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Boundaries Need Not Apply


Boundaries_MapViewed as weak by many, those who know their own boundaries and acknowledge their weaknesses are many times, the strongest people you will meet or know in your life.  Without question, we are all taught to accentuate the positive, or in practical terms, leverage our strengths.  And while that is a good strategy, it is equally essential to know your boundaries, what I like to call your development areas.

At the most fundamental level, boundaries are simply our way to organize, categorize, label and make sense of the world around us.  For the most part, they are useful and effective in helping manage our lives.

In a spiritual view, knowing your boundaries can serve as a powerful mindset, fromCrown_of_Thorns the perspective of knowing when a situation or task is simply out of control, or more specifically, out of your control; revealing the need to seek assistance from other sources.  Having this knowledge and taking this approach to life not only reduces anxiety and stress, but also shines the spotlight on those moments and those situations where prayer, faith and trust, live and repeatedly demonstrate the reality and magnificent presence of God.

Cat-Sees-Lion1

One area that represents very fertile ground and offers ample opportunity to prove this approach is personal relationships.  As assuredly as no two people think, act or react the same to any given situation or environment, there are inherent boundaries that are defined for each individual and mark the extent of their personal control over it.

Recognizing when one reaches or exceeds those boundaries, leaves the door open to faith, trust and perhaps, fate.  Knowing those boundaries and still worrying about situational outcomes only serves to undermine your energy, attitude, health and personal effectiveness.

Taking positive action, on the other hand, is a much, much healthier tactic, sets a desirable example for others to witness and follow, and above all, is good for the soul.

“As much as we have been conditioned to act, remain busy and Do; depending upon the situation, sometimes doing nothing, or positively
put, inaction, is the most effective and healthy course of “action” to pursue.  Indeed, it can in fact, be a liberating experience to avoid investing and injecting time and energy into an effort that will yield little or no return as well as posing a potential risk to your reputation, first impression, health or well-being.”

Without question, to know yourself is to know your boundaries.  Each of us must refuse to allow the world to define us and instead, be proactive and courageous to define ourselves for others in the world to see.  We create our identity by our thoughts, words and actions.  It is as much about what we Do as it is about what we choose Not to do.  Profoundly, we create our own boundaries.  What are yours?

Melting the Boundaries of our Hearts…

Imagining Boundaries that Don’t Exist…

Life – Express Yourself


Picasso_self_portrait_1907If you’ve ever taken the time to reflect upon your life and recount the memories of your lifetime, you might notice that the vast majority of those memories were created as expressions.  Expressions of emotion; love, warmth, caring, happiness, joy, gratitude, sharing.  And to be sure, expressions of anger, guilt, regret, sadness, loss, abandonment, fear.

If we are to learn anything about life, observe and remember the elementary lesson of the magnet in science class; opposites attract. 

Together, these paradoxes of emotion ironically create the balance in each of our lives; balance that is necessary to maintain our sanity, to appreciate the good because of the bad, to create more happiness because of past sadness, to foster love because of the knowledge of the voided feelings in the absence of it.

Everything we do, manifests itself via expression.  We speak, we cry, we laugh and we sing.  We share a handshake with an old acquaintance, we smile when recounting the times we experienced with people in our past.

Indeed, to express ourselves is to experience the very essence of life.

If someone would ask you, what it felt like when you became a parent, chances are good you would have immediate recall of the elation, joy, newborn-baby-with-momhope and benevolence of that moment.  And sitting at the other end of the spectrum of life, each of us can surely and vividly recount the angst and despair of losing your parents, along with the eternal nothingness of emotion as if someone had just reached inside your chest and ripped out your heart.

Moving along the timeline of your life, remember the joy of riding your bike the first time without the training wheels?  Innocent happiness created as an expression of joy.  And then there is the feelings of tremendous and overwhelming gratitude when you realize how much your parents sacrificed in their lives, so that you could go to college, have a safe, pleasant and hopeful life as you grew up into adulthood.

Continuing on, recall the immense sense of accomplishment you experienced when you stepped across the threshold of the doorway of the first home you purchased or built.  The excitement and adrenaline rush of passion resulting from that “first kiss” with your wife or first girlfriend.  The peaceful and serene moments as you Fishing_Sunsetwatched in awe of a golden sunset, sitting on the rear deck of your boat, basking in the abundance of human nature, becoming one with earth’s elements; bonding with life itself.

Truly, life is but a collection of expressions.  Paramount, however, is the knowledge that we possess the power to create every single one of those expressions as a result of choice and free will.  I would be remiss as a Spiritual being to overlook the opportunity to remind everyone how crucially important it is to acknowledge this life as a gift to be cherished, fully and deliberately lived; and most importantly, expressed.

