For Better or for Worse

Collage of lilies of the valley on paper, biblical text with weddng rings, skeleton head with wedding rings

Until Death do Part

Let’s face it, the coronavirus stopped everything in its tracks. Closing businesses, schools, communities and entire countries shattered the world into millions of individualized personal universes. But, viewing this tragic pandemic through the paradoxical Tao, I see our rapidly moving globe suddenly falling apart to slow us down and turn our attention to what truly matters.

In Sickness and in Health

While I, too, grow weary of monotonous and lengthy confinement, I also see this time of sans distraction as optimal for looking within. The choice is simple. Do I feel better when my thoughts reside in devastation, or as the Chinese do in seeing opportunity in chaos? Shifting the focus from worse to better, this virus offers a prodigious gift. Besides the benefits of families making dinner together again, reading more books, and savoring nature, I’m talking about something extraordinary — a universal gift for humanity’s overall well-being and that of our planet.

Thinking and reality

According to Holy Ordinance

Reading this Abraham-Hicks sentiment some time ago, it was hard for me to believe. Quite honestly, I didn’t feel that powerful. But, since this message keeps popping up in my life and I can see the monumental effects from humanity’s darkness, I’m revisiting this concept, and largely out of hope.

“Each and every single person makes a difference,” Covid-19 tells us. So, why not use this time wisely to envision the post-virus world we wish to see?

To Love and to Cherish

The pandemic is a call to stop talking about the problems and to act, become directors of life post-pandemic. There’s a productive exercise in creatively envisioning the best that Dr. Elaine Aron calls an exercise in Big Reality. Big Reality is a pathway to global change and participating is easy:

  1. Alter your focus right now.
  2. Turn off the media’s fear mantra.
  3. Clear the virus from your mind and any troubles tainting your day.
  4. Take a few deep breaths.
  5. Make a list. Not the usual “to do” or “gratitude” list but one of a different type. Make a list of all the things that may end up better because of the coronavirus.

Neale Donald Walsch further explains. Think of life as a “huge, blank sheet of paper.” Let your thoughts, words and prayers be the instruments you use to color that sheet of paper. Is it dark or filled with light?

Torn paper revealing what you create with inscription "Director - You, Screenwriters - You, Producer - You, Cast - You"Think big. Universal, if you will. Create more than one blank page and make a new page at any time. Use your imagination to join a universal mind that can create a positive outcome from this pandemic. You may be skeptically asking, “Sure, sure, how is this going to make a difference?” But, is there any good reason not to try? We can’t say we don’t have the time…

As John Lennon sang in 1971, “Imagine.” Imagine the coronavirus eradicated. Imagine vibrant health for you, your loved ones, and community. Use your imagination to create your best self. The best planet. Best community and life. Imagination is the power of the mind to form images – positive, loving, indifferent, negative, funny, sad, or happy. How do you feel? What do you choose? What will you contribute to your spirit and to the health of our planet?

Here’s some of my Big Reality:

Palm with wedding ring opened toward spring branch of buds
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash
  • Clear skies, vibrant waters and pristine lands
  • Governments worldwide immediately sharing vital health information
  • Politicians working and serving the people
  • Corporate and personal responsibility as the norm
  • Closed loopholes so corporations will pay their fair share
  • Violent films, videos and games will become passé
  • Spamming, computer hacking, and junk mail evaporating
  • Healthier people devoid of Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, anxiety and depression
  • Hot water in all public restrooms

    Wedding ring on dirty hands
    Photo by Jesse Orrico on Unsplash
  • Caring outdoing selfishness; simplicity and generosity replacing greed and hoarding; personal pride of “can do” instead of a helpless “I can’t” attitude; kindness and acceptance (tolerance at the very least) replacing hate. Oh, and common sense will be King!

It’s a tall order but why not? Why not think big?

From this Day Forward

The coronavirus gives us downtime. If I focus on the positive, the extra time is a gift. Will we recognize it and act on it, or quickly kick it aside as we have with Mother Earth? Will we engage with each other and nature?  Will a unified positive focus create a better world? Why not try? Isn’t it worth it?

Old world map with wedding rings and flower blossoms
Original photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash

I understand the coronavirus may end life as we’ve known it, but I must believe it is the transformation to something much better. What do you want to see as our world transforms?

To Have and to Hold

When I hear talk about oneness, I prefer to think of it as a collective energy for the betterment of humanity and the world, not as a melting pot erasing geographical boundaries, individuality and ethnicity. What color will you bring to this universal canvas?

