Tag Archives: direction

New Paint

We have decided to place our home on the market, for the third time. In preparation, I am scraping down the old paint on the porch so that I can add a layer of adhesive primer and then some fresh paint. My son and I did something similar a couple of years ago to the same porch but without the adhesive primer. It looked great for a while, but after some time and weathering, the wood did not truly accept the paint and it began to lift off.

This reminded me of the process that we go through to become better people. Sometimes, we brush off the old habits, attitudes and thought processes so that we can take on new ones. A lot of the times, we find that without a proper foundation, the new habits, attitudes and thought processes just don’t stick like we thought they would. We find ourselves falling back into our old patterns. It certainly is easy enough to do.

I think that is why we need a life changing event, an ‘aha’ moment, a strong source of motivation to act as the adhesive primer to create the proper foundation for our newness. We need something that makes the new habits stick. My sister had complimented me on my will-power to avoid gluten containing foods, but I attributed that not to will-power, but a motivation to avoid the arthritis and pain that the inflammation gives me as a result from eating gluten and high sugar containing foods. That experience of overall pain and lack of mobility helps me want to avoid the same in the future.

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” – Marianne Williamson, American spiritual teacher, author and lecturer.

To have a different attitude or develop a different habit, we need to change the way we think. We must make a conscience effort to change and be better. It is like putting on a new coat of paint. To make sure the paint sticks, we need a good foundation, which is why this time, I am using an adhesive primer on the porch. I don’t want the porch to look good temporarily, but for it to look good for the new owners for many years. I don’t want to change myself for the better just to fall back to where I was. I want to change myself for the better so that I can create a firm foundation to continue getting better. I know that I will never be perfect, but that doesn’t matter, as long as I try daily to be better than I was the day before.

I hope to have the porch painted by the end of the week. It is a good exercise in reminding me that, like the porch getting new paint, that I must continually strive to improve myself as well. Take this time to be thankful for all that you have, all that you are and ask for guidance to be all that you are meant to be. Take care and be well.

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No Left Turn

On the road where I work, there is a bridge over a main interstate artery for our city. The area around the bridge has been under construction for almost two years. There are two traffic lights on the bridge to allow left turns from both sides to access the artery below. The traffic on the bridge was always congested. On my way home each evening, I would wait in line to turn left. It was not unusual to wait two to four cycles of the traffic light to execute the turn. Yesterday, they finished building the new ramps to allow both lanes to turn right to go either north or south. No more left turns! Traffic today moved much smoother and much faster. This will make my commute home each night much easier.

Speaking of new traffic patterns, I survived yet another layoff from my work. The department I worked in was outsourced to a third party contractor. I am in the process of learning what my new duties and responsibilities are in the new reality of my job. I am exploring the paths that define my new work. It is an interesting adventure. On top of the new duties, our overall processes have changed because of the off-site processing. This is giving me the opportunity to learn the new system and develop efficiencies around them, trying to avoid the left turns that create difficulties. I am enjoying the challenge. I see both the road work and work changes as positive. Both are efforts to improve and enhance their respective purposes.

I am saddened that some of my co-workers are losing their positions because of the changes. They were good at what they did and they worked earnestly and honestly. Of course this leaves fewer people to do the work, but the new procedures places many of the stresses on the contractor and away from the employees.

My Life GPS

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I like to use a GPS when I drive. I use a social GPS where other’s ahead of me provide input and I can verify the info for those behind me. I think that we can use a social GPS in our own lives. But when I thought about it, I think we do have a GPS in our lives if we choose to use it.

Before the GPS can plan a route, you must first input where it is you want to go. In life, it is a good idea to decide and know where it is we want to go. Not everyone does. The GPS will always tell you where you are, if you don’t let it know where you are going. It is good to know where you are, otherwise how would you begin.  I will admit that I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I am not even sure I know what I want to be when I grow up. Since I am more than 50 years old, I probably should decide. It is never too late to decide where you want to be tomorrow. I’ve been thinking about retirement, especially where to live after retirement.

So my first task is to input into my life GPS where it is I want to go. When I do that, it gives me several options for my routes, with the fastest option at the top. I can choose slower options, it is up to me. Once I choose the route, the GPS gives me my first direction. It’s initial route is based on traffic and known hazards at the time the request was made. When we make decisions on what to do next, we can only make them based on what we know now. We make the very best decision we can with the knowledge that we have. We may find out later that the decision was flawed, but only because of information of which we were not aware.

My GPS dynamically changes routes when it encounters new information. In my life, I have to do the same thing. I may have to change my actions or thinking based on new information or situations. No matter how well we plan, we still must be flexible enough to deal with the reality of the moment. The GPS routes around the obstacle, if it can, or warns you that the obstacle is ahead and you just have to suffer through it. The GPS might even provide routes that we didn’t know or think about. That happens in life too. We might not be aware of obscure opportunities that get us to the place we want to go. Or we might not realize that there are different ways to live our dreams by doing things associated with our main goal. Our life GPS can show us new ways to approach our future.

Sometimes my GPS is wrong. There are times that my GPS will tell me that there is traffic ahead but when I get there, it is gone. Was there traffic there earlier? Probably yes. Just like in life, just because we experienced something once, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the same way now. Travel is a dynamic exercise. Roads can close at a moments notice, new roads open, detours pop up, accidents shut down lanes and create traffic tie-ups. Life is like that too. If we were hurt in one relationship, it doesn’t mean that every relationship will be bad.  Just as the GPS doesn’t have all the answers, things in our life can pop up that were unexpected and unplanned.

Even when the GPS is right, we may not want to follow the directions or take the wrong turn. I sometimes think to myself, that doesn’t make sense to me, I think I will go this way instead. Almost every time I do that, I end up regretting it. If I ask someone wiser than I for advice and then ignore it, it usually doesn’t work out well for me. Their experiences are different and may not be perfect, but the information is valuable. We can learn from those who have experienced and overcame difficulties similar to ours. Or, we can ignore the GPS and go our own way. It might work. It might not. It might have been easier if we listened. The GPS might have been wrong.. This is why life is an adventure.

My life GPS comes in many forms. It takes the form of the Bible, many great books both spiritual and philosophical. It comes from seeking advice from experienced individuals. It comes from studying problems and learning how others coped with difficulties and opportunities. It comes from my own past experiences. It comes from thoughtful and heartfelt prayer.  And, it comes from my hopes, aspirations and dreams.

Life has a GPS. It can tell us where we are and where we have been. But for every moment we live, we help decide where we are going.