“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius

“Distress is the moment you realize that life will hurt more than your death. While existing, we're forced to become acquainted with sadness. There's no antibiotic for the ridding of distress, and no alleviation of these intervals of pain we must encounter. Behind our eyes, are all these things: our stories, our dreams, our deficiencies, and our scars. Today would leave a scar.” Crystal Woods

“One's suffering, one's melancholy is, in itself, really only looked upon as failure or as punishment, as detestable or sinful or socially unacceptable in the eyes of man; but this is not so in the eyes of God: for He is close to the broken-hearted.”  Criss Jami

I am in distress about hearing another child is injured by a parent or someone they love. The frustration runs rampant through my  head because I have no answers. If we are upset it triggers less appreciation for what we have. How can we give answers when our security is threatened. It is painful to worry about our sense of well-being when threats are part of our world. Such is the case for many children.

Are adults  boxed in without any choices? Are we facing a dead-end to our lives on the road we are traveling?. Is this what results in distress which leads to rage? It is easy to feel this way in life. I am no exception but predicaments and stress are not our leaders. Our levels for overload differ and burdens strain us into crazy unthinkable actions. There is no excuse for anyone. I do not condemn anyone because I am not God. But deep within us we bury the truth afraid to admit our own fears. When we arrive at a  challenging place of chaos help seems out of reach. That is when we lose control.

Our next step is the panic button. The  answers are elusive. We   losw and say and do anything. Human thoughts and emotions are overruled and animal instincts  overtake reason. A person is motivated by anger hate and revenge while he searches for ways to take revenge on anyone near him. Like an unthinking  machine actions are mindless. Reason is obliterated with all the distress and feelings overshadowed. ...continue reading "End A Child’s Distress with loving discipline"

Focus is to relieve the emotional anguish at any cost. The price is not important because one believes their life is too demanding and they are trapped. The torment and distress makes a person cause pain to others who are in close proximity.

the first ones hurt are children because they are the easiest and most vulnerable targets. Kids are swallowed in an ocean of pain. This scene replays  often and leaves desolation in its' wake.People use children to hurt their spouses, aunts, uncles or grandparents in divorce situations. Few people consider the state of mind and emotional toll distress confers on children. We acknowledge children as creatures who don't have  feelings, opinions or desires. We consider the child's worth inferior to  the adults value when we fail to protect them from the bullies of the world. We may be their first bully.

I know we don't live in other people's homes but we can be watchful towards all children. Some live in fear and others have given up. If parents don't protect kids but instead  become the culprit then society should step in. How do we do that is a key question. Maybe it is time to restructure our child protective system. More workers may be placed in home environment areas. With counsel and support within the homes  more parents learn how to care for their kids with love and attention.

Some skills must be taught. If we have no knowledge about how to go about  feeding or nurturing a child then it is important to have available counselors taking on that role. Giving someone food and clothes is kind but teaching someone how to find and earn food and clothes is better. When anyone is in distress it is okay to sympathize but to support them with other options is more productive. When a person  is willing to work  but can't find a job perhaps more effort should be made to help him or her find the job rather than locking them up for stealing and then paying  for jail time.

Maybe as a society we can think of improved ways of teaching someone how to survive in our society. As one professor once said to me, "If you lived in a rich society you would not know how to go about calling on those people who would take care of you and drive and buy items for you. Likewise if you lived in an extremely poor society you would not know  which places or rubbish cans had the best left over food and which places were safer to bunk down for the night. The more I thought about it  the more it made sense. We can't throw anyone into any place and expect them to get the rules and norms of the society. We must teach them more than just giving without thought. One learns to value themselves, fend for themselves and take pride in their work. Starting from the bottom may promote better outcomes instead of pretending we have systems in place which obviously don't  work.

When  people are desperate they do desperate and despicable things. People who are frustrated or without options behave erratically. This lends itself to other areas in their lives that become unstable. If one divorces there is turmoil and loss of family friends and security. Kids again suffer the most. Parents move on but kids  are caught in the middle. Parents are likely dealing with so much they sense the need to find themselves first but in that process the kids can become lost.

If a friend or family member is in need pay attention and help out. Give a hand at least short-term. Attempt to stop the negativity and find peace. kids didn't fight with grandma or aunt Amy so keep it civil and allow as many family members into your life and your child's life as you can. Support comes in many sizes and ages. Working on any job with others brings greater security and serenity. Going alone encourages distress a lot faster. Take a look around and find those people willing to be your friend and forgive family and friends who have disappointed you. Even if it was a  serious thing forgiveness brings peace and love. Just try it for your kids sake and see if your life and your kids situation improves.

Distress leads to heartache and problems while love brings comfort and joy. Why find yourself with greater  problems because the law has no mercy. Before you reach your limit take the needed break and let the ego go which insists on being in charge even when traveling the wrong road. Work towards compromising and collaborating with others.

