Overthinking

Thinking and questioning are skills we humans need to live. However, overthinking is another matter. Much of my life I have been a person who would do what I call overthinking. I did it frequently, but I was unaware I did it. Overthinking includes worrying a lot about the future. I used to even plan what I would say, almost full conversations when I had to deal with a problem. I was always sure I was wrong, so I had to defend my position.

I also had expectations about my marriage, my job, and people I love. What was interesting with all this overthinking, I did not ask myself important questions such as: What did I need and want? What were my deepest concerns? What was I willing to do? What was I unwilling to do? I thrived on my fairy tale-like expectations which never came true. (I still do NOT like Disney because so many of his movies sell this fairy tale version of life to little girls and even boys.)

With all of this overthinking, often I had very little peace. Instead, I had a lot of anxiety with all this constant thinking, usually about others, and I did not even know myself. One thing more recently that has helped me stem some of my overthinking is to meditate regularly.

In my practice with meditation, the amazing monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, keeps showing up in my life. Read about his life story online. He has endured great suffering, so his teachings are revealing and always helpful. I love his perspective and his simple and beautiful explanations about life.

On youtube there is this video about Plum Village where this great monk has a center in France; it has subtitles.

Another piece of overthinking seems to be criticizing. The ridiculous part about criticizing is that it is a usually a waste of time. I still criticize how other people drive, instead of just paying attention to my OWN driving. Of course, I am talking to myself in my own car about the “bad” driver, and that other person cannot hear me criticizing them anyway!

I think I’ll go and meditate on this some more!

One other negative consequence of overthinking, it keeps me from experiencing the present. Because I am obsessing about whatever, I miss seeing the bird flying, a flower, a child do something that makes me smile, a squirrel, or even enjoying a breeze on my cheek. I miss the beauty in my own life.

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Quirky 3

As you probably know by now, I do NOT live in an area where flamingoes flourish.
When I saw this in the fall last year, I was unable to include this photo in my Quirky 2 blog. Thus, I am happy to use it now.

What I like so much about Quirky stuff, people, and art, or even yard ornaments are that they are playful, funny, and, to me, creative. Quirky lacks pretense. Quirky stuff says: I know I’m different, but I don’t care. To me, it is authentic and fun. Quirky makes me LOL because it surprises me, or, at least, it makes me smile. I think that quirky people tend to laugh at themselves. They are kind of like the old Beatles song: “The Fool on the Hill”. I always liked that song.

There is an older gentleman where I live who has a large plastic push cart, which is like a baby stroller in which he can put about four babies who can sit up. During the summer he walks around town pushing these babies in his bare feet. I never know when I am going to see him. I saw him in the winter this year, and he was pushing the babies for a long walk, (a few miles at least). Some day I must stop and talk to this fellow. I have a few questions for him: For example: are the babies his grandchildren?

One of the first things I noticed when I moved here a few years ago, is that women and even young girls dye their hair fun colors such as purple and blue. This is very common here. It is still fun to see it because people are doing what they want and feel free to be a little quirky.

Having grown up in California and having lived in the South I have seen a lot of pretentious behavior. It is a great gift to live in a place where people feel free to be themselves. I also get to grin a lot about it!

I’ll leave with a quote from my search for “quirky quotes,” I changed around the quote to:

“Be a Cheerio in a world full of Fruit Loops”

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Integrity

The integrity of this flower is easy to see. I see its wholeness. In nature, I see integrity all around us. With us humans, integrity is more complex. I often have choices in many things and situations. How do I keep my own integrity, particularly in regard to those things that are important to me and act consistently, to be honest about who I am in own life?

In the past, I stayed in situations, relationships, and even jobs longer than made sense. I was not fully aware that I was selling myself short when I was doing that. When we need work to live, that is very understandable. However, I also became very good at adapting myself to relationships that were not the best for me.

Recently with the help of my source, friends, and family, I healed an important part of my past. In doing so, I also became more aware of what I can and can NOT make work for me in my life. What I denied in the past about a situation, I can NOT lie to myself about anymore. My own integrity and clarity about what I need and feel I can not pretend to NOT hear anymore. This is helping me to let go of situations that go against my own values and beliefs.

“Nothing is, at last, sacred, but the integrity of your own mind.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I have integrity, I find it is also easier for me to respect others. When I acted with less integrity, I did not feel that good about myself. It is hard to be respectful of others when you are stuck in your own self-loathing. Often you aren’t even aware of it because so many other people around you are doing the same thing. This did not give me an excuse. I had to wake up and start standing up for what was important to me. I had to learn to know myself even if that meant facing some old demons.

I have choices about how I choose to show up in the world. Every day I must choose to live in integrity with every choice I make. I have also learned to forgive myself for not always choosing well. Old patterns die hard. I am also learning to watch and wait longer before I act. At times, I risk and jump into something new. I take risks or I will be living in fear about every choice I make. That is not living either. I must maintain a balance.

I try to have more compassion for others and myself because most of us are truly in the same boat on this planet. As humans I know we aren’t perfect, that way I can cut slack for everyone including myself.

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Being Welcomed

I brought back this photo because my favorite local squirrel, was welcoming me home after I had been away for a few weeks last year. This squirrel gave me the feeling of being welcomed back to where I live. There have been times in my life when I did not always feel welcomed, so I know what that feels like. Hurtful!

That does not happen to me often these days. I have noticed though that I have had more opportunities to make others feel they are being welcomed. As an English-as-a-Second Language teacher, I had many opportunities to make my student over the years feel welcomed, at least to my classroom. I can do what I can to be welcoming, so I can show people from other countries that they are important here. This is not always the case in the wider world or even in the USA.

Is fear stopping us or me from being welcoming? It makes sense to protect ourselves. We and I can’t be naive, but I can become too vigilant with fear and miss opportunities to meet good people.

Being welcoming to all kinds of people from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, and sexual orientations is something I have endeavored to do. I can still remember not feeling being welcomed. I have had to NOT let FEAR of new people dominate or color my thinking or judging people. Each one of us has a story, and we are all human beings sharing the same space on this beautiful earth.

Check out this TEDx Talk by Jan Gunnarsson about being welcoming:
“Hostmanship: the Art of Making People Feel Welcome”

I know that I need to welcome myself to this planet first every day, and be grateful. That is also a choice for me, just like it is for the bus driver in Mr. Gunnarsson’s TEDx Talk.

Every day I need to check my attitude of gratitude, so I can smile and be kind and as welcoming as I can. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. At times when I need to complain to someone about a problem or challenge, I try to do it with honesty and with some kindness and respect towards the other people (person).

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