Be A Pilgrim

There are many definitions of the word “pilgrim”.  Many people think of the group of people who sailed on the ship called the Mayflower.  Others think of a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.  And there is of course the definition that says a pilgrim is a person who is journeying through life. There is a distinct difference between “existing” and “journeying” through life.  A person who is a pilgrim lives a life that they examine, learn from and grow from.  I try to be a pilgrim and not the version from the Mayflower.
Very recently, I was on a 10 day trip to Israel on a religious pilgrimage.  It was with a group of 40 people all on their own religious journey.  I am a Roman Catholic and it was incredibly meaningful for me to visit places that I had read about and talked about for most of my life.  I could write at least 10 blogs on this topic – but that is for another time.  But the journey that I was on also happened to be that of a journeying pilgrim.  
This journey helped me to take time to examine things that I have said and done in my life.  It also helped me to look at how I impact the lives of others in my daily life.  I worked with someone once who saw a post it note on my cubicle wall.  It read “Be Kind to Unkind People, they need it the most”.  This person commented that I am always kind to people.  I told him that I work hard to be, but being kind is also in how I think about things too.  He told me that was too much work and was surprised that I do that.  Looking back, I realize now that this was part of my “journey” as a pilgrim.  That my thoughts matter as much as my words and actions.
When you are journeying through this day, remember that your thoughts matter.  If you think something long enough, you will end us saying what you think.  If you say what you think long enough, you end up acting on it.  Those actions are what tell others what kind of pilgrim you have chosen to be.
Be a positive pilgrim.

Mean what you say. Say what you mean. Don’t say it mean.

Being positive takes work sometimes. Life has challenges and frustrations. Ultimately it is how we respond to challenges that shows us who we have become as people.

Are you a “man or woman of your word”? Do you say what you mean? Or do you say what you think people want to hear? And then secretly hope they figure out what you actually meant? I personally think that is exhausting and makes it hard to stay positive.

There is a better way. You can be direct and say what you mean. But your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language all play a part. When you are being genuine in what you say – don’t present it as an attack on another person. Simple say what is your truth. They own their reactions- just like you own your delivery of what you are saying.

I love that the world is full of so many different kinds of people. We all bring experiences and knowledge with us. Being kind in our communication acknowledges that. It is a positive thing to take a step back and think – before we speak.

Whatever challenges or frustrations you may be dealing with today – be positive. It makes a difference.

Learn Something New – An investment in yourself.

There is always something new to learn. No matter your age, your job or your level of knowledge. It is a positive decision and impact to your life. Nobody knows everything. If they say they do – it’s not true – and they need some work on their humility!

When you decide to learn something new – it can be scary because you “don’t know what you don’t know”. But trust me when I say as you learn, that fear can change to confidence and a positive attitude! For example, riding a bike can be scary at first, even with training wheels. As you get comfortable with learning how it works, those wheels go away. Then you practice balancing on your own. Soon you are riding with confidence and your hair is blowing in the breeze. Weeeeeee!!!

Riding bikes in Vancouver!

I started a new job in May of 2017. I promise you that I learn something new every day. But not just at work. Paying attention to the people in my life – all around me helps me learn about them – and me. How we handle change and stress can teach us alot!

Take time to learn a new skill, hobby or way of doing things. It is one of the best investments you will ever make. The return on your investment is totally worth it. And it will keep you positive!

Your Life is a Gift.

Earlier this week, I was reminded of one of the things that keeps me positive.  It is acknowledging that my LIFE is a GIFT!  My father, one of my greatest positivity coaches, had a heart attack and was hospitalized.  He is recuperating at home and is on the mend!  HOORAY! At first though, I was terrified that I wouldn’t have him around and now it is so clear to me that he and my family were reminded of a precious gift – LIFE.

My Dad and I on my Wedding Day!

Especially at this time of the year, the holiday season, people are often sad because they have loved ones who are no longer with us.  It was only a month ago that my own grandmother passed away at 100 years old. Those are valid and deeply meaningful feelings. Part of being positive is acknowledging how you feel and actually feeling it.  Admitting I am sad about my grandmother passing is healthy.  Admitting that I was scared I would lose my Dad is the truth and a valid feeling.

However, to remain positive I believe that those feelings need to be for a limited time and then for moments – here and there – but not a constant state of being.  In other words, I believe that it is okay to visit a pity party but I don’t want to live in a pit!

Some people struggle with poor quality of life for different reasons:  health, poverty, homelessness, imprisonment, anxiety, depression and abuse.  But when you are alive, there is ALWAYS some hope for things to improve.  Knowing your life is a gift – is a gift in itself.  DON’T GIVE UP!

We can easily take our lives for granted in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  DON’T.  Don’t take it for granted.  LIVE.  Enjoy LIFE.  Find the positives in LIFE.   When you are opening your gifts during the holidays, make sure to unwrap and USE the best gift of all – LIFE.

 

Keep your eyes open… Positive Inspiration is everywhere!

When you are looking for good – you tend to see it more often.  If you are a “Debby Downer” (like the SNL character), you will always see things as the worst they can possibly be.  Yes, bad things do happen to good people.  But good things also happen!  I am someone who looks on the bright side of things and learns from my mistakes.  Being positive is a personal commitment each person must make. It is in my attitude.  It can be in yours too.

Me and my grandmother – positive and loving.

I would love to say that being positive was self-taught. But for me it was not,  I learned this from several incredible people in my life!  This includes my grandmother Laurene.  She just passed away last week on Thanksgiving Day at 100!  It would be easy to focus on the loss and sadness of not being able to see her anymore. And you can be sad – and still be positive.

There were quite a few things that have kept me positive over the last week.

LOVE – I told her that I loved her and she told me.  That is important – tell people how you feel.

TALKING – I appreciate all the amazing adventures she had in 100 years.  I am blest to have been able to talk to her about many of them.

FAITH – She had a deep and abiding faith in God and so do I.  We talked about that often and I am so grateful for that.

Next year, I will be 50 – because of the example provided by my Grandmother, I know that I have a lot more adventure left in me!  Get ready!!!

There is a saying that “Life is about the journey – not the destination.”  Positive people believe that.  I went on several hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Some of the people in my hiking group one day were trying to “make good time” to get to the top of the mountain.  They asked me why I wasn’t trying to do that too.  I told them that these mountains are amazing – but you have to keep your eyes open and stop to look at them. Otherwise, what’s the point of making good time? Racing to the top is great – but it is important to enjoy the journey.

Keep your eyes open!  Look for positive inspiration!  Be positively inspired!

 

Guidance – ask for it!

No one person should expect to know everything. That is both unrealistic and unfair to expect of others or of yourself. Did you know that if you do not know the answer to something it is perfectly acceptable to say “I don’t know”?

There is great freedom in realizing you can ask others for help and guidance when you don’t know. I do pride myself on being able to figure things out on my own. But that doesn’t mean that when I need help I can’t ask.

For example I started a new job in May of this year. I knew how to do the basics of the job before I got it. But I had to learn things about how we do things at my company and in our department.

It would not make any sense for me to think I can’t ask questions.

Asking for guidance is one of the most positive things you can do. Not only does it help you to know how to do something but it also acknowledges that someone else has the expertise.

Using the example of work probably applies to many people but I also use this personal life and in my spiritual life.

Sometimes, not often enough, I ask God to show me the way to happiness and contentment in my life. I don’t always listen, those are the times when I need to be calm and still and listen to the small voice inside. It is usually telling me to stay positive and look for God’s signs – or guidance. When I do I feel really good and like anything is possible.

In my personal life, I talk to those who have had similar life experiences and challenges. People who understand where I have been provide guidance that is more valuable than you can imagine!

The bottom line is – no one person knows everything- and they shouldn’t. That’s too much pressure! Admit you need guidance and ask for it. It will definitely help you feel positive.

Accept that change is a part of life!

Everything changes! Learning to accept this keeps me positive. It’s always fascinating to me when people complain about things changing. How boring would our lives be if they stayed exactly the same?

