Do We Foster Doubt?

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise.” Shannon L. Alder
 “Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!”    C. Joy Bell C.
 “Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” Shannon L. Alder
 “There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.” Shannon L. Alder

Have you ever noticed how easily someone can knock you off of your game plan and cause you to doubt yourself? All they need to do is plant those little seeds of doubt or give the quick retort that leaves you questioning what they meant for days. We all fall prey to these people who come in the form of friends, family co-workers and unfriendly ties. Continue reading “Do We Foster Doubt?”

ARE WE USING OUR SENSES?

We have the gift of our senses but we don't always use our senses nor attempt to apply our sixth sense.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred  gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We  have created a society that  honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend twenty-five minutes thinking about a solution and five minutes thinking about solving it."    Einstein

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." Albert Einstein

There was such an uproar about  birth order that I found it interesting to reason why we can’t use our senses. I think as human beings we must categorize everything, find solutions, weigh burdens and assets, compare gains support and advantages and compete against each other constantly. We  just can’t admit that everyone has their own issues to deal with. That is the truth. It somehow makes it more important if we can convince others that our lot in life is worse or more difficult. This is full of comparisons and competition of all kinds. Continue reading “ARE WE USING OUR SENSES?”

DISBELIEF

Families30“Disbelief held me down inside my footsteps, making my body heavy but my heart wild.”  Markus Zusak

“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.”    Steven Pressfield

“Humanity does not suffer from the disease of wrong beliefs but humanity suffers from the contagious nature of the lack of belief. If you have no magic with you it is not because magic does not exist but it is because you do not believe in it. Even if the sun shines brightly upon your skin every day, if you do not believe in the sunlight, the sunlight for you does not exist.”    C. JoyBell C.

I find it too easy to trust others and I end up hurt and then in disbelief regarding their honesty. I suppose that is what makes most of us become a doubting person. We might go to a party with every intention f having a good time and immediately  get hit with another’s angry mood or wrath thrown towards us. Maybe we go home wondering why and as much focus given we come up with no answers. The disappointment is huge and sometimes anger and disbelief creep in about their kindness towards us. Of course the sadness takes over and we are left with only unhappiness. Continue reading “DISBELIEF”

Drop The Doubt

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” Kahlil Gibran

“Faith is to see what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth. They love the truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them.” Saint Augustine

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” Voltaire

“The truth is like a lion, you don’t have to defend it, it will defend itself.” Anonymous

I used to actually have the belief that I did not doubt anyone. I pride myself at leaving my bag in a church bench when I go up to the alter at the front of the church. Wow I am a trusting person. Simple acts like that made me have faith in myself for being a trusting person. Now I have my doubts. I looked up doubt in the dictionary and found such definitions as hesitation. I am crushed already because I am a very cautious person unless there is an emergency. Reservations and misgivings appear to be almost natural for most of us. After all we all sense that there are a lot of people “OUT THERE” who will hurt us if they have the chance. Continue reading “Drop The Doubt”

Healing

Courage 2“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”    Rumi

“What happens when people open their hearts?”
“They get better.”    Harki Murakami

“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”    Shannon L. Alder

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” Marianne Williamson

Healing self is sometimes impossible to do. Years pass by  quickly as we all live our chosen lives. The wounds stay infected and begin covering with more and more scars. It is so hard to state what it is we really want from others and basically we can become disappointed at every turn. Maybe it appears to be weakness on our part. We might need others but we refuse to admit it to ourselves. Likely we have remained strong for so long and dealt with our losses and hurts that we simply can’t change our course and go another route.

The hurts and pain are real no doubt. The ways we perceive them as well as the reasons behind the occurrences are always shadowed by our own paintbrush. Children have suffered abuses of all kinds at the hands of those they love. Adults who want to become whole again must see through the infliction and search to find the strength to forgive those who perhaps owed them so much more.

Torments of all kinds rendered by various people fester and pain us at unpredictable times. What we want to say but likely never do renders us suffering in silence. We can all understand pain to a degree and we all appreciate the power of compassionate words that send us for cover rather than for bearing arms. Bearing the misery in silence is our only answer so we resolve to endure our situation quietly.

