Choice. That's what life is about. We always have a choice in life - no matter the circumstance (even if we are only left with a choice to forgive). All choices have consequences. Some good - some not. And what we learn from these consequences creates who we are. Return to www.choicesthatchangeyou.com

Friday, January 8, 2010

Am I Good Nut?

I was cracking and eating some almonds today and realized that you can NOT judge how good the nut will be from the exterior.

Okay, okay, I know I am really pushing it this time but I had an interesting thought come to mind.

Aren't we all like the nuts?

Some of the almonds I ate had really broken-up shells but the nut inside was deliscious! I was getting to the last of them and I finally found this PERFECT large shell... I was so excited thinking about the huge, tasty nut just waiting to be eaten.

I cracked it open and much to my dismay I found a small, shriveled, and blackened almond.

I didn't see any evidence on the shell that something could be wrong on the inside so how could this happen?

So here is my question to you... how many people (aka nuts) do you see in this world that have perfect outer shells? How do you judge them? You may envy them... or try to be more like them. And how many people do you know that have scraggly, broken up shells (lives) and how do you judge them? Do you pity them or make judgments about their lives?

Honestly, we cannot judge anyone. We do not know what lies within another person. They could have a rough exterior and a heart of gold... or they may be the best church-going person and have dark secrets of abuse. You never know...

I am reminded of the Sadduces and Pharises in the Bible. Jesus knew the intent of their hearts and saw that they were shriveled and blackened within - even though the exterior of their lives were 'perfect'.

I started to think about judment day... when we stand in front of our Maker. It is at that time that our shells will be cracked open to reveal what lies within us.

Even though I think of myself as having cracks, broken edges, and a little scratched up, I hope that when I stand with my Savior he will find me filled with His light and love and be pleased with the 'good nut' he found.

Soul Food

The past month (and especially this week) have gone by in a blur... this holiday season was absolutely crazy for me.

There were a lot of changes in my home and I had to move things around and CLEAN every room, closet, shelf, etc. Then the holidays were here and family came in to town. It was so fun to see them, but the house was a continual disaster - and I was continually trying to clean it. My husband is also trying to put together a new business venture and since I am the computer 'go-to-gal' in our family.. I was lucky enough to spend hours and hours and hours putting the business plan together for him.

I have been working from the moment I get up... to the minute I lie down.. .I am exhausted.

Then I finally heard it... I heard a quiet crying within my soul. It was sad. It wanted to enjoy life. Many of the basic needs of this 'soul' were being neglected. At first, I didn't know how to fix this sad little soul... but the answer soon came.

It started when I laughed at something funny. My heart skipped a beat and I felt warm and tingly in my chest...

"Okay, that was something I liked" I thought to myself

Then the next day I had to run an errand alone. As I sat in the car singing as loudly as I could, I felt it again. There was excitement in my heart and I could feel it spreading to every aspect of my body and mind. This was making me and my soul very happy.

And finally today, I figured it all out. My body was achey and I was feeling fatigued. I was craving a good workout or something to move my body. I went outside and breathed in the cool winter air while watching the sunset. I walked up and down the street listening to music as I went.

When I got home, I turned on the music. I sang as loudly as I could... I danced as hard as I could... I acted silly and ran around like a monkey and danced the 'twist'. I laughed. I brought my children in with me and we have FUN!!

Happiness and joy came flooding into my life again... and it all happened because I listened to my soul and learned what it wanted to be fed to be happy.

Enjoying the moment!

Reading and inspirating book
Preparing a talk or lesson

I have only begun adding to my soul food list. I urge you to find yours.

Definition of Soul Food: Anything that brings you joy and connects you to the spirit that lies within yourself.

Destination Happiness

You cannot ARRIVE at happiness. It is not a destination you reach and then stay there. Sometimes the choice to be happy is easy... but sometimes it is very, very hard. I was looking around people in this world that are miserable and wished I knew what to say to help them realize this.

Please forgive me if you are one of these people, I do not mean to offend in any way (especially, since I once struggled with the same thing) but I wish to speak openly in hopes that it will help someone find joy, peace, love, and light in their life instead of choosing darkness.

Here is what I see...
I see a victim who is very comfortable in this role. If something happens in their life that can be 'perceived' as bad, you can see the hurt in their eyes and quickly it is followed by a comment or another look that says "I knew it. These things always happen to me"

I see someone who is self-absorbed and thinks that everything and everyone around them is to either serve them in some way - or to leave them alone. They get irritated easily if things do not go exactly as they want.

I see a dreamer who talks about "when I get this...things will be better" or "when this happens to me...I will be happy".

I see a complainer who never enjoys the moment at hand. They constantly critisize the world and people around them, wishing they could change them.

I see a martyr who creates situations around them that are horrible and then they sit there and feel sorry themselves.

This is what I wish I could tell them...
If you cannot choose to be happy in whatever circumstances you are in - then you never will be. Happiness comes when you choose a peaceful, forgiving, joyful, grateful, and loving thought instead of focusing on the negativity in the world around you. It is based on the choices you make each moment - NO MATTER HOW HARD - that will keep you in a joyful place. Only then will you be able to feel true happiness... even in the midst of pain.

KNOW that you are loved... and you are a child of God (which means he loves you no matter what and you are destined for greatness)

TRUST in the process of life. Believe that all things have a purpose and that in the end, it will always work out.

SEE the good in all things. Hidden inside each experience are great blessings. And yes, that even means the most horrible things that happen to us. We must look for the good in order to see it.

FORGIVE everyone and everything. By holding on to the pain, you are only hurting yourself more. (Forgiving does not mean trusting so if you are in a dangerous relationship - please protect yourself - but still choose to forgive them)

LIVE in the moment. Seize the opportunity that comes each second to be 'in the present'. You will find new joy as you experience things on a more conscious level... you will truly see the people around you, you will enjoy your experiences completely, and you will feel peaceful, content, and happy.

LOVE the world around you. Love the earth... love your friends... love your family... love yourself. Miracles happen every day when there is love.

Although you cannot 'arrive' at happiness (and stay there permanently without any effort)... if you do these few things, I promise you will feel joy like never before and it will be pretty darn close to actually arriving at "destination happiness"