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Archive for January, 2012

The Most Important Attitude

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

I believe that everything that comes into my life, regardless of whether it appears to be “good” or “bad”, is a gift that is there to support me to evolve spiritually. Do I know this to be true? No. I do not own the truth. But I do recognize that this perspective allows me to feel peace, acceptance and love and I notice that when I operate from this place, I am better able to respond effectively to whatever is in front of me. Therefore, when I am my most conscious self, I look for something in the situation for which to be grateful.

But is there ever a time when this is not possible, like when one loses someone very close to them for example? I think there may be some events that are so deeply painful, like the loss of a child for example, that one never gets over it. But even with great tragedy, we can still find something for which to be grateful . . . for all the good times we had with that person, even if they were brief . . . for the wonderful lessons they taught us . . . for the memories we will have forever . . . and that can help ease the pain. When we focus on the gratitude, it helps us deal with the sadness or the anger. We are empowered to elevate our spirit and we transform our thinking and experience.

The same can be true in other situations. Let’s say you were recently laid off or a terrible mistake occurred for which you were responsible. Do you feel grateful? Probably not. Likely you feel afraid, alone, angry, anxious and a myriad of other negative feelings that leave you feeling stuck and trapped. Perhaps you even feel like a victim as the lay-off was beyond your control or the mistake was due to someone else’s carelessness. Imagine how difficult it will be to find another job or to regain trust from your boss from this framework of thinking!

What if you made a shift and decided to find something in the situation for which to be grateful? Laid off? OK, time to get creative, maybe it’s an opportunity to go in a completely different direction, to do something you’ve been wanting to do all your life. Made a big mistake? OK, what did you learn? How are you smarter? How can this make you an even better, more experienced employee, boss, owner?

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude . . . the most important attitude you can ever embrace!

Recently, a friend, Robin Donohoe, connected me to the following site and I have found it to be quite remarkable. I invite you to take some time to look through it and allow the message of gratitude to fill your heart. Perhaps you will make it a daily discipline. Here is a video from the site:

http://www.gratefulness.org/brotherdavid/a-good-day.htm

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A Touching Story

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Henry Beston

I believe parts of the following video are an excerpt from the movie Eight Below. No doubt, these are trained dogs acting out a scene, and I would have thought it suspiciously contrived had I not seen the way my neighbor’s cows acted when one of their own lay dead in the middle of my field last summer. They all gathered near her and the bull continually tried to get her up. He moved all around her, nudging her again and again and he was clearly in distress. Some of the other cows also tried to move her with their noses. Others mooed. She had obviously been dead for quite awhile, but they did not leave her. When the neighbor came to cart her away to a big pit on his property, they all silently followed single file as if in a funeral procession. They watched her being placed in the pit, stayed around for a little while and then all gradually left. Another cow adopted her young calf and gave her milk.

How many stories have we heard about elephants caring for one another and of how they demonstrate obvious mourning behaviors when they lose one of their own, sometimes for years; about dogs travelling miles and miles to get help for their injured owners, of whales and dolphins helping drowning people. We really know so very little of what is going on in the minds and spirits of all the animal life around us. Many seem to have a sensitivity and  social consciousness and devoted sense of loyalty to one another that may inspire some of us to stop and consider our own.

This video is almost 13 min. long. You may not want to watch all of it, but you might want to take a couple of minutes to recognize the message herein. It is titled “A Christmas Story” but can be told any time of year. If you like dogs, you will love this video. If you are indifferent or don’t like them perhaps by the end you will. Enjoy:

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

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The Most Important Thing You Can Do This Year

I have no problem with God, the concept of God or peoples’ belief in God. I, in fact, consider myself to be a very spiritual person and will forever defend one’s right to believe however they choose. But I am tired of people telling lies about the role of God in the U.S. Constitution and the founding of this country. I am tired of people using God to divide, judge, separate and disregard the rights of others who may not believe as they do. I am tired of politicians preaching that God is on their side. I’m tired of the lies and hypocritical ways people and clergy use their view of God to deceive, manipulate and coerce others. I am tired of people who espouse a particular belief in God and think that makes them better than anyone else. And I am tired of the many ways the belief in God and religion (any belief system) is being used in a way that is tearing our country and our world apart.

By the very nature of our country’s founding, each of us has a right to our private morality, but doesn’t the government, which represents a public morality have the obligation to respect the rights of all its citizens regardless of their private morality?

Let’s get back to the realization and wonderment that we are all created equal, with equal rights to believe and worship or not as we choose and that that choice doesn’t make one person right and another wrong, or one person good and another bad. Let’s get back to our roots and recognize that we are one country, one people and one world and leave religion out of it.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Mark Twain

 

Let’s make this New Year different. Let’s respond to facts not fear. Let’s build bridges, not walls. One of the great strengths of the United States is that we are a melting pot, like no other country in the world. That does not make us better, but it does make us different. It also demands something different from us as citizens – something more. It requires us to practice tolerance and acceptance of all people who follow the laws of this great nation, regardless of their personal morality or religious beliefs.

Let’s make 2012 a year filled with respect for one another, a year when we look for the best in people whether they be friends and family or complete strangers; whether they live and look like us or whether they have different customs, clothing and color of skin; whether they believe in the same God or don’t. Let’s look for the human similarities and goodness within and in so doing, we will connect with our own goodness, which, in fact, may be the most important thing any one of us can do this year.

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Do You Have 6.5 Minutes?

 

 

Happy New Year

 

Do you have 6 1/2 minutes to simply stop what you’re doing to elevate your energy, open your heart and bond with the universal spirit that connects us all? If so, please watch this video:

 

 

Although there is a Christian reference in the very beginning, please know my message goes to all people regardless of religious belief or no belief at all. God is Love and wouldn’t it be a good way to start the New Year if every one of us continuously integrated it into our lives on a deeper and more profound level, because love is not a thing to believe . . .

 

“Love is not a thing to understand.

Love is not a thing to feel.

Love is not a thing to give and receive.

Love is a thing only to become and eternally be.”

Author Unknown

 

and any road you use to get there is OK with me.

 

This New Year, may each of us be acutely aware of what Lee Mun Wah said:

“I cannot keep from thinking about [politicians] telling a reporters that cutting 700 billion dollars from Medicaid, 23 billion from food stamps and cutting 50% from the Pell grants that helps poor income students to go college really won’t affect the poor, the old and the hungry. Or the horrible image of the seventy-six year old woman burning in an elevator set afire by a man who said she owed him thousands of dollars. Or the 20th young person committing suicide in the past two years, by hanging herself because of being harassed and bullied for being different- the youngest victim being only ten years old. Or the young African American student who came to school excited to show his friends how he had his barber cut him a second part in his hair, only to have the principal fill it in with a permanent black marker because he felt it was “improper social attire.” I can still hear the young boy’s mother crying out, wondering why no one stopped this horrible thing from happening.

I do not know how to reconcile all these events in my life. All I know is that as this year is about to expire. We must remember to care for those around us, to look up and to see those who are hungry and poor and without hope and be outraged enough to do something about it. Mother Teresa was right,

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

And so, my wish for all of you in this New Year is that you remember to love and to cry. There is so much to be thankful for and so much that we each can do to make this a more compassionate and just world. ”

 

 

If you . . .

  • Don’t have 6 1/2 minutes right now (or even later) to view something that connects you to your Higher Self . . .
  • Simply identify the reason why.
  • It is likely running your life and keeping you from being fully present and joyful in this world.

 

 

 

Thank you to my dear friends, Maureen Maguire for the video and Karen Aiken for the poem

 

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