Many people carry the baggage around with them sometimes for a lifetime. Maybe it  appears to be easier to tolerate the discomfort in the quiet of our hearts. The trouble is that we never know when the agony will resurface and when it does we are usually never prepared to deal with it all over again. At a stronger moment we choose to ignore the sorrow because we like keeping it at bay so we can enjoy our times of pleasure.

Everything  that happens to us in life is what changes us for the better or the worse. Obviously the grueling experiences have a much more profound affect on our lives. The key is they also have the power to transform us in extreme ways. Such incidences are challenging and complicated. To confront them is problematic because so much agony covers up the intricate explanations of the rationale. Analyzing them no matter how much agony we must endure cracks the door open for finding the  details of the full picture.

Even when extreme sadness is present, finding our own peace of mind is critical to our own functioning and survival. I hate the term rationalizing because I feel like it leaves behind the emotional soreness. Perhaps the truth is that each one of us uses our own rationale for behaving the way we do. I may not care for your understanding of an incident any more than you accept my interpretation.

When parents hurt their kids emotionally, physically or sexually there appears to be no recourse and justifiably no excuses. I would almost agree with that and still do find it almost impossible to forgive unless one is close to godliness. Recently I have encountered those perpetrators of such crimes in agony themselves about how to find peace and forgiveness. I did not deal with them personally and am not  equipped  to do so but their anguish was obvious and deep.

Parents must seek help in all the ways they can find it. Of course a young mother barely above the level of a child herself, likely having had few good role models in her life, is going to be questionable in her child rearing practices. Condemning this person is difficult but condoning her is impossible. What are we left with but to consider why things went off track. Even knowing that may not help with a solution. I have faith in the belief that forgiveness comes when one totally gets the depth of the discomfort and agony they have caused another individual at any point in time and towards any person be it family or stranger.

I suppose it is why lawyers bring backgrounds of the suspected guilty person into account, in order for those who have  not been hurt so deeply to understand the emotional sting and heartache from the instigators own past. One might counter with the acute displeasure the perpetrator has caused the innocent victim. Although there are degrees of innocence and guilt there is likely not an innocent person among any of us, even if we unknowingly caused misery to another.

Healing is the critical component. It comes from facing the demons and incorporating the many excuses and arguments. One must accept the reality of the motives whether they are justified or at least extremely complicated and intense. Sometimes the full picture is not comprehended until one has matured a great deal. Having the courage to face what we have done wrong is vital in understanding dilemmas of the heart. Sustaining the strength to confront and let go of the emotional burdens is necessary.

One who has been emotionally injured creates a hard outer core so as to protect themselves from further pain. To heal  we must have the strength and fortitude to peel the armor off and allow the light to shine through us again. The throbbing sadness may subside somewhat with transforming our attitude and overcoming our fear of moving forward instead of remaining trapped in painful episodes within our past.

Those of us who have been beaten down as kids may learn to show mercy and compassion for others. Forgiveness for those who have hurt us comes with knowledge of the wrongdoers motives. Of course the point at which an offender realizes the pain and depth of their actions is the point they begin  their own lamenting and journey of survival in forgiving self.

Husbands and wives may go for many years rationalizing their crimes or offenses towards each other. If one searches for truth and honesty they are  confronted with their injustices and forced to mend their sins. Most of us are a mixed bag. Accepting this perhaps leads one towards forgiving others which eventually may lead the way to inner peace. Holding on to blame and injustices leaves no room for love  and serenity. Dumping the damages takes the sting out of the pain.

We are really left with the capacity to move onward with life and living. We still have the power to choose our own course and make amends where required. We can do better than what we were taught or what was modeled. We have the option  to be engulfed in the fiery blaze or to leave the fury and grief behind and walk a gentler path of understanding and forgiving as best  we can. It doesn’t mean forgetting just releasing the constant nagging of the torment. We will always be aware of its’ presence but we don’t have to allow it to overwhelm and consume our lives. There is a special prayer that I love to think about when I believe I have been hurt or misunderstood. It brings a semblance of peace and sanity to an overburdened world. I will share it below at the end of the post.