Sharing workloads babysitters and material items can improve each others situation. Learn how to love more and always treat your children with respect. They are your gold and worthy of love. Too many have died needlessly or been injured. It is time we stop the pain kids endure and show them a different world that is not full of  pain and isolation but with love and respect.

“Anger is distress. Life is an individual race of endurance.” Lailah gifty Akita

“When you are wronged and your heart and feelings are hardened, do not be distressed, for this has happened providentially; but be glad and reject the thoughts that arise within you, knowing that if they are destroyed at the stage when they are only provocations, their evil consequences will be cut off, whereas if the thoughts persist the evil may be expected to develop.” St. Mark

“The Lord's mercy often rides to the door of our hearts on the black horse of affliction. Jesus uses the whole range of our experiences to wean us from earth and woo us to Heaven.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous. If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense. Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes.”    Jon Kabat Zinn

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

success"In the end it is not the years in your life that count but the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?" Martin Luther King Jr.

"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say I used everything you gave me." Erma Bombeck

I find it so easy being trapped in my own thoughts and seeing life as half empty. I admit that  happy days make it unnecessary to  think so hard about life in general. Difficult days make me review every single word spoken to me. Everything people say and do is a competition. Most of us would definitely say they are not  competing with anyone but the opposite is true. Every second  every day it happens unless we consciously stop the runaway thoughts.

I would have said not true a short time ago but once I reflected I realized we spend a huge amount of time worrying about what others say do and think and we worry  about fading into the background of our lives. In a sense we almost have our lives finished and done with because we sometimes see no alternatives and only endings and loss. It is helpful to look at the glass  half full rather than half empty but how we think and feel goes beyond that.

Have you ever asked why we let our emotions get us down? We perhaps blame it on our difficulties. I do the same thing and have done it for a long time. With a lot of introspection I have discovered a much calmer world within which has led to a calmer world without. That doesn't mean I don't gt angry, feel insecure at times, feel useless and lost and confused and a whole lot of other things. It becomes a run away train that must be stopped the sooner the better. Likely when we need sympathy or someone to say things like "It will be okay just hang in there." it doesn't happen.

What can we do? We must remember we are never alone and we can find the peace from within and the answers. It is how one view life and the happenings. For kids it is all  about getting control of toys and friends. They like to have friends that pick them first or play the games they like to play. Kids get very upset when their friends chooses to play with another child or allows another person to hold the toy before they let us hold the toy. That may sound silly to an adukt but in many situations we do the same thing.

Have you ever been at a party and your in a conversation with a couple of people only the person doing the talking keeps you out of the conversation by ignoring you? They most likely would deny this yet they focus only on one person until you  feel like the third thumb and you humbly walk away crushed and wonder why they did that to you. I would guess that whatever it is happens to be their issue and that is easy to say because it becomes your issue when they crush you especially in front of others which is embaressing.

They might even come back and say they are sorry "You took it the wrong way" shich is even more upsetting to you because you know how it went down. So now it is like your own fault. Now we again have two choices. We can get angry lash out at them or simply accept their apology understand it is still  their problem and take none of this into our own hearts. Being so insecure including myself we tend to think maybe we did overreact but maybe we didn't. The point is to let go of any attempt to accept a burden you don't need or want. It is extra baggage and it is not yours to carry unless you unwittingly grab the bag.

Most of us do end up with more unhappy  thoughts and assumptions that are not real. It is overwhelming to realize that most if not all of us do this all day long with every interaction we have with others. One must think about the fact that we can't control another's mood or ideas about who or what they are or what they did and perceive as right or wrong. We also cannot control what others have for burdens whether we think they are problems or not. If one believes it is an issue then it is so.

It is relevant to refrain from adding to our own baggage. This is done by recognizing some problems before they happen. The mind can convince us something is one way when it isn't. I think that is why we are insecure at times. Everyone and everything appears to be against us. Although that is absurd if you are in a bad mood or place one has faith it is true. Life is not easy everyone agrees with that. We all deal with stuff. Perhaps we might look at how we deal with problems.

It is not good for any of us to enjoy being unhappy and look at our half empty glass. It only keeps us at the bottom of the glass and in a drowning state. It may get too comfortable being there because people leave us alone, steer clear of us and sometimes begin giving us excuses for our poor behavior. It is almost like an adult temper tantrum. I have been there many times and it can feel cozy and it allows me to step on whoever I want.

In a way it is refreshing but at some point we need air and should surface. Open your eyes and look around. I know it gets repetitive to say to people be grateful for what you have when all we can think about is what is missing. Honestly there is wonder all around us. We want to enclose everything and every moment but we can't. Kids are a joy but they grow up and must move on and that is hard for parents to accept. Change is hard on all of us. We plan our lives and believe the plan will unfold exactly as we set it up. Of course it never does. But in the "something else" that happens there is a lot of good in it if we open our eyes. Keeping them shut and complaining about the dark won't work.

