Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Inject some Fun

When times are tough in our busy lives, fun is one of the first things to be stricken from the daily schedule. But fun is one of the innate, basic needs of humans and other living beings.
Observe a child, a puppy, a kitten. Their job is playing. Through play, they have fun while they learn about the world. Many of us have been taught that to be mature, we have to behave a certain way – go to work, be serious, keep a rigorous schedule, grow up! And, we forget about fun.

Then in our later years, often in retirement, we return to the notion of life being fun. Did you ever notice how much younger retirees appear and behave a short time after they've been away from work? Their stress level has plummeted and their fun factor has increased.

The prescription for more enjoyment and less stress is FUN. Think of an activity that you love. Then, make time to do it on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be huge, expensive, or far away -- something that you find enjoyable. It could be hiking in the park or woods, gardening, taking a luxurious bubble bath, or having coffee with a friend. Maybe baking, dancing, reading a book, going to a concert, or strolling along and browsing in shops makes you happy. Whatever it is, make time for fun every day. It's the new antioxidant.

What's fun for you? What fun thing can you inject into your schedule today?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blog Blessings

When I began The DayMaker, I really had no notion of the blessings that would come my way. Almost daily, dear old and new friends are contacting me. Each comment on the blog site or on facebook, and every email response, reconnects me with friends, some of whom I haven't corresponded or talked with for awhile. Whether the contact results in a lengthy dialog or a quick exchange, I'm delighted to hear from them.

There's nothing like reconnecting. It's not about re-living the past, even though a bit of reminiscing goes on. It's about pulling the threads and tightening up the time-and- distance-worn fabric of our lives. Wrapping ourselves in the warmth of people who've known us is mighty comforting. It's just one blessing from my blog.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Pathways to Forgiveness

Robert Enright, founder and president of the International Forgiveness Institute, defines forgiveness as "giving up the resentment to which you are entitled and offering to the person who hurt you friendlier attitudes to which they are not entitled."

But, it's our inability to forgive that keeps us chained to the person who hurt us. Until we can forgive, we're not free of that individual and are hurting ourselves. It's not the unforgiven who's on fire with anger or who replays the ugly conversations that occurred. She isn't feeling the heartburn or back pain that stress has bestowed upon us. Chances are good that this person has moved on. Who does our anger and resentment really hurt?

We may realize that it benefits us to forgive someone who did us wrong, but we get stuck when it comes to truly forgiving. Here are some steps to consider taking to move along the pathway to forgiveness:
  • Give up needing to know why the behavior happened; that isn't necessary for forgiveness. Plus, it's rare that knowing why changes how hurt you were then.
  • Make a list of what was actually done that caused you pain. This is different from what you felt.
  • Think about your part. Did you allow the behavior by not being forthcoming about the hurt you felt? Did you stay when you should or could have left?
  • Make a list of all that you gained during the relationship. What positives came out of it? This helps you look at the whole context and see that there was more to the relationship than the bad parts.
  • Write a letter to the person where you acknowledge what you gained from the relationship and express forgiveness for the hurts that he caused. There is no need to mail this letter; its value is in getting your feelings out on paper.
  • Create a ritual or ceremony in which you get rid of your lists and the letter you wrote. This is symbolic of breaking the link between you and the other person. Personally, I've burned photos and lists on the rocks at the beach at sunset.
  • Visualize yourself free from the hold that feeding your grudges had on you. Feel yourself growing lighter and more joyous.
  • Move forward without looking back in anger.
The Fetzer Institute sponsors  "Campaign for Love and Forgiveness." Take a look at the online forgiveness ritual "Letting Go," which is a process to analyze, specify and release a hurt, thought, injury or issue in one's life. When I performed this ritual, I was impressed by the sequence and felt peaceful when finished. Letting Go can be found at

Forgiveness is a process. Be gentle with yourself as you work toward release from the clutches of grudge holding. It will come.

Feel free to share your stories of forgiveness, steps you too, or ceremonies you created. And, do check back in the comments section to see what insights and inspiration you can gain from others' stories.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Forgive to Live

It's not about the wrong-doers when we extend forgiveness for hurts they've caused us. It's about us. Forgiveness changes our lives.

Letting go of grudges that we've nursed frees us up for a happier, healthier life. Lower blood pressure, less stress and hostility, fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain, and a lowered risk of alcohol and substance abuse are some benefits of being able to forgive, according to Mayo Clinic staff chaplain, Dr. Katherine Piderman. Healthier relationships and greater spiritual and psychological well-being are further advantages that forgiveness affords.
Forgiving takes time. No one can deny that we're entitled to our anger and resentment for awhile. But, tended too long, the fires of these feelings and thoughts begin to eat us up, to hold us hostage. Most of us have been there. I sure have. The lightness that came over me when I suddenly realized that I had forgiven those who'd hurt me was amazing. I'd integrated the whole experience into my life and eliminated the power that they'd continued to hold. As Michael Bolton told me in his song, I "could fly again."
The act of forgiving does not mean that we condone the behavior that wronged us. The people who hurt us are still responsible and accountable for their actions. And, forgiving others doesn't erase the wrong-doing or minimize it. Neither does it mean that we have to reconcile with those who hurt us or even tell them we forgive them. What does change is that we make the decision to let go of the resentment and anger so we can live our own lives more fully and happily.
Often, the hardest person to forgive is our self. We're afraid of hurting others again or making the same mistake. But, we need to realize that we are more than the wrong we committed or the mistake we made. Our qualities, talents, skills and capacity to love are still within our grasp. We can learn from what we did and move on. 

Forgiveness does not change the past, 
but it does enlarge the future.
  Les Brown

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Touch of Solitude

For me, the period of time at twilight, when I'm coming out of sleep into wakefulness is a perfect time of solitude. It's when solutions and stories, or the very phrase I'd been seeking, come to me. Themes rise and kinks work out. Often, I'm driven to my journal to get ideas down before too many other thoughts or noises intrude.

Sometimes I linger, soaking up the drowsiness, hearing only my breath or the furnace come on. I can stretch the time to 7:13, two minutes before NPR blasts into the bedroom. Now I love NPR, but there are times when I want to keep my own thoughts rather than to have extraneous voices in my head. In these days of technological and noise bombardment, it does wonders for me to have a bit of quiet time. The silence feeds me.

Occasionally, solitude is forced on us -- not of our choice. We may be at a loss for awhile as we grow accustomed to it. But, when we have the opportunity for solitude or silence, we are better able to hear who we are.

Oregon Coast at Shore Acres