Marriages, families friends and all relationships run into bumps and bruises. Parenting of course has the ability to cause more heartache because of the innocence of children. Many adults have not grown up with any guidance themselves but they do have the ability to search and gain the help and knowledge they need to improve their skills. Transform your heartache and it will alter your life. Love is always at the bottom of the messy pile. Most of us just don’t know how to show it, give it or receive it. We falter at expressing our love as well as our pain. We want peace but instigate friction. We want understanding but initiate confusion. Pride is produced over honesty. Time to trust in honesty by letting the love out of the prison where we hold it confined. Anger and revenge trigger fire and ash, while love promotes an atmosphere of harmony, goodwill and freedom from strife. In the process we are releasing ourselves from the prison which only we have the key to unlock.

“To Love is to reach God” Rumi

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.” Rumi

“My soul gave me good counsel, teaching me that the lamp which I carry does not belong to me, and the song that I sing was not generated from within me. Even if I walk with light, I am not the light; and if I am a taut-stringed lute, I am not the lute-player.” Rumi

“O divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to  be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Saint Francis of Assisi

 

 

 

Running Through Days & Life

RUNNING THROUGH DAYS & LIFE“Optimism is a kind of heart stimulant — the digitalis of failure.”~Elbert Hubbard

Optimist: “Okay, we all realize that the situation is temporarily hopeless.” Robert Brault

“If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.”    Oscar Wilde

“After 5000 years of recorded human history, you wonder, What part of 2,000,000 sunrises doesn’t a pessimist understand?”    Robert Brault

Everyday I fight the urge as well as the attention towards racing through my day. As I look around at other people, listen to their quick speech, I realize they are probably doing the same thing. None of us acknowledge it likely because we are so unaware of it happening. Most times I become more conscious of it when I slow down and quiet myself for a few moments.

As usual I question why I and perhaps others, waste our precious present time for the unknown. Most of us are perhaps locked into the “good times” to come. This may happen especially when the present times are not so wonderful. In the end we are wasting the present when we don’t attempt to filter out the good stuff. Even when our day is not fantastic, there are still moments that are worth recognizing.

So many times we skip over some happy minutes of our day, and basically forget about them in favor of recollecting some future event. Likely the affair could turn out to be a disaster, but we are not presently mindful of that. I’m not sure why our alertness is always about the future. Perhaps we do this out of disappointment at our current situation, or because the unknown always appears to be enticing and exciting. Whatever the reasons, we are truthfully running through our days. I plan weeks ahead, and then wonder where my time vanished so quickly.

One answer might be to think more about what appears to be wrong with our present. Are we bored, disappointed, angry, upset, unsure, doubtful, anxious or fearful? Are all of these present in our reflective thoughts? At times the lives of others gives us the impression that we are not focused enough to make our own lives more worthwhile. It seems that if we contend with our own minds, send the vibes of contentment through, we sense a feeling of pleasure or accomplishment.

Comparing our lives to others only adds displeasure to the mix. Most people exaggerate their good times, and downplay their problems. A skiing tip, fishing experience, or hiking event may appear more awesome than it actually was. Likewise, a simple picnic or day at the beach may emerge with more tears of laughter than we ever imagined possible. How would we explain, that our happiest moments were simple events. Perhaps there are situations that are too perfect to put into words and must be experienced with the heart.

One could say by keeping the daily expectations lower, we might find more satisfaction. I don’t see this as a great answer. I think we can keep our goals high but maintain a positiveness to every situation. By doing so we always see the goodness in all our endeavors, and we find gratification in every experience. Anger, fear and anxiety are alleviated due to our focus on the ease we have regarding the results.

It isn’t necessary to continuously feel like we are floating in the clouds. It is vital for us to emerge intact and satisfied. Life is a mixture all of the time. If we thought long and hard we would remember that even the wonderful events had moments of displeasure and anxiousness. We relegate those ideas to the back of our minds and turn towards the happy memories. Likewise when we are having a bad or difficult day, we must make our focal point the happy moments, and concentrate on that.

Control is constantly in our own hands. perhaps it is time to acknowledge the power of the mind to sway our thinking towards pleasure in our daily occurrences, or throw in some negativity and seek the displeasure. The choice is ours alone. Leading with our minds, allows the body to follow. Skip the leadership of the body over the mind. I think the body can get us into more trouble. The reflection of the mind is in communication with the soul.

Changing the way we look at things, perhaps might alter our attitudes and opinions about the positive and negative attributes. If nothing else, it eases the burdens and lightens the mood, permitting us a softer review of our days. Letting the light shine forth instead of closing the shades, brings a new awareness to any occurrence. Basing our happiness on the future, leaves us emotionally and spiritually deprived in the present.

