Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

vangogh-starry_night_ballance1

People tend to assume that for something to be Special, it must be Bigger Than, Better Than, Greater Than… or any other kind of superlative that makes it extraordinarily exceptional.

But that’s only one kind of Special. The first definition of Special at Dictionary.com says:

  1. of a distinct or particular kind or character

That is, something that has a distinct character, particular to itself. It doesn’t have to be Bigger, Better, or any other kind of superlative. There’s no competition that can declare who or what is Special. Rather, it takes mindfulness to find what is Special in all that surrounds us.

In this way, each moment is Special: it carries lessons and sensations unique in itself, which we can take advantage of only if we stop to appreciate what the moment brings

Each experience is Special: it carries challenges and pleasures in good ways and bad, and we can best learn from them only if we recognize it for the opportunity it is.

Each person is Special: we each contain our own blend of experiences and perspectives, which we can share in only if we stop to appreciate what each of us have to offer.

As I get back into my daily routines this week, I’m going to try to remain mindful of the Special nature of what I encounter and experience. I’m interested to see how it helps me better identify the opportunities before me, and make greater use of them as I start this year.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Eric Arthur Blair had the opportunity to pursue the life of an educated Englishman, contributing his own part to the furtherance of the British Empire, rewarded by a steady, if boring career. It would probably have been an easier life than that of a hobo in East London, falling gravely ill and getting his belongings stolen by the hospital staff more than once, and getting his throat shot in the Spanish Civil War. It certainly may have been easier for him to avoid getting embroiled in political controversy through his social and cultural exposes.

Easier, I suppose, if he didn’t have such a burning need to explore the depths endured by those around him, and report on those struggles to the broader world.

George Orwell was the first author whose works made a profound impact on the way I experienced my world, and the framing propped up around it by my culture. I read Nineteen Eighty-Four first, then Animal Farm – A Fairy Story, borrowed from my grade school library. I was in an age of reading voraciously to try to better understand how life is understood differently by others, and these two books helped me understand how crucial it is to search below the surface-gloss of how we’re led to assume things are.

It’s more than 65 years to late to be able to thank him personally. Yet as I realized his birthday was coming up, I also realized that this August 17th will mark 70 years since Animal Farm was first published: its Platinum Anniversary.  He had finished the book years earlier, but the political climate wouldn’t allow it. The British elite still considered Stalin an ally, so his obvious criticism of Stalin’s regime was intolerable… until the Cold War suddenly made it popular.

Deeply inspired by Orwell, I wrote a book a few years ago that I fairly quickly quieted down, as I didn’t want to deal with the political controversy it was digging into. I was (and am) concerned about how Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is used as though it is a textbook for how society and economics best serves the most callous assumptions of human nature, but I didn’t feel my contributions would do much to help people consider a more egalitarian — a more humane view.

Yet, seeing these anniversaries on my calender, I decided a few days ago that I could do more to honor the impact this author has had on my life. So to celebrate the 112th Birthday of Eric Arthur Blair, today I’m putting my book up as an ebook for Pre-Order: Galifesto – A Love Story.  It will release on August 17, 2015.

It was written as a narrative, so I’m setting up shop to record it as an audiobook, and am also working on getting the print version to release the same day. This takes significantly less than spending time as a hobo or fighting in a civil war, so I figure I can do this much to help this world in its path to seeing one another with truer eyes.

If you haven’t read anything by Orwell, please visit your library and browse his section, see what catches your fancy. Or even just take a fresh look at the people you pass by in your day, holding an appreciation for struggles they silently bear in making it through this world we share. In this, I think you’ll be taking part in the impact he wished his work to have on the world he left behind.

Thank you.

Read Full Post »

We can’t deeply experience hard pride or shame without believing people are more or less worthy based on our behavior, our beliefs, or even just how we were born. To allow ourselves to feel superior or inferior, we must first embrace the idea we are separated from one another by our fortunes or failures. This idea is harder to hold onto each time we feel that spark of true connection from one heart to another. Each moment of pure acceptance of the divine beauty inherent in the human soul.

It is important for us to do our best to live up to our ideals for ourselves, and maintain a self-awareness that helps us recognize and remedy where we’re slipping. It is equally important that we practice patience and lovingkindness along the way, recognizing that who we are — our innate human worth — is eternally true regardless of what we do or say. We are not our successes. We are not our failures. The types of Pride and Shame that try to mark and set us apart based on such things are hamartia, missing the mark.

We are each human beings, learning to do the best we can with what we carry inside us. The ideas, experiences and opportunities that come to us shift from moment to moment, and we can’t reach out to them if we’re holding onto our judgments of what we thought we had just a moment before.

This applies both to judgments of others, and of ourselves. Love one another, as we love ourselves. That’s the path of wisdom, and the way ahead toward our truest selves.

Read Full Post »

I just got a letter from my nephew about being at someone’s house and admiring their Totoro clock.  The host then happily hopped up, took the Totoro pendulum off, and gave it to him, leaving my nephew with the difficult task of processing what had just happened.

I imagine it was a cool souvenir though, for the practice in receiving happy surprises.  I’ve got this feeling that lately we’re all moving through a timeframe where “Ask, and ye shall receive” is true in primal and surprising ways.

In fact, we don’t even have to ASK necessarily, we just have to receive.  I suppose, “Receive, and it shall give itself unto you” is what I’m feeling these days.  So I’m practicing feeling a gratefully receiving mindset, and see what further surprises I’ll be graced with.

