R U OK? Day

R U OK? is an Australian not-for-profit suicide-prevention organization founded by Gavin Larkin in 2009.

I love this a-conversation-could-change-a-life initiative as I love its US counterpart of Hi, How Are You? Day.

Today, in the States, Hi, How Are You? Day reminds us to show genuine concern for “how people really are.”

Because “How are you?” is too often a mere rhetorical question rather than an expression of a legitimate desire to know, being willing to ask the deeply sincere version and really listen (rather than talk) can be a life-saver for those who struggle with suicide ideation.

Not being too busy or too frightened to take such an initiative is the critical point.

I hope many will find “we are ear” for them today.

Why This Is Not a Joke

When resources are sparse and our circumstances are bleak, this poster feels like a cruel joke.

Yet, when we dismiss our cynicism, we’ll experience why visualizing unlimited abundance is worth the effort:

1) Dreaming puts a smile on our face. (Ask your friends, family, and coworkers which they prefer, the smile or the grimace?)
2) Visualization is scientifically proven to change our body chemistry, disarming harmful toxins that feed dis-ease. (Ask your body what it wants, angst or relaxation?)
3) Relaxing into hope stamps out doubt, worry, and anger. (Ask your past which worked better, despair or faith?)
4) Stopping long enough to recalibrate gives us the energy to take positive steps forward. (Ask anyone which works better, giving up or gearing up?)

(Original post 2013)

What Measurement to Use?

My nephew was depressed about his IQ, so we discussed other measurements that were more important. We finally decided that he had a head start on life since becoming “as a little child” was the “kingdom of heaven” criteria.

“Let the little children come to me.”

I am so at home with people who measure others by kindness versus status, looks, intelligence, or money.

Remembering that topsy-turvy economy keeps me sane…especially when the distribution of those other commodities seems a bit lopsided.

Wasted or Not?

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom may seem a bit corny, yet, these are my reasons it was worth reading:

I always need to be reminded that…

  • I am not alone; we are all connected in ways we are unaware
  • I am much more than my mistakes and, they will work out for good in the big picture
  • My life counts more than I think
  • I am not an inconsequential loser or a nobody

Mitch Albom said he was inspired to write these books by an uncle who thought his life had been a waste. I wish I could thank that uncle.

One of the Most Useful Things I Have Ever Learned to Say

“What could I have done differently?”

The first time I used this phrase was in a case where I felt my partner had not listened to me. When I asked, “Can we talk about what just happened? What could I have done differently to have gotten your full attention?” he relaxed, said he was sorry, and gave me a suggestion that I still use…with unprecedented success!

The phrase removes accusatory language and doesn’t put people on the defensive, thus increasing our chances of staying in dialog and experiencing the thrill of cooperation.

I wish it were not the case, but most of us have multiple opportunities to work through relationship dysfunctions. This phrase is a useful tool.

(Dr. Dean C. Delis has a similar discussion about “No-Fault Communication” in his book, The Passion Paradox.)

Am I Missing Something?

A smile is an opening

For the right words

But also for the right thoughts

Which create the capacity

For receiving 

What we could not receive before

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.” -Tagore

Create the capacity. Enjoy what you have been given. Get ready for amazement.

Steps for creating capacity:

  1. Smile at the future
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Be gentle with others
  4. Relax into now
  5. Open your arms to give and receive
  6. See the gifts
  7. Feel the joy

Steps for shrinking our capacity:

  1. Feel cheated
  2. Mourn the loss
  3. Resist reality
  4. Hold grudges
  5. Worry about not having enough
  6. Be selfish
  7. Keep talking trash about ourselves, others, and the world

Setting an Intention to Win instead of a Resolution

At the beginning of 2018, I decided I was sick and tired of hearing myself complain about my weight (which I had been doing for many years). I made a plan: try Weight Watchers or hypnosis. I had tried everything else. Counting calories since I was 18 years old, I thought I knew everything about weight loss.

I reluctantly enrolled in a WW program that would pay me back if I lost 10 lbs. in two months. That was not a resolution, it was a challenge. And, I wanted to win it.

To my surprise, it was fun and rewarding. I didn’t have to starve myself. I learned new tricks and new habits, got my money back, and started 2019 at my lowest weight since High School! Who knew I loved winning more than I loved wine?

The Many Faces of “I Did It!”

“I did it!”

  1. Those three words can be life to my spirit, implying I have:

A) beaten the odds

B) accomplished a goal

C) risen above my fears or

D) given it my best shot

2.  Also important words when I am owning a mistake or failure. In that case, “I did it” frees me from the debilitating psychological and physical drain of hiding.

3.  Harmful if I use them to steal credit from someone else who deserves gratitude and recognition.

3.  Dangerous if I follow, “I did it” with “And, I’d do it again!” instead of humility. My mother used to say this with vehement arrogance and, then, cry herself to sleep.

Here’s wishing only the best “I did its” to you in 2019!

(Modified 2015 original Post)

It’s Rigged!

“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” – Rumi

This is almost comical for those of us who have had difficult lives. As some of you, I spent lots of time complaining about life being rigged against me or in someone else’s favor.

It sure seemed as if it were!

But, now I believe I was totally wrong.

Since I quit talking that way (to myself and others) and started affirming the Universe’s benevolence toward me, here are some changes I have noticed:

I have more…

  • joy
  • courage
  • synchronicity
  • amazing people in my life
  • much better results
  • dream fulfillment!

And less…

  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • fear
  • resentment
  • anger
  • jealousy

In short, the most significant revelation of my life has been that life has always been rigged in my favor.

It May Be an Angel

On the days when I am broke or sick

When people are not responding

Or technology is trouble

When I misplace or forget my phone

Or say the wrong thing and mess up an opportunity

Or when my body (or my car) refuses to be reliable

When I can’t find my keys or traffic is brutal

Or the weather (or a relative) won’t cooperate

It is on those days I am forced to let go

Of the illusion of my control

And give honor to the Angel standing in my way

Slowing me down for my own good.