Tag Archives: choices

HOW STRONG IS YOUR FAITH?

So many people get so upset about our melting pot society and how things are changing. All things change like it or not.

One of the things that people get the most upset about is thinking that your faith/religion is being taken from you. Believe it or not, this county was not just put together by men of the Christian faith. If you are pretty solid in your faith why are you worried that it is being taken away from you? I don’t know about you but my faith is in pretty good shape, after all, it is mine, is it not?  If your faith and belief, whatever it may, be is still in there solid when the winds of change blow, then it is not gone. It may be tested but it can’t be taken away from you. Only if and when YOU want to “update” how you believe or what you believe does it, in fact, change. You are free to go to a church or temple or sit under a tree and meditate if you want to.

Your “religion” or faith is who you are and what you are. It is the blueprint (or should be) for guiding your choices and behaviours. Can that really be taken from you? Whatever happens outside in the society may not be to your liken or hard to get used to but it is within you, not outside in society. Hang out with people who believe as you do but you can hang out with people who do not share your beliefs as long as being a loving human being is the goal. If the goal is to argue about who is right and wrong and what you should or should not believe, then, it is impossible.

What if you knew someone and religion was never brought up and you found that person to be the kind of person you want to be around. Perhaps you have some things in common and enjoy one anothers company and companionship. Then one day one of you mentions what you believe about God. Has that person become the enemy of your believe system? Will that person corrupt you or take away what you believe? If that person tries to, then you either have to suggest that you not go into that with one another or you may have to give up the friendship if they are pushy about it or they tell you how wrong you are. If you both realize that beliefs are not meant to be swords with which to divide but an opportunity to be mutually respected, then what is the problem? Nothing.

So during this time of year when people practice their various ways of celebrating or choosing not to acknowledge the reason for the season, how about putting those swords away or at least think about it? More than anything it is the season of Love that should be carried out all year long. Be thankful  you are still able to practice your faith whatever it may be. They can’t take that away from you. Be thankful that this country allows you to believe what you want even during times of change.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

What Does It Mean to Walk Your Talk

In the movie “Jerry Maguire” the famous words that keeps getting used and repeated is, “Show me the money.” Don’t talk about it, show me.

How many times have you heard people talk about their religion or their relationship with God or Allah or whom or whatever and are so sure that they are walking the right spiritual path? Well for them, that might very well be the right path; but whatever spiritual path a person may take is less important to me than how they treat other people.

Yes, show me the money. Show me in every word, every action. Don’t tell me how great your God is, show me how your God treats others. Don’t just tell me how much better you feel or that your salvation is secure. Show me your love for all people whether you agree or not with their religion, their politics, their sexual orientation, their color, their life style. You don’t have to join them. You don’t have to like it or agree with it but do you allow them loving spiritual space to be who and what they are without tearing them down, fighting them, trying to force them to change, or treating them as what I call, others.

Once you put yourself into one category and put another person or group in an opposing camp, you can easily make them into the enemy. You start treating them as less than human and it them becomes easy to harm them or bully them or cause them grief. It is even easier to kill them if you let your idea of your need to control their behavior reaches that level of righteous intensity.

How do you treat yourself? How do you show love and affection or do you? How do you treat your mate or your children? How do you treat your neighbors? Is your heart tender? Do you see beauty everywhere or garbage or do you even notice? Do you want the best for others or is your goal to win or outdo or outshine or to be jealous? Does your heart go out to others in their suffering? Do you try to smile more and make someone’s day a little brighter by the things you say and do?

Show me the money. Don’t talk about it. Leave this world one day having known you did your best to leave it a better place. Show me a loving, caring, person. Show me a discerning person who knows how to handle the unpleasantness of life. There will be those who cannot or will not respond to love, who are bad to the bone it would seem. You don’t have to love the behavior but love them anyway if you can. Know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away. But love them anyway. Show me the divinity within you. That’s all I ask of you. Show me.

DON’T BE THE SNAKE THAT BIT HIS OWN TONGUE

Have you ever bitten your tongue or cut you nose off to spite your face? One is a metaphor for keeping your mouth shut when you want to say something and the other is a metaphor for doing something that doesn’t help your situation but makes it worse.

Sometimes you need to keep your mouth shut. You should know those times but there are times when you need to speak up and you should know those times as well. How many times do we get that backwards? Sometimes you need to shut your mouth and jump out of the emotion long enough to use your guts, your head, and your common sense before opening your mouth and speaking up. It’s always a good idea to cool down, find love or understand somewhere inside of you and lead with that. It’s not always our words but how we use and deliver them that determines the outcome.