As we anticipate a happy occasion in the future, we must ensure our being attuned to the present moment. The gathering at a friend’s house may be exciting to think about but the laughs and joys experienced with random encounters with friends, must never be underestimated, nor taken for granted. Perhaps if we reviewed our days before closing our eyes at night, we might find much gratification and serenity within our existence. There is tremendous gratification in helping others. If our day is spent in such an endeavor, perhaps it brings a very high level of contentment.

I don’t want to race through the small stuff which actually may be the big stuff of which I will forever recall and remember for all of my days. The smudged kisses of a toddler, smirks which evolve into smiles from our teenagers, random hugs from our spouse, thinking of you phone calls from our parents and siblings can never be underestimated. You have today, but perhaps not tomorrow.

By focusing our attention on the present, we might have fewer times when we question where our years went. It seems to pass by so fast. Yearning will not bring the years back to us. Regret is useless as well as detrimental to our health in every way. What is done is done. Forget about blame. Think about forgiveness and move on by paying heed to your present. It is never too late to develop a positive attitude. After all is said and done, we still never know about tomorrow but we do have today and that is enough care and concern for the day.

Anticipate a happy occasion in the future, but never rely on it to make you happy or bring you serenity in the present moment. Count your daily blessings. Life’s problems dissipate, worries evaporate, today’s pleasures increase, and best of all your life becomes full of peace when you seek the positive in all situations. Today is satisfying and loaded with love to go around, if we observe it with our hearts and quiet our busy thoughts.

 “A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all — he’s walking on them.” ~Leonard Louis Levinson

“The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser — in case you thought optimism was dead.” Robert Brault

“Life is a bowl of cherries. Some cherries are rotten while others are good; its your job to throw out the rotten ones and forget about them while you enjoy eating the ones that are good! There are two kinds of people: those who choose to throw out the good cherries and wallow in all the rotten ones, and those who choose to throw out all the rotten ones and savor all the good ones.” C. JoyBell C.

“A positive attitude may not solve all our problems but that is the only option we have if we want to get out of problems.” Subodh Gupta

Giving And Receiving

Giving And Receiving

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”    Mother Teresa

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”    Steve Maraboli

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”     Brian Tracy

“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”     Mother Teresa

I don’t know about others but I can tell you how many times I have weighed in my mind, what pain or hurt others caused me. It seems silly and absurd and definitely not a worthy thing to do. So I question why I am guilty of doing it frequently. If I loved unconditionally, I would not have this problem at all. I recall how much I love my kids and profess to love them unconditionally. I do love them unconditionally but when it comes to others, I fail miserably. When I get myself composed, I fill my heart with love again until the next trying situation

The reasons are likely numerous and perhaps surprising in nature. I suppose it gets tangled up in love. Everyone is searching for love. It is the easiest thing to find, but the hardest thing to keep and maintain. It probably has to do more with attitudes about what love is and isn’t.

When we first get married, we glow in the presence of our spouse. Our love is pure, deep and feels good. The world is at our feet, and we honestly believe that our love for each other is unlike any other love, that ever was. Like a fresh bouquet of roses, it shimmers in the light of the sun. As any divorced couple might say, they don’t know when things were going south, and by the time they noticed, it was too late.

I think if we are not sure how, why or when our feelings turned sour, perhaps we were not paying enough attention to our love life and our marriage. If we observe the important elements of our lives with caution, and keep attuned to the small inconsequential acts, we will be aware of problems coming our way a lot faster. What this has to do with unconditional love,  is the fact that almost every couple believes in it at the time of their marriage, yet can lose the feeling a short time down the road. The goal becomes how to keep love alive and healthy.

Friendships run the same course. We cherish our friends but there are moments when they let us down, insult us, make us jealous and envious, or simply make us feel bored. In reality we were just as guilty of the failed relationship, but it is harder to see our own fault. How much easier it is to judge another over ourselves. It is human nature. I don’t think it is boastful but perhaps the opposite. We are so lacking in our own worth that we fear facing our own faults. We place  a small amount of blame on ourselves, and the large bundle of guilt on our spouse.