Two hands joined (one with a diamond ring) while facing the path ahead
Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

 

 

Nature Teacher: Distancing

Sign indicating Rattlesnakes may be found in this area - give them distance and respect"

Respect for distancing is nothing new. Mother Nature’s been teaching us all along. Only now are we mandated overall. Touching poison ivy or poison oak will make you sorry. A porcupine or skunk make sure you know if you’ve come too close. A bite from a brown recluse spider or Lyme tic can turn your life upside down. So can the coronavirus, but you may not live to tell it. We do not have to be afraid, just respectful and use common sense. Revere Mother Nature’s lessons. She’s always known what’s good for you.

Sparks of Light

Young male holding a globe reflecting sparks of light, with huge sparks of light in the background

“Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another.”                                 ∼ Ram Dass


During the aberrant quietness of shelter in place, I’ve reflected more deeply on this statement and how our thoughts and actions produced the position we are currently in, and will also create the outcome. My hope is that increasing sparks of light will escort our minds and hearts through the darkness to an enlightened world.

What have we done? Where are we going? And as Lao Tzu says, “If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading.”

Strongly independent with a passion for personal freedom, choice, natural healing, and the environment, I am troubled by government’s increased control of our lives. Coronavirus mandates for our protection churn memories of how quickly and quietly 9/11 created the Patriot Act and TSA.

Smothering personal freedoms in any capacity is disquieting and largely why I avoid privacy invading sites like Facebook and Google. Being tracked — whether its purchases, conversations, photos, driving habits or associations incites my neo-Ludditism. Just because devices are marketed as convenience items doesn’t mean they are solely for our convenience.

shock waves of darkness emitting from a bright core
Photo by Sebastian Kanczok on Unsplash

GAFAM (Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon-Microsoft) are essentially transforming humans into algorithmic clones by snuffing out personal connection while stoking social media propaganda and fake news. Devices were extinguishing human connection but now we are mandated to not touch. Device addiction deters exercise and absorbing Vitamin D through sunlight which impairs cognitive performance. Blue light disruption of circadian rhythms deprives users of sleep. Sleep deprivation is effective mind control…

But wait, if this resembles a hellfire reality of controlling the masses, consider Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai’s illuminating sentiment, “Freedom of thought promotes truth, health and choice.” Remember the day when we could think for ourselves?

There’s a reason they say, “Follow the money to the truth” and “The truth will set you free.”

A long time advocate of naturopathic and holistic medicine, I also support functional medicine, and the health aspects of nutritional foods and a clean environment.

Unfortunately, America turned the light out on natural health care once money entered the equation in the early 1900s. My personal eye-opener was the FDA removing a safe, natural remedy that cost around $8 only to replace it with a more costly Big Pharma drug. And when I say costly, I mean in both dollars and side effects.

Photo of person engulfed with flames
Photo by Giovanni Miccio on Unsplash

I’ve subsequently witnessed western medicine’s attempts to discredit and silence natural healers and healing through the guise of authoritative agencies like the FDA, CDC, NIH and academia’s play for pay studies.

Being a gardener, I dig beneath the dirt to expose the root of bias — is it for humanity’s sake or profit driven? As in the coronavirus stimulus, Big Business and special interest groups benefit most — not the desperate jobless or taxpayers incarcerated with more debt. Have you considered how much money Big Pharma will make through mandatory vaccines?

Don’t worry, I’m not proposing a conspiracy theory here. I’m proposing this virus can galvanize us to think for ourselves, to go deeper than what we are told and fan the fire of optimal health for we the people and planet.


“All of us come into this world with different perspectives, and the only way we can approach the truth in any situation is to meld perspectives into a more comprehensive view…You are my travel companion, just as I am yours.”    ∼ Derek Lin


If we no longer have common sense, can we still be reason able?

While safety protocols seemed sensible at first, I am deeply concerned that governments will use this opportunity to douse more of our personal freedoms. Still, I do not support protesting shelter in place measures — and certainly not healthcare workers — for what must be done right now.

But, incendiary group think and promoting mandated vaccinations is alarming. Denmark’s new law allows authorities to force testing, vaccination, and quarantine. On the surface, this may sound necessary when everyone hasn’t complied with common sense measures. But, it also means losing control over what is done to our bodies, including being micro-chipped and tracked. (Possibly not a worry for techies but deeply troubling to this privacy loving, natural health practicing neo-Luddite.)

Photo of drone flying near house
Photo by Michel Bosma on Unsplash

These sci-fi like scenarios during the coronavirus are infiltrating reality with a police state. Extreme measures like China locking people in their homes, governments using drones to enforce staying in place, groups not allowed to assemble, and neighbors encouraged to become “minders” spotlight other dark moments in history. And ones I do not want to rekindle.

A healthier paradigm does exist.

My intent of this post, by the way, is not to fuel more fear but to encourage and energize empowerment. Other less dehumanizing approaches for coronavirus protection do exist. Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (aka Dr. Shiva) who holds four degrees from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) including a PhD in biological engineering, has emphasized there is no need for country-wide shutdowns. His more reasonable proposal has been to not quarantine all citizens but categorize them into four groups which would also keep economies more stable:

  1. Those who test positive for COVID-19
  2. Those who are hospitalized and in critical condition
  3. Those who are immuno-compromised
  4. Those not in the three above groups
A lone person walking through brush with backdrop of sunrise
Original photo by John Forson on Unsplash

Pioneers have the most arrows in their backs.

Dr. Shiva’s suggestions are ways to grow out of the pandemic rather than be engulfed by it. Sure, there are those who want to discredit him. Natural healers are often labeled as quacks by western medicine. (Although the benefits of acupuncture and yoga have existed for centuries, western medicine refused to acknowledge their efficacy until 40 years ago.) So, when someone or something is being discredited, I dig again to discern the motivation — is it for humanity’s well-being or for power and control?

Note: there are other longer videos establishing Dr. Shiva’s credibility versus the corruptive practices of Big Pharma, NIH, CDC, and academia. Of course, you will find videos and posts to discredit him as well.

Examine what you are being told. Is it rooted in fear mongering and control…or encouraging empowerment over your own health?

My personal experience aligns with Dr. Shiva’s position that the pandemic is not only about the virus, and we do have a choice in how we deal with it and its potential outcome. But, will enough people demand government change its ways and act in humanity’s best interest and ultimately that of the planet?


5 KEY POINTS OF DR. SHIVA’S TO CONSIDER

  • Corruption is widespread through medical infrastructure.
  • Big Pharma educates western medicine with a complex approach of “needing” pharmaceuticals (e.g.  mandated vaccines) rather than effective, simpler and less costly solutions.
  • Media sensationalism ignores our crises of greater numbers. If an average of 15% of people are infected in past viruses and .3% die, even doubling those numbers now does not meet the 600,000-700,000 deaths from heart disease, 500,000 from cancer, 440,000 from medical error, and 200,000 from drugs — yet we do not declare a state of emergency or economic shutdown.
  • Fear mongering weakens the immune system as well as poor choices and failing infrastructures with dirty air/water/food.  Cleaning up pollution will make us healthier overall.
  • Viewing the immune system as the “operating system” for the body is an empowering and healthier protocol.

For a month I have complied with safety protocols. But, warnings sound when the government mandates further protection for my good. Omitting details on how to keep an immune system healthy helps sell drugs. Sorry! The truth hurts, I know. But, it does set us free if we are willing to look beyond the smoke.

You can easily support your immune system right now.

I began using supplements years ago after pharmaceuticals didn’t help. Having no profit to gain by sharing this, my motivation is similar to Dr. Shiva’s for personal well-being. While waiting a year or so for a vaccine, why not use this time to build a strong immune system, and particularly if a second wave of the coronavirus is forecasted? Here’s an inexpensive, basic protocol available right now:

Photo of colorful candle in the green grass emitting uplifting sparks
Original photo by Skyler Gerald on Unsplash
  • Sunshine, Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin A – Rich, deep green veggies
  • Vitamin C – citrus fruits
  • Zinc
  • Omega 3s
  • Eliminate white sugar (it weakens the immune system)
  • Good nutrition
  • Reduce stress (it also weakens the immune system)

I will add that sleep rejuvenates the body. Melatonin helps me greatly in this area. And if I really have trouble sleeping, I listen to a Yoga nidra CD which puts me in a deeply restorative state and feeling refreshed. My favorite is Experience Yoga Nidra: Guided Deep Relaxation by Swami Janakananda.

Likewise, my other stress reducers are: meditation, Qigong, music, gardening, hand drumming, discussion groups such as the Tao, and uplifting readings from authors like Alan Cohen, Norman Vincent Peale, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. You know what your modalities are. Dedicating time to them promotes and defends your overall good health.

Lastly, Dr. Shiva also suggests fixing infrastructures to rid our environment of dirty water, dirty air and dirty food which are imperative to improved health but these solutions must be demanded from government.

Fill your head with the positive and I can promise you will feel less anxious. Take control of your health and I can promise a better outcome — for everyone.

Will humanity begin to balance darkness and light?

Darkened tunnel with green, healing light at the end
Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Through the Tao, I understand light and dark naturally coexist in the harmony of life. I see the coronavirus as a manifestation of imbalance in humanity and the environment. Yet I also see sparks of optimism, spirituality, envisioning, creativity, and fiercely challenging the status quo of power, greed and fear, igniting universal light. We are being given a choice. Do we continue spiraling down the darkened path or stride toward the light?

 

 


“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”    ∼ Richard Attenborough


Change your life and change the world.

Simple choices like protecting the immune system, voting, boycotting unsavory companies, thinking for ourselves, and living sustainably, enliven our personal and global worlds.

Ask yourself, “How do I wish to live — being shut in my home, forbidden to congregate, and forced to have a vaccine…or to live responsibly autonomous and hug friends and loved ones? Whose words do I wish to follow — those of fear, hate, and control or ones of love, health and empowerment?” As Dr. Shiva says, “Know the truth, be the light, find your way.”


“There is a great God – a force of unbelievable Love – not the “love” of “I love you” – but the Love that connects you, back to YOU, that knows you are eternal, nothing can harm you, & brings forth the Courage to be an uncompromising Warrior for Truth Freedom Health. Be the Light!”                                             ˜ Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai


May these sparks of light guide your way to revitalizing life for humanity and our planet.

Be a spark. Unite for light!

Blue green heart composed of sparks lighting the dark
Original photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Notation:  While I have reported on academia’s play for pay studies, I have included some of them along with other references for those who still view these organizations as the “top” authorities.

 

The Wisdom of Covid-19

The Great Sphinx against a backdrop of stars and rising sun

While watching a map of the coronavirus spreading worldwide, words that kept popping into my head were the Silent Spring. Do you recall that early 1960’s science book by Rachel Carson? Six decades later as humanity is self-destructing with mass disinformation and the manifestation of Hollywood’s sci-fi biowarfare films, is it surprising to see our planet nearing a screeching halt, a silent spring if you will?

Does the air appear cleaner to space scientists during this international shelter in place? I’ve noticed starrier skies without light pollution and fresher air with less traffic. Have you? Covid-19 is a formidable teacher. But, will humanity listen? Will humans get beyond their discomfort with silence to be quiet enough to really hear the message?

I disconnected from sensationalized reporting years ago, but, as coronavirus numbers climbed, some well-meaning friends unintentionally bombarded me with media doom. After declaring that every negative message had to be balanced with a positive one, I now receive more messages of humor and hope. Taking control of what I allow in my thoughts helps control my outlook. See what you think of this message that I’m offering for your pondering too:

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans

Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.

Circle of tall evergreens with airplane in the middle
Photo by Sam Willis from Pexels

We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the planes
the trains
the schools
the malls
the meetings
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.

We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.

Reaching for the stars
Photo by luizclas from Pexels

We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.

Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are the Messenger. We are the Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;

To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;

Person meditating on earth's end facing open sky
Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?

Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about the quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?

Stop.
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Ask why.

Photo of man leaning against heart shaped tree amidst starry sky
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

 

Stop. Just stop.
Be still.
Listen.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.

                                                                                        ˜ Kristin Flyntz

Life’s Bookshelf

Four helpful books in understanding death and living life

Incomprehensible.  Sixteen deaths in 2019, with six of them very close to me — friends, co-workers, family, and my beloved border collie Bess vanished in a six-month tsunami of clearing relationships from my life.

In weathering this heavy-hearted summer, a healing practitioner recommended The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Ripoche. Filled with foreign concepts, it hasn’t been an easy read. Often, I’m in between two or even three books so I picked up an oldie by Alan Cohen — I Had it All the Time.  While insightful, the ACIM thread doesn’t completely resonate with me. Still, I get what I need like the passage explaining that when our life is clearing out it is simply preparing us for the new. That message eased some discomfort. Because in all honesty, I’ve felt stuck. For awhile. Well, maybe a year or two…or more.

While preparing for my Turks & Caicos bucket list trip, I thought the quiet solitude and healing waters would elicit the ruminations my HSP self sought…that this sojourn would make sense of 2019’s rapidly falling dominoes of change.

I packed two other recommended books with my journal:  The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and The Five Invitations – Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully by Frank Ostaseski. Much easier reads thus far, their varying perspectives underscore that “life changes in an instant,” and the importance of “forgiving,” “accepting life on life’s terms,” and “loving as is.”

I’m beginning to comprehend all of life — not just death — is a transformation. Like the ocean, there is no end. There is no beginning. It is simply a continuation from one moment to another. Change is not my enemy but a life giving force to move me along like a leaf in a stream, it burgeons my understanding of this journey called “life.”

Once again my island adventure transformed. The first day, the ocean and gale force winds kept everyone out of the water. Totally unexpected but accepted. Each day progressively calmed as the tide washed away the past and swept in fresh awareness. Shifting from fear and grief toward accepting life’s flow is freeing. Trusting that all is well and working out exactly as it’s meant to be releases the anxiety of not knowing. Having faith (and moving my feet) is all I can do. Then see where life takes me.

After a few days of reading, walking, swimming, exploring and resting, tinges of guilt crept in. Why are you avoiding dealing with this? Are you trying to elude those downcast feelings and well of tears? Why are you putting off what you thought you needed to more freely move on? Are your unwritten journal pages diminishing what loved ones meant to you? Why are you procrastinating?

My surprising response was that I was living in the moment. Observing and engaging in the present rather than rehashing the past elicited tiny but powerful connections to the here and now. I was in fact living in the flow…rather than returning to what was and is gone. By the last day of solitude I realized that my lost loved ones would rather see me happy than engulfed in sorrow. My journal entries were not about loss and death but messages teaching me to live and love fully in the now.

Smiley face balloon was a sign from deceased brother of his continued presence
When asking my recently deceased brother for a sign of his continued presence, this smiley face balloon appeared riding high in the sky over that magical turquoise water.

It Just so Happens…All Roads Lead to Home

Glass ball sitting on a rock in the ocean being splashed while reflecting sky and sea with mountain in the background

The Elements as Allies — hmm, I wondered what I was getting into this week when serendipitously participating in this formal discussion. Uncertain where this topic would lead, my curiosity surfed the wave of energy surging through my life lately. Opening commentary — how critical Mother Nature’s elements are to our life force. Earth, fire, water, air — are our life force. I was on board. ‘Sounds like a simple natural law but sadly forsaken. (To be continued…perhaps on Earth Day.)

We meditated on merging with water. I could see an all-encompassing bluest of blue sea, feel its massaging push and pull, and the color, that exquisitely pure turquoise that mesmerizes my eyes and pierces my soul. Quickly, I felt its far reaching capacity had no beginning or end, that each body of water — oceans, seas, bays, rivers, streams merge with each other until its vastness becomes   one. There is no end. It is no different in humanity (or life). Each may appear different or separate but whether warmed in daylight sun or glistening in dazzling moonlight, both are beautiful. Both are one.

Mother Nature and the Tao teach me “oneness” — as seasons merge from one into the other or taijitu depicts two opposing yet complementary halves not as two halves, but as one.

Learning the group’s discussion was based on Sandra Ingerman‘s work with  strong ties to hand drumming and reconnecting with nature, was no surprise her information found its way to me. There is no doubt in my mind that all paths I’ve traveled thus far led me here.

Likewise, the natural beauty of the Turks & Caicos has allured me for years.


When many people see photos of the beaches and lagoons of the Turks and Caicos, they believe that the water in the images must have been edited. In actuality the ocean is typically far more vivid when seen in person.

When finally making travel plans to this long-awaited destination, I hadn’t forecasted the trip would morph into a winter ebb, a spiritual retreat you could say. Since the bookend deaths of Bess and my brother I’ve longed for quiet solitude where I can more deeply process six months of profound change. Hopefully the magically soothing turquoise waters will fit the bill when I arrive today.

In the fascinating beauty of nature I feel the sacredness of oneness.  And as with the Tao, and as with the vast oceans and seas, there is no beginning and there is no end.

Globe sitting on the sand in front of the ocean reflecting the clouds and sand (upside down)
Original photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels

Feature photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels

Full Service

Happy gas pump via human interaction

Friday was the kind of day beckoning a toasty hat, and if you left it behind your ears would wonder why. I’ll be honest. Climate change does concern me. But seeing more green grass than snow this winter was appeasing — and particularly when approaching the age where snow is more perilous than pleasant. The dry but blustery 10 degree cold made it the kind of day I didn’t want to pump my own gas yet the car cried empty.

I’m not suggesting I’m declining or even readying retirement but I am a “boomer.” I grew up when a full service gas station meant getting windows washed — front and back, and an oil check with a tank of gas. As a bonus, they might even check and fill the tires’ air pressure. Those almost forgotten services exist only in memory and especially on a frigid day.

When I pulled up to the fuel pump at the Gas & Food Express, the young guy gingerly attended my car and the one across the island. Whether he was a Young Millennial or Gen Y, I couldn’t tell nor how he could stand the cutting cold. Hopefully that tiny booth for the cash register blasted heat. His medium-weight jacket looked anemic to me knowing I shivered walking 40 feet from home to car.

Contemplating how he felt working a shift in the below freezing temps, I wished I had a hot drink to offer. Instead, I reached into my purse and handed him a few bucks with the signed credit card receipt. “Thank you for being so pleasant on a very cold day,” I said. “Please get yourself a hot drink.”

“Well, thank you. Thank you, miss,” he responded.

Internally echoing cheerful surprise, I wondered if he knew the gift he gave an aging gal.

I find common courtesies previously taken for granted are often passé. Little in-between gestures of human significance make all the difference in a high tech world of downcast eyes and empty idioms such as “Here you go” instead of “Thank you.” It may have been a 10-second interaction but I drove away fueled with appreciation for a new kind of full service.

 

Blankets of Snow

Snow falling on trees

The snow falls

heavily all night

like a snuggly warm comforter or blankets piled high,

thickly covering trees, shrubs, bushes, and grass.

Mother Nature says, “Close your eyes. Rest your weariness. Take time to gain your strength for spring.

“Hush now. It’s time to sleep.”

No wonder snow is so quiet.

Locomotive Holidays and the Christmas Train

Santa Claus boarding a holiday decorated train

Loco Emotions

Have you noticed how emotions buildup steam around the holidays, emulating a runaway train? Far reaching stressors often halt the holiday joy ride — be it time with difficult personalities, over-spending, trying to mirror picture-perfect celebrations, too little rest, dashed hopes on a “Dear Santa List,” and of course alcohol consumption (usually in excess at this time of year). But those unscheduled stops don’t have to become your final holiday destination.  

Switching point of train tracks
Original photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

Board the Observation Car

This may be a time of traditions but it can also be a time of breaking them. Are you the caboose chugging along well-worn tracks, or the engine choosing more fulfilling activities? Only you know how you feel around the family contrarian, when you over-indulge in special holiday treats, or struggle to pay bills. No matter when or how holiday difficulties appear, step back to see how to handle them differently, rather than traditionally.

 


Challenging opportunities can be unexpected sources of strength when initiating change to rise above them.


Photo by Joan You on Unsplash

Using the Communication Cord

When approaching a disquieting juncture, try the unfamiliar. Respond instead of react. Shorten the visit at difficult family get togethers. Politely walk away from an argumentative platform to an affable track. Prioritize time-sensitive tasks on the schedule, and include self-care on the timetable. Ask yourself if overloading on those tempting holiday sweets is worth risking diabetes. Good old fashioned discipline still works. Set a budget for gift giving and stick to it. Better yet, offer a gift from the heart. Most of all, be kind. To yourself and others.

love trainProven Tracks

A few sayings I find helpful, and particularly at this time of year:

  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes.
  • Let it begin with me.

May your holidays fill your heart with joy, peace and love.

Olive branch
Olive branch photo by Janine Joles on Unsplash

Xing Out Holiday eXpectations

Christmas shopping list replaces expectations with gratitude

Want to have happier holidays?

Give up eXpectations.

Cross them right off the list and out of your mind.

Tell yourself you are going to be open and grateful for whatever comes along.

Play the game of life and look for the gift. No, not the ones tied with pretty bows sitting under the tree — the ones that are wrapped in all things, pleasant and not so pleasant. The ones not so readily seen. Simply adjust your sight to see.

The best gift you can give to yourself or anyone is Xing out eXpectations.

It’s free. No racking up credit card bills or standing in return lines — for anyone.

Set the tone, the jingle, the merry, the happy in your holiday.

It’s as easy as making a choice.


Xmas…the other meaning

When seeing an X in Christmas, use it as a reminder to eliminate those self-defeating and disappointing holiday eXpectations. You may find it’s one of your happiest holidays yet.