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."

 

 ForgivenessOther people can make us feel like a trivial person.  So as Gary Zukav said, "The next time you feel unworthy, inadequate or inferior, remember that these experiences have nothing to do with humbleness, any more than lowering yourself to connect with another individual has to do with humbleness. There are no lower or higher individuals in the perception of a humble person. There are only souls." There is only love. Gary"

"Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one."  Bertrand Russell

"One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." Sigmund Freund

Perhaps we make ourselves feel trivial when we don't value us. Whenever people are getting together it can be a happy time. It all changes for the worse when the occasion is cancelled due to the inability of some of the people being able to attend. What tugs at our hearts is the number of times the gathering occurs even though we are the one who can't attend. It can leave us with a sense of unworthiness at being that person that doesn't count for much and is considered the inconsequential entity.

Many times we are  aware of what we perceive as our placement in life and more than aware of the pain in generates in our hearts. We can attempt to please people and say all of the correct things yet we are not acknowledged for inclusion. Whether we are for or against something has little influence on our stature in a group setting. I have often wondered why some people are left in the trivial pile while others can be constantly recognized as the special and worthy people. I can only surmise  that it has to  do with maybe who we are on the inside. Perhaps others genuinely see that we want to be a part of the system but we won't bend to something we don't believe in, or we won't allow others to be left on the sidelines.

I  remember one friend who refused to give up her best friend, which was the cost, if she wanted to be a part of a larger "in" group of kids. As a teen this must have been rather tempting but in the end she couldn't do it so she gave up the honor of being included in the elite group at school. It is amazing why we must have certain groups at all. It empowers people  to feel special and more important than the person sitting next to them. In the process the person sitting beside them is demoted.

In a way this pretentiousness appears to be with a lot of secrecy, crutches and demands. I would think we would have to think act and talk a certain way and basically agree with the groups' ideas. It leaves no room for independence. Yes it may be difficult to stand alone but you do have freedom which we do value. When we commit to marriage we have demands that legally and morally ought to be followed. These rules are different than group rules which actually take away freedom. In any type of allegiance there are rules. I believe within groups there are unspoken rules which must be accepted without question if one wants to be included. Then we can receive instant friends, gratifications and support. Doesn't this all sound conditional? Marriage has rules but they are negotiable between the two parties.

It appears that we give up our freedom and rights to have friends and a sense of belonging. I say a sense of belonging because we are not really that self-assured, independent, or a socially accepted person with numerous friends attached to us all of the time. It is actually a charade that we are playing in order to appear perfect and worthy of acceptance. Of course that leaves the rest of us on the outside of the circle wondering what is wrong with us that we are not good enough to  be included. One can easily lose this acceptance and  the so called close friends can become the enemies.

We don't stop to think about what individuals  had to give up in order to maintain the pretend status. We don't see the anxiety found in those who are barely hanging on to their status in the group nor the guilt ridden people who sense that excluding others is not that cool. Most just continue on their path and cover up their doubts and nervousness with the happiness of having friends and companions to hang out with.

Most of us believe there is something wrong if we are okay with spending time alone with ourselves. we may not require a multitude of friends to eat up our time. We get to think what we want to do and we have the authority to dismiss any kind of judgment others send our way. We are actually the lucky ones with our own thoughts and minds. I value being my own boss and overseeing my own cause and effect.

I don't mean we can never join any group but the groups that are open to all are the ones worth joining. Whenever others are excluded and this can be in all areas of society including kid groups or teen groups. That is when it becomes a problem because it rates and demeans others causing them to feel trivial. How horrible is that? How can we live with ourselves if we devalue others without a thought?

The important thing is that we don't allow this to define who we are. If we let this into our minds and hearts enough to influence the way we think and feel then we have done a disservice to us. Being stronger against the tide is important. Basically we are all born alone, die alone and live within our own frame of thoughts. We learn in our own way, give to others in our own manner and interpret daily happenings with our own schemata.

Maybe joining with others frees us from making decisions which frees us from feeling accountable. When we don't make any mistakes we never learn and by doing only what we perceive to be the correct thing to do never teaches us anything new. If we were not so quick to judge others perhaps we wouldn't be so worried about the fact that others are swift about judging us. That is why we feel safe in groups because groups create the shield against anyone on the outside. This is a false sense of security.

There is so much of our lives we have to face alone. To understand life and love as well as friendship and compassion we must be opened to a variety of experiences involving a multitude of people. Constantly seeking only the familiar and safety net we never find the treasures of the undiscovered gems of life. We really are the same deep down. We all experience fear stress and pain. We can also experience joy happiness and love that is not conditional. Trust becomes a necessary part of true living. Being able to venture  beyond our gate of seclusion and fear allows us to learn and experience so much more of life.

Marriage and other commitments may cause us some necessary boundaries but they don't exclude others from being our friends. Teen groups child groups and any type of group that sends a message to others that they are better or above people only cause heartache. They are not worthy of having us join. We are not trivial and never were trivial. We created that in our own minds because others plant the seeds in us. It is up to us to comprehend our own power and worth. All of us face our own problems and good times. I would say that our value  is the amount of worth we see and foster in others. That can't help but reflect and shine on us. We never were nor never will be a trivial person.

"Don't allow people to make you feel unworthy. What they fear in you are qualities they would like to posses themselves. " Unknown

"Rejection doesn't mean you aren't good enough. It means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer." anonymous

"Live simply expect little give much. scatter sunshine, forget self  think of others." Norman Vincent Peale

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel," Maya Angelou

Everyone Disappoints

"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half closed after."  Benjamin Franklin

“Perhaps, if you weren't so busy regarding my shortcomings, you'd find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be.  I notice when the sky is blue.  I smile down at children.  I laugh at any innocent attempt at humor.  I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own.  And I say 'I'm sorry' when you don't.  I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.” Richelle E. Goodrich

“As a matter of fact, we are none of us above criticism; so let us bear with each other's faults.” L. Frank Baum

“Because he has never forgiven himself any fault, he can forgive no one else's.” Linda Berdoll

The hardest thing to come to terms with is the fact that nobody is always agreeing with us one hundred percent of the time. As a matter of fact there are many times throughout the day when our closest family members  sell us out or disappoint us. Of course the ideas quickly depart from our minds because we just can't handle the disappointment we feel. Spouses children parents siblings friends co-workers and bosses are all included.

Checking this out takes courage. When we walk or run away from the hurt we return when things have calmed down and we perceive the person is now within their right minds. We never consider that perhaps it is the other way around and the true colors were revealed if only for a brief moment. War between family members is not what I am searching for nor do I believe we don't love and care for each other. I think that we all worry about our own state of mind and body and if called upon to work hard for another we manage it but not without a few scars in the process.

As important as it is to care for ourselves, we make some time for those we love and come to their support. Of course at times they are still frustrated because we have maybe not jumped as quickly as they had wanted. The more we feel justified in our reactions the more they might feel wronged. At times finding the truth and meaning behind all of it is confusing to say the least.

What went wrong is everyone's thought. In all of our relationships we have the ups and downs and if we believe we can only keep it to the ups, we will be greatly frustrated. Perhaps that is why our marriages and relationships of all kinds fall apart. It honestly has nothing to do with truth but everything to do with perceptions. Likely our discernments regarding our favorite people is slanted because of our high regard for them. In our eyes they are perfect and any kind of a let down is disheartening to us. We give them no rope.

They require space to grow, make mistakes and learn from them, as well as bad days when their self-esteem is perhaps not what it normally is. I know I don't go around the world professing my ego is in the bucket at the moment so please refrain from all criticisms. I do the opposite and hide my sensitivity on that particular day.

My thinking and statements may not be as clear or as kind because my mood and feelings are at an all time low for the moment. It doesn't make any difference who approaches me on that day. I will freely dish out my anger in frustrating ways. I might even be meaner to those I love because I believe I don't have to hide my feelings. They perhaps are taking the brunt of my unsettling mood. I don't always sense any feelings of regret when it is all over because likely I deserved a day off especially when I have always been there for these people. I deduce that I deserved a day of compensation and they should understand that.