Getting back to the love issue is vital. So many of our relationships with spouses, kids, family, friends coworkers, and parents may end in estrangement. There is likely no one walking around the earth, who has not experienced an estrangement of one kind or another. Now if we are courageous enough, we will admit that not so long ago we would have professed the impossibility of such an occurrence happening. So how did it happen?

How is it we alter our thinking, change our minds and attitudes, and search for and find blame rather than love. If we can remember at one time we saw love within a relationship of whatever kind, maybe we can ignite it again.  Now we look at these people we once cherished, with disdain. They are not worthy of our bonds of love. Is it that they just don’t measure up anymore? Did they let us down or hurt us in some way? Do they appear to have changed? Have we changed? Does it have more to do with our egos, jealousies, or competition, rather than our loss of love?

There are perhaps more questions than answers. Of course the end result is confusion, few answers, and lots of pain and suffering in one form or another. We probably don’t stop to think of the effect on so many others. We always assume it is just about us.  Changes affect everyone around us. What we do has a domino effect and it continues on and on. Spouses who divorce are likely going to have an effect on a child’s future mate who will be forced to deal with the complicating issues of visits, talks about estranged family members and more. Who would think a total stranger would feel the impact of such a course we have taken. None of us ever think about the impact we cause on others daily, as well as far into the future.

Most parents never lose love for their kids and vice versus, but they may become disillusioned. Maybe all of us give so much time to making a living, that we forget about making a  life. All relationships may start out as unconditional love, but end up shattered when people begin experiencing feelings of neglect. Distrust leads to doubt, fear and eventual loss of love. As much as we try, we can become discouraged. We lose faith in ourselves but also in our relationships.

Of course an answer is to work harder on all relationships. Next to that I would say it might be time to reevaluate the pros and cons of any relationship, and our expectations. Are our expectations so unrealistic that a partner or loved one can’t help but step over the impossible line? we then consider them failing. If we set our own parameters, but forget to inform our loved one what they are, then we have set the grounds for them to be unsuccessful. Perhaps we must question how much we have planned to make this relationship flourish or flop. Is the relationship about about tolerance growth and love or is it about Us?

Our expectations may be unreasonable. We are all aware that the little things count the most. Are we also aware that counting will always create disappointment? Paying more attention to the kindnesses rather than the deficiencies may ultimately support a positive effect. There are those times when we all make mistakes,  overlook sensitivities, and generally lack concern. If we choose to bring attention to these errors constantly,  we will eventually erode any relationship. By monitoring only the absence we are focusing on finding the mistakes in another. An alternative approach is to focus on the good, acknowledge it and most definitely remember it.

We are likely boxed in at times, going round and round. Because we are caught within this box, we are not seeing elsewhere for another view. Choose to look for a positive version of this person or relationship. The alternative is exhaustion, running around in circles, and in the end, breaking and running away from the relationship. Our minds of course support our thoughts. They are also traveling around but going no where. The constant reminder of blame, makes it always present, and continually draining. Unless we have the courage to step out and take a different approach, we will destroy what was once a good relationship.

Many times our thoughts sabotage our love. If we can’t control our thoughts, we become the slaves to them as well as the victims. We have technically lost control of our choices and decisions. In order to take back control, we have to seek a new way of viewing issues, and dealing with each other. By using a different lens, perhaps a favorable picture will emerge. We in essence allow new ideas and concepts to enter.

Love has nothing to do with money. Expensive gifts do not denote greater love as many may think. The larger ring does  not mean a larger love for the person. By taking so much judgment out of any situation, perhaps it will alleviate the stress. Love does not have to die. We can always choose to keep it alive. Any relationship can survive. Of course there are always others who are insecure and who make it their job to sabotage our relationships with others. These people have their own insecurities and agendas which affect our bonds to others.

 I surmise that those who are less judgmental, more secure in their own worth, and keep their unconditional love alive, will have a greater chance of happiness and love. Love does not need to be tested every day. Love does not need to be hidden from others. Love does not need to have a closed circle. My idea of love is a trusting heart, an open loving attitude, and a line that continues and captures all into its embrace.

Taking love and placing it into a cage, creates anger and darkness. Freely spreading love around transforms the world in all kinds of ways. Just because we have a bad day with our friend or spouse doesn’t mean the bonds are broken. They are just stressed at the moment. The worst thing we can do is dwell on these thoughts over and over. Instead we should attempt to push them from our minds and consider the good. Never take the smallest act of kindness for granted. As a matter of fact, perhaps we should never take any and all love for granted. Love when someone deserves it. Love when someone least deserves it, and you will keep love strong and safe.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”    Brent Brown

“When you know that everything matters—that every move counts as much as any other—you will begin living a life of permanent purpose.”    Andy Andrews

“When you suffer, you are being conformed to the image of Jesus. When you pray, you are being made holy in the image of Jesus. When you quietly serve a person in need, you are being shaped into the image of Jesus. When you generously give, your heart is being remade into the image of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.”     Allen R. Hunt

“Theologians talk about a provenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a provenient courage that allows us to be brave – that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. And therefore, this courage allows us, as the old men said, to make ourselves useful. It allows us to be generous, which is another way of saying exactly the same thing.”    Marilyn Robinson

“If the people of God were to transform the world through fascination, these amazing teachings had to work at the center of these peculiar people. Then we can look into the eyes of a centurion and see not a beast but a child of God, and then walk with that child a couple of miles. Look into the eyes of tax collectors as they sue you in court; see their poverty and give them your coat. Look in to the eyes of the ones who are hardest for you to like, and see the One you love. For God loves good and bad people.”    Shane Claiborne

If you give, expecting something in return, it’s not really giving at all.
If you love, expecting something in return, it’s not really loving at all.”    Donald  L. Hicks

Faith

Faith In A Positive Outcome“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”  ― Albert Camus

“Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth”  ― Albert Camus

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”  ― Albert Camus

“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

I have always considered myself a positive person. I attempt to see the good in people, the good result of a difficult situation, and the positive meaning behind other people’s words and actions. That is all true but what is also true is my lack of faith, to a point, in positive outcomes. I am not negative but I like most, if not all people, cringe while waiting for an outcome. The time for positive change has come.

As a people we have lost our faith. Religion and church are commendable but as much as we attend services, we have not incorporated it into our lives. Everything we do has a time, place and certain amount of energy we give to it. If Church and religion fit into our lives or schedules, we go with it. After all it is important to cover our bases just in case. None of us is likely sure of the after-life. We have no proof unless we accept and have faith in other people’s versions of episodes within their lives.

It is almost sad that we are so skeptical. Our skepticism has caused us more negativity and anything but peace. It has likely aided in our doubting the words and actions of others. How many times I have heard others say, “I don’t believe anyone does anything for nothing. They only do things to make themselves look good, or promote their own agenda.” That is probably the most negative remark. It is sad that so many have simply lost faith in others, as well as themselves.

Pondering why and how it happened is the issue. Many attend church but as we also have heard, attending services does not mean you live a life of faith love and charity. Insulting those who go to church as bad people,  or insulting those who never attend is not my intention. I just think it is more important to deeply question our attention to a spiritual life. Being afraid to admit we believe in an after-life is rampant. Most people will not discuss anything that cannot be understood with their five senses. The fear of facing something new is challenging. After all, we all have so many concrete problems to deal with on a daily basis. The  mysterious should be left at church, is perhaps what most of us think.

Perhaps we miss the meaning of what faith is.  There certainly have been many erring spiritual people in all religions. It is no wonder so many question their faith and have compartmentalized it. As for myself, I worry that there is a higher being,  and sometimes fear that there is not. I have heard it said that religion is for the masses, because it keeps them in line. That is another angle to the situation.

Religion is personal, but can be prayerful and spiritual.  It is stepping out of one’s comfort zone and embracing some long forgotten faith in the goodness of mankind. Prayer can be achieved at any moment in any day. By incorporating prayer, or spiritual awakening, we are allowed to view people, places and things in a transformed  way. We see beyond what our eyes observe. We hear beyond what all of our senses are tuning into. In the process, we gain a far greater grasp of reality as we embrace the spiritual side of our being.

I find it discouraging when I hear some say that it is our imagination, when we find answers from sources beyond explanation. Most of us have gotten comfortable with the computer and other technologies that satisfy our questions. Delving into the unknown and unfamiliar is terrifying to some and frightening to others. We comprehend our world, and that is enough for many of us.

