Looking For Peace In This Crazy World

my mindPublished in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of January 2, 2016©Julie Seedorf

It’s the beginning of a New Year. I’m not quite sure what to do with it. If I pin my hopes too high on a new year I will most certainly be disappointed. If I stay stuck in my ways and try to hold on to the old year I might stay glued to a sticky life.

Last year I vowed, not a resolution, but an  idea to take the time to work on my health, write lots of books and work on finding peace within myself. I followed that idea for the first month and then I got caught up in the whirlwind of life and expectations.

Some of my friends worked on their bucket list. I don’t have one. My friend who lives out east, at the age of 70-something, experienced her first sky dive. She was exhilarated. I know sky diving out of an airplane will not be on my list anytime soon. I am very happy for my friend, but I have this thing about heights and falling, especially free falling without a net, and I don’t trust someone else to pull the cord. Left up to me, I fear I would be too frightened to think about pulling the cord to open the chute. I have no trust in me when I am wrapped up in fear.

Another friend was called for the reality show “Worst Cooks In America.” I will tell you a secret — although I claim I can’t cook — I would fail at winning worst cook because I wouldn’t make half the mistakes the worst cooks make because I find myself yelling at the television and cackling at their ineptness because they don’t know how to boil an egg. I actually can cook, I just don’t let people know, then they have low expectations and they don’t ask me to bring anything to a potluck. I won’t make a resolution for that.

Another one of my good friends made the New York Times best seller list and more. That’s not on my resolution list ether. I’m very happy for my friend, but I am realistic about my writing and don’t think Granny or Jezabelle could handle the notoriety. Maybe I don’t enter awards because I am insecure about my writing, and you have to enter to win. I’ll have to ponder that thought.

I asked some of my readers their expectations of themselves for 2017. Most replied they wanted to be a better person and to laugh more and enjoy life. I happen to think those that answered already are pretty good people, yet, they are going to try harder in 2017 to be honorable people. They actually hit the nail on the head for what I was hoping to do for 2017. I didn’t like the way I handled some challenges this year and hope to be a kinder, more patient person.

Looking back on 2016, I have a hard time believing things are going to change for the better in the New Year. I don’t remember a time in my life when I have felt the attitude of our nation to be one of rudeness and hate and disregard for others as I have seen this past year. The elections seem to have brought out an America I have never known, pitting friends against friends, leaving us to ask ourselves “Who are those guys? Did we really know some of our friends?”

As much as I have heard people lament and be happy the old year is gone because of the rhetoric, I fear we are only on the tip of the tide. 2017 may be no different.

I really do want to be a better person this year. I don’t want to get caught up in the sniping because I don’t like myself very much afterward. I could be silent and stay out of harms way and let it all happen around me, ignoring wrongs that may need righting. That might leave me unsettled too. There is a fine line between being silent for peace sake and being silent for fear of retribution.

I could try the “Eat, Pray, Love” thing. I like to eat, I love to pray and who doesn’t like love? I could call it eat, pray, exercise. After taking all that time off searching her life, the writer of “Eat, Pray, Love” did end up with a best-selling book and a new love, but as the years passed the love didn’t quite work out. I’d rather take my chance on exercise as the only emotions it involves are mine, and there is a good chance my romance with exercise won’t work out.

The new year is here. Perhaps I’ll become a poet, and in 100 years or so my poetry will become a trivia question. Maybe a goal for me would be to be one of the writers in residence on Amtrak. I can dream of a thousand goals and not care if I can accomplish one because they aren’t as important as having peace inside of myself. Will I find it this year? Will you?

Gratitude Partners? Find one?

sidewalkthankfulsplatsGood Morning. Today I have thoughts of gratitude and peace in my mind and heart, by that I mean contentment. It is hard when we are always reaching for tomorrow and then worry sets in. I have a speaking engagement today and I always hope what I have to say can touch someones life in a positive way. I do have a little bit of advice for you today. Each night before I go to bed, I and Andrea and Heather, better known as the author Barbara Jean, exchange messages of five things we are grateful for each day. I am grateful that these two women take the time to share with me as every night before I go to bed I am reminded that i have something to be grateful for though I must admit during trying times it is occasionally hard to see the grateful between the tears. So today I would encourage you to find someone you can exchange five things or more that you are grateful for each day, whether it be in person or by text. It can be someone you have never met but are close to on Facebook. Gratitude does makes a difference and if you do it, let us know if it changes your life.

Love Not Hate

SPRINKLE LIFE1This morning as I was writing in my gratitude journal I noticed my quite for the day and it was “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” I am very blessed to have over 700 friends on my personal page. In that number I can count on one hand those that post comments that incite and fuel the flames if discontent that is fueling what is happening in this country. I believe they don’t do this to cause problems but to point out how they feel and to try and bring people to their side if thinking. They aren’t bad just want to be heard. Unfortunately sometimes the way it is posted fuels the fire. They may choose to I friend me but I choose to keep them as friends because I like them and there is the chance that the kindness and positivity of my other friends will change the way they present their opinion. Think of it, out of 750 friends I have three only that post negatively. I have watched as those friends have posted that they have dropped people as friends because if the spewing hate if the posts. Today I am going to choose joy and I am going to make a commitment to advocate peace instead of hate. I challenge you to do the same and to test those who feel hate in their hearts and choose to share that hate, treat them with kindness too. As my quite says we don’t need to wait a single moment to improve the world” The quote was by Anne Frank and if she could make that commitment during one of the most hateful times in history, we can too.