Trust – Tranquil Thursday #15

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“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.”
Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

This quote hit home as I was thinking about how hard it is to trust when we have experienced betrayal on even a small scale. I want to emphasize the fact that it is not the details of the betrayal itself as much as it is the betrayal of the trust itself.

In Maine we lived on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge. I recall a cool summer day wading near the tide pools with my children. We were discussing an upcoming school field trip to study life in tide pools. As I think back on that moment, I find myself drawing parallels.

Tide pools are formed in intertidal areas when ocean water gets trapped in slopes and cracks on the shore as a result of the receding tide. Any creatures trapped at low tide must adapt and fight to survive.

Life, like the ocean, ebbs and flows. At our highest points, when there is faith in a relationship, trust lives and flows freely. As faith wanes and betrayal occurs, trust gets trapped in the tide pools. As the hours pass, trust struggles to survive.

The ability to nurture trust becomes more challenging as time progresses. Trust becomes smaller, clinging to the rocks deep below the surface in an effort to survive the increasingly stressful conditions. It is survival of the fittest. Similar to a sea urchin, trust may develop spikes to ward off anyone who would get too close or it may retreat deep into crevices below the surface.

Even when renewing waters return, trust may not survive. It then becomes a process of regeneration.

  1. Have you experienced a betrayal of trust? If so, did it affect your ability to trust again?
  2. Do you consider yourselves a trustworthy friend? Have you ever betrayed the trust of another even if they never knew? Would others see you as trustworthy?
  3. How do you recover and allow yourself to trust and be vulnerable again?


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


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.


Three Things – Tranquil Thursday #12

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

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I was again inspired by another Mary Oliver quote this morning:

“I believe in kindness.
Also in mischief.
Also in singing,
especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

—Mary Oliver

Today’s questions are simple and straightforward.

  1. Do you often extend kindness to others? When was the last time a kindness was extended to you?
  2. What was the last mischievous thing you did?
  3. How often do you sing with just your voice? No radio, no music, no accompanying voices?

  1. I always try to be kind to others even if it is a simple gesture in the grocery store. I will confess some of the harshness in this world can undermine our efforts. Last night I stumbled on a TikTok account of a man who works tirelessly in a community with a substantial homeless population. He raises money to find them hotel rooms, buy them food, get haircuts and medical care. I could not stop watching. It renewed my faith in humanity. Kindness should be easy for us. As far as myself, small kindnesses mean the world. An unexpected call, cleaning the kitchen, a note in the mail, a kind comment on my blog. I see this kindness often and am grateful.
  2. I have not been mischievous in a while – it is most often with my grandchildren when I can be more childlike, playing jokes, and pranks as well as being willing to be on the receiving end of the same. I really need to find some mischief to get into!
  3. My first husband often told me how horrible my voice was. So for years, I stopped singing. I do not have a beautiful angelic voice like my daughter, but at least I do sing now with all my off-key crackling tones simply because it makes me happy.

Now sing along!


Forgiveness – Tranquil Thursday #11

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

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This quote caught my eye today:

“When you forgive you let go of a weight you alone carry.”

—Black Mike

Webster defines forgiving as ceasing to feel resentment. We have all heard the phrases like “forgive and forget” or “I can forgive but I cannot forget” and “You cannot forgive if you cannot forget”. So which is it?

This quote made me think about the weight of carrying grudges. We think most often about forgiving others, but what about forgiving ourselves?

Have I made peace with myself? Have I forgiven myself for all the missteps along the way, or do I think there is no reason to forgive one’s self? The words are easy to utter, but the action may be more complex.

Some questions to ponder:

  1. Have you made mistakes in life, things that you regret?
  2. Have these mistakes hurt others? If so, did they forgive you? Have you forgiven yourself?
  3. Are mistakes simply a learning experience, or are they a result of poor judgement?
  4. Does it bother you knowing someone cannot or will not forgive you for something?
  5. Is it easier to forgive others than it is to forgive yourself??

1) Honestly, I do not know anyone who has not made mistakes. When I was younger I had regrets, but I have learned with age can come grace. To change anything would have changed the trajectory of my life and I would not want that.

2) Yes, some. I am fortunate to have been in receipt of forgiveness, but forgiving myself has been a challenge.

3) A little of both in my case.

4) I think we all want forgiveness. I had one friend who just suddenly walked away from our friendship and I have no idea why. It bothered me a lot in the beginning, but I have come to terms with the fact that I am not everyone’scup of tea.

5) I think each can be equally challenging depending on the situation.