Monday, February 8, 2016

Gratitude ... it's about more than 'things'

I'm big on gratitude - plain and simple.
I talk about it a lot, think about it even more, and experience it throughout the day.
So I was brought up a little short when I realized I'd been neglecting the most incredible gift life has to offer — each other!

Things like indoor plumbing and the internet are hugely beneficial, but where would we be without those who inspire, educate, and entertain us ... let alone those who show us deeper meanings of love. With that day of love called Valentine's Day right around the corner, I've decided to be more mindful of the manifold reasons I have to be grateful for those with whom I come in contact throughout my day:
  • To the new mother doing her best to quiet her screaming toddler — for her patience and poise
  • To the cheerful server who put up with our dinner group's ongoing special requests — for showing unquenchable enthusiasm, grace and kindness with nary an exasperated sigh or eye roll (... at least not that I saw)
  • To the road-rager who cut me off in traffic — for reminding me that we all have bad days and how I hope when I have mine someone will cut me some slack
  • Even to the person begging for money on the street ... the one who I've been told owns a condo and whom I suspect makes much more money than I do — for reminding me that my diligence in supporting myself without outside help and my unpaid 'good works' bring their own rewards

I intend to look for reasons to be grateful for the people in my life long after the commercial celebration of hearts and flowers has been ticked off the calendar. There is so much to appreciate in this life — beginning with the person sitting next to you.

Happy love day! ❤

Monday, September 28, 2015

Persistent love breaks down rejection

This heart-string-pulling video has meaning on so many levels -- and the music is hauntingly beautiful

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Leaving the past behind - for everyone

Every day I learn new things. I'm not just talking about facts or skills. I'm referring to the new things we learn about ourselves and our character, our priorities and our proclivities. If we are striving to "be better" people, chances are we are continually improving our dispositions, dropping undesirable ways of thinking and behaving, and we are treating others and ourselves with deeper love.

I am daily grateful for what I'm learning about the beauty and goodness of my fellow man and myself, as well as for the ways I'm growing and my character improving. As such, I often don't feel like the person I was in the past — even if that past was just the day before!

A popular quote says, "Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore." Boy, can I relate! In thinking about this idea, a pair of unsettling questions came to mind. "Am I judging others by their pasts? Am I truly viewing them for the people they are today, as opposed to yesterday?" The answers were very humbling when I realized there are individuals whom I expect to act in certain untoward ways, simply because that is the way they behaved yesterday.

But, if I don't want others to do that to me, then why would I do that to them?!

This is something I'm working on step by step and will continue to do so. I've noticed when I expect people to act 'better' than the day before and look for evidence of this improved behavior, I often find it. This is not setting myself up with expectations that could end in disappointment. Rather, it's seeing the good already within each person, and seeing it manifested in their actions.

We all deserve a fresh start with each dawn. That's the beauty of a new day. So let's move out of the past, together, one day at a time.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Truer Colors

Have you seen those memes making the rounds that talk about how a person's true colors come out if they treat you badly at a time when you're going through something challenging and you're not behaving perfectly?

I've seen oodles of them, written in various forms, but sharing the same sentiment. Whenever I come across one of these thought-provoking posts, I wonder, "What about the people who are treating you badly? Don't they deserve to be given as much slack for their reactionary 'bad behavior' as you do for your behavior in the first place?"

The way I see it, we are all, yes all, doing our best in this life, and if someone doesn't respond or react the way we want, we can either write them off as 'toxic' and not worth keeping around because their true colors are so ugly and unappealing, or we can do just the opposite. We can take a moment to realize that they, like us, are going through something challenging and that we all deserve some slack.

People don't mean to be insensitive and unkind, and it doesn't feel good to be this way. So when someone responds to your crisis in a way that you feel is inappropriate, you have the opportunity to take the high road and elevate both of you.

After all, if we don't love and buoy each other, who will? It doesn't matter what the other guy is doing. It matters what you're doing. And what you can do is to go deeper in your understanding of unconditional love so as not to take perceived slights so personally, and to embrace the ones who react negatively to your struggles, cuz clearly, they're struggling too.

When the dust settles, we'll be better be able to see and discern the real colors of those around us ... and we'll find their beautiful.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Why you deserve the high ground

I was thinking today about some of the abject resistance I've been facing as it relates to my efforts to do what I truly believe to be right and good. The struggle has been ongoing and nearly constantly fierce. During a moment of reflection on the situation, the words high ground quietly came to me. I'd read Sun Tzu and was well-acquainted with the military tactic, but felt I should go a bit deeper with it.

I looked up the term on Wikipedia and was bowled over by what the online reference site had to say. When reading the following excerpt, try to gain a fuller understanding of how the principles outlined can apply to your own life and the struggles or resistance with which you yourself may have been grappling:
High ground is an area of elevated terrain which can be useful in combat. The military importance of high ground has been recognized for over 2,000 years, for example in Sun Tzu's The Art of War, in which military leaders are advised to take high ground and let the enemy try to attack from a lower position. Fighting from an elevated position is easier for a number of reasons. 
Holding high ground offers an elevated vantage point with a wide field of view, enabling surveillance of the surrounding landscape, in contrast to valleys which offer a limited field of view.   
In addition, soldiers fighting uphill will tire more quickly and will move more slowly, while soldiers fighting downhill may not get tired as quickly, and may be able to move faster. 
Furthermore, soldiers who are elevated above their enemies can get greater range out of low-speed projectiles like rocks, javelins, and grenades. Likewise, low-speed projectiles will have less range when thrown uphill.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

6 ways to fill an empty heart

Do’s and don’ts to regain the joy of life.

  1. Stop being critical. Criticism closes your eyes to the good that has always been yours. Critical states of thought lead to critical mistakes, as well as cause critical states of the body.
  2. Stop keeping score. It is not what others do but how much divine goodness you express that will ultimately satisfy you.
  3. Stop trying to prove you are right. Instead of telling others you are right and they are wrong, live what is right and your life will begin to sparkle.
  4. Start forgiving. Forgiveness means starting over with love. It wipes the slate clean. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiving others is about your peace of mind, not about absolving someone else’s responsibility for wrongdoing.
  5. Be grateful. Be grateful for everything good in your relationships and in your home. Gratitude completes the circuit in healing. It awakens you to the magnitude of your divine life. Pain and gratitude are incompatible.
  6. Be honest. Honesty allows you to be at peace, even in the middle of unrest. It keeps you strong. “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help.” (Mary Baker Eddy – Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vulnerable No More

Finding romantic love is one of the most fulfilling feelings a human being can experience.  But what happens to the heart, soul and psyche when love turns to abuse? When the very person who should love and protect you, instead, attacks and harms you?  In your own home?

Violence against women has been a hot topic for some time. Whether the headlines tell of Arab women being stoned or professional athletes pummeling their mates, the maltreatment of women is making news.  And people are crying out, not only for justice, but for an end to reprehensible behavior.  Here's a PSA featuring many of the Law & Order cast, along with a few other celebrities who took the time to lend their voices to make our world saner.

On a much more diminutive scale, Siren School, the entity that publishes this blog, channels a portion of all proceeds to its philanthropy The Untouched, created to benefit women who have experienced domestic abuse. In their own words:
"Domestic violence requires both a villain and a victim. We strive to remove the victim from the equation."
Take part in any of Siren School's fun and festive programs and you'll be helping to put a stop to domestic tyranny, one siren at a time.

Because abuse doesn't discriminate