I recently had the opportunity to show compassion to an individual who has caused me a great deal of pain and emotional distress for the past few years.

It felt good.

It also got me thinking about the subject of empathy.

I have had several “Up Close and Personal Encounters” with empathy or the lack of it in my lifetime.

I married two very self centered men who were not capable of showing empathy to anyone.

My oldest son was so severely abused that he lost the ability to naturally “feel” empathy, so I have spent years teaching him how to be kind and see others points of view.

My youngest son has Asperger syndrome which makes empathy seem very abstract to him, so again, I have had to take the time to explain the whole concept of empathy to my youngest son as well.

I have been judged, mistreated, and abused by people who I thought I could trust, so I have been faced with the moral dilemma of vengeance vs empathy toward them.

So, for me empathy has been kind of a central “THEME” in my life.

So what exactly is Empathy anyway?

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective.

You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.

Empathy is known to increase a persons “helping” behaviors.

 

After watching the news recently, two starkly different images came to mind for me:

The first images were of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals diligently and lovingly providing care to refugees in Syria.

Image result for helping syrian refugees

The next set of images were of a violent, extremist group – holding their assault rifles in the air while waving their flags, celebrating the epitome of hate and violence.

How can a single human race be so divided, with people fervently racing toward each end of the spectrum?

 

The answer is quite simple –

Human beings have a choice whether or not to show compassion and understanding toward others.

 

When we show TRUE compassion, we can make tremendously positive differences in the world.

Unfortunately, where compassion and willingness to understand others is absent, there is a sense of hurt and a longing for love and acceptance.

Sometimes that hurt is so overwhelming that it leads human beings to very violent measures against each other.

Image result for violence

As Gandhi once stated, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.

If you’re going to start,

Start here and now with you…

So if we were to decide today to make a change…What would that change look like?

Where can we begin to make our world more empathetic?

You can learn to practice the empathetic thought…

Start to train your mind to ask these kind of questions…

”I wonder what’s going on for this person?”,

Or “I wonder how I can be of service to them?”

I think that the biggest mistake  we make in trying to live an empathetic life is that we believe it stops with… ‘swapping shoes’, so to speak.

To really incorporate empathy into your life you need to realize that empathy is an action plan,

a practice where we guess what people are feeling,

along with a language where we ask them if they’re feeling what we are guessing.

I think the very best place to start is by starting to see empathy as an ACTION, (not just a emotion),

A place where we act on our guess by adding ‘ing’ to Compassion.

By adding the “ING” we create movement, or action to our emotions.

We start ‘Compassion-ing’.

(Hopefully you are starting to see that empathy is a longing or a need that we all have for deep understanding.)

 

When I explained it to my two boys this way,

And then role played this for them,

The proverbial light bulb went off…

And they finally started to understand how to BE empathetic.

BUT…

There is another side to empathy that is rarely ever discussed.

We rarely discuss this side because we wrongly assume that if we do “this”, then we are NOT being empathetic.

But we all need to remember that LOVE, COMPASSION or EMPATHY will NEVER tolerate Bad Behavior!

So the side of the empathy that we forget to talk about is those times in our lives where we must learn to say “NO” to a request.

Part of being an empathetic human being is knowing where your boundaries lie, and then enforcing them when someone tries to cross them.

We all need to have boundaries that you will not under any circumstance allow anyone to ever cross.

So how do you say “NO” in a compassionate way?

You can do this by simply explaining the reason that is preventing you from saying “Yes”.

Image result for say NO with compassion

I have a friend that asked me to help with a family issue.

I can remember the look of absolute serenity on my friends face when I responded to her request with,

“My need to follow my Heart, and keep the promise I made to myself after my second divorce prevents me from saying ‘Yes’”.

How can anyone argue with a “I feel” statement like that

“Put yourself in their shoes,

Look at the world through their eyes.

To empathize with someone does not necessarily mean to sympathize with them.

It’s not quite as simple as “taking to heart” someone else’s circumstances.

To empathize means to make the conscious attempt to trade places with the person (or people) in order to gain perspective.

Often times, we can show true compassion by just being empathetic.

“Our human compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela

TOP 30 Things I Love about FALL!

 

 

Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons,

Here are  reasons I LOVE Fall.

Autumn Leaves
Comfy Clothes
Crisp Air
Cozy FireS
Halloween

The Weather
Thanksgiving
Hot Chocolate
Cozy Sweaters
Snuggling
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crumble
Carving Pumpkins
Fall Fruits and Vegetables
Halloween Candy

Family Time
The Calm Before the Holiday Season
Trick-or-Treating
Dressing Up for Halloween

Scarves
Finding the Perfect Pumpkin
Christmas Is Almost Upon Us
New TV Shows
Cinnamon Candles
Hoodie Sweat Shirts
Caramel Apples
Rainy Days
Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Everything Seems More Mysterious
Apple Cider

 

But I would have to say that my ALL-TIME Favorite thing about Fall is that life seems to SLOW DOWN and get really Comfy this time of year.

 

So today, I am going to talk about some really fun ways to S.T.O.P. and enjoy life a little bit more. 

 

 

It really is true in life that “Slow and steady really does win the race.”

I have discovered something really amazing:

When we believe that we have all the time in the world,

We start living like we have all the time in the world.

If we can learn to train our brain to focus on slowing down rather than speeding up, we will literally find that we have magically added time to our lives by creating more space to “JUST BE” and savor each and every moment.

I can almost hear your voices as you ask me…

What does living like you have all the time in the world look like…

And how can I begin to create this right now?

To answer you, I have given you my 4 favorite Fall Routines that have helped me enjoy this slower time if the year.

#1: Wake Up In Sensuality:

When you wake up each morning, DO NOT allow yourself to immediately start thinking of your to do list.

DO NOT jump right out of bed.

Instead, stretch like a cat.

Feel your bones and muscles lengthen.

As you open your eyes notice the smile that has come over your face and say to yourself,  ‘I love you”.

Give yourself a hug and as your feet hit the floor say “Thank you”.

 

#2: Hum While You Walk:

 

Or Whistleif you can actually whistle without making everyone wish they were dead.. (like the people around me feel when I whistle)

But seriously, How wonderful it is to hum while you walk?

Everywhere you go, whether it is inside your home, in a grocery store or walking your child to school, hum.

Think of your favorite “PICK ME UP” song and hum it.

Humming does not require that you know the song.

You can hum any tune and when you do, something magical will happen.

Humming actually sends signals to your brain that tell it  there is plenty of time and space for whatever you want.

(OK, so I made that one up, I have not actually read anything that scientifically proves that) 

 

#3: Take One Centering Breath:

Practice taking one deep centering breath before doing any task or talking to anyone.

You do not have to answer the phone on the first ring or respond to your email or text right away.

The boss is calling you down the hall, before getting up, take one deep centering breath and then proceed.

Try this often and you will begin to notice a change your mind set.

 

#4: S.T.O.P.:

Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed with wisdom.

This acronym has been floating around mindfulness circles for a really long time and it is a wonderful way to remember to slow down.

Create a really artistic sign of this acronym, post it in several places so you can remind yourself daily to S.T.O.P.

By incorporating this acronym into your mindset, you will add years to your life, and life to your years.

 

Most of us know the fable of The Tortoise And The Hare.

The moral of that story as we all know is that  just because we are moving fast does not mean we are moving wisely.

We all have places to be and things to do, but do not miss those beautiful moments that are placed in between all the responsibilities we all have.

*Moments to just sit and have a conversation with your child.

*Don’t be in such a hurry, or so distracted that you fail to observe the smell of the leaves that have fallen from the trees as you walk to the car.

Do not miss the aromas of cinnamon buns and roasted coffee beans at your local coffee shop.

Or the new shade of eye shadow your coworker is wearing.

It is the small things that make the biggest impact in our lives.

Slow down,

don’t move so fast,

why not make your life last.

I guarantee you will start feeling fun, free and really ALIVE once you learn how to S.T.O.P.

 

Can you pull a million dollars out of thin air and solve your financial problems?

As I was driving into work today, I was listening to my “Drive to Work” radio station…KLOVE.

You can find them for yourself at   http://www.klove.com/

Its a Christian music station and it is my favorite way to start my work day.

They play worship songs, and tell inspirational stories that uplift and remind me that I am not alone….EVER!

I am constantly loved, protected, and cherished by the Lord.

They played a song that got me thinking about all the ways my life has changed in the past 5 years, and what brought about those changes.

Five years ago, I finally hit rock bottom.

I had no more strength to carry on.

I had tried everything in my power to improve my life and had only experienced one failure after another.

In a moment of desperation I cried out to the Lord and begged Him to just give me a little help.

He did more than that. He created a brand new heart in me and that changed EVERYTHING!

As soon as my inner life was healed, my outer life began to reflect that healing, and things started to improve.

