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Okay. So you say you want it all? Noted.🗹 

First, you’re going to have to start with “nothing” as a baseline. See, that way, you have a frame of reference. 

Next you’re going to have “some,” to help you learn how to manage “it all” when it arrives. If you don’t learn from this phase, it’s okay. We’ll helpfully let you start over at “nothing” again to get those More Muscles in shape.

Very few ever get to “it all” because even the ones who seem to have “it all” are deeply in debt, sick from their secrets and alone in a crowd. 

The “all” you’re really seeking isn’t a big pile of money, a perfectly-coiffed and curated persona on Instagram and a happily-ever-after with a stranger you met by swiping right on a dating app.

Actually, the ache for “it all” embedded within you is something else. Just as you’ve got a heartbeat, that’s your soulbeat. It’s:

  • Being who you are, no matter what room you walk into.
  • Learning every day that you don’t have all the answers, but that the questions themselves are sometimes the point.
  • Working toward a goal to engage all your faculties and your faith at the same time.
  • Using your own experience to know that people causing pain in your life are in pain themselves and greeting that grief with grace.
  • Getting to know and love yourself just as you would a “soulmate” so that you don’t end up with a “cellmate,” both locked into the self-defeating notion that you’ve failed to complete each other.

Life really is simpler than you make it out to be. 

  • Find your forte. Do that with all your heart. 
  • Find your community. Connect and show you care. 
  • Be yourself. If you meet a partner on the same page, be yourselves together.
  • Do your best. 
  • Take care of yourself. 
  • Be kind. 

Whatever you can’t figure out, turn it over to me in prayer. You may come to realize that in some ways, you already do have “it all.”

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When someone says, “I owe you an apology,” have they really apologized? It seems to me that until they say the words, “I’m sorry,” it doesn’t count. Owing an apology is like saying, put it on my account!

“That show’s been running for seven seasons and I never miss it,” a commenter online said, and I had to mull that over. Does that mean they like the program? Or perhaps they don’t watch it, and frankly, they don’t miss it either?

“Hey, Ruth! Long time!” It was an old acquaintance I’d run into at the store. “You look exactly the same!” he said, to which I replied, “Thank you!” I assumed it was meant as a compliment, but was it? What if he’d actually meant, “You looked like forty miles of bad road twenty years ago, and dagnabbit, you look exactly the same today! My condolences!”

Maybe we’ll never know what other people are thinking. The best we can do is to be truthful yet tactful, choosing our words carefully. With any luck, we’ll be able to make our point in a kind and thoughtful way. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.” 

What if you found out you’d never be able to lose weight as long as you held a grudge in your heart? Say you hatched a plan to exact revenge and succeeded in getting your “pound of flesh,” only here’s the catch: you have to wear it on your person as a saddlebag! I can only imagine how quickly most of us would find a way to be forgiving.

We seem to hold onto grudges as a means of survival, as if being cynical will protect us from being hurt or betrayed ever again. Perhaps your body is listening and thinks you want to keep a wall between you and the possibility of being wounded again, a “blubber buffer,” if you will.

Or maybe God’s getting tired of hearing you complain about that last boyfriend who never bought you flowers, and now he’s gone and married a florist! The injustice! So the maker of all things decides to teach an object lesson. You stop hurting when you stop hating, child. Until you do, I’m going to physically add weight to you until you get the correlation. Zap! You’re zaftig.

Whatever the particulars were, whoever the players were, the only way to release yourself from past pain is to love yourself more than you hate the ones who hurt you.

When you lighten up and let go of that heavy burden, the least that will happen is that you’ll have more time for the blessings in your life. You may not lose weight, but you’ll lose hate. And that’s how you make space for grace.

What if you had an outfit that brought you good luck every time you wore it? You’d put it on and, instantly, everything in your life would go well. I bet you’d wear it every single day! But here’s the catch: It came to you from Icarus, the farthest star known to man, and it’s got alchemical properties. 

