Hold Your Horses

“Will is to grace as the horse is to rider.”  ─ Saint Augustine 

The horse throughout the ages has had many meanings. One significant and important association with a horse is that it can be a symbol of riding one’s instincts. A divining power can be offering up guidance and/or a warning to its rider. There are many fairy tales, fables and legends that tell about the horse’s uncanny ability to be of help through intuitive understanding; even the horse-shoe brings luck. It is this unconscious instinctual horse power that is the invisible vehicle that is ridden, followed, and heard. Sometimes a person might put their ear to the ground of their being to listen to this horse sense as they become their own horse whisperer. This kind of listening might require slowing down like an old horse.

 

Wait a Minute

 

Some people use horse sense which is like having the use of common sense but it is not always enough. The inner ear, the intuitive ear has horse symbols within it. An interesting horse like clue to the use of the inner ear is that part of its makeup includes the small bones; the hammer, anvil, and stirrup that work together for your benefit. According to The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols spiritual hearing is considered to be an older ability than spiritual seeing.

 

A way to hear and listen is to decelerate and reduce the hurrying, take a break, relax, breathe, and be still. Then notice and pay attention to that quiet voice that might speak to you almost like a whisper. Listen and be aware of what is heard. Clients will often wonder and ask how they will know when to start, when to make a change, when to wait or when to go. Robert Browning said, “Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!”  This can be like a horse of another color. Your personal will power can be harnessed with a willingness to follow your heart’s desire by holding onto the reins of your heart as you click into action and decide to move forward on your own path.

 

 … While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart.
There is something between you that both understand
As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand.
As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire
To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire.

…What joy to find freedom a while from your yoke!
What bliss to be launched with the luck of the start
On the old one, the proved one, the horse of your heart!

                Excerpts from The Horse of Your Heart ─ William Henry Ogilvie

 

 “The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never.”  ―Yiddish Proverb

 

 

The Cloud on the Ground

“The fog is like a cage without a key.”   ─ Daniel J. Boorstin

Fog

Fog is defined as a thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface that obscures or restricts visibility. Fog as a metaphorical comparison is a cloudiness that obscures and confuses a situation or someone’s thought processes by bewildering or puzzling a person so that their perceptions are vague.

Sometimes a client will say that they have a sullen type of mood and I will ask them about what their experience of this internal condition is like. A few have described their experience as if they are living in a fog, a brain fog that has slowly crept upon them. Others have implied that their fog is like a veil of grayness unlike smog which is a tan smoke like color. For some it denotes a brooding dimness like living in a cloudy netherworld. It is a place removed and below the light of a bright and clear consciousness. The fog obscures direction and movement. The passage out is blocked. Thick fog at ground level feels like living inside a drab damp cloud. This dreary emotional gray will cause the person to have misty or moist eyes as the cloudy feeling is expressed and even a tear might form.

The following poem by Carl Sandburg expresses through a cat metaphor poetically described the experience of being in a fog.

Fog

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

A psychological interpretation might suggest that the cat is an invisible instinct that can stealthily slink and sneak up to a person thus making its presence known. Both the fog and cat are independent and there are no rules to its silent and quiet movements. Both can hover and look over various situations and yet they can move on quickly and disappear. As the fog comes and goes it reminds us that a foggy brain is in a hazy state of confusion. This affect seems like it will last forever as the person lives in a state of perpetual uncertainty. It will in the end be a temporary situation and not a permanent condition. This experience of being in a fog is also an act of trust that things will burn off, clear up, and the light of consciousness will return.

“Most consequential choices involve shades of gray, and some fog is often useful in getting things done.” ─ Black Elk

Happy Valentine’s Day

“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires; To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Historically, February has been the month of romance and love. The need to give, experience, and receive love are topics that my client’s bring in with them from time to time. Longing for love is a common feeling for many people. February is that time of year that we are reminded about love in our life or the lack of it. The following is adapted from articles at History.com.

The Legend of St. Valentine and the story are mysterious, existing since the third century A.D. and contain ancient Christian and Roman influences. Catholic tradition acknowledges that there are three different martyred saints named Valentine or Valentinus. Legend suggests that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Another imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the middle ages, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial which occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance survived Lupercalia and the initial rise of Christianity yet was outlawed as “un-Christian” at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later that the day became defined with love. In France and England in the Middle Ages, the belief was that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance with Valentine greetings. The written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Later on, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings in addition to the USA it is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In17th century Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their sentiments in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper mail rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

 

Happy Holiday Anti-Stress Kit for Everyone

 “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you in better living conditions.” ─ Hafiz

“Happy Holidays” and all the best in the “New Year” to you and yours

 Here is the Anti Stress Kit to help you and yours relax by lifting up spirits during this stressful time of year. The kit is a charming way to bring a smile to anyone’s face. As a thoughtful gift you can collect each of the following items, place them in a little gift bag, print out the following content explanation and add to the bag. Attach a cute topper and give as a gift.

