Perils Of Judgement

Perils Of Judgment“love is the absence of judgement.”    Dalai Lama XIV

“Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion.Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world.”     Sharon Salzberg

Everyday I find myself irritated with so many people, that  I wonder if they are living in a fog. Of course if I think long enough about it, I realize I am a bit impatient with these people. It doesn’t make their annoyances any more acceptable, but I manage to hold my criticism in for the most part. I never consider myself impatient. My tolerance level  has always been commendable, but there lies the secret. I do endure the trivial complaining of others but deep down I resent the issues people complain about. I guess I am a secret judge.

The revelation of my estimations, took me by surprise  one day. Outwardly I keep most of my opinions to myself. I may join a discussion but I attempt to remain neutral for the sake of keeping peace and also to keep from hurting someone’s feelings. There are times when the disagreements turn into a confrontation, but being set in my ways keeps me strong in my viewpoints. This allows me to stand firm in my sentiments.

One day I began noticing people behaving in a similar fashion towards me. They appeared to quickly change the subject, didn’t look me in the face when talking, and cut me off mid sentence. When I spoke about a subject I was more than interested in, they stopped listening before I was finished, and never asked  questions. I quickly came to the realization that we all  irritate others in all kinds of ways, and are not privy to this knowledge, most of the time. The more I investigated my theory, the more confirmation I had that I was correct in my sentiments.

Now to totally believe that you are courteous to others, respectful of their opinions and tolerant of their quirks makes this new found knowledge of your fraudulent manner, a huge revelation. I would say it came as quite a shock to me. I am not saying I am perfect but I never considered I was ever an irritation to others. After getting over the shock, and contemplating the why and meaning of it all, I concluded that it was likely true that I could be annoying to others at times.

Of course as misery likes company, I came to understand how much we all tolerate others on any given day. The person who jumps in to speak before others are finished is a pest. We have the authoritative person who states statistics on their side in order to confirm the winning argument. There is the person who wears you down with talk until you yell uncle and give up. The loud people always get their ideas across and the impatient people are scary.

I know there are those with bothersome habits that make one want to scream stop tapping the table or running your finger over the cup. You don’t do it. All you do is look away and take a deep breath. Some people whine and complain about everything and anything to the point that you’d like to say go back home and go to bed. Certain people arrive with a negative attitude before they open their mouths. Others always have an ache or pain which is possible, but on those days you want to say it is my turn to complain so be quiet. I love those people who  say an outfit isn’t new when you give them a compliment. Some people believe they have the hardest life, the most difficult circumstances to  endure, and the saddest story to tell. I let them win for sure becasue I don’t want their problems. You have the complainers who appear to never be content nor pleased. For some people we speak too slowly and don’t finish quick enough to suit them. Others dislike vulnerability, openness and gentleness. It is as if they distrust these virtues.

Most of us believe strength is power and endurance. We don’t think of quiet suffering as endurance. We almost dislike these people for not complaining. We tolerate other races and people from different economic groups yet we frown upon our own siblings who appear to be boastful. The question is why, because who cares about our possessions and accomplishments. The list is endless for what we find exasperating. Most of these bothersome occurrences are never brought to light and we must all be thankful for that.

The majority of people keep their touchiness about others under wraps. Now if the truth is out in the open, we are all attempting to tolerate each other. We just don’t perceive our own annoying traits. It is a good thing we cannot mind read each others thoughts. We might behold a totally different picture of how others perceive us.

Being vulnerable and accepting our weaknesses is actually a reflection of strength. Only a strong person has the power to expose their weaknesses without feeling threatened. We are not superhuman and we all experience the same loves hates and annoyances. Perhaps our pretenses ought to be removed and our defenselessness witnessed. None of us enjoy being made fun of or becoming the butt of the joke. We hang on to our  pride, to the point of exhaustion. It would be a relief to really become tolerant in reality rather than in secretive resentment that we hide.

Of course by being more open, we might stop some of the gossiping which frequently occurs behind the backs of others. By stopping the criticisms, we stop measuring our own hurts against the pains of another. Age, sex, economic status, and other tools of assessment are not as important as the fact that pain and aches resonate with all of us. When we say we are all in the same boat, nothing could be more honest. Most os us feign good fortune as well as the extent of suffering. Some exaggerate while others pretend they are invincible. In the end the conclusion is clear.  We are all defenseless when it comes to the sorrows of life.

Probably the ways we choose to endure life and those irritating quirks we pick up along the way, may drive people undercover. Lifting the blanket of impatience, we discover an actual person who has feelings, loves, desires, sufferings, pains, and opinions. They are quite similar to us and they witness our faults as well as their own. Human nature should cause us to pause and reflect on that annoying mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, parent, friend and even enemy. At some future time we might find ourselves making the same mistakes as we find so annoying in others at the present moment in time.

For me it is time to fess up to my total vulnerability in all areas of life. There are those times I profess to be stronger and more powerful than I actually am. I hide my pain and my sufferings and fears. Actually most of us hide fears even from ourselves. We wonder why we are nervous and stressed yet can’t see the issues may be related to our haunting fears. If we can overcome our vulnerability, and tolerate ourselves, we then might be able to put up with others. Bringing tolerance into the situation sends some honesty and understanding into the equation. We are more alike than we are different. We stop seeing failures as making us less than acceptable. We end our  regard of weakness as defeat, helplessness as childish, defenselessness as failure, and susceptibility as deferment of our own abilities. To be human is to be weak, helpless defenseless and at times, a failure. What we can’t forget is that being human permits empathy, kindness understanding  acceptance and tolerance to become a part of a humane life-style. That is the essence of true tolerance.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”    Dalai Lama XIV

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”    Dalai Lama XIV

“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.”    Dalai Lama XIV

Going Back

Going Back“The things two people do to each other they remember. If they stay together, it’s not because they forget; it’s because they forgive.”    Demi Moore

It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an ever stronger person to forgive.”    Unknown

“Apologizing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.”    Unknown

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”    Gandhi

How many times have we heard the phrase, “You can’t go back.” That is the saddest group of words to hear because many times we need and want to return to a person place or thing. It is like something that suddenly springs out at us like gotcha and you’re finished. The sadness can be overwhelming. Most of us think back  to choices we made and actions we committed. Contemplating a more innocence time in our lives will always bring longing.

As we grow, most of us learn from the mistakes we made. Of course we can’t admonish ourselves too much because we can’t always recall every second of our reasoning at that time in our lives. I am not giving any of us excuses but life is not about counting the wrongs as much as it is about acquiring knowledge. There are such tough lessons, that perhaps we might have absorbed sooner, but actually we must be content that we made the finding at all.

