Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Trouble with Change

Here's the trouble with change -- the people who liked you the way used to be, may not be so tickled with the new you.

There's an axiom in family therapy that says, "If one person in a family changes, it changes the whole dynamic. Everyone in the group has to adjust." They may not want to adjust. They may like things just the way we were. Only "the way we were" is not available any more. We all have to adjust to the new reality, like it or not.

Another bit of wisdom comes from the est training, "Most likely you are fine just the way you are, but you keep acting the way you used to be."

Here are some questions I've been thinking about. I'd love to know your thoughts too.

  • What are some ways you are changing?
  • How are your friends, family and associates responding?
  • What challenges do your changes present?
  • Are you finding it difficult to adjust to a change in someone else?

As I grow older, (talk about a change!) my tolerance for meanness and harsh judgement has dropped so low that I blurt things out. I defend people, present or not, when someone attacks them or wishes them harm. It does not always go over well.

My capacity for sympathy morphed into one of empathy. A few years ago I asked the wonderful Doug Wilson, director of the Rowe Conference Center in Massachusetts, to "take warm and friendly out of my bio." When he first put it in there, it seemed apt, but I had changed. I explained that although I had no intention of becoming cold and unfriendly, I was more interested in being clear and useful. I did not want to set myself up as a target for people in search of warmth and friendliness like  heat-seeking missiles, only to disappoint them with the new me.

Some other big changes for me are:
  • A move from building and acquiring to reflection and sharing.
  • Aging -- adjusting to the inevitable wearing out of my human body, part by part.
  • Less attachment to the way things should be.
  • Learning to appreciate and welcome criticism as useful, sometimes precious, information.
  • I sometimes question limiting beliefs when they are presented as facts -- uninvited.

I am blessed with family and friends who give me lots of room to grow and change. I hope I return the favor. Others of us drift apart like clouds in the ever changing sky. I hope we can always bless each other on our way.

How about you? What is happening in your world of change?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! Many Blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

The walnut cranberry pies for dinner with dear old friends tomorrow are done.  Who's idea was it for me to spend the night with them all by myself!?

Wishing you and yours many blessings and sweet gratitude.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Searching for Gratitude

It's usually right there, readily accessible – the feeling of gratitude. All I have to do is think about it.

This year, when I thought about the holiday, all I got was a vague sense of should. I should be grateful. I should write something about gratitude. But what could I honestly say? I don't feel it this year? I know that there is stuff to be grateful for. I know there are blessings, but I do not feel grateful.

Given my life's work, I set about questioning my feelings. First, how did I feel?

  • Relieved that our US election is over
  • Bombarded by Black Thursday, Friday and every-dang-day advertising
  • Disheartened about the petty, small minded meanness of so many of my fellow citizens
  • Concern about the people of NY and New Jersey struggling with the aftermath of Sandy
  • Heavy hearted about the brutality of wars
  • Discouraged about the cruelty of so many and society's blind faith in punishment

Oh, my! This is a shocking revelation for the "Handbook for Happiness" author.

On to the next question. Why? Why were those feelings the ones for me to have on this beautiful autumn day in Palm Springs?

The answer is familiar – because I do not like those things! I want everyone on the planet to have shelter, enough to eat, peaceful homes filled with love and kindness.

As I bring that desire into consciousness, I begin to feel my world expand. I see the miracle of life again. I realize the amazing grace of love, generosity and kindness. The fact that they exist at all astounds me anew -- and in so many hearts and deeds.

There it is! The sweet, warm awareness of blessings – the feeling of gratitude!

  • I'm grateful to you for inspiring me to search for what is true for me to share.
  • Grateful for loving friends and family.
  • Grateful to everyone who buys my books; it encourages me to keep them available for people they may help.
  • Grateful for every review that helps people find my work.

Grateful! When I was a kid, I thought it was spelled greatfull. I still like it that way. It describes the feeling of gratitude, full of great. Filled to the very brim with the amazing reality of life, with all of it's illusions, abundance, limiting beliefs, challenges, and infinite opportunities for miracles every day.  

Thank you for reading this. Maybe you will share your precious thoughts and insights with us by clicking on the "Comments" link.

Wishing you many happy days of Thanksgiving!