Here are my thoughts and wishes for you. Enjoy!

Anti-Stress Kit

An eraser, so you can make all your mistakes disappear.

A penny, so you will never say, “I’m broke.”

Marbles, in case someone says, “you’ve lost yours.”

A rubber band, to stretch yourself beyond your limits.

String, to tie things together when everything falls apart.

A piece of fabric to patch things up.

And a hug and a kiss to remind you that someone, somewhere cares about you.

The author is unknown to me.

 

Intelligence and Smarts

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid” ─ Einstein

 Many clients of mine have wondered about their own intelligence and “smarts.” They have asked themselves if they are intelligent enough. After learning about the 8 “signs” of intelligence I wanted to share this information for anyone interested to know their own MI Components. It is also a way to be able to understand one and their interests better. I recently attended an Adlerian Psychology workshop that was presented by Wes Wingett Ph.D. He gave the following information about MI (Multiple Intelligence) and the work of Howard Gardner.

The Components of MI

For something to qualify as intelligence, it has to satisfy Howard Gardner’s eight “signs” of intelligence. After extensive research, Gardner identified eight, distinct intelligences. These are what comprise his theory of Multiple Intelligences:

Spatial

The ability to conceptualize and manipulate large-scale spatial arrays (e.g. airplane pilot, sailor), or more local forms of space (e.g. architect, chess player).

Bodily-Kinesthetic

The ability to use one’s whole body, or parts of the body (like the hands or the mouth), to solve problems or create products (e.g. dancer).

Musical

Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre. May entail the ability to sing, play musical instruments, and/or compose music (e.g. musical conductor).

Linguistic

Sensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words, and the sound, rhythms, inflections, and meter of words (e.g. poet). (Sometimes called language intelligence.)

Logical-mathematical

The capacity to conceptualize the logical relations among actions or symbols (e.g. mathematicians, scientists). Famed psychologist Jean Piaget believed he was studying the range of intelligences, but he was actually studying logical-mathematical intelligence.

Interpersonal

The ability to interact effectively with others. Sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations (e.g. negotiator). (Sometimes called social intelligence.)

Intrapersonal

Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals, and anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one’s own traits. Intrapersonal intelligence is not particular to specific careers; rather, it is a goal for every individual in a complex modern society, where one has to make consequential decisions for oneself. (Sometimes called self intelligence.)

Naturalistic

The ability to make consequential distinctions in the world of nature as, for example, between one plant and another, or one cloud formation and another (e.g. taxonomist). (Sometimes called nature intelligence.)

“Intelligence is really a kind or taste: taste in ideas” ─ Susan Sontag

Flattery – a Subtle Art of Deception

“Flattery is refined deception–it is the froth of language–it is the alcohol of social intercourse–it is the prescription of the subtle–and the nectar of fools.”   William Scott Downey

A flatterer is a person who often insincerely lavishes praise and compliments upon another person for a personal gain. Sometimes the flatterer is referred to as a brown-noser, bootlicker, yes-man, and suck-up. A flattering remark enlarges as it is an inflated expansion of praise. A person would not question such exalted words because it sounds and feels so good. On occasion, a client will tell me about wonderful words that were said to them that really inflated their sense of self as it also gave them pleasure like biting into a sweet, juicy, and delicious ripe peach. They will ask themselves the question can this person really mean what they said to me. The question that they ask themselves over and over again, “is it true”

Some people use praise to get their way or what they want by lavishing superlatives and flowery words upon another because it calls up an actual emotion in the other. Many people will eat that up like fertilizing compost that nourishes as well as sustains them. It reinforces their good feelings about themselves. As a manipulating tool it is a dissembler. Flattering adulation can veil the emotional manipulation. Such praise, admiration, and exaltations can cause a bewilderment and confusion in an individual. It might soften and disguise ones real perception about what has been said. It acts as a smoke screen by clouding the flatterer’s real intention. Then one is easily and craftily manipulated.

Both men and women can experience a particular sweet talker who expresses such smooth talking lines as if they are poured over them like a thick scrumptious gravy. In her song Strong Enough Sheryl Crow sings about flattery as a lie. These lyrics convey the emotional feeling that is generated by flattery.

Are you strong enough to be my man

Lie to me, I promise I’ll believe

Lie to me, but please don’t leave

I have a face I cannot show

I make the rules up as I go

Just try and love me if you can

The following fable clearly shows the use of flattery as a “dissembler.” It is a dissembler because it is a specific type of bending and stretching of a truth that a person would not doubt or have a reservation about, let alone question. Flattery can cause one to lose something of value.

The Fox and the Crow

A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree.

“That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree.

“Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.”

The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox.

“That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future: “Do not trust flatterers.” ─ Aesop

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.” ─ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

© Ozimkiewicz

Rancid Emotions

Chunks of water from my essence slips

Setting my heartbeat into rewind.

With a heart heavy, my eyes spits

Rancid emotions, my teeth I grind. ─ Alozor Michael Ikechukwu

Sometimes experiencing a particular emotional state over and over again seems to produce a rancid emotion. The word rancid is from the Latin rancidus ‘stinking.’ As an example just think of butter that is rancid. It is old and stale.  If you happen to get a taste on your tongue it leaves a stinking taste in your nose and mouth. It sure does not have the clean, clear, and freshly made delicious butter quality. Rancid emotions are unpleasant and rank as they are decomposing in a person. Because of these emotions sometimes a person will make a “stink.”

At times, clients have indicated that they feel rankled by a festering emotion and a persistent irritation or resentment that has embittered their life. They want to be free of the gall that needles them daily.

Such strong lingering emotions such as sorrow, hate, fear, anger can sour people over time. I’ve chosen the following nursery rhyme, 3 Little Kittens, to convey a feeling essence.

This Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme talks about crying in the form of meeowing as the kittens experience frustration, sadness, badness, naughtiness, anger, regret, loss, and sorrow and finally finding a just reward of approval.

3 Little Kittens

Three little kittens they lost their mittens, and they began to cry,”Oh mother dear, we sadly fear that we have lost our mittens.” “What! Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens! Then you shall have no pie.” “Meeow, meeow, meeow, now we shall have no pie.” The three little kittens they found their mittens, And they began to cry, “Oh mother dear, see here, see here For we have found our mittens.” “Put on your mittens, you silly kittens And you shall have some pie” “Meeow, meeow, meeow, Now let us have some pie.” The three little kittens put on their mittens And soon ate up the pie, “Oh mother dear, we greatly fear That we have soiled our mittens.” “What! Soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!” Then they began to cry, “Meeow, meeow, meeow” Then they began to sigh. The three little kittens they washed their mittens And hung them out to dry, “Oh mother dear, do you not hear That we have washed our mittens.” “What! Washed your mittens, you are good kittens.” But I smell a rat close by, “Meeow, meeow, meeow” we smell a rat close by…

Interpretation

A therapeutic resolution to rancid emotional states is about being heard and listened to. It is possible that the crying as a mee ow is really an expression that means me or my own hurt that is an ouchy or owie inside of oneself. Often the feeling of loss of a protective caring causes the kittens to meeow. Cats and kittens can represent young or mature independent instinctual possibilities within a person. A person’s own instinctual nature and nurturing self-care helps one to find relief as the person seeks to understand the emotional state that they were captured by. Food is often associated with taking in comfort and love. The pie that the mother cat made might be a symbol of feeding you love and self acceptance. The kittens start to take care of themselves when they take off their mittens and wash them thereby cleaning things up. They ask their mother cat to hear that. Then she calls them good and gives them the approval and validation that they need. This might be approving in a mature way of one’s self. At the end the mother cat smells a rat and the kittens may sense that they have to go out into the daily rat race of life. There is the need to take care of their own feelings now as they struggle with their encounters with the ratty things in life.

“To awaken to the living dream within one’s life and remain awake involves repeated struggle, yet also presents something truly worth fighting for. Each individual soul has its share of genius and a core of imagination that can transcend the collective anxiety and the chaos in the world.”  ─ Michael Meade

Angling, Tall Tales, and Trickery

 O, Sir, doubt not but that Angling is an art; is it not an art to deceive a Trout with an Fly? —Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler (1653)

Some of my clients have said that they are victimized by seemingly underhanded ways and means by those they thought were trustworthy. They want to know more about how to handle this dynamic in their life. These clients tell me that they like to give “the benefit of the doubt” to those they are distrusting. At the same time wanting the ability to know, recognize, and distinguish any lying, trickery, and deception. When I hear this kind of statement I know the client does not trust their own knowingness as real guidance.

