Thursday, July 30, 2020

Isolation? Good or bad, It's Hard To Say.

 


Isolation can fill you up with awe and  appreciation.

I hope your month has been productive and rewarding. I hope you have found the spiritual strength to reach out to at least four strangers. Not someone like yourself, but different. Someone you normally would not talk to. Perhaps the person waiting for a bus or in the pharmacy, or the person enjoying the outdoors at your local park.  


 Did you make an effort to get to know them -- not their politics, not their religion – but deeper? 

Perhaps you told them something your mother always said to you about patience or being kind to one another, and then asked them what their mother always preached to them?  Who was their best friend in high school?  I hope you shared with them about what you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet, or what your perfect day would be like. The only rule: Don’t talk politics, religion, or about the mainstream news. Just like your mother told you.

This month during my travels, I have had many wonderfully pleasant conversations with strangers.  But two separated incidents stand out in my mind because they surprised me so much.  The two separate interchanges that happened, not with strangers, but while having lunch with two different friends.

 

 At each lunch, as much as I make an effort to avoid discussing trending controversial issues, the ugly issues came up.  In an instant, it was like rounding the corner and bumping into a vicious dog. Their pleasant moods vanished, their composures tensed, their mouths straight-lined and their brows furrowed when controversial subject came up.  It is of no matter which debatable subject instilled their reactions; they reacted the same.  Each friend became an entirely different person -- an angry, hateful person. If I had been the target of their hate, I would have been frightened and reacted with anger of my own.

I call these people my friends. They are good people.  And yet in a flash, they became someone scary and antagonistic. How can that happen?

For the first time in my life I did something I have never done before.

I asked why they felt so angry. And then I listened.

Some see clouds and worry about  rain. Some see mountains while others see only that the view is blocked.  Some see cold water, others see a day of sailing. Some see trees and others see weeds.

They spewed forth their reasons for their hatred. From their perspectives:  the   hated groups had misguided beliefs, selfish desires, and imposing agendas -- all which were different than my friends.’

 

I did not shut down.  I did not react with anger or become defensive because they did not grasp up my differing perspectives. I did not try to shove my views down my friends’ throats.

I continued to listen …  and understand.

I began to realize my friends’ anger was based on their personal perceptions, viewpoints which they believed to be true. We all form our beliefs, from personal experiences, or from information we’ve gleaned from the news, or  seen on TV, or the internet. And most often, it will be a cold day in hell before we are willing to admit that the conclusions, we’ve made may be wrong.

Years ago, at my business, I and two of my employees were robbed at gunpoint.  When questioned by the police, I was amazed how each employee described the robber’s race differently. One said he was black, one described him as Mexican and I believed he was of Iranian.  And of course, I believed my description was the only correct one. Surprise.  We were all wrong. He was Puerto Rican. And yet even with that knowledge, years after the robbery, even though I knew the man was Puerto Rican, I still became extremely fearful  of anyone with a mid-eastern background.

 

Tomorrow is your future. Imagine it!

Knowing that both of my luncheon friends lived a comfortable life, I asked   one of them, “How has your life changed for the worse that has made you so angry?”

My friend thought for a long while. She seemed surprised that she could think of nothing dramatically wrong with her life to justify her anger. And then she said, “I’m afraid of what might happen.”

Almost always, our fears are unfounded and yet we are afraid. We are focusing on what could happen, or what might happen.

I face fear every time I drive either my car or my motorhome.   I could be in an accident and die, I could be shot in a robbery and die, I could have a heart attack, or the flu, or cancer and die. None of those things would be a pleasant way to go.

 Three-quarters of a century have passed. Nearly 27,375 days. That’s 657,000 hours. I have survived three civil unrest movements, I survived the Polio epidemic, the Swine flu, the Asian Flu and the Hong Kong flu. I lived through a robbery at gunpoint and an abusive marriage, and I smoked.

I have embraced the art of living, which is just that … living.

Not waiting, not hiding, and not hating. Just living.

Be afraid!   



I read a post by a veteran today that inspired the subject of this blog. He was a a fulltime RVer and suffered from PTSD. He had come to the realization that he would never be the Joe Civilian that he once was before he went to war. Now, he would always be a veteran, always feeling locked and loaded and ready to fight for his country.  Such a simple realization, but for him, it had been a difficult concept to accept. So, he said, “I’ll just crawl back into my case. And you can break the glass in case of emergency.”

And the veteran’s attitude resonates with me. This world is never going to be what it was. I mourn at the loss and am full of grief. Everywhere I look people are suffering but not from the virus. They are wrought with fear and stress. Yet I want to believe it will be better -- gloriously better. But like all trauma we are going to have to trudge down a long road of recovery. And we have so much to learn and change before we reach the other side of this. We all do. But I don’t believe we can accomplish this in isolation. 

We need each other.

I hope we all get a chance to walk in a stranger’s shoes to understand and be compassionate.  Communication and experiential knowledge is the prescription for healing.

  Reach out. Talk to a stranger.

Dare to see what others do not.






Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.






Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.

USEFUL LINKS 

Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.






Safe travels!
                   





 

                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Be The Change! That's Life!


.

I was livin’ high in April ...."
 (That’s Life sung by Frank Sinatra)


I love new beginnings! 

Six months ago when I turned the calendar page to January 2020 my month was already dotted with all that I love! Numerous book signings and seminars interlaced in the scenic environment of the southwestern desert promised a prosperous and exciting new year. And most important, I looked forward to sharing my experiences, strength and hope along the way with hundreds of new and old friends.

 Life promised to be as good as it gets for a wandering author like me.  I was off and running, meeting new readers, encouraging new writers, and inciting those of you with an unrequited wanderlust.

 In March, when the world screeched to halt.  My book signings and my first ever motivational seminar were canceled. Life is simpler for me if I accept what I cannot change. So, new mantra became,” Love The Obstacle.”

 As an author, I welcomed the isolation. Mother Nature had delivered spring in the Arizona desert, which as intended the season energized my soul with spectacular cool morning sunrises and even cooler yet fiery sunsets. I soaked up the open-air vastness, discovered walking trails, and wild burros. Mother Nature wrapped me in her powerful arms. I was grateful for her tolerance.

I was safe in the middle of nowhere in Why, Arizona.  I wrote, walked, and wondered about the new normal. Isolation released me of any distractions and offered me endless days and nights to do what I love … to write.  I envisioned a bright future for our country after the waters of fear receded.
Life never stays the same and it comes at you fast. I would die of boredom if it were any other way.  Energy is cyclical, claiming its own rhythm, always challenging, always testing.

“…Shot down in May…

Outside of my desert cocoon, the world population scurried back and forth across the internet and TV channels, hungering for any crumb of information which might make sense of the raw, unchallenged threat it faced.  The universal new slogan became, “Be kind to one another. We are in this together”.
We gorged ourselves with others’ opinions, unverified news, and sometimes even the truth, but it was all illusive and impossible to differentiate. . No one ever looked within for answers.
Isolated, our only information was what we were told. Fear ruled. It had a hold on us and was not going to let go anytime soon.

Apprehension increased, like a tsunami racing for shore, Invisible waves charged up and over the surrounding mountains and invaded the small town of Why, Arizona. Like a blinding cloud of radiation, it smothered the desert’s spirit, it’s majestic Saguaros, the delicate shade of the Palo Verdes. Like a drug, fear sedated the wild independence of the tiny community of Why, Arizona, a town which most have never even known existed.

We all wondered, “Why is this happening?”

We relied on the dire statistics fed to us. This powerful new consciousness saturated the sand, the sky and the air.! It clouded everything, It took over our minds, our hearts. We spoke of nothing else. I found it hard to breathe, to think, TO LIVE!

Tension and fear did not recede. It thrived. Anxiety and rigidity became the new normal, a choking bacterium in a stagnant pond from which everyone continued to drink.  

Now, the biggest killer of all …bigger than any tsunami  or deadly virus…unrest and discord seized me, threatening  to hack away at my immune system as it paved  an easy path for heart disease, cancer and all other ailments from the common cold to depression and suicide.
   
And yet still, the world focused on nothing else. We nurtured our anxieties  as we drink from the same mucky negatively charged pond. Fear and tension mutated into a ferocious controlling plague with all its symptoms – a weakness of spirit, headaches, shortness of breath coughing and chest pain.

I thought about quitting but my heart ain’t going to buy it….”

Poisoned by debilitating fear and hoping to find clean and positive ideas, I abandoned the little town of Why, Arizona, but apprehension was everywhere. There was no place to go. The year which had begun with promise of positivity and good will became dark with suspicion and accusations from every faction.

Was this the new norm?   All my life I struggled to overcome the spirit killing expectations and judgements made by others, the “him or me” mind-set, and the hundreds of labels society has tossed around to categorize us.  I refused to surrender to fear.

Love the obstacle. Allow it to fulfill its purpose.

I took advantage of the precious commodity which the obstacle offered. Time.  I re-evaluated my goals, did a lot of soul searching, regrouped …and had back surgery.

“Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.”

 Today I refuse to watch the news, a habit I began four years ago. And I refuse to discuss the obstacle and all its aspects and complications.  Because when I look past all the negativity, I can see this is my opportunity to do something great.

 I am going to reach out and tell someone, “It’s going to be alright. Others before us have survived so much in this country and the world , and we will, too.  We will come out the other side even better. This is my chance  and yours, too. 




Step up to the plate and do everything possible to hit a home run for the team.  
If you look closely, we are all on the same team. We all want the same thing.  Reach out.  


“A coward dies a thousand times, but the valiant tastes death only once.”


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.






Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.

USEFUL LINKS 

Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.






Safe travels!
                   






Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Power To Determine a New Normal





Your most authentic self is not who you currently are, but rather, who you desire to become. You are the author of your life’s narrative. You have power to determine the stages of life you will be on and the characters you will play.




Today is my birthday.

I have favorite days of the year. Thanksgiving - for the food and the sentiment behind the holiday. New Year’s Eve, a time for reflecting and looking forward. And my birthday, a time to say goodbye to who I was yesterday and to plan for a new and improved version of me for tomorrow.




Yesterday I wanted the world we live in to be a better place.

I wanted us to disconnect from everything and connect more with one another.

 I wanted us to find a universal commonality that would show us we are all in this together.

I wanted to us to discover that the answer to longevity and health is not to focus on what is wrong with us and our world, but instead to envision the future and the life we want.

Yesterday I embraced the belief that change is as simple as a new idea going viral.

Yesterday I hoped everyone would grab ahold of an innovative concept, a new life design and take it to heart.  



Yesterday I believed this new outlook, this conjecture would be a novelty, a miracle cure, and yet as old as dirt which had always been here, right under our noses. but just overlooked as insignificant.

 Yesterday I wanted us to keep an eye on the prize. Not the problem. Because when you decide what you want, the universe conspires to make it happen.


Yesterday my aspiration was to help those who only saw guilt and anger, and sadness remorse when they looked at their journey through their past.

Yesterday I wanted to show those who were in despair, believing their life was a stagnant pond, that if they continued on their path, they would be like  the raindrop which believed it did  not make a difference in the flood or in the drought. Where would we be then?  







We are all connected.














Today, my birthday present to myself?

I am looking forward to tomorrow and engaging my newest  improved plan in hopes of inspiring others to follow their  star, connect with those unlikely  others  who will become  the wind beneath their wings and to soar into their future in which they have envisioned.





Because we all know you go where your eyes go.
You may think it is difficult to plan for tomorrow during these life changing times. You ask, “How can we plan when we don’t know what tomorrow brings?’

 Did any of us ever have a crystal ball? Could any of us see the big picture?  No. We only thought we could. The illusion of being in control is just that, -- an illusion.

  Self-distancing?  Sure!

You may think it is difficult to plan for tomorrow during these life changing times. You ask, “How can we plan when we don’t know what tomorrow brings?’




 Did any of us ever have a crystal ball? Could any of us see the big picture?  No. We only thought we could. The illusion of being in control is just that, -- an illusion.

  Self-distancing?  Sure!

 But we can no longer distance ourselves from our problems and the struggles of others.  We cannot sit back on our haunches and throw money at our degrading lifestyle and culture in order to fix it.  

Money will not repair the world consciousness in which at this moment 80 % of the global population suffers from depression and stress. And that rate was rising at an alarming rate before COVID19 struck.

Neither can we continue to look to our government for solutions.

We must cease looking outside of ourselves for the answers.

We need to disconnect from the noise, be quiet and look within.

From the bottom of my heart, more than words can say it is my wish to save our planet. Overly ambitious? I think not.

We have been so focused on the tragedy of the COVID19 pandemic we have forgotten to see the heroes.  Those who have succumbed to this devasting illness are our heroes! Their sacrifices have made way for a new enriched future.

Our skies are bluer our hearts are bigger, and our compassion is stronger. We are connected with one another.

We’ve been afraid far too long even before this virus came into being, but we are not born to be a fearful people. It was killing us.

And now look how far we have come!!

 we are coming together We are slowing down and going within for our solutions. Each of us is listening to an  answer  that is  unique only to us. We are coming together. We’re believing in miracles, loving our heroes, and giving, not money but ourselves, our time and our hearts in order to make someone’s life better.  

My plan for tomorrow?  As only one raindrop, I hope to continue sprinkling inspiration and faith to convince you that anything is possible if you…..

Be still.

Go within

Listen

And believe that what you hear is your way.  








Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.






Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.

USEFUL LINKS 

Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.






Safe travels!