Category Archives: meditation

Teddy Roosevelt’s Hiding Place

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It is amazing to read another side of a person you may have studied

in Social Studies or in American History classes. Theodore Roosevelt,

Jr. faced horrible losses and a singular joy all in a short period of time.

The pain was so much he needed to get away. He needed to ‘wallow’

in his sorrow and be alone while grieving.

 

“The Light has gone out of my Life.”

 

These words were found in a personal journal, carrying the weight of

true sadness. Theodore Roosevelt’s wife died and in a short amount

of time later, his dear mother died.

 

Both women died in the same house.

Both loved ones died on the same day.

 

The joy was his daughter, Alice Lee.

 

The cause of his wife’s death, as so often happened in the past, was

due to this precious baby. I remember seeing this in movies, in books

and my mother mentioning how common this ‘death during childbirth’

occurred. He was 26 years old, handling the baby by himself. We don’t

hear about the details, except that he chose to escape. His family must

have taken care of baby Alice, while he was gone.

 

“The Elkhorn Ranch” became his place of healing and solitude. This

is place is in North Dakota.

This journey is an incredible story. One where Theodore Roosevelt

sought nature for his grief counseling. This led him to incorporate

the idea of preserving nature into his future plans. Taking care of his

country had not been originally part of his political plans. Teddy

himself said this (paraphrased):

“I would never have been President if not for my experience in

North Dakota.”

Once renewed, he came back to New York and ran for political

offices. . . all leading up to his saving land for National Parks.

 

When the story was mentioned in a brief account on CBS Sunday

Morning, I noted that this story originated from February, 1884. It is

approaching 131 years since Theodore Roosevelt retreated from the

dual deaths, the birth of his daughter and got out of the public eye.

While rustling cattle out West in the Dakotas, he again met death.

Freezing wintertime caused sickness and his herds of cattle died.

 

The image of the sole remaining rock, the only remaining part of

the Elkhorn Ranch’s foundation that is left, was shown. A historian

leaned over the rock, as if studying all of the details of Theodore

Roosevelt’s rocky, rugged path in life.

 

The beautiful miles and acres of land surrounding this place, still

are pristine. The cottonwoods glistening in the sun while shaking and

making a hissing sound captured my attention.

 

But the personal tragedies that Theodore Roosevelt endured is what

really held my interest.

I had to know more. . .

 

As a child, Theodore was a sickly, asthmatic boy. His family was well-

to-do and had him home-schooled. Something in Teddy’s spirit made

him a fighter.  This gut instinct would carry out throughout his life. He

joined athletics, hiked often in the outdoors, and embraced the idea of

trying to strengthen his body.

 

As if he were laughing at the ‘fates’ and was challenging them to a duel,

Teddy wanted to overcome his childhood weakness.

 

Theodore successfully graduated from his home-schooling,

proceeding onward to Harvard for his undergraduate studies.

He successfully went on to Columbia Law School. He met and

married the wealthy Alice, who he lost.

 

Theodore came back from his escape in the Dakotas, having spent

a wild time there. He had ‘licked his wounds,’ found solitude and

regained his determination to make an impact on the country.

There were several steps, you may read about, that led him to

become a politician running for different offices. He rose through

the ranks, showing his acumen for politics.

 

The road to Theodore Roosevelt becoming President was an

interesting political story but I am more interested in his life’s

choices.

 

Again because of a death, President McKinley’s assassination,

Theodore’s path got altered.  Through tragedy he rose to this

place of  leadership, being sworn in shortly after the death.

 

 

Six years later, he met and married his second wife, who he had

five other children with.  His family life is not detailed in the

articles I read, but may be found in historian’s accounts and his

family stories. There are surely many biographies about Theodore

Roosevelt to fill in some of the gaps I have left open.

 

Theodore Roosevelt died at age 60, somehow this makes another

impression on me, one of sadness. I will be 60 this year.

Teddy’s life just seems like it was too short.

I feel his brief life was one filled with great contributions.

One that may be considered “a Force to Reckon with.”

Here’s how he made a difference. . .

~Created the “Rough Riders.”

~Won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize due to his successful negotiations

and mediation between Russia and Japan, ending the war.

~Appointed the first Jewish man to his Cabinet.

~Talked about different races, if they were to be admired or disdained,

he believed each one should be taken individually and considered on

their merit. His open-minded comments sometimes were muffled by

his outspoken, out of context, racist comments. (See what he said

about Indians, for example.)

~Open door policy about Immigration, but again stressed that

the individuals needed to become American and respect the

country that became their own, leaving behind the country they

left.

~Created “Square Deal” and its unique way of political thinking.

~Went on safaris where the hunted animals were made part of

the Smithsonian Museum’s exhibits. Some have not been as sure

that this was a scientific or worthwhile project. These days, it may

be ‘frowned upon,’ by animal protective league members and

preservationists.

~Spoke out and acted for Conservation and Preservation.

~Directly responsible for Congress approving Eight National

Parks.

~”30 million National Parks and Forests” are his unspoken legacy.

(This high number was mentioned in the news essay, I am wondering

if this is meant to include international park numbers influenced

by his great works.)

 

The above interpretation of Theodore Roosevelt’s life

was written by Robin O. Cochran, (1/6/15).

 

 

Two famous quotations by

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. :

1.  “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do

is the right thing.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

 

2.  “Courage is not having the strength to go on,

it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

 

Nature thoughts:

 

“Between every two pines

is a doorway to a new world.”

John Muir.

 

“The wonder is that we can see these trees

and not wonder more.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 

“Plant trees.”

J. Sterling Morton.

 

A book to read, newly written:

“The Art of Stillness,” by travel writer Pico Iyer.

It highlights a wide variety of people, including

famous rock stars, artists and ‘thinkers’ who have

found solace in solitude. It also features yoga,

meditation and how being ‘still’ can lead to

success.

“By slowing down and sitting still one can

spark creativity and even adventure,”

“Men’s Health,” January,2015  issue.

 

 

November: Sensing Grace and Showing Gratitude

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Every month seems to come a bit faster! Closing a door on one vibrant and exciting

month of October. Opening a door on the more serious month of November with

moments full of gratitude, sensing persons who exude grace and giving thanks for

all we have.

Looking at my Halloween decorations and wishing that Jack o’ Lanterns, ghosts,

goblins, the Ty teddy bear in its adorable pumpkin costume, the black glass bottle

with the words, “Love Potion” on it and the owls could all stay up. I take them down,

slowly placing each item in a large orange tub, automatically trying to wrap some of

the glass, ceramic and wooden treasures with newspaper, I layer the embroidered

October cloths, fall handkerchiefs and needlepoint given to me by my aunt and my

cousin.

Next come the September lingering ‘culprits.”

The little scarecrow figurines, sunflower basket and gold candles are no longer

needed.

 

I like a simpler decorative theme in November. The month deserves a less crowded,

less busy appearance. The Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving come to mind and

make my mood more respectful and subdued.  My decorations reflect this traditional

look. I have a few pumpkins that fit in and around the metal cornucopia with yellow

woven reeds along the edge of the opening. I leave the ‘fake’ bittersweet vine wound

around and inside of a basket on my coffee table.

 

Putting the burgundy candles into the pewter candle sticks from 1978, gifts from my

first wedding, I think of the Turley’s from Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  I feel gratitude.

There is also a pewter creamer, sugar bowl and a little tray to keep them on, which

remain in my little apartment kitchen.

 

I will never forget this lively family using washboards, zithers and guitars, their melodious

voices singing Blue Grass music. Afterwards, Jim telling Scottish tales and Helen telling

old Greek folktales. Their combined heritage made their three boys’ lives rich with the

knowledge of distant lands. Our family has some history, the half from my father’s side

not really detailed but his family tree with Scottish and English roots. Mom’s side is more

interesting, since her parents had stories to share with us of Germany and Sweden.

I would get excited when we drove up through Pigeon Forge, to get to their house built

from the local rocks. My Dad had met Jim in his work at Oak Ridge Nuclear Reactor (in

the state of Tennessee.)

Once they came North, went to see Plum Brook’s reactor in Sandusky. But mainly,

they were the overnight, genial and entertaining stop for our family along the way

to our grandparents’ trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Waves of memories, longing and nostalgia take over me.

 

Does this happen to you when you change seasons and decorations?

Is there an old memory that comes forward to be fondly remembered?

 

New chores and tools are needed with snow coming.

I will take my portable shovel out of the closet and put into the trunk of the car.

 

The songs that come to mind for this month are:

“November Rain,” sung by Guns N Roses

and

“Peace of Mind,” sung by Boston.

 

NOVEMBER, 2014

 

Birthstone:  Topaz

Flower:  Chrysanthemum

 

National Animal Appreciation Week goes from 11/1-11/7.

Local animal shelters or humane society have their needs suggestions posted.

 

1st- All Saints’ Day

(Catholics, Episcopalians and others celebrate this day)

 

2- Daylight Savings Time

(where applicable)

We set our clocks back one hour.

The old saying goes, “Fall behind.”

 

4- Islamic New Year.

Wishing all those who practice the Islam faith a Happy New Year!

 

Election Day in the U.S.

I encourage you to use your citizens’ right to vote!

 

6- Full Beaver Moon

Native Americans call this month’s moon the Beaver Moon,

but it is also called the Frosty Moon.

 

11- Veterans’ Day in the U.S.

Honor those who served and gave up their lives during wars.

Respecting those who are continuing to serve and put their lives on the line

for their country.

Remembrance Day in Canada.

 

14- Last 1/4 moon.

 

22- New Moon.

 

27-

Thanksgiving Holiday (U.S.)

28-

“Black Friday”

One of the biggest shopping days in U.S.

Some consider this part of their family’s traditions.

 

29- First 1/4 moon.

 

Looking at my cornucopia filled with fruits and leaves, with pumpkins spilling out of it,

colorful and familiar, I think it is as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers to me.

The words of Thomas Kinkade (2001):

“The color within us

can color the world around us.”

 

With Thanksgiving and gratitude:

“A thing of beauty

is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases,

It will never pass

into nothingness.”

(John Keats)

 

Those who bestow Grace upon us, as a gift:

“A friend is as it were,

a second self.”

(Cicero)

 

Freedom to express our Faith:

“Were there no God,

we would be in this glorious world

with grateful hearts

and no one to thank.”

(Christina Rossetti)

 

“You have possibilities. . .

so celebrate that you are

who you are,

where you are,

and affirm the

inherent

goodness of

living

by saying,

‘Thank You.'”

(Thomas Kinkade, 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside

These four simple quotes are meant to bring you some bright thoughts along with

your daily walk in life. Finding meaning in any one of these will make me feel good,

passing on some gems I found.

Please let me know what is bringing you special smiles around where you live lately.

 

~* There are 1440 minutes in  a day. Remember to use them wisely. *~

 

~* “How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” *~

(John Burroughs)

 

~* “Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree.” *~

(Emily Bronte)

 

~* “Winter is an etching.

~* Spring a watercolor.

~* Summer an oil painting.

~* Autumn a mosaic of them all.” *~

(Stanley Horowitz)

 

This just reminds me of James Taylor’s song that begins with those memorable lyrics:

“Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,

All you have to do is call. . .”

“You’ve Got A Friend.”

 

Simplicity While Seasons Change

Patriots’ Day: Solidarity

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There is a quotation being volleyed about called, “The Slurry Walls of Life.” I

received it twice now. Once, from someone far away, but a U.S. citizen, and the

second time I read this was in our September church newsletter. Neither time

was an author given credit. This upsets me, almost like I am ‘pirating’ someone’s

thoughts. If you happen to see this, with an author attached, please let me know!

I hope these words will hold something meaningful to give to you,  a few days

ahead of  the actual Patriots’ Day.  This quote comes exactly as I received it, no

editing or changes made.

 

I think on the actual day of 9/11/14, I will be silent. . .

 

“As horrific as 9/11 was, it could’ve been even worse if not for a 30 year old

engineering feat. Reaching some 70 feet underground, a 3 foot thick concrete

structure called a ‘slurry wall’ surrounded the base of the World Trade Center

complex. Designed to prevent the Hudson River from flooding the basement,

this wall prevented New York’s subway system from flooding and countless

additional people from dying on September 11, 2001.

 

A ‘slurry wall’ is constructed by pouring a thick, goopy mixture of powdered

clay and water into a deep, narrow trench. The solution coats the sides,

preventing water and soil from collapsing the trench. Pipes are then inserted

through the slurry, and concrete is pumped into the trench, pushing the slurry

up and out.

 

At the World Trade Center, the concrete formed such a strong wall that even

two airplanes and the falling towers didn’t fracture it. Part of the ‘slurry wall’

stands at the 9/11 Memorial site, a symbol of resilience.

 

Sometimes God uses life’s ‘slurry’ to make us stronger than we ever thought

possible. We might wish something yucky hadn’t happened- – until we discover

it was part of what sustained us, making us resilient and enabling us to rise out

of the destruction and death to an awe-inspiring new life.”