While you get the hang of wearing it, you may randomly:

  • Become invisible
  • Be able to read minds at will
  • Hit all the winning lottery numbers in every state at the same time

On the other hand, you may also:

Would you take the risk?

If only it were as simple as putting on a scarf or tucking in a pocket square!

Well, you can actually create your own personal pocket of grace. Here’s how:

  • Focus on the positive
  • Surround yourself with people who lift you up
  • Stay on the path to the “yes” life

And before you know it, you’ve created your own good vibes. Oh, and it helps to give thanks to the one who made it all possible. No, not some corporate sponsor or mystery philanthropist! The one who made it all: you, me, the sky, earth and sea. Here’s another word for that pocket of grace: Faith.

credit: today.com

Let’s say you had a meeting and it was crunch time. Looking over the attendees, you realize there’s a baby sitting in one of the chairs in a suit and tie. Now, that’s something you don’t see every day! 

Look at you. You can’t even hold your own head up, man! You’re drooling, babbling on about nothing, and your contribution at the last meeting was nothing but a big pile of poop. Get ahold of yourself! 

You notice the baby’s round belly under his pocket protector and bib.

You’re letting yourself go around the middle, there, pal. You really should do some crunches!

You wouldn’t expect a baby to know how to crunch numbers. Heck, they can’t even crunch granola yet! And surely a baby’s too young to hit the gym.

Different rules apply to people depending on the situation, and we don’t all develop at the same pace. Some may think that, just because they haven’t had an experience, that experience isn’t valid.

People who call others “snowflake” or “overly sensitive” are actually, let me see if I can find the technical term here in my thesaurus.. Oh yes. Insensitive clods!

Mercy. Let me re-phrase that. 

Such people don’t seem to have been born with a compassion compass, that thing inside that says, I may not understand what you’ve been through, but I can see that you’ve been profoundly affected by it.

Then again, if I label them insensitive clods, I’m the one being insensitive. 

Perhaps a better way to frame it is that they’re newborns in terms of the expression of empathy. Their mercy-muscles haven’t formed fully yet. One day they may be in a new situation and it’ll be crunch time for them. Here’s hoping the people in that room will show them some compassion.

What if we come to find out we’re all just a bunch of free-range chickens in the backyard of some giant, benevolent aliens? 

Then we’d have no need to beat ourselves up when we make a mistake. Or regret choices we made when we felt we had no choice. We’d get back to basics pretty quickly. 

Be the best free-range chicken you can be! Don’t peck at the other hens. Keep your feathers clean. Get some sun in the yard. And then, you know what? Go lay an egg! 🥚

I’m not trying to insult you! Remember: you’re a free-range chicken on an alien outpost. The normal human insults have no effect on you now. Go sit on it. The egg, that is!

The aliens have thought of everything to give you a comfortable life as a beloved pet, including heated hen houses, high-quality feed, and a trail by the water.

So why don’t you go jump in the lake?🤽

No offense, of course! This is all just an exercise to show that the mean-spirited things we humans say to insult each other are all just code for: I’m aiming these specific words at you to make you feel bad. Why? It’s usually because you, or someone else hurt me, and since I don’t know how to manage these feelings or resolve them, I’m sitting in a pool of poison. All I’ve been taught by society is to pick it up and throw it at you. 

When others aim their poison arrows of pain at you, don’t engage. Let them carry their toxins on down the road. Keep your eyes up, heart open, and if you come across a bump in the road, well, just… take a flying leap… of faith, that is! Safe travels, dear hearts.💖

It’s been said that “life is short,” but, what if it turns out it’s long?

I looked in the mirror as I was smiling one day and realized I had a dimple. Oh! That’s nice. Always wanted to have dimples. Two weeks went by before I realized that it wasn’t a dimple. It was a wrinkle! 

Horrors!

It’s actually a laugh line. Hmm. That’s not a bad thing, is it? To have laughed in life. And to have lived a while. Both good things. After a moment, I shrugged. You know what? It’s okay to wear your life on your person. Some may choose to erase their lines with a nip and tuck or an injection, and that’s their choice. I wouldn’t judge them for it. If I had the means, I might even make the same choice.

