In Everything Give Thanks

"In all things give thanks for this is God’s will for you." Apostle Paul

It is always good to give pause to count our blessings. Thanksgiving gives us that opportunity.

I am thankful for being born an American where we have certain unalienable rights and where we are free to exercise them, or to take them for granted, or to ignore them.

I am thankful for the Pilgrims who braved an angry ocean and withstood seeming insurmountable hardships to blaze a country with freedom to worship.

I am thankful for our forefathers and their foresight and wisdom of our Constitution and the many freedoms afforded us. Even though it has been abused and taken to extremes, I am thankful for free speech.

I am thankful for my family of chance: For parents who lived godly values and taught me character, integrity and an appreciation for work. For my sister who begged for a sibling and then mothered me to a fault. I am thankful for my brothers who taught me to be tough and tender.

I am especially thankful for my family of choice. For my husband of 45 years. A gentle man who is secure enough in himself to give me the freedom to be who I am. I am thankful for our daughter and her special love, laughter and inspiration. I am thankful for our son-in-law for being so good to us, to our daughter and to our grandchildren. I am thankful for our five beautiful and funny and delightful grandchildren.

I am thankful for assorted relatives who have touched my life in various ways – some good, some bad – but all uniting us as a family. I am thankful for friends, neighbors, acquaintances and for those special comrades who laugh with me, cry with me, grow with me. I am thankful for each person who has touched my person in a unique way.

I am thankful for misunderstandings, because they teach me to strive to be a better communicator; for criticism, for it forces me to examine actions and attitudes of self-righteousness, and leads to repentance; for failures, because they make me appreciate successes; for adversity, because it is in the winter that roots grow deepest to find fresh nourishment; for financial reverses, because it helps me to be grateful for what I have.

I am thankful for challenges that taxes every fiber of my being, for it forces me to grow in new directions. I am thankful for dreams, for ideas and for goals, for they keep me active and energetic and alive. I am thankful for a contented mind and a grateful heart.

Need a Life Coach? Contact Mona at 254-749-6594 or monadunkin@gmail.com


Building Your Safety Net

Restlessness and complacency are twin rivals of the human psyche. Carl Jung  

We are complicated individuals with dualities striving for fulfillment.  Here are some thoughts on being whole, complete, real, united and living/walking in congruency with our true self. 

Accept who you are now and grow into whom you want to become. Give up the fairy tail world of “Someday I’ll…” Wishing and dreaming are not enough. Such irrational thinking sees self as whole and complete. It takes out the temptations and struggles of today’s reality. Get in touch with your humanness, accept help and guidance and develop your latent strengths.

Monitor your growth. Set a benchmark to focus on and keep track of day-to-day progress. For example, studies show that weight loss is twice as effective for those who record their food intake as those who do not. Monitored activity or thoughts makes reality more visible, whereas non-measured activity lends to error.

Give up trying (low energy) and go with doing (high energy). Look at how far you have come “since when” and embrace where you are now. Trying embraces struggle whereas doing releases ideas, energy and results.  Success in small increments ups the ante to keep on keeping on. 

Change your playground and your playmates.  The body is a remarkable instrument that wants to heal itself.  The cells in the body have only two positions: closed for protection and open for growth.  Glucose is a willpower enforcer that is released into the blood stream in nurturing environments. Glucose “willpower” is constricted in hostile, not-good-for-you settings.  Consider who is good for you and hang around them. Get honest with who/what is not good for you and limit exposure.

Change is invigorating to soul, mind, body and spirit. Like most things, habits are both good and not so good.  The habit that propels you to brush your teeth is great, not so much the one that unthinkingly reaches for the cigarettes. When surroundings are the same, so too are ingrained habits. A slight change in your environment can cause you to re-think.  Replace junk food with fruits and vegetables. Put interesting reading material on top of the TV remote. Keep dumbbells in an accessible spot for impromptu strength training.  Every time you chose a positive move, consciously tell yourself you are brain-training your mind.

Believe it and see it.  Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality. Athletes who visualize overcoming an obstacle win hands down over the also-rans who tried to do their best. Anticipate challenges and see yourself succeeding anyway. Practice graciously yet boldly saying “No, thank you” to those tempting offers that are sure to come.

There is strength in numbers. Align yourself with people who embody the character qualities you want to develop. Get involved with wholesome groups like church, sports and mentors.  Hang around those who encourage you, support you and cheer you on.

Be kind and patient. Beating yourself up serves no worthwhile purpose whereas self-compassion - especially in light of setbacks - leads to self-control and a do-over motivation. Refuse to indulge in the vicious cycle of error, guilt, condemnation and greater error. Self-forgiveness sets you up to focus on what you really want,  who you really are and whom you really can become. 

Watch your self-talk directed at others. Judging, condemning and criticizing others turns them into your enemy whether they are or not.  We need community. The person you judge as self-righteous may be dealing with his own demons in a different manner than you. Just maybe what you see as nagging is a mishandled way of encouragement. Suppose they (mom, mate, co-worker, authority) see the real possibilities within you and - out of frustration -tries to force you into being you. With the reciprocity of life such as it is your extending compassion to him comes back to you.

Don't Cope. Overcome. Walking a high wire needs a safety net.  So does life.  The good news is that with a self-balancer in hand, it requires less and less effort to stay aright. A setback does not mean failure. What counts is how you recover. Get up, dust yourself off and get right back on track.  It’s worth it.

Need trainer? Mona Dunkin leads individuals and companies to greater levels of success. Contact her at 254-749-6594 or monadunkin@gmail.com View training topics at www.monadunkin.com