Dec 31, 2015

End of Year Inventory

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"The end of the year offers a great time to take an inventory.  Are we living life in the way we desire?" blog author

I like to take time at the end of every year to write my checks for charity, to reflect on how I am showing up in life, to list those things for which I am grateful, and to think about things I want to accomplish in the next year.  How do you honor the end of a calendar year?  I wish you blessings and goodness in 2016.

Dec 30, 2015

Inner Work

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"It has become very clear that giving voice to what is inner is essential to surviving what is outer." Mark Nepo

What might it mean to give voice to what is inner?  I think it means not any longer hiding what is important to us.  Not saying 'yes' when we really mean 'no'.  Not doing things we do not want to do.  There seems to be a finite amount of energy we each have.  It is important that we focus that energy on what is meant for us to do.  That means not letting our time and energy be siphoned by the many tasks that could be done, but to do the tasks that are most important for us to do.  To do that, we must be in touch with our values.  What is important to you?  What are the tasks that only you can do?

Dec 29, 2015

Longterm Care Insurance

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"Premiums on long-term care policies have more than doubled from 2007 to 2014."  American Association for Long-term Care Insurance

Wow.  This article, in the New York Times, reports on the incredible rise in cost of long-term care insurance.  So, what is a person to do?  Nursing home costs are now about $8000 a month.  If a long-term insurance care policy has risen from about $1982 annual premium a decade ago to about $5000 today, then it is a more difficult decision whether to buy it.  Typical policies cost about $3000 today, according to this article.  Still, when one considers $3000 per year, versus $8000 per month.  A tough decision.  The cost of health care in America is such a concern.

Dec 28, 2015

Taking Time to Rest

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"Let us be guided by Nature -- take a breath, rest, and then reimagine the greatest potential for the next season of your life." Juliet Vorster

When animals are sick, they rest.  We humans, when sick, seem to feel we should "push through".  In the winter season, perennials rest -- they do not die - they rest.  In resting, they store up energy for the season of growth ahead. Let us as humans take heed.  Let us rest when our bodies say we need to rest, because in honoring what our body needs, it will be ready for the season of growth ahead.  There are always seasons in our life:  seasons for rest and seasons for expansion.  Let us honor them.  

Dec 27, 2015

Winter Time

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"Winter, the season of the year when an area gets the least sunlight."

Some people hate winter.  I happen to be one who likes winter, except for the walking-on-ice part.  I love the snow, playing in the snow, doing sports in the snow.  My granddaughter and I took a walk recently, and she found every snow pile she could on which to climb.  It is so instructive to watch  children and see how much fun they can have with ordinary things.  If it is winter in your area, what can you do to enjoy?

Dec 26, 2015

Boxing Day

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"When we start thinking about being grateful, we activate the feelings of gratitude in our bodies.  These feelings actually change our body chemistry and rewire our minds." Juliet Vorster

Boxing Day is a tradition started centuries ago where servants were given a "Christmas Box" from their employers.  This was a gift of gratitude for their service throughout the year.  Gratitude is such a good practice for us.  Just as anger and resentment change our body chemistry; so too does gratitude -- change our bodies and brains for the better.  Anger damages our immune system.  Gratitude supports our immune system.  For whom are you grateful today?  What service do you receive throughout the year for which you are grateful?  

Dec 25, 2015

Happy Holidays

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"Let there be peace on earth." Luke 2:14

Today, recognized by Christians as the birth of Light and Peace into the world, let us birth Light, Love and Peace in our hearts and in our homes.  Whatever your religious affiliation, or even if you have none, together let us practice peace in our hearts and homes.  

Dec 24, 2015

Releasing and Letting Go

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"Why am I holding on to this?  Sometimes it is old bitterness or misunderstanding.  Sometimes it is a sense of entitlement." Gregory Malovetz

Much of the damage done to our physical cells is caused by our holding on to anger, bitterness, loss, grief.  Sometimes when I have had a massage, tears will run down my face when an area is massaged.  I think that is because memory is stored in our physical cells, and it needs to be released.  Now, let us consider letting go of grudges, hurts, slights, resentments.  It is good for our body to let them go.

