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Tidbits, Continued

I told you that my main activity this past long weekend was reading. Here are some more interesting thoughts that I came across as I joyfully read and read and read:

+ I have a fair amount of subscriptions to decorating magazines. I find them to be so visually stimulating and beautiful. One thing that I have often noticed, even in the higher end designer magazines like Architectural Digest and Veranda, is that no matter how opulent the home, no matter how exquisite the decorations, no matter how rare the antiques and art collections which fill the homes, more often than not, the owners are photographed in their homes with their beloved dogs. And that’s what makes their homes even more beautiful. One of the late Gloria Vanderbilt’s apartments were featured in one of the magazines and she is quoted as saying, “Decorating is autobiography.” I love that sentiment and I find it to be absolutely true.

+ I read another article about a woman who had to move from her beloved home that she had built and designed herself, for a job change in another city. She was distraught about leaving the home, so she started journaling about it. She wrote a long list of everything that she loved about this house that she and her husband had built and everything about it that she would miss. Then, to be even, she started writing a list about everything that she didn’t like about the house and what she would have changed if she could have changed it. Much to the writer’s surprise, the list of what she didn’t like ended up being a good bit longer than what she actually liked about the house. I remember reading that this is a good exercise to do with anything which you are having to leave, give up, move from, or stop – relationships, jobs, habits, hobbies, etc. We all know that it is wonderful to focus on the positive things in life, but to get through the grief of losing something or someone, it doesn’t hurt to be honest with yourself about the negatives that you will also be “losing”, too. This being real with yourself, helps move the grieving process along, in a purely balanced, authentic way.

+ Recently I shared a meme on the blog that said we should choose not to compete, but instead to excel. I always remind my family that “Comparison is the thief of happiness.” All of our lives, and starting gates, and personalities and backgrounds and genetics, will never make for level, even playing fields. Our individual lives are too complicated to be played on a racetrack. Supposedly Fitbit has an advertisement that asks, “What’s strong with me?” This is an inverse to what we often ask ourselves when we are caught up in the futile comparison game – “What’s wrong with me?” Once again, this is just another example of what a shift in focus of your thoughts will do for you, in keeping things and your overall life in perspective. So, my readers, “What’s strong with you?” Please contemplate that question today. I would love to see some of your answers in my Comments section.

+ In pondering the second half of life, I love this quote which I came across from my readings over the weekend: “The first half of life is pursuing happiness, often with the operating system being one’s ego. The second half of life is seeking contentment, with our heart and soul being our guiding influences.” – Chip Conley, CEO of the Modern Elder Academy Isn’t it wonderful that a gift of aging is getting a much better, upgraded operating system?

+ Julia Cameron, author of the timeless The Artist’s Way book, which is a manual/workbook about stimulating your creativity, has come out with a new book that talks about how connected our creativity and our spiritualty can be, if we open our hearts and our minds to this idea. She says this, “I’ve come to see that if you work on your creative life, you develop a spiritual one – they feed each other.” I couldn’t agree more. I have never felt more connected to the higher forces in life than when I am working on a creative project of my own, or I am gazing in awe at someone else’s creative masterpieces. What is more spiritual than creation???

+ I saved my favorite “tidbit” for last. Kitty Sheehan owns a company that writes obituaries for people who have lost loved ones, and who are having trouble putting their loved ones’ lives into words. Kitty said that she once was writing an obituary and the family made a point that Kitty must include the late person’s lifelong friendship to a man named Lenny. They felt that an overall picture of this deceased man’s life would not be complete without mention of Lenny and their beloved friendship with each other. Kitty has since added the question to the list of questions that she asks her clients, “What was it like to be this person’s friend?” When I was reading this article, I decided that this question is a vital one, especially while we are still alive. We can ask ourselves (and we can even ask the question to the others in our lives, if we are brave and choose to get clarity and understanding), “What is it like to be my friend? What is it like have me as a mother? What is it like to have me as a wife? What is it like to have me as an employer or as an employee? . . . . .” If we aren’t particularly proud of the answers, we are still alive to make the answers better. And if we are proud of the answers, doesn’t it feel good to know this about ourselves? Sadly, it is unlikely that we will read our own obituaries. But we are living what will be written in them, right now. What is it like to be me?

Are you passing on love or are you passing on pain? Heal your pain and pass on love.

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Tidbits, Continued

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