Life & Death, Points to Ponder

I just stood there, letting it all sink in…

I was listening to a Mexican folklore tale about the afterlife.

It started like this:

There are three deaths: the first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

Those last few words haunted me.

That point in the future — perhaps way into the future — when your name will never be mentioned again.

It’s actually a little scary.

But think about it. That moment will happen.

And it’s a stark reminder that — no matter how much we think otherwise — life is just a handful of fleeting moments.

There was a past without us, and there will be a future without us.

It’s a reminder that we need to embrace life in this moment. It’s designed for living, and nobody is getting out alive.

So, the next time you’re stressing out over minutiae — take a moment to consider this piece of Mexican folklore.

As the closing song in Avenue Q concludes…

Each time you smile… It’ll only last a while.
Life may be scary… But it’s only temporary.
Everything in life… is only for now.

Love, your #1 fan —

Things You Wish You Knew #7

Reaching Your Full Potential is Subjective

For some people there’s a wicked lot of pressure to reach their full potential as determined by someone else; and an huge weight if that potential is not reached. For others, there’s a ton of pressure to reach their full potential as determined by themselves; which can be accompanied by self loathing if that potential is never reached. For those who feel pressured to take a specific path, without being  in alignment of the path, comes concealed frustration, unhappiness and discontentment with life. For those who lack social support or guidance and flounder to find direction, any direction, brings the exact same concealed frustration, unhappiness and discontentment with life. Where are you?

TYWYK@17 # 7 is Reaching Your Full Potential is Subjective. What I mean by that is do what makes You happy. You’re never going to please everybody. If you find that working at a coffee shop or being a laborer is what makes you happy for whatever reasons it does, then you have found Your purpose. If you Feel you need to travel the world on foot sleeping in shelters until you find your meaning of life, then you’ve found Your purpose. “Finding your purpose” can be a daunting task for some, and easy for others. At 55, I’m still searching for mine. Maybe I’ll never find it because I haven’t opened myself up to see opportunities as they are presented to me. Maybe I’ll never find it because I was not born into a family that nurtured and groomed me to find my own purpose. Maybe I’ve already found it and just can’t see it.

In this day and age, we (in America) are truly blessed as a result of the relentless work of this Country’s forefathers and ancestors to have worked tirelessly for better lives for their children, and guess what – that life is here and now, and available to you. No where in history has it ever been more acceptable to follow your dreams, your path and be your own identity. It’s now acceptable, to some degree, for children to not follow in their parents footsteps running the family business or becoming the DR. the family aspired them to be.

My boyfriend is blessed – he has been working in the same industry since he was in the Army, over 30 years ago; and he’s still very happy with what he does every day for 50 hours a week. I, on the other hand, have had more jobs than you can shake a stick at. Some jobs provided just an income, while others provided me with a great sense of satisfaction and meaning. When I became a mother, which was truly the most rewarding job of all, I “quit my day job.” Not too long after my 2nd child was born, I started a bridal magazine in NH. There were pieces of it I loved and pieces of it that surely were more part of the grind. What I did not realize then is that I could have found balance in that job. Taking the good with the bad – I simply did not have those skills in my tool box to recognize that with all good comes some heavy lifting too. AND, what else I didn’t realize when I was knee deep in it was that I actually was doing what I had always wanted to do. I was writing and publishing a magazine! BUT, it was only a 16 page magazine in its first print. When I sold it, 10 years later, it was 96 pages. I did that. I built that and for some reason, I simply couldn’t see the beauty in that achievement nor could I give myself any credit for the accomplishments. Additionally, I created a #1 google ranking website and penned a wedding advise book. It was never enough for me, AND no one ever said to me anything like, “Wow – look at all you’ve done. You’re amazing. Good job.” Ever. Therefore, I kept striving for more, right? Why not? I hadn’t received validation therefore I must not be achieving anything worthy of it.

If you’ve not yet heard of Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy, or Theory of Human Motivation, human basic needs are explained in a pyramid fashion. The idea is one cannot reach Ginger's wellness wheelthe top of the pyramid, without having first achieved the previous levels on the pyramid. And, while I had already achieved success by doing what I had dreamt of doing, I did not realize it because earlier layers of my self development had never been developed.

How does this relate to you and finding your purpose is that you may already have found it, or achieved it, but because you lack development in the previous layers of life you simply cannot see it. You could be under pressure from someone else to be or do something you have no heart in doing or being. There’s plenty of research in this area that shows commonality for those who have disappointed their loved ones results in confusion and low self worth, possibly substance use and other health issues such as depression or heart disease. Feeling like you’re never enough is an awful place to be.

I wish I learned when I was 17 that what other people want from me is their problem not mine. I can’t own that and neither can  you (well you can – and that’s your willing choice to live with and find happiness within that).

 

How do you find your purpose? Find clarity in what truly makes you happy. There will likely be more than one thing that you find true joy and happiness in; seek and find balance between them. Look to your own core values to determine the road you’ll walk. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain! You’re more likely to regret conforming than you are to regret breaking free. I’ve never heard anyone say, doing what I love was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life. Take your time, but keep moving. Life will unfold exactly the way it is suppose to for you when You Do You.

Just for Today – Can you focus on what you want the next 10 years, 20 years of your life to look like? Can you find clarity in your goals?

Choice Wheel by Ginger RossThe Combination Notebook:

Choices – Life is short. You Can create your Past and You are defined by your choices. #Be your own authority #Be your own advocate.

Perception – Open your mind to other possibilities-often times we are so unaware of the lies we live with, even the one’s we tell ourselves

Expectations – Let go of them

Beliefs – Question their validity and reality

Energy – Choose the type of energy you want to absorb and exude (negative or positive).

Things You Wish You Knew @ 17 #6

Social skills build inner confidence & happiness

Social skills are a MUST in constructing our mental health and well-being and can lead us toward a happy and fulfilling life. Too bad they’re not often taught to us while we’re growing up! There may be a number of reasons for this: Building on #5 “Challenge everything you’ve been taught” Have you been taught social skills? Nowadays, they are not taught for a number of reasons such as both parents working, parents not having been properly taught social skills by their parents, etc. If you don’t have social skills, it doesn’t make you a bad person. You simply never learned them. I never did!

As I mentioned in a previous lesson, the only means of communicating I knew was sarcasm and short, abrupt responses. The strange part of this is that I always thought I was being funny and therefore accepted. I was once referred to as a “Bitch on Wheels” at a hotel job where I ran the banquet department (and my perception of my behavior was that I was friendly!). One day, a friend once asked me, “Why are you always so angry?” The truth was I didn’t know I always appeared angry. I simply never looked at myself – do you? Also, in reflection, I lived with a sense of never feeling comfortable or at ease. I was always nervous about what I was going to say next and never really paid attention to what the other person was saying, and I guess this always projected as anger.

So what are social skills anyway? They are the tools that enable us to effectively and harmoniously interact and communicate with others, or more simply put, how to get along with others. Most of us can easily come up with examples of ineffective social skills, where we practiced them or witnessed them in others. Maybe it’s laughing at the most inappropriate time, like when someone says something serious or sad. Maybe it’s not letting someone finish a sentence before you finish it for them. Maybe it’s always getting criticized for certain actions. Maybe it’s not getting the job promotion you want despite the fact that you think you do a better job than the person who is getting promoted, and telling everyone else about it.

That’s something that happened to me for the first time when I was only 16. I was working at a very busy McDonald’s and my job was “on the grill.” I was responsible for cooking all the burgers and the buns at the same time. I was good—I could “turn-lay” those burgers faster than anyone in the place. Then came evaluation time when I received a raise of only five cents an hour and a colleague, who couldn’t turn lay even half as fast as I did, received a fifteen-cent raise. I promptly approached the manager about this grave injustice, demanding to know why my co-worker received a higher raise. Without hesitation, my boss replied, “Because he never complains and you complain about everything.” Ugh, my world reduced down to the size of that nickel. As I write about that moment, I recognize that I’ve never had the courage to ask for a raise since that day. Wow!

Looking back, that pivotal point in time stifled me because I didn’t know how to process that information with the other person, and I sure didn’t understand or accept the truth of what was said to me. I’m pretty sure I quit that job soon after the snub, clinging to the belief that they didn’t value me the way I deserved to be valued when the reality was that I didn’t have the social skills to value others.

Social skills include both verbal and non-verbal communication. Some examples:

  • The ability to listen, follow directions and refrain from speaking.
  • The ability to feel empathy and connect with others.
  • The ability to share and join in activities, and to ask for permission and wait your turn.
  • The ability to appropriately ask for help and to apologize to others when needed.
  • The ability to take full responsibility for your mistakes or shortcomings in what you do and how you act, and to receive constructive feedback (such as my five-cent raise!)
  • The ability to recognize and respect another person’s point of view, and to express concerns or differences in a non-threatening manner.

Here’s an illustration of what happens to those who lack many of these basic social skills. A college student shares an apartment with two other people. One of the others never does their own dishes, is constantly eating the others’ food supplies, never takes out the trash and invites their partner over without telling the other two. It’s clear that this person is seriously lacking in social skills. What about the other two roommates? An example of healthy living would be for them to have a conversation (not a confrontation) with the slacker to express their concern over the lack of respect being shown them. However, neither wants speak up because they lack the confidence-self-worth-and skill to speak up and respectfully confront the other person—they’re afraid they would hurt the other person’s feelings and cause tension in the apartment. Hello! There’s already tension, and for a 20-year-old this tension can compound itself and rear its head in so many ugly ways, such as turning to substance use for relief, or depression, anxiety or even panic disorders. The next thing you know, one of those quiet roommates may stumble into another relationship that involves power and control without even knowing it, until their life becomes unmanageable and they have a moment of clarity wondering 20 years later “Where the heck am I and what happened to me?” Then, they spend the next 10 years in therapy and support groups trying to unlearn everything they thought was right!

Yes, if I knew what good social skills were when I was 17, it could have saved us a whole lot of trouble. But no matter how old you are or where you are in life, you can learn and practice the kind of social skills that will bring you less worry, less stress and more room in your head for positive things!

Just for Today – Can you pause before you speak and think about what you’re going to say? Ask yourself; is it kind or is it necessary.

Just for Today – When you do speak, can you choose words that are well thought out and coming from a place of love?

Just for Today – Can you speak up for yourself, in a respectful manner?

The Combination Notebook:

Choices – You decide if you want to build your social skills and awareness.

 

I wish I knew what social skills were when I was 17 because having them would have kept me out of a lot of trouble and I would have been able to manage and redirect personal inner conflict.

Today, I practice keeping my mouth closed and when I do say something I am diligent in having my words come from place inside of me that is conscious, thought out, and from love. There are certainly times when I think about being inappropriate either through an action or with words, however, choosing the aforementioned always keeps me out of trouble in mind, body and spirit.

Choice Wheel by Ginger RossChoices – You decide if you want to build your social skills and awareness

Perception – Open your mind to other possibilities-often times we are so unaware of the lies we live with, even the one’s we tell ourselves

Expectations – Let go of them

Beliefs – Question their validity and reality

Energy – Choose the type of energy you want to absorb and exude (negative or positive).

Things You Wish You Knew @ 17 #5

Everything you learn(ed) from your parent(s) may be wrong.

Bountiful research exists on how we become the individuals we are. Believe it or not, most, if not all, of your personality traits, beliefs, traditions, strengths and behavior were developed by the age of 18. There have been many debates about whether nature (your genes) or nurture (your upbringing) has more influence. Some research suggests that both play a major in your development, and I buy into this theory.

You may notice that you have many of the same gestures or thought processes as your parent—these characteristics are nature. You also may notice that you’ve taken on some, or many, of their behaviors, such as how to socialize, how to express anger, how to dress appropriately, as well as different manners and values—these are examples of nurture.

Let’s dive deeper here. Let’s say that you have a strong tendency, or need, to control others or to have the last word. Perhaps your form of communication leads you towards always getting into arguments with other people. Maybe you’re never satisfied with the performance of others and you always think it would be easier if you did it yourself. (It’s actually not, but that’s another topic!). Maybe you’re always anxious or nervous, or you burden yourself with the highest expectations of yourself. Maybe you eat out every day, spend a lot of money, shop all the time and have way too much “stuff.” All of these pieces make up who you are and they are usually learned behaviors that have been mirrored from some social influence in your life. Or you learned them as a protective mechanism for your internal beliefs.

Now let’s look at the other side of the equation: the reality that simply because you learned these behaviors from your parents doesn’t make them acceptable, appropriate or healthy. You’ve learned them and whichever ones you don’t like, you can unlearn them—starting today!

On belief that I had taken on form my upbringing was that the only way to communicate was through sarcasm and anger. It took me nearly half my life to recognize that my tone was sharp and people often perceived me as always being angry. That certainly was not the person I felt like inside, or that I wanted to be. To learn how to communicate effectively, I had to un-learn what I had been taught and believed.

I had many more beliefs to un-learn. I lived under the impression that I was a respected and capable person, but that was only because I could achieve anything for anyone

Everything you thought you knew is wrong

Courtesy of https://quotefancy.com/quote/1033086/Tom-Stoppard-It-s-the-best-possible-time-to-be-alive-when-almost-everything-you-thought

else. That was part of the identity I had forged form my past. For years, I lived in a dark, lonely place where I always seemed to be searching for something. In reflection, that something was my own identity. Also, because I didn’t have anyone cheering me on to pursue my dreams while growing up, I didn’t believe I could have real dreams of my own—and go after them. After much floundering I un-learned these beliefs and built a life that is truly my won, which includes finding work with meaning and purpose.

So now I’m here to assure you that even if no one believed in yourself in the past, you can believe in yourself now. And if you don’t like the ideas, rituals and beliefs that you were raised with, you can change them. Life is short; your journey starts today. What are you waiting for to make your life a life full of becoming you and making every day the best day it can be?

 

Just for Today – When the lights go out, can you look inside of yourself and be happy with your behavior that you are creating now, not the behavior that you learned back then? Can you believe in yourself?

Choice Wheel by Ginger RossThe Combination Notebook:

Choices – Life is short. You Can create your Past and You are defined by your choices. #Be your own authority #Be your own advocate.

Perception – Open your mind to other possibilities regarding beliefs and behaviors. Often we are unaware of the lies we live with, even the ones we tell ourselves.

Beliefs – Question their validity and reality, especially if they seem to belong to someone else!

 

Expectations – Let go of them

Beliefs – Question their validity and reality

Energy – Choose the type of energy you want to absorb and perspire

 

 

Things you wish you knew @ 17 #2 ~ Choices

You make hundreds of choices every day – and only YOU own and have control over each and everyone of them.

Each and every moment holds the potential to create a dramatic change in your life
direction. Th choices that you make at any time and in any situation can steer you down the
right path or the wrong path. But as we often forget, we are the ones in charge of making those
choices and we are responsible for where they lead us.
When I was 17, I joined the Army. Why? Because my mother told me to. She just
wanted me out of the house, and I had no idea what else to do. Throughout my adolescence, I
never received any guidance—I lacked any ability to make positive, healthy, self-driven choices.
It took me a long time to understand that every single seemingly unimportant choice I made
from the moment that I turned 18 was my choice alone, and every one of those “miniscule”
decisions would play a role in shaping who I would become. I had to learn that who I am and
where I am at this point in my life is because of my choices…period. There’s no one else to
blame.

Some of the most colossal misapplications of my God-given rights to own my own life
happened when I allowed the opinions of others, absent of all personal consideration, to
influence my decisions. I was a people-pleaser, which meant that I was the last person I thought
about when making decisions. I always focused on how my actions would benefit another
person, and the reward for myself was recognition from others. What I had not learned was
that I had the power to make decisions to benefit myself—not in a self-serving or self-righteous
way, but in a manner aimed at achieving desired outcomes for my life, my dreams, my passions.

I’ll give you an example of how even a small, simple choice can significantly impact your
life. A month or so after renting a condo while trying to recover from a traumatizing divorce, my
place was not exactly all put-together yet. I especially kept noticing a bunch of hangers laying in
the middle of my walk-in closet. Every day I was getting angrier and angrier at those hangers for
being in my way! One day, I finally had an epiphany that would move me towards changing the
rest of my life: all I needed to do was bend over and pick up the blankety-blank hangers!
This realization prompted me to look at the rest of my daily actions, or lack thereof, and
put everything in perspective. I could moan and groan about the dishes, or the car that needed
repairs, or all the other errands that I hadn’t gotten around to. That would my choice to
complain about all that stuff and consume my energy on the complaining, rather than simply
moving forward, piece by piece, just doing the stuff that needed to get done.

That’s the broad view of choices. The narrower view looks like this: you get to decide
what you want to think about today and how you want to think about it. For example, do you
want to criticize someone today and let that consume your day, carrying that judgment about
another person and a false belief that this way of thinking is healthy? Do you want to eat that
candy bar or drink that soda because one more won’t matter—you’ll start your diet tomorrow?
Do you want to get pissed off at the person on the other end of the phone because you think
you’re the only person that matters? Do you want to talk to your children in a condescending, insulting way because that’s the way you were spoken to by your parents, or because things didn’t go your way today? Do you want to continue a pattern of blaming others for where your
life is today, using your past as a handy excuse?

The choice is yours. You Own It. You get to decide whether or not to generate positivity,
productivity, love and kindness in your life each and every second you breathe.

Just for Today – Can you remain positive in every encounter? Just for
today, can you recognize each and every decision you make, AND can you think through your decisions and consider the outcomes before
you make your choices?

The Combination Notebook:
Choices – How you make every day count is up to you. No matter what happened to you in the past, YOU OWN THIS MOMENT, and every moment from this day forward.

The Combination:

Choice Wheel by Ginger Ross#Beliefs create your #expectations – you can change them

#Choices allow you to generate positive energy around love and live a happier, healthier life – you own them

Your perception of how others communicate love is likely misinterpreted and also none of your business ~ you get to decide

You have the choice to spend your #energy in a #positive manner, creating more #positive energy and being a power of example.

You decide! How you make every day count is up to you. You own from this day forward.

The combination – Beliefs, Perceptions, Expectations, Energy, Choices, Energy

Things I wish I learned @ 17 #1

The #1 thing I wish I learned @ 17 is What Is Love

Do you think you know what Love really is? When I was 17 I’m pretty sure I thought I knew, when in reality I truly did not.

No one ever told me or showed me what love was. My parents divorced when I was 5.
My mother hated my father and vice versa, and they weren’t big enough to rise above that for
the sake of the children. My father was almost entirely absent in my life, and my mother bad-
mouthed him every chance she got. Since she worked 3 jobs to support 3 kids and a home, she
was never around much either. My older brother and sister got away with everything, and I was
told that I was a mistake and the reason for my parents’ break-up. In our home, no one ever
said “I love you,” no one ever hugged, no one ever really even said a kind word to each other. It
was constant tension. My mother constantly barked orders at me and groomed m to please
others.
I was left to develop my own concept of love: working hard at your job, ordering others
around to maintain the house, and doing everything you can to try to gain the approval of
others. Naturally I entered into a marriage that mirrored the same behaviors I had grown up
with: authoritative, lacking in emotional expression, the total absence of compliments and
kindness. In other words, no real love. We had a big house, expensive vehicles and a whole
theatrical production that made us look picture-perfect on the outside. Of course, on the inside
it was empty. Eventually, I collapsed from extreme unhappiness that for far too long I didn’t
even know was there.
Today, with the love and support of a small village that nurtured me back to health, I
can say that I’ve begun to know what love is and I’m doing my best to practice it. Webster’s
dictionary definition of love includes the term, “a strong affection for another,” but I believe that the definition that my dear friend Tin Foil shared with me captures it even better: Love isunconditional acceptance.

My goal is to accept everyone and everything as the imperfect people, places, and
things that they are. Most importantly, I strive to carry an unconditional acceptance of myself. I
have learned that I must truly learn to accept myself as I am before I can live a judgement-free
life with a message of “one love,” which is the Rastafarian concept of living – we are all cut from
the same cloth.

Everyone has their own concepts of love. Unfortunately, some people believe that they
are showing love by showering others with gifts, and others are convinced that name-calling
and sarcasm can be done in the name of love. Behaviors like that are examples of power and
control, not love. Love is not calling someone stupid or telling them they can’t do anything
right. Love does not allow anger, frustration and resentment to rule the day. That kind of love
needs to be un-learned.

Love is kindness. Love is gentle. Love finds the strengths in others.

Just for Today – Love is a skill that we can all work on. So just for today,
don’t judge anyone. Can you do it?

 

The Combination Notebook:
(Note: The combination brings together our Beliefs, Perceptions, Expectations, Energy,
Choices, and Energy. Each lesson will refer to one or more of these concepts as they apply to
the specific lesson we are exploring.)

Choice Wheel by Ginger RossChoices – Choices allow you to generate positive energy around love and live a happier,
healthier life. You have the choice to spend your energy in a positive manner, creating more
positive energy and being a power of example.
Perceptions – Your perception of how others communicate love is likely misinterpreted

 


#Beliefs create your #expectations

#Choices allow you to generate positive energy around love and live a happier, healthier life

Your perception of how others communicate love is likely misinterpreted and also none of your business.

You have the choice to spend your #energy in a #positive manner, creating more #positive energy and being a power of example.

Let your love shine!

The combination – Beliefs, Perceptions, Expectations, Energy, Choices, Energy

 

 

Ginger’s Wellness Wheel

Has anyone ever heard of someone that has life theories, has become a life coach, or a self hep guru that hasn’t gone through and prevailed from hard times? I’m just curious. I was watching Idol last night, I admit it, and it inspired ME greatly to hear the stories. Although I consider myself an inspirer and I do work diligently at my daily practice of achieving my goals there are some days when I am simply exhausted, lazy, and ready to throw in the towel. When I take a day off from my positive thinking, and my goals, self doubt spreads like the plague.

Ginger Ross Personal Life Coach

My first “Classical Headstand” Eva!

This morning, Monday morning, I usually go to my favorite yoga class at 9AM. This morning, I worked very hard at talking myself out of going (#energy consuming), thinking of any excuse to satisfy my conscience. Battling with the voices in my head…you need to go, you should go, I don’t want to go – I picked my head up and went. It was one of the top 10 best yoga sessions I’ve ever had. Turned out I was the only one who attended the class and I received personal instructions (and some venting time). I tried a few things I had never tried before stretching out of my comfort zone experiencing some less than perfect success.

If I hadn’t picked myself up and begrudgingly rolled over to the studio I wouldn’t have reached new heights. I likely would still be sitting here at the computer wondering what today’s blog would be about. Moral of the story, in conjunction with what I took away from those stories of strength last night was something I already know…that success and healthy living requires daily diligence; and that can be exhausting for anyone. Take your breaks and your pity parties but get right back up and aim for the target, whatever that may be for you. Take small bites, moment by moment and  your dreams and goals will be reached.

Thanks Lisa Burner from Soleil Yoga – for one of my top ten yoga days and exactly what I needed. The universe will not give you what you need if you are sitting still (#expectations). It will always give you what you need if you are taking action (#choices).

 

The beauty of life

Compromise

Compromise It can be really difficult for some to exercise this word, BUT compromise is a prevalent fact of life. If you’re one of those among us who simply cannot compromise challenge yourself to search within and uncover why not? There are underlying reasons and through the awareness of these reasons you can begin to awaken your cognitive (mental mindfulness) functions and make significant changes in your behavior to improve your overall health and mental well being. Your comments are always welcome by email at thecombination97@gmail.com or on fb.me/Thecombinationlife. #Positivelife @thecombinationliife

Power up my friend.

Ginger Ross