Tag Archives: Open

Are You Open or Closed to Good Stuff?

The opposite of open is closed.

We might never view ourselves as those who are closed off to blessings. But sometimes self-defeating behaviors are so habitual, we don’t even realize we’re pinching ourselves off from good stuff.

Like deflecting when a compliment comes our way.

Or feeling despondent when comparing our progress against another person’s.

We see the dark clouds so predominantly, we can fail to see the silver linings.

There is a false drumbeat that drives us to focus on what’s wrong, as if worrying makes us worthy of good. This could be the last vestiges of religion or our cultural upbringing.

As if beating ourselves up when we fail is proof that we mean well.

(And to whom are we trying to prove that we mean well. Ourselves?)

Hyper-focusing on where we think we fall short is a faulty, preemptive strike to forestall the pain of others noticing our lack. Especially silly since most are too busy looking at their own to be bothered with ours!

Such a hefty price-tag we impose upon our imperfections! And all the while, grace and mercy and kindness and love surround us.

Just waiting for us to give ourselves a break and open our hearts.

And let the sunshine in.

Some thoughts on being open…and being closed…in this week’s video:

https://youtu.be/5hjkL84RyG8

I hope the thoughts you think these next two weeks are healing ones. As the scriptures say, “Thought of peace and not of evil…to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

That passage refers to the way God (the Universe, Source – however you wish to call the Divine) thinks about us.

And if God thinks that way, shouldn’t we also?

In fact, the reason negative self-talk feels so horrible is because it is in direct conflict with the Almighty.

Let’s stop voting against our inner being, which always thinks thoughts of love about you.

(And everyone else, too.)

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Waking Up to What’s Really Important

In my teens, it was really important to date a guy with a nice car who was popular enough to help me climb the social ladder.

In my twenties, he had to also have a good job/money, as well as be able to dance well. But he didn’t stand a chance against my career ambitions, which always took precedence over love.

In my thirties, I disappeared (perhaps from disappointment over my less than successful 20’s) into the false safety of what I believed to be my holy calling. What was important was doing God’s will and learning how to abandon my own. I detached from people, places, and things – including my own thoughts and feelings.

My forties ushered in with an abrupt realization that the previous decade had largely been a sham. It became important again to have fun. To try and make up for lost time. With zeal I launched back into my lost career and tried to take as many vacations as possible. Washed down with huge quantities of red wine.

Here we now are, past my mid-fifties. How can it be?

It was just yesterday I was hoping Randy Crowell would ask me to the prom. My QVC auditions feel like they occurred last month. My wedding…and subsequent divorce. Such landmarks, now ever diminishing with each passing day.

My fifties? These years awakened me to what is really important.

When you have little, it’s easy to think that having stuff will make all the difference.

Finally being able to pay the bills on time and not overdraft my checking account used to be really important. Now it’s a non-issue, thank God.

The next evolution involved being able to buy those Jimmy Choos. Or that baby blue car of my dreams.

What did I learn?

These are momentarily joyous, like the sugar rush flooding my bloodstream after downing a creme-filled donut.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love me some creme-filled donuts. White creme, not Boston cream, for those who care about the particulars.

But the rich stuff? The really important stuff?

I have discovered the deep and satisfying joy of sitting on the couch next to someone who holds my hand.

Cracking up over a stupid meme on Facebook and sharing it with a bestie.

Taking an impromptu trip to the beach to wiggle my toes in the sand and enjoy the setting of the sun.

Rubbing my mom’s feet at the end of a long day of her doctor’s visits.

How could I have been so blind to what was really important?

Hindsight offers perspective.

For me, it boiled down to settling my own worth. When I finally did that, I no longer needed to find it in cars, or boyfriends, or career wins, or designer shoes. I no longer needed to hide from life in a flurry of activity or spiritual pursuits.

Settling into our own worthiness is the great awakening.

And now, a brand, spanking new Word of the Week:

https://youtu.be/QG1sQZMbMk8

May our eyes be open to see…what is really important.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Niceville Opened My Heart

Niceville lived up to its name.

When the Okaloosa County Public Library System asked me to present the keynote address at their staff education day, I looked the area up on the map and said, “There’s no way I’m driving to this one!” A good 5+ hours away, the Niceville Community Center was sort of in the middle of nowhere, between Destin and Ft. Walton. In no way would I turn this into a mini-vacation; it would be a quick “in and out” flight.

Still, I wasn’t willing to risk being late for the engagement, so I took a later afternoon flight out of Sarasota and booked a room at the Niceville Holiday Inn Express. All I needed was wifi and a place to rest my head before hitting the ground running in the AM.

No expectations. Certainly no great expectations. This was, pure and simple, a quick gig for which I was grateful.

But Niceville opened my heart with their…well, niceness.

Who shows up to a hotel greeted by a desk agent saying, “Well hello, Miss Brenda! We’ve been expecting you!”?

Victoria seemed genuinely delighted to welcome me, and in the process, charmed me. As we went through the normal ritual of checking in, she smiled and said, “Now have I got a TREAT for you!”

Her glee in delivering the news was drum roll worthy! This woman was so excited to tell me that she was upgrading me to a suite, she actually paused before the big reveal.

All I needed; all I wanted was a bed and wifi. Instead, I got a TREAT. And the treat wasn’t’ actually the suite. It was Victoria’s enthusiasm to be, well…nice.

I smiled as I unpacked my overnight bag, finished some work, and caught up on e-mails. My stomach growled. Wow, it HAD been a long day, and I was hungry — but my options didn’t seem promising.

There was only one option within walking distance – a Ruby Tuesday. I haven’t been to Ruby Tuesday in years! I had vague memories of a good salad bar, but in the recent decade I’ve become a chain restaurant snob. Give me a little, independent, family-owned joint. I eschewed franchises, but hunger prevailed.

As I entered the door, I waited for perhaps 30 seconds for someone to greet me. She did as if seeing a long lost family member returned to the roost. “Oh honey I am SOOOOO sorry you had to wait! Let me get you a nice seat…”

Of course it was a nice seat. I was in Niceville, and it seems EVERYTHING in NIceville is…well, nice.

Food snob – ha! That was the yummiest salad bar, sirloin and sweetest sweet potato I’ve devoured had in AGES. Was it the food? Or was it that everything was so surprisingly…NICE?

The walls came down. This was not going to be a “get in and get out” experience. From the waitress who I observed hugging her regular customers to the bartender who treated the gang assembled as family, Ruby Tuesdays was THE place to be. Because everyone embodied NICE. And Niceville warmed my cold traveler’s heart.

Which was the perfect lead-in to a rousing keynote speech, delivered with heartfelt appreciation for the NICEness of the people of Niceville.

I was nicer because of them.

Reluctant to leave after my second session, Dealing with Difficult People, (are there any difficult people in Niceville?) I waited for my Uber. While the librarians enjoyed the sunshine and dined alfresco on boxed lunches, we told each other our stories of how we ended up in the Sunshine State. I waved goodbye to my new friends, convinced that my driver would also be…NICE.

Yep, an array of candies and toiletries (!) awaited me in his white Dodge Caravan. Doug told me his life story on the way to the airport; a story of leaving his high-paying corporate job to tend to his elderly mom’s health. A decision, he said, he’d never regret.

I agreed. And considered just how big a tip I would give him.

The nice-ness I experienced in my Niceville experience opened my heart. Nice will do that far more than any fancy restaurant or big city shindig.

Real time update: Writing gloriously interrupted by the sound of cheers as the entire airport stops what they are doing to applaud soldiers just returned home from Afghanistan.

Sheesh! My heart swells!

Fun side note: In the middle of my first presentation, it felt like a jet soared right outside of the Community Center and the sound almost made the building quiver. I asked the audience, “What was that?”

“Oh, that’s just the sound of freedom flying.”

The Kauffman EOD Training Complex and EOD Memorial are close by, in Walton County, Florida at the Eglin Air Force Base.

Let freedom ring! And may nice-ness prevail, not just in Niceville, but everywhere.

My closing thoughts on openness:

https://youtu.be/yDSKcsOjiUY

A visit to Niceville will make even a toughened heart tender.

Have a beautiful couple of weeks!

Love,
Brenda

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