Sunday, January 28, 2018

Appreciation

In several previous posts, I've written about Gratitude. Appreciation is slightly different. Webster's definition of appreciation is: "a feeling or expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude." If you're like me, having the approval of others has been a major ingredient in your self-esteem. If someone didn't approve of you or your actions, it affected you deeply. Since then, I've learned the only approval anyone needs is from themselves.

Showing appreciation can make a huge difference in relationships between partners, siblings, parents, other relatives, friends, teachers, co-workers, employees, club members, and other associates. Google appreciation in relationships and you'll find a LOT of information. I found in an article by Huffington Post on 5 ways to show appreciation to your partner. I've modified the content to include everyone in your life. Here's the link to the full article if you'd like to read it:

5 Ways to Show Your Appreciation to Your Partner

1) Notice the little things. Show appreciation by saying "Thank You" even for things you may take for granted.

2) Notice the big things. Shower the person with compliments.

3) Support their passions. Offer to do something for them so they have time to pursue a passion as well as encourage them to do so. It's never too late and you're never too old (unless you are in hospice care or on life support). All it takes is consistent baby steps to make progress. Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the journey.

4) Compliment people who are in your life. Find something... anything... to compliment them on. You may have to build trust on this one if in the past, the only time you paid a compliment, it was because you wanted something from the other person.

5) Date your partner... or friend... or sibling... or parent. You get the idea. It means a lot to the other person, especially in a time of internet to actually set a date to meet with someone. If you live long distance, hand-written letters still matter, especially for those of us who save them in a special box. If the internet goes down and the power goes out, you can pass away the time by reading them again.

I subscribe to Katie & Gay Hendricks' emails and many of their content involves restoring relationships through appreciation. Here's their website:

Katie & Gay Hendricks -- Hearts in Harmony

I even go as far as appreciating things.

Try this for 'size': hold a piece of clothing up to your chest before you put it on and after you take it off and say, "I really appreciate you being in my life and keeping me warm" (or cool if it is summer). Admire your shoes and say the same things. If you don't feel this admiration for something you wear, consider donating it.

I've written about The Broken Branch after realizing I was focusing on the one thing (the one broken branch) that I was unhappy with... the spot on my face or the strands of my hair... missing out on the whole of me that made me human as well as the whole of earth that we all live on.

Spend a few minutes every so often looking at each item on your knick-knack shelves, walls, and bookcases. Tell each that you appreciate them coming into form so you can admire their beauty. Do the same for your furniture, plants, and everything else you own. Think about the cat who appreciates a simple shoe box and the toddler who appreciates the wrapping paper more than the gifts.

Image may contain: cat
Copyright (c) Renee Alter (Cisco)
Whenever you get in your car, tell the car you appreciate it for it transporting you to where you want to go (and sometimes where you don't really want to go). I often say thank you for starting on a frigid cold morning and thank you for keeping me safe. I tell it "you are beautiful" and a very special part of my life.

Yes, one day I learned that all matter is energy and a common thought pattern resulted in the manifestation of everything we have. It feels good to appreciate all that I have, even the silverware I eat with.

At one time, I got through the most difficult days by appreciating all the body parts that were functioning (and didn't hurt) instead of the parts that were 'struggling.' To reflect back on that time, I would have added to tell my body "thank you" for working so efficiently each time I succeeded in urinating, having a bowel movement, swallowing,  It is, after all, a miracle we even became a human being from the energy of a single cell. Thank you, heart, for pumping blood all through my body.

What can you appreciate today?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Divine Encounters


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Copyright (c) 2017 Renee Alter
It’s intriguing how seemingly random meetings
Can transform into divine encounters
When the result of setting an intention
Magnetically attracts people and announcers.

When I intended to improve my health
From a place of self-love vs. self-loathing,
New information appeared on the net and new people moved into town
To show me it was possible to balance what had been previously eroding.

I removed a little of this, added a little of that
And became aware I had been jumping to conclusions.
Learning curves are difficult for everyone--
I needed to let go of my self-imposed expectations and illusions.

The money comes, the money goes--it circulates like your blood.
I must have faith in its unlimited flow
As I acknowledge I have no memories of old paid off bills--
Only the amazing people I’ve gotten to know.

One day here, one day gone; seasons and years fly by, too.
Each morning when I put my feet on the floor;
Yesterday seems to fall into oblivion--it’s no more
Along with all the salty tears I left at the ocean shore.

Divine Encounters included sweet furry friends who chose me--
I hope I didn’t betray them when I had to leave them behind
And to this day, it seems the only tears I still cry
Are for the ones who silently and prematurely died.

Each day I am aware of Divine Encounters,
Surrounded by angels with and without wings.
I used to fear life more than I feared death
As I imagined heaven as eternal Spring.

I so look forward to each and every Divine Encounter--
The surprise of who I might meet and what they’d have to say,
Filling my memories with nourishing experiences
While I let the hurtful ones from the past fade away.

Copyright © 2018 Renee Alter

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Getting Older

Copyright (c) 2018 Renee Alter
GETTING OLDER


Getting older means I no longer worry
about flirting or being sexy.
I no longer bend like a pretzel trying to earn
love and acceptance.
I no longer care whether I find another
boyfriend or stay single.
I no longer worry whether I am being a
good enough parent or whether people like me or not.
On the other hand, getting older means
hoping my body parts stay strong and healthy enough.
while I hope my granddaughter will come visit me
when she’s old enough to travel on her own.
Hoping I am surrounded by people
I can call on should I get sick or need help.
Hoping people brag about my writing so I can sell more books
and have a little more income to pay my bills.
I’d also like to travel and see more of our beautiful planet.
Hoping the friends I’ve made are keepers.
Hoping time doesn’t race by too quickly so I have a chance
to smell all the roses that have been blooming in my life.
Hoping I stay nice and don’t get mean when
I am REALLY old because it seems the older you get
the more true to yourself you become.
What if I still harbor resentment that may
escape from my voice at random moments?
Getting older means I will outlive many of the people
I care about although I know we will always be spiritually connected.
When I feel them in my heart with love it is as though they are still here.
And after I die I want to be in others hearts so they will always
feel me there -- so I can live forever.

Copyright © August 2017 Renee Alter

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The After Holidays Blues

In a previous post about Adrenaline Rush Letdown, I mentioned one of the 'side effects' could be depression. It is not unusual for people to feel the After Holidays Blues from multiple adrenaline surges. Over the years, I've personally felt it time and time again.

Generally, so much energy went into preparing and traveling to see family along with conflicts with partners over which side of the family we'd go visit, followed by the sadness I felt when it was time to go home. Many times there was stress overload in dealing with relatives who couldn't put their differences and grudges aside to visit with family members who hadn't been together for extended periods of times.

There was the disappointment. Lots. One year I'd be in a relationship or marriage, the next year I wasn't or I was in the letdown of a breakup. If only I knew about all the unrealistic expectations I had back then which resulted in experiencing...

the grand After Holidays Blues.

Facebook & Social Media Envy: It is easy to browse through everyone's uplifting happy posts and forget that almost everyone has challenges that these posts don't show. Yes, some people write their raw wounds on their Facebook walls which can seem alarming. 

According to an article on afccounselors.com, "People’s basis for comparison is not based in reality because most families have issues and most people do not have the perfect Christmas that they would like to have or that they’d remember from their childhood."

Guilt: I often felt guilty that I didn't exactly want the particular gifts that were given to me. If I chose not to keep it, I felt guilty for passing it on. I felt guilty when I gave into a partner's need to take me to his family when I would have much rather go to mine and let him go to his because it was impossible to visit both families in the same year. I'm still waiting for the invention of real-life affordable Star Trek Transporters. We all live too far away from each other. I also often felt guilty for spending too much money or wondering if I should have let go of my reserve and buy more on credit even when I had no idea how I'd pay for it later... just like so many other people I knew did.

Exhaustion: It takes a LOT of work to celebrate a holiday. Some people thrive on it and just take a nap later. Some people don't recover for weeks or even months IF they do. (Like me.)

It took way too many years (I live 1,500 miles away from family in both directions), but I am now involved in multiple clubs and organizations and each has their own Holiday gathering. I think I broke the record this year on how many I attended and how much food I ate. And yes, I strayed from my healthy diet and gorged on treats which included chocolate.

It is what it is. It's a waste of precious time to look behind you and kick yourself for the sugar you ate or the money you spent or the conflicts you had to deal with or over analyzing how you could have done better.

There were way more events I could have attended (outdoors) but I decided not to go (it was cold out), browsing Facebook for all the photos and videos that were posted. I did go in previous years so this year I used my memories and pretended I went again.

In Toastmasters, the fellow who came up with Table Topics for our December 15 meeting asked the first person he called on if she would change Christmas and if so, how. She replied she'd do away with Christmas Day completely and celebrate Christmas every day of the year just like in the song, "Let it be Christmas Every Day." I agree. What about you?

What if we could avoid the After Holiday Blues by:

Being kind to people every day.
Being kind to yourself.
Giving presents to the people you love for no reason.
Giving presents to yourself.
Sending cards out more often.
You can even send a card to yourself.
Calling people you haven't talked to in a while.
Skipping the expensive light decorations and giving the money to charities.
Helping the elderly and disabled.
Feeding the hungry--both human and community cats.
Writing down everything you are grateful for.

And if you still feel SAD, between the Standard American Diet and Seasonal Affective Disorder, you are not alone. Many people are affected by lack of sunlight which lowers your Vitamin D levels.

Wishing everyone a productive new year filled with activities that fill you up with a sense of purpose, the kind where you know deep in your heart, your little acts of kindness have made a difference.