Archive for May, 2012


Experience

Experience (Photo credit: djniks)

When someone else speaks their truth and it hurts or makes me furious, I find it is time to go be alone.  It is best not to react in front of that person, but to get by myself and then vent my feelings.  After venting, I need to ask myself what I can learn from this experience.  I can always learn something.  God does not send me experiences, especially painful ones, unless I can learn from them.  Sometimes the experience is only a marker to show me how much I have grown so that I can practice gratitude for prior lessons.  Sometimes it is a warning to show me what could happen if I make certain choices in life.  Sometimes, and I find these lessons the hardest, it is a mirror to show me something about myself of which I may not even be aware, which really wounds or infuriates me when I am on the receiving end.  By being willing to look in this mirror, I will receive the most beneficial instruction because I can truly see where I need to grow the most.

Log jam in Craighall. An old dead tree has cre...

Log jam in Craighall. An old dead tree has created a natural log jam on the Craighall burn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These insights are my greatest life opportunities.  I can choose to humbly accept them and work out a plan to improve myself or I can hide from them in fear.  But letting fear win only hides these problems from myself.  They remain glaringly obvious to everyone around me.  I am finding it is far better to admit my issues and move forward than to hide from them and stagnate.  Stagnation works like a log-jam.  Everything builds up behind it until even the water cannot flow.  It will eventually become a dam in my life, preventing anything from flowing forward or backward.  Since a characteristic of life is change, building a dam is a form of spiritual death.

The good news is all death is but the changing point, not the ending point.  The bad news is it is possible to get side-tracked or lost in a change-point for a long time.  When something stagnates for long enough, it begins to rot and stink.  When we stagnate, our lives begin to rot and stink.  We become polluted, sick, dying.

Clearing the jam is the only way to renew ourselves.  Fortunately, many have paved the way through this dam before us and we can walk in their footsteps.  We are never alone on our journey.  While each path is individual, all paths are made of experiences we share in common with our fellow humanity.  There is no single way to clear this jam.  It is up to each of us to find our own best way that works for us.   I have heard some say we need to confront the past.  Some say going over the past just reinforces it.  I think it depends on the person and the issues.  Whatever gets you moving forward, free of burdens, is right for you.   I have struggled a long time with this issue personally and have found, for me, it is usually a matter of learning to love myself more.  The more I love myself, the more I seem able to inherently make the right decisions for myself and the more free I become of the past.  The more I love myself now; the less the past matters.  The more I love myself; the higher my self-esteem.  The higher my self-esteem; the easier it is to examine myself for things I may want to change, or release comments that might hurt me or make me angry because I have examined them and determined they just don’t apply.  When that happens, my next question is am I sending signals I don’t want to send or is this person’s judgement just way off-base in this circumstance?  Loving myself helps me realize that it isn’t always me!  It also helps me forgive someone else when they are wrong.  Including myself.  So, how do I learn to truly love myself?

That, my friends, is another post.  But first I would really like to hear from you.  How do you build a loving relationship with yourself?  I am looking forward to reading all of your responses!

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Attitude and the State of Peace

My friend, if you look into your past, you will recall situations that once brought you thoughts and emotions of stress and pain that you now deal with in a more peaceful manner. The same type of situation may occur today, but your reaction and attitude to it is more positive and peaceful. You simply through experience realized that there was a better way of dealing with it. A more experienced and mature attitude brought you greater feelings of peace and understanding. Looking back, you see that the ability to choose peace in such situations had always been available, and that it was simply the way you looked at and reacted to it that needed seasoning.

When we lack peace in any situation, it is not because peace is not available, but because the attitude we are supporting is blocking the awareness to the state of peace. Once the attitude is shifted, all that is left is the state of peace. As your attitude matures and your sense of inner peace strengthens, you will become more and more confident that your inner peace has very little or nothing to do with your outside environment. You will depend less and less on circumstances turning out a certain way, or on other people responding the way you think you want them to. As your attitude and inner peace develops, your outside world will also begin to “change” to realign with this new way of thinking. Slowly, you will begin to realize that the world you experience outside of you is directly correlated to the thoughts and attitude you support within.

To assist you in remembering the importance of attitude in your daily experience, consider the following statement on attitude from renowned author and pastor Charles R. Swindoll:

“This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about my circumstances, my position, or me. Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.” 1

Peace, Health, Happiness, Love, Laughter and Light.

James Blanchard Cisneros
Chosentoremember.com

If you will, allow me to offer a personal note of gratitude to all who read this material, ‘like’ the message, and take the time to comment and share it. In this life you may never know whose day you assisted in making it a bit more joyous and peaceful by adding your comments and sharing the message with your friends, but I will promise you that there will come a time when you will see and feel the results of even your smallest efforts to bring joy and peace to this planet. May we all become examples and reminders to others of the light within us all.

1. Charles R. Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip, Word Books, Waco, TX, Copyright 1982, p. 207.

 

To find more follow the link below:

www.YouHaveChosenToRemember.com

English: Two teen is kiss

English: Two teen is kiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am grateful that I am finally learning the difference between being kind and loving and being a doormat!  I can seek to be forgiving and to understand why someone does something hurtful to me but that does not mean I have to stick around and allow them to continue harming me.  I may be one with humanity and the universe but that doesn’t mean I must be a personal friend with each and every soul at this moment in my existence.  Sometimes it is a matter of my own personal growth to choose to love myself enough to walk away.  And instead of making me a bad person that action will make me a better person.  As I get better at loving myself I get better at loving others.  And there are times when the most loving thing I can do for someone else is to show them by my absence that cruelty, unkindness, and extreme narcissism are not to be tolerated.   For the first time in my life, I am processing choosing to end a relationship or relationships which are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy for me without guilt or shame  or self-hatred.  I am congratulating myself for personal growth and strength to say, “Enough is enough.”  It feels good to make a loving decision on my own behalf and stick to it.  I am thankful, so thankful, I am finally–finally–learning to let go of negative people and negative emotions on this journey of discovery into gratitude and love.

  • Love! (feetfirstbook.wordpress.com)

Ending War

Hands Passing Baton at Sporting Event

Hands Passing Baton at Sporting Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have wounded me.

But I can see

my wounding

is from

your own pain.

I refuse

to allow

this relay race

of passing

this baton of hurt

to continue

for even

one more lap.

I will keep

this baton.

I will return to you

loving kindness

and

forgiveness.

And

I will not

concern myself

over

whether you

“get it.”

I

will leave that

between

you

and

God.

Struck in Series Whether these trees were ligh...

Struck in Series Whether these trees were lightning struck at the same time, I don’t know, but it would certainly be a coincidence if they weren’t! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I am grateful for synchronicity.  Synchronicity is when everything seems to flow forward towards the same outcome.  It is when someone you don’t know begins talking to you about a particular problem you have been struggling with and gives you encouragement to overcome it.  It is when you are broke and find the exact amount of money you need on the sidewalk.  Some people might call it coincidence.  I don’t believe in coincidences.  There are too many of them.  I follow my path and know God leads me on in little baby steps.  Nudging me, inspiring me, encouraging me from one moment to the next.  The synchricity I detect is actually the plan for my life toward the goal of fulfilling my life’s purpose.  The knowledge that I am right where I am supposed to be gives me such a feeling of security.  I am confident in God’s plan and care for me and I can relax and destress because I know everything will work out just right.

The messages I receive from the universe around me encourage me.  I know I move within the grace of God in a place of the miraculous.  In a place of eternity, infinity, all possibilities.  And my view of who I am is both diminished and increased until my ego dwindles to nothingness and my spirit encompasses all that is, all that was, all that ever will be.

Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, the first c...

Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, the first class day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lynda Frederick did not forget the bullying that happened to her 25 years ago in High School, so when her high school reunion group created a Facebook page to announce it, she used the opportunity to share with all her classmates how they treated her.

Lynda posted a poem on her Orange Glen High School class Facebook page. On it she wrote:

The little girl who had to walk to school while others rode the bus
Instead of asking why… you picked on her
The little girl who had bruises and was dirty
Instead of asking why … you picked on her

After this was posted, she didn’t expect the reaction from her former classmates. Some were brought to tears and then they created a scholarship fund in her name and raised $800 to fly her back to California for the reunion.

“I got an outpour of calls and messages, people stepping forward that I don’t even remember that said ‘I know I was one of those that picked on you and I’m so sorry,’” Lynda Frederick said Friday. “It was overwhelming.”

Lynda explained how during her time at school the other children would throw rocks and things at her and would spit on her. Frederick graduated from school early and then moved to New York and had three children, but the days being bullied in high school never left her.

Former classmate Shawn Gordon, of Escondido, said he got tears in his eyes when he thanked her for the anti-bullying message and showed it to his teenage daughters.

His memories included a time when he saw Frederick being bullied.

“One bully tried to keep tripping her,” he said. “I could have said something; never did.”

Lynda Frederick has now been able to connect again and find forgiveness from those children who have now grown up to be adults. ”We can’t fix yesterday but we can try to fix today,” Frederick said. “That’s my new motto.”

**********************************************************************

You can find the link for the blog where I found this post below:

http://bullyinglte.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/bully-victims-facebook-poem-moves-her-classmates-25-years-later/

Sunlight Is Spoken

Beautiful Sunset Over The Water Dunedin

Beautiful Sunset Over The Water Dunedin (Photo credit: _setev)

The storms and rains

have grayed

my days.

My nights

stretch into me

with chilled abandonment.

Through endless existence

there is a hunger,

an empty knowing,

an aching longing.

I have known

the sun is out there

somewhere.

My hope

hangs on a thin ray

of faith

in some day.

Then my mind’s eye

relives that moment

you told me,

“I have fallen in love with you,

What took you so long,

I  have been waiting for you forever!”

You spoke aloud

my secret words

my wish

my longing

my pain.

Words harbored

so hidden

in my heart.

None had heard

but God.

Words wept

in worship,

weakness,

want and

worthlessness.

You held a mirror

and reflected

my deepest desire

back to me.

And the sun–

You are warmer,

warming me,

more than any fantasy.

Singing doves,

mimic the symphony of my joy.

Sparkling reflections echo

my treasure-trove

of priceless gems for my soul.

Dancing rainbows

bounce in my innermost being.

I never knew my world

was black and white

before you spoke.

You cannot ever know

how you touched me

in that one moment in time.

Remembering

your words,

your eyes,

your voice,

your touch,

My sun is you.

Mother and Child (Lady Shannon and Kitty)

Mother and Child (Lady Shannon and Kitty) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother passed a few years back but she lives on inside everyone who knew her. My earliest memories are of snuggling beside her as she read book after
book, chapter, after chapter, developing a life-long love affair with
stories in me. Later, she would read to herself page after page, paper
after paper, story after story of my work, gently correcting, guiding,
teaching me how to develop my own writing. After she was gone, when I
went through her things, it was my turn to read paper after paper, note
after note, the wisdom of her life scribbled on scraps, napkins, church
bulletin margins. She was such a quiet, strong presence, yet, larger than life, because she knew how to love. She poured out her existence for love and service of others. She was cheerleader, tutor, servant, comforter, adviser, counselor, Proverbs 31. She was better at keeping her tongue than anyone I have ever met. Most certainly better at it than me! But I keep trying. I strive every day to live up to the legacy of her life. I am becoming, every day, my best person, because of her gifts to me. I may not be able to touch her face again, hug her body, but she is still alive, vibrant, giving–in me, through me, for me.

The link for the original blog for this post is below.  Please join Marc and Angel.  They write my absolutely favorite blog.

20 Bad Habits Holding Good People Back

A change in bad habits leads to a good change in life…

Here are twenty bad habits many of us repeatedly struggle with:

  1. Expecting life to be easy. – Nothing starts easy; everything begins at some level of difficulty.  Even waking up in the morning sometimes requires notable effort.  But one beautiful thing about life is the fact that the most difficult challenges are often the most rewarding and satisfying.
  2. Overlooking your true path and purpose. – What really matters in life is not what we buy, but what we build; not what we have, but what we share with the world; not our capability but our character; and not our success but our true significance.  Live a life that makes you proud – one that matters and makes a difference.  Live a life filled with passion and love.  Read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.
  3. Chasing after those who don’t want to be caught. – Do not chase people.  Be you, do your own thing and work hard on your passions.  The right people who belong in your life will eventually come to you, and stay.
  4. Not asking for help when you know you need it. – No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, you can always turn back.  Be STRONG enough to stand alone, SMART enough to know when you need help, and BRAVE enough to ask for it.
  5. Letting one dark cloud cover the entire sky. – Take a deep breath.  It’s just a bad moment, or a bad day, not a bad life.  Everyone has troubles.  Everyone makes mistakes.  The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.
  6. Holding on to things you need to let go of. – Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things in life that should not be.  Sometimes letting go is what makes us stronger, happier and more successful in the long run.
  7. Spending time with people who make you unhappy. – People can be cruel, and sometimes they will be.  People can hurt you and break your heart, and sometimes they will.  But only YOU can allow them to continuously hurt you.  Value yourself enough to choose to spend time with people who treat you the way you treat them.  Know your worth.  Know when you have had enough.  And move on from the people who keep chipping away at your happiness.
  8. Not making time for those who matter most. – When we take things for granted, these things eventually get taken away.  Too often we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.  Too often we are too stubborn to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”  Too often it seems we hurt the ones closest to us by letting insignificant issues tear us apart.  Appreciate what you have, who loves you and who cares for you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you.
  9. Denying personal responsibility. – You’re getting almost everything you’re getting right now based on the decisions you have made; and you will continue to receive the same things until you choose differently.  You always have some element of control.  There are always other options.  The choices might not be easy, but they are available.  You will not get a different result until you exercise a choice that forces you to grow by habit, by action, and by change.
  10. Letting everyone else make decisions for you. – Never allow someone or something that adds very little to your life, control so much of it.  You’ve got to stop caring about what everyone else wants for you, and start actually living for yourself.  Let go of the people and things that continuously hold you back and no longer serve you, because you only get one shot at life.
  11. Giving up who YOU are. – Remove yourself from any situation that requires you to give up any one of these three things:  1) Who you are.  2)  What you stand for.  3)  The goals you aspire to achieve.  Read Quitter.
  12. Quitting as soon as things get slightly difficult. – An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward; and such is life.  When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to eventually launch you forward in a positive direction.  So keep focusing, and keep aiming!
  13. Doing too much and pushing too hard, without pausing. – Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never find it, but because they never stop long enough to enjoy it.  Sometimes we are so focused on what we want that we miss the things we need most.
  14. Discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t. – STOP discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t.  START giving yourself credit for everything that you are.
  15. Running from current problems and fears. – Trust me, if everyone threw their problems in a pile for you to see, you would grab yours back.  Tackle your problems and fears swiftly, don’t run away from them.  The best solution is to face them head on no matter how powerful they may seem.  Either you own your problems and fears, or they will ultimately own you.
  16. Constantly mulling over past hardships. – You’ll never see the great things ahead of you if you keep looking at the bad things behind you.  To reach up for the new, you must let go of the old.  You are exactly where you need to be to reach your goals.  Everything you’ve been through was preparation for where you are right now and where you can be tomorrow.
  17. Denying your mistakes. – Remember that most honorable people of all are not those who never make mistakes, but those who admit to them when they do.  And then go on to do their best to make the wrong things right.
  18. Expecting your significant other to be perfect. – Remember that you will never find a PERFECT partner to love you in the exact way you had envisioned, only a person who is willing to love you with all that they are.  Someone who will accept you for who you can and cannot be.  And although they will never be PERFECT, finding a partner like this is even BETTER.  Read The Mastery of Love.
  19. Focusing on the negative. – Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best thing to happen every time, it’s about accepting that whatever happens is good for this moment, and then making the best of it.  So stay positive, and hold on to what’s truly important.  Let your worries go.  No matter how you look at it, some outcomes just don’t make sense right away.  Choosing to carry on with your goals through this uncertainty is what matters.
  20. Never allowing things to be good enough. – We are human.  We are not perfect.  We are alive.  We try things.  We make mistakes.  We stumble.  We fall.  We get hurt.  We rise again.  We try again.  We keep learning.  We keep growing.  And we are thankful for this priceless opportunity called life.

Photo by: Luigi Caterino

Marc and Angel’s blog can be found at the following link:

http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/05/03/20-bad-habits-holding-good-people-back/

   

This is a rather long article and I am posting it without my usual insertion of photos and illustrations.  I am reposting it exactly the way it was originally done.  It is well worth the investment of time it takes to read it.  This article is a real eye-opener and I hope you feel that way too.

I was honored to be asked to deliver a sermon (really a speech) with a theme of bullying during services at my place of worship recently. I thought I would share the speech that I gave with you. It’s a bit lengthy, but I thought the subject matter appropriate to share… (~Alan Eisenberg)


The bible reading this week is AHAREI MOT, which in Hebrew means AFTER THE DEATH. This is because it takes place right after the Death of Moses’s brother Aaron’s two sons. The reading is also maybe even more significant, because it is also the origin of the YOM KIPPUR ritual.

Interestingly and possibly even intentionally, this reading takes place about 6 months after and equally six months prior to our YOM KIPPUR. It’s as if to say that we should remember that making atonement is not just a once a year event. It has always been a challenge for me to understand the idea of the once a year atonement. I know that some of us believe we have the other 364 days to build up our mistakes so that once a year we can ask for forgiveness, and then even then, we only ask it of god. While in other religions, they go weekly to confess their sins and ask for atonement, but again, only to god. Why to god, as if he is going to tell the people who most need to hear it.

Why do we struggle to say the words ANI MITZTA’ER … Hebrew for I’m sorry! Why is this so hard for us to do? And what does it mean to others when you say it to them, sincerely, and meaningfully.

David Brin, an American science fiction author, has one of my favorite quotes on the subject. He said: Why must conversions always come so late? Why do people always apologize to corpses?” The author Harriet Beech Stowe said it as well when she said “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone.”

 How often I have seen this as the truth. How many of us regret the moments we didn’t say I’m sorry. I was 21 when my grandmother died. She had lived within driving distance of us my whole life. I had spent summers with her and shared many special moments during my childhood. When I was 21, I was in college and she and I had drifted apart.  For many reasons not spoken here, we had argued recently and I didn’t apologize. And then she was gone and I could no longer tell her what I wanted to.

ZAY MOYKHL! That’s Yiddish for I’m sorry and a language she spoke often to me. Unfortunately it was typically to tell me that I was MESHUGEH (crazy). Being a fan of movies, I often quote them sometimes to the pleasure or dismay of others. I find comfort in the lines from movies, because they help me to understand that others go through what we all do. When it comes to this idea of waiting to say you are sorry, I drift to an unlikely movie, “The Sixth Sense”, which is mistaken as a scary movie, when it is really about discovering a power to help others and do good. And no, it’s not that the guy is dead at the end. And if I just ruined that for you, you should have seen the movie 10 years ago anyway. At the end of the movie; the boy who has the power to talk to the dead tells his mother that his grandmother, his mother’s mother who had passed away years ago, has been talking to him. The boy’s mother and his grandmother had a falling out years before and the mother was suffering with guilt from it. He tells his mother that the grandmother wanted to tell her something. It was an answer to a question the mother asked every time she visited her grave that went unanswered. The answer from the grandmother was“EVERY DAY”. The boy asks his mother what question she asked when she visited the grandma’s grave. His mother says the question is “DO I MAKE HER PROUD?” At that moment in the movie, the mother is able to release the pain she had carried with her all those years.

But in life, we don’t get to talk to the dead and they don’t get to answer us. It is ironic that this is the week I have been invited to deliver this D’Vor Torah, because I contemplate this question often when I speak to groups about bullying. Since 2007 I have chosen to take on the cause of helping others cope with the pain and suffering they feel from being bullied. I speak to groups and have a website of stories and information to try to help others. I started this to help myself, because I too had been a victim of bullying as a child and knew the long-term suffering this was bringing to others. I realized that the theme I would share when I spoke was one of trying to teach and promote empathy and find forgiveness. Because it is in heart and head that we carry the burden of the pain of cruelty and also the guilt of what we did. I had no idea in 2007 how this decision would change my life.

I decided my first action would be to write down all of the stories I remembered from those years of bullying. I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts in the 1970s and this is where it all took place. This is important later. I wrote my stories onto a website. I did it just for me to release these things from me and put them to rest. But it would not be so easy. A few years later, I was invited to speak about my stories. This was also very difficult and the pain of those memories would come back to me. You see, I believe we never really forget the wrongs done to us, we just store them in the back of our minds and put them in a deep place. But they build over time and without the apology, without someone making amends, I believe they make us a harder person. But over the last five years, it seems many have found my site and find hope in the words posted there. What I never expected was that those people I knew in Lexington would find my stories as well and that I would have to confront these words. . .I’m sorry.

The first person to find his story was actually my best friend from those years. I knew he had found them, because he started replying to other posts with his memory. But he hadn’t found his story. You see he had hurt me as well. One Halloween, he and my other friends had taunted me from the woods and ran off, leaving me to walk home alone, no candy in my bag. Looking back as an adult, it doesn’t seem that bad. But our memories are from the age that things happen. He read his story and then I received his note directly to me…30 years later.

He wrote: “For what it’s worth, and what I recall of that night, it was just kids being kids… I think we were all just being goofy with the mischief of the night, being Halloween and all…and I will say I am sorry if your feelings were hurt.”For those young people in the audience, can you imagine getting a note from your friend 30 years later apologizing? I couldn’t and was embarrassed I had put him in that position. But you know what, I felt a little better. I called him and we talked for hours after that. We still do today. A little repair.  Pra-stEE-te…That’s Russian for I’m Sorry.

I had hoped that would be the last. I never really expected anyone to read my site anyway. Who am I? Just someone trying to work his way through life. I then was looking through my old Bar Mitzvah book one day and saw that there was a boy in it from Lexington who I couldn’t recall our times together. I knew his name, but not the times we spent together. He found me through Facebook one day and wrote to me recounting all the good times we had. He particularly reminded me of the time we blew up our toys with firecrackers. Don’t tell anyone I did that though. He wrote: I must say that you moving away was one of the saddest events to me. We became such good buddies so fast. I have an unbelievable amount of memories hanging out together, doing sleepovers, and just being generally mischievous…

It bothered me not to remember him, his memories were so vivid of me. Then I discovered why. In his second note his explanation told me when he wrote:

I remember being incredibly sad when you moved away. I got over it of course, but there’s always been something about it in the back of my mind that’s bothered me. Specifically, what happened at the end of 7th grade when we had a fist fight at school. As far as fistfights went, it wasn’t unusual. Even for friends, because usually they can move on and endure that kind of stuff. But what’s bothered me since then (and I was just thinking about it only a couple of weeks ago before you contacted me) was how that injured our friendship, and then you moved away before we could really set it completely right. That was a mean day for me, and one which I really wish I could have back.

And since a window of opportunity doesn’t always open for long, I have to use our reconnection to tell you now how incredibly sorry I still am for what I did to make that fight happen, for every blow struck against you, and for whatever mean (and I mean in the low-class, uncaring, dirty, and despicable sense) action or words that were used by me, before or after. ut I’ve always known that my part in that event was a sin, and one which I still hold onto. I have never forgotten about it.

32 years later. That guilt was still with him every day. And I had blocked him from my memory, because the pain of losing one more friend during those years was too much for me. We talked and shared our feelings. He was able to say sorry in person and I did too. Even though I didn’t remember, I was sorry. But to me I thought “what if I hadn’t made my site and found him?” Would that still haunt him to the end? Do we all have that inside us. But for me, a little more repair.

Finally, I want to share this more recent story that took place in December. By far, it was the hardest story for me. You see there was a moment in time when I was the bully and the guilt was in me. During Hebrew school class one day we put tacks on one of the kids chairs, not a few, like ten. We thought it would be funny. When he sat down it wasn’t. I felt bad about doing it. See he was the one who got picked on then and I was the one participating in it. I shared that as well on my site. Well, it seemed in the five years since I started it, my site and stories had been read by many and at what would have been the 25th reunion of the high school in Lexington, Massachusetts, it seems they were talking about me, the bully expert who writes about the bullying that happened there. It seems to some, I was a local hero to write about what happened to not just me, but I would find out to many. It seems that the boy, now a man, who we did the tack attack to heard as well and found his story on my site. I knew he did, because I heard from his friends, who wrote not too kindly to me. It was my turn to have to reach out and say I was sorry. I was racked with guilt…31 years later. I called him. I said the words…I’m Sorry…I expected anger. What I got was a wonderful conversation with an old friend who was happy for my call and for sharing our stories. He had it far worse, but he used it for strength. He repaired a bit. I repaired a bit. We talk often now…it is behind us.

I feel lucky to have had these three experiences for saying I’m Sorry. Many of the negative feelings that I started with five years ago have left me. I think in some way, I have helped others do the same. This weekend, I saw the documentary called BULLY that just came out. I wish I could tell you much has changed, but it seems not. In it, an awkward 14-year-old named Alex is beaten daily on the bus and ignored by all. His mother asks him “doesn’t it bother you, doesn’t it hurt you?” He just says in calm anger, “I really don’t think I feel anything at all anymore”. So what happens next to him, to others. There are many stories of children, young children, that commit suicide from bullying. It is too late to say I’m sorry after that and many are left with the guilt. I think it interesting that this weekend’s reading deals with Aaron and this loss of his children. Is this where the origin of Yom Kippur starts? What does that do to an individual…to society? These are rhetorical questions I ask often as I contemplate the issue of bullying.

What difference would it make if we just said “I’m Sorry” more often and meant it when we said it. As I and some of my elementary school friends have learned, it’s never too late to say you are sorry. It changes lives. And I can tell you it feels good just to say it and move on…

Jammer!…Oprostite!…Tevechi…Anteeksi…Desole…Gomen Nasai…Przepraszam!… Samahani…Xin loi… ANI MITZTA’ER…I’m Sorry.

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The blog site for this post contains a host of useful information on bullies and bullying, including hotline numbers.
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