It takes a thoughtful discernment and discrimination in order not to be hoodwinked. The nature of a deceiver is to deceive. He or she uses falsehoods, underhanded means, and deliberate hiding with a camouflage over the truth to deliberately cause people to be unable to detect their misrepresentation.

When you are in doubt about what someone is saying or doing this is a sign to look further into what is going on. Doubt is a feeling that spontaneously appears to let you know something is not quite right. Here are some words that can be associated with that doubtful feeling. They are: deceive, lie, betray, mislead, bamboozle, outwit, double-cross, and cheat to name just a few.

You can always ask yourself the following questions when in doubt. The questions are; who, what, where, when, how, and why? What does it sound like to me? What does it feel like to me? What is going on?

Here are a few teaching tales that have deceptive angles in them. While reading the following short fables just notice the affect that comes over you.

The following is a modern day version of deception that was first told by Ann Landers in her newspaper advice column. This tale is categorized as classic American folklore. It is a modern day wisdom morality tale about meeting people that are prone to employing deceptive practices in relationships with others.

Snake Is Always a Snake

Watch out for snakes in the grass

A young girl was trudging along a mountain path, trying to reach her grandmother’s house. It was bitter cold, and the wind cut like a knife. When she was within sight of her destination, she heard a rustle at her feet.

Looking down, she saw a snake, which spoke to her. He said, “I am about to die. It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food in these mountains, and I am starving. Please put me under your coat and take me with you.”

“No,” replied the girl. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite is poisonous.”

“No, no,” said the snake. “If you help me, you will be my friend. I will treat you differently.”

The little girl sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and think things over. She looked at the markings on the snake and had to admit that it was the most beautiful snake she had ever seen.

Suddenly, she said, “I believe you. I will save you. All living things deserve to be treated with kindness.”

The little girl reached over, put the snake gently under her coat and proceeded toward her grandmother’s house. In a moment, she felt a sharp pain in her side. The snake had bitten her.

“How could you do this to me?” she cried. “You promised that you would not bite me, and I trusted you!” “You knew what I was when you picked me up,” hissed the snake as he slithered away. ─ Ann Landers

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Many times appearances are deceptive.

 A Wolf found great difficulty in getting at the sheep owing to the vigilance of the shepherd and his dogs. But one day it found the skin of a sheep that had been flayed and thrown aside, so it put it on over its own pelt and strolled down among the sheep.

The Lamb that belonged to the sheep whose skin the Wolf was wearing began to follow the Wolf in the Sheep’s clothing. So, leading the Lamb a little apart, he soon made a meal off her – and for some time he succeeded in deceiving the sheep, and enjoying hearty meals. ─Aesop

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

A shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains.

The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep”; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.

Little Red Riding Hood ─ Brothers Grimm

All kinds of trickery and deception in this story

Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little riding hood of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else; so she was always called ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’

One day her mother said to her: ‘Come, Little Red Riding Hood, here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path, or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will get nothing; and when you go into her room, don’t forget to say, “Good morning”, and don’t peep into every corner before you do it.’

‘I will take great care,’ said Little Red Riding Hood to her mother, and gave her hand on it.

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village, and just as Little Red Riding Hood entered the wood, a wolf met her. Red Riding Hood did not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of him.

‘Good day, Little Red Riding Hood,’ said he.

‘Thank you kindly, wolf.’

‘Whither away so early, Little Red Riding Hood?’

‘To my grandmother’s.’

‘What have you got in your apron?’

‘Cake and wine; yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is to have something good, to make her stronger.’

‘Where does your grandmother live, Little Red Riding Hood?’

‘A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood; her house stands under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below; you surely must know it,’ replied Little Red Riding Hood.

The wolf thought to himself: ‘What a tender young creature! What a nice plump mouthful – she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must act craftily, so as to catch both.’ …to continue the tale click this link

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/cgi-bin/version_printable.pl?story_id=LittRed.shtml

A Children’s Tale

‘When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” ─ Native American Proverb

During times of grief, loss and sadness people and children often wish they could talk to their departed loved one in the hereafter. Death is a separation between two, you and the loved one or perhaps heaven and earth. People naturally look for a sign, signal or a message from the person who has passed. Recently a client told me about the following children’s story that can be used during a time of sorrow explaining the inability to communicate with a departed loved one. I thought that the story is appropriate for adults as well during a time of sorrow.

 

Waterbugs and Dragonflies

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?” Up, up, up it slowly went….Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…

“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.