If I see this from the receivers end I totally get the saddened mood these people experience as well as the disillusionment of who I really am. All of the high expectations they had of me are currently dashed and after perhaps years of caring consoling and being there for them I have transformed into some hideous monster that they are steering clear. They might even profess to never trust me again. If I do resolve any and all issues I had with them likely the wheels on the track are still a bit shaky and they are nervous to have faith in me again.

This has happened to just about all of us. So  now the consideration is why we see the tiny negative situation against the huge number of positive times they were right by our side. Maybe we are looking for perfection in others yet willingly admit we are not perfect. We so readily cancel out family members and friends who have hurt us to move on towards others who dissatisfy and upset us even more. Perhaps we have faith that we will find the right person eventually, who will make everything faultless.

Siblings cut their  connections, friends find new friends, parents and children live in distrust of each other and couples split up in search of the flawless person. Of course we all find picture-perfect people at the beginning of any new relationship. The problem is we can't maintain perfection forever for very long.

What does that leave us with and where do we venture from here we might ask ourselves. I think the stronger the relationships are, the quicker they weather through situations by confronting the truth in the connections to others. The more we are willing to confront our own issues the more willing we are to release another's imperfections to the wind.

Never would I want serious pain and injury to my mind body or soul especially from someone I loved. I can however forgive others as I do want them to forgive me. If I only view their imperfections then they perhaps improve while I remain the same because I refuse to look at any imperfections in myself. Likewise if we transform ourselves as we find and view our shortcomings but our partner refuses to face their defects then our bonds may be doomed anyways.

I might also add that compromising does not mean we compare each others oversights and blemishes. Transforming our relationships is working on our own defects and not needing to assess who has more or less. It is never about blame but about improvement. We can't ask for more than that. Steps in the right direction are better than no steps or false steps. Of course one must forgive and refuse to bring it up again. The other must work on ways to improve negative traits. Any forward movement is praiseworthy.

“The earlier you admit to your mistakes, the more time you would have to learn and grow from them.” Edmond Mbiaka

“When you say the word 'sorry' make sure you understand that an apology has 3 parts. "I'm sorry", "It's my fault and I won't do it again" and "How can I make things better". The last part is the most important.”  Manasa Rao Saarloos

"The desire to criticise becomes less and less as the character is developed. It is the mark of a fine character never to be critical and to mention but rarely the faults of others. A strong character does not resist evil, but uses their strength in building the good. They know that when the light is made strong, the darkness will disappear of itself.” Christian Larson

“We only care about our faults when we realize them.” Daniel Melgaco

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

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. ...continue reading "Giving And Receiving"

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 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 nowhere. 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

Living With Despair Or Hope“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”     J.R.R. Tolkien

“She wondered that hope was so much harder then despair.”     Patricia Briggs

“Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is to lose your reason for living.”     Jo Nesbo

“The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.”     Alain de Botton

How many of us are fearful at every turn. I would guess that most of us worry constantly. We fear so many things that we don't even count or connect them anymore. Our anxiety level increases along with the stress. What we don't see is the numerous diseases we encounter because of the pressure of our burdens. We may be able to walk through fire to help someone, especially our families, but facing the issues of daily life may bring us to our knees. I heard someone say that there would always be prayer in schools, because there would always be tests.

The wonder of why we succumb to life's strain is not especially hard to understand.  Facing problems head on is not the preference for most of us.  We perhaps prefer to think about it when we are forced. Perhaps  that is for the best in certain respects. Life does appear to wear us all down to the point of making us feel defeated.

Maybe we ought to reflect on what life means, and what goals we have set. Perhaps we doom ourselves by trying to gain the same items as everyone else, or have a  certain amount of money. Most of us take pride in the achievements of our kids. The honor falls on us so we think. Taking a deeper look in what we believe, and search for, may produce surprising answers. ...continue reading "Living With Despair Or Hope"

What we want for our kids may not be what they ever wanted. What our kids do or don't achieve has nothing to do with our own  happiness or disappointment. Our dreams may not be their dreams. Having reached the pinnacle of life may not look the same to each individual. I realize there are certain things that define all humans and their needs and wants, but perhaps taking a more profound look into ourselves, may solve some of our issues.

