Balance – Tranquil Thursday #14

A black and white photo of a solitary boat on a lake

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I am back after a very busy trip to prepare for and welcome our new grandson. I am happy to report that mom and baby and family are happy and healthy and adjusting well. I had a very busy two weeks helping their family prepare for the arrival of Alexander (Xander), a 10 pound five ounce bundle of joy!

I exhausted myself every day, but it was heart work so it was all a pleasure. Not only was a new little boy born but also a new ‘big sister’ as well. Our granddaughter is so in love with her baby brother and she is already such a loving and caring big sis. We only stayed a few days after the birth, but I will be going back no doubt, whenever they need me.

My trip home was trying. We drove the nine hours back, but I was not well on the drive. Saturday morning found me at urgent care. After a short visit and a prescription for an antibiotic, I am finally feeling more like myself.

We forget the changes required when welcoming a new life into our well defined families. Common space becomes a little smaller, while love and concern grow larger. There are adjustments to sleep schedules, meal preparation and even fitting in one more bath time. Soon, the adjustment will be going back to work which can be the biggest adjustment of all.

All of this reminds me how much we need to find balance in our lives. When things are out of balance, the entire world can seem off kilter. I offer a few questions to ponder and answer should you be so inclined.

  1. We have all heard of the need of work/life balance. If you are still working, what percentage of time do you dedicate to work that percentage to life? If you are retired, how have you achieved balance outside of managing a work life?
  2. Remember teeter totters? Life is like a teeter totter. When lives enter or leave us, we are thrown off balance. When there is too much on one side of the fulcrum, the other side is left dangling in the air while the heavy side is stuck in the sand. How is the current balance in your life?
  3. If things get too hectic, what tools do you use to regain balance?
  4. Sometimes we self-sabotage the balance in our lives by letting too much in, or giving away too much of ourselves. How do you control the flow in and out of your life?
  5. Life Pie – if you ever completed The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, you may recall the exercise to determine how  fulfilled your life is by dividing it into six areas. I will post her instruction below. Draw your life pie. Were you surprised with the results?

“Draw a circle. Divide it into six pieces of pie. Label one piece Spirituality, another Excercise, another Play and so on with Work, Friends, and Romance/Adventure. Place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area. (outer rim indicates great; inner circle, not so great). Connect the dots. This will show were you are lopsided.” -Julia Cameron

Blog, SoCS

Happy Birthday, Daddy – SoCS

Linda‘ prompt today is perfect. Check out her post to learn all about Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “a song from your childhood.” Think of a song from your childhood and just write. Have fun!

Today is my Dad’s birthday. Had he lived he would be 96 today. I miss him fiercely. He was my best friend, my confidant and my lifelong advisor who had a way of listening more than advising.

Tomorrow I fly to Florida to help out the week before our seventh grandchild is born. I know my Dad is watching over us all and would be thrilled to welcome his new great-grandson into the  family.

Our nuclear family traveled a lot by car, especially after we moved to Ohio. The 12 hour drives back to Virginia were long and we often passed the time singing.

My Dad’s bass voice was perfectly suited for the hymn Steal Away. It gives me chills just closing my eyes now and remembering the texture of his voice. He was a multi-faceted man and also loved singing songs like Little Brown Jug and we kids loved it!

The song that is most present in my mind today though is Chatanooga Choo Choo. I am so grateful for those long car rides and learning to appreciate the songs of my parent’s generation.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I will never get over missing you.


Fear Vs. Anger – Tranquil Thursday #13

A black and white photo of a solitary boat on a lake

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Are you ready for a little time travel trip back to science class? Do you remember learning about the fight-or-flight response? In lay terms it is considered a means of survival. When the amygdala senses a threat, signals are relayed through the hypothalamus which kicks in the sympathetic nerve system to send nerve signals through the autonomic nerve system to the adrenal glands. This produces adrenaline and emotional responses follow. Pretty amazing I must say.

The problem is that with evolution, we have conditioned our fight-or-flight response to activate in less than life-threatening events. Living in this heightened state for long periods of time could be unhealthy because during this complex physiological response, the body also does something else. It shuts down any bodily functions not necessary to fight or flee the threat.

For example. I excelled at public speaking. I always classified it as an out of body experience which in a way it was. My palms got sweaty, my heart raced, and it felt like my brain shut down. I couldn’t feel my body and I hardly saw the audience. I was almost unaware of everything until the speaking concluded – the threat was over. Pretty cool.

Nervous bladder, sweaty palms, increased blood pressure, tensed muscles, and reacting without thinking can all be part of the response.

Now back to fear and anger. It is believed that fear and anxiety are flight responses and anger is a fight response. Is it any wonder politicians use this knowledge to amp people up? It is a powerful response. Think back to the divisions we experienced during Covid. The fear and anger were real.

Today the question is simple.

How have fear, anxiety and anger played a role in your life and how have you managed those responses?

I do recognize and feel anxiety and fear, especially in the constant onslaught of news around us. So many mental health professionals tell us to turn off the news and control what gets in to our protected circle.

I have experienced bad relationships when I experienced fear. Thankfully they are gone from my life now.

Once my brain is loaded, I replay it over and over which creates anxiety. Learning how to shut my brain off has been challenging. A few nights ago, my brain was on fire preventing me from falling asleep. I decided to slowly count backward from 100. This would require intentional thinking which I hoped would block the other thoughts. At the same time I practiced intentional breathing. The last number I remembered was 85 then I fell fast asleep.

Health concerns can trigger fear and anxiety. Worrying about my children or grandchildren can also. I worry about the danger of guns in their lives but never want them to live in that heightened state of constant fear. I try to counter these thoughts by flooding myself with good news and heartfelt videos of people and pets reflecting the happiness and good in this world.

The anger I feel is for the hatred and the violence that seems to be the norm in America. Our most powerful tool against this is our vote and our voice. Our extended voting periods allow ineffective lawmakers to remain in power and effect a lot of damage in the interim. This means we must fight even harder for change.


OneLinerWednesday -Choosing

Life is all about making the right choices. ❤️

“ If you ever get the chance to treat them like they treated you, I hope you choose to walk away and do better.”

One Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by the lovely Linda Hill. Why not give it a shot?


Miracles in the Sky

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Life moved at a seemingly slow pace in the Valley. A small community laced with familiarity, hard work, and predictability. Each day ticked by bringing with it a comforting sameness. We were never bored. No matter how many times I woke to the same place, the same faces, and the same activities, it always felt fresh to me.

Our little Valley was remote. Living in pre-Google, pre-GPS America was a treasure. There were no chance visitors. Cars passed only with intention and they were few and far between.

The closest airport was well over an hour away and our little community nestled in the mountains was rarely on any flight path. We were blissful in our isolation from the hurried world outside our mountain walls.

I can remember the rare occasion when looking to the sky (seemingly a million miles high) there would be wispy contrails disappearing into the clouds. Sometimes we would even catch a glimpse of the plane itself.

As beautiful and miraculous as they were to me, I never imagined myself on a plane. I did believe the people inside those planes could see us as if peering through a jet powered microscope. I waved, extending the kindness I had been taught imagining they must have waved back.

We live in a rural place now, not nearly as remote as where I grew up, but quiet and peaceful. An occasional plane does pass overhead and the sound is enough to take notice. It is still an uncommon occurrence.

Maybe my childhood experience is what still encourages me to look for miracles in the sky. These days they are often disguised in feathers, or drape themselves in the bright orange of the setting sun. And sometimes, when a plane passes overhead, I still get the urge to wave, hoping they will wave back in return.