“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

“We are all hypocrites. We cannot see ourselves or judge ourselves the way we see and judge others.” Jose Emilio Pacheco

“People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”  Albert Camus

“No one truly knows what they will do in a certain situation until they are actually in it. It's very easy to judge someone else's actions by what you assume your own would be, if you were in their shoes. But we only know what we THINK we would do, not what we WOULD do.”  Ashly Lorenzana

Over the years I have slowly lost my ability to have all the answers. I discover that I can forgive myself for the times I don't have answers or responses for problems. I can't always make someone feel better or find solution. I lost my ability to know what should be done but I think I have grown up.

Are there answers or is truth an illusion? At times we believe we know what someone should say or do to make things better. We have faith that our answers are the remedy. We  never consider why we might be wrong. We are sure we have all the answers. Have you ever considered your truth was false along with your perspective? When two people are fighting they are both wrong because they only see their own side.  The truth is found when both parties accept the fault without the percentages. ...continue reading "Having All The Answers Is Impossible"

So  much gets lost in the translation as days and even years pass. A past remembrance is not considering the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state of the person at that moment in time. How does one recall the issues and burdens they  were experiencing? How do we know the influences we had? How was our judgment? How mature or immature were we? What were our beliefs jobs living arrangements? There are so many unanswered questions that lead us to consider it is fruitless to trust our recollection of past events. We don't understand the state of mind and body. People have answers at a later point in time but may be clueless during the event.

We believe we were less guilty and deserve less blame. We believe the problems were started by the other person. That is human nature. Do we place too much emphasis on appearing perfect? Can we show weakness? If we allowed weakness perhaps there would be less lies and secrets. We praise only winners yet it is harder to admit defeat than state winning. Do we think  our ideas are correct?  find out in time that we don't have all the  answers all of the time. We discover how much information is required before we can conclude anything.

It is a human desire to support another with advice. It is human nature to judge another's choices when they disagrees with our own. Each person picks  for themselves. Our answers are personal. Past events are recalled with our perception of the past. It doesn't make us right or wrong. We use our own lens  to discern truth. Guilt is unnecessary, The past is over. The past shouldn't dominate the present. We chose past answers based on an array of mental physical and emotional health and needs. Perhaps someone else would choose differently. We can only walk in our own shoes and learn from our own mistakes.

We never had all of the answers and we never will. The best we can do is never deliberately hurt another individual. We can live our own lives and try to move forward each time we learn a lesson. The lessons can be harsh and hurtful. Instead of blaming anyone for our pain we must be thankful for the lesson which helped us to grow beyond what we were. We have choices always.  We can learn from hurtful past events and become a better person or we can stay linked to them and be afraid to let them go. We don't have all the answers, cannot control others nor blame them for our predicaments. Moving forward means letting go of guilt and blame and embracing the future. Life teaches us lessons about living and living teaches us how to let go and love.

“When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.”     David Brin

“When one experiences truth, the madness of finding fault with others disappears.” S.N. Goenka

“Often people that criticise your life are usually the same people that don't know the price you paid to get where you are today. True friends see the full picture of your soul.” Shannon L. Alder

“We practically always excuse things when we understand them” Mlikhail Lermontov

“When we make judgements we're inevitably acting on limited knowledge, isn't it best to ask if we seek to understand, or simply let them be?” Jay Woodman

6th pic presentationThis is an article my daughter wrote about breast cancer which touched my heart. It is worth reading and better than anything I could ever write. It was written from the heart. It is important to remember that the hurts we bear and suffer are not always obvious. We will perhaps never know or understand fully what another person endures because we don't walk in their shoes and never will.

""Dignity is The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes. It is the moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom. Dignity is the moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter."  Shannon L. Alder

I read another post about the poison of GMO, corn syrup, baby formula.  One more post in an extensive news-feed.  It is opinion, and I can scroll past, but it feels like another not so subtle reminder of the “breast is best” undercurrent that permeates everything baby related.   As a physician I feel that breast feeding is ideal.  When I was a third year resident and I had my first baby I was adamant about exclusively breast feeding.  I cried when my milk didn’t come in right away after a long induction.   I also relished the fact that my newborn grew into a chubby, giggly infant and it was due to my own body.  I pumped and breastfed, it was a blur of insomnia knowing that I would have to go back to work.  I took time off and managed to keep a freezer full of breast milk in case my supply dropped off when I did go back.  As a resident with overnight calls I knew I couldn’t be sure how often I could pump, pagers go off, codes happen, patients, admissions, rapid responses, they don’t wait for pumping.  I was determined, I continued to pump, overnight, sometimes in bathrooms, call rooms, it depended on how far of a walk, and which were occupied.   I was determined to make the one year mark. ...continue reading "My Issue With Breast Is Best"

With my second child I was an attending working part time and it definitely went more smoothly.   Somewhere around the fifth month I noticed my supply dropping.  I did everything I could but I had to supplement and I remember stopping around eight months. I was disappointed and heartbroken.  I resigned myself to formula feeding and when I felt lumps in one breast I chalked it up to milk ducts.

That was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The fear was overwhelming and paralyzing, I could only think about my babies, a nine month old and a two year old.  It was biopsy after biopsy, ultrasound guided, stereotypical, MRI guided.  They saw abnormalities on the other side, and I had additional biopsies.   I was waiting for surgery for final staging.  I thought about how precious our time is and our health is.  I opted for the bilateral mastectomy. It was a personal decision.

Fast forward almost four years, past a stage one diagnosis, a year of treatment and we were blessed with another beautiful healthy baby.  It felt like a gift, directly from God, I have living breathing snuggly, proof that a very difficult time was over.  Like all parents, I want the best for my baby, and I opted for formula.

The baby is happy, healthy, and then I have to question why the articles about poison formula make me so angry.  Why do I want to wear a sign that says “I breast fed two babies and had breast cancer.”  Why does it need an explanation, an excuse? Is it because I’m around educated moms that tend to exclusively breastfeed? I couldn’t figure out why I felt so much guilt taking out a bottle.

I thought about a particular conversation I had with a friend after diagnosis and her comment was “wow, I just couldn’t do it, make a decision and choose to have a mastectomy like that.”   That was when I realized that this wasn’t something I chose.  Everything was secondary to my family and health.  So much worse happens to wonderful people who didn’t “choose” the situations they went through.  With breastfeeding we need to stop shaming women for situations that are beyond their control.  So many women I know keep tally lists, they track things like how long they breastfed, if they supplemented, was it exclusive breastfeeding, bottle feeding , natural births, c-sections, epidurals, and the list could go on.   Being a mother is hard work and no one chooses less than their best for their babies.  Why do we compare so much? I doubt that fathers are asking each other how many games they attend, how many times they read before bed, or if their kids still crawled into their beds at night.  Yet it’s “best” to read to children before bed, and it’s “best” to have a sleep schedule with children.   If we want more moms to breastfeed, instead of assuming they made the choice to do less than “best”, and making them feel guilty for it, maybe we should analyze the barriers to breastfeeding. The majority of mothers in this country start off breast feeding and over time that number significantly drops. Why? Are there places to pump privately? Is there time off for breastfeeding, or does the day simply get extended? Is there maternity leave, paid time off, uninterrupted time, is it convenient at work?

How do we counsel moms in the hospital? Is it a one size fits all approach? Maybe a little formula before your supply kicks in, is really okay. Maybe nipple confusion isn’t as large of a problem as it seems.   I had a mother who breastfed for years, and if it wasn’t for her support I might not have breastfed as long as I did.  The singular statement of “breast is best” has finality to it that any alternative is giving your baby simply less.   What if you don’t have breasts? I might be a minority but there are numerous reasons a mother might not exclusively breast feed, medications, work schedules, supply issues, surrogates, mental health issues.  I still think they’re doing their best.  Not smoking is “best”, an hour a day of exercise is “best”, a healthy BMI is “best”, do we adhere to it?  So why are we making so many mothers feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed?

I know lots of great moms taking awesome care of their kids, free-range, tiger moms, gluten free, dairy free, formula feeding, stay at home, working, helicopter, paleo, vegan, breast feeding mothers.  I know they love their kids, I know they are doing their “best” everyday.

“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person's life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.” Shannon Alder

"There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”  Shannon Alder

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?” Shannon Alder

“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us."

 

cropped-Family.jpg“At some point we all look up and realize we are lost in a maze.”

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” John Keats

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”     Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I was talking with a few friends the other day and the discussion got heated when no one could agree on who had the worst birth order placement. It seems like a silly thing to argue about but try saying it to a group of friends and watch he discussion fly. I have thought about it quite a bit and I don't like any of the negatives that go along  with any of the positions. When I was done recalling everyone's complaints I realized we were just talking about life.

Like people tell you when you are young, "You have to put up with it because things happen in life that you must deal with it." Nobody likes to listen to that speech. It does resonate back to us  when life throws difficult pitches our way. It is not easy to say if you are the oldest or youngest this is the way it is. One must think about the sexes, background of the mothers and fathers and number of kids in a family as well as the economics of it all. I believe nobody gets away scott free and once you accept that you can stop comparing. Have you ever heard people comparing who had the more aches, pains or health issues to deal with? I know some peoples' complaints are worse than others but  there are emotional problems, mental health problems and spiritual issues tied into it all.

Some people are distraught their whole life worrying about what they ""Must" do for somebody. Does that make them less caring because they are not doing something out of love but duty? How about those who feel obligated or who want something in return? The list is long and complicated and so is the birth order. I don't really care so much about the order of birth because it seems like everyone takes the "crap" in life. It is unavoidable. It is more important to figure out how they will deal with the crap. In a way it is our attitude regardless of how much pain and hurt we must endure. Having taught school I know the child in the classroom who cries a lot gets a lot of attention. Does this mean they have suffered more? Is  there another child who has been suffering but we overlooked them?

That is one reason why  the situation gets complicated when we are trying to figure out or compare anxieties fear or problems. We come from different places and homes and had a variety of personalities to cope with along the way. I am thinking we might believe others have no care because they appear to not notice our suffering or they don't appear to have any. Does anyone recall saying, "I don't know what they are complaining about because when I...? We measure our pain against others all the time. It doesn't alleviate it but it increases the friction we have with friends and family.

Perhaps we should begin understanding where the pain  originates and why it won't let us go. There is absolutely deep suffering that will stay inside of us forever but it does not help anyone  to believe they are the martyrs of the world even if they have the suffering of such a person. Viewing ourselves as a victim implies we are helpless and have given up. Nobody has the power to make us feel that way and we should not see ourselves as the sacrifice. When we do deem our pain is beyond the measurement of anyone else's we lock ourselves in a cage and throw away the key.

On any given day there is much to cope with. Everyone has those moments in time that stay within the brain forever. The fearful moments scare us and make us want to run away no matter what the age. The crises we got through makes us proud of ourselves but sometimes less sympathetic because we may be of the opinion that no one else has suffered like us especially if they haven't complained. I am not down on the complainers. Sometimes I think it is therapeutic to get things off of your mind. When people hold things in they tend to resent others who can't imagine their suffering.

I don't know about how other people believe  but in the end  I think we alienate a lot of people when we expect but don't allow someone in. It appears to work against us and we end up jealous of their "Better Life" or we carry the pain inside and let it hurt us over again and resent people  who can't see it even when we don't let them observe it. I have turned my suffering inside and felt worse when no one appeared to understand. My belief was how can they not get it. Now I try to share more or at least not find fault with those who simply don't know when I don't share.

Life is not easy and that is an understatement. Life is more difficult if we compare our section of the world with other peoples'. We are putting up fences and keeping people out. It is better to take the fences down and let people in. I have found out that so many others have their own stories. It is kind to share in a positive way without the competition of having a winner. If we think we are worse off we send out no understanding or empathy to others. Instead we expect or feel entitled to be down in the dumps. Personally there are likely many days we might feel sad or even hopeless. We are asked to be stronger at that point than we were when we endured a heartache situation. It is at those moments we need to find the courage to get over the deep emotional feelings creeping in and overpowering us. We are almost forcing ourselves to relive the horrible time all over again.

If we can come to terms with the fact that we all suffer then maybe we can stop comparing and judging and learn to support each other any day we are in need. It takes away all of the conditional aspects of love and allows unconditional love to reign. Unconditional love says I love you no matter how you behave towards me and I forgive you for everything. It says I may not like what you do nor understand how you feel but I trust the reality of your situation and want only love and peace in your heart and mine. I know unconditional love is about as close as any of us can get to being more Godlike. Life is burdensome enough without worrying about the amount of good or bad in anyone's life. Trust that we all suffer at times but we all have so much to be grateful for if we would check it out. What I like and you like may differ. What I consider pain or frustration may also differ. May we all live in peace and as a song says, "Love the one's you are with."