The pressure is on kids to achieve at school, be a hero at sports, and work for a scholarship for college. At the very least we hope they will gain entrance into colleges. Those of us without a lot of money hope to see our kids in a better position than we ever found ourselves. We may feel cheated or denied access to the good things in life. It can easily leave one bitter. That is not difficult to understand. But disappointment occurs in every level of society. There is no magic cure for heartache. Being human almost implies there will be plenty of demanding things to endure and master along with the good.

As a human, it is important for us to be in control. I believe now that once we give up that notion, life appears easier to accept. The ugly truth is that we are never really in control of anything. The happenings of life are slow and quick, happy and sad. Some things we can prepare for while others are shocks to the system. There are slow daily grinds,  and fast horrendous unexpected obstacles to deal with. Most likely none of us would change places with others.

It may not be exactly the same, but fear creeps into our lives and can become the unwanted guest. Teens build up so much stress that many teens at such a young age, figure life is too hard to continue. Again the pressure to win it all is tremendous. Where is the reflection of life itself. Perhaps we don't appreciate things as much as we should, myself included. We should not have to value something after it is gone.

I recently lost my dog and the lack of her presence is so challenging  to endure.  I am not attempting to compare an animals loss to the loss of people, but it dawned on me how many more times I might have petted her or played in the yard with her. It has led me to comprehend life as fluid motion. It moves swiftly onward so whatever we value ought to be appreciated at the moment, especially while we can still enjoy it.

Fear is insidious. Teens worry about tests, dating and being accepted. Adults worry about money, their kids, homes, spouses and careers. Then life happens and throws in all kinds of roadblocks. We all have so many issues, it is impossible to mention all of them. We come to a false belief in the notion that our best is never good enough. That adds to our anxiety and sends us running in circles while searching for meaning in life. So many of us just keep moving and thinking the motion somehow will fix our worry. Facing problematic concerns is too difficult.

Now I see it as running away. I am escaping my problems by waiting for the answer to fall from the sky. I don't face some of my worries or burdens. I simply ignore them and keep moving. One day I thought about the fact that I spend way too much time on those negative fears and concerns. Many or most of them can't be altered, but I know I can face them if I muster my courage. Perhaps my fears can't be crushed, but likely they can be approached, modified and understood. Accepting isn't easy but honestly managing the fear renders it neutral. I can handle it in a variety of ways and see it for what it is.

As life moves forward we have children and then encounter problems that were unforeseen. We can lay on the battlefield defeated and discouraged, surrendering to life in defeat. Or we can face it and fight it by tackling it head on, allowing our mind heart and spirit to work together to find better answers than giving up. Perhaps we may not find the solutions we were seeking, but we might find a remedy we can work with. Enlightenment  grants us the courage to travel in a new direction.

We all hurt inside when our objectives and desires are left by the wayside. We cry for our kids and others we love when there are mistakes, pains or heartaches. What is not clear to see or understand, is that many times our cries are for ourselves and the things or ideas we longed to see happen. It is our loss that hurts. We wanted or expected certain things to happen and when they don't go according to our plan, we are devastated. I am totally included in this group's interpretation.

I honestly wonder if it is spiritual growth that we all need despite our efforts to avoid it or encounter it. Maybe our trials and tribulations bring about a deliverance from jealousies, envy, pride, anger, control and more. We may get knocked down but perhaps we are a better person when we get back up. It forces us to view life in a different way despite our best efforts to avoid that.

We may be forced with challenging changes that brings anxiety into our lives. But any time we have faced tremendous difficulties, we are confronted with finding our own strength to deal with the changes. Perhaps we come to acknowledge our need to appreciate those people and things we cherish. I like everyone else, take so much for granted. We lose our patience, get angry, feel envious, jealousy  and intolerant more times than we would like to admit.

I just wonder if the obstacles remind us to slow down, smell the flowers or coffee, and reflect on finding peace and serenity. If nothing else, life teaches us to have more patience, love, empathy, and compassion. It leads us towards understanding, and learning to appreciate the small  stuff. It awakens us to the little things in life that we should cherish and remember. Perhaps we are being nudged towards the good and spiritual side of ourselves. This in no way means God brings us sorrow in order to teach us something. On the contrary. I believe we are brought to the attention of what life is all about.

We all die at some point. We have bodies and souls. Most likely we should be focusing more on our inner growth than our outer enrichment. Faith and hope drives away fear and stress. In many ways faith and hope are our miracle cures. If we just slow down and look for the real meaning in our lives, we may not be so quick to toss those simple actions of a gift of dandelions from a child. The child at such a young age knows about beauty and love. As we get older we drive those messages further from our minds and hearts and embrace the frivolity of worldly desires.

By renewing our faith in a higher being, perhaps we can relieve the panicky feelings of fear, dread, jealousy, losing control, loneliness, anger, and heartache of all kinds. Mankind is really facing similar issues. We just run away from them until they catch us. Focusing on hope and love, drives away the clouds of fear and doubt. The challenge is to keep hope strong and alive. Succumbing to our fears,  leaves us defeated already from things that may never befall us.  It also creates a losing feeling before we have begun to do battle.  Faith gives us courage to accept the hope and love available.

Life has never been about finishing. Life is more of a  circle. Life is all about the ride we take. There are problems that confront all of us. Fearing the future is destroying our present with  thoughts that never come to pass.  Enduring our daily issues with faith and hope, brings courage to ride into the future with love, because life is the ride. Enjoy your life by seeing it with new eyes of peace and serenity. Whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually threatened, always choose to battle with hope as your partner.

“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”     J.D. Stroube

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”    Herman Hesse

“Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that has been denied.”     Elif Shafak

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. ...continue reading "Compassion"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and righteousness." Albert Einstein

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life... as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."    Booker T. Washington

"We ask for long life, but 'tis deep life, or grand moments that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."    Marie Curie

"As I go through all kinds of feelings and experiences in my journey through life -- delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay -- I hold this question as a guiding light: 'What do I really need right now to be happy?' What I come to over and over again is that only qualities as vast and deep as love, connection and kindness will really make me happy in any sort of enduring way."Sharon Salzberg

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

"The wound is the place where the light enters you."    Rumi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Approachable Person"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." Anonymous

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”    Desmond Tutu

“See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.”    Wayne Dyer

“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that they'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”    Mahatma Gandhi

“If you are ever in doubt about which way you should travel, make a choice that contains the essence of goodness and love and then go in that direction. This way, you can have absolute faith that you made the right decision.”    Molly Friedenfeld

I search all the time for goals and objectives. As soon as I reach one goal or tire from the effort and accept defeat, I begin the search for a new goal. Many people have confessed to me that they feel lost and close to worthlessness in their lack of contributions to society. They research highly motivational undertakings. Many attempt wild and difficult activities. I respect and admire that such effort.

The actions at times turn out negative results. Many people can't keep up the pace or are overwhelmed with their being no end to the work and possibly no thanks for the effort and work. Some call it burn-out. No matter how lofty our ambitions might be, they can leave us in disarray. All our good ideas are dashed and we can feel ineffective. This perhaps can lead to our being immobilized, defeated and unmotivated to do anything at all. ...continue reading "Strive To Be An Approachable Person"

Probably we bite off more than we can chew or we attempt to perform miracles and become disappointed when they don't occur. I have found at times that I have barely made a dent in helping to alleviate anything. I sense my hands are tied. My ability is  hampered by rules regulations and insurmountable problems I observe everywhere and on every level of society. It can overwhelm the mind with thoughts of helplessness to transform and change things for the better. Nothing appears to change.

This kind of thinking led me to travel down a different road and an alternate plan of action.  I suppose it is not so glamorous when we  offer to shovel for our injured friend. Nobody appears to want to pat us on the back. We may not be looking for praise but it is even hard for us to commend ourselves.  I totally believe that simply being an approachable person is likely the best course of action we could ever take. If we reflect on this long enough we just might conclude what an awesome transformation in the world we would create. The world would have to be a better place from the amount of goodwill promoted.

