A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don’t have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.
This single word pretty much sums up relationships today. Our support, our love, our forgiveness and even our time is conditional these days. We used to show respect for the sake of being respectful, we used to show kindness for the sake of being kind but now we pick and choose who is worthy of those things as if we are on a different level. Newsflash! This is an even playing field. It’s a shame that who we associate determines our worth in the minds of some. It’s a travesty that holding a particular position, education level or even embracing a particular mindset actually sets us apart from others. As if we are in competition and there’s some magical prize at the end. There is actually and it’s a decorative urn or a fancy casket. Time is running out. Each rotation of the hand of the clock leaves less time for us to get it right. This quote take us in the right direction.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
As Jennifer Pastiloff often says, “At the end of my life when I ask one final question, what have I done? Let my answer be, I have done love”.
In a sea of opinions, use your voice for something good. Spread hope, peace and positivity. Be honest but tactful, open yet reserved. Do not give every thought a voice. Spend time around people who think different than you and really listen to what they have to say. Listen to understand and learn,not to respond and judge. There is no right or wrong, just different. Different people, different wants, different ideas and that’s okay. We are not robots. We are not programmed to think and act alike. Respect someone’s differences and if you want to make assumptions, assume you know nothing about anyone else. How could you? You don’t walk in their shoes, pay their bills, stay up late and night and face their demons in the dark. You do not know. Stop telling yourself you do and please stop passing judgements. You are not God. None of us are. We are simply a group of people sharing the earth for a limited amount of time. Make it count. Our stories, though different, will all end the same. Stop wasting precious time on things you convince yourself matter but really don’t. The clock is ticking and we don’t get a single second back.
I was reminded today how hard it is to keep myself in check. Often times, I have the best intentions. I look forward to the weekend or getting out to do something with family but sometimes the best intentions fall by the wayside. I was in a great mood yesterday. Sometimes I am able to step away from all the stress and just breathe again. That was my plan for the last two days. Unfortunately I absorb all that is around me and if I don’t find a way to reach that place of balance, I crumble. After hours of spending time around someone completely disengaged followed by another who dumps his responsibilities onto everybody else, I slowly deflate. The negative energy just consumes me until I become it myself. So my good mood has slowly come to a close. It’s easy to say that other people aren’t responsible for your happiness but I argue that the people around me are often responsible for my unhappiness. There are some people in our lives that we cannot just dismiss or remove. We can’t delete them like they are some random Facebook friend but at the same time we cannot allow them to destroy our happiness or inner peace. I am not looking for sympathy or having a pity party. I am writing this post as a reminder that who we are affects everyone around us. Our mood, our lack of concern, our negligence, our bad attitude, our words and especially our actions are equally if not more powerful than any positive we think we put off. Just ask yourself today, what is the energy I am bringing to this place? How am I affecting the people around me? It’s the only way to finally understand just how much we are all connected.
I went to a yoga retreat recently. Out of the blue, 3 simple words were spoken that surprisingly started a tiny stream of tears to run past my cheeks.
I’ve got you.
I’ve reflected many times on that powerful phrase. For a long time I felt isolated. I felt like I was drowning in the middle of a large lake while people stood there watching like nothing was going on at all. It was a horrible dream I created for myself and a silly narrative I convinced myself to believe. I am dying here, sinking in my own destructive depression and no one even sees me. Those are the lies I fed to myself and boy did I welcome the wave of self pity. I reached out and grabbed it and pulled it around me like a blanket I swore I would never give up. I became comfortable there.
When I heard the words I’ve got you”, something opened up inside of me. All the pain and fear and disappointed poured out of me in the form of my tears. I let them fall. The numbness disappeared. “I’ve got you”. She said it again and I felt a jolt right to the heart. In that moment I felt the love in that room. I felt the shared pain and fear of the other people around me. I was not alone anymore. I felt them and we became one. We were one. The love was somehow magically palpable. I welcomed it. Someone had my back. I choked on the air rushing into my lungs. We were given an assignment to hug every single person in the room. 10 second, close, tight hugs. It terrified me. Wait! What? I don’t do hugs. No, I can’t. I thought of escaping to the bathroom but instead I stood there in my own fear. I am not one to express myself physically. I am not a hugger. It makes me uncomfortable and I do it out of some unspoken duty. Then I hugged and that stranger hugged back. I could feel our hearts beating against one another and I hugged even harder. It felt so good to feel held. I felt a sense of safety and protection that I almost forgot existed. I hugged and hugged and hugged until the time was up . The connection was beautiful and it changed me. I crave it now. I ache for the truth and courage I experienced when I reached beyond myself enough to tear down the barriers and feel the bond we had formed in that room. We saw the light in one another. We tasted each other’s pain and fear and we made the choice to trust someone we never saw three hours before. They were my people. My tribe.
I wasn’t used to someone having my back. It will take time for me to learn to trust anyone that much but I am working on it one day at a time. I didn’t let people love me. Why? I don’t know. Love scares the hell out of me. It puts me at risk and invites someone to disappoint and hurt me but I am willing to try. Sometimes we must step into our fear. We must allow it and honor it and stand in a place that makes us as uncomfortable as hell. It’s the only way to grow. It’s the only way to step out of the boundaries we create for ourselves.
Be the love. Feel the love. Pass it on. There is enough I promise.
Seriously, when did this become our new national anthem? Can anyone say anything anymore without saying, doing or posting something to offend someone? Have we really become so overly sensitive that writing Trump on a college sidewalk drives our students straight to a therapist? I was reminded today of a very special aunt who was a large part of raising me. She used to say something back then that I didn’t understand at the time but I sure do appreciate now. Whenever we became upset or angry she would tell us to “scratch our mad spot”. Little did she know that we would end up living in a time where everyone was angry and offended all the time. Her lesson was simple. Move on. Get over it. Grow up. I miss her so much these days. We need more people like her.
I can’t help wonder why so many people are out of control. I spent a week at the beach and the acting out I witnessed actually took me by surprise. It seems there is a population of ticking time bombs always on the verge of exploding all over anyone that slightly inconveniences them. It’s scary how instantaneously people react these days with little or no regard for the turmoil they leave in the path behind them. It’s not only disheartening but embarrassing to watch. Slowly and surely, many of us are losing self control. Whether it’s eating, lashing out or whatever else, we no longer limit what we should. We don’t think before we speak, we don’t consider the tone of the voice we are directing at a fellow human being and we have no remorse over the hurtful and critical things that come out of our mouths.
I say be better! Be bigger than the smallness attacking us from every angle. Be an example in a world full of lost souls. Be a soft voice among the loud, angry tone. Be sympathetic in a world filled with blame. Be complimentary among the criticism and most importantly, be kind in a world that has become self absorbed. It only takes one person at a time to make a slow and steady difference. I hope you will join me.
All it takes is the kindness of a single human being to alter an entire day. My daughter and I went out for lunch today and were very content to sit outside and enjoy this gorgeous day. To our surprise, the manager came outside and told us he was picking up the entire bill because our food had taken so long. I imagine several people must have complained but everytime the waitress apologized, we assured her we were in no hurry and it was really okay. Kindness is contagious and I look forward to paying it forward so this chain continues to go round and round. When is the last time you were surprised by a simple act of kindness?
Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.
This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, YOU move.
J. Michael Straczynski
My dad pointed something out today that cleared up a discrepancy I wasn’t able to put my finger on until now. Everyone who reads my blog knows I was in a car accident yesterday. It was brought to my attention that the same kind of person who would stop their car to save a turtle from getting hit in the middle of the road is the same kind of person who watched a four car pile up and then drove away. The same person who was considerate enough to save a turtle did not share the same desire to make sure several people were not in the need of an ambulance or help when really he was the cause of the accident in the first place. Why no concern for whether we were harmed? Have we gotten to the point where we treat animals with more kindness and respect than we do other people? Maybe that is what we haven’t understood lately. We will protect one animal and purposely leave another in the middle of the road. Could this be the major dysfunction of who we are? We pick and choose who we will be kind to rather than maintaining kindness with whoever and whatever we come in contact with. We decide who deserves our kindness instead of stepping up and being a constant example of it. It explains a lot doesn’t it? We call other people out for picking and choosing when the real truth is, most of us are guilty of the same. Give this some thought because it may have a profound effect on who you are.