Ways To Give Back

In today’s world it seems like more take and take than give and take.  When did everyone become so selfish?  I’ve experienced over the years that the more we give, the more we get.

Here are some ways to give back.  This helps out our neighbors, our community and our military.  Giving back makes us feel like thrusting out our chest feathers and shouting, “I’m awesome!  Look what selfless act I just did.”

1) Give Coffee To A Solider


Our troops are overseas and not feeling many of the warm elements of home.  Warm them up with a cup of coffee.  On the site, you can choose the amount of the donation you’d like to give.  You can even add a personal message.  The coffee goes to random U.S. Troops that are extremely grateful for your generosity.  I have sent coffee to troops and the thank you messages I received were very heart warming.

2) Give Blood


What better way to give than actually giving part of yourself.  On the Redcross website, there is information on the types of blood that are in high demand, what not to do before you decide to donate blood and locations to donate.  If you are a first time donor, there is a link to click on that tells you about what to do prior to, during and after giving blood.  Diet is important in blood donations, so cut out the fat and drink a lot of water before you head out to give blood.

3) Help A Furry Friend


As an animal lover, this is my go to site when I have a little extra cash and am feeling generous.  Since the ASPCA is a non-profit organization, they need all the help and money they can get.  Another great way to help out the ASPCA is to spread the word.  With social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it is easy to share a link and ask others to help out.

4) Donate Your Time


Since time seems like something that we can really ever afford to give away these days why not give some to those who could really use your help.  At this site, all you do enter your location and a keyword of the kind of volunteer work you’d like to participate.  A detailed list will pop up with various links of charities or organizations that need your help.  Even better, you can register on the site for free to receive email updates and sign up for the newsletter.

5)  Help Out The Less Fortunate


This is a great website.  You can browse by category and go through the different charities.  You may even stumble on a charity you didn’t even know existed like Crime Prevention or Arts & Culture.  The site has links on getting started and tips on giving every day like 50 ways to save animals, most of which involve a lot of common sense and very little money.  Also, it has some useful information on ways to give time without overexerting yourself.  This is wonderful because a lot of us do not volunteer our time because we have so little of it.

Hopefully this has helped you figure out a few ways to help some fellow neighbors, strangers or furry friends out.  Donating time, money and belongings is a wonderful way to give back.  Not to mention, it really amps up our self-esteem when we do selfless acts of random kindness.

In what ways do you like to help others out?


Perfectly Imperfect

Meditation For Thursday, February 24, 2011

Perfectionism is a stressor for many of us.  For others, it is crippling.  Company cannot come into our home until it is perfect.  We do not leave the house until we look perfect.  When we set the table for dinner, it must look… perfect!

No one is perfect.  The sooner you realize this, the happier you’ll be.

It is 7:40 in the morning and you are yelling at your hair in the bathroom mirror. You’re stressing because you’re running late (again) and there is no way you are leaving the house looking like this.  Your hair refuses to adhere to your strict demands of perfectionism.  If anyone asked you, you would swear your hair could actually hear you.  I know there were a few times I was pretty sure my hair could hear me.  But my hair wanted to play the let’s see how many of us she rips out today game.

Believe it or not, no one cares.  No one will notice your imperfect hair.  Heck, no one notices your perfect hair.  How many times have we apologized for our appearance, the dirt on the dashboard of our car or the seven dishes in the kitchen sink only to be told, “Really?  I hadn’t noticed”.  Now we feel silly because we brought attention to something that no one had noticed. Embrace your freaky hair.  You’ll feel better once you realize there are imperfect things we cannot perfect.  Sometimes (ok, most times) even hair.

Maybe you are having company over and you just spent the last three hours with a piece of duct tape on a stick to get the fuzzies out of the ridge between the baseboard and the carpet.  You are the only person who is, or ever will be, aware of these displaced fuzzies.  Why, when people come to our home, do we get so freaked out about all those fuzzies? Say it with me:  No one cares about the displaced fuzzies.

Lighten up!  Perfectionism is draining.  When we beat ourselves up with this kind of self abuse, it takes a toll on our spirit and our health.  Learning to let go of perfectionism is a wonderful step towards accepting yourself for who you are.  When we let go of perfectionism, we give ourselves the gift of being human.  To let things be as they are (even us and our own idiosyncrasies) gives us time to enjoy the moment rather than fret about its lack of perfection.

Mantra for the day:  I am perfectly imperfect.

Meditation for Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Learn Something New

As the days whisk by and we’re caught up in all of the tedious moments of meal planning, check writing and that fun task of laundry that seems to procreate all by itself (who wears eight socks in two days?) we start to feel like we are in a dirt encrusted rut that Luke Skywalker couldn’t pull us out of.

Learning something new will add excitement to your life.  It helps build self-esteem, enhances your character, and helps you make new friends.  Plus, it gives you something to talk about to your children and current friends other than crusty Cheerios and Dr. Phil.

There is one rule to learning something new. Make sure it is something that you want to learn.  Taking a jujitsu class is great if you want to learn how to better protect yourself in close combat.  But, if you are only taking a jujitsu class to impress the guy down the street, chances are the warm, fuzzy feeling you had in week one will feel like a crampy ‘this sucks’ feeling by week three.

If you aren’t sure what you’d like to learn about or brush up on, make a list of all the things you enjoy.  After you make your list, circle three that you like the most.  Then go online or go to the library and search for classes or seminars in your area on the interests you’ve circled.  Some may cost money and some are free.  If you feel it is worth a few dollars, treat yourself.

There is a great website called, meetup.com that has a slew of different groups, from knitting to motorcycle riding.  You’ll meet people with similar interests and maybe even make some new friends.

Thought for the day:  Learning new things increases my happiness and potential.

Let Bygones Be Bygones

Meditation For Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When we are young we learn about disappointment, hurt and anger.  As we grow most of us learn tools to handle these pains and letdowns.  Those of us who do not learn effective coping tools wind up holding onto resentments that hurt our own well-being.  Holding onto pain from the past hurts our future.

Emotional pain sticks with us longer than physical pain.  If we fall down and skin a knee, we may cry for a moment, but we get up, brush it off and keep on trekking.  However, emotional pain burrows inside of us.  We sit and we dwell and we think of ways to get even or we manifest misdeeds done unto us, letting it damage us continually until we are full of hate.

In the movie American History X, Edward Furlong’s character says, “Hate is baggage.  Life’s too short to be ticked off all the time.”  When I heard that line a light bulb went off in my head. He used a stronger word.. but you get the point.

When we are angry at others, or full of hate, the only ones we hurt are ourselves.  Most of the people we are angry at long forget that we were ever mad at them in the first place.  Others never knew that they had upset us or maybe they did and didn’t care.

So there we sit, in our dimly lit room, or driving our car, stewing over the injustices done to us by careless people.

Get over it.  When you keep your anger, you give away your power.  You are letting the actions or words of others dictate your well-being.  Why would you want to give someone else that kind of control?

If you are so upset that you can’t see straight, write it down, scream at the wall or punch a pillow.  If you feel you really must let the person know how upset you are, write it down first.  It is important that you do this so that you can read it over a few times and let the situation sink in a little.  Often, we realize we are overreacting and wind up tearing the paper up and never saying anything.

If you feel you must say something, it is important that you get it in your head in a way that will be effective in communicating why you are upset.  Calling someone names and rehashing things that have long been talked about can lead to an argument and more resentment.

Meditation for the day:  Letting go of resentment and anger kindles my wellbeing.

Meditation for Monday, February 21, 2011

Your Future Is In Your Hands

You alone hold the power to change your life or maintain it.

Taking responsibility of our lives can be, at times, difficult.  As youngsters, the only responsibility most of us had was homework, keeping our room clean and the chores our parents delegated to us.  Then we enter high school or college as young adults.  The world is starting to look different and we are thinking, most often for the first time, about the future.

I didn’t follow the path my parents had hoped.  Somewhere around the age of fourteen, the blame game started.  My life sucked and it was everyone else’s fault.  I didn’t realize that if I followed the rules, got good grades and stayed in school that my future would be wondrous.  I partially realized this in my twenties.  But, I didn’t fully realize this until less that three years ago.  Since then, I am opening doors of wondrous opportunity and finally understanding that while I have to live life on life’s terms, I control my destiny.

An example of this is someone in a bad marriage, as I once was.  I stayed in that marriage far beyond the realm of reconciliation.  I used excuses like, ‘but, I have nowhere to go’ and ‘but, what about the kids’.  The truth was, the thought of leaving terrified me.  There is a saying that everything after but is bullshit.  ‘I should go back to school, but…’

Practice I statements and leave out the buts.
You’re going to feel like saying ‘but’ after your statement.  Stop yourself.  I don’t care if you have to physically grab your tongue and hold it.  Just make the statement.  Let it settle.  Then say the next statement.

I should go back to school. I will go back to school.
I should join that pottery class.  I will join that pottery class.
I should tell my spouse I am unhappy.  I will tell my spouse I am unhappy.
I should ask for a raise.  I will ask for a raise.
I should take a day off.  I will take a day off.

Sure, stepping out of the comfort zone is down right terrifying!  When we do things that are out of our comfort zone we strengthen our self-worth and confidence.

Meditation for the day: I alone hold the key to my future.

Sometimes We Need To Be Lazy

Meditation for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being lazy has always been frowned upon.  We call unmotivated people lazy, children who do not excel in school lazy and the unemployed lazy for not pounding the pavement 24/7 looking for a job.  It is painful looking for work when jobs are so scarce.

For those of us with plates so full the tasks are spilling out over the sides, being lazy is a great idea once in a while.

When I say, “be lazy”, I do not mean, “do nothing.” I mean, slow down.

When we are overrun with errands, meetings, exercise, and what to make the kids for lunch on a daily basis, tasks start to blur together.   Before we know it, we open our carefully packed lunch to find a pb&j with the crusts cut off.  Your child is sitting in school scratching her head because she knows that you know she hates veggie wraps.

Being lazy helps us to regroup and realize our priorities.

Rome was not created in one day.  Cliché, I know, but it hits the point home (I’m hoping).

Take your time.  There are a lot of things in life that can wait until you get a few spare moments to tackle.

In the morning, quickly go through your day.  You can do this in your head or on paper.  Check off the things that need immediate attention.  Leave the items that can wait unchecked.  Be honest with yourself.   If it is Tuesday and you have a meeting, the kids have violin practice and the dog has to get to the vet, do you really need to vacuum the entire house? The fuzzballs can wait.

Realization for the day: Being lazy once in a while is okay when we focus on the big picture.

Friends Are Important

Meditation for Saturday, February 19, 2011

With all of the errands, housework, deadlines, and other tasks that fill our day, sometimes we get wrapped up in ourselves.  Chilling out for an hour here and there isn’t going to hurt anyone or anything.  Chilling out with friends makes life fun, relaxing, and at times, rejuvenating.

Spending time with friends helps us grow.

Whether we are laughing over the latest blurbs from our toddlers mouths or gasping at the newest gossip, spending times with friends keeps us grounded and helps us grow.

I have a few close friends.  When I get off the phone with a friend, or I am on the way home from a coffee night, I see things in a whole new perspective.  Sometimes we dump on each other, but we always do our best to find the humor in situations and we wind up laughing over events going on in our lives.

When we discuss our problems or bounce ideas off of someone we trust, we get a completely different view-point.  A lot of the time we are so encased in the dilemma or idea in our path, we rarely are able to think outside the box.

And there are times when we just need to sit and chat about the latest book we read, television show we watched or yoga class we attended. We may even need to let off some steam about a co-worker we fail to get along with.

That’s okay. It is important to have friends we trust in to tell all of the good stuff and the not so good.

Meditation: Spending time with my friends helps me to realize my potential.