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blogging, Motivational, Philosophy

Words to Ponder About

Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile.

So talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.

Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.

Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.

I don’t have any record of who said these words, but they resonated with me today. The power of giving or receiving a genuinely kind smile, is often under-estimated.

Smiling is an art that comes from the heart and should be practised all the time.

Denise Lofthouse, Yoga Teacher

Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Meditation

Sometimes the Universe sends you just what you need to hear in an unexpected moment. I hope these words will be as meaningful for you, today, as they were for me.

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.

May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognise and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.

May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not indifferent.


Source: Thich Nhat Hanh Metta Meditation
Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Reflections

Richness has nothing to do with money, but rather a cool mind, free of tension and anxiety..

Unknown

I heard these salient words at my exercise class last week and I thought how true they were. I am sorry I do not have the original source, and this time, Google could not help identify it.

How blessed one is to have a mind naturally free of worries of the future or regrets of the past. I needed to learn these simple lessons over time and many years.

It is worthwhile paying attention to those bad habits that rob you of mental strength.

Keep them in check as Marc and Angel point out:

When you’re sad, you might hunch your shoulders and look at the floor, but doing so keeps you in a depressive state. Put your shoulders back and smile, however, and you’ll feel an instant boost in your mood.

Feeling sorry for yourself, giving up after your first failure, and giving away your power are just a few of the habits that can wreak havoc on your mental weightlifting routine.

Giving up those unhealthy habits will help you work smarter, not harder.

Marc and Angel
Motivational, Philosophy

Improving Communication and Problem Solving

Recently we’ve been looking at sayings and ways to look at solving problems.

How many times has someone vented about their problems and a likely response is, “Why don’t you just xxx….[insert their suggested solution]. Notwithstanding there are occasions when someone does directly asks for advice, the act of suggesting solutions to others, rarely succeeds in solving the other’s problems.

Why?

male and female statue in Vigeland Sculpture park, Norway holding arms forming an arch

The diplomat, Dag Hammarskjold said:

Not knowing the question,

It was easy for him

To give the answer.

Robert Bolton, People Skills, [1987]

Giving Advice

We seldom understand the full complexity of another person’s situation. In conversations, we only receive basic facts and have no real way of determining the most appropriate course of action for someone else, without knowing the complete picture of what is going on for them and the associated ramifications of suggestions.

Certain ways of responding to friends can even hamper conversations, may trigger feelings of inadequacy, anger or perhaps dependency. The other person might become angry, submissive, argumentative or be very resistant to change.

Ever wondered why this is so?

Responding with solutions, in these situations, often shuts down productive conversation and discourages the person from discovering their own solution. Dispensing solution focused advice may often be seen by the other person as an insult to their intelligence. It’s implying the solution is blatantly obvious and they are incapable of solving their own problems!

Furthermore, we are most likely to bring to the table our own bias, history and prejudices. What works for one person may never work for another.

Logical Advice and Argument

When emotions are heightened, referring to the logical thing to do, or logical solutions, may only serve to infuriate or frustrate the other person. It can alienate a conversation by creating distance between people for they interpret those words as conveying a lack of empathy or a failing to understand.

Logical options rely on facts, and typically disregards discussion of a person’s emotions. When people have problems, their feelings are at the forefront of their minds. Dealing with their emotional response in the first instance, might allow for some brainstorming logical pathways at a later time.

Diverting the Conversation

Some of us are so uncomfortable hearing of another person’s difficulties, we might change the subject or divert the conversation away from the difficult topic and towards one that is more palatable or comfortable.

Enhancing Conversation

So we know what doesn’t work. What can help enhance conversations and others in regard to problem solving?

#1 Listening

Nurturing the person’s ability to determine their own solution by being a sounding board for their thoughts and frustrations.

#2 Ask Open Ended Questions

The old advice of using open ended questions can help.

Start with How, What, Why, Where and Who. Something that allows the person an opportunity to explain a little more, rather than a straight yes or no answer, which might block further dialogue.

#Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing the other person’s thoughts back to them summarizes the problem. In this way, you might rephrase the issue to check you have heard hem and understood their situation correctly. If you haven’t, this gives the other person a chance to clarify things.

What have you tried already?

Motivational, Philosophy

Problem Solving

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

James Cameron

Most of the effort in problem solving is in firstly correctly identifying the real problem. Once it has been identified, a problem becomes much easier to break down into chunks. Find 15 minutes each day to slowly work through an issue that you have been procrastinating about.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Problems aren’t something to be ignored in the hopes they will disappear. A new problem might be seen as a new opportunity to progress further to the common goal.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

Jim Rohn

Environment, History & Traditions, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Planting Trees

Toowoomba street and painted bird with lavender

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Greek Proverb

Goodreads.com

The Chinese sages also appreciated their value:

Chines proverb about planting a tree in a voice bubble

Let us not forget the importance of creating nature; fostering and nurturing Mother Earth.

Trees provide so many benefits to our everyday lives. They filter clean air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals. Planting a Billion Trees can help save the Earth from deforestation.

Helping to Plant Trees

Depending on location, it costs between $1-$3 to plant a tree including ongoing maintenance and stewardship. Including organizational overheads, I see this as a real bargain, especially for something that might last 70 years!

The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a major forest restoration effort with a goal of planting a billion trees across the planet.

So you don’t have the time or don’t want to get your hands dirty? I hear you, but you can still support the various organizations around the world depending on your preferred location.

Tree Planting Organizations

Landcare – Australia; (not for profit)

Greening Australia – 20 locations around Australia (also not for profit) 25 million plants established; 15,000 hectares of habitat restored; 150,000 tonnes of carbon sequestered per annum

Reforestnow – based in Byron Bay Austalia (not for profit) -planted  105,227 trees to restore rainforest in Australia on behalf of donors from around the world (as at 23 Mar 2021).  $5per tree.

Onetreeplanted – a global not for profit organization working against deforestation. $1 per tree.

Graph Source: One Tree Planted

Plant a billion trees initiative – South America, Africa and China

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Go Ahead.

Our planet depends on it.

Mental Health, Motivational

Minding our Minds through Mindfulness

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” -John Milton

Mindfulness

We hear it all the time. Mindfulness. The advice to practise mindfulness as a way to deal with troublesome thoughts.

Why does Mindfulness help?

It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re rehashing something that happened last week or predicting that horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. And since the only time you can change your behavior is right now, it’s important to be able to focus on the here-and-now.

http://www.psychology.com

Our minds become more resilent to stress and less prone to anxiety, if we maintain focus on the here and now; meaning the present moment. The future and the past are, after all, not our reality, but only mental constructs over which we have no, or little, influence. Trying to live in two dimensions at once creates stress for ourselves.

The present moment is the only real time concept we can fully experience, with our senses.

Confucious understood this saying,

“Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

Buddha considered the secret of good health was not to mourn the past, or worry about the future, cautioning against anticipation and encouraging the use of each moment wisely and earnestly.

As if each moment was a priceless gift.

Because each moment is a priceless gift that will never return again.

Staying mindful removes the immediate stress for a mind that might continue to worry or dwell on what has gone before.

The present moment is a concept so very difficult to grab hold on to; for it is transient, dynamic and we might rail against letting it go. Even as we ponder its nature, it has passed us by. Gone.

Some of us keep the past, or future, alive in our minds, through repetitive thoughts. Our minds, in idle moments, stray back to past events, or happier times. If those thoughts are negative, and we think them often enough, we can do ourselves real mental damage or initiate a stress reaction in our body.

Strategies for Mindfulness

  • Stay in the moment
  • Look around you and note your environment
  • Observe
  • Notice where your focus lies and your own body’s natural breath
  • Is your breath short, sharp and shallow, or deep and long? Focusing on the breath is a way to stay mindful
  • Be Mindful and Ground yourself with the following exercise

Questions for the Self

Are you able to be mindful, keeping thoughts aligned with the present moment?