I want you to listen to the song that I heard today on the radio.

This song is such a beautiful reminder to us all that:

You don’t have to do it alone.

All your worries.

All your stress.

All your secret agonizing over what will be.

And ‘How can this huge problem ever get resolved?’

And ‘How can I help my child / spouse / sibling / friend to get out of the huge hole they’ve fallen into?’

You don’t have to carry all that stuff by yourself.

If you’re really honest, what can you actually do about it all anyway?

 

Can you pull a million dollars out of thin air and solve your financial problems?

Can you cure cancer?

Or clean up the environment?

Do you have the power to stop Venice from sinking further into the sea?

Can you single-handedly eradicate violence and hate from the world?

 

All by yourself?

You can’t.

And neither can anyone else.

 

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to do it alone.

When you team up with God, anything’s possible.

God can do all of those things, and more.

But that statement always brings up a really great question for almost every person alive…

If He can do all those things and more, then why hasn’t He done it already?

Simply, because you, me and everyone else haven’t yet figured out that we need to get Him more involved in finding the solutions to our problems.

We’re still trying to save the world all by ourselves.

Alone.

And boy, that’s how it can feel some days.

But guess what?

Getting God involved is the easiest thing in the world.

You don’t need a degree in comparative religion, or an ability to meditate for three months solid.

You just need to know how to talk.

It really is that simple.

We seem to want to make it hard.

We think we need to struggle so that we can EARN the right to talk to the Lord.
But all we really need to do is recognize that He is there waiting patiently for us to INVITE Him into our problems,

and then (and this is the hard part) Trust Him to handle them in His way and at His pace.

Yes, the secret to world peace,

The secret to inner peace

The path to just good old fashioned peace and quiet

Is simply this: talk to God, as much as possible, in your own words, about everything’s that bothering you.

The more people figure out that they don’t have to do it alone, the happier and healthier they’ll feel, and the more all those apparently unsolvable problems that we all know about, that we all face, will disappear by themselves.

 I am living proof of this truth.

The people who have been in my life for more than ten years can testify to the fact that my life has done a complete 180 turn around in the past five years.

The person I am now, barely resembles the person I was ten years ago.

The one thing that changed me was returning to the Lord. For years I had turned my back on Him, and then wondered why He was not there to help me during the hard times…

But I was not asking Him to help me. I was trying to do it alone!

Let me ask you this:

If you knew that the answers to all the questions you have –

the balm for all that hurts you,

the cure for all your ills –

was just a short conversation away, wouldn’t you start to talk?

I know, I know.

You’re busy;

You’re stressed;

You don’t have time to talk to God, because you have all this stuff you’re trying to take of.

With no one to help you.

But really?

You don’t have to do it alone.

Once you really figure that out, your life will start to transform in the most amazing, miraculous ways.

Doors will open for you that you never even knew existed.

Possibilities for love, health, happiness and fulfillment will appear faster than you know what to do with them.

And best of all, you’ll feel in your heart that Someone is looking out for you;

Someone is sharing your burden,

And carrying your load.

And then you’ll understand that you were really NEVER EVER Alone!

 

Lady of the House

This is a painting that was done for my Mother in Law.

She loves ladybugs, sunflowers and dragon flies. Her grand kids call her Nana Ladybug because she has so many ladybug figures around her house and yard.

Here is the Ladies friend.

Here is the Ladies friend.

 

 

 

 

Here is the Lady of the house up close.

Here is the Lady of the house up close.

 

 

 

 

this is the finished canvas.

this is the finished canvas.

 

Today lets be as happy as a bird with a French Fry…

No more settling for less,
No more struggling,
No more thinking you’re not good enough,
No More wishing and hoping,

No more saying: “I can’t,

I don’t know…”
No more negative thoughts
No More doubts and fears

 

Today let’s  stop settling for less,
Let’s stop giving up,
let’s agree to stop struggling,

Today let’s turn things around


Today we are going to get rid of those negative beliefs
We’re going to get rid of those negative thoughts,
Let’s figure out how we can get our subconscious mind working for us.


Do you believe that you get what you want in life?

That you can create a reality where there is no more settling?

Why does it seem so easy for us to give up and settle for less?

Or think that we’re not good enough?

Or start to believe that life is ALWAYS hard?…

Why does it seem that the only people or things that we are capable of attracting into our life is:

More pain,

More struggle

More hardship

And life just keeps getting worse?

We have all heard a lot of talk about the LAW OF ATTRACTION… “What you think and believe is what you create.” 