Perhaps we all think too big when we are looking for goals. We also likely think unnecessarily beyond the parameters of our own worlds. Why we have lost the ability to acknowledge those within our vicinity who require support is confusing. Many times our objectives can be found in our own backyards. Maybe it appears too easy  and unassuming to come to the rescue of a neighbor. We consider world aid, and needs of those far-reaching places. I suppose it is not so glamorous to work with people we know.

It is at these moments we must question our motives for aiding anyone. If it is to assist someone in dire straits, then we don't have to look far. Although it is admirable to help anyone who needs it. Wherever we attempt to do good, is generating love and peace all around us. It is not as if only certain people and places are in the category of requiring help. Our corner soup kitchen, school, fire department, thrift shop, church or community center accepts offers of help.

I also consider it commendable for just being there for those who want support. The neighborhood person whose door is always opened, and who quickly jumps in to assist others is such an asset to the neighborhood. The person who keeps peace with family members and overlooks transgressions and hurts is praiseworthy. I admire family members who aid and support each other even when they may not be on the best of terms. I also cherish those who forgive us when we are upset and recall better behavior and moments of helpfulness. They manage to see beyond the present us. We are not viewed in our current position but loved for the whole of us.

What does it take to see these people as saviors and helpers in pushing dark clouds away. Why don't we acknowledge what a tremendous boost to the family, friends, community and society at large when such people throw in their energy. I feel sad at the amount of effort given to others, that is not valued as priceless. Many people do not recognize themselves as world changers yet they truly are. People offer ways to do things that make life easier or give a better way of living. It appears to be such a simple thing, yet the time and effort that was made for such a small action, may produce a large result of positive energy.

The next time we begin to believe we have nothing to contribute to others think again. We should review our lives and check on our many kind and worthy actions towards others. Even a phone call or visit to a friend can cheer someone up. When one builds a house they start with one brick or piece of wood at a time. When finished the product is a gorgeous house. The same is true with our many kind unnoticed actions. Every one of them that is added up on a daily and weekly basis, eventually creates a huge beneficial and positive miracle sent out to the world.

If we frown every day at others we send negative energy.  If we smile at someone, even a stranger, I guarantee they can't help but smile back. Somehow I know they understand we have acknowledged them as a meritorious member of our society. Through our simple smile we have spoken a speech. They know they are in sense connected to us through that smile. We have gently brought them into our circle if only for a moment and they sense the feelings of love and joy. We have dashed loneliness from their minds and bodies long after we walk away.

Never underestimate your ability to find fulfillment everyday in daily living. We all hold so much power within to create a finer world. If we are looking to promote change and positive alterations to our world we have no further to look than within ourselves. We ought to be able to sleep calmly every night knowing we have made a difference in the world through our daily actions. it won't ever be necessary to question our goals and objectives. If we all work towards being a good and approachable person, the repercussions will present themselves.

As they say, we can all find problems with each individual we meet. There are imperfections in all. It is easy to find fault and blame. It is a bit more challenging to search for goodness in others. Perhaps it relates to jealousy. It doesn't matter. If we start a new path for ourselves which involves an objective of finding goodness in everyone, it will make it easier to love and cherish all. Carry that further and you have world peace. It is accomplished by striving to be an approachable person.

"When you choose to see the good in others, you end  up finding the good in yourself." Anonymous

"What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in awhile." Anonymous

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”     William  Shakespeare

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”    Leo Tolstoy

“Perhaps, if you weren't so busy regarding my shortcomings, you'd find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be.  I notice when the sky is blue.  I smile down at children.  I laugh at any innocent attempt at humor.  I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own.  And I say 'I'm sorry' when you don't.  I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.”    Richelle E. Goodrich

Always see the good in everyone...learn to see through God's eyes no matter what...remember, the tables may turn tomorrow. You just never know!”    Kemi Sogunle