I begin every day with a cup of coffee and a quick browse through our local paper. I scan the news (while trying to ignore the comments), skip the sports, check the obituaries, and read the horoscopes. Honestly, the most interesting find of my morning paper time is often the general horoscope introduction for the day. Today was no exception.
Holiday Mathis our resident astrologer, began the horoscopes of the day with this profound line “True power is the ability to command oneself.” The obvious wisdom of this line is so simply perfect, or perfectly simple, and yet so often ignored.
Throughout my almost sixty seven years, I have seen every extreme of those who are obsessed with having and holding the power to command or control others. I have seen the screamers, the physical threateners, the manipulators, the whiners and complainers, the reactors, the ultra organizers, the bullies, the victims, and the blamers. I have seen it all and at times in my life – I have been it all.
The thing about creating our best life is in knowing that the only real power we have is in the ability to command ourselves.
This is true throughout our lives and in each and every situation in our lives. Currently, one of the most challenging situations in my life is in dealing with our new furbaby, Molly.
As a puppy – a Pyrenees puppy, Molly can be a challenge at times – a BIG challenge. I had some idea of what I was doing going in, and what was important to having a content, well behaved dog in our home. Having a BIG dog, is something I am rather new to and having responsibility for training said BIG dog is something I was not totally prepared for. So… yesterday I turned to Google and You Tube.
I went through a fair amount of advice on training dogs to be well mannered and responsive. The best advice that I found, focussed on training myself to best react to Molly’s good, and not so good, behaviour. I found ways to encourage her good behaviour and ways to discourage her unacceptable behaviour – without turning our lives into a power struggle. 😉
One ‘trick’ I found that works amazingly well with Molly is avoiding eye contact and crossing my arms if she is doing anything unacceptable (like trying to chew on me or jump on me) to get attention. It works like magic almost every time. If she is super wound up, a two minute timeout in the porch and she comes back calm and settled. Another ‘trick’ deals with her propensity to steal and chew on shoes, clothing, furniture and the like. I still say NO and take away what she is chewing on – but then I offer her a choice of something more acceptable (like one of a growing number of her own chew toys). I am fortunate that I am home with Molly all day, so I can praise her when she is doing well and guide her in another direction when she does misbehave.
The bottom line for both Molly and I – and for all of us regardless of circumstances is to remember “True power is the ability to command oneself.”
That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day. 💞
This year, I have chosen to focus on PEACE. Each morning I write out a number of affirmations relative to peace. Every night, I try to fall asleep with peaceful thoughts and feelings. Throughout the day I try to make peace my priority.
Typically, the harder I try to focus on improving one aspect of my life, the more obstacles life throws in my path. This year has proven no different. There is virtually no area of my life that has been easy and peaceful. Personally, there have been health issues, financial issues, family issues, work issues and of course technical issues. In a broader sense, our city, province, country, and world seem to be going to hell in a handbasket.
It would be easy to give up, but I have endeavoured to keep focussing on peace. On the fiftieth day of 2020, I have finally made a significant breakthrough. By making peace my priority, I have released the overwhelming urge to control everything in and around my life. This alone has brought me the peace I desire.
As humans, we all have the power to choose. The first thing we need to choose is where our priorities lie. Life is dicey and insecure, more so now than ever, in my mind. We are reminded daily that there is little to no security for ourselves and our loved ones. It is easy to become so insecure that we move into survival mode. We try to control everyone and everything around us. We justify becoming aggressive and trying to deprive others of their right to choose. This never ends well for anyone.
The only path to personal peace and growth is to focus on our own priorities, while respecting and allowing others to focus on their’s. There are any number of ways to accomplish this. Here are a few of my suggestions:
1) If there are issues at work, focus on your task at hand. Ignore the office politics, the gloom and doom of company rumors, employers and co-workers who are being unreasonable or ignorant. You are there to do your job, you are being paid to do your job. Just do it. Focus on doing it well. Regardless of anything else that happens, you will gain confidence from a job well done and it will help you to develop an exit strategy, if leaving your position becomes inevitable.
2) Having health issues can easily become overwhelming. However, they can be made tolerable for yourself and those around you. The first step is to accept and acknowledge your health issues. The second step is to deal with your health issues with professional help you can trust, informing yourself about your condition, and doing everything you can to minimize the effects of your health issues – be it with diet, exercise or lifestyle changes and focussing on any improvement you can make. I am amazed at the accomplishments and legacies of people who have been affected or are affected by overwhelming health issues.
3) Financial issues are another of life’s challenges that can easily become overwhelming. I have been there. I know how difficult it can be. I have sold pop bottles to buy milk for my babies and have worked multiple jobs to provide for my teenagers. I have lived so close to the edge that an unanticipated car repair was virtually catastrophic. I survived – somehow you do, as long as you have faith that you will and you keep working towards financial stability. Once again the first step is to acknowledge and accept your situation. The second is to get professional help if you need it and make the changes you need to make. Keep working towards increasing your income and cutting your expenses and you will slowly start to get ahead. It isn’t easy, there are times when it seems your efforts are totally futile, but if you keep working at it, it will happen. I have reached a point in my life where major unexpected expenses are frustrating, but I have to keep it in perspective and be grateful that we have the means to cover them.
4) Relationships can be particularly challenging. There are times when one must admit that a relationship is unhealthy, unsafe and the right thing to do is to terminate it. If every relationship starts out great, is great, and ends up in termination and anger, the problem is probably you. The thing with relationships is that they take respect, consideration, compromise, and trust. You cannot always be right. You cannot always be in control, you cannot always be ‘the winner’. No one else can give you the perfect relationship. You have to do your part.
5) No matter how much you love anyone – even your own children, you must allow them to make their own choices and suffer the consequences of poor choices. Inevitably, you will be forced to, so they can learn and grow. You can offer them a hand up if they are legitimately making the good choices – to a point. They are still the ones who need to put in the hard work. To encourage them to make poor choices or to pave every road for them is enabling them, undermining them, keeping them dependent on you, and serves neither of you in the long run. You have to step back and trust that your children will learn, grow, and live the life that they are meant to.
6) Regardless of how passionate you are about any cause or point of view, others are equally passionate about theirs – and have every right to be. In Canada, there is currently and increasingly, a divide between those who are passionate about the environment and those who are passionate about the economy. The two sides become further apart as they fight for control and an overwhelming win. The harder they fight, the less likely it is that anyone will . Regardless of which side we support, we need to be open to compromise, respect and mutual concern for both the economy and the environment. We need to work together to ensure that those who drive the economy, respect the environment. We need to recognize the importance of a strong vibrant economy and recognize the efforts that industries make to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. It works both ways or it does not work at all.
Regardless of what the issues are, or whether they are personal, global, or anywhere in between, the solution is the same. We need to get our priorities in order, focus on what is important to us, release control of what is not, and approach the issues with peaceful hearts and minds. 🕊️