There I was, minding my own business…listening to a little Christmas music…

If you missed my previous post about the outrageous desecration of ancient California Native American petroglyphs you might want to catch up here.  I assure you I have no intention of continuing with themes related to negativity and odious behaviors, but based on a morning encounter with a billboard, I just couldn’t resist sharing what occurred this morning–a final emphasis on how much work goes into maintaining balance, while cultivating positivity!

It’s kind of tricky business to put yourself out there as a positive outlook blog–breathelighter’s primary focus is towards encouraging general well-being and the ways that I maintain balance, then this week I switched gears quickly and talked about being outraged.  My natural set-point is balanced more heavily towards optimism, but sometimes I lose that perspective, despite my best efforts. Occasionally I realize that although I don’t very often lean into depression, if I’m not careful, I can swallow a heavy dose of cynicism.

It’s not my best trait. But when I don’t actively affirm more positive attributes in others I fall into a well-nursed  negative and complaining tone.

I  know to take responsibility for how I feed my emotions. It’s my problem if I listen to others complain, or digest non-stop media messages designed to elicit a negative emotional response. It’s certainly my own fault if I choose to be addicted to the daily news…most of it is rubbish.

When I realize I’m tumbling into the abyss of gloom, I usually know what works to lift me out.

So that’s what I was doing this morning.  On the way to work I chose to keep the radio off, and as I was cheerfully listening to a favorite Christmas CD I pulled up to the first large intersection and quickly glanced to my right. Whoa! My head did one of those whiplash hard snaps! Where just yesterday a billboard promoting a local health food store stood mighty and tall right next to a “Christmas at Disneyland” advertisement, this is what I read.

Well, that will wake you up!  It wasn’t even 7:00 a.m. yet!  Even Christmas music can’t quite calm that jolt!

The San Gabriel Valley has the largest concentration of Chinese Americans in the entire United States. You can see the message is printed in English and Chinese. I won’t comment on the board’s content except to say that I feel ignorant of the issue. The billboard did its job in raising some level of awareness and I’ll fact check as soon as I’m able.

Sobering.

So where do I go from here?

I have an activist nature…I don’t ignore problems very well (not that I don’t sometimes try…)

I wonder if young people know of Helen Keller?  She inspires me.  As a deafblind social activist–did you know she helped found the ACLU? –she lived her own words:  “Although the world is full of suffering it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

She doesn’t sound cynical, does she?

There are so many people doing really GOOD things to the benefit others.

I have been hearing some wonderful stories of examples of hardworking, committed people not necessarily actively seeking global change, but  finding creative ways that make a difference right on their doorstep.

So that’s my focus for the rest of this week.

My next post will share a couple of stories highlighting people/places or things that inspire me. Maybe you’ll also enjoy the benefit of a little shift in focus.

I hope you’ll come back and be buoyed along with me.

And the music I was listening to on the way to work? Music always elevates my mood.

I’ve added a page at the top of the blog banner where I’ve listed some of my favorite holiday tunes. It’s just for fun. Maybe you can leave a comment there and let me know what you are listening to this holiday season.

I suggest we all turn down the noise! If you’re more disciplined than I am, try turning it completely off!

What are you looking for this week?

Thank you for being a friend

Traveled down the road and back again

Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.

And if you threw a party

Invited everyone you  knew

You would see the biggest gift would be from me

And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

(Lyrics from Golden Girls theme)

Kay, Debra, Bev, Joy and Ginny (left to right)

Wonderful friends are nourishment, boosting reserves for the next leg of the journey! This year we each mark  our Diamond Jubilee…it sure is easier to go the distance with smiles on our faces. And the best thing? We may be “Golden Girls” but we can still laugh at the same memories and for a short time feel like we are 18. It was a lovely weekend.I am expecting good things “going forward.”

We had another unexpected visitor. Sitting on the patio Ginny, Kay and I enjoyed watching the birds. And look who found us?

Expectation!

“Well, you can go on looking forward,” said Gandalf. “There may be many unexpected feasts ahead of you.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Hoping you’re anticipating a good week. Let’s be on the lookout for a variety of feasts!

Monday breathing lighter…Debra

Our acceptance speech…it IS award season after all!

I’ve recently been posting about my trips into Hollywood and it IS Academy Award season! It’s also true that at particular junctures in my life I’ve been symbolically awarded one of those little statuettes—apparently I have a flair for the dramatic. But in the spirit of the award season, our little blog has actually been given two very delightful recognitions.

I want to first say that the outcome of being singled out for any positive acknowledgement is a certain boost to confidence. Every time someone tells me they enjoy what we have to say in our little blog I just smile and shake my head a bit. The pleasure we in turn receive from that feedback is a continual surprise. I have always thought that I am primarily an intrinsically motivated person not particularly requiring a lot of overt attention, but recently it has occurred to me that perhaps that isn’t as true as I’ve thought. For one thing, I do have a lot of regular encouragement and support in my family, and with the addition of good friends perhaps I have more than my share.

This has been a thought I’ve been chewing on…so many people I know do NOT get their fair share of encouragement. And we all do need it, not matter what we’re doing. So upon accepting our recognitions let me also take the opportunity to truly thank Meg of Meg Travels for the Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award. We feel both honored and encouraged. Given the eclectic nature of some of our ramblings we are truly delighted that Meg considered an award highlighting our “content”–we humbly thank you for the gold star!

And I really encourage our blog friends to travel over to view Meg’s wonderful site. I read her rich posts to enjoy the benefit of vicarious trips around the world–even a virtual pleasure trip is going to help you breathe lighter!

The guidelines for the award begin with Alyson of the Thought Palette. And as part of accepting the award I’ve added the ABC award logo and complied with an interesting alphabet challenge! Instead of sharing specifically about ourselves, I think we do quite a bit of that in our blog, we’ll list some words that fit very nicely into our overall theme of promoting wellness. Here are some genuinely POSITIVE words:

A affirmative J joviality S stillness
B bright K kindness T thankfulness
C charitable L laughter U unwavering
D delight M meaningful V vibrancy
E encourage N nutritious W willingness
F friendship O optimism X x-cellence
G genuine P positivity Z zestfulness
H harmony Q quietude
I imagination R refreshment

And I would like to pass the award on to three blogs I have enjoyed specifically for their positivity! It’s difficult for me to choose favorites from among the many wonderful blogs, but I’ve chosen three for the way they support and emphasize well-being!

Let me introduce you to Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation and Deepali at Wellness Kriya. I also really enjoy Melissa at West Coast Nest. I first found her blog thinking we “shared” the west coast…she’s sharing life from Vancouver, and has a really lovely and visual blog. I always breathe lighter after reading each of these three wonderful authors!

And, hold onto your party hats! Meg also passed on The Candle Lighter Award. How lovely to be associated with this award conferred because of our positive and uplifting posts! We gratefully accept this award and will hold on to it for just a little while before passing it along. But we will!

Receiving acknowledgement from you, Meg, means a great deal. We are always so pleased just to find some lovely comments in our inbox and to know that those who read our posts come back again! Drawing even more attention to us is the icing on our party cake. We thank you kindly!

With much appreciation, Debra –and I gladly share this recognition with my dear friend Beth and the girls!