Life sends us forward full speed ahead. We plan to accomplish so much. We strive to keep up with others if not totally surpass them. We are out to conquer the world, make our mark and show others what we are capable of. We yearn for respect, love, attainment and contentment. The funny thing is that most of this can be found at any age and within any area of society as well as any socioeconomic group. That is the discovery that sometimes takes years to ascertain.

Regret is useless and pointless. If some of our picks were poor, we need to come to  terms with it and continue onward. We can’t change the past. Perhaps some situations may have turned out the same even if we had moved in another direction. We can’t know the truth. It is questionable if we should have married another person, who is to say things would be better. If we changed our minds on a job choice, maybe it still  would not be any more glorious or satisfying.

Believing everything in the past was a mistake is a mistake. Most likely it was an experience that brought enlightenment to our lives. If we treated our spouse shabbily, I have faith in the notion that we can switch it around. Unless we have given up on our marriage it is time to fess up to our misgivings and ask for forgiveness. Of course those of us in the position to forgive have two choices. We can continue the animosity or offer the absolution. If we can just look at life in terms of gaining knowledge, and accept the fact that most of us are slow learners, then we may be more than ready to exhibit mercy. Can any of us admit we have never needed exoneration from anyone?

You would be my hero if that were the case. We just don’t always think clearly enough, or think far enough ahead, to appreciate the gravity of our errors. We plunge forward with half a story, and a tenth of an idea, along with a fifth of a truth and then create our reality from that point of view. No wonder we find ourselves making errors. Some mistakes are not so easy to mend. I bet on any given day, each of us has said or done something stupid or hurtful. We are late for work so we insult and blame the spouse when we can’t find something. Of course it is their fault. Later when we discover it was us who put the laundry away, we simply forget the incident and don’t bring it up.

If we can perceive our own faults perhaps the faults of others won’t look so bad. I know there are degrees of wrongdoing but there are also degrees of wisdom before one makes the errors. Our deductions are dissimilar and incorporate feelings attitudes and burdens at that present time. Forgiveness has to be one quality we acquire at the youngest age possible. Life would be so much easier to deal with if we were free to begin again without strings attached. Perhaps that is why we give up on our marriages. We believe we can’t go back to that clean slate and innocent thinking. If we showered each other in mercy, by tolerating mistakes, the likelihood of guilty baggage would be eliminated.

There again is the crux of our problem. We are told over and over again, we can’t go back. But suppose we could. We may not be able to choose a different spouse but we might be able to handle our chosen one in an alternate manner. By bringing happiness to another individual, brings it to us. The person is full of joy and it spills over us. It seems like a good idea to keep a better mind frame.

Some choices we can’t change but we can alter the way we perceive them and the person we blame. If we can even accept our own interference in the occurrence, we have some grounds to pardon. I think that forgiveness is the key to our being able to go back. We can all return if we bring forgiveness to the table. Those we love or once loved don’t  need expensive gifts or food,  they need the nourishment of love and clemency. That washes away a lot of the pain but not the knowledge. We really do live and learn. The cost of the learning can be tremendous. Our participation in the price can be devastating. We must ask ourselves if we are going to make it about pride, revenge, anger, or if we can encompass empathy love and forgiveness. I know in the end result the later brings serenity, while the former cements stress, worry and rage.

Perhaps our attempts to grade the level of our injuries is a wearisome task which serves no purpose. It only succeeds in calling to mind more hurts and pain. We all experience pain and heartache. Did we enjoy the feeling? If not then let’s not keep it going. Release it and go back to a kinder period in your life. Recall the disagreements, accept the person’s mistakes and empower them with compassion and exoneration. It might be a daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, parent, brother  sister, child, friend or even a neighbor. If you have ever needed forgiveness yourself, endow it to another. Perhaps the person we forgive will not necessarily be the person that we want forgiveness from. We bring the gift of going back. We all like to go back to the simpler version. We have the power to do it for one another, all we need is the courage.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”C.S. Lewis

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.”    Joel Osteen

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”    Martin Luther King Jr.

“It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.”    Steve Maraboli

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”    Mark Twain

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”    C.S. Lewis

“The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?”    Gordon B. Hinckley

“When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear…. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.”                   Gerald G. Jampolsky

Bitterness Is Best Sweetened

Bitterness“Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our souls, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.”    Paulo Coelho

“There is only one way of victory over the bitterness and rage that comes naturally to us–To will that God will bring peace.”    Amy Carmichael

“People grow bitter and cynical about life because they can’t bend it to their will.”    Marty Rubin

Do we wake up one day full of resentment towards others, or even the world? Perhaps the unpleasantness of everyday living  builds up and overflows. There are just those times when the anger spills over and drowns us in acidity. Our relationships may appear toxic and unhealthy. Our attitudes become affected and we offer sharper retorts to others. The thickness of an environment full of toxicity creates inner unpleasantness. It is especailly overpowering when we allow jealousy envy pride and anger to wash over reason and understanding. What appears so is not always truth.

I suppose at this moment we should be thinking about removing ourselves from such an environment, immediately. The  problems are that sometimes we can’t escape our trials and tribulations and other times we can’t perceive that we have so many. Once caught in these situations we begin drowning a little each day. Many times pride keeps us from complaining and also from seeking the help we need.

Bitterness is a tough pill to swallow. The acid is like reflux and just keeps returning. How important it is for us to recognize the danger signs as well as the tools needed to necessitate changes. How many times I have witnessed other people, appear to be so consumed with cynicism, that  the first question that always comes to mind is where did it begin? None of us plan on making room for sullenness. I think at some moment we begin to notice the avoidance of other people. We might also encounter those who refrain from any kind of an argument or dispute with us. They plainly observe our unpleasant manner and they refuse to get involved with us.

Perhaps many people drown in their own sourness, while barricading themselves within a world of cynicism. I can see how it might happen. After all, we take on such heavy loads, and then are surprised when we fall down. Most of us believe we are super-human and unbreakable. Many of us learn the hard way that we are fragile like glass. Maybe it is tempered glass but we eventually break.

Young children can become angry when their needs of parental love are lacking. They go through the daily rituals but inside they are being destroyed. Parents attempt to have careers, raise children, exercise, maintain a hobby and possibly a team sport, and find social time with friends, and family, along with cultivating the spouse and kids. The list is exhausting to read never mind accomplish daily  or even weekly. older people want to work at their jobs, support their adult kids and grandchildren, take care of their elderly parents, have a hobby, spend time with friends, exercise and maintain healthy habits while entertaining friends, co-workers, spouses, and family.

