Saturday, August 29, 2015

Addicted to Church?

Someone recently told me that I am addicted to church. It might seem like that but I know that I am really addicted to finding truth and of course drawing closer to my Heavenly Father, and in church I find true principles that I want to live by and I feel His Spirit more abundantly. I also get to rub shoulders with people who are striving for that same truth and way of living.

Positive psychology research has found the benefit of a social network such as organized religion in focusing on the lifestyle choices that support healthy well being and happiness. Individual spirituality is a worthy pursuit but being involved in a organized religion is even more valuable.

Of course in a church setting and especially in a church where neighbors all go to church together and then can watch each other on a daily basis practice trying to live those principles and often falling short, it is easy to say that churches are full of hypocrites.

It would be easier to go to a church miles away from our neighbors and then only see them at their Sunday best. There would be less temptation to judge or be judged. I, however, am grateful that I get a chance to know that we are all doing the best we can and that even when we fail, we can learn from our experience and get a chance to heal because of the Atonement. I can be humbled by the fact that my church-going neighbors see my flaws, and I can have more compassion when I see theirs.

I do want to add that my search for true principles has also taken me back to school and on a continually quest to read good books and listen to inspiring talks by a variety of sources from all walks of life. Learning truth and trying to be a better person is my addiction. It is going to take an eternity.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Writing to heal

I am a verbal processor. I like to talk about emotional experiences to get clarity. But even better than that, I have found that writing is the best emotional release. The beauty of spilling out my emotions on paper is that I not only avoid boring other people (go ahead and thank me), but alone I can purge my anxious thoughts from my body where they would just fester and grow.  I can then literally see them printed in brutal honesty on the page; and with new eyes, I immediately receive divine clarity. It is as if when I honestly write about my pain, God is sending me answers written by my own hand to heal that pain. It is a sacred experience.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thoughts have power

I have spent so many years trying to change some bad habits. It just came to me that the bad habit usually (probably always) follows a bad thought. So now instead of just trying to stop a bad habit, I will change my negative thought. I will choose to think of something I am grateful for instead. Thoughts are powerful and grateful thoughts can change everything.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Gratitude Practice

One of a suggested exercise for practicing gratitude is to think about something that is coming to an end and think and write about how grateful I am for having had it.

Living in our current home is coming to an end, and I am immensely grateful for this home and all the memories it holds. Even some of the bad memories because I can now laugh at or learn from them. I am grateful for how this home has blessed our family. It is interesting that when I know that I am leaving something behind, how much better it looks and how much more I appreciate it.

We are currently building our third home, and what I experienced in the past while building a new home was how easy it was to start to be frustrated with the current home in anticipation of having something better. But with a more grateful mindset, I can see and appreciate this home and not feel as anxious to move on. Feeling and experiencing gratitude is such a blessing because it helps me find joy in the moment by completely appreciating the here and now.

Thinking about and appreciating this home has made me realize I had better take lots of pictures before I move so that I can still look at the places that hold some of my best memories. Something tells me the new owners wouldn't appreciate me breaking in to sit in rooms or doing a little window peeking, but I could be wrong. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just Professing or Actually Practicing?

In reading the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, her statement that, "important differences between professing love and practicing love" was a beautiful epiphany for me and makes me think about the many ways that it is not enough to just profess something but always taking it to the next level and actually practice it. By definition, the word practice is the actual application of an idea or belief.

In the spiritual realm-I can profess my love of God but if I am not practicing that love it is just like the scripture says, "faith without works is dead." My works certainly don't save me; only the atonement of my Savior can do that. But practicing living His commandments, especially loving others, helps me feel His divine and constant love and draws me closer to Him and increases my gratitude for His life and sacrifice in my behalf.

In the physical realm-I can sit here and eat chocolate bon bons and type in my blog about the importance of being physically healthy and intellectually know all the ways to take good care of my body; but unless I actually get up and get moving and actually eat all those good foods that I have put on my pinterest board (novel idea), I won't benefit.

In the mental realm-I can say over and over how much more I know it is important to continue learning and reading, but unless I devote time to actually practice an intellectual pursuit, just professing its benefits won't do me any good.

In the emotional realm-I know how beneficial gratitude and I can profess that all the day long, but I have to practice gratitude by actually thinking, writing, and expressing gratitude. I have to work at developing my gratitude muscles.

In the social realm-I can profess my love to others but actually practicing love takes it to a whole new level. It is in the little things that I exercise my love. I love this quote found in the book by Bell Hooks, "To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility."

Isn't it interesting that practice takes discipline and that disciple is a root of the word. Time to take action and go practice. Time to get disciplined so I can be a better disciple of Christ.

Friday, August 7, 2015

DO NOT Take for Granted

I hate entitlement issues. But how often I have taken so much of what I have been blessed with for granted? That is the kind of entitlement that I should be the most concerned with. When I don't feel as grateful for what I have and want something different.

Just this morning I was looking out the window at the fabulous view we have from our home. As I think about leaving this home in a few months, I realize how much I have to be grateful for living here. It is so easy to get excited about a new home that I forget how much I have to be grateful for right here and now. I realize that because I have lived here for almost 30 years that there is much that I have taken for granted. Taken something for granted means that I am not being grateful and feeling and expressing gratitude is one of the basic keys of happiness.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Turn around and teach

Once I had my hand writing analyzed by a women in California who was often hired to analyze the writing of famous people (famous people like me). She said that I take teaching to a whole new level. And this is why. I love to read to learn, and I have discovered that writing about what I read helps increase my understanding. Then I like to turn around and teach what I have just learned and come to understanding and know it benefits me so much more than those I teach.

