“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

 

Indeed, if you applied this philosophy to your every day relationships imagine how much better you’ll feel including having meaningful conversations instead of nagging/knit-picking your spouse or significant other.  There’s enough stresses out there which will trigger our negativity. Don’t bring it home if you can help it.  Of course we’re only human but if we can catch ourselves before we spiral down that hole perhaps, just perhaps, your life situation will improve and trust me, it can create a wonderful domino effect within other areas of your life:

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Dressing for success

The old adage is quite true.  When we conform to the professional world both physically and mentally we are bound to succeed.  However, with that being said…….when you work in an environment where the dress code is quite laxed, and the only people wearing suits is management, the mental mindset is undoubtedly what determines whether you will continue up the promotion ladder or not.

I am quite lucky in that I’ve been promoted 4 times in the past 12 years.  In the federal government you are promoted on merit and you take exams which will determine your current skill set, and, if you’re able to take on the additional responsibilities of the next higher grade.  What you wear is not as necessarily important as what you know.

I have seen various forms of dress from sweat pants to suits.  For myself, it depends on my current mood as to what I’ll pick out from my vast array of “vestments” from my colorful closet.  Today was a “blah” kind of day.



My husband sweetly pointed out I was dressed as all the others. I knew I was and yes, it was also a wake up call to perhaps step out of my comfort zone of jeans and t-shirt and break out my summer dresses and tasteful blouses.

I also realize if you dress for success it actually does affect your psyche. I do feel prettier and far more professional.

Just today wasn’t the day.

 

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll release this funk and create a fresh start.  Certainly my mood warrants it.

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Participating in the military funeral honors program

For most of my military career I have volunteered (or been assigned) to various duties.  The duty which stands out the most for me is the military funeral honors program.  This solemn event is one of my favorites to behold.  Full of rich history and steeped in military tradition, I am always in awe observing one of these in progress.

My wish is to be buried at Jefferson Barracks (alongside my husband)…among our bravest and finest soldiers, for me, is one of the greatest honors.

Below is  additional information for those of you who serve or know of  a family member who served and may wish to have this done:

 

Honoring Those Who Served

 

The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the nation’s deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to the veteran’s family. This website will provide information on Military Funeral Honors along with helpful links to websites related to other military and veterans’ issues. The website will also serve as a resource tool for our nation’s funeral directors as they assist veterans’ families by arranging Military Funeral Honors.

 

HONORING THOSE WHO SERVED
is our commitment to recognize the sacrifice and contributions of our nation’s veterans.

 

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Teamwork

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It takes two to make a marriage work.  Teamwork…..if one person is pulling most of the weight or there is any form of disrespect, then resentment, anger, and ultimately disenchantment will set in.

Outlined below are the 10 most common reasons as to why marriages fail.  You may click on the source link below for additional information:

1. Poor boundaries. Engaging in intimate conversations with members of the opposite sex leads to emotional experiences that cloud judgment, trigger fantasy life, and progress toward physical intimacies outside of marriage.

The connection and acceptance found in an illicit relationship diverts energy away from solving problems with one’s spouse. Confiding about marital problems with a sympathetic listener provides a contrasting experience to whatever dissatisfactions might be present in the marriage.

 

2. Selfishness. There needs to be fairness in the distribution of work and responsibility within the relationship. This willingness to extend oneself also pertains to meeting emotional needs. Placing one’s desires consistently ahead of a partner’s emotional needs and responding only when it is a matter of convenience, demand or negotiations leaves a spouse feeling unloved.

If too many important needs are neglected over time, the unloved spouse feels used or taken advantage of. Consistent lack of love interferes with a spouse’s willingness to give unselfishly in the relationship. When marriage partners don’t trust their needs will be met, they tend to meet their own needs first and become hesitant to share freely of themselves.

Selfishness in its most destructive form involves control, manipulation, jealousy, possessiveness, demands and abuse in order to get one’s way. In milder forms, it is lack of consideration and respect.

 

3. Disrespectful judgments. Marriage needs acceptance, admiration, appreciation and emotional safety. Feelings of anger and hurt follow when the process of exploring differences or contrasting opinions consistently degenerates into criticism, impatience, labeling, contempt, or discrediting one’s thoughts or feelings.

It is disrespectful to try to change a spouse’s thinking by lecture, ridicule, threats, brainwashing, or negative aspersions. These perceived attacks on personality, character, intelligence or values undermine the mutual respect that forms the basis of love. The tendency is to retaliate in kind or else to withdraw and not share one’s ideas. It becomes hard to love or give of oneself when one feels unfairly judged or mistreated.

 

4. Explosive, angry outbursts or rages. Anger can have a useful purpose if it is listened to and leads to dialogue and constructive problem-solving. However, anger can either create more anger or withdrawal, both of which interfere with effective communications.

Unbridled and unpredictable tempers interfere with emotional safety and trust when spouses need to engage each other on emotional issues. The issues behind the anger get lost as the angry response is perceived as unjust, abusive and unwarranted. It is intimidating and controlling.

 

5. Lack of emotional intimacy. The lack of sharing one feelings, goals, hurts, struggles, joys and emotional details of one’s life lead to loneliness and sadness. Feelings of friendship and partnership come from being connected through interest, deep listening and empathy, mutual support, and sharing perspectives as confidants.

Expectations for marriage include a desire for this soul-satisfying experience of being known, understood, loved, accepted and valued for who you are and having a place to turn for comfort and support. If this component of marriage is lacking, marital partners feel cheated of the essence of what they truly expect marriage should provide.

 

6. Lack of affection and sexual fulfillment. When needs for sex and affection are not met, problems mushroom. Without affectionate gestures and words, love seems hollow and not as believable. People don’t marry to get a roommate. They expect to have an active and fulfilling sexual life. Chronic anger and conflict dampen a couple’s willingness to be affectionate with each other.

 

7. Leading separate lives. Relationships also suffer when couples don’t mesh their lives through shared activities, recreational companionship or spending enough time together.

Living too independently from each other takes away connection and joy from the relationship. Couples need to function as a team when it comes to parenting, managing a household, sharing finances, and relating to relatives. They need to consult with each other about important decisions and coordinate their schedules.

Time needs to be set aside to enjoy conversation, adventures, common interests, vacations and fun. Time spent together should be anticipated with pleasure. Without this component, couples drift apart and have little in common.

 

8. Communication is a painful process. A marriage with too much conflict, hostility, blame, criticism, defensiveness, and belligerent verbal attacks seems like life with an enemy instead of a friend. Marriage needs to be a place of safety, a haven, a place of love and refuge, not a war zone.

Always being “right,” being rigid, judgmental, or easily angered or flooded with emotion disrupt communication before problems can be solved. Avoidance of conflict is even a bigger problem as the emotional connection is lost when couples don’t share opinions and attempt to resolve conflict. When repeated attempts to solve problems fail, one partner gives up and starts to withdraw emotionally.

 

9. Destructive habits and addictions. Addictions have great power to be placed in front of the needs and happiness of a partner. Betrayal, hurt, anger and pain follow the wake of addictive behavior. Addictions need to be treated to protect the integrity of the marriage.

 

10. Dishonesty, laziness and other character defects. Basic trust and respect underlie love and form the basis of relationships. Lies, deceit, disloyalty, secret habits, or emotional dishonesty about thoughts or feelings destroy trust and respect. Spouses who willingly don’t take or follow through with their personal responsibilities unfairly shift those burdens to their partner. Marriage is a partnership between equals, not a parent/child relationship.

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Self-awareness

My unit is conducting resilience training.  Given the current military climate (especially what sadly happened at Fort Hood), now more than ever soldiers need to become cognizant of themselves and their surroundings.

The following website is useful to those individuals wanting to learn more about Master Resilience Training and what the Army is currently implementing through all components:

 

Master Resilience Training

 

T
      he U.S. Army Master Resilience Trainer (MRT)
course is a 10-day program of study that teaches
resilience skills to noncommissioned officers
(NCOs). Since the NCOs will teach their soldiers these
skills, this course also teaches the fundamentals of how to
teach these skills to others. The course serves as one of the
foundational pillars of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness
program. The course includes three components: prepara-
tion, sustainment, and enhancement. The preparation com-
ponent was developed at the University of Pennsylvania’s
Positive Psychology Center and is presented in the first
eight days of the course. This component teaches resilience
fundamentals and is based on the Penn Resilience Program
(PRP) curriculum as well as on other empirically validated
interventions from positive psychology (Seligman, Ernst,
Gillham, Reivich, & Linkins, 2009; Seligman, Rashid, &
Parks, 2006; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). The
sustainment component was developed by researchers at
the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and focuses on
deployment cycle training. The enhancement component
was developed by sports psychologists at the United States
Military Academy at West Point and teaches personal and
professional skills that maximize individual performance.
The MRT course is intended to serve primarily as a foun-
dation for training resilience skills (preparation) but also to
introduce other resilience concepts that soldiers will en-
counter at other points in their deployment and life cycles
throughout their careers (sustainment and enhancement).
Therefore, this article focuses on concepts included in the
preparation portion of the MRT course, as this information
represents the majority of the material covered in the
course.

The agony and the ecstasy

I have to lose weight.

Weight has always been my Damocles sword.

Unlike my daughter whose always had a fast metabolism and can eat whatever she wants, I of course, cannot.

fresh1My Army Reserve unit has placed me on the weight control program.  I am 1% over and have been flagged. In order for me to be promoted and attend any schools I have to lose weight.

I HAVE fought with them though over my height.  They keep measuring me an inch short (and am not the only soldier whose had this done).  Trust me 1 inch means a lot when you are borderline on acceptable body weight.

By no means am I obese. I do realize I need to lose weight.  I also found out I suffer from poly arthritis which is different types of arthritis located within various parts of the body. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get up in the morning and deal with a hectic workday. Sometimes I have good days.

In the end I know it’s my responsibility to lose weight and keep marching forward.  Why it’s hard to do, it’s all mental. I love food, food does not love me.  I love my carbs and my sweets, especially bread and rice.

However, if I want to continue with the reserves (and the Army is cracking down on all components) I need to put on my big girl shoes and get to it, eat right and incorporate some type of exercise each and every day.

 

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In love with History…..

“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”
Carl Sagan, Cosmos

 

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Dorthy…we’re not in Kansas any more…

The last couple of days St. Louis and a good portion of the Midwest has faced stormy weather (understatement).

We had two tornadoes, one in the a.m. in University City and the other near Glendale.  When I heard the firestation’s siren going off yesterday evening, last year events triggered a nervous response with this blogger.

I came close to being hit with not just one but three tornadoes in the last couple of years.  I don’t know what’s up with America’s weather system but it seems to me storms are getting stronger.

Here in the U.S. we experience all sorts of natural disasters from Tornadoes in the Midwest, to Hurricanes on the East Coast and Florida. Earthquakes along the West Coast and flooding everywhere in-between.

Seems my country is a target for Mother Nature’s temperamental mood-swings and frankly I’m sick of it. I don’t plan on moving anywhere else anytime soon, so I guess I just have to suck it up. Anywhere you go though there is always some sort of calamity.  The best thing is to always practice good judgement and pay for some pretty damn good insurance.  :(