Of course it isn’t easy to choose but just attempting this list will leave us exhausted. I suppose none of us believes in choices, patience, and priorities. If we find we can’t accomplish all that we want out of life, perhaps it is time to pick and choose as well as eliminate what we can. There are times in our lives when we can maintain a hobby comfortably. There are times when most of the time is going to be with immediate family and spouse. There are moments when we can support others but perhaps many more times when we require aid and have no time to reciprocate. The fields of play are not always the same.  What we did in high school, may not work when we are attempting to move upward in our jobs.

Sometimes I think it isn’t so much having unrealistic goals, as much as it is comprehending that the goals sometimes change and we must alter our objectives or drown trying to continue. Taking on what is  beyond our limits causes disappointment and stress. We feel that we have failed. Probably that is not entirely truthful. If we were asked to run against a cheetah we would laugh and decline. Yet we consider taking on ambitious tasks that don’t even give us time to think. We are on auto pilot. By the time we discover we can’t finish what we planned, we have already started our bitterness pitcher.

We observe others applying a great exercise program before or after work and we ponder why we can’t do the same. As we sadly learn, if it interferes with our child’s needs or souse’s free time we have jeopardized the marriage. Of course our spouse and kids become the reasons why we can’t exercise anymore. We blame them. We are also  possibly jealous of others who can accomplish this feat. Parents who are demanding and critical of their adult children, drain energy and humor from their kids. Eventually the demands overtake the will and capacity of the adult child. Resentment and animosity stealthily overpower the feelings of love and empathy. Teenagers require their own attention and at their own time table. This perhaps cuts into all kinds of time in all kinds of areas.

There is no period in life, which renders us free time to come and go as we please, unless we disregard all human relationships. Then of  course our time will be planned for certain events happening at given times. I decided the easiest way to alleviate bitterness was to eliminate too many distractions and the need to do list. Maybe we don’t have to spend as much time with certain things or people. Perhaps we can get back to hobbies when we are in a different time period of life. Maybe there are certain seasons of the years better suited to attempting to accomplish various goals or ambitions. Maybe we should rethink why we must accomplish some items at all. Likely there is more on our list due to the needs and wants of others rather than our own wishes to achieve such objectives. If our neighbor loves gardening, and we enjoy it but don’t love it,  then maybe simple is better for us. Exercising lightly may be a better goal than not keeping up with outrageous ones.

The idea is to temper our wishes, modify our wants, and check up on needs. Maybe some of our needs belong in the want category. If we take a look at our lives, we might find areas we are infringing on others as well as ourselves. Perhaps less can be more. Spending less but faithful time in an exercise program may benefit us in the long run and not make demands on us to the point of anger development.

Finding that our bitterness is reflected on others may surprise us. When this happens we are no longer being helpful but actually hurtful. We may not recognize our own failings. The thickness of bitterness can leave us partially deaf, blind and physically incapacitated. Just as we teach kids to refrain from eating too much candy, so must we heed our own advice. Dropping some unwanted choices and objectives will give us more time to spend on what we desire. We can be ourselves and choose what works for us. Variety is the spice of life. It appears to be a worthy objective. Our alternative is to allow  jealousy, revenge, envy pride and pain to stand in the way of love and connectedness.

Stop expecting so much from yourself and so much from others. They have the same full load as you do. Instead share the load and drop the notion of keeping up with others.  Perhaps their mariage is in greater jeopardy than your own. What appears as truth on the outside may not be the actual reality.  There will be less stress and bitterness, if you create your own desires. Search for some love in your relationships. Frustrations and pressure will tend to alleviate when the bitterness and stress slides away. All we have to do is pay more attention to what we are packing on our shoulders. It really is better to pack some patience and love. It goes a long way in alleviating toxicity. I see bitterness like the unseen germ that enters the body, takes residence and destroys. There is plenty we can do to combat it. Be aware, temper your desires, prioritize your life, appreciate more and live a happy life.

“Wisdom without Christ brings bitterness; with Christ it brings compassion.”    Criss Jami

“The bacteria of resentment bred: distance turned to distrust; distrust turned to bitterness; bitterness to hate, which is, after all, a kind of grievous love”     Johnny Rich

“We need the compassion and the courage to change the conditions that support our suffering. Those conditions are things like ignorance, bitterness, negligence, clinging, and holding on.” Sharon Salzberg

“You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your aim too high and don’t fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it.”    Emil Zatopek

“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”    Flannery O’Connor

Living Knocks You Down;Faith Picks You Up

Life Knocks You Down;Faith“If you want to fly on the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go the past that drags you down.”   Amit Ray

“Only God can take our failures and turn them into victories.” Evinda Lepins

“If you are driven by fear, anger or pride nature will force you to compete. If you are guided by courage, awareness, tranquility and peace nature will serve you.”  Amit Ray

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres! ~Lucian Bane~”

How easily our lives are changed, and how swiftly we fall down. We begin to feel like summer grass, or fall leaves caught in a turbulent wind. I’m sure there isn’t one person who hasn’t experienced some form of a devastation within their lives, in one way or another. Many people love to joke and say we don’t get out of this world alive. I would add to this,  we don’t get out of life without scars. Some scars heal while others develop infections and tend to drag on with the healing process.

When we are younger we tend to have faith in our own ability to create our own worlds. Although in many ways we do tend to form our own realities by the choices we make,, in other ways we are puppets to the hurts and obstacles life places in our paths. I don’t care for problems any more than anyone else. I must admit, when the struggles befall us, they change us in ways that make us rethink and perhaps differentiate our actions. Out thoughts appear dissimilar prior to the incident. What causes us to evolve? How about those who fight the transformations.

I think about those of us who lose jobs or friendships or even divorce spouses, which can be similar to experiencing a death. Some of us learn from the mistakes we made while others of us fill with anger and hatred for the other people. We can’t see our own faults in the situations and believe the other person was totally to blame. All we accomplish is adding on stress and rage. I wonder if we just haven’t gotten the message in such instances. Nobody is ever entirely right or wrong in any given drama. Of course if we were all able to face that reality in the first place there would be less fighting and more respect and consideration.

Maybe it is all about us. Even divorcing people forget to think about the kids involved, or the extended family who are also victims. We tend to our own pain and suffereing and become totally unaware of another person’s aches. Uncles aunts cousins and grandparents suffer during a divorce and most especially the kids. Nobody is left without scars.  Perhaps if we recognized that we are all in the huge pot of soup together, we might take a look around and conclude we are not the only ones sensing the pains of disappointment or anger.

