New Beginnings


Lunar eclipses are supposedly considered to be opportune times for growth, release, and new beginnings.  They are said to inspire us to let go of what no longer serves us in order to prepare ourselves for personal growth or starting anew, perhaps turning over a new leaf.  Oddly enough, that expression is associated with autumn and not springtime, which is when one might more readily consider a time for new beginnings. But really, new beginnings can happen at any time, whether we plan them or they are unexpected, and they often require us to shed what is weighing us down in order to prepare us for a fresh start.

Seasons changing, life cycles, and things of that nature are full of natural beginnings and endings that happen on their own.  Other beginnings we can plan, like buying a new house or car, or perhaps deciding to make a positive change for the better such as losing weight.  We can prepare for these things by cleaning out our closets or trunks or getting rid of all the sweets in the house.  Other bigger changes like moving to a completely new city or changing jobs may require much more effort as well as letting go of relationships we have formed with others who we know we won’t be able to see as often.  Some of the preparation we need to do is physical and some of it is mental.  It may involve making a clear decision and conscious choice to make whatever change we would like to see happen.  And then we may need to establish goals and deadlines, find ways to stay motivated as well as the determination to keep going, and keep our focus on the end result, depending on what we are trying to change.

Then there are the things that are beyond our control, which take us by surprise.  This might include the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship not by our choice, a car accident, damaging weather conditions, being laid off work, or changes forced upon us due to the decision of someone else.  It is easy to think of these situations as endings and focus on the negatives, but it is when we try to find the positives and look at the situation as a chance for a new beginning of sorts and a chance to grow as a person that it becomes easier to deal with and we can begin to move forward without fear of change.

One of the things I enjoyed about teaching is that every fall is was chance for a new beginning with new classes and new students to teach and new co-workers to get to know.  It was always a mixed bag of emotions at the end of the year saying goodbye to students I would not teach or see again, but that was a necessary part of the job.

I personally have had to deal with plenty of changes in my life, many of which were not ones by my choice.  For a while it seemed like most of them were making me feel like I would perpetually be in limbo, which is not a feeling I enjoy, but fortunately there are more changes coming that may change all of that.  I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and am feeling weights lifted off of my shoulders. T hat certainly helps me to stay focused on the positives of each situation and appreciating the changes to come rather than resisting them.  The transitions may not always be easy, but they are necessary to get to the point of feeling like it is truly a new beginning, just as it is necessary for leaves to fall off of the trees.

Even though autumn represents things coming to an end, I think it is the most beautiful time of year.  The fall colors and the smell and crunch of the leaves feed my senses, and I can’t get enough pumpkin and apple cinnamon flavored foods and drinks. Endings can sometimes be just as beautiful as beginnings, and we need to look at them that way.  Whether it’s a change or ending we wanted or not or anticipated or not, if we can look at it as an opportunity for a new beginning, then hopefully that makes it a whole lot easier.  As Maria Lago has said, “We all change colors and lose our leaves, then we bloom again.”

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Appreciating the Beauty and Wonder of Nature

AE-natureI don’t know how many people will venture out and observe the super moon lunar eclipse this weekend, but I plan to.  And hopefully, I can get my kids to join me.  It seems to me like these things have become less and less impressive over time as we can do more and more with our electronic devices.  Too many people are glued to their screens and don’t make time to venture outside and enjoy their surroundings.  My kids can’t put their phones and iPods away long enough to enjoy a campfire anymore, which makes me sad.

There’s something very peaceful and therapeutic about listening to the crackling of a campfire along with crickets chirping and other sounds of the night while watching the flames of the fire dance around.  The same can be said for listening to the sounds of the ocean, hearing the water hitting the lake shore,  looking at fall colors, smelling fresh flowers, watching animals interact with one another, and so many other things.  At least that’s the case for me.

Who doesn’t feel more relaxed after spending some time at the beach or taking a vacation to take in some beautiful sights?  That’s always relaxing, not only because we are taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but we are often reconnecting with nature.  The sights, smells, and sounds do us good.  There are plenty of scientific reasons for that, such as the fact that looking at the color green causes a release of serotonin, which helps our brains regulate mood, appetite, memory, perception on pain, and our sleep schedule.  Think about how much of nature is green.  I’m sure there are a lot of psychological and physiological benefits as well.

The problem is, most of us don’t make enough time to do this the rest of the year when we are not on vacation.  Taking a walk outside on a lunch break or finding things to do outside every so often, or even just looking out our windows would be a good start.  Getting our kids to spend more time outside and appreciate nature, whether it’s just enjoying it or taking it a step further to getting them to help preserve it, is always a good thing.  Nature can be very fascinating and intriguing as well if we look more closely.  There is obviously a lot of science that can be observed, but there is also a whole lot of math.

So not only should we be more mindful of our surroundings when we happen to be outside and really notice all the little things nature has to offer us, but we should make a point to experience the wonders of nature more frequently as well.  It would do us all some good.

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Do Opposites Really Attract?    

Years ago, I might have said yes, but now I am not so sure.  My husband and I are very opposite in a lot of ways.  He’s more athletic than I am, and I am more into music, theater, and art related interests.  There is a little overlap in the music we listen to, but we definitely have different tastes. He is not very good at getting back to people or getting things done for them that he said he would do, and I drop what I am doing to do things for other people because I don’t like to keep people hanging.  He turns on practically every light as he moves around the house, but my eyes prefer dim light, so I am always turning them down or off.  I’m not all that comfortable being the center of attention, and he craves the spotlight.  I’m more of a rule follower, and he operates more as if the rules don’t apply to him.   Continue reading

Being Alone vs. Being Lonely

lonliness vs solitude

From my perspective, being alone and being lonely are two different things.  To me, being alone means actually being by yourself with no one else around, while being lonely means you long to be with other people, whether you are actually alone or not.  Being that I am a stay-at-home mom for now, I am often alone.  I’m OK with that and sometimes prefer that because I don’t have to deal with all the negative behaviors that cause stress, tension, and frustration when everyone else is home.  I can be in control of what I am thinking about and getting done and can think happy thoughts.  I do spend a lot of time lost in thought, so I guess all the people I am with in my head are keeping me company.  Throw in some social media, texting, and an occasional phone call, and I don’t usually feel lonely when I am actually alone.

Oddly enough though, I do sometimes feel lonely when the rest of my family is here in the house with me.   Continue reading

Guys and Girls Being Friends

This is a topic that has bothered me for many years now …. the notion that men and women can’t be friends unless at least one of them is attracted to the other romantically and/or physically.  This is what some people I know believe to be true. This might be the case for some people, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily true for everyone.  In addition, it seems like there is often an automatic assumption when people of the opposite sex (assuming we are talking about heterosexuals) are seen together that they must somehow be involved in a relationship, legitimate or not, rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are friends or relatives.  I’m sure this happens though as well when two people of the same gender who are known to be gay or lesbian are seen together.

I grew up surrounded by boys and have always had plenty of guy friends, some of whom I have been more than friends with at some point.  Others I did have a little crush on or I knew they liked me, but it remained a friendship in spite of the fact that one of us was interested in something more with the other person.  I have also had numerous other guy friends over the years with whom I only wanted to be friends and vice versa.  The problem is that I keep having to explain that we’re just friends, especially if it is someone I have remained friends with after being in a relationship with them previously.  I should be able to say that we’re friends, period, and not have to say “just friends”.  I really wish that some people wouldn’t have that automatic suspicion just because we’re of the opposite sex. Continue reading

Happiness From Within

positive impact

It’s definitely not easy to be happy all the time, especially when your surroundings are pretty negative, but when you understand that happiness comes from within and that you have the power to be in control of how you see things and how you feel, it becomes a lot easier to at least try to be happy a good part of the time.  Even though circumstances and the people around you may make you feel other emotions such as anger, frustration, disappointment, grief, sadness, and so on, there is still a happiness that no one can take away from you.  And that comes from knowing you are a good person with good intentions and integrity and that you are not selfish or disrespectful to others, and so many other things I have written about previously.  If you can go to bed at night knowing you have these qualities, then you should feel happy about being able to have a positive impact on the world around you in spite of the fact that the world around you isn’t always positive.

Sure, other things and people can make us feel even happier, but we shouldn’t depend on those things to be happy.  Taking a vacation, going on a shopping spree, having a great date, eating our favorite dessert, and doing something fun with people we love to be with all make us feel wonderful, but those things are all just temporary.   Continue reading

Finding Positives in the Negatives


Wow, here I am at my 100th post already.  Who knew I had so much to say about everyday life!  I didn’t, for one, but having to deal with all the negative situations and people in my life has certainly made me think consciously about what values and character traits I wish to model and pass on to my children and what really is important in life.  Experiencing the negatives has made me think about what I want the positives to be, and having to deal with people who have been a negative influence in my kids’ and my lives has made me appreciate my friends and family who have had a positive impact even more.

I haven’t always been in a place where I can take a step back and focus on the positives in any given situation, but I am now.  It might not happen immediately, but it doesn’t take too long before I am thinking about what I am grateful for and having confidence that I will be able to deal with things, even though it may difficult at times.  It used to be that I would more often let the negatives outweigh the positives, but I’m trying my hardest not to do that anymore, especially thinking about what kind of example I want to set for my kids as to how to approach situations and life in general.

Dwelling on the negatives only leads to a downward spiral, which breeds more negativity.  While we can’t always change our circumstances, we can change how we view them and how we react to them.   Continue reading