Can you break your day down and stay with those moments?

Besides Grounding, what is it that helps you to do this?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Gratitude Finding Three Things

It is fairly well recognized that counting your blessings, as opposed to your burdens can have a huge impact on your psychological health.

Studies have demonstrated that showing gratitude for even the most basic things can have reduce depression and increase contentment.

How to Find Gratitude in life?

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

-Melody Beattie

We cannot travel to, own, earn, win or consume happiness, but we can find it in gratitude in our daily lives, as Albert Clarke said,

“We must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”

-Albert Clarke

Feeling Thankful

Many writers and philosophers considered thankfulness to be the highest form of thought, almost a spiritual experience. Acting thankful is something that inevitably leads to gratitude.

Buddha took this to an extreme.

Let us be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Buddha

Gratitude as a Daily Habit

Marc and Angel suggested making gratitude a daily habit by:

..intentionally identifying three things in your life you are grateful for. It could be as simple as feeling thankful for the clean water that comes out of your faucet or appreciating the cool breeze on a warm day.

List the things you feel grateful for over dinner, or make it a habit to identify what you’re thankful for before you go to bed. Over time, being thankful becomes like second nature, and you’ll experience benefits ranging from improved sleep to greater immunity.

Marc and Angel

Do you make gratitude a daily habit?

For me, feeling and showing gratitude can reset my mind from its daily worries, anxieties and concerns. Concerns that, at times, feel quite overwhelming.

Thinking of the things I am grateful fore, can help ground me, re-focusing my attention on what I do have, on what is around me.

Many aspects of my life are not ideal, are unfair and may never change. And yet, there is still so much I can be grateful for, even in circumstances not so ideal.

Could you identify three things you’re grateful for each and every day?

Akaroa
Environment, Motivational

How to Talk About Climate Change

Thanks largely to social media, much of the world already knows the basic facts – the planet is warming, carbon emissions are increasing, biodiversity is decreasing and all this and more threatens mankind’s existence on planet earth.

Martin Fredricks of IVWords was a recent guest at StPA, writing about how we talk about the climate crisis, and the reactions of others, in everyday conversations.

Do climate sceptics, or those in authority, want to hear more shocking statistics and dire warnings? Will it galvanise support for change and encourage the immediate action that is needed? Possibly. Possibly not.

More likely is that some will turn a deaf ear, place it in the too hard basket or choose not to believe it will happen, at least in their lifetime.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Repeating facts, figures, and ghastly predictions is merely preaching to the choir, and can actually be counter-productive by provoking anxiety in those who already know the planet is in danger. We don’t need to reiterate that things are getting worse.

Endless and ongoing debate with climate deniers wastes time, precious time as it a sceptic’s own confirmation bias skews their perceptions and blinds them to any logical explanation.

So what might increase awareness and understanding of the climate crisis?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Personally, I believe we need to focus on solutions. Hope for OUR future is in finding solutions to climate change and reversing environmental damage.

I want to hear ideas and suggestions of things the ordinary man and woman can do, or have already done, in their own corner of the world. Ideas, positive ones. Give us solutions and tips on how we might at least stabilize the environment deterioration, if not improve it.

Context and expert guidance on steps we can enact for ourselves or in collaboration with authorities and others, that is relevant to each individual area is vital.

“I have learned that you are never too small to make a difference.” Greta Thunberg

For it is when we sense that feeling of community, of connection and of common goals, we are more likely to succeed and others, even sceptics will join us in positive action and change.

Please share in the comments below the positive initiatives happening in your corner of the world. Here is some initiatives in mine.

‘Green’ Environmental Initiatives in Moreton Bay, Australia

In my own little area I find:

  • Habitat protection on private properties – Grants for Land dedicated for Wildlife
  • Reforestation and mass tree plantings and maintenance with recycled water by active Bushcare groups
  • Glass recycled for re- use in the manufacture of new glass bottles and conversion to glass sand for use in asphalt, filtration, drainage, coating, resin and sandblasting applications.
  • Plastic collections for recycling by residents, as well as general recycling in Council kerbside collection
  • Walk to school days promoted to discourage use of petroleum driven vehicles
  • Over 75% uptake of solar power panels by new and established homes aided by Government subsidies and rebates
  • Innovative technology to convert landfill gas into green energy, providing alternative power generation. Generators at landfill sites are producing electricity to power over 4,000 homes in the local area each year, saving 75 million cubic metres of the greenhouse gas methane that has been converted to energy.
  • A municipal sustainability policy
  • Reduction of plastic straws, cups and disposable cutlery in cafes

What Positive Change is Happening in Your Corner of the World?

Please share this in the comments below.

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Where am I
blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Thoughts

Photo by jasmin chew on Pexels.com

“How many slams in an old screen door?

Depends how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread?

Depends how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day?

Depends how good you live ’em.

How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”

It’s all about interpretation and perspective isn’t it? Each person’s perspective is shaped by the way they have lived their various life experiences.

The way we see the world is via our own idiosyncratic lens,so it begs the question as to why so many expect others to understand and perhaps agree with them?

Many thanks to Yvette ~ Priorhouse Blog for supplying the inspiration for today’s post.

Mental Health, Motivational

What We Can and Cannot Change

Do you ever think about what you want to happen in a forthcoming situation? Or does worry get in the way and you tend to focus on what you don’t want to happen?

The Ego and Finding Fault

It seems our ego focuses naturally on the negative aspects, due to an outdated evolutionary adaptation and we are then in a postion that makes us hard-pressed to see positives.

Fault finding comes from believing your happiness comes from the world according to your liking.

We then tend to find fault with whatever is going on, to blame others or circumstances, especially where the outcome has been less than, what we consider, satisfactory.

This may have helped us survive in pre-historic times, where man-eating beasts lurked close by, but is hardly relevant to modern life. Now, our egos flood our brains with self-critical thoughts, most of which are not terribly accurate and anxiety quickly follows.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Lee Jampolsky once asked a stressed-out salesman,

“What is the real purpose of a sale?

Replying about his own needs and that he wanted to boost his sale stats, Jampolsky then encouraged the salesman to instead direct his thought focus outwards – ie. so that his real purpose in a transaction or interaction would be that he was genuinely interested in the person he was selling to, in being patient and kind and, to try to ‘see’ the customer’s heart.

To the salesman’s surprise, his sales rose significantly and he was no longer so stressed when he followed that sageful advice. His customers picked up on those non-verbal and verbal signals that he ‘cared.’

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Contemplating Goals

Without the ego naturally defaulting to negative, there is room in our minds for all sorts of alternative thoughts.

Contemplating a more positive goal at the beginning of any situation may help influence the outcome, (even if you are not convinced of its worth, at first).

What Went Wrong?

Don’t waste your precious time on analysing what went wrong with a situation. Ignore those feelings that you have been short-changed in lifeas they tend promulgate the victim concept, which only makes you feel worse.

Think about what your goal is, making it pertinent to your perception and personal actions and see what happens.

We can attract the exact things that we give thought oxygen to or dwell on.

Jampolsky believes that we can direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.

Do you Agree?

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beach sunrise with motivation saying to unite bloggers around the world
blogging, Community, Motivational, Travel

Morning World Blogger Video

When Vero from LesFrenchChronicles started a Vlogging collaboration, Bloggers with a View, it was a fun idea that connected bloggers around the world.

Taking a look into the snippets of another’s life, another’s world. People that we only knew through words on a screen.

That is one reason why we yearn to travel isn’t it? To see different perspectives and sights?

To meet and get to know other people?

The first Bloggers with a View video not only was fun to think about and to make, it connected us in new ways.

If one shakey video has the power to connect people from opposite sides of the globe, then what would happen if we did it again, and possibly again?

Thanks to Vero, the Vlogging Project was born. The theme for my Video ‘Vlog’ collaboration was ‘Morning.

Blogger Video Collaboration themed Morning
Blogger Video Collaboration – Morning

Contributing bloggers were from France, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Let’s take a look at how different parts of the world greeted the January morning.

Joining Something to Ponder About in this collaboration were the following bloggers. Thanks so very much for your supportive efforts. Well done!

Sandy – The Sandy Chronicles

Ushasita – Le coin des bobby

‘Toon’ Sarah – Travel with Me

Vero – Les French Chronicles

Are you a blogger who would you like to join in with the next collaboration?

Visit here to find out more

flowers
blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

A New Year and Dealing with Intense Emotions

Happy New Year 2021 png

Christmas time may be a source of stress or joy. Compounding those yuletide stresses, the Covid pandemic continues to rage, so there was little cause for joy in many parts of the world.

Marlene inspired me to think of the year’s outcomes in terms of ‘gifts,’ some good and of course, some bad. We’d do well to focus on the better aspects for our own well-being. So, what if any, positives can be noted?

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

Lessons from the Pandemic

Whether we like the lessons or not:

  • This awful year has taught us patience and more appreciation for things at home.
  • This dreadful year has been a godsend for parts of the environment and animal world.
  • The pandemic afforded us time to develop or re-discover DIY home projects.
  • This deadly virus has potentially increased family tensions but has given extra time with loved ones. I will take as a blessing option, thanks.
  • Rates of family violence and alcohol consumption rose, yet levels of air pollution diminished due to fewer vehicles on the roads. The night sky was/is full of stars hitherto unseen in cities, as air quality improved.
  • Peak hour traffic congestion eased and commuter accidents lessened.
  • Workplaces were forced to become more flexible, benefitting those caring for someone, at home.
  • Money from saved travel and workplace costs, (uniforms, ancillary items, office durables and rentals), could instead be spent on other items that bring joy.
  • Extroverts suffered from social isolation but many introverts thrived.

..some Australian online [alcohol], retailers have reported 50% to 500% increases in sales compared to the same period in 2019.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7300689/#dar13092-bib-0018
Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Negative Impacts of the Pandemic

This pandemic has uncovered a festering mal-contentment at the interplay between politics and society and offered diametrically opposed opportunities and grief.

Unemployment rose sharply and many lost businesses, their livelihood, or their lives. In some places, political decisions and divisiveness led to civil unrest. Financial ruin became rampant. Mental health nosedived.

For each one of us, the impacts may be very individual. With no short term end to Covid in sight, the heightened emotions the pandemic brings, remain uncomfortable and difficult for many folks to manage.

How do we deal with those difficult emotions?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Dealing with Difficult Emotions

Write Down Your Thoughts

Sometimes it can be cathartic to transfer those strong emotions into written words. Blogging can be great therapy.

female writing

Slow Down and See Each Moment

Ironically, the pandemic has made me feel grateful.

Grateful for things I DO have and it ensured I did slow down and appreciate the individual moments that pass by.

Grateful for our country’s relative safety bubble.

We can be grateful for modern science working hard to solve the virus riddle.

Grateful that I have not been touched by financial ruin, separation or Covid itself.

Grateful that even though my workinglife ended prematurely, I now have time to enjoy retirement activities with the Moth.

Grateful that I have daily incidental conversation with the adult children who came home due to financial reasons.

Grateful that I can let unimportant things slide.

Grateful to have the awareness I am so much more than just my emotions/feelings.

Grateful that emotions and feelings change as the world moves and changes. Everything must change for, just like bad weather, nothing ever lasts.

2021 Mantra

In this New Year of 2021:

If I feel sad, I will sit with that feeling of sadness.

If I feel loss, hurt or rejected, I will accept that feeling, not deny or think that I ‘shouldn’t,’ feel that way.

If I feel frustrated or inadequate, I will sit with that until the feeling passes. I won’t feel tormented that these emotions are wrong or bad, but rather let them ‘slide.’

Let it slide.

Not quite the same ‘sliding,’ as the lyrics of the song suggest, but the personal reminder is contained in that catchy melody; the melody that is today’s earworm.

“Let it Slide.

Happy New Year