Do you ever have trouble shaking an old memory or thought?

Mind over Matter

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I get a thought from the past in my brain and I just can’t seem to let it go. It seems that most of the time it is something that I did – often that I’m not very proud of – and it just wants to go into replay mode over and over again.

It’s like it wants to remind me how foolish I can be. The importance of getting rid of these types of thoughts is because if we are not careful, they can cause us to think less of ourselves. They can actually steal our self-esteem. My mantra – “learn from the past and move on “ – can sometimes be easier said than done. However, I have recently found a cure for those hard-to-shake memories that seems to help. What I really like about this cure is that it is silly. Let me explain the silliness.

Dog in stand off with cat under a truck

Rachel and I are the proud owners of a few-months-old puppy. Anyone who has ever gone through the throws of owning a puppy understands that if they weren’t so darn cute, they would never survive until adulthood. I mean, she drags up and chews things I didn’t even know we still had and is constantly jumping on people, tables, chairs and the poor old cat.  Today, she enjoyed a tasty lizard. And, of course, her paws are constantly muddy.

Discipline I said. “We must train this dog!”

Children were returning home for the Christmas holidays, and to our amazing good fortune, it just so happens that Thing # 3 – for those of you who are new to my musings, and haven’t as yet read Don’t Be a Cow! – we refer to our four children as Thing # 1, #2, #3 and #4. We do this for two reasons: 1) To protect their identity when we become famous; 2) Most of the time around our house, at least when they were all still living at home, our home life seemed like something from a Dr. Seuss Story!

Okay back to Thing # 3. She works with puppies training to be service dogs. Bingo! We had our trainer! When the pup tries getting something she isn’t supposed to get – like the cat – we use the phrase “leave it.” You can imagine with everything that puppy gets into, the phrase “leave it” is used quite frequently. In fact, I’m sure the dog is convinced that her actual name is “Leave it.”

Leave it.

Puppy carrying a pine coneBecause the phrase is now so ingrained in my head, I thought how it might be useful in my own life. Sure, it would help with a diet or could be helpful in the upcoming Lenten season; however, I was also starting to experience one of those annoying re-occurring, not-so-pleasant thoughts. (Over the course of 30 years running my own business, I have often tried new ventures. Let’s say a change in paths. Although, most of the time this has worked out well, there was a time where things didn’t turn out so good. I did eventually right the ship, but boy it was not a pleasant experience. So now, as I once again look at making a slight change in direction, my brain wants to recall the negative experiences and not the several positive ones.)

Of course, this thought also occurred just after having to come back inside and change clothes because of the muddy paw prints on the khakis. So, when that negative “been here before” thought popped up, I simply told myself to “leave it.”  And, much to my surprise, the thought left me. That is until I started writing this blog “Leave It”! Okay, wait. There. All better now.

Leave It. Why I think it works.

Though I do not hold a PhD in happiness, psychology, psychiatry or anything else pertaining to the workings of the human brain, I think that the phrase “leave it” works because it uses a positive, or at least a non-negative call-to-action. Our brains tend to lose words like “don’t” so if we say “don’t think about it” our brains simply retain “think about it.” Try it yourself: Don’t eat the cake or Leave it. Umm…okay, maybe that wasn’t a good example, especially right before Lent.

Now, I realize this doesn’t say much for my intellectual capacity when I’m taking the lead from a puppy; however, in life oftentimes the simplest lessons are the most effective. Especially when you find yourself in our position … as in not looking forward to seeing that lizard again anytime soon.

Soulful Quote:

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”– Steve Maraboli

Song:

“Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, performed by Idina Menzel

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Try using the phrase “Leave it” in your life. I would love to hear your comments.

Arbor Day – Do you know when it’s celebrated? And why?

Although national Arbor Day is in April, many states and communities celebrate Arbor Day sooner to take advantage of a more suitable climate in which to plant trees. Yes, Arbor Day is about planting trees, but it’s also a time when we can celebrate nature. Nature is a great stress reliever, a great healer. (A repost from December 2017.)

Related: When is Arbor Day celebrated in your state? 

Nature – in the backyard

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

The vibrant red of a cardinal on a gray and gloomy winter’s day
The soaring of an eagle in what appears to be an endless sky
The sounds of water as it travels after a torrent rain
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is …

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

Tree in fogThe swaying of a tree, in a summer’s warm sultry breeze
The weaving of a web from a spider from tree to tree to tree
The symphony of crickets and frogs, as I sit upon my deck
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is …

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

The power of an ant moving a beetle ten times its size
The revolving carousel of birds around a feeder hung nearby
The rapid flittering of the hummingbird’s wings,
Is always a wonder
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is …

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

The warmth of the sun, on a brisk fall day
The harvest moon, or any that is amongst a starlit sky
The emergence of new leaves, ready to spring forth all life, a fresh breath
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is …

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

You need not travel far, you need not travel wide
You need not procure additional clothing and wares
All you need, is to be aware, for you see, it is …

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

Something for everyone, just waiting to please
You need not fret, if you are prone to sneeze
For even an open curtain, may bring you to your knees
For I wish, that all would see, it is …

Always a wonder,

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb its awe!

Soulful Quote:

The Earth laughs in flowers”- Unknown

Song:

“For the Beauty of the Earth” by John Rutter

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Make it a point to go spend sometime in the great outdoors this week. Weather not conducive, spend sometime looking out you window, drive and park in a park parking lot. Watching rain, snow, and wind blowing the trees is experiencing nature as well. Then, write down one thing that you saw that you’ve really never noticed before. This is what I call discovering nature.

Could you stand to laugh a little more?

I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

Last week, I mentioned that Groundhog Day was one of my favorite days. Now after seeing the Facebook Live broadcast of the spectacle on Gobbler’s Knob surrounding the emergence of Punxsutawney Phil, it has definitely moved into a top spot.

I know there are those of you who are too serious-minded; those of you who think you are above such nonsense. How can you not laugh at the silliness? I believe that our society has become too uptight. We like to take ourselves too seriously. However, from the size of the crowd at Gobbler’s Knob Saturday morning, I would say I’m not alone in my thinking.

Think about the news we are inundated with today.

It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. It’s just a constant barrage of stuff. Stuff that carries with it negative overtones, and often has less impact on our day-to-day lives than that of an early spring.

How can you not laugh at so many people enduring 10-degree temperatures to watch such a spectacle? It was more than just a handful of people. And then there is the so-called formal  manner in which the organizers handle the whole ordeal. All dressed in black tuxedos with the tall black hats. It’s as if they are determining our fate forever. What a show!

Remember April the Giraffe?

I remember a couple of years ago writing about a pregnant Giraffe captivating the entire country in much the same way. When will she deliver? Will today be the day? Granted, giraffes are endangered in the wild, and groundhogs are not, but the country was gripped over when April would give birth.

We should all be thankful of such silly diversions in life. It is these events that bring us all together as a community. Yes, I understand that the unfavorable or negative news is reality, but it is also only a part of reality. If we are not careful, it can become our only reality and our lives will become unfavorable and negative. It is diversions such as the Groundhog celebration at Gobbler’s Knob that give us a renewed sense of optimism. Often, it is the silly diversions that help us keep our sanity and keep us grounded in the things in life that matter the most.

Related: April the Giraffe is pregant again 2018

Soulful Quote:

“Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.” – Judge Tim Dwyer, a seventeen-year veteran Judge of criminal court

Song:

I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins. On the subject of silly, the theme song from the movie Caddyshack, another Bill Murray adventure.

Take a moment and smile along with the video …

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Look for something fun or silly each day this week. It’s there you just have to see it. Write it down.

 

What do you think? 

Groundhog Day. It comes around year after year.

Groundhog Day. Like clockwork. 

What a day! All the hype surrounding a rodent and its ability to forecast the weather. We won’t get into accuracy levels. Apparently, accuracy and weather forecasting are totally unrelated anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I like all the hype – we can all use a little silliness in our lives from time-to-time – sometimes I think we humans like to take ourselves a little too seriously. This year, for Ground Hog Day, I want to focus on the movie.

Yes, that’s right, the movie from 1993, Ground Hog Day starring Bill Murray. (By the way, I think this would be a great opportunity for a re-make, Hollywood. Hollywood seems to re-make everything these days, why not this? I mean, is there anything original these days? But, I digress.)

Over and Over until we get it.

Back to Ground Hog Day. For those who have never seen it, Murray has to keep re-living the same day over and over again until he gets everything right. (Spoiler alert: In his case, it’s finding true love.) As the movie goes along, he finally realizes what is happening, so he starts learning a little bit from the day before. As he lives the next day, he applies what he learned the previous days. This goes on until he finally puts it all together and gets it right.

What I really like about the movie, is that it focuses on the importance of each day. It is important to learn from the lessons of yesterday; however, today is a new day. Each day stands alone. As with Murray in the movie, yesterday serves as practice for today.  Just think of all the practice we get for today.

Of course, then there’s tomorrow.

Then there is the issue of tomorrow. We humans often get pre-occupied with tomorrow –  planning, planning, planning. Thus, we miss out on the opportunities presented to us today. Just think all that practice for today, lost on tomorrow. They say that the best golfers are the one’s that forget the previous hole as they tee their ball up on the next hole.

Let today be all that today can be. You may be amazed at all today holds in store for you. When we squeeze everything possible out of today, our lives become happier. When our lives become happier, we become more productive. This leads to even more happiness. Just imagine!

Soulful Quote: 

“… Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34 RSV)

Song: 

“I’ve Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher in honor of Groundhog Day, the movie.

Related: Groundhog Day: a brilliant movie, summed up in one brilliant gag

Game Exercise/Life Changer: Repeat today’s quote to yourself each morning this week. See if you can live a day without worries about tomorrow.

Magnificent Silliness

Coverage of Punxsy Phil, the grand prognosticator

UPDATE: America's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day and has predicted an early spring.Celebrity groundhog and weather forecaster Punxsutawney Phil exits his burrow to deliver his forecast.

Posted by Fox News on Saturday, February 2, 2019