I Do Like Bologna!
September 3, 2013
My friend, for over thirty years, came to visit the other day. She brought a precious gift for our new granddaughter and we talked and laughed about our dogs, Percy and Rooney.
Recently, she accidentally let Percy out in the backyard and forgot he was out there. Over an hour later, she said, "Where's Percy?" and realized he must still be in the backyard and it was dark. When Percy came in he was a "wee" bit beside himself with having been left outside and proceeded to ignore everyone in an effort to pout and show disdain. He had experienced something he was not expecting and had found it unpleasant.
In life we must understand there will be times when we find life uncomfortable. We may be placed in a new situation that we did not expect and are left, in some cases, feeling helpless and rejected.
At the wise age of 58, I found myself having to learn how to live on my own. With all those responsibilities came a lot of adjustment in all areas of my life; physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. There were times when I felt helpless and rejected and searching for a focus in my "new" life.
One of the most amazing ideas I ever came across turned out to be a positive game changer for me. I had gone from relying on someone else in my life to taking care of all the day to day business of running a family. Now, I was being thrown into having to learn to do it on my own. Now that I was on my own, simple things like deciding what I liked to eat, what I enjoyed doing and, yes, even what I liked to eat were all part of adjusting to this life I had never expected myself to be living.
I realized that what I was experiencing was something many people in my age group transition into following the death of a spouse or a divorce. There is this learning curve of self-discovery that you are tossed into and the effect can be overwhelming or even dizzying.
After teaching school one day, I was relaxing in my apartment and watching some "mindless" tv in the early afternoon. I watched an Oprah show where the guest was enthusiastically talking about the importance of making your own "vision board" whenever you or someone else you know goes through a major life change.
As I began to intently listen, I kept thinking, "I can do this!" "This looks like something that might be worth making!" That Saturday I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a variety of magazines with themes of travel, cooking, homes, fashion, etc. I went to Walmart to pick up a sheet of poster board, glue and stick on letters.
When I began the project I had a purpose based on the designing of the Vision Board. My goal, as I looked through pictures, was to find images that reflected where I want to see myself in 5 years based on my tastes, my goals, etc.
Briefly I will explain that the poster was divided into five or six sections representing, where I wanted to live, what I enjoy doing, where I wanted to travel, how I would be living...and in the center was the most important thing in my life. Some of the photos I cut out represented my constant joy in seeing my children, my love of travel and reading, my desire to save money and be financially responsible, etc. One of the last ones I chose was whether or not I saw myself in a relationship in five years and what kind would it be. Other fun photos revealed my favorite foods and my love of friends, etc.
As I cut out the photos, I could feel a sense of self-awareness and goals for my life. I could hear myself thinking, "I do love that!" "I do dream of going to Ireland!"
"I do like pajamas all day on a rainy Saturday!" "I do like bologna!" "I do like bright pink in a bathroom!" And as I glued them to the board, I thought, "I like who I am!"
I began to own who I was and like what I saw. It was a joy-filled experience. When the picture identifying, cutting and gluing was completed, I paused for a moment. I asked myself, "What is the most important of all these things?" "What is the core of who I am?" The answer for me was "Christ" in my life. No matter what else I pasted on the board, they were all connected by my love of Christ and the need I had to have Him in my life. Some might choose money or family or who knows what else and it's important that honesty and self awareness guide the activity.
Once the board was completed, I hung it on the wall across the room from my bed. Each time I passed it on the way out of my bedroom those images were replayed in my mind. The purpose of the board is to help one discover self, to set goals that would bring joy and to help keep yourself on the path to reach the goals for five years from now.
That single activity defined for me every aspect of my life and helped me move from feeling like I had been rejected and put out of the life I wanted. Instead, I was on my way to taking positive steps to the next five years. Instead of being stuck in a cycle of re-visiting the past, there is a choice that can be made to move forward.
If you are going through an unexpected or unwanted or unpleasant change in life, I strongly suggest you do something like the vision board. I was skeptical and incredulous when I first heard about it, but I tried it anyway. For me, it was exactly what I needed. If you are not one for cutting out pictures, you could divide your life into columns of interests and write what you want, but I think what makes this so positive and successful is that it remains on your wall to reinforce your choices and keeps you in a positive place of self-awareness while seeking new goals in life.
God can speak to us through others in ways that will improve our lives, keep us focused and positive and help us to live in a place of joy in our faith. Wherever you are in life, keep your heart open to ways to grow and improve and appreciate who you are as a child of God.
Dear Heavenly Father,
When life throws us out in the dark unexpectedly, help us find our strengths. Teach us to know ourselves better so we can be our best for others.
In Jesus' Name,