No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea”. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”

“We promise”, they said solemnly.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings…The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air…….

From: “Waterbugs and Dragonflies : Explaining Death to Young Children” by Doris Stickney

Happy New Year Be Wellers and Resolution Makers

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” ─ Bill Vaughan

Many of my clients have mentioned their anxiety about the future. They wish 2017 will be better for everyone. The following information on making resolutions for 2017 is adapted from online sources beliefnet and Brian Maher. I have also published variations on this in other years.

A new year gives us all the opportunity to make changes in our lives. January 1 arrives bringing hope to everyone that the New Year will be better than this past divisive, stressful, and conflicted year that was 2016

For many, the New Year means a fresh start, a new beginning, and a clean slate. It also means a new resolve to finally lose some weight, save money, be well or anything else your heart may desire. Now for the good news: You don’t have to be one of those people who fail. No, really. Keep reading, because I’m about to give you some simple rules for making (and keeping) your New Year’s resolutions.

“Write the vision and make it plain…” Habakkuk 2:2

Reflecting on the mistakes and mishaps of last year is a good place to start when making New Year’s resolutions. Where could you have done better? What do you want to see change? No need to be down on yourself. Just take a look at your weak points and see what you can do about them this year.

Be Specific – The key here is to make your resolution very specific by writing it down and bring it out of the realm of thought and fantasy. This allows you to plan out your goal and forces you to be more accountable.

Not specific: “I want to lower my body fat percentage this year.”

Very specific: “I want to lower my body fat percentage by 7 percent by December 31st.”

Be Realistic – For example be realistic with a planned weight-loss goal. If you have 60 pounds to lose, don’t try to lose it all in one month, and don’t make it your initial goal. A huge goal like that can be overwhelming and cause you to get frustrated and give up at the first bump in the road. Instead, you should set a realistic goal that helps you take smaller steps toward reaching your ultimate goal.

Not realistic: “I want to lose 60 pounds by February.”

Very realistic: “I want to lose five pounds per month for 12 months.”

Determine the Path – It’s critical to think about-and plan out-how you’re going to reach your goal. Just like with the goal itself, your path needs to be specific and realistic.

Bad path: “I am going to lose 10 pounds by June 1st by eating less.”

Good path: “I am going to lose 10 pounds by June 1st by only having one scoop of ice cream once per week instead of every day and by walking for 30 minutes every day at lunchtime.”

Make It Known – Accountability is to yourself and others are key if you really want to stick to your New Year’s resolution. Instead of keeping it a secret, share your goal with others.

Make It Rewarding – We have rewards for almost everything we do. Create an incentive and reward system for yourself before you start working toward it. Maybe you could treat yourself to new clothes or a massage. Let the reward motivate you as well.

From Big Goals to Baby Steps – Very big goals often appear as a mountain to climb and it’s easy to decide it’s too much and too big. A person might just crawl back into bed and hide.

Break big goals down into smaller increments like baby steps. For example, if you’re writing a book and you want to have your book finished in a year. Write a page a day and at the end of the year you’d have 365 pages. That is a feasible daily task that will accomplish a larger goal in time.

Identify Time-Wasters – A lot of great tasks in life don’t get finished, because we waste a lot of time doing things that are unimportant or distractions that are unrelated to the goal. Think about all the time you spend on social networking web sites or those two hours in front of the TV every night. Wouldn’t that time be better spent working towards your resolutions?

We so readily say, “Oh, I just don’t have time.” The truth is that you can make time. Identify the time-wasters in your day and replace them with projects and tasks that will bring you closer to your goal.

Sometimes a Year is Not Enough – As the year draws to a close, take some time to reflect on the resolutions you made last January 2016. How did you do? Did you work hard? Did you make the deadlines or do you need another year?

You’ve laid the ground work to achieving your dreams, and you can take the next year to perfect them. Learn from the previous year’s mistakes and grow. Every year is another chance to do it.

Poor, poor January is burdened with all our hopes that are pinned on those first 31 days. We cram a laundry list of goals into one month and try to make them all happen at breakneck speed. Inevitably, by February we are burnt out, and by the summer, our resolutions are long forgotten.

Let’s give January a break, shall we? If your goals are worth attaining, they will take time – much more than a mere month can offer. Plus the effort and energy it will take to accomplish those resolutions is too much to do all at once. Space them out. Some resolutions can’t be worked on until April or early June. So, give your New Year’s resolutions some breathing room. The month of January thanks you in advance.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ─ C.S. Lewis

© Ozimkiewicz