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|Monday, February 20th, 2017|
|The Seven Sacred Teachings
The traditional concepts of respect and sharing that form the foundation of the Native American way of life are built around the seven natural laws, or sacred teachings. Each teaching honors one of the basic virtues intrinsic to a full and healthy life. Each law is embodied by an animal to underscore the point that all actions and decisions made by man are manifest on a physical plain. The animal world taught man how to live close to the earth; the connection that has been established between the animal world and that of man has instilled a respect for all life in those who follow the traditional way.
The Eagle teaches us LOVE
Love must be unconditional.
To feel true love is to know the Creator. Therefore, it is expected that one's first love is to be the Great Spirit. He is considered the father of all children, and the giver of human life. Love given to the Great Spirit is expressed through love of oneself, and it is understood that if one cannot love oneself, it is impossible to love anyone else.
The Eagle was chosen by the Great Spirit to represent this law, as the Eagle can reach the highest out of all the creatures in bringing pure vision to the seeker. Although the supplier of the greatest and most powerful medicine, love can also be the most elusive of the teachings, as it depends upon a world that acknowledges the importance of spirituality.
The Buffalo teaches us RESPECT
Respect is the condition of being honored.
The Buffalo, through giving its life and sharing every part of its being, showed the deep respect it had for the people. No animal was more important to the existence of Indigenous families than this animal, and its gift provided shelter, clothing and utensils for daily living. Native people believed themselves to be true caretakers of the great herds, and developed a sustainable relationship with the Buffalo resulting in a relationship that was a true expression of respect.
The Bear teaches us COURAGE
Courage is the ability to face danger, fear, or changes with confidence and bravery.
The Bear provides many lessons in the way it lives, but courage is the most important teaching it offers. Though gentle by nature, the ferociousness of a mother Bear when one of her cubs is approached is the true definition of courage. To have the mental and moral strength to overcome fears that prevent us from living our true spirit as human beings is a great challenge that must be met with the same vigor and intensity as a mother Bear protecting her cub. Living of the heart and living of the spirit is difficult, but the Bear's example shows us how to face any danger to achieve these goals.
The Sabe teaches us HONESTY
Honesty is speaking and acting truthfully, and thereby remained morally upright.
Long ago, there was a giant called Kitch-Sabe. Kitch-Sabe walked among the people to remind them to be honest to the laws of the creator and honest to each other. The highest honor that could be bestowed upon an individual was the saying "There walks an honest man. He can be trusted." To be truly honest was to keep the promises one made to the Creator, to others and to oneself. The Elders would say, "Never try to be someone else; live true to your spirit, be honest to yourself and accept who you are the way the Creator made you."
The Beaver teaches us WISDOM
Wisdom is the ability to make decisions based on personal knowledge and experience.
The building of a community is entirely dependent on gifts given to each member by the creator and how these gifts are used. The Beaver's example of using his sharp teeth for cutting trees and branches to build his dams and lodges expresses this teaching. If he did not use his teeth, the teeth would continue to grow until they became useless, ultimately making it impossible for him to sustain himself. The same can be said for human beings. One's spirit will grow weak if it is not fulfilling its use. When used properly however, these gifts contribute to the development of a peaceful and healthy community.
The Wolf teaches us HUMILITY
Humility is being humble and not arrogant
Recognizing and acknowledging that there is a higher power than man and it is known as the Creator is to be deemed truly humble. To express deference or submission to the Creator through the acceptance that all beings are equal is to capture the spirit of humility. The expression of this humility is manifested through the consideration of others before ourselves. In this way, the Wolf became the teacher of this lesson. He bows his head in the presence of others out of deference, and once hunted, will not take of the food until it can be shared with the pack. His lack of arrogance and respect for his community is a hard lesson, but integral in the Aboriginal way.
