were rescued at sea, after floating for days amidst bombs, by a ship and soon found refuge in the United States. A Catholic Church in the Midwest sponsored them.

Sadly, her mom died from cancer some time after they arrived in the U.S.

Dad, a physician, ended up doing a fine job raising his children.

My dentist originally was pre-Med but once completed decided on dentistry. Her father had five children. All chose medicine or dentistry.  That’s a bunch of Drs. in just one family.

That is truly a success story. Against many odds.

Being a doctor might not necessarily be everyone’s idea of the pinnacle of success. We all know a profession is not the whole person. Doesn’t make you a better person or a person who is better than anyone else. But it is a wonderful accomplishment, an honorable profession and requires tremendous hard work. For anyone but especially for folks who start off fighting the odds without the usual support systems in place.

During the recent elections I read that a woman said her candidate would win if only the people whose four grandparents were born in the U.S. would vote.

I pondered that one. And I’d say she was probably right on the money.

But what she missed with that statement was that we all should be reminded that America has always been a nation of immigrants and refugees. Always. Even folks whose four grandparents (or great grandparents) were born in the U.S. have immigrant blood coursing through their veins.

 

My dentist arrived in a boat. Fleeing murder and mayhem. No papers. No nothing.

It was only through the goodness and generosity of the American people and a church community that allowed her family to not just survive the ordeal but to flourish. To serve the greater community. To become respectable, outstanding, tax paying citizens.

This story just reminds me of why I always loved my country. Her essence. The goodness, generosity and community of the people. Candidates and politicians come and go but I have every hope that the essence of America will and should remain the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We’ve all heard people say that Facebook is so fake. That the lives presented and wonderful photos are not a true (or I should say full) representation of the people who are posting. And that your list of “friends” is also fake. Most are not your real friends.

I agree with some of this. The part about most not being real friends. But I don’t agree with all of it.

A Facebook page can be a true representation of the person. Their loves and passions. Oftentimes their foibles. But one can still be genuine and not post every little thing, right?Isn’t that why kids (and adults!) are told to be careful what they post? There are future employers and admissions officers out there just ready to take a glance and make a judgement based on what they see. You don’t need to share every aspect of your life even if the red plastic cups are totally real.

I can pretty much predict what my FB friends will post. There are obviously some things that cannot be predicted like the loss of a loved one, an illness or a move. But everything else is just about a sure thing based on the past Facebook postings that demonstrate the interests of my FB friends.

That doesn’t mean those who are posting actually share every aspect of their lives.They share only what they want you to see. And that might be positive or negative. But not fake.

Facebook can be just like real life. We don’t always share everything with our friends in real life. We share exactly what we want to share. And that might be positive or negative. But not fake.

Which leads me to something else. What some people choose to share on line but might not share in real life. It’s quite surprising and this makes Facebook an interesting thing. People share things on their wall that they never would have shared with you while you worked together in an office. Or at the neighborhood block parties. Or at the church picnic.

Facebook provides a platform for folks to put absolutely anything out there. They are making the choice to share. Good or bad. My husband (not the biggest FB fan) likens it to writing on a bathroom wall.

Those filters that were firmly set in place at the workplace or at the church? Gone.

The platform became a regular Pandora’s box with an unleashing of all sorts of things. And none of it fake.

Like the over posters who have a rhythm and a choreography of their own. Almost oxymoronic. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Insert beautiful Bible verse. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Have a nice day! Ugly rant. Ugly rant.

I can’t imagine hearing all of that in real life. In the office? Oh my gosh! But it is still real, isn’t it?

And that leads to this.

Defriending. I’ve seen the FB postings,”I would never “defriend” anyone over politics!” That’s really lovely of them. But what they don’t understand (or can’t) is that most folks aren’t being deleted because of their politics but because of the deplorable way some people present their politics, views and postings to their on line audience. They are being real but it doesn’t make it palatable or even acceptable. It’s all in the presentation, my friends. Always has been.

Maybe those who choose to present negatively are seeking validation from like minded people or they really believe their posts will change opinions of others. Spoiler alert: That never happens.

If I read a posting and it sort of makes me sick to my stomach I probably shouldn’t be FB friends with them. Right? They’ve crossed some sort of line. We all have our lines. Doesn’t even have to be political. This does not mean I won’t still have fond memories of those people from a different place and a different time. Just no more FB memories.

This blog posting was probably a long time in the making but prompted this week.

One of my FB friends died a couple of days ago after a battle with cancer. We worked together back in Providence many, many moons ago.

I was thinking about his postings and how I enjoyed them because they were a reflection of his life and what obviously meant the most to him. His moments with his kids and wife. Friends around the pool. Photos of childhood friends. Photos of adult friends. Many sports references. BBQs with his extended family. His love of New England even though he had moved to Florida. His heritage. The beloved dog. Favorite music and bands.

He never posted about his illness. Because he chose not to share that. And probably many other things. What he did choose to post was very real.

Because Facebook isn’t fake. I’m thinking what you see on a wall is a pretty good indicator of the type of person sitting at that keyboard.

Yep, your list of friends might be fake. But the walls? Not so much.

Of course, this is totally my opinion and in the end not much of it matters.

But.

If it’s on our wall we have chosen to make it real.

Most will not litter their walls with red, plastic cups overflowing with vitriol. Most will choose a reflection of their love. That’s my hope.

 

 

 

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