Chapter 12 – Live well, Love much, Laugh often
The words for this great saying come from the following poem
He has achieved success
Who has lived well,
Laughed often, and loved much.
Who has enjoyed the trust of
The respect of intelligent men and
The love of little children.
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task
Who has left the world better than he found it
Whether by an improved poppy,
A perfect poem or a rescued soul.
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty
or failed to express it.
Who has always looked for the best in others and
Given them the best he had.
Whose life was an inspiration
Whose memory a benediction
By: Bessie Anderson Stanley
I love this poem and the sentiment. It can mean so many things to different people. It reminds me to live in the moment, be thankful for all that I have at this moment, and share my many gifts with others.
If you give yourself permission to do all three things, your life will be abundant with joy. I did not give myself permission to do these things before my divorce. I was living in survival mode and putting out fires and just living from paycheck to paycheck.
I had some short-lived moments of clarity. Like when my sons graduated from high school and tech school. Traditional school was a struggle for both, so to see them finish was a wonderful day for me. I would cling to those moments of fun and enjoyment. And then another struggle would befall me and I was in fight or flight mode. I felt as though my life was in a rut and aging was the only option.
I started having glimmers of hope when I started to read self-help books by Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle. One of my biggest aha moments came when I joined Oprah Winfrey’s Webcast Book Club in 2008 for the book, A New Earth, Awakening to your Life’s Purpose by Tolle. If you have not read it, please do yourself a great favor.
One of the messages was, “And this too will pass”. Nonresistance, nonjudgement, and nonattachment are the three vital tools for freedom and enlightened living. It is amazing how you will feel when you finally get what this really means.
We all have highs and lows. It is appreciating the memories of the highs and learning and letting go of the lows.
Some of my high moments are preparing and having our families get together for the Holidays. I have a blended family now. My Significant Other and his two daughters and son-in-law were joined by my two sons and a girlfriend and a close family friend with her daughter all came to our house for a recent Christmas.
I set the table with a beautiful shiny red brocade tablecloth, bright green placemats, and a candle centerpiece. I made small cookie wreaths shaped with holly leaf cookies and a big red cookie bow in the middle for each place setting. We had a delicious standing rib roast with mashed potatoes and all the trimmings. I folded linen napkins into flowers and placed them in wine glasses at each plate.
My sons were used to all these elaborate table settings, but the girls were not. One of the daughters said, “Oh my, you are the Martha Stewart of the neighborhood”. My one son laughed and said, “Almost, but she did not do any jail time”. We all laughed and had a wonderful time eating, drinking and conversing.
Preparing for the meal took all day. The dinner itself lasted about an hour. But the memories last a lifetime. I remember enjoying every minute and after everyone left, I enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Then there is the clean-up. My partner and I cleaned up the kitchen, and as we worked, I remembered thinking how fortunate it is to have to wash so many dishes and clear the table from such an amazing event.
Holidays will always come and go. You may have pangs of anxiety at the end of the day, but always remember that you can do it again and that you will always have the memories. Carpe diem
Life is totally about these small events and some challenges. You will have the car breakdown, the water pump stop working, or a family member or family pet will have an illness. Take these times to use your life experiences to pull through and figure out the best solution for each setback.
Do not let bumps in the road define you, let your responses and your choices define you. You always have a choice how you respond to life challenges.
I remember one of my NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Psychology) teachers explaining how his life changed after learning NLP. People would ask him if his life was perfect. He said, of course not, but the high and lows are more even now. Before NLP, he would have highs, on a scale of 1 to 10, about at a 9 and lows about at a 9. Now they are like 5’s. You become more balanced. You still enjoy life, but nothing is at the extreme ends, and thus you do not crash down or have a steep climb back up.
All this is possible if you love life and yourself. You cannot give love if you do not have it within you. If you are disgusted with yourself, then you will be disgusted with others. If you find yourself disgusting, then you must find out why and then find a way to free yourself from this disgust.
One of the tools I have used in the past is a great CD by Wayne Dyer, 101 Ways to Transform Your Life. In this CD, Wayne gives you ways to make your life more fulfilling and enjoyable. He gives you simple ways to look at situations in a different light.
Number 3 is this: Become aware that there are no accidents in our intelligent universe. Realize that everything that shows up in your life has something to teach you. Appreciate everyone and everything in your life. Instead of judging everything that comes into your life, appreciate it.
Sometimes this is a challenge to do, especially when it comes to ex-spouses. I hear to many divorced people complain about their ex-spouse. When people ask if I regret my marriage, I say, “No”. I have two wonderful sons and I learned many lessons, and I had to learn forgiveness from a past life. I am not perfect at forgiving, for me it is a cycle of letting go. The old saying of, “forgive and forget”, has it all wrong. You may forgive a person, but you may remember the lesson, to not do it again.
When I was going through my divorce, I had to make decisions about joint property. At first, I felt guilty for being the one walking away, so I gave him our house, no strings attached. Of course, my lawyer was totally against that and suggested that we sell the house. My ex-husband wanted to stay there and live, so I gave it to him. Now I realize that I did not have to feel guilty about anything. I was walking away from a dysfunctional marriage. I gave it my best for 43 years. I needed to be free to start a new life on my terms.
The irony of the whole situation was that my ex-husband ended up not making the mortgage payments and the bank foreclosed on him and he had to move out. Not my fault, his choice.
Number 94: Remember whatever you want to know or accomplish in your life is possible if you are truly ready to trust in your divine powers to manifest it. You will find that the appropriate teachers will appear for you and you will be guided in the right direction.
This has happened to me so many times. When my youngest son was struggling in high school, I would have nightmares about trying to save him from disasters. As you know, I dream in metaphors. I would dream that my son Wade was walking out into traffic and I was running after him pushing the cars away and trying to pull him off the road.
I wanted to save him from his school struggles, but I wasn’t sure how to do this. I tried several avenues, such as going to a family counselor. Little did I know that the family counselor saw that my marriage needed more help than my son Wade. The family counselor wanted to make appointments with just my husband and me. I was not ready for that, and my son was more important at that time than my dysfunctional marriage. So, we ended that and sought out home schooling for a year and then a private Christian school for a year.
Both were better alternatives than the local public school, but there was still something that was just not right. One Sunday, as I was reading the paper, I saw an ad about getting tested for ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. The symptoms were exactly what Wade had. It was a respected local hospital.
I immediately called and made an appointment. He was diagnosed with ADD and was put on a medication. I am totally against drugs, but sometimes they are needed as an intermediator till a more natural solution can be found. While on his medication, school work became easier and since he was 16, he also passed his driver’s test with flying colors.
After he had been taking the drug for about a year, I looked for alternative treatments. I found a physician that used mental telepathy and a software program that people could learn to control their thoughts by watching objects on a computer screen and making them move up and down. After several months of this mental training that taught him how to keep focused, he went off the drugs. I was a very happy Mom! The right teachers and therapies showed up at the right time for both of us.
Number 95: Remember that love is the best antidote to fear and doubt. Therefore, when you experience a moment of fear or doubt, give yourself a portion of mental love and remind yourself that you are a holy creation.
On our paths in this lifetime, we make decisions and then the doubt creeps in. Remember, there are no mistakes, only learning experiences. When I start to doubt some choice that I have made, I go inward to see exactly how that makes me feel.
Sometimes when I changed jobs, I would have those moments of remorse. Did I make the right decision, did I truly want to leave, is this new job going to make me happy? Of course, it was not the new job that would make me happy, it would be me, learning new skills and meeting new people that would bring out my joy of shifting my life. I would tell myself to be patient and know that I made the move for several reasons and all would work out. I learned to trust and love myself.
All 101 notes on the CD bring clarity to me now. When I first listened to it, I would remember to apply it to my daily life and it made life easier. Now I listen to it ever so often and see if I am transforming my life in the direction that makes me live well, laugh often and love much.
If you feel a lack of any of these three items, buy or visit a puppy. They are so much fun! Dogs are great companions. They have unconditional love. If we could be so willing to have this attitude, the world would be a much better place to live.
I do not have a dog at this moment, but I miss having one. I have Grand-dogs right now and I cherish visiting them and dog sitting them. We also have neighborhood dogs that visit us. They know we keep dog biscuits in our garage. We love petting them and giving them a small treat.
There was research done one time that pointed to the fact, that families with dogs had healthier children. And, I am sure everyone has heard of therapy dogs, that visit nursing homes. Our furry friends have this ability to bring this feeling of love. Of course, there are cats also.
About five years ago, my aging Mother was living in an apartment by herself. She went through this one phase of wanting a cat desperately. She said she was lonely and would love to cuddle and hold a cat. The apartment complex had a policy that did not allow animals unless you could get a doctor’s note that said it would be beneficial to the patient.
I told my Mom that if she could get her doctor to write a note to the apartment manager, I would get her a cat. She got the note and I went searching. Again, the universe was working with me and I manifested a free cat. We had a web page at the bank where I was working where you could post things for sale or exchange. A lady posted that she would give her house trained 4-year-old cat free to a loving home.
I immediately called her and made arrangements to pick up the cat and deliver it to my Mom. Along with the cat, the lady gave me a travel cage, litter box, and some cat toys. My Mom was ecstatic!
So, for about 2 weeks they got along just fine. Then my Mom started complaining that the cat would hide and she couldn’t find her, she didn’t want to sit on her lap anymore and her cleaning lady was complaining about the litter box. Oh well, I tried. Luckily that lady at work said if it didn’t work out, she would take the cat back. Just a learning lesson, no more cats for my Mom.
How do you live, love and laugh? It is truly an inside job. When your heart is filled with love, your life will be filled with joy. How do you fill your heart with love, appreciate everything? There are no coincidences, the Universe and your Source orchestrates everything that you want and need in this lifetime. As you become more aware of all your thoughts, you can direct yourself to a more peaceful existence.
There are so many good books out there to find a path of love and peace. One that I am reading now is “Ten secrets for success and Inner Peace” by Wayne Dyer. It has some simple lessons that have profound meaning. The fifth secret is ‘Give up your personal history’. I know what you might be thinking, I am writing about my personal history, so how is that giving it up? It is okay to look back on what has happened in your life. You have these experiences to learn from, so remembering the lesson is important. As you reminisce about the past, it also helps you to release any resentment to a situation or person. As you look at an old issue now, you have more information and more tools to deal with the issue, thus you can let go and move forward.
Another wonderful book is ‘The Four Agreements’, A practical guide to personal freedom, by Miguel Ruiz. You can get a copy for free on the internet now, just google the title. It is only 90 pages.
The First Agreement – Be Impeccable with your word
To me this meant, watch what you say and think. Your speech and your thoughts form your world. If you want a pleasant world, use pleasant words. One of the overused phrases today is, “No problem”.
People tend to say this when they have helped you with something. If I ask a person for a favor, like, may I borrow your pen, and when they give it to you, you say thank you, and they say, no problem.
What ever happened to, “your welcome” or “I’m happy to share”.
Remember the NLP lesson about our minds do not think in the negative. Our unconscious mind does not hear, No Problem, it hears, Problem. Just a simple adjustment to your words can make a significant difference.
I remember asking my sons to take out the trash when they were at home. I used to say, “Don’t forget to take out the trash”. I learned to say, “Remember to take out the trash, and thank you”.
The Second Agreement – Don’t take anything Personally
This is one of my favorite quotes. While growing up, I took everything personally. Part of that came from my religion and part of it came from family beliefs. I am a very sensitive person and I feel negative energy very strong. Sometimes at church, when they would talk about sin and how you would go to hell for your sins, I just knew that I must have done something bad that week and I would go straight to hell for it. Then there was the family belief that we needed to watch our siblings so that they did not screw up and if they did, it was our fault. Of course, now I know, you are not in charge of other people’s feelings or beliefs. And, you cannot blame others for your problems.
When I was about ten years old, my younger brother was seven and my sister was five, they were playing a dangerous game of trying to throw a knife into a cardboard box and make it stick straight up. I have no idea why they were doing it, but I knew I wanted no part of it. As they took turns, throwing and retrieving their knives, my brother took a little longer to take his knife out of the box one time, and my sister threw her knife and it slammed into three of my brother’s fingers, almost cutting them off. I shrieked so loud, I thought the whole neighborhood would come to our house. I stood there in horror and could literally feel the pain.
My Father ran into the room and instantly wrapped my brother’s hand in an old t-shirt and told me to hold his hand tight. Then the three of us proceeded to get into our family truck and drive to the doctor’s office to get stitches in the cut hand. I remember crying the whole way there. I cried for my brother and I cried for myself, because, I thought when we get back home, I was going to get the spanking of my life for letting my younger siblings play with knives. My whole young life flashed before my tear-filled eyes.
Luckily, the doctor said no major tendons were cut and his hand would be all right after a week or so when he would take the stitches out. When we got home, much to my surprise, Dad did not spank me. Partly because I bravely held my brother’s hand while Dad drove to the doctors. I think he saw how devastated I was, and knew I did not need any further punishment for this accident. Whew!
The third Agreement – Don’t make Assumptions
How many times have you made up a scenario about something that another person has done? Like when a person forgets to return a borrowed item. We jump to the conclusion that they don’t care about you, they are thoughtless and only think about themselves. If you are not with someone 24/7, you never know what is going on in their lives. The person may have had a very trying week at work, or a family member is ill and in need of attention.
I know that it happens at the workplace. If a co-worker is short tempered that day, we tend to say something like, “they need an attitude adjustment”. But, we do not know what happened in their life the evening before or that morning before work. You don’t necessarily need to ask them what is wrong, but give them space and time.
The Fourth Agreement – Always do your Best
I found this agreement very interesting. Miguel states that if you are doing the first three agreements, that is your best. Your best is ever changing. You know some days, you are right on your game. Other days you feel not so good. If you do your best in any situation, that is enough. His statement about, do no less, but also, so no more than your best is intriguing. If we do less than we know in the moment, you will feel pangs of unfulfillment. If you do too much, you will feel pangs of exhaustion. It is a balance and you are learning every day how to manage your feelings in the now.
This small book has been a guide to a making my life a heaven on earth. He also helps us to break old agreements that are not working for us. Inside you may have a Judge and a Victim. These are produced by self-talk. Remember to be kind to yourself and let the Judge and the Victim go away. Now that you are aware of these aspects of yourself, it will become easier for you are on your new path to peace.
In his last chapter, he talks about Heaven on Earth. We have created everything that is in our life right now. If you don’t like your life, guess what, you can change it!
About five years ago, I did not like my life. I made the decision to change it. Dr. Northrup said something that resonated with me, in a recent video on being an Ageless Goddess. If you make a change in your life to make yourself feel better or more peaceful, sometimes your partner will change also because they see how wonderful you feel and act. If they don’t, then you must make another decision about your relationship with them. My ex-spouse and I moved further and further apart on a spiritual level. He was church oriented and believed anything that the church preached. I found that the church was only telling half-truths. I knew for a long time that we are on this planet not just for one lifetime, but sometimes for many lifetimes. John did not believe in reincarnation. He believed that it was all right for him to retire, but I could keep on working full time and countless other differences. Now I know what it means when it said in our divorce papers, “Irretrievable Breakdown”.
I now have heaven on earth. I have created a new life and I have gratitude for all I have now and all the lessons I have learned in my life.
Never stop learning. This is sort of my mantra. There is so much out there that we don’t know yet. It can be very deep meanings of life, or it can be very light-hearted meanings, such as learning innovative ways to cook. At 67, some may say, you must know a lot about cooking. I know some ways, but I just signed up for an internet course on how to become a “chef” at home. It shows the secrets of great chefs and how they make delicious dishes from scratch. I just learned how to make a roux!
Life is fascinating if you just allow new things to flow in and let go of old habits that do not serve you.
When you have a wonderful person in your life, it is delightful to share your love. A great relationship works both ways, As they say, Love makes the world go around.
I am now with a loving partner who excels in a balanced relationship. I found this quote that explains him very well.
I love a man with a great sense of humor and who is intelligent – a man who has a great smile. He has to make me laugh. I like a man who is very ambitious and driven and who has a good heart and makes me feel safe. I like a man who is very strong and independent and confident – that is very sexy – but at the same time, he’s very kind to people.