The Turtle teaches us TRUTH
Truth is to know and understand all the seven teachings have given to us by the Creator and to remain faithful to them. To know truth is to know and understand all of the original laws as given by the Creator- and to remain faithful to them. It is said that in the beginning, when the Creator made man and gave him the seven sacred laws, the Grandmother Turtle was present to ensure that the laws would never be lost or forgotten. On the back of a Turtle are the 13 moon, each representing the truth of one cycle of the Earth's rotations around the sun. The 28 markings on her back represent the cycle of the moon an of a woman's body. The shell of the Turtle represents the body real events as created by the Higher Power, and serves as a reminder of the Creator's will and teachings.
|Sunday, February 19th, 2017|
|Meditation - The Transformative Process
Meditation is the transformative process of shifting from surface, matter-of-fact levels of consciousness to more interior, meditative levels of awareness of the spiritual dimensions of our lives. I will be referring to the more surface levels as ego consciousness. By ego consciousness, I mean the self-reflective bodily self in time and space, which is our usual day-by-day consciousness. Ego manifests itself in saying, “I want, I think, I need, I feel, I remember, I like, I don’t like,” and so on.
Our ego consciousness is a precious gift from God. God wants us to have a healthy ego, because when our ego is not healthy we suffer and those around us suffer. There are interior dimensions to ego consciousness in which we can reflect on our lives in ways that can help us to be less anxious, less depressed, less addictive—in short, less subject to all the ways in which we as human beings suffer and, in our own suffering, contribute to the suffering of others.
But even if we could develop a perfectly healthy ego, there would remain the suffering that arises from experiencing ourselves as nothing more than our ego. Ego consciousness, in and of itself, is not expansive enough to fulfill our hearts. Ego is not generous or gracious enough to bring us all the way home. God creates our hearts in such a way that only God will satisfy our longing. Scripture says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). And so we can say that the infinite love that is the architect of our hearts creates our hearts in such a way that only an infinite union with infinite love will do. In passing from ego consciousness to meditative states of awareness, we are awakened to our inner longings for eternal oneness with God in whom is hidden the very reality and fulfillment of ourselves and of everyone and everything around us.
|Saturday, February 18th, 2017|
|The Kiss Of God On The Soul
Some mystics taught that the human soul comes from God and that the last thing that God does before putting a soul into the body is to kiss the soul. The soul then goes through life always dimly remembering that kiss, a kiss of perfect love, and the soul measures all of life’s loves and kisses against that primordial perfect kiss.
The ancient Greek Stoics taught something similar, that souls pre-existed inside of God and that God, before putting a soul into a body, would blot out the memory of its pre-existence. But the soul would then be always unconsciously drawn towards God because, having come from God, the soul would always dimly remember its real home, God, and ache to return there.
In one rather interesting version of this notion, they taught that God put the soul into the body only when the baby was already fully formed in its mother’s womb. Immediately after putting the soul into the body, God would seal off the memory of its pre-existence by physically shutting the baby’s lips against its ever speaking of its pre-existence. That’s why we have a little cleft under our noses, just above center of our lips. It’s where God’s finger sealed our lips. That is why whenever we are struggling to remember something, our index finger instinctually rises to that cleft under our nose. We are trying to retrieve a primordial memory.
Our souls dimly remember once having known perfect love and perfect beauty. But, in this life, we never quite encounter that perfection, even as we forever ache for someone or something to meet us at that depth. This creates in us a moral loneliness, a longing for what we term a soulmate, namely, a longing for someone who can genuinely recognize, share, and respect what’s deepest in us.
By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI
|Friday, February 17th, 2017|
The answer to control is practicing surrender.
Trying to maintain control in this life is a bit like trying to maintain control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly you grip the bar. There is a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and fully feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take you rather than fighting them. When you fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, your whole being becomes tense and anxiety is your close companion. When you go with the ride, accepting what you cannot control, freedom and joy will inevitably arise.
As with so many seemingly simple things in life, it is not always easy to let go, even of the things we know we can’t control. Most of us feel a great discomfort with the givens of this life, one of which is the fact that much of the time we have no control over what happens. Sometimes this awareness comes only when we have a stark encounter with this fact, and all our attempts to be in control are revealed to be unnecessary burdens. We can also cultivate this awareness in ourselves gently, by simply making surrender a daily practice. At the end of our meditation, we might bow, saying, I surrender to this life. This simple mantra can be repeated as necessary throughout the day, when we find ourselves metaphorically gripping the safety bar.