What about the times when you poison yourself, so to speak, when you keep making choices that bite you in your rear because these choices were made in the heat of sexual or violet or angry passion? What about the times when you don’t want to face your own responsibility for doing exactly what you know is going to give you nothing but grief in the long run? That being said, if some people didn’t open their mouths when they knew they would be in danger or ridiculed or in prison some social changes would not have taken place. Some laws would not have been changed or revised. Progress would not have been made.

So we come to the word discretion and the word discernment. Use your powers of discretion and discernment when making choices. The only other choice is to let your passions and your ignorance run your life. In those cases you usually take others down with you and you don’t get what you thought you wanted in the end. Some nooses are not quite so hard to slip out of or to tolerate while you rectify, as best you can, the choice that you made, while others will surely suck the life out of you. Try not to be the snake that bit his own tongue and poisoned himself.

HOW WELL DO YOU SEE?

Studies have shown that when several people are questioned about an accident or other event, each give a slightly different version of what happened.   Have you ever attended a movie with others or had a conversation with other people who went to see the same movie (or television program) that you saw and found that there were different things others saw that you missed or things that others interpreted differently from your interpretation?

As we experience something, we see or interpret it through the filters of our upbringing, our experiences or better yet, our interpretation of those experiences, socialization and much more.  For example, we have needs that may or may not be clear to us and these “needs” drive our choices and reactions.

I think that if you understand that we all have filters through which we experience and interpret life, life may still not make sense to you but you probably can live better knowing that your world is yours and other’s have their own when it comes to how we respond to and interpret what we “see”.   Perhaps you can lessen your angst and increase your tolerance level.

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE FUTURE?

In the twilight of my years (at least I surmise that I have reached that marker) I find that like a traveler on a path that has appeared only with each step, I cannot see beyond the place where each now is happening. Looking back these many years, I congratulate the Universe for not showing me where my steps were taking me before I got there. Had I known what was ahead, in some cases I would have eagerly anticipated that future and easily walked into it not being able to arrive fast enough. In other cases I would have wanted to drop my anchor and not taken another step in an effort to avoid what was coming. The former surprises brought me unimaginable joy; the latter surprises brought me unimaginable wisdom.

Traveling along this road which only appears as I move forward, I can notice the dust of the years settling step by step upon my shoes. It is the dust of a few dreams that died along the way. It is the dust of no regrets yet a desire to have known then what I know now. I often though how ironic it is to have not even begun to know how to be a parent to new born children until after they were grown. It is only in the doing that we learn what we need to know. My father loved to talk about bits of my babyhood emphasizing how I did not arrive with an instruction book. My father seemed to want to have children. He grew up in a large family as did my mother and that was very common back then in the early twentieth century. I know for a fact that my mother put her foot down about having any more children after she had given my father one daughter and one son. At times I sensed that the two of us were even two too many for her. How do I know this? Little pitcher have big ears as they say and so it went in my life. One had to be sneaky or sharp to know what was going on in the “grown-up” world. No one talked about things they did not want to discuss back then, even the things that should have been discussed or acknowledged. Putting my ear to my parents’ closed bedroom door I heard the no-more-children declaration from my mother’s own lips. Well, dang, there goes my chance to have a sister. I would have to settle for my pesky little brother. That’s another of those things I was glad to not be able to see ahead of time. My pesky little brother turned into a man I was proud to call brother, a man whom I admired and grew close to in the last few years of his life, a man who would be taken unexpectedly at age 42 with a heart attack. Yes, I did not see that one coming.

In spite of what I say now, I did indeed wonder about the future. I loved stories real or not about people, mostly women, who had a gift of seeing the future. My guess is that females seem to come with built-in, varying abilities to sense or intuit things whereas males have a more concrete approach to life. One of my favorite toys was the magic 8 ball. You ask a “yes” or “no” question then shake the ball and either yes or no would or other simple answers would float to the window of the ball. A more modern version of the magic 8 ball would be the use of a pendulum and that is not considered to be a toy per se. A vertical swing usually means “No”, a horizontal swing usually means “Yes”, and a circular movement means “Neutral”. Tea leaves readings, tarot cards, and other forms of deviation are still around. If those scare you, try fortune cookies. True confession time. I did try a Ouija board once but that’s another story. Suffice it to say I threw it in the fireplace planchette and all; but, that’s fodder for another story.

