Stumbling and Falling

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I was reading the book Falling Upward by Richard Rohr and he quoted Carl Jung: “Where you stumble and fall, therein lies your gold.”

That made me stop, put the book down, and think about what I just read. Stumbling and falling will bring us to our gold? Seriously?!

As I pondered what Carl Jung said, I realized that he’s telling us that stumbling, falling, making mistakes, wrestling with problems are a normal and natural part of living.   When we’re having a rough time of it, we aren’t being punished and it isn’t because we’re flawed or worthless.   Challenges are an invitation to dive into the depths of ourselves and discover more about our true selves.

It’s probably a little much to ask and expect ourselves to be joyful when we run into a rough patch, but we can minimize our distress my remembering what Carl Jung said.   Somewhere within that problem lies the gift of deeper understanding and compassion for ourselves and our fellow travelers along the way.

What do you think, have you found that obstacles have helped you grow? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

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Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

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Using Your Talents and Gifts–Maybe It’s Different Than You Think

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A colleague at work is a talented musician. He’s been playing the guitar since junior high school. As you’d expect with young teenagers who played instruments, he and his friends started a band. Of course they had dreams of becoming the Next Big Thing and were sure one day they’d appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

They landed a few gigs, mostly playing at the backyard events of neighbors and family, but their band never did take off. Soon college beckoned and the band members went their separate ways.   My friend and one of his buddies continued playing for pleasure, though. And when they settled, they realized they didn’t live too far apart. Several times during the year they’d get together and, of course, they’d jam–my friend on guitar and his buddy on percussion.

My friend didn’t think much of his love of playing the guitar. He never saw it as a gift or as something special because he wasn’t making any money, much less a living, from his music and he’d never won any awards or received any kind of recognition for his guitar playing.

One day recently, my friend received a phone call. His childhood buddy and band mate–the one he would jam with every once in a while–was on his deathbed. His buddy had a rare degenerative disease and his daughter was calling my friend to tell him that his buddy didn’t have long to live–a day or two at best. My friend grabbed his guitar and went to his buddy’s side.

By the time my friend got to the bedside, his buddy wasn’t very responsive. My friend was at a loss for words so instead he sat by the bed and played for his buddy. He played songs from back when they had the band in junior high; he played songs they had written together, he played a few popular songs, and he played songs that were his and his buddy’s favorites–ones they’d always included in the jam sessions.

At one point, my friend looked up and saw that his buddy’s lips were curved in a faint smile. My friend had been teary eyed before but when he saw his buddy’s smile, the tears flowed freely. He found a way to continue playing his buddy’s favorite songs, though, and shortly thereafter, his buddy passed.

Afterward, his buddy’s daughter gave him a warm hug and whispered that his playing “…was the perfect send-off for Daddy. I know he loved it.”

That experience changed my friend. He is no longer flippant and cavalier about his talent for playing the guitar. Instead, he knows he’s very lucky to have his gifts. He’s grateful for the privilege of using them to bring comfort, ease, and a smile to others.

How about you? How are you using your gifts and talents to bring peace, well-being, and cheer to others?

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Simple Actions to Counter-Balance Life’s Slings and Arrows

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In light of yesterday’s post where I shared about the disappointing day I was having and the poem I found that helped me cope.

On my way to work this morning, I was thinking about the Buddhist thought that life is suffering and we are here to alleviate each other’s suffering. When I examined this idea, I realized that our days are filled with suffering, from tiny annoyances, such as being in a hurry yet getting caught behind a very slow driver, to the very big things, such as losing a loved one.

As I continued mulling this over, I understood—yet again!—how important it is to notice the “good stuff” that we encounter each day so that we can balance out our daily difficulties.

What I mean is noticing and doing simple things such as smiling.

This is good not only for strangers and others we know but scientists have shown how the simple act of curving our mouths upward stimulates nerves which increases endorphin production which then leads to an improved attitude and outlook for us!

Another simple action is behaving in a pleasant manner.

As part of my job, I often have to make calls to the company’s customers and distributors. As I was doing this task today, I noticed people on the other end of the call greeted me either pleasantly or curtly. Granted, the people who were brusque may have been having a difficult day, but I made a lot of calls and the odds are that a few of the friendly people were also experiencing problems.

The results of my interaction with the two types of people were the same, however, the interaction left me feeling lighter. As a result, petty annoyances and frustrations didn’t get to me; my cheer rubbed off on my colleagues. The Ripple Effect in motion!

What simple actions can you take to counter-balance the “slings and arrows” in your life? Please share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren

The Loss is not So Great: A Poem by Edgar A. Guest

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I had a tough day today at work and was feeling glum. A project I had worked on for several weeks and completed a few days ago, needs updating already! My team and I knew this would happen, but still!

Then I came home and opened my email hoping for a cheery word from a friend or acquaintance. Instead I found an email that informed me that I did not get a job for which I had applied.