We can give in to our fear and anxiety, or we can surrender to this great mystery with courage. When we see people on a roller coaster, we see that there are those with their faces tight with fear and then there are those that smile broadly, with their hands in the air, carried through the ride on a wave of freedom and joy. This powerful image reminds us that often the only control we have is choosing how we are going to respond to the ride.
|Thursday, February 16th, 2017|
|Clearing Your Mind
The more we practice settling our minds, the easier it will become over time.
After a full day out in the world, stories, words, images, and songs from any number of sources continue to play in our heads hours after we encounter them. Even as we lie in bed, in the quiet dark, our minds continue noisily processing all the input from our day. This can leave us feeling unsettled and harassed. It also makes it difficult to take in any new information or inspiration. Like a cluttered house that needs to be cleared if it is to have room for movement and new life, our minds need clearing if they are to be open to new information, ideas, and inspiration.
Too often, the activities we choose to help us relax only add to the clutter. Watching television, seeing a movie, reading a book, or talking to a friend all involve taking in more information. In order to really clear our minds, we need a break from mental stimulation. Activities like yoga, dancing, or taking a long walk help to draw our attention to our bodies, slowing our mental activity enough that our minds begin to settle. Deep breathing is an even simpler way to draw attention away from our mental activities. Once we are mentally relaxed, we can begin the process of clearing our minds. Most of us instinctively know what allows our minds to relax and release any unnecessary clutter. It may be meditation or time spent staring at the stars. Whatever it is, these exercises feel like a cool, cleansing bath for the brain and leave our minds feeling clear and open.
Setting aside time to clear our minds once a day creates a ritual that becomes second nature over time. Our minds will begin to settle with less effort the more we practice. Ultimately, the practice of clearing our minds allows us to be increasingly more open so that we can perceive the world as the fresh offering it is, free of yesterday's mental clutter.
By Madisyn Taylor of the Daily OM
|Wednesday, February 15th, 2017|
|I Don't Know How To Make A Turtle
I recently read about a study of ninety top leaders in a variety of fields. Interviewers were trying to determine just what it is that sets leaders apart. They discovered that, for one thing, those who rise to the top of their professions share a never-ending capacity to develop and improve their skills. The key concept here is “never-ending.” They know how important it is to ALWAYS increase their knowledge and hone their skills.
But what about the rest of us? Author M. Scott Peck said, “All my life I used to wonder what I would become when I grew up. Then, about seven years ago, I realized that I was never going to grow up -- that growing is an ever ongoing process.” I agree. Growing, learning, developing… the process is ongoing. And those who want to live fully will intentionally make learning and growth a lifelong habit.
I once visited a friend who had just celebrated her 80th birthday. She talked with much enthusiasm about a quilt she was making for her great-grandson Loren. She was almost finished -- everything except the center square which she had saved for last. She wanted that to be something special that Loren would particularly like, so she asked him what he would like her to make for the all-important center piece. The little boy replied, “I would like a turtle, please.”
The problem was that she had never made a turtle and wasn’t sure if she could. So, she tried to redirect him. “How about a dog?” she suggested. “Or a house?” She had done those before.
But little Loren, too young to sense her discomfort, persisted. “No thank you, Gramma. I think I would like a turtle.”
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like something else? You see, I don’t think I know how to make a turtle.”
Now this was something he didn’t expect. Gramma, who seemed to know how to do everything, even make quilts, didn’t know how to make a turtle.
At first he looked perplexed. Then he must have thought of the many times his own parents encouraged him, because what came out next welled up from a desire to be helpful: “Well, Gramma,” he said pensively, “I think you’re old enough to learn.”
Gramma laughed. “Yes, I suppose I’m old enough to learn.” And since she was a believer that she could do whatever she set her mind to, she set it to learning this new task. When she finished the quilt, it had a turtle right in the middle.
My friend was especially proud of that quilt. And she discovered that Loren was right: she was old enough (and she was also young enough) to learn.
You may or may not want to be a top leader in your field. It doesn’t matter. But when you decide to explore new directions every day, to never stop learning and growing, the most wonderful things can happen.
– Steve Goodier
|Tuesday, February 14th, 2017|
Somebody once said about someone I know; “He’s got a mind like a steel trap — always closed!” To be open-minded I must be willing to listen to ideas no matter whom they come from and carefully consider them. I must also be willing to admit they may have something worthwhile to say—something that possibly I need to learn. I must not “blow them off” just because they are different or not as educated as I. I must be careful to not be judgmental and not be open to what they’re saying just because I think I’m more spiritual or I’ve been around longer. Many times a newcomer to this faith walk can bring new insight through his or her new relationship with the Lord. Being open-minded does not mean I accept everything I hear as gospel; it just means that I’m willing to accept that it might be gospel.
Over the years I have found that I benefit from being open-minded. Many times I learn things that need to change in my life. Many times I am able to help others because I am open to them. Many times God uses my open-mindedness to open doors—as long as I’m “open” to going through them.
God, help me to be open-minded. Help me to be open to what You are doing through others for me. Amen.
|Monday, February 13th, 2017|
it is in silence where all sound is heard,
It is in stillness where all movement is felt,
It is by not looking that everything is seen,
It is in aloneness when we are accompanied by all that is.
It is in simplicity that all the complexities become clear,
It is from no-thing that all things come,
It is by not walking any path that our destination is reached,
It is in Being that we are eternally re-born,
It is in looking at ourselves that the face of God is revealed,
It is through separation that we become whole,
It is in shadow that we become enlightened.
|Sunday, February 12th, 2017|
|Cooking With Alcohol
A frequent question for newly recovering alcoholics is about the use of alcohol in cooking. It is a popular myth that alcohol “cooks off” in the process of food preparation. This is not true! Dishes containing alcohol can cause discomfort for some people in recovery. Given the right circumstances, it can even lead to relapse.
A 1990 study by E. Augustin et al. found evidence that alcoholic beverages retain from 5 percent to as much as 85 percent of alcohol after cooking – even if the dish is flamed (Flambéed). This study has been used in the table below, published by the United States Department of Agriculture. (Sources: USDA; The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide.)
COOKING METHOD ALCOHOL RETAINED (%)
No heat, stored overnight ……………………… 70%
Stirred into hot liquid …………………………… 85%
Flamed ……………………………………..……… 75%
Marinades containing alcohol ………..……….. 70%
Not stirred in, baked for 25 min ……..….…….. 45%
Stirred in, then baked or simmered for:
15 min …….….... 40%
30 min …….…..... 35%
1 hr. …….….... 25%
1.5 hr. …….….… 20%
2 hr. …….….… 10%
2.5 hr. .……..….. 5%
Substitutions for Alcohol in Recipes:
Almost any liquid can be used in place of alcohol in recipes – water, chicken, beef, fish or vegetable stocks, milk or cream, vinegars, and a variety of fruit juices. If you are seeking a particular flavor, here are some suggestions:
Amaretto (2 TBSP) …………………………….……..Almond Extract (1.2 tsp)
Beer ……………………………………………………. Chicken, beef or mushroom broth, white grape juice, ginger ale
Bourbon……………………………………………….. Orange or Pineapple Juice, Ginger Ale
Brandy …………………………………………...….…Ginger Ale, White Grape Juice, Apple juice, cherry, peach or
Cognac……………………………………………….….Peach, Apricot or Pear juice
Crème de Menthe………………………………….…..Oil of Spearmint (small amount)
Red Wine………………………………………………..Red Grape or Cranberry Juice
Grand Marinier…………………………………………Unsweetened Orange Juice concentrate
Kahlua…………………………………………………...Chocolate Extract or Instant Coffee
Sweet Sherry……………………………………………Orange or Apple Juice, vanilla extract, coffee
Red Wine …………………………..……………….Grape Juice, cranberry juice, chicken beef, or vegetable broth,
tomato juice, flavored vinegars
Rum………………………………………………………White Grape or Apple Juice, Ginger Ale Pineapple juice flavored
with almond extract or molasses, vanilla extract
White Wine……………………………………………..White Grape Juice + 1 TBSP Karo Syrup, vegetable broth, ginger ale
Vodka ………………………………………………….. water, apple cider, or white grape juice mixed with lime juice
|Saturday, February 11th, 2017|
|You Brought Me Spring
Many years it stayed
It lay thick and heavy on my soul.
