Self-reliance

I read something interesting yesterday: that depending on others too much can make us vulnerable. I thought about this and decided this is probably true. Sharing responsibility with others can be a good thing, and relying on someone else can be a comfort. But we are the only ones responsible for us. I am responsible for myself.

When we depend on others, it is too easy to let them make decisions for us and then blame them if it doesn’t work out. We need to be able to flex our mental muscles by reasoning, weighing decisions, learning new things. Muscles become stronger with use; muscles unused become flabby and start wasting away. The same can happen to our brains, minds, thinking processes. We have to make our own decisions, and yes, deciding not to decide is a decision.

We are all part of the world, but we are also the only ones we can ultimately depend on; we learn, we reason, we decide. Having a good friend is a wonderful thing, as long as we use her only as a sounding board and do not allow her to make the decision for us. And if she is truly a good friend, she will ask questions, make comments, and help you make your own decision but will not make it for you.

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Courage

The word ‘courage’ brings visions of someone rushing into a burning building to rescue someone stuck inside. Or people acting heroically during a disaster of some sort. But we all have courage every day. It takes courage to go about our daily lives and do everything that needs to be done. It takes courage to stand up to injustice whenever we see it, even if it is just correcting someone’s misconceptions. It takes courage to keep going when times are tough and to have faith that things will be better. And it takes courage to swim upstream when everyone else is going with the flow.

Courage isn’t something we think of on a daily basis. But we should. Do you know someone who keeps going in the face of overwhelming odds? Someone who takes on the daily care of a family member who is ill or infirm? A person who takes in her grandchildren whose parents are incapacitated in some way? The family down the block who quietly help their neighbors without fanfare? These are all courageous people.

Sometimes it takes courage to say ‘no’ to someone to whom you have always said ‘yes’. We all have those people in our lives; the ones who won’t take no for an answer; the ones who abuse us physically, mentally, verbally; those who take advantage of our good nature. Saying ‘no’ is not bad. Only you can know whether you are acquiescing to keep the peace when you really want to run in the other direction. If your mental health depends on your saying ‘no’ then gather up the courage you need and say ‘no’.

Celebrate your courage today and those people you know who are quietly courageous every day.

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Silence

Is there ever true silence? We are bombarded by noise all day every day – noise pollution – and it affects our daily lives in profound ways.  If it isn’t the traffic, it’s planes, trains, power tools, people on cell phones, radio, TV, the list is almost endless.

When I was younger, noise didn’t bother me. I could do my homework or read a book in front of the TV or with the radio on and be totally oblivious to the noise around me. Now, I am so much more easily distracted by the least little noise; dogs barking, cars going by, my neighbor’s lawnmower. I cherish early Sunday mornings when there is no traffic noise for minutes at a time and the only sounds are the birds greeting the sunrise.

I sleep with a humidifier on, which also helps block the outside noises. If I’m home during the day, I have the radio on or my iPod is playing, which helps cut down on outside noise. But it’s almost impossible to have total quiet in town. I work at an animal shelter, so there are dogs barking and yapping all day long. Our home is close to the flight path for both the airport and the Air Force base – there is nowhere in town that is immune to noise from planes.

Now that summer is over, finally, I look forward to spending more time out in the desert where the quiet can heal and calm.

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Imagine

John Lennon created a furor when this song came out, but if you pay attention to the lyrics, all he is saying is we are all one.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
– John Lennon