Tag Archives: affirmations

C is for Courage

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, we will fall!” they responded.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

And so they came.

And he pushed them.

And they flew.

–Guillaume Apollinaire’

C is for Courage. The ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, or uncertainty. Ernest Hemingway referred to it as “grace under pressure.” There are days when it takes a tremendous amount of composure to face the present. The past may be poking and prodding at your back while the future is screaming in your ear, “Take action!”

Philosophers through the ages have professed that dying is easy; it’s living that’s difficult. This is especially true if your life isn’t going as planned, and you’re stumped about what action to take. It seems that the older you get, the more courage you need. You have less time to waste and feel pressured to find and/or fulfill whatever dreams you may have once envisioned. You may have to accept that dreams from your youth will never be obtained and have the determination to create new ones.

No one goes through life unscathed by some sort of crisis, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Sorrow is a part of the human condition. But with courage you can do more than survive misfortune–you can learn and grow from it. You may begin questioning every belief and notion you have staked your life on. Were you living a lie? Were you a fool? If you are unafraid to look deeply and answer honestly, you might find a comforting message: you were doing the best that you could at the time or you would have done otherwise. Stop beating yourself up. By letting go of fear and regret, you let go of the past. By embracing the present, you give yourself a gift: a chance to heal and an opportunity to be your authentic self.

A little bravery is necessary to overcome everyday problems. You must face reality, the here and now, even when feeling inadequate and uncertain. Take time to reflect on what is important in your life, and afterwards, surrender and concentrate on your breathing, being mindful of each inhalation and exhalation. All you have is this very moment. Savor it, looking only for the good. It is there. It may be hidden deep within the folds of your consciousness, but it’s still there. Keep looking. Never stop.

We are constantly evolving, moving from what is to what could be. If we are fearless and receptive to ourselves and to others, we become responsive to the process and transcend all the spheres of existence. With our eyes open, we are free to fly, to choose new paths, to let go of any negative energy and embrace the positive as it occurs.

Courage allows us the choice to appreciate the true beauty called life.

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B is for Beauty

B is for Beauty. Its definition numerous. It surrounds us in nature if we open our eyes and truly see. But what makes humans beautiful? Remember the old cliche? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In the marketing world, a beautiful person is a sleek, young man or woman with air-brushed skin and the bone structure of a marbled statue chiseled to perfection. In society as a whole, youth is the epitome of beauty. I would have to agree; I looked better when I was young (sure miss those days). But we need to broaden our view and look beyond the physical for beauty transcends appearances.

Have you ever met certain people and upon first introductions nothing about their looks made you take notice, but after becoming acquainted you found yourself attracted to them? Their beauty springs from a well within them: their attitude, demeanor, and personality.

These traits can be honed as we grow. Like a fine wine, we should become better with age. If we don’t let life’s disappointments drag us down into a mire of negativity, we can shine with an inner beauty that has more to do with our philosophy about life. It radiates through what we say–for our words have an impact on the universe–and how we act and what we create.

I once read that the greatest gift we can give to others is being a role model, by setting a good example. When stripped to our essence, our beauty is more about our wisdom and the love we share. True beauty emanates from the eyes of the beholden.

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A is for Aging

Back in March I mentioned the April A to Z Challenge where bloggers write a post every day except Sundays starting with the letter A and ending with Z. I knew then I couldn’t write 26 posts in one month. So I’m challenging myself to use the alphabet to motivate my next 26 posts. Of course, this may take more than a year or two. Who knows. So here it goes:

  A is for aging. It’s something we all go through if we don’t die young. We notice it more readily in someone we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s amazing to run into an old high school friend after twenty or thirty years. We think, “God, he’s aged.” Then wonder if he thought the same about us.

What I find mysterious is how it sneaks up on you. The inward aches, pains, creaks, and groans grow on you. But the outward appearances? You don’t realize something’s different until it has changed drastically. While doing yoga a few years ago, I remember glancing at my legs as I performed a downward dog. The skin on my thighs hung loose around my knees. Did that happen overnight? What happened to the muscles residing there? I never heard them say good-bye. And I didn’t notice my jowls or turkey neck until looking at photographs taken during Christmas shortly after I turned fifty. How long had those been there? Why didn’t someone warn me? I used to pluck stray gray hairs poking from my head until one morning there were too many. If I continued plucking I would go bald. Did I cause the gray to multiply? Was the old saying true that if you pluck one gray many more follow?

Bette Davis once said, “Growing old isn’t for sissies.” Boy, was she right. No matter how resilient you think you are, the signs of aging are shocking when you gaze in the mirror and find them staring back at you. Worse still, it’s knowing you can’t do some of the things you used to take for granted, like squatting down and being able to get back up, or opening a jar of jelly, or reading fine print.

Harder still, is watching loved ones go through it first, especially your parents. To watch my father, a once tall, strong, football player, shrink in skin that bruises easily, his hearing aid not doing its job. and see my mother, once a beautiful cheerleader, shuffle her feet as she walks, forgetting what day it is, brings tears to my eyes. I cry every time I leave their house, knowing their time here is limited. Where did the time go? How did old age get here so fast? I have to keep slapping myself, saying, “Stop crying. They’re not dead yet. Cherish what time is left.”

I guess I’m crying for what’s been lost: my childhood, my youth, the days when I could go to Mom and Dad for answers, to fix things. I cry because I’m helpless to stop time, and I’m frightened. I’m afraid of what’s next. I can’t imagine my life without my parents. I know, people survive the loss of their parents all the time. Some even survive the loss of a child. But how do they do it? What is their secret? Maybe I’m just a big baby. But I’m also scared of what old age will do to me. Will I lose my memory? I’m pretty forgetful as it is.  My mother used to joke about the saying, “Live long enough to become a problem to your children.” Seems only fair especially after putting both of my parents through hell during my teen years. Will I become a burden? I don’t want to do that to my daughters. Watching your parents fade away is painful enough.

All I can do is plan ahead. I’m weeding though junk, especially papers, trying to organize documents, so when the time comes my kids will be able to find what’s important and have less of a mess to sort through. In the meantime, I’m trying to control my emotions. If I allow sad thoughts to consume me I become crippled, paralyzed with pain, no longer living in the present, wasting what precious time remains. I need to hold on to the memories and release the sorrow, and relish each moment I have with the ones I love.

To keep me in a positive frame of mind, I post affirmations throughout my house. Two on my bathroom mirror remind me: “Don’t wait for a crisis to discover what is important in your life” and “Be thankful for the past, have courage for the present, and faith for the future.”

A is not only for aging, but also for affirmations. Affirm what’s good in your life, everyday, for you never know when it is your last.

What are your thoughts on aging? How do you deal with your own mortality or that of a loved one?

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