All the simple pleasures of life are what we are searching for. Anything less leaves us in want. This want can lead to desperation and actions that are out of  boundaries. Of course the results are even more painful, yet we won’t accept our fault in the matter. Our actions and words have so much to do with the issues we create in our lives. We wonder and proclaim to be surprised when things fall apart.  How is it we never go back a page or two in our lives to see our intrusion within the dilemma.

Many times life extends hardships which are out of our control. Some of these were never seen coming nor could they have ever been conceived. We don’t plan on parents getting old, children growing up and making big mistakes, nor diseases and handicaps rendering us less potent. It really does appear to happen without warning. Even television is constantly portraying lives that are loaded with so many choices that lead down so many diverse roads. Most of these destinations are not for the better. We enjoy the movies but don’t recall them later when we are faced with similar decisions. I am not displaying television as an item to watch but we miss so much even within our own lives.

We might see a relative go through a nasty divorce or situation with teenagers yet we find ourselvs one day repeating the same problems. Perhaps our pain sends us cowering into a corner and without any positive thoughts of restoring us to health. I wonder at times if we are almost afraid to have faith and hope. Just when we believe the world is a bright and wonderful place, we manage to  experience a let down. As they say, we expect something to go wrong when too much is going right. That is so sad. Perhaps our expectations need the changing.

Are we looking for the perfect fun filled life or the rewarding, faith packed life. Nobody likes pain, myself included. However, the pain I have experienced within my life has caused me to understand the value of people and relationships. It has also made me question my own fault in every situation that causes a crack. I am more aware of forgiving becasue I have had the need of forgiveness. My own tears have instilled me with more empathy for those who are aching inside. I know that when there is tremendous pain in one’s life, the only remedy is love and faith if one is to be restored. No money, fame or power will help. There is no material item to bring relief. People and their love are the cures.

Painful situations allow honesty and understanding to filter through. the more we understand, the less of a need we have to be understood. When we comprehend why a starving person might steal, we learn the meaning of tolerance and love. As much as we all search and yearn for the same things in life, we also experience many of the same injuries to our minds, bodies and souls. I suppose at those times it dawns on us that life is more than material comforts. Life is truly about learning how to develop all of the virtues poets write about.

When one always wins, they have great pride and happiness. They don’t recognize the suffering the loser experiences. We go deeper within when we are hurt. If we are ostracized, we understand tolerance, acceptance and love for others through identifying with them. Manifesting virtues benefits our learning . We can observe some of the lessons of life by sharing another’s pain. Running away from our own hurt or the sufferings of others shadows the meaning and purpose of growth in life.

Experiencing trials and tribulations doesn’t have to equate with unhappiness. It is how we relate to our situations that matters. In the end we are left with our emotional understanding. We encounter a deep wisdom of hope and faith far greater than ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid to look that closely and our fear drives us into useless tasks and fruitless busy work, along with wasteful social activities. The value of time and attention to virtue has become obsolete. Time is passing and we are changing for the better or worse. Although it is so hard to recognize good in hurtful situations, open your eyes and experience a new look.

We obviously can’t encounter every lesson involved in life. We can become more aware of absorbing another’s pain. Paying greater attention to the person beside us, teaches many life lessons in faith and love. The hardest experiences bring the most profound feelings. If we experience or witness ostracism, we can be transformed by it. We may evolve into being bitter and angry, or accepting others like we never have before. Loss can leave us bitter, or make us appreciate and cherish what we have. Dwelling on lack can become a pastime. Valuing what we have developed and acquired can turn into a good habit.

Faith is believing what we cannot see with our eyes, but what we can sense with our hearts. Faith is a commitment to having hope, when we are at our lowest. Not having the ability to witness the whole picture, at moments, can allot us feelings of despair. Trusting that there is more to the picture, beyond the canvas, turns disbelief into loyalty. Sharing our hardships with others and reciprocating when others are in pain, renews our love in life and in living. As Martin Luther King once stated, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.”
Albert Einstein
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life… as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”    Booker T. Washington
 “We ask for long life, but ’tis deep life, or grand moments that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”    Marie Curie
“As I go through all kinds of feelings and experiences in my journey through life — delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay — I hold this question as a guiding light: ‘What do I really need right now to be happy?’ What I come to over and over again is that only qualities as vast and deep as love, connection and kindness will really make me happy in any sort of enduring way.”
Sharon Salzberg


Doubt“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win,  by fearing to attempt.”
William Shakespeare

“Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief
that sustains thought and holds the world together.”    Soren Kierkegaard

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”    Suzy Kassem

Likely there are many times  throughout our day when we doubt another person. It is not like we are skeptics, but for one reason or another we perhaps believe others are out to hurt us, get us,  or put us down. No matter where we venture, we have reasons to doubt a person, or a stores perception of the truth. If there is a huge sale, we think it is because they are attempting to get rid of old merchandise. If a friend suddenly calls us to join them on an outing, we assume they couldn’t get their favorite friends to go with them. When we are the recipient of an act of kindness , we wait for the person to ask us for a favor. We just have faith that people  are always  looking for something.

How sad is that? Even worse is the fact that so many of us think this way. Of course we don’t admit it to others because that would be rude. So  we pretend we were overjoyed when another does something kind for us and we give thanks. We go home and wonder about what it is they will want from us in the future. Perhaps we are skeptics. I don’t like being a skeptic. I would rather have faith in the generosity of other people, to do something nice, without any notions of expecting the favor returned.

Teens who want to earn some extra cash so that they can buy a certain item, may receive a few job offers  from mom or dad. Their first reaction is that mom or dad are attempting to pawn the lousy, dirty jobs  off on them. Nothing might be further from the truth, but reason is nowhere to be found. The worker who brings a cup of coffee to a boss or a co-worker appears to be searching for a way up the ladder, or wants help with his workload. How about friends who offer to help us with a project, and then turn around and ask for our help with a bigger project.

We just can’t seem to get away from our reservations. We never believe anything is simply a coincidence when it comes to courtesies. How, I wonder, have we become so jaded, to have confidence in the distrustful motives of others. In a way it can make us feel unhappy. It appears to be a dog eat dog world according to the doubters. It sounds like a horrible world to imagine nobody is kind for the sake of being kind. It makes one wonder how we reached this point. Have others disappointed us so much or held us accountable for repays? Did we just misinterpret another person’s motives, for asking for support with something?

Perhaps we place the guilt on ourselves. After being the recipient of a good deed, perhaps we begin our own search for ways we can repay  the favor. It might be our own guilt that drives this payback. We have become a society that has lost the capacity to enjoy small kindnesses for the sake of goodwill. Having no strings attached is confounding to us. We assume everyone is out to receive something. Most of us have been taught that there is no free ride and therefore no assistance without expectations.

I have always cherished those friends and relatives who offer assistance without expectations. Of course there were those friends who made it clear to me that if I would babysit for them, they would return the favor. I suppose that is why so many of us assume we increase our debt with multiple gifts from others. We should consider how  awesome it would be if we could support others without making a requirement of reimbursement. Kindnesses provide us with such joyful feelings. They spur us into action and make us feel good because we have met more goals than we perhaps expected to meet. We are also empowered with our own worth. After all, someone thought we were worthy of a helping hand.

I am all for returning a favor. I think we need to have the freedom to return it on our own terms. In that way, we won’t feel pressured into repayment, when the other person deems it suitable. That way we can leisurely choose a good moment, to come to the aid of another person. If none of us felt put upon to reciprocate, we would perhaps be willing to assist  others frequently.

I suppose all of this doubt may filter into other areas of our lives. A spouse returning home from work at a late hour may be interrogated  about their whereabouts. Children who profess having finished homework earlier may also be grilled. Our doubts regarding someone’s motives, renders us questioning the motives of all those we come into contact with. Now we are living in doubt which is the equivalent of fear. We become a person who is unable to enjoy the support of others.

The  certainty of believing in the goodness of others,  is necessary, if we are to have faith in humanity as a whole. Whenever someone extends a courtesy to us, whether large or small, we should be thankful. That doesn’t mean we must feel indebted to anyone. Perhaps if we all keep a clean slate, regardless of any indulgences we have received or rendered, we will not be pressured into accepting or doing favors out of compulsion. Instead we will be assisting out of love and kindness.

It is paramount that we refuse to place obligations on the shoulders of others, whether friends or family. By living in a world free of restrictions and debts, we give blessings to the freedom of choice and a loving freewill which fosters empathy. Perhaps spouses will engender more trust in their relationship, and parents will comprehend having faith in their kids. We all can break a rule, but if we believe in each other,  we will have renewed our trust in the goodness of people, throughout our world.

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy.”    Yann Martel

“Faith doesn’t mean you never doubt. It only means you never act upon your doubts.”    Orson Scott Card

“No one knows for sure that that tomorrow won’t come, but most people assume that tomorrow will still exist as usual. This is Toba’s Paradox, which means, hope overcomes doubt.”
Toba Beta

“If you build the faith to trust a friend as God, then your heart can never be broken.”    Michael Bassey Johnson


Payback“A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.”    Francis Bacon

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”    Rumi

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A small boy looked at a star and began to weep. The star said, ‘Boy, why are you weeping?’ And the boy said, ‘You are so far away I will never be able to touch you.’ And the star answered, ‘Boy, if I were not already in your heart, you would not be able to see me.”    John Magliola

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”    Rumi

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”    Buddha

Likely our first thoughts after someone hurts us, are the manner in which we can get even with this person. In one way or another we conceive of ideas, to commit actions or words, that will emphasize our retaliation. Probably our hearts are racing, and we fill up with anger. At times it might be difficult to contain our attitudes, which affect everyone in our vicinity. The  fault we conceive, lies with  the person who hurt us.

The degree of our fury, is usually equivalent to the amount of injury to our feelings, and the extent of the closeness of the relationship. We are quicker to give some leeway to those we love the most. The less important people in our lives, are the focus of payback. Somehow, sadly to say, we gain our composure, by reflecting on how we will execute our revenge. It offers us some power and control, although at a cost we haven’t considered.

Retribution is seen in all areas of our world. Countries as well as people have long memories. The disintegration of any relationship, or the treading on the territory of another, triggers response systems that possibly get out of control. The desire to even the score remains strong. It becomes an itch that can’t be scratched. Perhaps at no other time are we as fixated. There is no room for discussions of any kind. Our minds are shut off from suggestions. We understand what we have to do, and we want to do it. The other person or people must comprehend what they did, and that comes with experiencing the same kind of affliction. That is the premise of our argument.

The reality is we work against ourselves. We end up with as much hurt and pain as the receiver of our revenge. We may not expect to feel worse, and likely our expectations are the opposite. The truth is, at the very least,  there is damage to our souls and spirits, if not to our  minds and bodies. The truth is that we cannot absorb reality, when enveloped in the fog of hate and anger.

Being wrapped up in it, renders us powerless to see reality. So many people  are so extremely sorrowful, after having extracted pain from another in vengeance. There are few who dance for joy. If one does, then they are overshadowed in their  own shells of rage. It becomes difficult to remove the infection, to allow light from their spirits to shine forth. The eating away of our empathy, understanding, love and caring is relentless. I believe the longer we hold our rage within, the harder it becomes to remove. None of us desire to become an unrecognizable entity.

Within society, if one’s family fights, we take sides, and fault those who have committed no offense other than be forced to choose a side. We blame  those who don’t agree with us, or those we are jealous of. There are so many reasons we find blame with others. Some causes may be quite reasonable, and others totally unreasonable excuses. Right or wrong, there still is more damage done to the perpetrator of the  retribution, than to anyone else. When the settling of the score is complete, and the balloon of fury deflates, probably one is left in sorrow, and void of love.

There are times when others hurt us in a devastating way. The acts are on their souls. When we choose vengeance, we diminish our own souls. We are not gaining peace but instead, emptiness. Even low keyed revenge, harms our spirits and causes us to focus on evil rather than good. Sometimes what we perceive as injury, might have more to do with our own interpretation of the situation. By carrying the perceived impairment beyond it’s  meaning, we have permitted uncontrolled anger to overpower thinking.

A  bad day that allows our jealous or envious feelings to overtake our reason, doesn’t have to end with revengeful thoughts, if the other party can see the truth. We all likely must learn how to be more tolerant, and patient with others. Learning to accept people with their off  days, as well as their awesome days, is crucial. Perhaps by starting with those we love, we might work towards being tolerant of those who we dislike, or perhaps don’t even know. Judging a group of people, or an entire family, is poor and dangerous assessment. Maybe we should begin by leaving the judgement up to God. Most if not all people live in glass houses. I may not be judging you, but perhaps I judge the person  down the street.

Power, control, jealousy and the yearning to win, are perhaps triggers of revenge and revenge hurts us in it’s execution. Freedom is paramount in our minds. Fairness is vital but the absence of empathy towards others is crushing our spirits and our souls. If we can perceive of our own pain, then we must attempt to comprehend the pain of others. Kindness begets kindness, love begets love, empathy  teaches empathy, understanding teaches understanding.  Revenge begets more revenge, pain, regret, powerlessness, destruction, and a soul void of love.