That is one of the reasons I love the church I belong to. We all get to teach, and this Sunday I will be teaching about how a mother can spend effective time with her children.

I was surprised that out of a list of 10 specific ways, riding down the street with a stubborn and deviant 12 year old son on top of your car wasn't listed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Make Everyday an Adventure

I ended this day with a great thrill on the sky coaster at Lagoon with my daughter and son-in-law. It was an amazing adrenaline rush that stayed with me long after the experience.

I love setting an intention for adventure and purpose. Hours, days, weeks, and years can pass too quickly and I am determined to live life with gusto.

I love instagram and facebook because I am inspired by the eventful things I see people do and places they have gone. It also helps me to document what I have done because at this age I might not remember what I did yesterday (okay, let's admit it, an hour ago) and having it recorded helps me to appreciate what I have experienced and helps me want to keep up the momentum. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Do what is right for you

This morning I ran across a list of 7 things to do in the morning that have scientifically been proven to make people happier. It is a great list and certainly has some interesting suggestions but you have to know this about scientific studies. They find our what is statistically the best thing for possibly 95% of those randomly studied. But you or I might be what they call an outlier. We might fall into that 5% statistic.

With that understanding, it can be beneficial to see what works best for the majority of people, but it is always good to be aware and in tune with what works best for me. To realize that what is good for someone doesn't necessarily work as well for me.

Your and mine mission--should we decide to accept it--is to find that which is right for each of us individually. And then give others the space to discover that for themselves. One of the many mistakes I have made is to automatically assume what is best for me is also best for everyone and then judge others according to my standards. Not so. Just because getting up at the crack of dawn with a perky and enthused attitude ready to conquer and change the world works for me doesn't mean it should also work for that lazy, good for nothing, slop of a person who sleeps until noon. (Whoops, that might have sounded a tad judgmental and maybe ever so slightly self righteous. Sorry.)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

You've heard the tale of the two wolves in each of us. For those who haven't, here it is:

One evening, an elderly
cherokee brave told his
grandson about a battle that
goes on inside people.

he said "my son, the battle is
between two 'wolves' inside us all.
one is evil. it is anger,
envy, jealousy, sorrow,
regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment,
inferiority, lies, false pride,
superiority, and ego.

the other is good.
it is joy, peace love, hope serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence,
empathy, generosity,
truth, compassion and faith."

the grandson though about
it for a minute and then asked
his grandfather:

"which wolf wins?..."

the old cherokee simply replied,
"the one that you feed"

Yes, I have those two wolves but I also have two very different personalities, kind of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide but just a tad different. My Dr. Jekyll is serious and my Mr. Hyde is light hearted, fun, and sometimes downright crazy. Sometimes I go back and read some of my blog posts and say whoa Nellie, that sweet and serious girl is a real bore. I actually like the flippant, sarcastic girl a lot better. It is who I really am. So forgive me if I come across a tad irreverent. It is the real me. That other girl is an imposter and actually not very fun to be with. It was only my cover up when life got too hard and I started to take it too seriously.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Do What You Love

There is an interesting phenomenon about girls. When taking a self assessment test, they want to look on another person's paper to see how they are answering it. I tend to believe it is because girls by nature are nurturing and outward focused. In being of service to others, this is a good thing. But in finding out who we are, what our individual purpose is, and what we love to do, it is a big distraction and can lead us off course.

I remember when I was in college for the first time. You know, back when Plato and Socrates were roaming the earth.  I looked around and saw what most people were majoring in. Business. Now you have to know me. I don't have a business mind. I did loving accounting and statistics because I love numbers (can you say nerd?) but I detested my  economics, finance, and managerial classes. I knew that if I saved my economics textbooks I wouldn't ever have trouble going to sleep. They could be my sleeping pill. Read a chapter and I'm out. Actually it wouldn't take the whole chapter, just a few sentences.

And speaking of economics, don't be deceived if you are good at something. One of my economics professors said I had a real gift for it and I should major in it. What? And sleep through my entire college career?

No, business wasn't my passion. It wasn't until I went back to college after my youngest got into first grade and I was free of nagging my kids during the entire day, that I started to study my true love. Human development. It was an interest and passion that I had cues about when I was young. The first self help book I read in high school--Spiritual Roots of Human Relationships By Stephen R. Covey made my heart sing (more evidence of a nerd). Give me a little study of what makes a person tick and sprinkle in spirituality and my heart is belting it out like the Tabernacle Choir.

So I say, listen to my heart and do what I love and love what I do.    

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Blog a Day Keeps Distraction Away

This is day one of my intention to live everyday of this last month before I turn 60 will purpose and adventure. (I know what you're thinking. "You don't look a day older than 58--just decades older.")

The year that I committed to blogging everyday was a documented growth period for me. In that year I experienced one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, but it was beautiful how a blog a day helped me navigate through it and even benefit from it. There is something magical that happens when I put my thoughts on paper. We are talking like real fireworks happening when my pen touches paper (Insert Katy Perry's song here). I want that magical display to continue especially this month. Knowing I am going to record my thoughts in a public place everyday keeps me focused on the moment to moment. I am more motivated to think more deeply and experience life more fully.

Today I started the day and month with a 6-mile solo walk/run/hike. There is something wondrous about spending time alone especially spent in nature. I get to think my own thoughts with a significant awareness that my thoughts are elevated because I am being prompted from above.