My glumness quickly morphed into second-guessing myself and wondering if I’d find my way to the soul-prospering life I have been trying to create.

When I feel like this, I try to take some small action–it doesn’t have to be the next step toward my soul-prospering life, although it’s great if I can do this. Instead, I take simple actions that will help me process my distress. Some of the things I may do:   cleaning or straightening up; distracting myself with a few chapters in a book or listening to music I love; talking to a friend or loved one; making an origami item.

Today, I chose to read through poems I’ve collected over the years and I came across one that I’m sharing with you in this post. Although my “defeats” today weren’t as bad as what the author of the poem seems to have experienced, the poem pointed out to me that if I can keep my head up, look people in the eye, and rest easy at night, then I am in good shape, regardless what the world might say.

The Loss Is Not So Great

It is better as it is: I have failed but I can sleep;
Though the pit I now am in is very dark and deep
I can walk to-morrow’s streets and can meet to-morrow’s men
Unashamed to face their gaze as I go to work again.

I have lost the hope I had; in the dust are all my dreams,
But my loss is not so great or so dreadful as it seems;
I made my fight and though I failed I need not slink away
For I do not have to fear what another man may say.

They may call me over-bold, they may say that I was frail;
They may tell I dared too much and was doomed at last to fail;
They may talk my battle o’er and discuss it as they choose,
But I did no brother wrong—I’m the only one to lose.

It is better as it is: I have kept my self-respect.
I can walk to-morrow’s streets meeting all men head erect.
No man can charge his loss to a pledge I did not keep;
I have no shame to regret: I have failed, but I can sleep.

~Edgar A. Guest

 

I hope this poem helps you the way it’s helped me. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

You can receive these uplifting messages every day in your email in box by subscribing to this blog.   The sign-up button is in the left hand column at the top. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Are You Making Progress Toward your 2018 Goals?

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As the first quarter of the year gives way to the second quarter, it’s a great time to check our progress on the goals we set at the beginning of the year. Here’s a poem to remind us of the truly important things in life:

A Message for the Year

 

Not who you are, but what you are,

That’s what the world demands to know;

Just what you are, what you can do

To help mankind to live and grow.

Your lineage matters not at all,

Nor counts one whit your gold or gear,

What can you do to show the world

The reason for your being here?

 

For just what space you occupy

The world requires you pay the rent;

It does not shower its gifts galore,

It’s benefits are only lent;

And o\it has need pf workers true,

Willing of hand, alert of brain;

Go forth and prove what you can do,

Not wait to count o’er loss or gain.

 

Give of your best o help and cheer,

The more you give the more you grow;

This message evermore rings true,

In time you reap what’er you sow.

No failure you have need to fear,

Except to fail to do your best–

What have you done, what can you do?

That is the question, that the test.

~~Elizabeth Clarke Hardy

 

How’s your progress so far?   Don’t worry if you’re disappointed by what you find. You can press the “reset button” and begin again!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

A Little Something to Keep in Mind This Week

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I was reading in an old poetry book today and I came across this poem. The author puts forth an interesting thought that, although we sometimes do things we regret, it’s really the things left undone that troubles us the most.

The Sin of Omission

 It isn’t the thing you do, dear,

It’s the think you leave undone

That fives you a bit of a heartache

At the setting of the sun.

The tender word forgotten;

The letter you did not write;

The flowers you did not send, dear,

Are your haunting ghosts at night.

 

The stone you might have lifted

Out of a brother’s way;

The bit of hearthstone counsel

You were hurried too much to say;

The loving touch of the hand, dear,

The gentle, winning tone

Which you had not time nor thought for

With troubles enough of your own.

 

Those little acts of kindness

So easily out of mind,

These chances to be angels

Which we poor mortals find–

They come in night and silence,

Each sad, reproachful wraith,

When hope is faint and flagging

And a chill has fallen on faith.

 

For life is all to short, dear,

And sorrow is all too great,

To suffer our slow compassion

That tarries until too late;

And it isn’t the thing you do, dear,

It’s the thing you leave undone

Which gives you a bit of a heartache

At the setting of the sun.

~Margaret E. Sangster

 

What did you think of the poem? Have you found that it’s the times you didn’t extend a helping hand when you could have that bother you the most?

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Inspiring Quotes: 6 for Taking the Next Step

 

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The most important thing we can do is to take the next baby step toward our dreams.

Here are a few quotes to cheer us on as we take those steps:

Don’t give up now. Chances are your best kiss, your hardest laugh, and your greatest day are still yet to come. ~Atticus

Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find. ~Walt Whitman

 

Remember, when you feel like you are alone, there is always someone somewhere who loves you and prays for your well-being. Sometimes the person who is secretly rooting for you is the person you lease expect. ~Unknown

 

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. ~Confucius

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Don’t watch the clock. Do what it does: keep going. ~Sam Levenson

Take the next step!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren