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Archive for May, 2015

Best Hero there is

The Best Hero There Is

By Denise Linn

 

I was on a flight into San Francisco and I surreptitiously noticed the young man sitting next to me in the middle seat. He radiated a calm centeredness. He didn’t seem to be squirming in the struggle for “personal boundaries” that so often accompanies those who are stuffed into tight middle seats. As I’m always intrigued to find out what beliefs are held by those who seem at peace amidst the chaos of everyday life, I engaged him in conversation.

He explained he was a Marine and had been stationed four different times in Iraq. He said his life was often in peril and there were many times when buddies, on either side of him, had been killed or seriously wounded. I couldn’t understand how someone-who had been in that much constant danger and who had seen so many violent deaths and carried shrapnel in his arms-could be so at peace.

When I asked him what sustained his spirit, he pulled out a dog-eared, well-worn book. He said, “As a warrior, I know that death is always a possibility. I have found my peace through studying the way of ancient samurais.” The book he held in his hand was called, Bushido: The Way of the Samurai.

He said, “In a way, this is my manual for life. I read it over and over.” He explained that the concepts in the book, which was written in eighteenth century Japan by a respected samurai warrior, were very difficult for the Western mind to comprehend. However, there were aspects of the code that really appealed to him, such as being in absolute service for the well-being of others and a willingness to die at any moment.

He said, “In Iraq I woke up every morning accepting my death. I know this sounds strange, but it gave me a kind of peace. I wasn’t afraid of dying in battle, because I had already accepted my death. This allowed a kind of peace to fill me and maybe it also helped keep me safe because on the battlefield I wasn’t always reacting out of fear.”

I told him I was of Cherokee heritage, and Native American warriors had a similar code. My ancestors would wake up in the morning and say, “It’s a good day to die.” This didn’t mean they wanted to die, but it meant that in every moment there was a feeling of completion and a satisfaction. In a way, this is totally being in the present moment. It is a powerful stand to take in life. Accepting. Open. Present. Aware.

As we were leaving the plane, he put something in my hands. I looked down and saw his tattered book. He said, “I’m grateful for our conversation and I want to give you my book as a gift.” I proclaimed that I couldn’t take his beloved copy. But he insisted saying, “I really want you to have this.” As I saw him turn the corner in the airport, my heart was so open.

Because of this chance encounter I started thinking about the power of releasing the past, being in the present with acceptance of “what is” even if it means facing death, and what it means to be a “hero.” (For me this young man was a kind of hero. Putting politics aside, he was willing to put his life on the line to be of service to others.)

I have written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. I think we all want to be heroes. (I know that I do.) I believe we all have an extraordinary, courageous being inside of us. It’s just a matter of letting her/him out. So I started to think about what code of honor I would need to accept for myself if I were to start becoming even more of “a hero.” (You might find you have a different creed for yourself, but this is what I came up with for myself.)

To me, being a hero means:

 

  • To do what’s right… even if you are afraid.
  • To listen to the inner wisdom of your soul…and not the random opinions of others.
  • To be kind… and remember that sometimes the person you need to be kindest to is yourself.
  • To live by choice… not chance.
  • To pursue excellence… excel, but not compete.
  • To have integrity… keep your word and your commitments.
  • To make corrections and changes… not make excuses.
  • To be fair and treat all people with respect, and understand their point of view… even if you don’t agree with it.

Most of all, being a hero means accepting yourself with a depth of kindness even when you act less-than-noble. All bad behavior comes from fear or ignorance and when you judge anyone (including yourself) for acting badly or imperfectly, you lose the ability to influence that being.

When you accept your imperfections-and still are willing to brush yourself off and start again-you can make changes… for you are on a heroic journey of the heart. To me this is the best kind of hero. The kind of hero I strive to be.

For me one of the most powerful ways to step into being the hero is to live as this Marine did… to accept my death (for this way I can truly live life to its fullest), release my past and be willing to live in the present moment.


Thank you to my good friend Kay Woldum for sharing this article with us

 

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WOW 5-12-15 pic
“It was good for the skin to touch the earth.”

Luther Standing Bear – Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief

“There were very few Native American leaders who were able to occupy the rift that was created between the traditional way of life for the indigenous cultures and the new way of life forced upon them by the arrival of European pioneers and explorers. However, that doesn’t mean it never happened. People like Black Elk, Charles Eastman, and Gertrude Bonnin knew what life was like in the Great Plains before the Europeans arrived and they saw what it was like afterwards as well.

Another prominent figure who lived through the transition is Luther Standing Bear. He was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who was raised in the traditions of his people until he was 11, then he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned how to speak English and learned the European way of life. (Carlisle is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, but still remains as a place of controversy in Native circles.)

Like his contemporaries whom we mentioned above, Luther Standing Bear had deep native roots. This left him as a unique conduit between two cultures. He was extremely successful in the white man’s world; he landed numerous roles in Hollywood films, but his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people. By the time he had passed on, he published 4 books and had become a leader at the forefront of a progressive movement which focused on preserving Native American heritage and sovereignty. Here are 10 quotes from the great Sioux Indian chief known as Standing Bear that will be sure to disturb much of what you think you know about “modern” culture:

  • Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
  • Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.
  • Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
  • We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
  • Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
  • This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
  • It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
  • …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.
  • Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.”

H/T Wisdom Pills

Image: Kirby Sattler

Thank you to my good friend Erika Kolod for sharing this with us

 

 

 

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Be Curious Not Judgmntl

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

Wayne Dyer


Be Curious, Not Judgmental

Whenever I come in contact with highly judgmental people, I do my best to put myself in their shoes and understand why they behave the way they do and why they feel the need to point the finger at those around them.

You see, I really believe that underneath it all we are all good, kind and loving beings, but because of the many challenges that life sends our way and because of the many struggles that we all face, some of us become bitter and resentful. When that happens, we begin to project our own pain and suffering in the form of blame, judgment and criticism onto the world around us.

Today I want to share with you 7 clever ways to deal with highly judgmental people in a more positive and loving way.

1. Don’t take things personally 

If someone you know is judging you harshly, know that it is probably because they judge themselves harshly. They speak to you in the same way they speak to themselves. Don’t take it personally. Don’t make their negativity your own. Don’t let their toxic words go to your heart. Don’t poison yourself with things that have little or nothing to do with who you are.

“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

~ Miguel Ruiz

2. Look beyond appearances

Learn to look beyond appearances, to really see and hear what their soul, not their ego, wants you to see and hear.

Look beyond appearances, behind the harsh and toxic words, and see if you can find that place within them where love, beauty and kindness resides. Look for the good in people and trust that by doing so, you will help bring out the good that lies in them.

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”

~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

3. Embrace a compassionate attitude

When people are feeling down, unhappy, lost and disconnected from themselves and the world around them, that’s when they begin to project their own darkness onto the people they interact with, that’s when they start judging the world around them. It’s when we are unhappy with ourselves that we begin to judge, blame and criticize those around us.

Treat everyone with respect, love and compassion, including those who judge and criticize you harshly, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because you do. Appreciate the contrast and silently thank them for the many lessons they are teaching you.

“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.”

~ Dalai Lama XIV

4. Look for the lesson 

Believe it or not, everyone you come in contact with has something to teach you. There’s a lesson for you to learn, but also to teach. Just like Lao Tzu said it more than 2500 years ago, “A good man is a bad man’s teacher and a bad man is a good man’s job.”

“What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.”

~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Get in the habit of looking for the meaning behind every interaction and every experience life sends your way. Look for the lesson, look for the meaning and be willing to use every interaction and every experience to become a better but not a bitter human being.

5. The world is your mirror

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I have come to realize whenever I lose control over my thoughts and whenever my thinking isn’t that positive and uplifting, that’s when things start to go wrong in my world. And that’s when I encounter people who judge not only those around them, but they also judge me.

Like attracts like. If there’s darkness within, there will be darkness without. The world is our mirror, it reflects back what’s already within us. If the people that come your way are filled with negativity and toxicity and if you feel you have many interactions of this kind, you might want to start purifying your thoughts and cleansing your own inner world. Because if you make the inner world pure, the outside world will be pure as well and so will be all of your interactions.

6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”
~ Khalil Gibran

Get into the habit of expressing your gratitude and appreciation for every interaction and every experience life sends your way, no matter if good or bad. Use them all to enrich your life and who you are, to grow, to expand and to become the beautiful and wonderful being you were born to be.

7. Focus your energy and attention upon those who love and appreciate you

We live in a world full of people and no matter how kind and loving you are, there will always be someone who will have a problem with you simply because they have a problem with themselves. Don’t take their behavior personally. Don’t waste your time judging the people who judge you, instead, channel your energy on loving the people who love you. Use your precious time and energy to show your love and appreciation to those who love and adore you.

“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.”

~ A Course In Miracles

 

Thank you to Luminita of www.purposefairy.com for writing this article.

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