I, frozen in time
Paralyzed, singular, alone.
Everywhere I looked it was,
Unable to absorb the light
So I stopped looking.
Abandoned, I settled into the season of my eternity.
You brought the Spring!
That first glimmer of melting snow,
Life stirred within.
Perhaps, maybe, could it be?
I listened and heard truth
Coming from the breath of a warm wind
Not fully understanding, but it was felt familiar.
Inhaling I awoke to the first sunlight of my life,
A knowing voice inside said life is safe.
There is something bigger than all the world, than all life itself.
Together we made summer
Entwined in something we could not name,
Basking in its warmth.
We held its hand in blissful acceptance
Knowing it would never leave
Permanent, steadfast, unshakable.
And it burst open with beauty, and filled the air with perfumed scent.
But just for a little while,
That pang of regret seeps in and I remember the coldness of that winter,
that gentle reminder of how darkness can consume all of life, sadness, despair.
But then I remember
You brought me Spring
I inhale again
And know Winter cannot live within anymore.
by Nicola O'Hanlon
|Friday, February 10th, 2017|
Our faith in God is easy when the
Waters ‘round are stilled,
When the voyage undertaken finds
Our dreams and hopes fulfilled.
But holding on to God is hard
When wrestling with our doubt,
And when the storms are fiercest.
And our boat is tossed about.
It’s the hour faith is shaken.
When the Master’s sound asleep.
Not knowing we are sinking, and
The waters ‘round are deep.
We wonder then how He, Who’s Lord
Of all the land and sea.
Could seem to be so unaware
Of our catastrophe.
It’s when our faith seems weakest,
God will calm the sea and soul.
And when we are most broken that
He’ll touch and make us whole.
|Thursday, February 9th, 2017|
Note - I will be having Surgery at 7:30 Mountain Time. Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks, Bob
Trusting is fundamental to relationships. It's also fundamental to spirituality and to all religions. Why is it so hard? We probably know the answer. It has to do with vulnerability and past hurts.
We have had many teachers who help us let go - the saints, holy women and men of scripture, others who walk in and out of our lives. They show us the way. But teachers don't take the pain away from us - they just show the way. They may warn of both the pain and the reward. But they can't take the pain. Trusting is an important part of the journey also. Those who have been hurt always find trusting harder. No matter what exists between the ears, no matter what we know of the rewards, we are still what St Paul describes..."I do not understand what I do. I do not do what I want, but instead I do what I hate." Gee, I hate that! It so perfectly describes me.
Trusting God is also trusting the unseen. Regardless of what's in our head, trusting what is unseen is hard. We also have to trust with our body - it's where we live. Giving away the places that have been hurt, forces us to relive the hurt in some way. I heard a quote which perhaps you've also heard it. I'm not sure of the source. "Faith is knowing that when we come to the deepest darkest point of our lives, that we will either step on something solid or we'll learn to fly."
Perhaps you're not being called to a place. Perhaps you're being called into really being you. And learning to fly.
|Wednesday, February 8th, 2017|
|Meaning And Happiness
Am I happy? Is my life a happy one? Am happy inside my marriage? Am I happy with my family? Am I happy in my job? Am I happy with my church? Am I happy inside my own skin?
Are these good questions to ask ourselves? No. They're questions with which to torture ourselves. When we face our lives honestly this kind of question about happiness is more likely to bring tears to our eyes than solace to our souls because, no matter how well our lives are going, none of us live perfectly fulfilled lives. Always there are unfulfilled dreams. Always there are areas of frustration. Always there are tensions. Always there are deeper hungers that are being stifled.
The question should not be: Am I happy? Rather the questions should be: Is there meaning in my life? Is there meaning in my marriage? Is there meaning in my family? Is there meaning in my job? Is there meaning inside my church?
We need to ask the deep questions about our lives in terms of meaning rather than in terms of happiness because, for the most part, we have a false, over-idealized, and unrealistic concept of happiness.
We tend to equate happiness with two things, pleasure and lack of tension. Hence we fantasize that for us to be happy we would need to be in a situation within which we would be free of all the tensions that normally flood into our lives.
But that isn't what constitutes happiness. Meaning is what constitutes happiness and meaning isn't contingent upon pain and tension being absent from our lives: Imagine if someone had come up to Jesus as he was dying on the cross and asked him the question: Are you happy up there? His answer, I am sure, would have been unequivocal: "No!” However, the perspective is quite different if, while on the cross, Jesus would have been asked this question: "Is there meaning in what you are doing up there?"
There can be deep meaning in something even if there isn't happiness in the way we superficially conceive of it.
By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI
|Tuesday, February 7th, 2017|
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to allow our children to be who they want to be.
Parenting asks us to rise to some of the most difficult challenges this world has to offer, and one of its greatest paradoxes arises around the issue of attachment. On the one hand, successful parenting requires that we love our children, and most of us love in a very attached way. On the other hand, it also requires that we let go of our children at the appropriate times, which means we must practice some level of nonattachment. Many parents find this difficult because we love our children fiercely, more than we will ever love anyone, and this can cause us to overstep our bounds with them as their independence grows. Yet truly loving them requires that we set them free.
Attachment to outcome is perhaps the greatest obstacle on the parenting path, and the one that teaches us the most about the importance of practicing nonattachment. We commonly perceive our children to be extensions of ourselves, imagining that we know what's best for them, but our children are people in their own right with their own paths to follow in this world. They may be called to move in directions we fear, don't respect, or don't understand, yet we must let them go. This letting go happens gradually throughout our lives with our children until we finally honor them as fully grown adults who no longer require our guidance. At this point, it is important that we treat them as peers who may or may not seek our input into their lives. This allows them, and us, to fully realize the greatest gift parents can offer their offspring --independence.
Letting go in any area of life requires a deep trust in the universe, in the overall meaning and purpose of existence. Remembering that there is more to us and our children than meets the eye can help us practice nonattachment, even when we feel overwhelmed by concern and the desire to interfere. We are all souls making our way in the world and making our way, ultimately, back to the same source. This can be our mantra as we let our children go in peace and confidence.
By Madisyn Taylor of the Daily OM
|Monday, February 6th, 2017|
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
With the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
the earth is full of your creatures;
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
|Sunday, February 5th, 2017|
|Step 2 - "Water"
Water is everywhere & in all living things - we cannot be separated from water. No water, no life. Period. Water comes in many forms - liquid, vapor, ice, snow, fog, rain, hail. But no matter the form, it's still water.
Human beings give this stuff many names in many languages, in all its forms. It's crazy to argue over what its true name is. Call it what you will, there is no difference to the water. It is what it is.
Human beings drink water from many containers - cups, glasses, jugs, skins, their own hands, whatever. To argue about which container is proper for the water is crazy. The container doesn't change the water.
Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it iced, some fizzy, some with stuff mixed in with it - like alcohol, coffee, whatever. No matter. It does not change the nature of the water.
Never mind the name or the cup or the mix. These are not important. What we have in common is thirst.
Thirst for the water of Life! As it is with water, so it is with God.
|Saturday, February 4th, 2017|
|Checks and Balances
When we see ourselves in other people it can be a great opportunity for growth if we are willing to do the work.
Most of us have probably come across the universal wisdom that the people who irritate us the most are expressing qualities that we ourselves have. This is why family members can be so vexing for so many of us--we see ourselves in them, and vice versa. This isn't always true, of course, but when it is, it's a real opportunity for growth if we can acknowledge it, because it is infinitely easier to change ourselves than it is to try to change another person, which is never a good idea. For example, if we have a coworker who engages in some kind of negative behavior, like complaining or trying to control everything, we can look and see if we ourselves carry those traits.
