Charlotte A. Stout

If you missed an ealier post, this page has my previous September 2017 Reflection postings.
If you want to read some earlier Reflections, click on the links below for the month you are interested in:

September 29th: Envy is Opportunity

At various times in our lives we may have the feeling that a friend or acquaintance has a better life than we do; that we aren’t as pretty, popular or as smart as others leaving us with a sense of self-doubt. Perhaps we look at others and wonder why we aren’t blessed with muscles like him or her, a partner like that, a house like that, a job, bank account or relationship like “that one.” Envy is creeping into your psyche.

While envy can be destructive to yourself, your relationships and your life in general it can also be seen as an opportunity to pause and reflect on what may be contributing to these feelings.

Often we look at others and see what we want to see. We may see only what is meant to be projected by the other party. We don’t see deep inside the person and their life. What looks like a perfect peaches and cream relationship externally may be fraught with strife, challenges, and tears. We don’t know because we don’t live in their skin or their situation.

Dream jobs, spouses, partners, friends, cities and lives don’t exist. All come with flaws and challenges. If you are feeling discontent, what is causing this feeling? Is it the job? If so, start thinking about steps you need to take to make a change. Is it your relationship? Start thinking about what you need to do to be happy. Can you find happiness with the status quo in your relationship? Do you need more? If so, what does that “more” look like. The same goes for friendships. Do they breathe life into you and make you happy? If not, find people who do this for you.

It has become so easy to change a partner, drop a friend, move to a new house, apartment, city or state thinking this will resolve the feelings we are having. We can start anew and all will be well. Making a change without self-reflection will only result in the same old thing happening in a new place, relationship or job. So, before you jump – stop and reflect on the why.

Yes, Envy can be destructive but it is also an opportunity to reflect on what we have and decide if that is enough or right for us. If not, then make the necessary changes that will create the life that will make you happy. If what you have and who you surround yourself with is enough, then there is nothing to envy in others or their situation. Right?

September 22nd: Hell Yes or Hell No?

I recently spent time with a niece who is far more enlightened than I was at her age. Lisa is smart, beautiful, articulate, engaging, confident, and I would describe her as careful and considerate about the choices she makes in life. She is single. There are plenty of men who would like to date her but her standards are such that she would prefer to be single than date just to date or have companionship. Isn’t she enlightened!!

Lisa recently went on a yoga retreat at a resort in the jungles of Costa Rica. She didn’t know anyone but thought the course content fit her needs at this time in life so, she signed up. I inquired as to her big “take-away” from the retreat. Five simple words sum up Lisa’s take away: “Hell Yes or Hell No.”

Part of the retreat was to conduct some soul searching about life, what you want from life and how to attain that objective. The coach said all one needs to do is ask the question, Hell yes?” or Hell No?” If the answer is Hell Yes then proceed. If the answer is Hell No then step back, regroup and find another path.

When Lisa shared this with me I had quite an epiphany. Dang, I could have applied this to all those crazy ideas and relationships I had that I knew I should avoid but didn’t. Did I learn from the experiences? Yes. However, many of the lessons learned were painful and may have been avoided if I had answered honestly, “Hell Yes” (HY) or Hell No” (HN).

The HY or HN barometer can be used in most situations. For example, if you are offered an opportunity to travel to an exotic location with someone you don’t particularly care for, will you go? If you can’t unequivocally say Hell Yes then it is a Hell No. Do not spend time and energy on activities you don’t enjoy; with people you don’t care for; in a job that does not give you joy; or in a relationship that does not bring out the best in you and your partner. Life is too short.

So, the next time you are faced with a decision apply the “Hell Yes” or “Hell No” test. Either answer will spur you into action. Take time to be mindful of the end result. Hell Yes!

September 15th: Another Amazing Summer

I sincerely hope your summer was filled with so much laughter and fun you are now exhausted and ready for all that fall and winter brings – a renewal of our energy and a focus on building our brains and our bodies for next summer vacation.
Things I love about summer are:

• Longer days filled with light, sun, and fun.

• Walking the dog without having to put on her coat or boots or, my coat and boots either. Yup, the dog has boots and a heavy coat for winter walks.

• Gorgeous venues for boating with breathtaking mountain views, mini-mansions and full-size mansions for viewing as we ride the gentle swells on the various lakes near and far.

• Enjoying a round of golf outdoors – versus an indoor virtual golf course.

• Playing pickleball outdoors with friends or strangers (who eventually become part of your pickleball circle).

• Playing any sport outdoors lifts my spirits sky high.

• Lounging in the front yard or on the deck with good friends, wine and food. There is a relaxed unhurried air to these gatherings. We may not solve the world’s problems but we laugh, sing and dance with a bon vivant.

• Working out outdoors in the fresh air adds a new vibrancy to the regimen.

• Planting and nurturing my large flower pots filled to the brim with a fragrant and vibrant mix of plants. I love dead-heading the flowers to coax new buds and watch as those new buds develop. I like sitting and watching the bees harvest the nectar knowing I am contributing to their circle of life.

• Outdoor concerts and theatrical productions. Concerts at Arbor Crest Winery are an event to behold. Everyone is enjoying the music, drinking wine, eating hors d’oeurves, dancing, conversing or just being present in the moment.

It has been an awesome summer. I have been able to partake in all of the above and more to include travel. But now, it is back to writing and sharing more stories about life and how we live it.
How was your summer?