So am I to really believe that my life, and the circumstances that I am experiencing, are a result of my thoughts?

Where is the order in that ridiculous LAW?

That’s why I am suggesting a REVOLUTION against whoever made up this stupid law!!!

How unfair is it that we have to be all smiles and positive energy when everything in our life SUCKS?

And if we fail to be all smiles and positive energy then we are just going to keep getting BLASTED by the universe with more yucky situations!

No wonder we seem to be stuck on the treadmill of despair.

How is it even possible to get off this crazy treadmill when we are bound by this crazy Law?

BECAUSE…It’s actually not so crazy once you  understand it:

So…Let’s break this difficult “LAW” down into bite size pieces that we can easily fit into our mouths and chew on, shall we?

The reason that we have NAMED this phenomenon

“THE LAW OF ATTRACTION”

Is because our subconscious minds take everything LITERALLY!
So what exactly does that mean for you and me?

It simply means that your thoughts and beliefs are the instructions that your subconscious mind uses to attempt to deliver the life it thinks you want.

Your life is a mirror of what you think and believe.

SO…If you ALWAYS choose to settle for less,

your subconscious mind, the universe, and the law of attraction

ALL THINK that you actually WANT less,

So they begin the process of accommodating your request by giving you less and less of the things you want, and more and more of those things you are ruminating about that are making you crazy!

Remember that CRAZY is a POWERFUL FEELING so your subconscious mind interprets that as a POWERFUL COMMAND SIGNAL…

So what do you do?

You start a REVOLUTION in your mind!

(I deliberately choose that word for a reason.)

The word REVOLUTION immediately makes you feel very passionate, doesn’t it?

(another strong feeling)

If you are ever going to succeed at changing the patterns in your life you have got to start with passion!

You have to first recognize who the enemy is.

And what weapons the enemy will use to fight against you if you are ever going to have a chance at winning the battle.

So Lets get passionate and arm ourselves with knowledge so that we can go out there and face our enemy and start a revolution in our very own lives!

So what are some of the ways that we can start to RETHINK the problems and stress in our lives?

#1:Stop settling for less.
#2: Stop saying you can’t or don’t know how,
#3: Stop letting those negative thoughts and
negative beliefs fill your mind,
#4: give your subconscious mind new instructions and
you’ll get the universe and the law of attraction
to bring you more of what you want and less of
what you don’t want –

If you are like I used to be you have kind of gotten used to settling for less.

You heard people tell you that you can’t do this and
you can’t do that, maybe they said you’re not smart enough,
Or maybe you tried to accomplish something and
it didn’t work out the way you wanted – so you
thought: “Maybe I don’t know how…”

Then without ever realizing that you were doing it…

You gave up and settled for less!

You accepted those limiting beliefs,
You accepted the negative thoughts that
others gave you and you believed them,
You accepted that you had to settle for less

And so now you’ve got your subconscious mind,
the universe and the law of attraction bringing you
exactly what you DON’T want.

So here are some tools of thought you can begin to focus on to start convincing your mind that this is the life you REALLY DO WANT:

1-You deserve more,
2-you deserve to make more money,
3-you deserve to get a better job,
4-you deserve to spend more time with your family,
5-you deserve to achieve those goals,
6-You deserve to lose that weight,
7-You deserve to get in shape,
8-You deserve better health,
9-You deserve to eliminate the stress
10-you deserve a better life…

If you think any of those statements sound SELFISH…then you are SETTLING!

It is not selfish to want to live a powerful, meaningful purpose driven life filled with all the things you desire.

Remember money is NOT the root of all evil…It is the LOVE of money that is evil.

(A purpose driven life will usually have money to do good works)

I am here to tell you that you actually can have
those things…
But remember what I said earlier…

Your subconscious mind is LITERAL, so you need to really FEEL and BELIEVE that you can change the trajectory of your life and stop spinning negative tales of WOE IS ME, and start singing the song of Gratitude.

You need to spend as much time as is necessary to examine your feelings and beliefs about the list of 10 things you deserve.

You need to clear up the pain in your past that has led you to believe that you should just ,”SHUT UP AND SETTLE”

You really need to get rid of that negative thinking that others gave you!

 today_is_the_day

Start by believing that:

Today you can start to turn things around.

 
Today you WILL stop settling for less.

 
Today you Can get your subconscious mind working for you to start bringing you exactly what you want out of life.

 Believe that Today is the day for REVOLUTION!