Good Morning and It Is Good!

Today, I awakened to a beautiful sunrise.  I thanked my bed for a comfy night’s sleep, thanked God for coffee, sat by my window looking at the mountains, read a spiritual book and prayed.  Life is good!

Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

I want to be a loving friend today because we all need one!

I discovered my mantra through an exercise I did with an excellent coach and friend.  I hurriedly typed answers to her questions so that I could email her before I left work for the day.  I  spat out a few sentences about my dreams and aspirations thinking, this is so lame, she’s probably going to fire me as a client.  After all, I’m a test case and pay with coffee….sometimes….. and who needs a client like that!

The next day we met.  Before she arrived, I read what I had written and asked myself, “did I seriously write that?”  I’m actually pretty clear about what I want to do with the rest of my life and then my eyes landed on the why of it all “because the world needs a loving friend.”  Don’t we all?  Who doesn’t need a loving friend?

My mantra carried me through the day.  As I walked up to work I repeated to myself, the world needs a loving friend.  As I approached the building and started to say good morning to the same people I see every day, I said to myself, Martin, my boss needs a loving friend today “hi there Martin!”.  The early morning janitors need a loving friend today, that lady that nearly clipped my car in the parking lot needs a loving friend today, my office mates need a loving friend today.  My day went like that hour after hour until I got home. And it was a pretty fabulous day.

Here’s where the real challenged lies:  I arrived home.  My daughter needed a loving friend but the dishes were still in the sink and she didn’t like what I was cooking for dinner, and she wasn’t jamming with my spiritual pink cloud, so I wasn’t a very loving friend.  I was a cranky bitch!  Then, when that didn’t work for me,  I was an emotional sob.  Thank God, I’m getting better because I said to myself, my daughter needs a loving friend.  At that moment of empathy and shift of thinking, a friend of mine that loves us both walked up to our front porch where we were entwined in an spiraling conversation.  Her presence broke the spell of tension.  She told us about her crazy day and we all laughed.  I know that my cranky bitch and emotional sob have to be addressed when I get home today if not before, but thank God, I mean thank God, a new day dawns and the opportunity to be a loving friend dawns with it!

What’s you’re mantra today?


Pain is Inevitable but Suffering is Optional….Really?

I hesitate to introduce our loving and friendly meeting time with the topic of Pain and Suffering.  It must be against blogging best- practices to lead with a negative.  Best-practices smactices.  I go with it because it’s on my mind.

Suffering is highly overrated. Believe me, I’ve danced with and romanced it.  I’ve identified with it, loved it, hated it, invited it in to my soul, and caressed it. In the long run,  it’s very unsatisfying.  Suffering, is the theft of my sanity.  The results are never positive.  In fact, I have never said, wow, I’m so glad I suffered so much over that issue.  It was awesome!

What I do know is that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional—especially long suffering. If you are reading this and know me well, you’re probably saying to yourself, who is this and where is Renai?  Yes, it is I, exposing my biggest romancer for what it really is…a sham.

So many of us suffer through mundane, unsuccessful lives.  We go to work and home again only to find our home lives less than optimal.  We settle for shallow relationships.  We deny our responsibility for our health and suffer aches and pains or much worse, dis-ease of all kinds. Suffering becomes who we are.  There is a payoff for suffering, yes there is.  Otherwise, the human race wouldn’t accept it so readily.  I have learned that we choose this life.  Even when things affect us that our out of our control, we choose to suffer.

Pain on the other hand is what happens.  It comes with the unexpected call from a doctor, a realization of a cheating spouse, dealing child who is broken or worse.  For some of us, it is knowledge that we don’t know where our next meal will come from, how we will make ends meet, the desire to be other than where we are in life, it hurts like hell, hence we call it pain.

Pain is like the unwelcome solicitor knocking on our door.  If you are like me (aka not nice), you are going to immediately get mad and apply one of several strategies:

1)Talk to yourself in an angry way about your HOA rules and how rude this person is while you sit or stand as still as a statue hoping he will go away and not know you are there, seething.

2)Blow a loud whistle or pretend you are a dog and bark loudly to scare him away.  Yes, you know who you are!

3)Worse, open the door and tell him to read the no solicitation sign.  Tell him that he interrupted your family time and that you’ve been at work all day and have kids that drive you crazy and how dare he knock on your door.  Fight it!  Say it really angrily, like can you see my teeth, they’re big and white and I’m pissed so you need to go away.

The best way to greet pain is to surrender to it, accept it, own it, and adjust your thinking to the reality of it.  Do not stand still in fear and wish it away, while you suffer an internal hell.  Do not deny it, becoming angry and forcing it away or shoving it down. The faster we can learn to take it in, accept it and practice our hope filled, tender, faithful thinking, we will walk through the pain without the baggage of unnecessary suffering.  Answers will come, resources will show up, we will have the energy to ask for help or search for available sustenance.  Our minds will not force us to rehash the pain over and over again or try to find the why of the pain but we will find unleashed in us inventiveness and ingenuity to move through and rise above.

This can be as true for you as it is for me!



Tenderness Moves Me

“There is no charm equal to tenderness of the heart” Jane Austin

I am a strong woman.  I am beautiful, talented, smart, loving, fun, and bighearted.  I am also relentless.  I wear an imaginary placard in front of myself that reads survivor, hard worker, over-comer, fighter, and overwrought.

Guess which list I have allowed to define my life?  The first or second?

You guessed it — the placard list!  Just thinking of it makes my neck tired.  Holding that weight is not comfortable.  Thank God, I feel myself outgrowing it.   Survivor, hard worker, over comer, fighter, overwrought, and incautious aren’t working for me any more.  What happened and why do I care?

Well, to start with, I’m tired.  The placard I chose to wear is an identity I learned at an early age and it served me well.  In survival mode, those qualities came in handy.  It is when those adjectives become my sole identity, I keep creating for myself situations in which to use them over and over again.  We are what we think, just as we are what we eat. Identifying as survivor leads me into situations in which I can prove my survivor skills, fighter leads me into battles, overwrought leads me into confusing and topsy-turvy situations, and over-comer brings me many difficult trials to overcome.  Believe me, I can make the turn the best conditions into chaos in sixty seconds flat.

One of the miracles turning my world upside down…..and in the best way, is that tenderness entered my life.  Tenderness of recovery, learning that I can contribute to life and to the world.  Tenderness from a co-worker who told me what she really sees in me even when I can’t see it.  Tenderness of children’s letters thanking me for loving them through very tough years.  Tenderness of my mother, brother, and aunt.  Tenderness taught me that I can, through changing of thought about myself, let go of the fighter/struggler identity and welcome a new one.  One that is joyful and free!  Tenderness happened!  Wouldn’t that be a great bumper sticker instead of that other one – shit happens– .  Tenderness Happens and creates life, hope, joy, and energy to stir in us again.

Couldn’t we all use a little?