But self-acceptance is a life-long process. When I was younger, I was always self-conscious about my appearance. Wanted my make-up just so. Clothes to be in style. But as your body changes, your outlook changes. 

Just as you’ve got a favorite comfy armchair, a lived-in body can be a comfort. You know how to adjust as you bend to lift up a package as you get older. You’re grateful that, despite health conditions, you can still get around reasonably well and take care of yourself.

The true wake-up call is that you’re still you. It’s hard to explain to younger people, but you feel like the same person you always were on the inside, even as your features change with age. The fact is, there’s still so much to look forward to in life, and, God willing, you may live to a ripe old age. You might as well become your own best friend.

Dear Flabby, Why does everyone else have someone who loves and adores and fulfills them, yet I am alone? Signed, Searching in Schenectady

Dear Searching:
Look inside yourself.
Peel back your bones.
Where is your heart hiding?
Has it set a place at the table
for unlikely visitors: angels
undercover? Light in unusual
bodies? Look further, into unguarded
places. Find yourself in the last place
you’d look, and you will find your answer.
Nothing outside can fill the void. You must
tend yourself like a flower, remain in light,
rain tenderly on even the ugly bits.
Nurture and coax. Believe in what
will blossom. The enormity of its
blood-red blooms will fill you.
Like will attract like, easy,
bees in a field of flowers.

 

You know you’re getting on in years when you start talking back to the television. I hit that milestone the other day when an annoying commercial for a medication came on. Patients were standing with hands on hips, glaring into the camera. “You think psoriatic arthritis is gonna stop me? Watch me!”

“You talking to me?” I snapped back, all DeNiro-like. “Who’s stopping you, lady? Take a hike!” It’s not just the oddly-threatening arthritics getting under my skin. It’s the fact that commercials for drugs are allowed on TV at all. Many have called for a ban on all pharmaceutical advertising, in keeping with the rest of the world. Only the US and New Zealand still allow it.

We’d like to believe that there’s a government agency watching out for the interests of consumers, but that’s not the case. A few years ago, I complained to the FCC that Comcast had upcharged me, but nothing happened. Some time later, there was a class action concerning Comcast’s upcharging, resulting in a $2.3 million dollar settlement. But here’s the catch: the money didn’t go to the consumers, but to the FCC! 

So I say, if nobody’s watching out for us, we’ve got to watch out for each other. There’s enough shady business going on in the world. Let’s show up as bearers of light, and do the right thing every day. All of us putting our candles together could really put a dent in the darkness.

Oh, hi there. You caught me doing my index-finger isometrics so they’re strong enough to open my closet door. 🤞 You see, my house was built in the 1960s (so was I, for that matter), and it seems to have been designed by a sadist. (The house, that is. Not me.)

This closet door is virtually impossible to open. It’s as if they took a thimble from someone’s sewing kit, jammed it into the door and called it a day. I’d like to meet the sadist who designed it so I can accidentally poke him in the eye with that finger. It’s nice and strong now. I jest of course! I’d probably just smack him with a hanger. Oops! Jesting again. But you can sense my very real frustration.

There are so many things around my house that need fixing, and not a penny in the budget with which to hire a contractor. The microwave broke last week. The fence needs repair, there are leaks from the ceiling, and the floors need to be re-finished. 

Instead of just sending missionaries overseas to convert people, we should also have a team right here at home with a program to “un-vert” people. To make it very clear, I’m not trying to convert you. I’m trying to convince you that people of faith have no ulterior motive. I’m just here to make your life easier. Can’t open that closet door due to its Lilliputian thimble-like handle? Let me fix it for you. People would join in droves!

Such a program doesn’t exist yet, but until it does, the best way to present your beliefs in a positive light is to follow the golden rule. Sure, stay on message, but be a person about it. You can’t save a soul with a bonk on the head, and, try as you might, some doors will always remain closed.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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