We are all curious creatures and want to know what the future holds. How many years will I live or how many children I will have or will I get that job I wanted? We have so many questions but do we really want to know all the answers ahead of time? Even if we thought we knew, we can still make different choices that will alter the odds and point our future in a different direction. It’s all a game of choice and chance. I’ll make my choices and take my chances. How about you?

 

 

 

LOVE AND DAGGERS

Some marriages and relationships are like Humpty-Dumpty. They fall off the wall and can’t be put back together again. We all react differently to these breakups. Sometimes we go through the steps of grieving which includes anger. That anger can be a step to healing or it can be a step off to revenge, name-calling, mate bashing, stalking, or even worse, murder.

When you let the song play in your head about being “done wrong” even if you do not take revenge or drag his/her name through the mud, who is that really hurting? If you go to extremes and kill that person that doesn’t work either. We can chose to let go and when anger or hurt comes up, use it to propel yourself over that trap. Stop and think things like, “Boy, that didn’t go well.” or “Man I’m glad that’s over.”

Sometimes we just don’t fit right and finally have to admit it. Sometimes one of you grows and the other doesn’t and what used to work, does not work anymore. In a lot of cases people marry for all the wrong reasons. If they are lucky or want the marriage or relationship or partnership to work out, they do actually fall in love for the right reasons. I don’t have to go into what the “wrong” reasons are. You know in your heart what they are.

When you hook up with someone, have a relationship with someone, the relationship does not just include you and the other person. Each brings to the table, their childhood, their beliefs, their ideas, their experiences, their past relationships, their social standing, their cultural influences – in other words, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, there is more than the two of you. It’s a wonder any relationship works.

Then there is the age in which you form this relationship – any relationship – but particularly a romantic one. You are not the same person at 17 as you will be at 26 or 50 or 70. It is our experiences and responses and responsibilities that happen to us and how we handle them that will change us. Drug and alcohol abuse thrown into the mix will create another whole set of woes to deal with.

If a relationship is not working, get out as soon as you are able to do so. If it just needs some work, get some help with that. In any case get whatever help you need. And when you are going through a relationship crisis, if you can do so without wanting to stick dangers in your partner or friend, you both will come out much better together or apart. You see, the dangers you carry are stuck in YOUR heart not theirs even though it would seem to you that it is the other way around. Daggers have nothing to do with love. Love sets you free – really free. You can just let go of the venom or poison yourself. Chose love. Chose to let go of your anything in your entourage that doesn’t work for you. Chose to call it a learning experience and not a disaster. if you chose to take the time to really get to know yourself, to heal yourself, then Love will be your weapon of choice.

LIFE-CHANGING EVENTS: Which way are you going to go?

Any event in your life can cause a shift in your perspective. These may be very personal to you because they are happening or have happened to you or someone you are close to or they may be events such as disasters that affect whole communities. The crimes or abuses you may read about, the death of someone famous or known world wide can affect you in ways you may not be aware of.

I could name several life-changing events that have impacted my life. Some of these changed me forever; some changed my opinion; some changed my religious or spiritual perspective; some forced me to go out on branches that I would not otherwise have gone; some left an impression on me that helped me to understand behaviors or choices of others or to at least to view them differently so that I had compassion and forgiveness that might not have been possible otherwise.

Some experiences I had as a child left me with fear and shame and my perspective of myself was not a healthy one. I allowed this state of consciousness to dictate who I was and that in turn encouraged all sorts of behaviors and choices that lead to more and more of this miring deeper into that quicksand of self depreciation. As I grew older, however, this uncomfortable state I lived in soon began to be so awful I sought healing. That path of healing is a story unto itself and very unique to me; however, part of the healing came from more life-changing events that continued to unfold in my life. These events I chose to ride to victory even if the ride was scary and very hard to go through. I could have buried myself in sadness, depression, and self pity which would have spiraled into a well so deep I would never get out. Something inside of me wanted to live and to live in peace, in harmony, in love, in joy, and into appreciating my human condition. Something inside of me wanted to free me from my self doubts and to build on my own individuality and capabilities with my ego safely under the direction and tutelage of Love.

One of the many, many books I have read through the years that had a great impact upon my own life was Victor Frankl. This is a quote from him: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.(Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning) Another of his quotes that goes nicely with this is “What is to give light must endure burning.” There are no real shortcuts. Experience is what grows us, changes us and it is up to us to use it as a millstone around our necks or to use it as a stepping stone to a better life.