Tag Archive: Love


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)
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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.

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.

************************************************
The blog site for this post contains a host of useful information on bullies and bullying, including hotline numbers.
To view the blog where this post originated, please follow the link below:

Is it all just in our minds? This solitary confinement we make for ourselves when we decide to be sad or upset about nothing terribly awful. The sun is shining yet I feel no warmth. The days trod past one into the next with little enthusiasm. Today is Friday and yet there aren’t any fireworks announcing the start of the weekend. Or are there and I just can’t see them?

This week has been unusual for me. I’m out of sorts. Usually I can find the good in everything, but this week has been a struggle for me to care enough to look.

We’ve all had these kinds of days and it’s usually our friends who help pull us away from the abyss. Last week my blogging friend Elena Aitken did a cute post on Choosing Happy where she looked for things in her life that could uplift her spirit. Simple things like a new pair of cute rain boots.

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Choosing to be happy or not.

Today, I choose happy.

Whatever crankiness my mind is going through, I can get past it. Whatever hormonal roller coaster ride my body is deciding to take me on, I can strap in and enjoy the ride. Hot flashes? Just a quick vacay in Punta Cana with my friend Natalie Hartford!

In honor or my friend Elena who inspired me to choose happy, here are a few things that make me smile.

Make up. Girly make up especially like glitter eyeliner and eyeshadow. I just wish I was brave enough to actually rock this look!

One of my facebook friends put this on their wall and it reminds me of my two MC’s.

Books. I think one of the reasons I’ve been cranky is I’ve been so cooped up with my own WIP that I haven’t had time to travel to other worlds through books.

And finally, something that makes my heart smile…

My family. This was my gratitude picture on facebook yesterday because I’ve been meaning to put these stickers on my car for a long time and I finally did it! Just seeing our happy little faces represented in these goofy Disney cartoons makes me giggle.

And of course my pups bring me happiness every single day. They are always there with a kiss or a cuddle and they don’t care if my hair is going grey or my hands have more wrinkles than a Shar Pei puppy.

That’s the thing about dogs. They love you no matter what. We need to love ourselves like our dogs love us. Wouldn’t that be something?

So tell me, what do you do to get out of a funk? How do you choose happy?

 

If you love this post and want to check out Tameri’s Blog, use the link below:

http://tamerietherton.com/2012/04/27/its-all-in-your-mind-choose-happy/

Marc and Angel Hack Life
Practical Tips for Productive Living
BLOGARCHIVEABOUTRSSTHOUGHT QUESTIONSMAKES ME THINK

POST WRITTEN BY: ANGEL

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Mae West

You know you’re on the right track when you can repeat each of the following headlines to yourself, honestly. (And if you can’t, this list gives you something positive to work on.)

1. I am following my heart and intuition.
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. Live the life you want to live. Be the person you want to remember years from now. Make decisions and act on them. Make mistakes, fall and try again. Even if you fall a thousand times, at least you won’t have to wonder what could have been. At least you will know in your heart that you gave your dreams your best shot.

Each of us has a fire in our hearts burning for something. It’s our responsibility in life to find it and keep it lit. This is your life, and it’s a short one. Don’t let others extinguish your flame. Try what you want to try. Go where you want to go. Follow your own intuition. Dream with your eyes open until you know exactly what it looks like. Then do at least one thing every day to make it a reality.

And as you strive to achieve your goals, you can count on there being some fairly substantial disappointments along the way. Don’t get discouraged, the road to your dreams may not be an easy one. Think of these disappointments as challenges – tests of persistence and courage. At the end of the road, more often than not, we regret what we didn’t do far more than what we did. Read Quitter.

2. I am proud of myself.
You are your own best friend and your own biggest critic. Regardless of the opinions of others, at the end of the day the only reflection staring back at you in the mirror is your own. Accept everything about yourself – EVERYTHING! You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.

People who are proud of themselves tend to have passions in life, feel content and set good examples for others. It requires envisioning the person you would like to become and making your best efforts to grow.

Being proud isn’t bragging about how great you are; it’s more like quietly knowing that you’re worth a lot. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect – because nobody is – but knowing that you’re worthy of being loved and accepted. All you have to do is be yourself and live the story that no one else can live – the story of your own unique life. Be proud, be confident, you never know who has been looking at you wishing they were you.

3. I am making a difference.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

Is it true that we all live to serve? That by helping others we fulfill our own destiny? The answer is a simple ‘yes.’ When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.

You are only one, but you are one. You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Smile and enjoy the fact that you made a difference – one you’ll likely remember forever.

4. I am happy and grateful.
Happiness is within you, in your way of thinking. How you view yourself and your world are mindful choices and habits. The lens you choose to view everything through determines how you feel about yourself and everything that happens around you.

Being grateful will always make you happy. If you’re finding it hard to be grateful for anything, sit down close your eyes and take a long slow breath and be grateful for oxygen. Every breath you take is in sync with someone’s last.

5. I am growing in to the best version of me.
Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.” Live by this statement. There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes. The only shoes you can occupy are your own. If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing.

Remember, trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms. Improve continuously, take care of your body and health, and surround yourself with positivity. Become the best version of you.

6. I am making my time count.
Time is the most valuable constituent of life. Make the time for what does matter today. Really being in the moment, finding passion in your life, seeing the world and traveling, or just seeing the world that’s around you right now, being with great people, doing amazing things, eating amazing food and savoring life’s little pleasures.

Remember, your time is priceless, but it’s free. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can spend it, but you can’t keep it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back. You really do only have a short period to live. So let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions louder than your words. Make your time count!

7. I am honest with myself.
Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed. Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become. Be honest with every aspect of your life, always. Because you are the one person you can forever count on.

Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are. Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there. Read The Four Agreements.

8. I am good to those I care about.
In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection. Two people can be right next to each other, yet miles apart. So don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words. Stay in touch with those who matter to you. Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort.

When was the last time you told your family and close personal friends that you loved them? Just spending a little time with someone shows that you care, shows that they are important enough that you’ve chosen — out of all the things to do on your busy schedule — to find the time for them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Understand them.

Many times it’s our actions, not just our words that really speak what our heart feels for another.

9. I know what unconditional love feels like.
Whether your love is towards a child, a lover, or another family member, know the feeling of giving love and not expecting anything in return – this is what lies at the heart of unconditional love. Life through unconditional love is a wondrous adventure that excites the very core of our being and lights our path with delight. This love is a dynamic and powerful energy that lifts us through the most difficult times.

Love is beautiful and unpredictable. It begins with ourselves, for without self-love, we cannot know what true love can be. In loving ourselves, we allow the feeling to generate within us and then we can share it to everyone and everything around us. When you love unconditionally, it isn’t because the person you love is perfect, it’s because you learn to see an imperfect person perfectly.

10. I have forgiven those who once hurt me.
We’ve all been hurt by another person at some point or another – we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt. And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, letting them live rent-free in our head and we have a hard time letting go.

Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness, it causes us to miss out on the beauty of life as it happens. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.

11. I take full accountability for my life.
Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.

You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence. Read The Road Less Traveled.

12. I have no regrets.
This one is simply a culmination of the previous eleven…

Follow your heart. Be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy. Be with who makes you smile. Laugh as much as you breathe. Love as long as you live. Say what you need to say. Offer a helping hand when you’re able. Appreciate all the things you do have. Smile. Celebrate your small victories. Learn from your mistakes. Realize that everything is a lesson in disguise. Forgive. And let go of the things you can’t control.

Photo by: Esparta Palma

A Prayer for the Eyes of God

A Love Hate Masquerade

I have been hate and evil and war and death.  I have held them in my heart and mind and soul and body, radiating them throughout this blessed universe.  I have collected pain, hoarding it to myself until it festered with pus, stinking and rank with dreams of revenge growing from my subconscious until the paths they leave in my soul are worn from use like a well-trodden path in the woods.  I have spent my hours, days, years, haunting those paths, all the while yearning for release.  My body and my life have been ravaged and crippled by all of this chaos to where I would hardly be recognizable to my Creator.  Judging my fellow man in self-righteous ego, I have tried to make up for my non-existent self-esteem by lowering others beneath me.  All the while, so blind and deaf and insane I could not see that the only one being judged and lowered was myself as I fed the endless cycle that kept me hating myself, abusing my own spirit.  Until the day I awoke.

I had always thought of myself as a loving, responsible person, but when I truly discovered Love and Peace and took ownership of my life and destiny, the blinders fell layer by layer from my being.  I saw that the greatest judgement and hate I had reserved for myself.  Miserable from the aching, gnawing, empty, gaping hole in my soul, I could not even begin to give love to anyone else.  I stopped pitying myself and lamenting my circumstances.  I declared an intent to live a year of practiced, intentional gratitude.  And bit by miraculous bit my life began to transform.

An artist's impression of our home galaxy - th...

An artist's impression of our home galaxy - the Milky Way. Our solar system is one of billions in the galaxy. And the galaxy is one of billions in the universe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just imagine for the sake of argument that there is no such thing in the universe as bad.  What if the only thing that makes something bad is mankind’s perception of it?  And what if that perception is wrong?  The scriptures tell me that God works ALL things together for good.  And the longer I live, the more I am able to see that there is always something good that comes of every situation no matter how dark it appears to be.  Life is like a giant tapestry and we are each a thread being woven together by the Master Craftsman.  We only see from the underside, and from the underside of the tapestry,  it looks a mess.  The only one that sees the complete picture from the right side is the Creator.  Once in a while we may get glimpses, but mostly, we are hanging out underneath, unable to make anything out clearly, concentrating on all the other threads’ frayed ends and mishaps.  Some threads are short, with only a few stitches, but they are essential.  Others seem hugely important and turn out to be just some background shading.  But everyone has a part to play in the total creation.  It is far too easy to judge it a mess, but the day will come when we get to see the creation from the right side, and we will be blown away by it’s breathtaking beauty!  We will see our own honored places in the whole and will marvel at the importance of some of the most common colors of thread.  This is the Master’s masterpiece.  And when we can learn to stop worrying about the whole thing, or even what everyone else is doing, we can finally begin to find all  those things for which we yearn.

Español: Fresco en la Capilla Sixtina.

Español: Fresco en la Capilla Sixtina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have learned that the more I love and appreciate God’s creative genius in creating me, the more I can appreciate it in all mankind.  I fill myself up with love by being in the presence of love every day.  Does that mean four hours on my knees?  Maybe it does for some, but God did not put me together that way.  I find my best meditation and prayer in the woods or on the beach, walking.  That is where I am best able to center myself and open up to my Creator.  That is also where I am most likely to hear His Voice.  Maybe you commune best while doing dishes, or while dancing, or while interacting with children–where you find your connection is as unique as you are.  Sometimes you can only find your quiet in the midst of great noise.  Just don’t give up!  Keep trying until you find it because nothing else in life will ever be as important or can truly give you joy.  Through my connection I have gained so much wisdom about myself. And others.

Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I am so greatful for the eyes God has opened from inside my soul.  Eyes which look with better vision at all the universe’s children, eyes that see as only a Creator can see each member of humanity, every living and created thing.  God’s people.  My people.  Our Beloved.  How can I hate?  How can I judge?  How can I harden my heart to any of these children the Creator has mad in Divine image?  How is it that I would harden my arrogant heart and not feel my Master’s heartbreak at the broken, hurting body–created in perfection in God-Mind, yet suffering as in death and war and disease in the famine of their own souls?

I pray to be a light this day.  I pray to be Love.  Make my lips sound only kindness.  Make my heart bestow only love.  Make my soul be the peacemaker.  May my feet wander where the Lord will lead me to serve all Creation.   May my hands and my back labor with all their strength to make a positive difference so that when my day or life is done I will hear my God’s  words to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Love

Love (Photo credit: praram)

Storm in Pacifica, California

I have fallen in love with the sea.  No man or woman has ever loved or felt more passion for anyone or anything.  Every time I am with her I think she is more beautiful than ever before.  She amazes me with her complexity, never the same twice.  One day, she is sunny and tranquil, glittering as a king’s ransom in jewels, another, she is raging, banging against constraints, crashing in turmoil and passion.  This day, she is gray and mysterious, cloaking her secrets in a shroud of fog.  Hoarding all her wealth, then carelessly tossing away treasures from deep within her, leaving them discarded in her retreating wake.  Uncontrollable power rising up, increasing, speeding, rolling to me, undulating in her seductive dance,  indifferently shattering, pummeling against me, then reluctantly, caressingly retreating.  I am awed, drawn beyond my power to resist.  She is my muse, my lover, my religion.  There is nothing I have ever known more like God:  vast, timeless, power beyond conceptualization.  Her waters cleanse my soul, renew my spirit.  There is no problem I have brought to her which she cannot shrink to nothingness next to her ancient, endless, fathomless magnificence.

Give me four sticks with a canvas sheet stretched between and I would live beneath it just to gaze at her in all her ever-changing beauty.  How humbling to see, hear, smell, taste, feel the magnificence of the Creator‘s artistry!  I am face-down in holy worship when I think how He could even conceive the idea of the universal sea composed of all this world’s waters.  Waters washing into one another, touching every life on this planet that has ever or will ever be; swirling, dancing around, over, under every continent, island, iceberg; covering massive colonies of life, mountains, deep abysses, hidden depths we have yet to plummet; and all the while kissing, blending, one with the endless sky.  My God!  I am overwhelmed to tears at the limitless gift of beauty you have given me!  Oh, Lord, I sing your praises with every cell of my being for your great love in giving me the sea.  If I never am with her again, I still will never have enough moments in eternity to express my gratitude for this chance to know and love her.   And through her, to know and love you!  I have seen your face reflected in the sea, magnificent, endless, containing more than my mind can grasp.  And new every day.  And new every day.

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