I’ve been having a tough time getting back into posting now that I am not making it self-mandatory, because I’ve been having a tough time finding words again.  I was thinking of that this morning, and then came across the story from my nephew. Looks like it might be bearing fruit, so over the next few days I’ll come back and share the other happy little surprises that come!

Read Full Post »

Since I’ve been practicing it as promised, I want to explain just a little by what I envision by “Have no more conflicts. Enjoy a positive association with everything.

For me, this phrase is a succinct reminder to maintain some measure of calm acceptance, finding a touchstone of positivity in each moment. Since the everyday frustrations seem to keep evolving over time, it helps for my strategies to evolve, too.

By having no conflicts, I mean, don’t get wound up about a situation being different than I might otherwise hope. Where there’s a disagreement or such with an individual, I’m trying to remember to address the actual issue rather than treating the person involved with it as a problem. Yes, I may perceive them as being the one who “started” the problem, but dwelling on that only interferes with finding a solution. Generally they’re caught up in their own maelstrom of frustrations, and having a little patience with that can help clear some of the storm for both of us.

And that’s where enjoying a positive association comes in. If an otherwise negative situation involves someone I like or love, I remember to focus on that while resolving (or accepting) the situation. If it’s a stranger, I remember to focus on the fact they are a human being, and I happen to like human beings.

If it doesn’t involve another person at all, there’s generally something about my situation or environment that I can focus on with a sense of appreciation, or even just humor. Anything that can help me enjoy that sense of positive resonance that we feel when we’re in the presence of something we welcome into our lives.

I hope that helps explain a little about how I’ve been practicing this, perhaps giving ideas as to how you might enhance your enjoyment of your own life. If so, please give it a shot! Just a little bit of trying out a new habit can make a world of difference in how we experience our world.

Read Full Post »

I’ve realized that Easter is this Sunday, and I’m within the seven days countdown to assessing how well I’ve done with giving up “Separation” for Lent.  Today, I paused to take within myself the experiences of my interactions with numerous people, including a co-worker, my toddler, and my puppy. Not that I can really know what it’s like to think and feel from within their skin, but I imagined what it might feel like.

It’s a fairly enlightening exercise, pretending what it may be like to be somebody else. Trying to imagine the experience of what it would be like to hold different thoughts, different feelings, and even different values-weightings on those thoughts, feelings and experiences. For example, I don’t personally relish the idea of playing with poo, but to my little puppy, it was the most fascinating thing in the world. While I shooed her away from it and cleaned it up, I replaced my disgust with the curious peek into what it may be like to have her senses, and her way of enjoying them.

I’m describing this as a very mental process, but I’ve felt it equally in my mind and my heart. I’ve been working for a long time on how to balance my empathy and desire to understand others with a need to maintain my own boundaries and identity, so this has been a project to learn new ways to strike that balance.

I don’t feel prepared to objectively rate how far I’ve come in the past few weeks. Yet come Sunday, I imagine I’ll have a good idea.

Read Full Post »

I just wanted to write down a few words about what I mean when I say “Love Heals”. We don’t have a shared language about what Love means. Everybody has experienced this word differently, and therefore it represents different thoughts, different feelings, different expectations. So I want to share how I’ve come to experience Love.

Love is a Shared Resonance. We may not always vibrate on the same level, and our wavelengths may not be fully entrained to one another. Still, when we hold that person, thing or idea in our heart, we feel our heart opening a space of connection. There is a portion within us that shares their happiness and pangs — not at cost to our own, but in harmony with our experiences.

Of course, this means that in order to fully experience this resonance, we have to have that connection within our hearts to ourselves. I mean, we can hardly enjoy a balanced resonance with someone if we won’t resonate balance within ourselves. We need to be able to treasure our strengths and forgive our perceived weaknesses, embracing our full resonance as human beings.

Only by becoming equal partners with our full self can we prepare to be equal partners with anybody or anything through Love. That’s tougher to do if we identify ourselves as “wounded souls”. Wounds stay within us when we haven’t made peace with them, and allowed ourselves the space to work through what significance they hold in our lives. As we treasure our whole selves in love, we prepare ourselves to really look and see what place these wounds hold within us. By making peace with the ways they have impacted or even served us in the past, we can hold acceptance in the present and open up to replacing those wounds with better ways to fill those spaces in the future. We can stop keeping dead experiences alive inside us, feeding them with our pain. We can put them to rest, replacing them with better ways to experience life.

We don’t have to like what we see inside ourselves, but we do have to love ourselves through the process. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or experienced, not in terms of Who We Are. What matters is the strength we are building to own Who We Are, and love that essential nature we are striving to embody. It’s this patient, patient practice of learning to see and love our whole selves that helps us heal our wounds.

Our love and patience can help others heal their wounds as well, but they really have to be the ones to do it. We can help offer our resonance to support them in their journey, even if just by holding love for them within our hearts when nothing else is appropriate. We can’t do it for them though, just like nobody else can live our lives for us. That’s both the challenge and the power of being human.

I hope that helps show a little more of what I mean when I say all we truly need is Love. It’s a shorthand for, “All challenges we face can be surmounted only if we rally our Love, and courageously wield it as the active force of change in our world.” Sometimes, just practicing a patient, loving acceptance of What Is can be all that’s needed to kickstart changes toward Better Ways to Be.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: