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Ahhh, Enough! Part 3 of 3

Our journey through the word Enough has taken us from our past (Part 1) – what we did or what they said….was enough. To ENOUGH (Part 2) – or desire to make a change, stop a behavior, set boundaries. And now, we’ll chat about Ahhhh, Enough, (Part 3) our thoughts and actions on having, being, and our abundance of “Enough”. Or some may use the words, contentment, happy, filled, peace or satisfied.

Our culture encourages us to constantly crave MORE – to Have more, Be more, Attain more, Buy more…and the list goes on. What I feel when I’m focusing on culture is that I always NEED more. Whether we are trying to get “ahead” in our jobs, paying our mounting bills, buying more stuff, moving to a bigger home…all of it is feeding the feeling that we will we never have “enough”. That is a vicious cycle and it wears us out!

What if together we looked around at all we have and made a decision to have an attitude, thought or feeling of “Enough”? What would that be like? What comes to my mind is a sigh of relief and thankfulness. That’s a feeling I desire to have. How about you?

Any of the research and materials/books investigated on contentment or this feeling of “Ahhhh, enough” concludes this is something we all seek. Why do we find ourselves longing for contentment but not achieving it? If we listen to the wrong things, if we look longingly at other people’s stuff or if we are not living the passion/purpose/values we have in our hearts, it will be a tough road, but the great news, with a few changes in our focus…… it is possible! We can arrive at the destination of “ahhhh, enough”. How you may ask is that possible? By changing our attitude, clarifying what is valuable, finding our purpose and being grateful for what we have. It’s a choice we make to let go, change what we can and be grateful for all we have that will lead us on the journey to contentment. Is this a journey you would like some guidance with? My passion is to help guide people in this journey! You can contact me by going to the Speak To Me page.

You are unique so whatever steps you take are unique to your situation, your beliefs and values. What is the same for all of us is making a choice to see our lives, as unique as they are, through a grateful heart. Have you ever taken the time to write down all you are grateful for? I suggest you stop reading right now, grab a piece of paper or a notebook and list ALL you are grateful for. Ready? GO!

Was that a tough assignment for you or is the tough part to stop writing your grateful list? If you are not able to stop writing, you are one of the people that have reached….Ahhhh, enough! You understand contentment and you can probably relate to the words of the Apostle Paul, written in a letter to the church in Philippi. Philippians 4:11b – 13 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. If you are content with all you have that is a blessing and a gift! With your abundance you probably find it easy to give to others, to encourage them in their quest for contentment. Way to go!!

If on the other hand, writing what you are grateful for was difficult, what may be the issue? Our thoughts – When we focus on what we don’t have, on what is wrong or what is lacking in our lives our heart and mind will become negative, anxious, worried and as shown in this small assignment, ungrateful. Our lives may feel like we are running on a wheel in the hamster cage – always running but never really going anywhere. We find ourselves tired, unfulfilled, crabby, jealous, envious and disappointed in ourselves and others. I believe if we stop and turn our thoughts to focusing on what we DO have, what is right, and how grateful we are with our abundance our minds and hearts will follow and life will look different! We will become content, we will experience, “ahhh, enough”!

As in parts 1 & 2 in this series, I will share a little about myself and why I know “ahh, enough” is possible! It was almost 7 years ago, when I was in the group I mentioned in Part 2 where life change was happening, I was getting healthier in so many ways, losing a bunch of weight and getting fit. I was riding my bicycle in my neighborhood when I rode right into a tree. Yep, right into the trunk of a very old, very large & very hard tree. After looking around to make sure no one was watching, I realized I was bleeding from scrapes on my leg and arm, but thankful my helmet saved me from banging my head, but ouch…..my pride was hurt!! How does anyone run into a TREE?! After several days of limping, losing sensation on my left side, going to my chiropractor and being encouraged to see my doctor and a MRI – the diagnosis was MS. WHAT?!?! I was clumsy and hit a tree, I’m getting healthier than I ever have been, how could I have a chronic disease? After several additional MRI’s, neurologist appts it was confirmed, I have Multiple Sclerosis. It took a few weeks of shock, self-pity, screaming, crying and more for me to realize I had a choice to make. I could operate out of negativity OR I could find a way to think of my situation differently. Not an easy choice, but one that was necessary for me to live my life abundantly! First were the prayers…..if I have MS then help me use it to help others. Second, I changed the name of MS to More Special. After all, one of the reasons sclerosis happens is over-achieving T-Cells. I also changed the type of MS I have from Relapsing Remitting to Relaxing and Renewing More Special. A small change in thinking but it made a HUGE impact on how I moved forward as a woman who lives with MS. I try daily to focus on being content with life, with what I am able to do for others, on what I have been blessed with and how I can share that with others. I know you can too! I would enjoy the opportunity to work with you as you achieve, “Ahhhh, enough” in your life. You can connect with me by going to the Speak To Me page.

If you have reflected on what tapes or movies play inside your mind for you and you have turned those around to realizing what you did, what they did was what they knew, accept it for what it is…..thank them for what you learned and move on?! If you shouted ENOUGH and took steps to set up new boundaries, remove yourself from a situation or relationship, learned a new behavior and/or moved forward to set goals to become a person with a purpose and now you are ready to experience more “ahhh, enough”. GOOD FOR YOU!!

You may need some guidance with these steps of realizing “enough”, you may desire to talk with a counselor, trusted friend, family member or Life Coach. You can reach me by going to the Speak To Me page. Together we can work towards your “Enough!”

If this series of articles helped, encouraged or challenged you, I invite you to leave a comment and/or share this with others who may be interested. If there is a topic you would like me to address in the future please leave that information as well.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read! Blessings!

Following are some additional quotes on “Ahhh, enough” or contentment.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey

It is right to be contented with what we have, never with what we are. – James Mackintosh

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. – Norman Vincent Peale

The very fact that we long for the change we do is a sign that we are meant to have it. Our very dissatisfaction with our weaknesses and struggles points to the reality that continuing to live in them is not our destiny. – Stasi Eldredge

Close the drapes, the relatives are coming!

Okay, that might be a bit over the top, but sometimes we may feel that way when we are going into a family gathering or interaction.  EVERY family has an issue or two!  What separates the enjoyable from the not so enjoyable is our reactions to the interactions.  “Oh but Chris, you have NO IDEA what my family is like”.  While I do not know the specifics of your family, I do know that when people are involved it can potentially get messy!  There are different personalities involved, different views, different filters being used, even a shared event can have different meanings to 2 people who are experiencing the same event!   If that is not a recipe for confusion!!!

I continue to learn about family dynamics and how each member plays a role.  No matter if your family is large or small, if there is more than you……you experience family dynamics.  How you deal with conflict, change, plans, relationships, careers, marriage, birthdays, and holidays is influenced by the experiences you had in your family.  The good news is, even if your experience was not the most positive or nurturing, you can make a change in the way you think about your past and how you apply that to your present/future!  “There is no how it is, only how it is for you.”  Tim Brownson.  When you look back at experiences or patterns, you can pull a learning or teaching out of each experience.  Decide which of those patterns you want to keep, and which you want to change.  We can learn from every interaction.  What you decide to do with that learning is what we’ll talk about here.

At times, we look back, remember the behaviors and we blame others or continue those patterns into our present lives.  Then we curse our parents, siblings, other family members or friends for making us this way.  When in reality YOU have a choice to make, you can stay in the thought/behavior pattern you are in or you can make a choice to learn, change, acquire new skills and even thank those from your past.  Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Research shows that patterns we experience growing up can be patterns we adopt unless we chose to change those patterns.

How did your family handle conflict in the past?  How do you handle it now?  Do you find yourself repeating patterns you don’t like or want to do anymore?  CHANGE!  If you grew up in a home where conflict was handled poorly or not at all, that does not mean you have to deal with conflict in the same way.  Talk to others in your life that you see handle conflict in a healthy way, what are some tips or thoughts they are willing to share?  Does that fit for you?  Check out books that deal with the pattern you want to change.  I highly recommend, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, a life changing book.  Or if you had an abusive upbringing, consider going to counseling.  Heal, accept and learn from those experiences and if desired, CHANGE the pattern!!    If your mom or dad yelled or they were not present, you can thank them for teaching you how you will speak gently to your family and friends, how you will live in the moment each day that you can be present with family/friends.

How was planning done in your past?  Was there a plan in place for say, family vacations?  Or maybe you had micro managed plans for everything.  What do you enjoy?  What works for you?  Can you see a pattern that is not what you want?  Change it!  If you enjoy planning, but the thought of planning something as big as a vacation is overwhelming, start small.  Plan an afternoon adventure, a trip to a museum or train ride to a city close by for a day trip.  Whatever you plan, do it the way you want to plan.  After your outing, debrief with those involved or just by yourself.  What worked?  What would you change?  What would you do again next time?  Then, plan something a little bigger.  You’ll get the pleasure of doing what you’ve planned and you will learn another pattern of planning!

Physical activity – if your family was not physically active or if your family was super active, what do you want your activity level to be?  Healthy is a good beginning point!  Try a class at a gym or Park and Rec department.  Grab your spouse, kids or friends and go for a walk, bike ride, or anything that gets you up and moving.  If running marathon’s or Iron Man competition is not your thing…..don’t do it!   If the thought of running a 5K or training to run a marathon is something that excites you….DO IT!!  Do you have a cause you support?  Check their website to see if there is a run/walk/ride in the near future.  Sign up, train and go for it!  Or sign up to help in other ways that support those physically participating.