“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” Shannon L. Alder

“Fortunately, God made all varieties of people with a wide variety of interests and abilities. He has called people of every race and color who have been hurt by life in every manner imaginable. Even the scars of past abuse and injury can be the means of bringing healing to another. What wonderful opportunities to make disciples!”    Charles  R. Swindoll

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”   Charles Dickens

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”     Orson F. Whitney

Rippling Affect Of Stress 3"You are good enough smart enough and beautiful enough, strong enough believe it and stop letting insecurity run your life." Thomas D.

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." Steve Furtick

"Sometimes our thought are backed by so much insecurity that they create lies we believe." Anonymous

How sensitive we all are without exception when egos are threatened. Even those of us who remain calm in hurtful situations perhaps carry the pain well into the future. Some people say I am cutting my connections to this person or that one. Others say I am finding that person so annoying that I need to get some space between us. At other times we choose to place these people into the background of our lives and have some chance meetings or some few and far between planned get togethers.

I find myself doing the same things and using the same tactics. No matter how good someone has been to me, if they start irritating me or upsetting me I turn away from them and sometimes cut them off. I must truly admit that down the road I am sorry that it happened and I wish I could rethink my original thought and plan. I know why. It is because sometimes they were right about something and I didn't want to listen or believe what they were saying was correct.

How many times I can remember myself or someone else stating "You don't get what I am talking about. You don't know what it is I am trying to say. You are just thinking in the past and comparing this situation with something that happened in your own life." Of course there are those times when either one of us has proven to be right or wrong. So why do we hate advice and think someone is wrong before they begin.

I tend to think it is ego and pride. Who likes to be wrong? I believe we get disappointed with ourselves and we cling to our egos and pride in the hope of feeling better. I know I can hardly believe I have such little faith in me. I question everything I do and second guess myself. However if someone has offered advice, depending on the person, I will or won't follow it. I simply cannot admit this person who I already deem as a worthier individual, is now about to best me to my face. I now see it that I can't accept help unless I feel secure in the knowledge that I don't have a competition going on.

Those people who help us but then never claim to anyone else how much they helped us appear to be the ones we trust. It isn't that they give or have better advice, it has more to do with pride in that they don't harm our egos. Our frailty is safe in this person's hands. That is why we like people who don't compete or compare us in any way. They don't keep a record of being right or wrong and they don't  care. They are only concerned with supporting us.

Most of us trust this kind of person because we see them as no threat yet why do we observe others who are trying to help us as a threat? Our egos should not be so fragile. If we had confidence in us we could weather the damage to our egos. I think people who don't ask for directions exhibit this lack of security. Somehow it appears to them that they should know how to navigate a destination. To let someone even a stranger think otherwise is folly.

The situation that bothers me the most is how all of this makes us more like enemies than friends. We worry so much about our sense of worth that we protect it at all costs. Do we believe someone else is better than us just because they never get lost? Do we see someone who requests advice on a home project as incapable or less capable than we are? If we answered no to these questions then maybe we are all kidding ourselves. None of us may actually put down others yet that is the situation we believe is reality.

If all of us are bent on proving how much we know, how much we can do, and how much we have over another then it may be proving how we are wasting our time on inconsequential concerns. This is not to mention the stress of searching for answers far and beyond when the answers are close at hand. So our hidden reality is that we had to find an answer and keep others in the "Dark" regarding how we accomplished our task. Does anyone care how fast or how long it took us? We may care but I doubt someone else cares. Do people go to an assessment book and write down how we got lost while driving? Are they planning on reporting us? It does sound silly.

We keep so much hidden and sometimes believe that if another person saw how vulnerable we actually were they would either not like us or feel we were beneath them to keep as a friend. There is not one individual I surmise, on this planet who does not have faults, weaknesses and fears. I laugh at how many parents lament that their young children crawl into their beds at night. They are afraid of the dark. Many adults at weak moments, admit that they hate the dark. Kids honestly up front will admit it and jump in with mom and dad. Adults at times turn on their lights, get a dog or an alarm system or move in with someone. The most information on this subject that one usually gets from an adult is, " I don't care for or like the dark. I keep my night light on."

Letting go of our inner battle of pride and courage is the first step in finding serenity. Kids that made fun of us because we couldn't climb the ladder or jump as far or skip or run or play games well don't matter to us anymore. It only matters if we let it matter. Those that couldn't jump perhaps are the people discovering the games of tomorrow. Those that couldn't play games are the ones organizing groups for collaboration to find answers to world questions. It doesn't mean those that can jump or play games are not world leaders it just means it makes no difference.

At any point in time there are those ready and able to help and make an impact in our lives. The authority figures change according to the circumstances. The gift one has may not be noticed even by the person who owns it. I view it like this. Whenever one is capable of coming to the aid of another individual in any manner and degree then you have done well and made a difference in the world. There is a kindness going around rather than a hidden fearful agenda.We would definitely have more time for other things if we just stopped contemplating how we are perceived.

The next time we think about how busy our schedule is we should remember that other people are busy thinking about their schedules. Let go of pride and ego and embrace the real you with faults and awesome abilities too numerous to count. Stop judging them if you do judge, and perhaps they will return the favor.

"Don't let insecurity push away the person God sent to you." Anonymous

Ego is the only requirement to destroy any relationship so be a bigger person. Skip the "E" and let it go." Anonymous

"Relationship never dies a natural death... They are murdered by EGO, ATTITUDE and IGNORANCE." Anonymous

"Stop being offended. Let go of the need to win. Let go of the need to be right. Let go of the need to be superior. Let go of the need to have more. Let go of identifying yourself by your achievements. Let go of your reputation." Sue Fitzmoris

THE WORRY BOX"I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures."
- Lao Tzu

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life"    Socrates

"The key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness."     Dalai Lama

"All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail."    Dorthea Brande

Comparisons of all kinds send us into arguments and sometimes battles. We find it so difficult to compromise and find a happy medium. Has anyone thought how easily it happens? A very simple ordinary conversation can suddenly turn into a confrontation because someone gets  irritated. Perhaps one of the parties didn't get to speak as much as the other. One party may have made more points with their discussion than the other. Someone might have gotten bored with the conversation and attempts to walk away while the other person expects them to stay and listen to their rhetoric.

Whatever the dilemma it leaves two people upset with each other and wanting release from their anger stress  or insecurity. Somehow  one person seems to be speaking more than the other although both sides appear to believe this is so. Any kind of compromise appears to be lost and ill-advised. The real confrontation begins when one gets more heated and angry at the denigrating language of the other. Once there are accusations of any kind the battle steps up a notch and a recovery seems impossible.

I almost would suggest  the two diverse groups walk away until another day because there is no winning. It is like pent-up energy and stress. We are so tensed up with work issues and people problems that as soon as any kind of controversy starts up we go into high gear and the mood and calm atmosphere disappears. Ideas and interpretations are unfiltered and so much is assumed that was never  implied  and the truth is  lost in the translation along with the tempers and accusations.

Why is it we keep repeating these same mistakes over again. I'm not sure if it becomes a release from tension of all kinds. Perhaps it is a way for the mind and body to get better control of itself by causing the melt down which terminates all the fighting, the  questions and unknown answers. Our mini bodily outbursts render us speechless and motionless. I find most of us are unable to move any which way. A calmness at times ensues rendering us cluttered in a way. We are left reflecting and then picking up the pieces of our egos and spirits.

The saddest part is that the person we had the altercation with is not necessarily the person who caused us the foul mood that started the bickering. Pent up negative energy is not good for anyone's health. The energy always seems to erupt at the wrong time and with the wrong people. Now we are left with apologies and we are not even sure why we are in the mess that we created.

If one finds that they are constantly in turmoil to the point of anxiousness at others likely it is time to review the issues and burdens within one's life. Perhaps one needs a break from the chaos with some quiet time or relaxation. All of us are on overtime in so many ways. Even if we didn't mean to have such an uproar, it still resonates with cost. Recognizing our needs before an uprising alleviates apologies and heartache.

If our egos are feeling slighted we might attend a function ready for battle if another person criticizes us or makes a joke about us in any way. People who feel insecure quickly attend to everyone's glare or off-handed remark about clothes or hairstyle. Any other day perhaps they  would have the stamina and confidence to overlook such a happening but those insecure days create their own agendas.

Some people are worried about certain things and can't relax and let go of the worry. It plays back and forth on their minds and they become so distracted. Other people feel guilty about what they should have done and they keep beating themselves up for not having accomplished their tasks. Others feel like they are being judged constantly and weighed down with the burdens. They may reach the place of surrendering everything in order to be released from the pressure.

All of us carry around our hidden secrets buried deeply within the mind. Sometimes we are not even aware of them ourselves until we have our typical meltdown. On those occasions we confront our issues. The worry over ego and confidence as well as the burdens of stress with kids and spouses can render us unable to think, plan or make a move. What is left is us  scurrying to find our sense of self.

That is when we won't give in even if it becomes a political or religious disagreement. Somehow our sense of self is tied into winning an argument. Most of the time we are disgusted with the predicament we have place ourselves in. How to avoid such incidences from recurring is the problem to solve. I have found that stating my case softly and slowly appears to tone down the bickering. If I escalate the speech and make my tone louder I incense the other person into a confrontation. It makes sense that softens in words tone and action will crush the rising tempers of most people.

We all appear to calm down with the gentle nudge and remember who we are speaking with and where we are. Somehow when we allow each person to leave with a bit of victory of any kind the sting is less painful and the need for apologies is usually not even required.

Dealing with why we enter into a demolition of words can only be explained by understanding our stress and pain mostly centered at self. We randomly strike out at others because we didn't meet our own goals. We almost feel guilty attending an event when we keep thinking about the work we have left undone. Our bad mood can be so easily triggered with any kind of statement.

To this day I remember while at a family get-together I asked the host for some bug spray because there were a lot of bees and some of the guests were unhappy and upset. I quietly asked for some spray and was attacked on the spot with a barrage of angry words regarding why I had to complain, and where were the bees. It was another reminder of how we make problems even worse.

One thing I encouraged my classrooms of children to do was to leave their problems and worries outside the door of the classroom. There were many kids who came to school upset and near tears due to issues at home. It was difficult to begin the lessons until all of the students were relaxed. I took a half-gallon milk carton and covered it in blue paper and wrote the words WORRY BOX on all four sides in big letters. I instructed the kids to write their name on a card next to the box for every worry they had that day and then drop it in the blue box. It was working and the kids loved it. One day one little boy was writing his name on numerous papers until I finally asked him why he wrote on so many papers and he told me, "Because Mrs. Reynolds, I have a lot of worries." I left him to his work and mentioned that he should come into the classroom when he was finished and he did. Relax before attending a happy event and remember to leave your worries at home. Write them down if it will help you release them because I know it worked for numerous little people.

"It's not the situation that's causing your stress, it's your thoughts, and you can change that right here and now. You can choose to be peaceful right here and now. Peace is a choice, and it has nothing to do with what other people do or think."    Gerald Jampolsky

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."    Saint Francis de Sales

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."    Confucius

"A newborn does not have worry, or stress, or anger, because they have not yet learned those things. Consider what life would be like if you could forget all the past resentments and perceived offenses that color your thinking and your emotions. Buddhists call that state "beginner mind" an opening to experience life without the jaundiced filter of past disappointments. You create stress in your life by getting angry, and you can instantly remove that stress by granting forgiveness."                      Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“We will not just say, "I love him very much," but instead, "I will do something so that he will suffer less."

" The mind of compassion is truly present when it is effective in removing another person's suffering.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“The fact is that when you make the other suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides.”    Thich Nhat Hanh

At the Holiday  time of year we are filled with anticipation for ourselves and for others. The last thing we think about is absolution. Perhaps we are all in need of forgiveness.  Sometimes we hold on to grudges for many years. I honestly don't know why we can't let things go. I act the same way. As much as I might know what the correct thing to do is, finding the strength to behave in such a manner is next to impossible. What is the attraction of clinging to past hurts and pain? Maybe we enjoy the pain because we feel self-righteous and above the person who hurt us. Being the victim has its' perks of gaining attention when we discuss our pain with others. We might even feel like the hero who was capable of enduring such misery.

No matter how we figure it on any given day it can become like a crutch that we reach for when we need it for any particular time or bad mood we are experiencing. Once we have absolved someone the transgression, we place it in a safe but hidden place  within our minds. The plan is to keep it there but that rarely happens. There are those times when the memories slip back through to the forefront and we tend to forget the fact that we already  forgave this misdeed. One must ask why we recall the negative.

I tend to believe that we become proud of  our suffering. We probably become our own hero which may not always be a bad thing. If we think about it we find that when we are hurting or feeling insecure and persecuted we reach for our defense of self-sympathy. We likely attempt to ease our own pain. It is understandable but it keeps the real forgiveness at a distance. Anything that cuts us deeply no matter how others view it, is difficult to absolve. We all understand there are degrees of depravity and also degrees of ability to forgive the wrongdoings of others.

I am as guilty as anyone of reminding some people of misdeeds and what I consider crimes against me. Over and over I suppose I am making them suffer. Now I wonder at what price and also how long is long enough. I am not sure about the length of time it takes to overcome emotional suffering. I know it is possible to forgive but certainly requires tremendous strength and will power to forget. There are those days we can do it but again we retrieve the pain when we deem it necessary when we need to comfort ourselves. Now the question becomes does it really comfort us?

I am considering the fact that when we keep recalling misdeeds, we perhaps do not truly have faith in the notion that the guilty person is actually deeply sorry. Now that might be the real issue. Many of us may feel that we haven't been compensated for our suffering. We bring it to the present to hurt another over again until the day we suppose they are truly sorry. Of course we never consider how much agony we are bestowing someone we care for. If we reflected hard enough we might understand that we  have become the one providing the suffering. Never do we seem to look at ourselves in this manner because we feel the perpetrator deserves any pain we can render. Somehow I  am questioning if this is not ruthless. We can become the one who needs forgiveness.

There are those people who commit the same offense against us repeatedly. Of course forgiveness is difficult if not impossible. That leaves one with a choice of staying or moving on. I surmise that if one is willing to constantly forgive and accept the consequences  of a repeat offense run the risk of continued controversy.  It is a reasonable decision because at any point the faith and trust one has in a person is perhaps the only thing that keeps them afloat. Some people hope to stop their depravity or the depravity in another. On the other side of the issue is the amount of offense any one person  can endure before giving up.

I appreciate the fact that we can't live for another and it isn't always up to us to be their hero. Many of us don't look at a situation in that way. Maybe we are someone's hero and we don't know it. Perhaps we make someone stronger than they are alone. It is not that I profess to linger with someone who constantly disappoints us but when there is love and the person falters but exhibits honesty in their attempt to improve it does entrust us with choices. If a person or a relationship of any kind is worth the effort and the absolution, likely we should take the chance. Peace and tolerance are always better than distress and grief.

True forgiveness is almost an ability of angels and not man. However I still find it important to strive for that goal. Forgiveness makes us stronger and more fulfilled as we genuinely attempt to let go of our own suffering. Forgiveness is tied into suffering. If we come to the point of letting another be released from our revenge then we find serenity together. Most of us see the need to keep another in the chains of remorse until we deem them worthy enough to be set free. What we don't consider is that we are actually waiting to release ourselves from the prison of anguish and revenge. We must be ready to release and dispose of the crutch of suffering. It pains us numerous times. That is not keeping us free. We embellish the iniquity to the point of not recognizing the truth of a situation. Time also bends the actuality of the occurrence.

In this season of love  and forgiveness perhaps it is time to take a look at our lives and let go of the many fears and angers due to hurts caused by those we love. We have locked them into a cell as much as we have locked ourselves into one. Release your own spirit and free  will and you will find the courage to let go of the pain that keeps others constrained. Now I believe that hanging on to the negative brings you down while reaching for the possible goodness brings joy and peace. May you all experience peace in this awesome season.

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”    Thich Nhat Hanh

“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don't wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”    Thich Nhat Hanh

SPANKING"Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory."    Will Durant

"Spanking and verbal criticism have become, to many parents, more important tools of child rearing than approval." Phil Donahue

"Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak."

 "Infliction of pain or discomfort, however minor, is not a desirable method of communicating with children."     American Medical Association

How and why did the state of Massachusetts hinder the advancement of our human evolution? I truly was shocked to hear of the Massachusetts, Justices decision to promote the guidelines for the use of physical punishment by parents. As a teacher, I am aware that loving a child and displaying kindness works far better. How is there anything LEGAL in guidelines promoting physical punishment by anyone? I suppose it sounds good and appeases parents who choose this form of discipline.

They say it is permissible to discipline by spanking, so long as “Reasonable Force” is used, and the child is not harmed. Is this not ludicrous? How does one use force of any kind on a child, and then decide how much the child has been harmed physically, mentally emotionally or spiritually?  Who are we kidding? I am sorry if we are leading such busy lives that we anger quickly, have more burdens which frustrate us, and have little time to discipline because we have no energy, time or effort remaining by the end of the day. The quick fix of a Spank, which is also defined as a smack, slap, hit, strike, paddle, thrash, beating and paddling, is the solution which fits in nicely with our busy lives and perhaps uncontrolled tempers.

The justices of the court issued this Framework, while reversing the assault and battery conviction of a man who was seen spanking his almost three old daughter. Now the question comes to mind regarding the force of a grown man against a less than three old child. How angry was he? Is he very strong? Is the child little for her age? The Framework that was construed by the Justices also includes a parental privilege defense. How convenient that is. No more liability towards smacking our children, except our consciences which have apparently gone on vacation.

Does this mean if we strike our neighbor’s child for their ill behavior, we will be charged with battery? I know if we hit any adult, we will face consequences, yet our children are fair game with the courts blessing. If we can’t hit our neighbor, then why is it okay to hit our small helpless children? I have an issue with the degree of the smack, as well as the judgement of how harmful it might be, especially when the person making these decisions is the one doing the hitting.

One Justice, stated that two very important interests needed to be balanced. We must protect children against abuse, and not interfere with the parents in the way they see fit to raise their kids. Now some people may falsely believe this has made it easier to solve some court cases. It appears to me,  to be at the expense of our kid’s welfare. I also can’t understand how it will be easier to protect the children from child abuse when parents have just received a legal right to assault them. Using tame words makes it more palatable for the general public.

I use the word assault because how can we limit the extent of the spanking, if we are not present when it is given and only have the perpetrator's version of the incident. A hard smack to the back of the head may not display any discoloring. If one was brought up on charges the defense could be that the parent swung a bit harder than they realized, the child turned and the strike was given in a place the parent did not mean to hit. The list can go on. We don’t want to look at the details. We want something that works fast, easy and makes everyone comfortable. Kids don’t question or vote.

I am confused about the “Force being okay as long as it is reasonable,” "it is used for safeguarding the child", "it is promoting the welfare of the child"," or "it is punishment of the minor’s misconduct." So I think we are teaching the kids that it is okay for the ones they love to hit them, yet we don’t want our kids striking others. How are we actually making any sense? Do we see the paradox? Now we tell the children they can  thrash their own kids when they are adults. We have gone back to the old rules of do as I say but not as I do.

I think we have given offenders a free ticket at least for the first offense, if they used too much force. They can offer the defense that they did not feel it was that strong a hit. How can we judge these personal and subjective opinions? Has anyone thought of the emotional scars of the children who are beaten? No one is supposed to cause lasting emotional or physical harm. How are we going to fix this one? Do we wait for broken bones? Down the road do we blame the emotional problems the child is having on the spankings or do we call upon other issues in our defense? Balance of any kind has been tossed under the bus. It certainly isn’t balanced towards the children.

There is supposed to be respect for parental decisions. I profess that there should be respect for children and all life in general. It seems to me that we have disregarded the welfare of the children in favor of solutions, be they right or wrong. The end never justifies the means. I don’t see how anybody can come to the defense and protection of children with such a law in effect.

As I continued the reading I was confused upon hearing an officer of the Massachusetts Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children, credit the justices for balancing views on both sides. Did anybody get the reviews of the children? Have we asked them how pleasant demeaning painful embarrassing, and at times terrifying it is to be at the mercy of an angry intimidating adult? There is always emotional and physical pain in this situation in my opinion. She also credited the Justices for their strong position on “Child Protection.”  I am shocked at that statement and really have no words to fit my shock and deep pain for the complicated lives the children are forced to experience.

Somehow in my opinion, people were sleeping on the job. Have we spent any time with kids lately? They are the ones who love parents unconditionally. They are concerned immediately when we are in any kind of pain. They accept everything we dish out and come back smiling and forgiving. If we love our children unconditionally, perhaps we might reflect on the plight of children who are going to be abused, in my opinion, because of this Law. It makes hitting legal. Adults are arrested when they hit someone. We are taking a big step backwards in becoming a more humane society. We are choosing brute force rather than talking, explaining, negotiating, providing understanding feedback tolerance and compassion to a dilemma.

If we want our kids to forgive and love others we must demonstrate this behavior. If we demonstrate force, control disrespect and intimidation, we will promote a society that reinforces these attributes. We have no right to complain at the world we are creating. The choice is in our hands. Parents are not bad people but if under duress, they must learn how to deal with their stress and anxiety problems rather than take it out on the kids. Model and teach the ideals you wish to observe in your children. Make no mistake; they will become what you teach. If you want compassionate, kind, tolerant, loving empathetic children, begin by showing them what that looks like and be that kind of person.

A transformation sends out sparks of love and enlightenment.  A wildfire burns relentlessly without remorse. We are burning away our problems.  I hope God doesn’t tire of us and our world. The simplicity of it is that love can perform miracles,  while fury succeeds in burning anything in its path.

"If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start."

"Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children."    Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School:

Acknowledgement 2Acknowledgement 3“We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.”    John Steinbeck

...What makes us who we are should be glorified personified and sung unto the stars!”    Muse

Perhaps we begin with the phrase, "I never wanted nor asked for anything in return." It is familiar to me. As much as any of us want to pride ourselves with our giving from the heart, without concern of any repay, we still like and enjoy some acknowledgement. Perhaps at times it is not necessary but at a Acknowledgement 4Acknowledgement 6 low point in our lives, or moods, we may search for some kind of acknowledgement of who we are and what we have done.

Most of us would be appalled to admit it bothers us when another doesn't consider our contributions. I have come to realize it has to do with a couple of things, which I know I am as guilty of doing as anyone else. My confidence level on any given day fluctuates. It drives me crazy and I am sure it makes others wonder just who I am. Another item to consider is our time, patience and effort given to another. That can't be given back so easily. Exhaustion plays a role in our attitude, when no appreciation is given.

Decidedly I believe as much as I might offer to help someone, I assume they understand just how much I am giving. Of course when they don't, and practically appear to ignore my good efforts, it leaves me wallowing in self-pity and sometimes anger. When we have put others first, supported, and comforted, then we might feel we deserve at least a thanks. We were needed and we came through. So now what?

Most of us look for the appreciation that may never come. For me to say it is a compliment, might sound absurd. But in a way, I have deduced that it is a compliment. Likely we need to rethink what our own feelings are regarding this dilemma. If it is important that we get the proverbial thank you, then perhaps we might consider picking and choosing what we want to do for others. It isn't an insult as much as it is knowing our own ability to give and not receive. ...continue reading "Acknowledgement"

It is one f the most difficult tasks to accomplish. Giving without receiving is weighing on a person. Many continue giving for a very long  time, until they break and crash. This occurs when one reaches the limit, and wants and deserves acknowledgement. At this point the  commendations are usually fruitless, because the receiver believes they had to ask for a thank you.

I see it as a break time. If we have reached our limit of doing thankless jobs, then perhaps we should relax a bit. The true idea of giving is when it can be done without any acknowledgement. I like to receive a thank you as much as anyone. What I reflect on now, when the pains of being unappreciated rise, is the reasons why I am doing whatever it is I am doing. When the reality of the situation roots in my heart, I realize that I don't require the thanks, and if I do need it, then I must immediately stop whatever it is I am doing. If one doesn't refrain from doing unacknowledged work, that they feel is worthy of acknowledgement, then it leads to major frustration, anger and a dislike of the person we are attempting to please. There is no winner in such a situation.

It isn't hard to believe that we might simply need a break. Perhaps we have placed ourselves so high on the pedestal of perfection, that we hate to admit we like a simple thank you once in a while. It isn't difficult to consider this. Being human we get caught up in our thoughts and our mind's take on issues. The further we go down that road, the sooner we reach the end of our endurance. If we want to continue, we must turn around our thoughts and go back to the original plan of aiding another without return.

It is a simple solution, yet it almost requires super human strength. There is no insults or degradation in our desire to not be taken advantage of. So many people in this world, are taken advantage of. Likely praise is not freely given and thanks is infrequently exhibited. Sometimes it is reasoned that this one has so much so they can afford to help me out. I find this perhaps the saddest answer. For anyone to think another should spend or give to them is absurd. The rich person, who spreads his wealth for the benefit of others, is extremely kind. They don't have to do such jobs.

Being thankful is as vital, as being aware and willing to support those in need. Both dispense of grace. The one acknowledges the empathy of the other through grace, while the doer is encouraged through thankfulness, to continue their good deeds. In the end the world is a better place with less frustration and anger. Tolerance is renewed and understood on a deeper level. Probably our ability to endure without thanks will increase to the point of not being necessary.

There are countless ways we help others daily. Few receive thanks. Children are too young to comprehend the tremendous amounts of help they receive from parents. The parents are giving many times without receiving. We all share those times when we were underestimated in our value. Accepting this without anger makes us stronger.  Continuing this attitude makes our world more compassionate.

We just have to get over our need of thanks. We must accept that the thanks is in the finished product which never really goes unnoticed. Take a break when you need to and settle your thoughts about receiving praise. You yourself know what a great job you have done. In the end it is how we view ourselves anyways. What others think of us is trivial compared to what we think and know about ourselves. We are the ones who must live with ourselves.

Stand strong, know your heart, mind and body have pure ideas, honest motives, and not looking for rewards or glory. When your mind heart and body work together, you become more god-like than at any other time. Accept those times you fail by remembering the numerous times you made a difference in the life of another person. After all, our thoughts have always been about giving, and have never been about getting anything in return. Trust that it has been acknowledged in more ways than we could ever imagine.

Remembering how far a simple thank you spreads compassionate healing,  is well worth mentioning. It triggers one to continue the path they are on, and persist in their work of providing for others. If that is all that is needed to inspire another, perhaps we should all frequently use the words "thank you" more often.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."    Voltaire

"Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts."    Alan Cohen

"The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship."    Amelia Earhart

"The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness."    Dalai Lama

Pretentious Life“If we’re wrapping ourselves up to conceal any vulnerability, whatever happens to us has to go through all those extra layers. Sometimes love doesn’t even reach where we truly live.”    Alexandra Katehakis

“The truth has not so much set us free as it has ripped away a carefully constructed facade, leaving us naked to begin again.”    Lisa Unger

"It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are."    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So we have a precious meeting today and we simply must dress accordingly. Lunch with our younger friends requires the right look. Of course the weekends can be more laid back and relaxing. The jobs keep piling up and we wanted to finish cleaning the basement. If we can just get the rubbish out in time for the garbage trucks we would be all set. Our in-laws might be over and we have to clean the house. We need to pick up a few things at the food store.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? When is it time to think and calm ourselves from the stresses of life? So many times I remember feeling so stressed out that I spent a few minutes thinking about what the people in my life would say if I simply sailed away to a remote island. It is surely unrealistic but so isn't our fabricated lives.

We become so caught up in the dreams about our lives, that we lose the meaning and purpose of living. Our lives are lost in the murky water we continually wade through. Our children have Santa  Claus and we have faith in attaining endless beauty, health, power and money. No matter how much our more advanced in age friends beg to differ with us, we continue the façade. I suppose there are many people who continue the belief in the sham no matter  how old they become. ...continue reading "The Pretentiousness Of Life"

I wonder if it is fear of the unknown or determination to stop time. I am not bursting anyone's' bubble but  chasing after fluff only leaves us confused, scared and in search of another cover. Building on the falseness of life's  dreams sends us running scared. Whether we attain our desires or not, we are left empty and unfulfilled. It is easy to understand this if we recall receiving something we yearned for. Afterwards we discovered it wasn't everything we thought it would be, or we tired of it in a very short time. Later we replaced it with another desired object or person.

We never ask ourselves why we get bored with the object or person. We simply move on believing the next thing will make us happy and secure. Our lives seem to continue along this track and we fritter like butterflies, from flower to flower. At some point perhaps it would be wise to reflect a bit at what we are looking for. Is our life only about objects and things to acquire? Does life hold more meaning than that?

Perhaps we are wasting time on fabricating a life that consists of changes and disappointments. If we honestly thought about what brought us the most pleasure and the deepest moments of understanding life, we might find it to be quite different from the visions and fantasies we conjured in our daydreams. I know how deeply my love for my daughter penetrated me when she was diagnosed with cancer. My entire being and thought of self was lost. I didn't care if the house fell down and floated away. If all my possessions were lost I would not have blinked. Love for my daughter surpassed anything else I could dream about in my life.

Likely the only thing that brought me back to living was the call to stand alongside her and battle the unknown. God, Faith and the power of prayer, became more real to me than any search to stay young, beautiful, admired, rich or famous. I woke up to the fact that we spend so much time on trvial items and forget about our souls. My daughter battled like a trooper and became a cancer survivor. Life obviously never went back to life as usual.

The impact was deep and lasting, as a reminder of never forgetting who we really are. All of us are so much more than bickering, jealousy, fighting, ignoring, and false pretenses and dreams we covet. So much of our lives is spent living in a trance of make-believe and nonsense, that it becomes difficult to tell the dream state from the reality. Forgiveness lends quality to our lives. It transforms our living into reality.

Living with passion by extending respect, love, empathy, tolerance, forgiveness and kindness towards others is more worthwhile than constantly competing for an illusory trophy made of smoke and mist. Chasing after things leaves us empty. Living provides fulfillment. Slowing down allows us to get a better view of the road we are traveling. We speed through life while grabbing this and that along the way, while each illusory object bounces away from us through the air as quickly as a tossed boomerang. we race forward to the finish line and discover the subterfuge of our lives.

If we could only discover the truth before it is too late. If we could only become aware of life in its real beauty. Our senses tell us so much about life as do our discoveries beyond our five senses, which we all have but never use. Life is caring and loving others. We don't stop loving them when they hurt our feelings or let us down. Turning against others like a vicious dog because of a perceived injury is nonsense. There are many times we perhaps hurt others in the same manner, with our words and actions.

Some of our transgressions are jealousies, competition, guilt, intolerance, violence, hatred, unkindness, insults, criticisms, bullying, dishonesty, and more. By taking all of the negatives away, we are left with the positive and attain serenity. The negatives bring more violence and anger into the world. Do any of us prefer the fighting and faut-finding?  I know when I have differences with others my world is disruptive, emotional and in complete turmoil. I am  not always successful at wading off negatives, but every day that I am, brings me another beautiful and peaceful day. I prefer the world of peace and love.

"It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."    Albert Einstein

"When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the real you, or what you have been conditioned to believe is you? The two are so, so different. One is an infinite consciousness capable of being and creating whatever it chooses, the other is an illusion imprisoned by its own perceived and programmed limitations."   David Icke

"Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world."    Sai Baba

"He who gives away shall have real gain. He who subdues himself shall be free; he shall cease to be a slave of passions. The righteous man casts off evil, and by rooting out lust, bitterness, and illusion do we reach Nirvana."    Buddha

Choosing To LiveChoosing To Live 2"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees  it."    Confucius

Choosing To Live 3Choosing To Live 4"Consideration for others is the basis of a good life."    Confucius

"Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge"    Confucius

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”    Seneca

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”    Seneca

How many of us are living with fear and doubt, and rushing through our lives with total unawareness? I can't be the only one. It appears to me that with all of the paraphernalia surrounding our lives, we are constantly absorbed in cleaning it up. We rush through our projects good and bad, and consider it a good day when we complete more than we expected. Allowing time for our emotional selves as well as our spiritual selves takes a backseat.

Our lives are based on earning a living, raising kids and having some time left for fun. Trouble is we spend most of our free time worrying about what we didn't get accomplished. Has anyone ever lay awake at night remembering conversations that went all wrong, and interactions that were taken the wrong way by others? Do  you keep recalling the things you didn't get done that day? You then spend so much time before falling asleep, rethinking how you might have changed things, or avoided some pitfalls. At times it costs us a loss of sleep, and worry beyond compare.

As I reflected more, I came to the realization that I spent little time on soul-searching and soul growth. Of course at church services we hear it often said that we must think about our souls growth and work n it. Most of us perhaps are not even sure what the minister means. We show up at services so we believe we are covered. I am sure that most of us look at this as going to church and spending that time each week, reviewing our souls and their growth.  Perhaps our church guides have dropped the ball in how they guide us. So many are afraid of losing their parishioners to the point of adhering to pointless rules and obligations. Likely they are forgetting to pay attention to what counts in life. ...continue reading "Choosing Mindfulness"

Running the committee may not be as important as administering to a neighbor in need. I think of the term mindfulness when I reflect on any religion. Are we mindful of what we are doing and where we are going? Most people live for the day never recalling any purpose or reason. I suppose when one spends so much time on the rules of a game, they forget to leave time to play the game. I see our lives in this direction.

All the extraneous distractions allot us little time to think about anything beyond this existence. Yet we bury or cremate our dead and send them off to, we are not sure where. If any of us honestly believes in an afterlife, isn't it time we put some thought into our soul's well-being? Maybe what we chase in this  world is limited and confining. It ends quickly and many times  causes distress of all kinds before it does. Money, fame fortune education never seems to cut it forever.

We chase after the next dream. We breathe a sigh of relief, when we manage to get our kids through each grade. We work with them on homework, and worry about tests, report cards and college. When the kids are teens and older we endure tremendous anxiety over their choices in friends, spouses, hurts, work loads and their levels of stress. It never ends.

In all of this we never consider the fact that perhaps we are not preparing our lives nor our children's lives for the real purpose in living in a mindfulness state. Instead we choose to worry about truly non-essential items. Likely we can teach our kids the importance of learning how to manage disappointment,  engage in tolerance and empathy, and extend acceptance and forgiveness to those who have hurt us. It ensures an easier life for our kids, to live lives in cooperation, serenity and peace.

Maybe by encouraging kids to downplay certain happenings, it will allow them time to pay better attention to life in general. They might have a genuine involvement with others without using restrictions and guilt to make people stay in line. Forgiveness is perhaps something we all require on a daily basis from a variety of people. If we get so caught up in our own self-righteousness, we only see the faults in others but not within ourselves. We are more mindful when we can see our own blame as well as the faults of others.

It isn't about blame, fault, money, prestige, accomplishments, education or anything else, in this material world, that we can think of. It is about enriching our souls and becoming a better individual. Perhaps individual is not the term to use. Life has more to do with encircling others and connecting with all people. We share similar dreams, and ideas. We have many of the same issues and problems in life. Our focus has just changed.

We perhaps lost our compass and flounder in this world trying to make sense of it, at the cost of ignoring our soul's needs. As silly as it sounds, deep down we are all aware that we are so much more than our bodies. Our five senses bring us into alignment with the world. Our intuition and spirit brings us into alignment with our souls. If we allow ourselves the time to consider who and what we are, likely we will find a treasure beyond belief. The measurement of a man's worth may have more to do with his qualities of empathy, caring, loving, tolerance, forgiveness and most definitely one's mindfulness of self as well as others.

We judge each other by man-made standards and worldly accomplishment. We encourage our children to follow the rules of the world and society. Nobody questions these guides and the tremendous burdens they place on each and every one of us. Bigger always seems to be better and more appears to outweigh less. Power force and control are envied as are the winners. We never doubt the winner and barely acknowledge the loser.

How much harder it is to sacrifice from lack of money, lack of family, and loss of health and a number of other situations. Many people never have any power or control. Winning is something that does not cross one's mind in this situation. In these situations, perhaps we tend to reflect more on our dilemma, and then on our will to fight and survive the odds. We might even be quicker to support others because we can empathize and relate to their predicaments. None of us want problems including myself. However when we are dealt any difficulty that needs attention to  overcome, we grow much bigger and stronger spiritually. Life's problems crush us for sure but the stamina to deal with them head-on takes a lot of courage and love.

I am believing that it might be time to teach our kids the value in learning how to tolerate, collaborate, co-operate, support, empathize and be mindful of others. We have left these out of the curriculum. It is time to reinstate them. This learning results in soul growth, as much as math science and reading result in material growth for the individual. We obviously have not changed our ability to fight wars but only the methods we use. Peace is attained with boasts of power. Thumbing this down to the individual, we can observe the bully and his methods of power and control. This is not pointing a finger at any one person or country as we are all guilty. It justifiably should make us question what we actually are striving towards.

Parents have the power to change the world through what they teach their children. It might seem ludicrous but all of us can make a difference. The least among us with a voice, has the potential to change the world. By seeing our lives as relevant at all ages, perhaps we will value our own and the lives of others. Everything in this world is fleeting. We would all agree. Now it is time to view what our existence in it means. Just as we concern ourselves with the worldly necessities for our kids, it is time to also put as much or more effort into the spiritual lives of our children. It is there that we find peace and harmony.

“Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied, in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining?”    Seneca

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”    James Baraz

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”     Henry Miller

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”  Carl Jung