We may have to look to other situations in our lives to see it, because we behave differently in different environments. Perhaps we don't complain at work, because our coworker overdoes it, but maybe we do it with our friends. Maybe we aren't controlling at the office, but we're used to being in control at home, and this is why we feel so irritated not to be in control at work. Even if we look and find that we are not engaging in the same behavior that we see as negative in others, we can still learn from what we are seeing in this person. The truth is, human nature is universal, and we share many of the same tendencies. What we see in others can always help us to understand ourselves more deeply.
Having the ability to see something in another person, and automatically bring this observation back to ourselves, is like having a built-in system of checks and balances that enables us to be continually engaged in self-exploration and behavior change. When we see behavior we don't like, we can make a concerted effort to weed it out of ourselves, and when we see behavior we do like, we can let it inspire us to engage in imitation. Through this process, we read our environment and let it influence us to bring out the best in ourselves.
By Madisyn Taylor of the Daily OM
|Friday, February 3rd, 2017|
Sometimes, after we begin recovery, things in our life seem to get worse for a time. Our finances, our relationships, or our health may seem to deteriorate.
This is temporary; this is a normal part of recovery and healing. It may be the way things will be for a time, but not for long.
Keep working at recovery, and the trend will reverse. Before too long, things, and us, will be better than they were before. This time, the foundation will be solid.
God, please help me trust You and recovery, even when I have setbacks. Help me remember that the problems are temporary, and when they are solved, I will be on more solid ground.
From - “ The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie
|Thursday, February 2nd, 2017|
|A Love Story
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort, he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.
The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month, the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."
At 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen. I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened: A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit, she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat.. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.
And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?" The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"
It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."
|Tuesday, January 31st, 2017|
|Forgiveness Is For You - Not The Other Person
I am sorry! How many times have we said or heard that phrase? Possibly so many that it ceases to have any real meaning for us. True sorrow seeks reconciliation. True reconciliation seeks healing from hurt. Real or perceived hurt is healed by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a decision! Forgiveness is always about you - not the other person!
Forgiveness is not easy. It involves a process that doesn’t come naturally.
Forgiveness is always for you – not for the other person, but for YOU!
Forgiveness takes time. Forgiveness is part of a process that begins with a hurt and ends, as its final long-range goal, with the event of reconciliation. To reconcile means to bring together that which belongs together but which, at this moment is apart.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. The most popular misconception about forgiveness is that when we forgive, we forget. Most of the time we don’t - and we are not expected to.
Forgiveness is strength. It may look like a weakness and forgivers may look like dummies, but that’s only because forgiveness suffers from an image problem. The fact is that forgivers refuse to be programmed by those who are hurting them to retaliate and to hate back - which is precisely what a real enemy would want us to do. To break that cycle of violence by forgiving is a strength and victory.
Forgiveness has great benefits for you - the one doing it. In the words of the philosopher Hannah Arendt, “Forgiving … is the only reaction that does not merely react but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act that provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven.” What a powerful statement. If I forgive someone I free them from the act, the hurt that they have caused me.
But I also free myself from being controlled by that same act or hurt. It is that freedom - for the forgiver - that is at stake here. Without forgiveness, both the doer and the sufferer are enclosed in a vicious cycle of vengeance capable of mutilating, if not destroying, each of them. With forgiveness, hope, peace, love and new life are possible for you. Forgiveness is for you.
In this process of forgiveness I need to rise about the hurt, refuse to allow the hurt to any longer control me. Forgiveness involves and “owning” of the person and a “disowning” of the offense. That is extremely difficult to do. What was done is forgiven for the sake of who did it.
Forgiveness is just as hard to receive as it is to give. To accept forgiveness from someone else means to admit that I have hurt them, caused our relationship to split apart.
Forgiveness means to recognize that I and others are human. If I am human, I will be less than perfect, I good with some consistency.
To forgive is God like.
Steps in the Process of Forgiveness
1. Acknowledge the hurt - affirm the pain.
2. Decide to forgiveness
3. Remember forgiveness is a process - it takes time
4. Remember it is not easy
5. Forgive yourself
6. Try to see the one who hurt you in a new light
7. Remember when you were forgiveness
8. Consider the consequences of non-forgiveness to self
9. Pray for the power to forgiven
10. Celebrate the forgiveness - quietly, loudly, with loved ones - alone.