I have never felt better when I hurt another with my words or actions. I actually spent many hours feeling remorse for what I did. There is no sweetness or joy in revenge or retaliation. Whenever I have exacted retribution, at a later date the person has done something nice for me, and in the process, rendered me remorseful. Those moments I refrained from revenge and was upset with myself, proved to be honorable moments. The erring individual, came back with peace offerings. Needless to say, I was happy for not settling any score with pain, because they corrected it with kindness.

In Japan the art of kintsugi in ceramics refers to the practice of repairing cracks in pottery with gold, in effect making the broken pottery more valuable than the pristine piece. In this way we see that our own cracks can be filled with gold.

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”    Carl Jung

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”    Norman Vincent Peale

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Unpretentious Life

Unpretentious Life“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”    John Burroughs

“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.”    Victoria Moran

“Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking.”    Richie Norton

All the  huge egos, including our own, are due to our attempts to find an unadorned life. That appears to sound contradictory, but actually the boastful people are just as unsure of themselves as the rest of us. They are hiding behind a different rock. Human nature  bestows similar wants and needs. For the most part the needs are the same. Perhaps the wants differ somewhat but the desire for a happy simple life is attractive to most of us.

Perhaps we begin our adult life yearning for the usual attractions of house, car and family. Our thoughts are likely at the seedling form, at this point in time. So how is it we complicate our lives with distractions? It is easy.  In many harmless ideas, we buy more items, create more fixtures, add more attractions and activities. One day, we  wake up to a more complicated life.

The strange thing is we begin blaming the spouse or children for our unbalanced  and burdensome life. We question how it developed into such a harried life. There are so many distractions, that plant seeds in our brains. They grow like weeds and eventually get out  of control. On any given day we travel from one thought to another and can barely keep up with the demands of our concepts.

Almost at the point of overload, we begin attending to the ideas and bringing them to fruition. The variety of notions is exciting. Now our lives take on a new dimension.  We no longer need to consider just what  the kids or spouse is doing, but what the plans are for bigger nd better. In a sense we are traveling down an exciting road, but one that leads no where. Our focus is on entertainment, even if we don’t recognize it, in the present moment.

The bigger yard demands more attention, or more money to have it looked after. Every item calls for more money, which places demands on us. We can’t leave the job we have, which pays a good salary, for one that we’d like to work at, which offers a lower pay. We settle because the desires are overwhelming and settled within our minds. They exhibit attractive  pictures of what we already have, or items we might have at a future time. They overtake our senses.

Have you noticed that many times our conversations with others reflect on buying new things, visiting new places, finding new restaurants, and enjoying new adventures? The conversations sometimes serve to plant the seeds of new inspirations. Our reflections are not focusing on the spouse or family. We are inspired to see our exciting new plans grow into a reality.

So many of us complain about not having enough time to do the things we want. We feel drained and caught between juggling the  children’s activities and our own. Perhaps we have simply complicated our lives with nonsense. Maybe if we pulled up some of the weeds, our lives would appear more trouble-free. Perhaps we don’t have to replace everything with something bigger or more efficient. Just because a car can speed to 250 miles does not mean we are ever going to go that fast.

Is it the bragging we desire, or the attention? Perhaps we all have so many weeds that we are comparing our gardens to see who has a worthier conception. It is extremely difficult to find our  way out of the mess. It is also hard to prioritize our lives. We need the jobs to pay for the bills, and huge amount of peripheral items. We have less time for the things that matter most. We are so busy with our complicated lives that most of us are on auto-pilot.

It isn’t really all that difficult to get caught up in a tangle of weeds. We all do it in one form or another. If it isn’t our items or activities, it perhaps is our kids. Most kids don’t have to think about playtime, because they are involved in many outside activities. Whatever the case, it seems to me, that it is time to have lives that are uncomplicated. I know it isn’t easy because I am in the process at the moment. Once you attempt to sit outside the weed garden, you begin to comprehend the magnetic pull it has. The worldly  attractions are too numerous to count.

After watching people often inhale deeply, as they attend to their many tasks, and listening to the complaints, about their mounting burdens, I am seeing a pattern. The distractions are fake. Without them our lives would be easier, and our thought processes would increase. I don’t believe we would see ourselves as failures, as often as we do today. So many of us are exceptional, in what we accomplish, yet we never have faith that it is enough. We don’t believe we measure-up, unless we  have the many toys.

I really don’t mean to insult those of us with boats etc. If that is something you enjoy that is fantastic. I am pointing out our swaying, between the many distractions of the world, right down to the latest styles in clothing. Shopping constantly draws many of us  into buying items we don’t even need. I deliberately am attempting to steer clear of stores, unless I know specifically what I am looking for. The temptation of the item or its price can be too overwhelming to resist.

The majority of people do a great job, surviving the many obstacles they confront, on a daily basis. Even our  relationships come into jeopardy. So many surveys, tell us whether or not we should be happy, or worried, about our marriages. If one spouse or another, does not receive certain requirements from the mate, the union is in distress, so they say. Many people now have the seed of doubt in their minds, and ponder just how well the marriage is. Those who didn’t question before are now questioning. Perhaps other people within our place of employment, are looking better than our spouse.

All of the doubt and fear is fabricated, most of the time. The need to see through the pitfalls and understand that as humans, we all face similar issues, is allowing one’s self to be in the know. We are the ones that must change. The surroundings won’t. The problems will likely be equivalent, within a new relationship. How do we  think that magically we won’t face any problems. The requirements for an awesome marriage remain similar. Children will always need attention and draw it away from the adults. Spouses require nurturing from each other. Accepting the reality and dealing with our thoughts on the subject, is crucial. Changing what we can is what must be accomplished. Weeding the garden is probably the best thing we can do.

We can stop the fears, stress to a point, and the false temptations of better. Observe these as the unworthy distractions that they are. Even our kids do not need all of the entertainment we provide to them and ourselves. Being real is more important. Are we real? Are we living a life, or searching for a dream world of pleasure,  that leaves us is failure. There are so many weeds, and no one can carry a burden indefinitely.

The added distractions of technology, have without a doubt multiplied the weeds. Perhaps more than any other time in the life of the world, it has  become necessary to cut down or pull the weeds. They are at the point of choking us. I use technology but I see its’ damage, influence, power and ability to destroy all life. We are so overtaken with technology.  Perhaps our last free will choice, is to put the devices away for the sake of humanity.

“No man with a complex life can be happy! The simple secret of the happiness is simple life!”    Mehmet Murat Ildan

“The complexity of your earthly array is not a guarantee for a truimphant eternity. The fact is that you need a simple life to go to heaven; not an excessively glittering body, shiny lips and charming face.”    Israelmore Ayivor

“Luxury Living Low Thinking Simple Living High Thinking”     Baba Tunde Ojo-Olubiyo

“Many of us have not been informed of the simple fact that as we go deeper into the rat race we ultimately become the things that are acquired, owned and consumed.”    Chris La Plante

“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying… and suddenly realize I forgot to live.”    Author Unknown


Insidious“Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They’ll believe anything they see in print.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

“A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardize your chances of promotion and self-advancement.”    Jimmy Reid

“I’m equally guilty of using technology – I Twitter, I text people, I chat. But I think there’s something strangely insidious about it that it makes us think we’re closer when in fact we’re not seeing each other, we’re not connecting.”    Jason Reitman

It is eery, how often we are inadvertently, at the mercy of other people. It is not like we want other people controlling what we do. It just seems to happen, especially when we are not prepared for the choice nor the consequences. The truth is all of us want to be kind and helpful to others. We want to do the right thing. Problems always arise when the ‘right’ thing interferes with our attachment to other people.

Nobody enjoys making a scene. If we are confronted with undesirable language,  or actions, most of us, myself included, refrain from calling attention to it. This is especially true when it is a relative or friend. The fact that we disapprove, is hidden behind our fear of not fitting in with the group we are with at that moment. This is not cowardly. I know there many times I think about what I should do, but my window of time to respond, is lost, and I am left without any recourse.

Those times when we are able to muster a response, it sometimes appears lame and disheartened. Perhaps others were not even listening due to the quiet voice we used. I  think at moments like this we spend a lot of time reflecting on how good or bad something is. We attempt to measure the words or actions against some  assessment tool approved by society. Of course our own filters are sparking, but we can’t decide if it calls for any interference. The response window is lost of course.

Why is  it so difficult for us to state our own mind, and trust that it is okay, and within our rights. We appear to assume that others are more worthy to set the rules. The social, emotional and spiritual guides are probably always at the mercy of outspoken people who have the power to set the rules. When we are in the company of people  who have similar beliefs and attitudes, it becomes easier to state opinions and facts. The same is not true for those with wildly altered ideas.

I think when one has a more fragile outlook on life, it is harder to go against the crowd. The person does not want to make a scene, nor do they want to enter into a fighting match. Those who speak louder, stronger, and longer usually win the debate. People who are less apt to hurt the feelings of others tend to back off quicker, from destroying an individual’s thought processes.

I hate the fact that society pushes us towards engaging in worldly entertainment, yet has no regard for invigorating the spiritual lives. Most of us do not choose to ignore our values or morals. When we are confronted with challenges and fear stepping on  the toes of others, we stop pushing for changes. We are faced with the rhetoric of  “everybody has the right to do what they want.” While most of us try to be fair, we run the risk of getting  misguided in the interim.

I recall  so many times, being faced with a moral dilemma which covered the gamete of importance. There were times I spoke up yet other times I remained silent. It made no difference if it pertained to me or somebody else. Those moments were never clearly sustainable,  regarding my entering a response. It is debatable, how good or bad they were. I believe they fell in that gray area and the result for me was confusion and sadness at offering no reply.

There were times, like when a woman was spanking her child in a store, that I wanted to speak up. I hesitated because she was the parent, and it wasn’t my business, and her smacking wasn’t hard or rough. I had such mixed feelings and ended up losing my chance. I remember many times, being the recipient of vulgar language from people who almost enjoyed making others uncomfortable. As much as others wanted to stop it, nobody quite knew how to go about it in a discreet manner.

It amazed me how some people had the ability to subdue and conquer the larger group. The more I thought about it, the scarier it appeared. We all fall victims to other people. Perhaps we need to build up our own confidence and review an array of replies, suitable for such a situation. I suppose we will find numerous other events, that render us silent and without moves.

I have heard it said that evil doesn’t win of its own accord. Those of us who endeavor to do the correct thing, yet continue to remain silent even when we see injustice, have aided and supported evil through our inaction. All  evil requires, is for good people to stand by and do nothing. I have thought about this and as I have stated, I remember overlooking various wrongs due to my insecurity, and my fearfulness to respond. I perhaps might have had the opportunity to block some of the wrong, if I had overcome the shy attitude. Likely I could have tossed out some boldness of my own.

I realize we don’t change a world overnight. I also have the notion that if everyone attempts to watch for the deceptive, treacherous and sinister behaviors we encounter, perhaps we can overcome with time. We don’t have to accept everything that others place in front of us. We have the ability to say no. It isn’t creating a scene. It is demonstrating power and authority over our own desires and ability to choose. The next time you don’t like a movie, play, or somebody’s language or opinions, simply walk away. If injustices are rampant, choose to offer your ideas and thoughts always taking others into consideration. You haven’t insulted anyone, but you have voiced your own thoughts. You never know if in the process, you have given courage to another person, to do the same thing.

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”    George Bernard Shaw

“And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo – that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.”    Joyce Carol Oates

“Being against evil doesn’t make you good. Tonight I was against it and then I was evil myself. I could feel it coming just like a tide. I just want to destroy them. But when you start taking pleasure in it you are awfully close to the thing you’re fighting.”     Ernest Hemingway


Interpretation“Have you thought about what it means to be a god?” asked the man. He had a beard and a baseball cap. “It means you give up your mortal existence to become a meme: something that lives forever in people’s minds, like the tune of a nursery rhyme. It means that everyone gets to re-create you in their own minds. You barely have your own identity any more. Instead, you’re a thousand aspects of what people need you to be. And everyone wants something different from you. Nothing is fixed, nothing is stable.”     Neil Gaiman, American Gods

“A very single fact could emerge into many versions of truth,
depends on the number of eyewitnesses and interpretations.”    Toba Beta

“The word of God came down to man as rain to soil, and the result was mud, not clear water.”    Kim Stanley Robinson

The smallest atom, might be interpreted in a far different way in your review, versus my review. Clearly, most of us have not come to terms with the huge amount of differences of opinion on every available subject. Some of us are super critical, and judge with eagle eyes. It is our job to find mistakes. Others like to slip things by, on the notion of stretching the norms a bit. I suppose, that is where most of our questions find themselves in jeopardy.

Perhaps the clearest folly, is when there is nothing apparent, yet we find an error which is fabricated within our minds. I don’t  believe we deliberately accuse an innocent person. I think we can’t at times, witness and admit honesty in any kind or form.  We search for the failure, believing it is there, just not yet discovered. There is a lot of time wasted on useless observing, of innocent facts and people. Many times our distrust, may cause a relationship of one kind or another to falter. We may also ruin the innocent start  of a new connection, due to our constant digging and assessment of the facts.

I wonder if we have been trained to disbelieve, until proven correct. Even the most liberal among us, has problems believing in something that appears to be too good to be true. We have become cynical. You have to wonder, if it is due to our societies lack of honesty? Or have most of us been duped so many times by family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers, that we won’t immediately warm up to the most sincere person we meet.

We quickly challenge the store clerk, co-worker, family and friend, yet we can be fooled by the spouse, which renders us defeated and mystified. I  would guess, that if our family, friends and co-workers are cheating or lying to us, it is not a far cry to fathom our spouse might be doing the same. Now the saddest happening is the transformation of the person, who gets back up on their feet, after having been hurt.  They are  tainted from trusting anyone. That is the possible result of the deception.

With so much deception going around, I wonder if that is why we are so negative in our interpretation of others. We are obviously quicker to believe  the person meant us harm, rather than believing they had our best interest at heart. It makes  sense that the more you suffer deceit, at the hands of those you love, the more guarded you become, especially at the hands of strangers. I still believe it is a tragic situation, to always weigh in on the negative side.

I recall one daughter-in-law buying her mother-in-law a bread maker. The mother-in-law loved homemade bread but hated to cook. The daughter-in-law thought it would be nice if her mother-in-law got to have bread as often as she wanted, rather than just when she got invited to dinner at her son’s house. Of course you would think the mother-in-law would have been overjoyed at the present. She was anything but. She thought her daughter-in-law was attempting to give her the brush-off, from the invites to dinner. That was clearly not at all part of the thinking, on the daughter-in-law’s repertoire.

It took some time before the issue got resolved, and the relationship was back on track. When the mother-in-law explained how she felt about the gift, her daughter-in-law explained her reasoning about the gift. Both women laughed but learned a life-long lesson. We never really understand why others construe things the way they do. As much as we believe we are helping, we might be surprised to discover we have actually hurt someone, without any intentions of doing so.

Another women was insulted at the house gifts her daughter-in-law gave to her. The woman treasured and craved a less expensive gift, that she could wear, instead of the kitchen utensil that would have alleviated her time. It took years until she finally let out the real truth one day, mostly because of her hurt and anger. The daughter-in-law loved the latest gadgets, and she believed she was helping her mother-in-law to be up to date with technology. The mother-in-law realized her daughter-in-law was not the uncaring person she thought. Her daughter-in-law had actually put a lot of thinking into her gifts. Both women were dismayed, at the total misunderstanding of the situation.

One daughter-in-law was disgusted at her mother-in-law’s nature gifts. Although she admitted she admired all of the plants given to  her, when  she happily  placed them in her garden. The daughter-in-law still clung to the belief that a gift was to be an indulgence for her. She did not relish another plant. She was not an outside person, as she put it. Regardless of the cost, she refused to manage any more flowers . After a few years, and numerous hints, a request from the son to his mother was made. After that the mother-in-law began buying more personal items for her daughter-in-law, on any given occasion.

On the surface, all of these stories may appear harmless enough, but in reality they were painful, and long enduring for the women involved. The women compiled years of resentment and frustration. They even believed the disliked  gifts were given on purpose, to cause them misery. In the first place, these women were not totally trusting, because if they had been, they might have been able to accept the gifts in good faith and move on.

The same can happen with words. One person asks for the truth regarding an item of clothing. When they get the actual answer, and they don’t like it, resentment enters into the relationship. We must realize if we want honesty, we must be willing to receive any and all answers. Even if we don’t like an answer, we must understand that what we believe can be very different from what another thinks. Trusting ourselves first is perhaps the best solution.

I remember a time at a party at my daughters house. I forgot something and happen to be facing another woman at the party. I frowned as she was finishing up with a story and she reasoned I was not agreeing with her, when she witnessed my frown. As much as I attempted to explain, she wouldn’t listen. My mind had been on other things and not her conversation. To this day she likely believes that I didn’t like what she said. I can’t take the incident back, and I can’t get her to have faith in me. All any of us can do, is trust that others have confidence in our honesty.

The way we analyze  other people is frightening. More so because if we are not always tuned into what they are saying or doing, we have set the stage for a confrontation. Maybe the social media makes it easier for all of us to get along. I don’t regard the media as an honest elucidation, due to the fact that the senses are not more involved.  We see words on a page. In a way it takes no courage to print a quick message. It requires no thinking,  no facial expression, and a complete disregard of the tone of our voices.

I do participate within the media but I love the human interactions the best. Someone that speaks the correct words, that you want to hear, but expresses a bit of a doubt on their faces, has rendered you some help at times. You have the kindness of their hearts backing you up, and the honesty of their look, which tells you to do something else. There is comfort with a bit of assurance tucked inside.  Nobody likes to intentionally hurt another individual. There are times that call for veracity, if one is to make a correct decision. It may require us to leap out of  our comfort zone, but when we love and want the best for another, we make the effort.

Interpretations  are  not reality. They are not truthful nor anything that can hold water. They are misguided understanding, resulting from many uncontrolled conditions. There are times when our own reliance may be off kilter. We might be best to take what we can, from the hints derived from our interactions with others. Wait for a sunnier day to take another look, before making any decisions. Life almost needs to be viewed, in the way a spider sees the world through his many eyes. There is so much to reflect on, and so many views to interpret. We might find we are both correct in our analysis, yet find our conclusions dissimilar. Life is similar to looking through a crystal glass. We all see different versions of the world. We also focus our attention on a variety of items. Nothing is  exact, so relying on a clarification might be helpful to us all.

“The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it.”    Stephan Shore

“There is no such thing as objectivity. We are all just interpreting signals from the universe and trying to make sense of them. Dim, shaky, weak, static-y little signals that only hint at the complexity of a universe we cannot begin to understand.”     Bones

“Change your thinking, your interpretation of he world, change the way you see! To change the way you see is to change the world.”    Lean-Yves Leloup

“Every man, it seems, interprets the world in the light of his habits and desires”
Richard Wright

“The meaning of life is not a search—it is a choice. Meaning is not found in things; meaning is what you make of things. The world means nothing by itself. You give it all the meaning it has. Thus, the meaning of life is a choice you make, not just once, but every waking hour of your day. 

Life is like art—it is all about interpretation. The moment anything happens to you, you interpret a meaning for it. The meaning you vote for then governs your perception, your thinking, your faith, your choices, your feelings, your behaviors, everything! Whenever you elect a new meaning, this changes everything.”    Robert Holden

“Words never change. What changes is how one interprets them.”    Marty Rubin