Some of us grew up in environments that were encouraging of our uniqueness while others grew up where we were compared to or expected to be like someone else.  It’ time to find the encouragement to be the very best YOU you can be!  You are a unique individual with passions, talents and gifts that are uniquely yours, no matter what you’re your family background is.    What are you doing to use your gifts and talents? What patterns do you want to break or do you want to grow?  Need some guidance for the first/next step?  If you have serious issues that need help in sorting out, go to professional counseling.  If you are desiring to make a change, have a resolve to be the unique individual you are and are motivated to try something new, give life coaching a try.  I would like the opportunity to work with you.  I’d like to celebrate your uniqueness and help guide you to reach your highest potential!  Simply go to the Speak To Me page and complete the form.

Here’s to being all that each of us can be!!  “On the day you were born, the world grew by one life with big purpose and much to be done.” Marianne Richmond, Hooray for You! A Celebration of “You-ness”

Our Backyard Friends and the Uniqueness of YOU

We are blessed to have undeveloped park land behind our home.  This brings the opportunity for a LOT of wildlife in our backyard!  Birds, deer, coyote, butterflies, squirrels, snakes, possum and one sighting of a mink to name a few!  My hubby, Brian, has been feeding the birds for years with several types of feeders.  We enjoy the visits from many types of birds throughout the seasons.  We live in SE Wisconsin, it seems we can experience several seasons within a few days.

This Spring we have been blessed with new sightings and the return of old feathered friends.  Today we have three pair of Cardinals – their song is beautiful and the flash of red as the males fly in and out of the big pine tree is amazing.  Not sure if we have four or five couples of House Finches who travel with their mate everywhere – feeders, oranges on the table, grape jelly dish on the feeder pole, birdbath for a cool drink – together always, the male with his red head and the female with her brown stripes.  We have been blessed to have two sets of Baltimore Orioles, who are brilliant orange with black and one Orchard Oriole, who is brick red with black, this season.  They visit us at the feeders often flying from one to the other with their beaks full of jelly and nectar.  The hummingbirds flit from our two feeders and this year we added a swing for their (our) enjoyment, they take a quick drink then fly to the top of our neighbors crab apple tree – apparently to be the top bird in the yard.  Grosbeaks, Robins, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves and others, fly in, eat, drink, and I think socialize! With the back door and windows open the sounds are calming, refreshing and mesmerizing.  Some days I turn the rocking chair to face the backyard to relax and observe.

What I’ve noticed this year, different from years past, are several deviations from the norm in our wildlife friends.  Whether by injury or design, we have some unique, special looking wildlife friends.  The first to come and visit was our squirrel friend who lost his tail from an encounter with the large Cooper Hawk.  We thoroughly enjoy his antics as he bounces in the yard doing all the normal squirrel things, but with a different twist and purpose in his movements. We noticed last week we have a female House Finch that lost an eye.  She and her mate come to the feeders, birdbath and extra fruit treats regularly, they are now teaching their young ones how to feed themselves.  A lovely sight of loyalty and parenting with a few adaptations to help her with her tasks.  The third anomaly we noticed is a female Cardinal without any feathers on her head.  She looks like she has a black leather hat on, she too just goes about the business of feeding and caring for herself, her mate and little one.

As I reflect on our wildlife friends, I think how does this apply to me?  To US?  Each of us are created uniquely, with gifts, personalities, preferences and appearances different from anyone else.  We are created in the image of God Genesis 1:27.   Some of us have lost sight of our beauty and our uniqueness.  We carry scars, loss, and disappointments around with us, not seeing the beauty and opportunity to use our unique experiences to better our world and the people around us!   Like the nature friends in our backyard it might take some adaptations or support from others for you to see your unique qualities.  I encourage you to look at your scars, reflect on your challenges, remember and celebrate your experiences to see what you can learn.  Ask yourself how you can use that awareness for the betterment of yourself, your family, all those around you and beyond!  You have a purpose, you are gifted, a unique creation that can make a difference in the world!   “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”  Benjamin E. Mays

I found this to be true in my own life.  In the Fall of 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis  What sounded like a death sentence has become one of the best ways for me to connect with others.  I changed the name Multiple Sclerosis to More Special, because I am!  With a few adaptations, support from my family and friends I can see how MS is a unique blessing in my life.   I make opportunities to hike, work, learn, discover, create & play daily, which I know encourages others.  No matter your history or your present situation, you can find your purpose and bless others through your uniqueness!

Do you want to find out more about YOU and how you can make a difference?  Swing by the Speak To Me page and complete the simple form then I will connect with you.  Let’s see how we can work together to guide you in your new awareness, to clarify your unique gifts, set goals to find and put into action your purpose!

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