You Are What You Think: Judge Not

What  you think is the true basis of your whole personality, it directly informs your feelings, words and actions.  In this series that  I’m calling “You Are What You Think”, I am going to explore why what you think about is so important and the causes and consequences of different thought habits.

Character

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this quote during the 19th century and it is as true today as it was then and for a very obvious reason.  What we think and how we view things are completely intertwined. A liar, for example, is unable to trust others because he always suspects others of being as deceitful as himself.  Ken Keyes put it another way during the middle of the 20th century…

Mirror

This is why it is so important to pay attention, not only to what you say about others and what you say about yourself, but to what you put into your brain and what you think about or how you process that stimulus.  If you continually let your baser impulses run wild, if you don’t repeatedly and thoughtfully pursue empathy and rationality, you really have no basis on which to judge others or the world in which we live.  You cannot say “I am a good person and that person is bad”, because your own perspective is biased.  Thoughtfulness or mindfulness in your approach to life is the only way to be sure that your perspective is as accurate as possible and when you view the world in this way, you are often less inclined to judge others, because of your increased awareness of what you do not know about that person’s feelings or motivations in acting the way they do. To round this quote session out, here is one from a favorite TV show of mine from the 21st century…

asshole

When you act or speak in ignorance of what another’s circumstances might be, you reveal that ignorance to the world around you.  Or to put it one last way, from an even older source than Emerson, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Another problem with spending so much thought energy on judging or disparaging a situation or another person is that you are wasting time and energy on a thought process that will ultimately leave you, in no better position than when you started out. A better use of your time might be to acknowledge the issue and then turn your thoughts away from the problem itself and who’s to blame and toward finding the best solution to the problem going forward.

Good News! Never Underestimate The Power of Hope!

Chant BeautyWould you have clicked on this post if the title had been bad news?

I turned on NPR this morning just in time to hear a gentleman say that you will never get someone to change their mind by yelling at them.  That comment tied in perfectly with this blog that I was already planning.

So would you click on a bad news link?  Maybe and maybe not, but don’t we all have enough negativity in our own situations without getting more of it from others?

Life is too short to be constantly focused on the bad stuff but unfortunately it’s human nature to obsess over the things that go wrong.  It takes effort to focus the mind on the good stuff.  It takes effort to count your blessings.  The reward from that effort is that you eventually train your brain to see the good without effort and you train the people around you to think of you as a source of inspiration and positivity.

When I became a stepmom I did a lot of research on child rearing and one of the suggestions I came across repeatedly was to not overuse the word no.  Instead of constantly harping on what the child is doing wrong and the dire consequences that will follow their mistakes, try to tell them what the right thing to do would be and the positive consequences that result from good decision making.  If you are only telling them what not to do, you leave them with no way forward, they are stuck knowing that what they did was wrong but with no information on how to make it right.  This same principle applies to every sort of human communication in our lives. It would work quite well in romantic relationships too.  So don’t be a nag, be a cheerleader!

The take away is this: if  you have a message that you want to get out there to the world, if you want to change peoples minds about an issue, I would suggest you take the advice of the quote above.  Don’t lead through fear or righteous indignation.  Don’t tell people what they shouldn’t do.  Tell them what they should do and why it would be better for them if they did!  Never underestimate the power of hope!

Adventure Thursday: The Sequel!

Railey and I had another adventure Thursday this week!  Last week we went shopping at Joann’s during their 4th of July sale and Railey picked out some fabric for our activity this week.  This Thursday’s activity: learn to sew a pillow!  A pillow is the only thing my grandmother ever taught me to sew, so I thought that would be a nice beginner activity.

Railey's fabric.  She loves pink and owls!

Railey’s fabric. She loves pink and owls!

She has been so excited all week to learn to sew and finally the day arrived.  We pulled out the fabric and cut it into a rectangle and then folded it over so she only had to sew three sides.

Then I pinned all the sides together and marked a line along each side, so she knew where to make her stitches.

Finally the work began!

Sew fun!

Sew fun!

She stitched up one side and then Daddy came home, so we decided to finish the other two sides on the machine.  She sat on my lap, I worked the peddle and she helped me guide the fabric.  Then we turned it right side out and stuffed it up, she really enjoyed that part, and I sewed our little hole shut and voila, her very first pillow was complete!

Not half bad for a first attempt!

Not half bad for a first attempt!

She certainly loved it and cuddled it for the rest of the day!

Their both so cute.

Their both so cute.

Finally after a job well done we decided to celebrate by painting a butterfly on her face and playing with balloons.  Another Thursday gone, another adventure complete!

Happy Adventure Thursday!

Happy Adventure Thursday!

A Very Fairy Picnic!

Me and the bean (my step-daughter Railey)

Me and Railey

The reason the category “Carpe Adventure” exists at all is because I promised Railey that all summer long, we would have adventures every Thursday.  Thursday is my day with her, just the two of us, and I have all these fun things planned.  School ended last week and so it was time for our first adventure, a fairy picnic!

My fairy costume!

My fairy costume!

Railey's fairy costume!

Railey’s fairy costume!

The menu was simple as befits a picnic and consisted of watermelon wands, flower shaped tuna fish sandwiches, blueberries and blueberry lemonade.

Railey helped me make the food and we started with the watermelon wands.

We used a star shaped cookie cutter.

We used a star shaped cookie cutter.

I cut the watermelon into slices and she used the cookie cutter to make the star shape.

We popped the star shaped watermelon out.

We popped the star shaped watermelon out.

Once the watermelon stars were out we found some old, food-safe sticks and stuck them in the watermelon.

Viola!  Watermelon wands!

Viola! Watermelon wands!

We found more use for the cookie cutters when we made the sandwiches.  We used them to cut flower shapes out of some wheat bread.

Isn't she an adorable fairy helper!

Isn’t she an adorable fairy helper!

Once the flower shapes were done I mixed up some tuna and made some lovely, fairy sandwiches.

Flower shaped tuna sandwiches!

Flower shaped tuna sandwiches!

We whipped up some blueberry lemonade and found an old Easter basket.  We packed everything up, grabbed a fairy blanket and headed outside!

Our fairy picnic basket!

Our fairy picnic basket!

We had a wonderful time eating our delicious food.

She may have munched a piece of the wand off, but the magic is alive and well.

She may have munched a piece of the wand off, but the magic is alive and well.

Having adult level patience I waited until after we took a picture to eat my wand!

Having adult level patience I waited until after we took a picture to eat my wand!

Once we finished our meal, Railey worked off her food running around the lawn while I took the opposite approach.

I took a fairy nap!

I took a fairy nap!

All in all it was a great way to start our summer adventures and we enjoyed it immensely!

Fairy Best Friends!

Fairy Best Friends!

Be a Source of Sunshine

Sunshine QuoteI told Railey (my six year old step-daughter) the other day that she has a superpower she doesn’t know about.  As a cute, little girl she has the power to make people feel good about themselves by doing nothing more than being the sweet person she is.  I told her that all little girls have this power and they can choose whether to use this power for good or evil.  Now, whenever I see a little girl using their superpower, I point it out to her and I ask her whether she thinks the way they are using it is good or bad.  It seems to be working! She used to tell me all the time that she is cute, and now she tells me she is kind!

The point of all this is that grown women still have that power!  I swear Railey can tell when I am in a good mood, and she is all over me like moth to a flame.  It may seem like a burden at times, but the upside is that it’s an incentive to take care of yourself because it is so much easier to make others happy if you yourself are loving life.  As we all know, with power comes responsibility. So as you go about your daily lives, remember that you too have a superpower and you have to ask yourself:  are you going to use your power for good or evil?