Dec 23, 2015

Importance of Gratitude

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Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."  
~ John Milton

More and more we hear of the importance of our thoughts and emotions in determining the quality of our lives.  I cannot always reach for joy if I am feeling down, but I can reach for gratitude.  Today I am grateful for the mild weather, the relative peace, the movement toward supporting the health of our planet, and for the people I love.  For what are you grateful?

Dec 22, 2015

Where To Next?

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"Oh, the places you will go." Dr. Seuss

Where would you like to go?  Some people explore on the outside, and some on the interior.  Carl Jung was a vast explorer of the interior, and it is a rich journey.  It follows the mythology of the hero's journey.  We choose or are catapulted from our current lives, we face trials and have mentors, and we receive some gift from our inner journey which we bring back to the world.  In my experience we are called to these journey over and over again in life, and it is the most excited adventure we can take.

Dec 21, 2015


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"Imagine all the people living for today" John Lennon song

So many of us live in our heads for tomorrow, or the next moment, or the next job or relationship.  It is hard, as humans, to drop into what is now and to savor it.  During the dark days of winter is a good time to go within, see what is important to you, and to begin to live for today.

Dec 20, 2015

Being Resistant to Disapproval

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.." Dr. Seuss

I read recently that Herman Melville stopped writing at the age of 32 because of the ridicule and disapproval he received from publishers about his book, Moby Dick.  How very odd, since Moby Dick is now considered one of America's greatest novels, and what a loss to our literary history that he quit writing.  In contrast, Goya, when he went deaf, decided to also become deaf to the disapproval of others, and he went on to create many magnificent paintings.  Goya decided  in order"to allow his genius to become apparent to himself it was necessary that he should dare to give up aiming to please." The lesson?  Let us practice being ourselves and being resistant to the disapproval of others.

Dec 19, 2015

Tips for Avoiding Dementia

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"Research has found a positive link between watching television for more than 3 hours a day and developing dementia."  Kahler Financial newsletter

Whenever I read of research like this, I wonder - which came first?  The carriage or the horse?  Is the dementia caused by the inactivity or by watching mindless television shows?  My thinking is:  probably both.  Inactivity is a significant factor in developing dementia.  Inactivity is often paired with a leisure activity, such as watching tv.  Social isolation is also associated with developing dementia, so in watching a lot of tv perhaps we create the 'perfect storm' of factors that contribute to dementia.  What better use can we make of our time?

Dec 18, 2015

Making the Darkness Consciousness

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"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness consciousness." Carl Jung

What does this mean to make the darkness consciousness?  I think it means that we have to recognize our own capacity for any unsavory behavior ever done by any human.  If we consider behavior on a continuum, this is easy.  While I have not assigned anyone to a gas chamber, I have through an unkind word or indifference caused damage to someone's spirit.  It is all a matter of being on the continuum of dark behavior, and we are all on that continuum.  It is in recognizing our own capacity for darkness that we are freed from acting that darkness out, and, I think, we free the world from acting it out too.  

Dec 17, 2015

Courage to Follow Our Path

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"If you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra

Yes, we might wonder, but which way?  If there is a fork, there are at least two paths from which to choose.  What if we chose the wrong one?  I have come to a place in life where I think there are no truly incorrect paths.  I think the Universe makes the best of whatever path we choose.  Some paths might contain more pain, but even then, that pain can be used for our spiritual growth.  The point, I think, is to not remain stuck.  Take a path.  Keep moving in one's life.  Resist the inertia that comes alongside fear.  Go ahead.  Choose a path and trust it is right.

Dec 16, 2015


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"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."  
~ Denis Waitley

What a lovely definition of happiness, and I think he is right.  Happiness is not dependent upon our possessions, how much money we have (although having enough money for basic needs is a factor), how expansive our house is --- happiness is a choice and a state of mind.  I find happiness most easily when I focus on gratitude.  In this season of holiness for several major religions, for what are you grateful?  I am grateful for the health of myself and my loved ones, I am grateful for a warm home, enough money to cover basic needs, and friends.  

Dec 15, 2015

Our Thoughts

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"It is not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes us suffering." Byron Katie

Buddhism also stresses that it is our attachment to things which causes suffering.  I once heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say he considers thoughts are on a big conveyor belt in the universe, and we can pick up the ones we want.  Researchers have also said that our thoughts are not really individual to us, but are universal.  If that is true, don't we want to carefully pick which ones we will entertain?