I hate change and always have. It doesn't stop the changes. When we have kids or grandkids we believe they are the best of course. Then we get into who is like whom or which child resembles which side of the family. That is full of potholes. what it comes down to is our desire to keep love all to ourselves. Somehow by claiming the child in this way we feel like it is ours. It creates arguments over what. All of this is competition for acceptance and love to last eternally. The truth is love is eternal and it does not need to be sheltered or covered up in order to keep it.

Our insecurity can keep us in chains. Just let it go. Nobody has the power to lock up love hate or anything.  We do have the power to increase love and give it to others just by letting people in. When that happens the pain goes out because there isn't room for it. The love and memories we have remain and our mind is left focusing on the happy rather than the sad. Anxiety and sadness render us helpless whereas love and happiness give us strength. There are people who care and we have all been in positions of helplessness and sadness and worry.

Honestly the worry can be for nothing because things do happen in curious ways that we would never have imagined. Thinking we have it all worked out will surprise us one day when we discover that it isn't true. So worry can be over nothing that is real. We all have people and stuff to be thankful for. If we won't open our eyes we are going to miss so much. We have choices to make every day about our anger attention and job list. We also have choices about how we will give love and accept love. Sometimes it is harder to accept love than it is to give love. Through accepting love we create an acceptance which benefits everyone and leaves us open to more love which is overwhelming in pushing out the anxiety and fear we have  enjoyed leaning on. It takes courage to accept love and understand your cup is half full instead of half empty.

"Don't squander yout time on the what- if's of life. They are unlimited and endless." Gary Zukav

Eventually you will come to understand that love heals all and love is all there is." Gary Zukav

Happy"Happy people don't have the best of everything. They make the best of everything." Anonymous

“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth, how much money you have gathered or how much attention you have received. It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters,” Amit Ray

What does it mean to be happy? If you asked a million people their answers would likely be different. Happy means to be pleased joyful cheerful blissful exultant ecstatic delighted and content. I know the number of people I talk with within a week and they have numerous adjectives to describe their moods and few would mention ecstatic lives. The adjectives used perhaps are more like tired, upset, discouraged, stressed-out, fearful, over-worked, sad, anxious and over-burdened take your pick.

It makes one wonder what happened to living and meaning within our lives. How did we reach the road where we are in a dilemma bout which way to  choose. All the roads appear to lead to unhappiness. We almost take it for granted that it is normal to be unhappy but is it? Sometimes it is difficult to find one decent occurrence throughout our day that made our life worthwhile. I want to ask where did the world go wrong?

We all have problems and events to deal with and that we can all accept for the most part. But why is it most of us if not all of us feel so burdened to the point of being exhausted and ready to give up? If we rated our days as good bad or indifferent perhaps we might see a lot of bad or indifferent kinds of days. I believe this is very sad and anything but happy.

I wonder if we focus too much on what needs to be done, what is missing and what is wrong? I never saw anybody at work come in smiling and saying wow my life is so happy and things are great and my spouse and kids are so awesome! Most people unfortunately come to work complaining about every little thing that went wrong at the breakfast table. Those listening politely slip away thinking their own problems are more difficult than their co-workers complaints.

I must admit that these folks send our brains down the road of finding similar problems in our own lives. We contemplate a worse day and unhappy moments in time. Sometimes those who stay and listen to the employee's grumbles wait their turn to best the protester with their own tale of woe. It definitely starts off a competition and a marathon about who has the most grievances. Who wants to be the winner of that competition?

Bosses complain about workers who are slackers not bothering to ever be interested in their home lives. Spouses criticize their significant others not having any mercy about other circumstances and divorced people grieve the deadbeat parents who never send alimony. Workers  resent being overlooked during promotion time and parents hate teachers who assume too much about the home environment and the lack of whatever. Teachers lament the uninvolved parents, daughters-in-law detest the whining controlling and complaining mothers-in-law, while the mothers-in-law can't understand the gossip behind her back about the things she said except the words were twisted and changed as well as the perceived actions. Most of the issues appear to be untrue from the view of most people yet all of the words and actions of others are constantly being reviewed and analyzed for the worst.

Parents stop seeing their kids as cute and fuzzy when they are out of the baby stage and basically getting into mischief. Most parents are already looking forward to the time the kids will be grown up. They don't realize how much time they have wished away. Nobody seems to be happy yet there is a lot to discover and enjoy about life and the people in it. I wonder if it has to do with our attitudes and the way we see ourselves and others. Obviously we pay attention to faults over virtues, complaining times over joyful ones, and we focus on what is wrong but never what is right.

Perhaps so much attention given to the negative has trained all of us to focus on that instead of the positive. Honestly  we can be thankful we are  not hungry, cold or without someone or something to love. That may sound corny but it is taken for granted. At a young age we are taught to be and do the best. Maybe we leave no room to have breathing space to grow. It is expected that we succeed the first time and accomplish so much in a certain time frame. It genuinely leads many to give up because the goal  appears to be so far away.

No wonder we are always so discouraged. If we were suppose to clean the yard, fix a fence and change a tire on the car then anything less almost allows a spouse to feel no need to say thank you for doing that. A woman who tends to the kids while her husband does the jobs and manages to get in some laundry but not able to cook a big meal may believe she has failed somehow and didn't get everything done that she should have. I know we are getting into goals here but technically we are also understanding the tremendous burdens we have set up for ourselves. Where is the time to appreciate anything including our own worth?

I don't believe anyone is as bad nor as good as others speak about. Kids are not horrible and unlovable. How is it we give nobody any leeway and we receive no latitude for ourselves? Let's face it most people change the way something was said or done. Words denote one thing but the tone can so totally change the words for the better or the worse. Taken out of context anything can be made to sound better or horrible. The fact is we never know how anyone chooses to interpret what we say or do so that leaves us all vulnerable.

Until we stop thinking that we are only as good or strong or capable as the products we produce or tasks we complete we will be disappointed with ourselves and others for their completions. We will also keep missing the goodness surrounding us and the positive facing us every day. I bet most of us go to bed contented if we completed some huge task we had set our minds to do days weeks or months ago. We take pride in that and feel so relieved and happy. I am not so sure it is happiness as much as a sense of "I did it." So what are we left with? We only have peace when we complete something for the house or workplace?

Being able to understand the many ways we can find peace and contentment brings us an escape route from our problems and draws attention away from how many times we failed or how long it took us to complete. We don't always mention a task done or get praised for it with our own blessing, because we feel it took us too long to do. For sure if we stopped seeing the work the complaints the obstacles and the time it takes to get to the job perhaps we would enjoy the daily things we do see and enjoy.

If the basement must wait so what. If we spent the day walking and investigating with our kids we likely produced more than if we painted the room. At a future date in time the memory of a beautiful spring day looking at birds and insects and rocks will remind us of an awesome experience and put a smile on our faces. The day spent painting will not be remembered any more than the day we cleaned the house. Of course the house needs cleaning but to focus on that rather than the more important things places us at the mercy of pressure stress and an unhappy mood.

We can get up and choose to be happy the first thing in the morning. We can put the complaints to the back of the mind and focus on the gorgeous day. Even rain is wonderful because it fills a bird bath and feeds the flowers and bounces off our noses and makes us smile. Kids splash through puddles because they know how to bring on those smiles. As adults we have forgotten. We fill our minds with thoughts about our work list and inconsequential things that sometimes don't matter. How we treat our kids and spend time with them is more important than how well we cleaned up or fixed their room.

Every day can be joyful and pleasant even if it comes with a few glitches. It still brings a tremendous amount of good things if we uncover the blanket of have to do's. Look for the good in every day and focus on the happy funny words and actions. Remember to compliment others for the tiniest things they do for you and that includes your spouse and kids. It would serve all of us to stop seeing what we lack and what we didn't do and notice those important unnoticed things we do manage to accomplish.

“Life has a positive and negative side. Happy people ignore the negative side. A smile a day keeps trouble at bay. The mind's health depends on what it feeds on. Avoid thoughts and conversations that kill your soul.” Bangambiki Habyarimana

"This we can all bear witness to, living as we do plagued by unrelenting anxiety. It becomes more and more imperative that the life of the spirit be avowed as the only firm basis upon which to establish happiness and peace." Dalai Lama

 

 

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Families8“One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we forget to be grateful. we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to his goodness it becomes a routine..”    Joel Osteen

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“God gave us minds to think with and hearts to thank with. Instead we use our hearts to think about the world as we would like it to have been, and we use our minds to come up with rationalizations for our ingratitude. We are a murmuring, discontented, unhappy, ungrateful people. And because we think we want salvation from our discontents...”  Douglas Wilson

Holidays are a time to be grateful. When we think of our Holiday celebrations we are brimming over  with excitement and at the same time stressed and fearful about how the they will progress. When we get through the days we are relieved with gratefulnes for what we said or did. We might also be grateful for what we didn't say or do.

Our anticipations may be so much greater than actually what occurrs. Perhaps if we perceive this from the first moment we may  save ourselves unnecessary grief. I am not looking forward to having a terrible time but I do have a more realistic approach towards the Holidays. It likely comes  from agonies of past times and disappointments. It left me wondering time and again, what went drastically wrong.

That might be the key question. How and why do  things backfire. I see myself going through motions of being the superhero in a sense. I have faith that I will give the perfect gift, display an out of the world atmosphere, and cook a meal that will replay on the taste buds. I anticipate being surrounded by love. I anticipate others being anxious to talk with me perhaps because they find me so amusing or entertaining. My expectations are unrealistic. When the reality of the day occurs, I am  discouraged and must decide how to accept the disappointment. Even when the day has passed the tenseness continues along with the debate of how things might have gone better. I conclude with the question of why I put so much effort into something that was designed to explode.

When the same situation replays year after year in various scenarios, one is left questioning some truths. I discovered my expectations were fairy-tales. My generosity was full of assumptions of gaining affection in  return. My belief in love, compassion and caring was a little mixed up. I didn't want to be so harsh on myself so I studied others and found some similar mistakes and regrets as well as disappointments. We are so needy to be accepted and loved yet we sabotage it daily.

Now when I am buying a gift for someone I think hard about pleasing them. I have discovered that at times even a small inexpensive gift causes me to be more grateful. I don't attempt to be the hero or the winner of the most popular present award. I have given gift certificates in order for others to purchase what they want instead of what I think they should want. I enjoy doing things with others. My enthusiasm is for spending time with others. Although it is still nice to be invited for dinner, it is nice to be a listening ear or have someone be the sounding board.

So now I can share hot chocolate or cup of tea or coffee, with  another at any time of year and make it special. It was  never about turns or justifications. Love is never having to say your sorry and never having to receive something only when it is your turn. It is more spontaneous now and full of surprises. When the Holiday is over I find more contentment.  The lack  of frustration brings solid relief. I have learned to expect nothing so I truly am pleased with whatever wonderful things happen. On an occasional moment at any time during the year I am blessed with an unexpected heartfelt conversation with a friend or family member. It fills me with pleasure and love. No gift could compare with what. I have found that  the most anyone can give is their unconditional love.

I think we overdo the new products on the market to the point of excluding love respect and mindfulness. It is not that we are terrible  people. We have just been lulled into what we have been brainwashed to believe is a worthy gift. Pleasing others is easier than spending money or buying presents. It is about those heartfelt habits of the heart that send love to others in thoughtful ways. You can't easily repay time or effort. Another issue that always comes up is the feeling of never being equal to others. We just don't know ourselves. We have so much to offer. Competing with others is sometimes of our own doing. It isn't feasible to always be the best cook smartest person or competitive worker in the room. It is okay to be us and tell and enjoy a joke.

Those who are busy bragging so much that they annoy us are to be pitied. If they have the need for attention so badly, I would suggest we listen and give it to them. Obviously they must require our approval. That kind of places us in a superior position if we were really taking notes which we are not. Seeing through the many facades others place before us allows us to better understand their motives for behaving the way they do. At any moment we can become that needy person who desires love and attention. There is no shame in this.

We all want to fit in with others. We like attention and respect, can be easily  embarrassed, and have many of the same wants and needs and problems. Our fears are similar. The need for love is genuine and sincere no matter what our personality is. If we enter the playing field understanding all of this then we already know our opponent because they are just like us. They should not render us fearful or jealous.

Navigating through the waters of fear and anxiety leads to calm sailing. What media tells us to value leaves us disappointed and distressed. Realizing what has meaning in our lives is the beginning of waking up to reality. The dream is upsetting because it isn't based on facts. Perhaps by changing our habits of fake living may support us in finding the honest and genuine habits of heart. That kind of love is available all year through. We won't have to wait for holiday time and we won't have to fear and stress over pleasing everyone. Many of our actions render us tired and depressed. What we should be searching for is serenity and love in the current moment in time. Try choosing heart habits over rituals, be grateful, then rejoice in having all that you ever needed within reach.

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try the world is beyond the winning. Lao Tzu

Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Embrace"Dignity is the moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad. Dignity 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. Dignity is the moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself. Dignity is the moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it."

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life-long quest of the wise."    Shannon Alder

I know that many times I do not embrace the moment. I over think what everybody is saying and doing and neglect the reality of the people  in my vicinity. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and most of us would say  that we are but demonstrating it and actually feeling it in the heart is another story. I know of some people who say I enjoyed it but, I had a good time but, It was wonderful but. I would like to throw out the buts. It appears to be crucial for them to downplay the whole experience.

All of us are guilty of sensing contrariness all around us. The challenge is to override the negative and embrace the joyful present encounters. Of course all is easier said than done. I find most moments in time are significant and more meaningful than we could ever imagine. They have the power to generate a calming atmosphere or sometimes a  volatile atmosphere. They also end in repercussions of all sorts. That is the part we don't anticipate and likely what causes us all kinds of remorse.

At a family gathering one day, there was a controlling member of the family who was helping with dinner. When another person challenged the way she was doing something the battle ensued. Of course the controlling individual wanted her own way while the other person was upset with the mistake. The frustration of both individuals rose and abated  when a third-party intervened and defused the problem.

Neither individual noticed how uncomfortable everybody around them was becoming. Nobody wanted to make a move at first. Picking sides is hazardous to one's health. At long last someone did have the courage to stop the bad interaction and resolve the issue. I noticed as the general public renewed their inspiring  conversations the two involved insurgents of the mishap were noticeably upset. Their faces were drawn, their lips were tightly pursed, eyebrows were lowered and bodies were tensed as they took turns eyeing each other. No one dared to tread on the dilemma.

As time passed the mood lightened and everyone had a good time but the two warring people went home with a lot on their minds. I wondered how something so simple had the power to cause such a huge negative effect. The controlling person felt diminished and under appreciated while the other person felt upset that they had  unnecessarily voiced an opinion. Of course hindsight is invariably better but if the controller let up a bit and listened they might have gained some worthwhile knowledge. The interfering person should have let things go because they were not the one offering to help. The fact that both factions will likely bring their antagonism to the next gathering is sad. All guests are at the mercy of those who choose  to toss emotions around like fall leaves. The contrary person is also to blame because they did not have the confidence to accept another opinion.

We are all so good at finding the faults of others and I include myself. Perhaps we sense in them the faults we would like to fix in us. There are times when out of desperation we release our perceived truths onto another. Having been there I know we are always sorry. I now see this as a moment of discovery for myself. I believe those are the times I am forced to see  something I perhaps did not want to discover about myself. After the uproar and embarrassment I am forced to acknowledge if only to myself, how much pain I am carrying inside. All of the hurt gets released when we sense another person around us who somehow brings out the drainage of the infection.

In a way I am understanding the importance of the small  simple moments in time that provide a teaching moment. Another guest was thanked for helping  to clean up the table. With embarrassment they declared that they had not helped. At first I felt sorry for the person who had complimented one who had not actually aided in the jobs. Then I realized that likely they helped that person. The receiver of the undeserved compliment had some food for thought. Hopefully they will offer assistance at a future period in time.

When it all comes down to the final analysis we repeatedly learn from our positive and antagonistic interactions with others. All is really not lost. If we can appreciate the value of the unfavorable communication we can acquire information that is invaluable. By understanding this we will matriculate the knowledge with enthusiasm. Of course we can disdain the whole episode and receive nothing from our encounter but anger. The choice is ours.

The best situation is perhaps to discover our own inadequacies without reaching the pinnacle of lashing out at another. Facing imperfections allows us to improve. Without acceptance there can be no progress. Most of our issues seem to resonate with jealousy, competition and the  striving for love. We don't believe in our own worth. The honesty is that we can and do love more than one person. Somehow being number one is relevant to us all. I  would  suppose that on any given day the number one varies in the minds of most people.

Another idea  we don't think about is the fact that we hold others as hostages while we engage in petty misconduct. The  happy moments in our lives can be dissolved quickly  when others ensue with a battle of wits or insults. Attempt to reflect on the repercussions of such behavior. I know I am so aware of such transactions because I have been the inflammatory person as well as the  receiver of such destructive incidents. I would venture to say  most of us are guilty. It isn't about blame but about discerning the truth in what  we say and do and why we say and do it.

By perceiving the truth we might choose a calmer path that leads to enlightenment without the regret. It does take some will power to refrain from immediate judgement and response. It takes courage and strength to acknowledge ourselves in those actions and words. It takes forgiveness towards  them so that we can forgive ourselves.

We all have much to be thankful for. We all  work hard to accomplish much and improve. We don't see our accomplishments and we miss our gains. We might endeavor to be grateful for so much in our lives that we just don't think about. There is probably so much we would not trade for anything in the world. Realizing what we have that can't be bought ought to prove the priceless  treasures that we enjoy within our lives. Changing our attitudes may alter our lives in the most profound  ways.

On another note, for all the times we fail and fall down, we can still retrieve the knowledge acquired. There is never a loss as long as we take something positive from the occurrence. None of us is perfect. None of us would enjoy being judged. But as much as we all fall down, we all have the ability to rise to great heights. If we give up we will never soar. If  we are still attempting and failing we can rejoice because as long as we never give up we can make it happen. The possibility is there for us by having the faith in our ability  to be successful. It only takes the confidence to believe in self. The goal is just pushed a little bit further into the future but still within reach provided we get up after we are knocked down.

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

“An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.”  Steve Goodier

“They will hate you if you are beautiful. They will hate you if you are successful. They will hate you if you are right. They will hate you if you are popular. They will hate you when you get attention. They will hate you when people in their life like you. They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God. They will hate you if you are spiritual. They will hate you if you have courage. They will hate you if you have an opinion. They will hate you when people support you. They will hate you when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”     Shannon Alder

Shed Light On Living"We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality."Thich Nhat Hanh

"Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be." Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life"    Jill Bolte Taylor

"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."    William James

Most children and adults abhor the darkness. It seems to go beyond the dread of the storytelling of our childhood days. It really isn't unrealistic to hate the darkness when one observes the qualities within the dimness. Our seeing is greatly impaired, and our ears tune into every sound as we fear the unknown noises. We are anxious to talk with the human voice that resonates with all of us, and feel the human touch around us. When in darkness, everything we bump into sends jitters through our spines because our minds envision something fearful.

Perhaps we like to believe we fear nothing but honestly, I have a notion that the dark sends shivers through just about everyone. We might attribute it to our minds jumping to ridiculous conclusions but in the end we put on a light. How powerful is the light in dissipating the gloom. Blackness without a doubt, obscures insight. Luminosity sheds awareness of truth and familiarity.

I don't often consider why I dislike the dark, nor do I worry about it that much. I don't understand my apprehension but I accept it and live with my worry. I likely spend more time worrying about the dimness than  identifying my reasons for the issue. Perhaps the question is why do most of us love and enjoy the brightness.

Glowing beams of sunlight allow us to comprehend our world so much better through the use of our senses. We all like to observe, and comprehend our place in this world as well as in our environment. Gloom is heavy while illumination is airy while perceiving what we can't always understand. What I found to be a surprise was the many mysteries we encounter and ignore in our daily lives.

We love the brightness but we don't delve deeply into the beams to perceive more understanding. We'd rather live with our fears accepting the consequences. Perhaps it is time to reinforce our courage and search for the truth. Our reality is dimmed even when we are within the brightness. Stepping into the light is the beginning but grasping the honesty of our lives is the next giant step forward into acquiring insight.

Babies fear their birth. Children fear losing mom and dad when left with sitters. Kids fear competing with others, failing their parents expectations, losing their parent's love, siblings' love and friends' love. So loss is a huge fear for most of us. Inferiority issues arise from all our fears,  as self-esteem is threatened. We tend to lose ourselves in the battle at any age, to please parents, siblings, and friends. We sometimes transform ourselves into something we don't even recognize anymore.

Jealousy, anger,  worry and doubt are a few of the consequences of fear, along with distrust, anxiety, poor health and addictions. Loss of love,  jobs, pride and ego take a toll not only on our bodies and minds but also on our souls. Life throws so many curve balls that leave us basically in the dark. Our fears keep us there. Finding new ways to solve our problems is paramount in finding our way back to the light. If we are honest we know that what we have attempted hasn't worked.

Many times we have choices but we don't see them or we overshadow them with our worry. Anxiety can keep us stagnant. If we watched a TV show we would notice the character's choices yet within our own lives we remain motionless to transform ourselves. I sense that life is difficult, so we succumb early and allow the shadows to deceive us.

Experiences of all kinds are challenging and require us to depend on our strength, courage and wisdom. That is asking a lot from us, but is worthy of our finest effort. By overcoming our fears we diminish jealousy, competition, envy, insecurity, defeat, worry, anxiety, ill-health, stress, despondency and negative thoughts. This allows us to embrace honesty, reality, love, empathy, serenity tolerance, confidence health, good habits and a positive outlook.

Hiding behind closed doors with more on our plates than we can deal with is not a good idea. Finding the courage to face problems and find solutions through our own strength and the support of others is a worthy idea. It is relevant  that we come to the realization that there is no competition in life so there is no need for jealousy or envy. There is no special race, religion, economic status, age or country of people more important than any other. The comparisons must end along with the inflated egos and nonsense ways we delineate the worth of another. Once these barriers are broken down we will find it easier to tolerate those we don't understand and accept the differences.

For too long we have focused on earthly assessments and material worth. The cost has been taken from our spirits. At times I think we hardly recognize ourselves. We are so tangled up in the life we live that we can't acknowledge the truth in the life we have. So many of us are wealthy beyond measurement. It just depends on the tool we use to assess. Contentment is the  father of a peaceful and loving life.

It always appears to be an answer that is too simple, but honesty is simple to follow. There are no lies to be reinvented or stories to relate or egos to inflate. The mystery is what we have evolved to be the truth. In actuality the truth has always been easy to see and even easier to live by. Stop asking yourself how happy you are and instead ask yourself how much meaning you can find in your living. Life is too precious to waste it with fear and worry. If one dares to face truth, they are rewarded with great illumination.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”   Rumi

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." Albert Einstein

We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness."   Albert Schweitzer

"People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don't suffer anymore." Thich Nhat Hanh

"Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes. Thich Nhat Hanh

Listen“I will be waiting here....For your silence to break, for your soul to shake, for your love to wake!" Rumi

“Soul, if you want to learn secrets, your heart must forget about shame
 and dignity.
You are God's lover, yet you worry what people are saying.”
“Brother, stand the pain. Escape the poison of your impulses. The sky will bow to your beauty, if you do. Learn to light the candle. Rise with the sun.
Turn away from the cave of your sleeping. That way a thorn expands to a rose.” Rumi

News stories everywhere are absolutely so wild that one would question their honesty. The strangest part is that so many people read or listen to these events while on the train to work or munching their cereal or eating popcorn in their favorite chair. That is perhaps as surreal as the stories. Without a doubt we have lost our sensitivity to the happenings surrounding us. It is just another normal day, so we think.

I have wondered how long we can continue along n our path of destruction, without seeing the cliff before we fall off. That perhaps sounds  a bit over the top but all you have to do is put things in perspective, and listen to the news for the day. I heard of one story detailing a baby of a year old, having 28 broken bones when he was rushed to the hospital and later died. The stories are so similar except for the way the kids and babies have been beaten, tortured, neglected, disrespected, dehumanized and at long last killed.

Listening to the number of people killed in battles, drug addictions, suicide, alcohol, and bad habits derived from too much stress should probably register a wake up call. Sometimes it appears that we are the sleep-walker, oblivious to the reality around us. the environment and home lives are upside down. It is time to stop kidding ourselves that it is the fault of the other person over there. What we are seeing, if we open our eyes, is total chaos and uncontrolled people.

No wonder we have addictions of all kinds and anger in every situation. Stress and anxiety from within and without, are controlling our words and actions. If we continue to value peripheral objects and fail to notice the treasures standing in front of us then we are traveling down a paved road to disaster. I don't say this lightly. I don't believe people are bad, incorrigible, mean or unkind  by nature. Many forces permeate our psyches and hearts. Perhaps we begin to value the wrong items, trust in the perverted ideas and follow the egos of others. The sad thing is that we end up in the same pitiful place.

All is not over or lost but we certainly seem to be living on the brink of disaster. Finding time to reflect on what we are valuing, saying and doing is vital. Most of us myself included, believe we are off of the hook in our beliefs as long as we have a sense of allowing everyone to follow their own road and thoughts. What we must question is at what point do we think it necessary to contemplate what is happening around us. One can say I wouldn't do it but it is up to each individual to decide for himself or herself. The next person can alleviate their conscience by stating it is their right to do what they want, even to the extent of harming others. How far is this going to be carried, before we question how ridiculous.

Aborted babies are being used for tissue transplant and other medical procedures, some of which I don't understand. The hard bit to digest is how unlucky is the baby who is ill-fated to be unmercifully yanked from its mother's womb, in order to serve another life. It's own life has no value so it appears. No one has a problem distancing such topics while having coffee. How desensitized have we become?

Using animals for experiments has always caused a commotion and the users have always said well it helps us to develop medicines for people. How do we explain using people to help people? Are we limitless in what we do and in what we will accept? Will privilege give some people a step up?

Again I don't see  bad people but instead misguided unthinking observers who are too stressed out to conceive of the damage they are doing. Most of us would rush to help another individual. Yet  we only shake our heads at the craziness surrounding us. Unless more people come forward and disagree with what is happening, no relief or solution will be found. Medicine breakthroughs can be discovered in other ways.

Kids are beaten and neglected every day. All of us feel helpless. If we believe we are helpless then nothing will be changed. Like the law recently passed in Massachusetts that allows spanking to be legal. The other definitions in the dictionary are far more disturbing. I guess if we said thrashing, whopping or beating, people might cringe a bit more about that law, but spanking sounds acceptable. The word beating is defined as spanking. We simply turn our heads away washing our hands of the outcome to numerous children.

Perhaps it is time we understood that it is us that needs to pick up the ball. Honestly, we are good people  but we have ignored the cries of the unfortunate for too long. The babies and children deserve  consideration. Our world can be a better place. If we learn how to respect each other as well as all life that we see, we will experience a renewal of love and beauty. Perhaps the shadows will lift from our eyes and allow us to  view a compassionate loving world. There would be no need for rules if everyone cared about each other.

The time we spend on nonsense items should be called to our attention. We have so much to be thankful for. There is so much beauty inside of us and surrounding us but  we shut it out. I have reached my limit of listening to the  negativity permeating our world. I want to hear feel good stories of heart-warmth love and empathy. It is not old-fashioned to want a happy caring place to live. Leave the meanness to the dream state, and wake up to a genuinely empathetic  world. Value your relationships. Make integrity, honesty, empathy, tolerance and kindness universal. Value what counts and find peace.

“There's no one with intelligence in this town except that man over there playing with the children, the one riding the stick horse. He has keen, fiery insight and vast dignity like the night sky, but he conceals it in the madness of child's play.”    Rumi

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: