A concentrated mind…

mapThe plans we map out for ourselves rarely follow their set course without detours.

The exploring post i wrote earlier this year commended the courage of those that set out to sea, into the perilous unknown.

Some of us who do not see ourselves as brave, though, are thrust out to sea against our will. And all we can do is make our way to some sort of shore, on an adventure we didn’t choose. In the process (to paraphrase the old saying), facing one’s impending demise wonderfully concentrates the mind.

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Writing of two wrongs…

I do not know anyone who has not been wronged by another person.

In fact, i don’t know anyone who would say they have been wronged only once. Many of us could recite a litany of slights, large and small.

If we are self-aware enough, we know that we wrong others as well, whether unintentionally or deliberately.

Integrity requires that we do what is reasonable and within our power to make things right. Deciding whether to re-approach someone we’ve hurt (or who has hurt us) usually isn’t easy, and depends on the magnitude of the offense, the closeness of the person and how long ago it took place.   Continue reading

Your inner explorer…

globe

Exploration is exhausting, and discovery is demanding. Sure, serendipity happens — but more often than not, unearthing self-shaping insights requires dogged determination.

My previous post consists of the following quote by French author Andre Gide:  “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” I’ve seen it translated from the French with two different wordings. The other version uses “courage” rather than “consent,” an intriguing difference.

I’ve often pondered the courage of the famous world explorers who placed themselves at the mercy of the seas without certainty of what they would find or of how long it would take to find it — unable to imagine myself capable of or interested in such risks. After all, one person’s courage is another’s utter lunacy.   Continue reading

Half a cup…

glass-half-full-560

If there is a recipe for contentment, it calls for four ounces…

In this recipe, though, the unspecified ingredient is less important than how the cook views that half a cup. Four ounces in an eight-ounce glass: half full or half empty?

I think most of us see ourselves as leaning naturally toward either optimism or pessimism. Those who tend to be more hopeful know how to look for the good in difficult circumstances. Those who brace themselves for the negative don’t want to be caught off-guard when trouble comes.

It seems very few are exclusively one or the other. The popular idea of new year’s resolutions requires some optimism – though the pessimist might simply anticipate failing sooner.

A well-known quote resolves the opposing tendencies with a third option:  “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” I love this quote — and i didn’t notice until a good friend observed it that one can do all three.   Continue reading

Holiday feelings…

christmas-tree

I was talking with a friend today about our feelings toward Christmas.

She observed that most people she knows claim either to love it or to hate it. Some take special joy and comfort in the trappings of the season. Others carry them as a weight, fraught with negative associations, something more to be endured than enjoyed. (A few try to ignore the holiday altogether.)

My friend found it refreshing that i don’t have strong feelings about the season in either of those two common directions. What i do take from it, i take quietly.

When my children were little i delighted in making the season delightful for them – more because of people than things, though. There was no worry about them discovering the ‘truth’ about Santa, because in our family he was always a winked-at fiction — like being ‘in’ on an inside joke.

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Change vs discovery

heartprint

One of the most common pieces of advice you hear about relationships is to avoid trying to change the other person. Be yourself as well as you can, and accept the other for who they are.

When you first begin to get to know a person you are newly attracted to, you are, of course, putting your best self forward. And you know they are doing the same.

The time you spend together — whether you call it ‘dating’ or something else — gradually reveals more of the other’s as well as your own authentic self within the safety of developing affection for each other. You most often cannot know immediately whether a relationship will work out, as sweet and exciting as the love-at-first-sight idea is.

At the beginning, the compatibilities seem obvious, comforting and enticing.

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Long overdue…

Hello readers!

I hope this is the last time that i’ll have to express regrets for a long absence.

In my inaugural Ruminations post of December 2014, i explained my reasons for not making the cancer diagnosis a major topic of the blog. Unfortunately, it does make sense to refer to its ramifications occasionally, particularly after i’ve been prevented from posting regularly.

Returning today from the longest sabbatical since i started the blog is just such an occasion…

autumn-haze

Winter is coming. I never used to mind that.

But now with winter’s approach come dismal emotions that accompany anniversaries of diagnosis and treatment.

This November 1st marks three years since the declaration. I call it the great Time Marker.

I am, as far as i know, cancer-free. The subsequent string of severe complications from the treatment appears to finally be over, but has resulted in permanent discomforts and limitations — which is why i am only now getting back to writing. They make the anniversary a bit more challenging to grieve over and move beyond.

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