Be well.

Amid all that is considered acceptable and that which is not, pure expressions of emotion lie at the center of all we do.  Live life, don’t just watch it go by.

 

Nursing – A Spark of Love that Ignites Humanity


NursingThe immense and breathtaking power and expression of Love is manifested in many ways in this world.  None, however, touch the heart, literally and figuratively, and as powerfully, as the everyday acts of caring exhibited by Nurses everywhere.

At their core, Nurses share a common trait, extraordinary compassion for others.  Whether it involves physically aiding an individual to walk from a hospital bed to the restroom or assisting in an open-heart operation in surgery, Nurses transform that acute sense of compassion into observable, notable and meaningful behaviors that are not only seen with human eyes, but are felt within our hearts.

Surgical RN Kathy Cerkas cradles one of the bright moments of the week in Haiti; a newborn brought into the world by our team

Surgical RN Kathy Cerkas cradles one of the bright moments of the week in Haiti; a newborn brought into the world by our team

I would be remiss not to offer that I believe my words speak authentically to the heart of the matter as I have been married to a Nurse for over 35 years (yes, the same Nurse).  Firsthand experience has ranged from personal witness in the Operating Room to observing an undeniable passion for helping others, whether they be complete strangers, friends, neighbors or family.

Heart_in_Hand_ValuesIt is no wonder, then, that Nurses have been formally endowed and recognized with their own week of adoration and respect.  In reality, they should be recognized in an ongoing fashion; their work is that amazing.  I’m sure every one of us has at least one first-hand memory of witnessing a caring Nurse demonstrate genuine compassion for another human being.

To all Nurses in the world, I humbly and sincerely thank you for your dedication, compassion, application of knowledge and commitment to the health and well-being of your fellow human beings.  Be well.

Living this Life of Paradoxical Proportions


Irony abounds in life, yet none is as stark as the one we call ‘life’.  When we wake each morning, we abandon the seemingly lifeless state of sleep and rest.  And even during that sleep, our minds wander into the universe beyond, our synapses firing at breakneck speed, creating the dreams of our presence, causing REM (Rapid Eye Movement), frantically searching (or creating) the answers to many questions, disguised as a trojan horse, our still and quiet life form, regenerating its power, absent of activity on the surface, while teeming with energy within.

In the effort to perform “good”, we invariably hurt others, sometimes the ones we love most.  Each of us, unique in our thoughts, our heritage and our personal life experience; from a distance, appear largely identical.  And to the contrary, identical twins are many times, in personality, aptitude and interests, anything but the same.

It’s as if the world around us is a mirror of sorts, reflecting our essence, yet creating something that is both exact and concurrently opposite from each of us.  As lightning at night, without the dark, there would be no flash.  As the rivers rush across the rocks of the earth, without the smooth and softly flowing water, there would be no sculpturing of nature.

For all the goodness in the world, there remains violence, hatred, jealously and despise.  It is almost as if one cannot exist without the other.  Indeed, what would we call day without night, cold without warm or sickness without health?  Ours is the world of Jekyll & Hyde.  All things are necessary for life as we know it to exist.  Does time truly and singularly, stand still while we dance our lives around it?

As we attempt to right the wrong, heal the sick and uplift the downtrodden, it may be, in reality, an exercise in futility as the universe forces the “survival” and preservation of opposites.  Yet, strive as we may, we are determined to alter the essence of the universe, with the false assumption we are greater or more powerful than it is.  There is likewise, humor in irony.

Ironically, as we toil to rid the world of all things we define and know as bad or evil, it is precisely these actions which maintain the existence of them.  What a paradox!  Perhaps the only explanation is that the world we know, requires this balance, the paradox we know as life.  Perhaps it is the eternal battle of good and evil, of all that is seen and unseen, the ying and the yang, that enable our existence and carry it forward into eternity.

It is through death’s door we must pass to realize eternal life.  In dying, we are transformed into eternal life.

A life of struggle, by intelligent design.

It’s 9pm – Do you know where your Conscience is?


Most everyone has been witness to a movie or commercial that made reference to “that little voice inside your head”.  Yes, that internal moral compass everyone has that guides and influences decision-making related to nearly every thought we create.

But, what exactly is a conscience?  We can define it, discuss it and analyze it, however, invisible and elusive it may be.  The plain truth of the matter is that it’s just there.   Without it, there would be no remorse, regret or contrition.

I view it as the traffic lights at many intersections in that ‘the light’ sends us messages that we interpret as safe (green), caution (yellow) and danger (red).  In much the same way, our conscience communicates with our brain to let it know whether some thought we have or decision to make is safe, requires caution or should not be made.