(Author Unknown)

 

This much I could research, that the original ‘slurry walls’ construction, under

the World Trade Center, were supervised by a man named, Arturo Lamberto

Ressi di Cervia. This building supervisor passed away at age 72 in August, 2013.

He lived almost 12 years past that day of sadness, to see this job become the

base of the Memorial. The construction workers need to feel satisfaction in their

awesome work on the ‘slurry walls.’

 

Arturo Lamberto Ressi di Cervia’s professional crew poured the walls of support

that survived the crashes. Construction supervisor, Mr. di Cervia, must have

felt a little better that his workers’ wall held back further destruction and may

have prevented more deaths.  Although, it is nearly impossible to be proud of

your accomplishments, in the midst of death and sorrow.  Acknowledgment

to the crew only seems ‘right’ to do, as to ALL the workers who came to the

rescue of the ones injured, helping to unbury the living and the ones who died

on this horrific day. Rescue dogs wore themselves out, helping to find so many

‘buried’ people.

 

There is a fine article (not containing the above quotation) from a man named,

David W. Dunlap, written about the construction of the ‘slurry walls.’ Dunlap’s

article was published on 9/11/13/ in the New York Times:

“Looking to a Wall that Limited the Devastation of the World Trade Center.”

 

Wild West Wednesday

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Thanks to “Pookie,” my Mom’s best friend in California, we have a prairie

joke to laugh at!  She wrangled up a ‘good one,’ for us to chuckle about and

get in the right frame of mind for our mid-week relaxing time. Oh, go ahead

and grab something cold to drink, too!  There was a swear word included in

this story,  which my Mom thought was ‘A.O.K.’ but I used a little imagination

and substituted it with an actual possible western term. The manila envelope

she received in the mail, Mom had culled and decided upon which ones were

‘blog worthy.’ So glad I have this outlet for her to feel she is my ‘editor’ and my

fellow blogger while I publish this story and future other ones.

The funny story included two illustrations, one depicting the two main characters

in the humorous story and the other of a photograph of a black sky, with stars and

the moon in it.

 

Let’s take a little ‘break’ from my essays. Pull up a chair, put on some music

and enjoy. . .

To get into the western theme, you could put on Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”

song,  which I enjoy very much. Or find that classic song, “Wild, Wild West”

by the British group, The Escape Club. Promise, you will recognize it! I happen

to love that version of the 1988 song, including the line, “wild, wild hair,” in

the lyrics, referring to the female love interest’s hair.  If you are into rapping

considered ‘hip hop’ version) and I do like Will Smith, there is a different song

without the comma in the title, “Wild Wild West” to hear. This went with the

“Wild Wild West” movie that came out in 1999. Kevin Kline and Will Smith

were the two main actors, in this attempt to capture the television series.

Oh, how I used to enjoy the crazy antics and adventure in the original show!

It was televised from 1965 until 1969.

 

Do you have a favorite western movie or television show?

What music do you prefer to listen to while unwinding after a hard day’s work?

 

I enjoy writing but sometimes am happy to just ‘coast along,’

for a day. I will ‘parcel’ the jokes out, once a week for awhile. . .

 

Here’s one for all of those who love the outdoors and the “Lone Ranger:”

 

The Lone Ranger and Tonto were camping in the desert. After they got their

tent all set up, the men fell sound asleep.

 

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says,

“Kemo Sabe, look towards the sky, what do you see?”

 

The Lone Ranger replied, “I see millions of stars.”

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“What do they tell you?” asked Tonto.

 

The Lone Ranger wiped his sleepy eyes, looked up into the heavens and

pondered. Then, after a minute he explained how he felt about the sky,

“Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and

planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo’s radius. Time-

wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning.

Theologically, it indicates that God or Mother Nature is all powerful and

we are just small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have

a beautiful day tomorrow.”

 

The Lone Ranger turned towards Tonto in the dark and asked,

“What does it tell you, Tonto?”

 

Tonto replied,

“You’re dumber than buffalo chips.”

 

The Lone Ranger was hurt and wondered why Tonto was showing

little respect for what he thought had been “Profound Thoughts.”

“Why would you say this to me, Tonto, my friend?”

 

Are you ready for the punch line?! I bet you may guess it. . .

 

Tonto retorted. . .

“It means someone stole the tent, you idiot!”

 

(I think even Silver, The Lone Ranger’s trusty horse would have

snorted. . .)

 

Smiles for sliding down the slippery slope towards the weekend!

Our Identifying ‘Songs’

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A West African tradition that fascinates me, is that when every

woman in their tribe of “Griots” is expecting a baby, they take

time to think and contemplate giving the baby, a ‘song.’ They go

off to meditate and come up with what they feel would be the

specific identifying chant or ‘song’ that will follow the upcoming

baby, throughout his or her life.

Have you ever heard of this tradition? I was so interested in this

and wished to share my source, the May, ’14 “Natural Awakenings”

magazine.  The article’s title is “Live  Your Song: Each of Us

Carries a Unique Inner Tune that Affirms Our True Nature.”

In this article, it explains that each person has a soul, in their

belief system. Each soul has a certain vibration that expresses its

unique and special purpose. It has a ‘flavor’ or ‘essence’ that can

be ‘heard.’

The baby’s birth is greeted by its song, giving it meaning and worth.

The times in the child’s life, where the song plays an important

part are when born, when getting ready to attend school, initiation

into adulthood and the time of marriage. The loving embrace of its

tune and melody is to keep the child feeling valuable and included.

If the child, young adult or grown adult should happen to break the

tribe’s rules or even worse, break a law, the tribe will circle the one

who has fallen away from them, chanting and singing their song.

The hope is that the community’s love will overwhelm the individual

and help them to find their way back to their original path. The final

time the Griot tribe, in West Africa, sings the special song is as family,

friends and the community gather at their bedside, helping them to

pass onto the next world, with the memory of their past life’s song.

I like the idea of a song, that our friends would know and recognize

it as ours. I would hope that we would always feel ‘in tune’ with our

family and friends. When we should ever wander away, move or

change our life’s direction, it would be so comforting to know that

our ‘song’ follows us, wherever we go.

Our ‘song’ would help lead us back home again, knowing the true

love, friendship and sense of belonging is waiting for us.

I had not realized that there are others, scientists and researchers,

who have studied this philosophy and practice of finding one’s ‘song.’

The persons considered “modern pioneers in vibrational energy,”

are Sharry Edwards (bio-acoustic biologist) and Donna Eden (energy

medicine field). They have independently detected that each of us has

a “fundamental signature frequency that can be equated to our unique

song that persists throughout our life.”

Some would say the ocean ‘calls to them,’ others would think that the

railroad train is their sound, with the thumping wheels along the track.

Natural songs can include birds. (That is my ‘song,’ not just because of

my name but the story about my Grandfather’s message sent through

the cardinal’s song).

The two women mentioned, Sharry and Donna, feel we innately seek

certain natural sounds that reinforce and strengthen our song.’

Other examples I read about were the sound of the surf, wind, rain or snow

falling. I could ‘hear,’ or imagine, someone’s ‘song’ in the trees shaking

from the breeze, the shivery feeling of the night sky filled with stars and

the moon. I think that some crave and need the sun’s warmth upon their

skin.

Your ‘song’ can be described as, “cell-to-cell vibrations” within ourselves.

We intuitively feel this these vibrations or rhythms as almost magical.

 

I found this sentence/quotation from the article to be meaningful:

“At one with the universe, our song contributes its part in the infinite

chorus of creation.”

 

(Quotations and research provided by Jill Mattson)

Please share if you feel you have a ‘song’ and let us know what really

‘moves’ you, intuitively.

 

Wipe the Slate Clean

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Do you remember when you were a child in school? Were you ever this young?

Just kidding!

Have things changed since the days you were in ‘grade school?’

Children, in the old days, would be assigned ‘cleaning the blackboard’ on the

classroom’s job or chores chart. That meant to erase the whole board, followed

by the activity of taking the erasers outside and clapping them together. I used

to like this ‘after school’ job. I would see the dust rising from the erasers being

pounded together and be filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoyed this chore,  since sometimes the teacher would talk to us, along

with let us choose something from her treats jar or a stash she had in one of

her drawers.

When I taught sixth grade, the first year was 1979-1980. The “Board Cleaner,”

was how I wrote this particular chore on a magnet. Each of the children would

rotate this, with other ones such as “Line Leader,” etc.  I would also have a small

bucket, to have the student fill with water. Using an old towel or ‘rag,’ the child

would wipe the remains of the dust off. It was a nice feeling, for me as a teacher,

to see that ‘clean slate,’ at the start of the next day.

Imagine your bad times, past hurts or difficult periods in your life.

Write them down on a blackboard in your head.

List them, one by one, remembering the pains, trials and sadness.

Take your mental ‘eraser’ and carefully, slowly rub each one of these away.

Rub the eraser up and down, or if you prefer, side to side. Make sure that all

you see, at the end of this mental exercise, is a hazy blur of grayish black.

Now, take a dampened rag and get a small stepladder, or if you are back in

time, a child’s wooden stool. Use the wet rag to clean all the remaining chalk’s

powder and blurred images off. If you need to, turn the cloth inside out.

Finish this process mentally, along with your imaginary blackboard.

You now have a ‘clean slate.’

Picture, if you will, the best times of your life.

Make a list of places, faces and beautiful images.

It is possible, I have done this process, in my head, too.

You can ‘re-invent’ yourself.

You may become a renewed person.

Your positive energy can ‘re-charge’ you and make you whole again.

Believe in unlimited possibilities.

 

Somehow, move into the present.

There are no ‘time limits’ or penalties, in this.

There are no ‘school bells’ going off.

There is no need to do anything but leave the board behind you.

Proceed outside.

Breathe in, breathe out.

You are free of the painful past.

How will the story of your life continue from here on out?

 

I have had friends who have asked me,

“How did you bounce back?”

In my case, I had a sense of purpose, to raise my children and make

their lives as positive and happy, as possible. I could not take any

more time on my own dissatisfaction or depression, I would not

dwell on what choices led me to the places I went. I just knew I had

to start over. I chose a town in Central Ohio, a college town, you know

it as Delaware, Ohio.

My parents were in Cleveland, later in Vermilion and my ex-husband

lived in Cincinnati, later in Dayton.

It was a halfway point, between the two cities, letting me able to make it

in either direction, without too many hours on the road.

I chose this place to ‘start over.’

I knew it was my children’s and my ‘new beginning.’

I knew absolutely not one soul here.

I later found some high school friends who had chosen to live here.

One was my children’s high school Biology teacher, another a swimming

and gymnastics instructor, and another followed me here, after her own

divorce.

If you have caused someone else’s heart to break, let it go.

Try not to cause any more heartbreak, try not to crush or break a

child’s spirit.

Any mistakes you have made, learn from them.

Always think that there are more chances in life.

I believe in multiple chances or opportunities to start over!

Another way to handle strife and tough times is an interesting one,

that editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey gives in an article in the

December, 2013 issue of “Prevention” magazine. M. Ramsey’s

suggestion is to look at your life and remember the “terrible twists”

that happened to you. He personally likes to list his own negative

occurrences and then, see them in a positive light.

Here are some examples found in the article called, “True Grit.”

“The way to get through tough times is to start with advanced gratitude.”

M. Ramsey’s list of Life’s negatives matched with happy outcomes:

1.  His first job after college was as a high school janitor.

The job led him to his future wife, the daughter of a fellow janitor.

2.  The recession forced him into part-time work.

Getting laid off gave him the time to start 2 new careers;  in book

illustration and radio.

3.  Melanoma diagnosis.

His cancer diagnosis helped him to decide to organize a series of

races to raise melanoma awareness.

4.  People who did not believe in him.

All those naysayers were just ‘ill winds beneath his wings.’

Great words to live by, quoted from Marshall Ramsey:

“A good analogy is if you’re canoeing downstream and you hit a rock,

it can either sink you or push you in another direction. If you choose

the other direction, it’s a blessing.”

Advanced gratitude is explained in this article as:

“The ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because

of what you’ve gained from them.”

M. Ramsey gives these steps and you may find more details in the article,

if you wish to look up “Prevention” magazine, 12/13.

This process is a three step one, which includes changing your perspective.

First, establish a gratitude ‘baseline.’

Then, retrain your own brain. Tying thoughts of

stressful events in your life may even change your neural pathways.

Reminding yourself that good things come out of difficult times, may

just pull you through the bad times.

Remember the hard stuff.  What have you gained from sorrow, losses or

sadness?

There were studies listed and other experts in different emotional

areas covered, including Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Rick Hanson, and

Dr. Richard Tedeschi.  These authorities have done research and written

books on the subject of “Who am I? What kind of future do I want?

What makes sense to do with my time now that this event has stopped

me in my tracks?”

I have heard someone on television talking in my past about how we can

create our own destiny, change the course of time, and I have come up

with many times, the image of a blackboard with writing on it. Lots of

thoughts cluttered on it, sometimes I have made lists on it, but always

I like the satisfaction of wiping the figurative blackboard clean.

Starting today with a clean slate, just fits my notion of a happy beginning!