I've found that life is a lot like sticky glue. We often become attached to, and leave traces on, the things, people, places and circumstances we touch.
 
 
It's difficult to listen to the radio and/or television, or use the internet without being  subjected to something hateful, vitriolic, demeaning, and hurtful about someone or some group of people. Sometimes, we allow others' views to influence our opinions, attitudes, and actions towards others.

TODAY, what if we:

  • Have a conversation with, or say hello to, someone who differs from us in: age, appearance, culture, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual preference, political leanings, socioeconomic status, attitude, etc.? Try to understand a viewpoint different from our own? How can we understand others if we maintain distance from them? Why do we judge or criticize what we don't know or understand? Why do we paint others with our broad brush of intolerance based on our lack of knowledge or understanding, our fear, perceptions, assumptions, preferences, etc.? Why must we agree with someone, or be like them, to love or care about them or, at a minimum, treat them with dignity, kindness, and respect?

TODAY, what if we:

  • Lend a helping hand to a stranger? We're all strangers to someone and need a helping hand from time to time.

TODAY, what if we:

  • Show compassion to a homeless, or less fortunate, person in need? Why do we shun those we perceive to be "less than" or "beneath" us? Many of us live from paycheck to paycheck; are fearful of losing our jobs and benefits; have significant education, credit card, medical, and/or other debt, and know that it's nothing but the grace of God that we are able to keep our own heads above water.

TODAY,
what if we move outside our circles and our comfort zones and treat others the way we want to be treated? What if we loved--or tried to love--our neighbors (our fellow man/woman) as ourselves?


 

Streams

05/13/2014

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Have you experienced stress over the possibility of losing your job; having sufficient income to meet your financial obligations; establishing an emergency fund, etc.? If so, you're in good company. This is why I think it's important to have what I've heard referred to as "streams of income." Streams of income are simply multiple sources of income that may, for example, help ensure that the loss of one source of income doesn't cause significant financial upheaval. The additional income may also assist in meeting financial goals, etc.

I believe we all have gifts, skills, and/or talents we can utilize to generate streams of income. It's also possible to generate streams from our hobbies. Some may turn their professional expertise into streams. For example, some might provide consulting services to small start-up businesses. Some might consider creating an e-book on a subject within their expertise. Others might generate streams by cleaning their closets and/or basement and selling unneeded/unwanted clothing, household items, etc., on eBay or similar e-commerce websites, for example. Some may rent an extra room in their home; give private or group lessons on something about which they're passionate, such as a foreign language or music. Others might sell photos on a site such as Foap; create a side business on YouTube. Some may sell the crafts/products they make as a hobby on sites like Etsy or Scoutmob. The possibilities are endless.

Whatever your chosen activity, it may not be something you want to/can do on a daily or weekly basis. Moreover, not all streams will
provide a steady flow; some may trickle. Either way, it's another opportunity to invest in yourself and, hopefully, provide some financial breathing room.
 
 
Are you carrying a load that's too heavy for you to bear? Problems here, problems there, problems problems everywhere--for example, with your family, in your relationships (personal, business or both), your finances, your job/business, your health, etc. Whether it's a problem in one area of our lives or in several areas at the same time, our problems can wear on us . . . literally. The weight of our issues may be written all over our faces as it's sometimes difficult to shield the external from the internal. We may not even realize we're wearing a scowl unless or until someone asks if everything is alright. Heavy loads can change our gait--the way we walk. Our shoulders may hunch as if we're carrying the weight of the world on them; and our heads may hang a little lower. Heavy loads can cause pain and agony--either of which can change our disposition. And if we're not careful, the weight of our problems may have social, financial, emotional and/or physical consequences.

We've all carried heavy loads at some point. While it may sound overly simplistic, I've found that the only way to lessen the weight of my load is to put it down; stop carrying it. To address what I can and move on. That doesn't mean I no longer care or that the problems are resolved; just that I can't/won't carry them anymore. Sure, it's easier said than done, but it's something I practice regularly. And when I say practice, I mean make the attempt so I can get better at it. Of course I fail from time to time, but each time I try to look for the lesson lest my joy be tempered. Because it's easy to become stuck agonizing over things beyond our control. And while it may seem as if time has been suspended--especially when we become engrossed in, or consumed by, our problems--life, in fact, goes on. So we, too, must go on.

Here's how I get there. I ask myself three questions in the face of an issue/problem:

1) How important is it?

2) Realistically, can I do anything about it?

3) Can I handle it on my own?

If it's important and within my power to do something about it, then I attempt to find a solution. If I'm unable to find a solution on my own,
I seek assistance from my support system or otherwise. If I'm unable to find a resolution after seeking assistance, I must accept that the problem is too heavy for me to carry.

Sometimes, I can clear my mind with a long walk. Meditation works for some. As a Christian, I believe there are some problems only God can work out. Their weight is too heavy for me to bear, whether alone or with someone. So I pray and release them because even though they may be too heavy for me, there's peace in knowing I don't have to wonder if God can carry the load.