What is a truthful fact, is the understanding that death comes at the end of our lives. We prefer not to ponder that too much. I feel there is a curiosity to the idea of life after death. Believing in the soul gives credibility to the theory of the soul’s ability to forever sustain life. If we accept this then it becomes easier to live our lives fearlessly and charitably with love towards everyone. Doubting life brings anxiety into this world, due to our chained belief in our soul’s single destiny.

I watched a movie called, “Faith Like Potatoes.” The main idea had to do with the fact that potatoes grow underground, and a farmer is never sure if they are actually growing. The notion of having faith that the potatoes are growing and will produce a crop and lead to money is the end result. Perhaps faith is something like that. We tear apart every single aspect of our lives and make quick judgements. We don’t allow for bending, stretching or belief in the end results.

Most likely there are many twists and turns in all of our lives which render us useless. we  give up too easily, while doubt, frustration, worry and anger take over control. Spirituality is obliterated from our lives.  We become overshadowed with fear about so many outcomes. It is so difficult to view a light at the end of a tunnel. Maybe we should consider an outcome that is not what we planned, but may be so much better than what we thought. All the answers are not transparent. Faith is required when we can’t see the future. Short term goals are good but long term goals are needed along with belief.

Our souls are trying to lead us by faith and understanding that we are so much more than we can actually imagine. We lose sight of our power and our destiny. None of us is simply another human being. We have the potential for greater enlightenment. Our weakest links are our minds perception  of truth and reality. Fear and worry about inconsequential issues brings jealousy, anger, competition, intolerance, unkindness, and negativity into our lives.

Our faith and belief in the positive and good things in our lives delivers a deeper look at the myriad of happenings within us, and around us. We are all connected on so many levels. Having the courage to step through the confusion, brings us to the light of understanding. Leaving the doubting baggage behind us, opens a new world of serenity and peace and love. We need to develop faith in ourselves and others, that we are priceless beings, capable of tremendous acts of kindness. Like the growing, unforeseen  potatoes, we are growing from the inside out. Believe in yourself, your life’s meaning, your  soul’s ability to grow. Most importantly, embrace your life’s purpose with integrity, confidence and courage, to make a positive impact on the world.

“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

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there to simply make you more clever, make you more ingenious… Even though our society does not emphasize this, the most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Compassion

Compassion“Some things take so long But how do I explain When not too many people Can see we’re all the same And because of all their tears Your eyes can’t hope to see The beauty that surrounds them Now, isn’t it a pity”    George Harrison

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
― Plato

I am convinced that most of us believe we are not understood, and that others don’t have enough  sympathy for our trials and tribulations. There is a disconnect between what we say and do, and how others interpret that. Put another way, what we say and do is not always easily understood by others. Many people retreat from our conversations, confused with our words and possibly insulted.

I am beginning to hate the word insulted. What does that mean, “I am insulted”. I am as guilty of being on both sides of the issue so I understand it as we all do, from both sides. It is ludicrous to think that any of us go to a function or work with the intention of deliberately  hurting another individual. Our minds are not telling us to plan an onslaught of speech that tears  another ego down. It has to makes us wonder if we are so fragile, that our confidence can be shaken at the slightest affront.

Does our attitude  of being offended bring on the sympathy? Is that what we are searching for? Perhaps when any of us want attention from others, we strive to gain it in any way that we can. Attaining the sympathy of others is probably one way we all can easily win. The trouble is, there is usually a culprit in the situation. That person becomes the perpetrator of the offense against us. In reality, probably they are the scapegoat of our fears and stresses.

It isn’t a huge  problem, so we think, because there is no physical crime committed. However, the person does believe there has been an emotional upset and misconduct executed. Of course we all fall into these traps that others set, and we admonish ourselves for the dilemma we are in. I know I never go to a party with the intention of singling out  someone to affront. I do like to talk so I suppose there have been times when I have unwittingly upset another individual.

When one confronts this problem head -on, we realize our innocence in the situation. Our hearts had no malicious thoughts to injure another but needless to say we find ourselves on the proverbial hot seat anyways. I must admit, it is the worst chair to sit upon, especially when you are totally innocent. Most of the time the greatest offense is just not reflecting before speaking.

When any of us speak without thought, words may appear to be hurtful, tasteless, condemning insulting, unsympathetic or perhaps too joyous for the occasion. At these times we are at the mercy of the person who perceives us as guilty of a transgression. Most likely we can accept the fault immediately and move on. Many others within the group will probably sympathize with the disrespected person. We simply must endure the punishment, even if we are blameless. Giving more attention to the incident only increases its’ intensity and prolongs the atmosphere of pity.

The hardest part is the fact that we never meant to cause pain in the first place. I suppose most of us have received sympathy at one time or another even when it wasn’t deserved. Maybe merited, or not justified, has nothing to do with truth. If one is emotionally downtrodden, then attaining some responsiveness and care from others is warranted. We just need to appreciate our unhappiness, so that we don’t over think the situation and increase another person’s fault in the event.

It is sad that so many of us are neglected enough to require consideration at the most unexpected times. It is as if the cup of emotional pain has run over and spilled onto others. In the process we achieve kindness, but it might be at the cost of accusing another innocent person. Of course if this accused person becomes subjected to the insult of their integrity, they might suffer the violation of their own person.

Observing the give and take and flow of circumstances, resulting from our emotional needs, should make all of us prepared to give more attention to the needs of others. Perhaps if we can hear the cries of pain, before they reach the breaking point, we might alter the unfolding events. By giving more leeway to those who are suffering, we may produce a peaceful encounter.

How many times have we made a  joke and found the person not laughing. They may be in a bad mood. It makes no difference in the ensuing outcome, which produces us, the loser. Another day or time the same individual would have laughed, but not that particular day. There are those people who instill certain emotions on items that we have no understanding of. Older people are insulted when a younger person implies they are stupid, not in the loop, or disengaged from the conversation. The laughter it brings is painful but unnoticed. Of course young people are shamed when they don’t measure up or their kids are not on the proverbial milestones. They are powerless, angry and upset with themselves. This anger will likely spill over onto someone else. Many times we go home confounded at our blame for things we never meant. We can’t even seem to fix the situation no matter how hard we try.

We all want and need answers. Perhaps we would love to shout it out to the world, “I didn’t mean anything awful when I spoke. I didn’t intend on insulting anyone.” The aftermath of an incident is not conducive for gaining forgiveness even for the innocent. Perhaps another day and time will work out better. If we have faith in the notion that others are not out to get us, insult us or make life miserable for us, we just might learn to get along and overlook what we don’t always understand. If we don’t give others the benefit of the doubt, when it is our turn likely we will not receive the courtesy.

If we are impatient, feeling emotionally or physically sick, or stressed out with our lives, we are allowing those stresses to color our thinking. We miss the innuendos of others. We might say or do something regretful unconsciously. Or we may be the recipient of what we consider painful vibes. In either case our moods, attitudes and built up tension towards other people, cause us to react in negative and frustrating ways. It also makes our perception of reality distorted. The bigger we build it up, the greater the pain and blame for both parties.

It is not what either party wants. One needs attention and love, while another needs acceptance and value for who they are. Pain is afforded to both individuals. One might leave with justice achieved, while the other leaves full of revenge. The battle will possibly continue needlessly.  If we could just observe the pain, perhaps we would be willing to let more perceived insults, fly by us. Acknowledging the goodness in all of us, be it siblings, parents, in-laws or friends, we understand that serenity and peacefulness is better than suffering and anger. As humans, we experience pain. That should put us all on the same page.

We all get cranky, tired and stressed out. Those are the ingredients for a full blown blaze of misunderstanding. I attempt to trust in the goodness of others, and their integrity to avoid giving pain to anyone on purpose. It would be awesome if they extended the same mercy on me. Time  passes swiftly and we don’t want to waste it on useless arguments and stressful thinking. It is far better to  contemplate the happiness we receive from others. Take the goodness from every interaction, and prevent the perceived slurs and slights from ever gaining attention in your mind heart or soul. You will find that you are a happier person, who judges less and discovers more goodness in other people. Gaining attention in positive ways is superior to gaining it negatively. Freely give your sympathy, may possibly relieve pain in the process.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”     Albert Einstein

“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light. When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it. When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway. When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back. When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some. When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher. When love hurts you, dare to love again. When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal. When another is lost, dare to help them find the way. When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand. When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile. When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too. When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best. Dare to be the best you can  At all times, Dare to be!”    Steve Maraboli

Doubts

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