The important question to be asked is, “Are you consciously aware of your conscience at all times?”  or worded another way, “Do you read your conscience like a map and use it like a compass when you have more important decisions to make?”

The ability to distinguish right and wrong, the difference between them and the consequences of alternative decisions is the essence of a conscience.  Indeed, it is what makes us unique and special spiritual beings, and children of God.

Intertwined with your conscience is your free will and the associated ability to make choices, or empirically, decisions.  And inasmuch as a portion of your judgment is admittedly learned from your environment, parents, etc., the bottom line is that you are responsible for the decisions you make.

Below is a brief clip from “The Messenger” a movie starring Dustin Hoffman as the conscience of Joan of Arc:

At the end of the day, each of us must reconcile our decisions with our conscience.  If they align well, we are happier individuals, content with our decisions and resulting actions.  If they are out of alignment, stress results.  Accordingly, the best way to be happy is to ensure your thoughts, actions and behaviors align with your core values or morals.

Listening to that little voice is a surefire approach to well-being, inner peace and the pursuit of happiness.  Be well.

A C E G H N – Six letters that will Transform your Life


There are many allusions to the dangers of remaining static, i.e., being still.  And as much as life is about creating, maintaining and benefiting from balance, life is fundamentally… about change.  Our thoughts, actions, interactions, goals, interests and growth; are all about change.

Don’t get me wrong, there is change that is harmful, just as there is stress that is harmful.  Changing lanes while driving without looking  to see if it is safe, eating different foods may cause illness or allergies, choosing an alternative decision could prove disastrous in business.  Mostly, however, change is what keeps us moving forward and growing as human beings.

Change exists in many forms, on many levels, however there are three basic types, Developmental, Transitional and Transformational.  Obviously, the last, transformational, has the potential for the largest impact.

From a personal perspective, behavior travels through four stages or quadrants while undergoing change; Denial, Resistance, Acceptance, Commitment.  The most important thing to remember is that you must travel all four stages to reach Commitment.

Interestingly, there is no change without resistance to it.  And, as Pablo Picasso so eloquently stated, “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”.  In life, in art, in business and in personal growth, change is paradoxically an ending and a beginning.  The essential point is that “letting go” is a prerequisite to embracing something new.  We all need to learn how to let go of things that either don’t serve us well or stand in the way of us growing as a human being.

If you’re not changing, you’re not growing.  And, if you’re not growing, you are as good as dead.  We can all benefit and learn something about life from the butterfly.  And, if you are simply interested in self-empowerment, heed the words of Anwar Sadat, “In the power to change yourself is the power to change the world around you”.

Amazingly, change comes from within.  It’s all about perspective, baby!

Being Positive means never having to say “Why Me?”


Positive Thinking = A Way of Life

Have you ever consciously noticed or ‘felt’ a very positive impression about someone after having met them?   It’s almost as though they emit an aura of energy that you can sense not only when they are physically present, but also even when you simply are thinking about them.

For me, thinking, acting and being positive has become a way of life.  I constantly search for the ‘good’ in every person, experience and thing.  I have become a much more resilient, content, peaceful and happy individual as a direct result of approaching life with a positive mental attitude.  This includes reacting to everyday occurrences (good or not so good), meeting others, responding to things I encounter (reading a book, listening to a song, watching a movie, observing nature).

The concept of Free Will plays a major part in this approach, i.e., acknowledging that each of us has and makes a choice about everything in our lives.  Every second, every experience, every thought and every action occur as a result of how we choose to ‘Be’.

Hand in hand with positive thinking is gratitude.  Internally, I think of the word ‘gratitude’ as a contraction for gracious attitude.  It’s all about being thankful and showing appreciation for everything in our lives; indeed, for life itself!

Life is much more worthwhile, endearing and a learning experience when you are able to gleen something positive from it.  It is not only more enjoyable and rewarding, but also positively influences others’ impression of you and consequently their attitudes.  Why choose to be sad, unfulfilled, depressed or angry when you can choose to be happy?  All it takes is a bit of energy directed toward a positive path.  I choose to ‘be’ positive and not a victim of circumstances.

Whether consciously or not, we directly create the person, the being and the spirit of who we are, by the choices we make in life, more specifically, the thoughts we have as intelligent human beings.

I’ll share this ‘secret‘ with you here:

Choose to be a positive person and it will e1evate your life.  Be well and consider a ‘Pay It Forward‘ approach to life.  Everyone has the potential to be positive, for it is merely a choice we make.  Got Some Good?

“Try it… You’ll Like it”


ImageFaith is the miracle-drug to Health, Happiness and Mental stability. It’s free, very powerful, everlasting and the only side-effects are a propensity to help others, think positively and demonstrate gratitude…

FDA Approval Pending

Caution: Can be Habit-forming.

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