A “No Resolutions” Zone
It’s that time of year again when tradition has us thinking about resolutions for the New Year. The only problem is that the vast majority of resolutions go by the wayside well before the first month of the year is over. So this year, I’m going to try something new. No resolution, just an adjustment to my life philosophy.
* Leave the negative stuff and people behind. Although it sounds easy enough, this can be very difficult, especially if one of the negative people is a member of the family, a supposedly close friend, or even a colleague or co-worker. Usually people who harbor anger, envy, or dislike for some imaginary reason, none of which we can control, will have their words and deeds be a complete mismatch. In my experience, I got a polite greeting to my face, but behavior that tried to anger or humiliate me. That’s when I remembered that their anger, envy, and hatred are their issues, not mine. Life’s complicated enough. Let’s leave that drama behind.
* Learn something new. This can be as simple as reading a new book, trying a new recipe, learning to play a new song on whatever instrument we play, or taking up a new hobby and becoming decent at it. Today’s technology now makes this relatively easy.
* Keep it simple. Life can get way over the top in complicated, if we let it. I have a finite number of brain neurons left and I’m going to continue to use them wisely. Life’s too short for complicated.
* Love honestly and deeply.
* Laugh with someone, not at them.
* Continue to be kind.
And every once in a while, I’m going to stop what I’m doing, go sit on my deck with Jake, and watch the cloud parade go by. It’s the simple things that help recharge my motivation.
Happy New Year, folks!
Finding Peace of Mind
The hard decision has been made and some final goodbyes have been completed. With the help of a totally wonderful vet, both Bailey and Elliot are comfortable for the time being. But we know that the time we have left with them is very short indeed. Some peace of mind was given to me by our vet when she pointed out that I have been able to give Elliot over four more years than his previous owners were willing to give him. For the last four plus years, she noted that he’s been loved, cuddled, cared for, and wanted more than he ever knew before we rescued him. Bailey also came to us from a bad situation but with the help of both Jessie and Jake, she learned that she was loved again. Peace of mind for Bailey and Elliot will come the moment they reach that very special place where all dogs go. Peace of mind for me will be a bit slower in coming but the knowledge that I was blessed with two more extraordinary pups will help.
The words of kindness and support to our most recent posting have also been very helpful. That gives me the hope that the evil we hear, see, and read about virtually all the time is not an accurate reflection of the truly kind and caring hearts which abound in our world. Strangers are so willing to offer a kind word, a show of support, a path to peace of mind… To my way of thinking, the world is populated with far more good and kindhearted people than it is with evildoers. We just need to shift our focus and attention to those positive role models. They’re all around us, both in human and canine form. Thanks to all of you who shared your kindness. It is very much appreciated.
Making Hard Decisions
How many times have we heard someone – anyone – say that life is not fair? It’s not and I’m not sure it was ever intended to be. Otherwise, we’d never have to face those situations where we have to make difficult and sometimes heart wrenching decisions.
My son and I have had to face a very difficult situation involving one of our pups. With great sadness, we’ve reached the appropriate decision and both of us know that the hole in our hearts won’t ever heal completely. But we know that we love and are loved by one of the best pups ever. What we didn’t expect to deal with is the impact of her cancer on one of our other pups. He’s been at a complete loss with her illness – so much so that those who know this pup best realize that he’ll never survive her passing. It has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. But I now accept that it will be the best decision I can make to have the second pup go home at the same time our first pup starts her journey. He’ll be her protector while she’ll be the reassurance he’ll need to make the journey safely. At the end of their trip, they’ll be greeted by the Dobie I lost to cancer when she was just about 4 years old and they will finally come to that place where they’ll be healed completely, able to play in the sun, chase butterflies, and for the one pup – he’ll never have to be afraid ever again. The hole in my heart will never heal completely and the anxiety and second guessing my son and I have gone through in making this decision has taken its toll.
Making difficult decisions is not easy and sometimes, it’s not fair. But it’s a measure of our faith, and our reliance upon one another that sees us through and helps us grow in knowledge, strength of character, faith, and confidence. Godspeed, Bailey and Elliot. Give Jess a kiss from us. We’ll see you again.
Life Lessons = Karma?
My, oh my!
I got to people watch last week and I don’t think I’m going to surprise anyone by the following observation –
At first glance, there appears to be an increase in instances where coarseness and rudeness direct our everyday interactions with one another. I watched a number of people in the airport push their way around the person in front of them. Rather than wait for an opening in the oncoming crowd, these folks decided their journey was so important that they needed to rudely push their way past the obstacle they had determined was in their way. I’ve seen the same behavior when driving. I admit my temper almost got the best of me the other week when someone blasted past me on the interstate, driving on the shoulder and kicking up all kinds of gravel and debris. I now have a stone chip in my windshield that needs to be repaired. Whoever it was got to squeeze in between the car ahead of me and my car. I suppose he achieved his goal, whatever it was.
Being the eternal optimist that I am and believing that people are not generally rude or coarse for no reason, I know that stories about people behaving badly get more air time and social media time than stories where everyday people are treating one another with kindness and respect. The observation of people pushing past others in a mad rush to get out of the airport is offset by the more frequent observation of people taking their time, stopping to help someone obviously struggling with too much luggage, young children, and an airport that apparently has absorbed the entire population of the state of California squeezed into one terminal between Gates A6 and A17. We need to continue to be kind. It sets a wonderful example for others, especially our children. I’ve faced rudeness and coarseness before. For right now I’m going to continue to follow the philosophy of refusing to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed individual. Helps keep my stress levels under control.
With no subtle filter in place, so far this month has been the “May from Hell.” One of my pups had surgery in late April to address a year old spider bite which had never fully healed. Thank goodness for that because during the surgery the vet discovered a completely encapsulated mass. Had the bite healed properly, we would have discovered this mass probably too late to effectively address it. Now comes the hellish part.
An infection unrelated to the surgery accomplished the removal process of the sutures by literally blowing out the incision just two days before the sutures were to be removed.
Both she and I are blessed that her vet team was/is determined to get her through this. Tests, cultures, exams, etc. have all been done and no satisfactory answer for the source or cause of the infection has been found. Thankfully, her vets won’t give up until my pup is healed and restored to good health. Gotta love persistence.
Wouldn’t it be great if our leaders and managers were just as persistent in finding practical and realistic solutions to the problems facing them? Instead of going for the easy fix, wasting time, money, and human resources, leaders and managers need to buckle down and do the hard work. What is the correct source of the problem? Exactly what is the problem? How can we find the best solutions to resolving this problem? (HINT: It’s not about imposing a solution to address the symptoms – it’s about getting the best people together to correctly identify the problem and work out possible resolutions.) How do we communicate the issue to our organization factually and accurately? Persistence, that’s how. Long hard work that’s firm in its dedication to solving the problem.
Our First Step
A heartfelt thank you to all who have read and shared the recent posts. Now let’s take our first concrete step toward achieving our goal.
The grass roots movement starts with everyone who has read and shared the posts, talked about them with friends, or have family and friends who are passionate about making this movement a reality joining a meeting near them. This meeting can be in person, over the phone, via Skype, or whatever means you have to get folks to come together in small groups. This movement already has people who can lead such meetings so please step up! The focus of the meeting will be to brainstorm and develop 3 – 5 priorities you would like us to focus on. Notes should be taken of all the ideas on the priorities and the listing forwarded to me. If at all possible, let’s get our contributions together by the the end of July.
If someone thinks of something they want to see on the list but forgot to mention it in a meeting, send it directly to me. If you have questions about how to get a meeting organized and creating an agenda, please contact me. I am a resource for you The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and direct inquiries are always welcome.
If you reside in the Phoenix, Arizona area, I will be happy to host however many meetings we can to give folks a chance to contribute to the grand list of priorities. With the help of some very good friends we will compile a master list of all suggestions. That list will be published in an upcoming post. Your comments on that list will help develop the final list of priorities.
We have to do this. Our children are depending on us.
A Paradigm Shift
In a recent chat, Jay Block (author of the bestselling, “5 Steps to Rapid Employment”) made the observation that a near record number of job openings had been reported in March. The problem is finding qualified individuals to fill those positions. He noted that companies and colleges need to take a more collaborative approach to insure that a skilled workforce is available to fill positions as they open. Job coaches have to know exactly what skills are needed so they can do a better job of coaching and advising their clients in identifying and mastering the skill sets needed. That’s where the new paradigm shift needs to come in. In my assessment, communities, companies, and colleges need to enter into effective partnerships. Companies can use the colleges to help insure that individuals are taught the necessary skills to be productive employees. Colleges can use the companies as sources of information on what skills are needed, and to help their students land well paying jobs. Communities need to support such collaborations because as companies relocate, communities need to be able to provide quality neighborhoods, public schools, and community services.
This partnership cannot be in name only, just because it looks good in a press release. The partnership has to be an active, collaborative one. Communities that fail to support such partnerships will lose out on having companies relocate to their area, thereby losing out on the revenue income as a result of new people moving into the community. Colleges will lose out on the chance to increase enrollments, and companies will lose out on having qualified workers readily available.
Now the challenge is to find community leaders, business leaders, and leaders within higher education willing to let go of the past and implement effective new approaches.