People change jobs, where they live, what they eat and what they wear. I think what upsets people about change is not the change itself. It is the lack of control over change that upsets people.

There are many things we do not have control over. One of them is the weather. I live near Cleveland Ohio and the weather changes here drastically all the time. I have heard conversations go on and on about the changing weather. You can’t control it!

I have come to the conclusion that it is all about our attitudes.

Accepting change and navigating it has everything to do with our attitude! If every time a change occurs our reaction is – UGH here we go again! Then change will be painful and irritating. But if our attitude is that change is a part of life and how exciting! Then we will have a different experience!

It is up to us to decide how we handle change. If you see it as a fun ride that you get to experience- it can be like going to the amusement park! Enjoy the ride.

Miracles in everyday life.

Do you believe in miracles? Not just the heavens open and someone appears miracles. But the kind where things just happen in your every day life? I believe that these kind of miracles happen every single day. But it is up to us to be aware of them.

Here’s an every day miracle that happened the other day. The back gate to our yard was not locked all the way. We didn’t realize it and we let our dog into the backyard. After a few minutes our neighbor knocked on the front door. She said that our dog was running around with her dog at their house! She got our dog in the backyard and closed the gate. I know that might not seem like a miracle to you. But to me it seemed incredible that she happened to be in the front yard at that time. And that our dog trusted her and followed her instructions!

That small miracle filled me with gratitude!

Sometimes your every day miracle can be your friend calling at just the moment you needed to talk with her. Or as you’re leaving work a huge rainstorm starts and your coworker is leaving and has an umbrella in their hands.

I believe that if you pay attention during each day you will see miracles and blessings in your life. The more positive you are in life the easier they are to see!

This may take some practice for people who aren’t used to it. Start small and look for at least one every day miracle each day. After a while you will see so many you will lose count!

Start today. Find your miracles. Appreciate them. Be inspired. Be positive. Be positively inspired!

Belonging

Do you know the song where Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warren sang “love lifts us up where we belong”? I believe that is one of life’s truths. But sometimes people don’t believe that they belong or that they fit in. That usually happens in an environment that is negative or lacking Love and Compassion.

When we feel like we belong – there is nothing like it! It makes me want to spend all my time with those people! People who lift me up instead of tearing me down. I want to hug those people and often do!

When you have a sense of belonging it does not mean that everyone thinks the same, acts the same or looks the same as you do. It comes from the heart. You just know that others understand.

Finding that sense of belonging and embracing it keeps me positive. I have found that sometimes you have to search for this feeling. And for a lot of people it does not come naturally. You have to work on having an open mind and heart.

If you are a positive person or are trying to become one – you belong – here.

Responsibility – keeps me positive!

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may be wondering what happened and where I am!  I noticed that everyone else was taking a summer vacation — why not me?  Just kidding!  To be clear — I never took a break from being positive!

My husband and I have decided to downsize to living in a condo.  And we have put our house on the market.  As I look at the house, I have so many positive memories.  This is the place we came back to when we got married.  We celebrated lots of birthdays.  And brought our dog Luke to – where he loves to run around in the yard.  I remember all the great Christmas celebrations in this house.  But I am very happy that we are making this change.

Our House…

Even though I am happy and excited about our upcoming move.  I realized that there are A LOT of responsibilities with selling a house.  And while that is happening – my other responsibilities continue – at work, with family, with friends and in taking care of myself.

That is part of the reason, I took a break from the blog.  But I did NOT take a break from being positive.  Every time I delivered on one of my responsibilities in my life, I felt great!  It helped keep me positive.  It also reminded me that there are so many parts to my life and so many things that I enjoy!

When I take time to organize and live up to my commitments and responsibilities, it can result in my being tired or overwhelmed.  But it is up to me to set boundaries and take care of myself so that I can function!  It is a great adventure that my husband and I are taking with selling our beautiful house and moving to an amazing condo.  I am excited for it and positive.

If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, take a deep breath and remember that you can only really do one thing at a time.  At the very least – take a moment – and look for something to achieve.  When you have completed your responsibility – you will be POSITIVELY INSPIRED!