Category Archives: Inspiration

Living Through Uncertainty

The COVID pandemic has certainly shown us how quickly our world can be turned upside down, hasn’t it?  Things change from week to week, day to day and sometimes hour to hour.  I watched as churches announced online on Friday that they would still be holding services only to find themselves scrambling on Saturday to keep the flock together and informed as they were closing their facilities to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The uncertainty has brought out the best and the worst of us all.  We have seen everything from people hoarding toilet paper and fighting over hand sanitizer to people looking for ways to reach out to elderly friends and family.  We have seen churches activating phone trees to keep in contact with members and pastors taking their ministries totally online, speaking to a camera instead of a congregation.  We have also seen reactions from the extreme of fear-mongering to saying there is no danger and encouraging people to behave irresponsibly.

It is perfectly normal to be afraid in times like these.  I am not even going to pretend that I don’t have my moments of fear for myself.  I also have concern for others in my senior community, many with compromised immune systems.  But I know I cannot let that fear consume me.

Believe me, it is not easy; but this is a time I have to continue my spiritual practice and trust God.  As someone who always has to be doing and helping others, I also have to ask, “What is mine to do? ”  — right now, in this situation.

This time of uncertainty is also a time of great opportunity.  If we will use it, many of us will now have the chance to slow down, rest and connect with our higher selves.  We have time to strengthen the spiritual practices (prayer, meditation, affirmations, study) we may have been getting lax in, so we will come out of this even stronger and have better ways of coping when the next crisis comes.  We have the opportunity to get creative with new ways to keep in touch with others and maintain a strong sense of community and belonging.  This is the time to learn new things, new ways of living and being.

If we focus on only surviving this time of great uncertainty things will be just as chaotic when the next great earth-shaking event (or even just a small one) occurs.  With the world changing as rapidly as it is now, uncertainty is a given.  How will we cope?  Will we stay stuck to the things that used to work?  Or will we anchor ourselves firmly in faith and practice as we prepare for the next great adventure?

As in any situation, it is all up to you.  We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can control what we think and believe about them and how we react.  What will your choice be?

This month we will be talking about living through uncertainty.  Please feel free to talk about how you are living in these uncertain times.

 

Having More with Less

Copyright by R.A. Robbins 2017

Yes you can actually have more with less.  Seems contradictory, doesn’t it?  But just think about what might happen if you scaled down, made a clear distinction between needs and wants and cleaned out the clutter, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.  Could you actually end up having more?

These are just a few of the things you could have more of with less.

  1. More time.  What could you do with the time you spend acquiring, organizing, fixing or paying for all your stuff?  Does taking care of your possessions take priority over family time?
  2. More room.  Is you living space full to the brim or at least cluttered?  How much of all that stuff do you actually use?
  3. More peace of mind.  Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to always worry about someone stealing your stuff, having it destroyed in a fire or storm or having enough money to make payments?
  4. More freedom.  Do your possessions control you?  Do you feel trapped in a job you hate because of your house, cars and other “stuff” payments?
  5. More energy.  Are you always exhausted trying to keep a house bigger than you really need clean?
  6. More appreciation for what you have.  Can you truly appreciate things you haven’t seen in months or don’t even remember buying?

Think about it.  What are your material possessions costing you?  What could you have more of with less?

The Simple Life

You may have heard the saying “Live simply so others may simply live,” which is attributed to Ghandi.  It has also been a popular slogan for back to nature, social justice and voluntary simplicity movements.  But how often do we really think about what it means?  Do we even care?

Do we stop and think about the real cost of our creature comforts, luxuries and “necessities” that many people can’t even imagine having?  Do we think of the cost to the environment?  To the disproportionate amount of the world’s natural and financial resources consumed by the U.S. and other “developed countries?”  To the workers who produce consumer goods?

Bob and I have never been about “things” or being the first to own the biggest and the best.  We try to live simply, but even we have to clean out the clutter and get rid of the excess from time to time.

We have recently been called to an even simpler way of life when we could not find a mechanic willing to repair our very old car.  After a minute of panic and anger we began to realize that we really could live without a car.  Once we made the decision to let it go and not replace it we felt an immediate peace come over us.

It has been six months now and we are still learning, but we are getting along quite well.  We live seven miles from town but fortunately in our area we have a door to door public transportation service.  At our age we can go into town for a charge of $1 each way.  We use it for doctor appointments, shopping trips and any business we need to take care of in town.   We have also discovered internet shopping and home delivery which provides much needed jobs in our area.  I think I could get used to pizza delivery.  😉  I also bought a collapsible shopping cart for trips to the nearby Dollar store.  So instead of spending most of my money at a big box store I spread it around a little more.

Of course it doesn’t always work smoothly.  In the early days a neighbor rushed Bob to the dentist when the van didn’t show up.  The van service is still not always as dependable as we need, but I have a list of numbers in my phone for people who have offered rides in case of an emergency.

When we gave up our car we gave up a lot of headaches and worry.  We also gave up some bills which helped balance out our budget.

Of course other people do not understand.  And it would not work for everybody.  We could not do this if we did not have the Pelivan and some of the other services available here.  But for us, this deeper step into the simple life has made life much less complicated and more enjoyable.

What have you given up or would be willing to give up to live a simpler way of life?  Let’s talk!

Choose life

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”  The Bible (NIV), Deuteronomy 30:19,  Accessed from Bible Gateway

Choices

Choices.  Which one is the best?  Which one do I want?  Just choose one.  I want both — don’t make me choose one.  I don’t want either — don’t make me choose one.  Sound familiar? These are the kind of thoughts we have all had while trying to make choices.

While we all enjoy having the freedom to make our own choices actually choosing can be difficult.  There are times we really wish someone else would choose for us.  But that rarely works out, does it?

So why can it be so difficult to choose?

Fear of making a mistake/fear of the consequences.  What if I make the wrong choice?  What if my choice just makes things worse?  Do I really want to be responsible?  Am I ready to live with my choice?

Both choices appear equally good.  In this case, we may wish we could have both.  Sometimes we can have both, like a scoop of ice cream on a piece of our cake.  Other times we really do have to choose just one good thing.

Both choices appear equally bad.  There just wasn’t a good choice.  People of all political persuasions were saying that after the last U.S. Presidential election.  When there doesn’t appear to be a good choice we can always regret the choice we did make — even if the choice was not to chose.  If you choose not to choose you are giving other people the right to choose for you.

Peer pressure.  It can be difficult to make a different choice than it appears everyone else is making.  This happens when we live differently than those around us as well as being the lone vote for or against something in a group decision.  Making choices can be lonely.  But sooner or later we all have to choose — something.

Please join us this month as we look at some of the choices we make and how we make them.  Feel free to leave your comments below.  Give us some tips on things you use to make the decision making process easier so everyone reading these articles could use them. I would love to get a discussion going about this.

Who Measures Up?

Image Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

When it comes to the world’s idea of beauty, who really “measures up?”  Is it even possible when the picture of the “ideal body” is constantly changing?  Not to mention that ideas of beauty vary from culture to culture.

I was born in the late 1950’s so the picture of physical beauty I grew up with ranged from Marilyn Monroe to Twiggy to Christy Brinkley.  I also got a good dose of “stand up straight, don’t slouch” and practice walking with a book on my head for “good posture.”  Everyone was striving for “perfect”  36/24/36 measurements.

My mother did not feel good about her own appearance and transferred her concern about her own weight to concern about mine.  As a teenager I always felt fat.  I always felt ugly.  Now looking at pictures from that time I realize I wasn’t.

Growing up is difficult and adolescence is not for the faint of heart.  It is a wonder that we (and our parents) survived this time.  The awkwardness of trying to grow into changing bodies is something we do not realize will pass as it is happening to us.

The fresh faced beauty of a young teenage girl is amazing.  But how soon does the pressure begin to change some things and cover up others?  As a teenager I fought with my mother over wanting to wear makeup only to give it up completely in my 30’s.

I think it is important to remember that anyone can be a role model. A woman who is comfortable in her own skin and reveals her true inner beauty to the world can do more to help young women develop a healthy body image than all the supermodels in the world.

So the next time you are contemplating saying the words “I’m so fat” or “my nose is too big” or any other disparaging comments about your own body in front of your daughter stop and think.  Is this really how you want her to think about herself?

 

Dwell on the Beauty of Life

Flowers along the road
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations