|Election. Gratitude. TOC. View this email in your browser|
|Photo by Gerd Altmann at Pixabay|
|November 2020 Newsletter As I write this newsletter the Blue Moon is full. Trick or Treaters are out social distancing and wearing Halloween masks. And there are lines at all the early voting locations. Quite a busy time everywhere. But nowhere is it more busy than in the battle of light and dark forces. We all search for a Luke Skywalker type hero who will save the day as Darth Vader and his storm troopers invade the planet. But this isn’t a movie. This battle is all too real. Yes, these ARE “interesting times”. None of us know for sure what will happen this week, but before the election happens, I wanted to come to your inbox to say have faith. Whatever happens, don’t loose your cool, your faith or your center. Stay calm and peaceful for in order to handle anything that comes our way, we must keep our center and stay filled with peace. Whatever happens, breathe. And remember to love. The dark forces are seeking to divide us, to pit us against each other. Let’s not go there. Let us be kind. Let us allow for differences. Let us honor each other’s right to our beliefs. Let us discuss, not berate. Let us listen to each other. Let us love each other. Let us remember we are more alike than we are different. Let us remember we all want pretty much the same thing.: shelter, food, love, security, fulfillment. Let us remember where we come from and where we are going. Let us find where we are more alike than we are different. And most of all, let us value our core moral values like Truth, Compassion, Kindness, Forgiveness, Faith, Honor, Respect, and so many others. This election will come and go. But we will still have the same friends and family. Treasure them. |
“If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize your mind is complicit in the provocation.”
November is the time for our Thanksgiving in the USA, my favorite Holiday! I love that we have a holiday just to give thanks for all we have. It is easy to overlook our blessings when we are wrapped up in the minutiae of our lives or in the big things going on around us. Take time this year to really feel the gratitude for all the good things we have in our lives.
A long time ago I read a book by Corrie Ten Boom entitled The Hiding Place. It takes place in the Netherlands during WWII and is about a family who hides Jews as they are being smuggled out of the country. They are caught and Corrie and her sister are interned at a concentration camp.
Corrie somehow smuggles a tiny Bible into their barracks and the whole group of women in the barracks are supported emotionally by the reading of it every night. The guards never come in and they never get caught which turns out to be an amazing gift to them. The reason, though, that the guards avoid their barracks is because of a terrible infestation of fleas. Do the women complain? No, they are grateful for the fleas because they give them the freedom to talk and pray and uplift one another.
Imagine being grateful for fleas. This book changed my entire concept of gratitude.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with gratitude.
Photo of fall leaves by Ken Klancnik
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“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Evelyn Beatrice Hall
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One thing I love to hear are people’s life stories. I once started a book on women’s stories but it lost its energy due to the overwhelming energies in my own life and never got picked up again. Someone wiser than I and a better writer than I will do it and meanwhile, I continue to be fascinated with the uniqueness of people’s valiant struggles and how creative so many are in overcoming obstacles. Those people are such inspirational figures and have taught me so much.
One of the common obstacles we each face is in the area of forgiveness. This can range from a small slight to a huge burden such as assault, abandonment, abuse, and other horrendous issues. Still, the challenge to us is the same: to forgive the offender while not condoning the offense, and bringing some measure of peace back to our lives while releasing our need to cling to our righteous anger at being victimized.
I’ve written quite a bit about forgiveness over the years. If it’s true that we teach what we need to know, it might also be true that we write what we need to hear. In my case, I know this to be true. I am one of those who has experienced “righteous anger” for everything from someone who steals my parking place to much bigger human interaction situations.
In the interest of anonymity, I will not mention specifics but be assured that my life has been filled with these incidents. It would seem one of my big life lessons has to do with learning how to truly forgive.
Over 30 years ago I experienced one of my forgiveness lessons and was in so much emotional pain over the betrayal of a friend that my Mother, who rarely said anything in the form of advice, quoted Mark Twain who wisely said “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
She also said, “Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels.” This quote is attributed to Fannie Brice but there is some discussion around where it originated. Regardless, there is truth in this quote and in my case, with those two quotes ringing in my ears, I was able to release my anger and hurt over time and even reached a place of forgiveness. It was not easy. It took time. But I also realized that holding a grudge or hanging on to my firm belief that I was “done wrong” by a trusted friend was hurting me and not affecting the offender in any way.
So this is my HER-story: I was wronged. I hurt. I suffered. I floundered in the land of not understanding why this happened. I hurt and suffered some more. But slowly, by repeating those quotes and understanding the wisdom in them, I was able to move from being crushed to flying free.
The reason I am writing this is because I see some of my loved ones suffering from being hurt. They didn’t deserve this. But there is some learning in these experiences that will expand their being and their awareness and their consciousness that will benefit them in the long run. For me, I am much better at forgiving. I understand the boundary between forgiving and condoning. “Love the sinner but not the sin” is a quote that I understand and live by.
People who hurt others are hurting within themselves. They need healing too: perhaps more than we who are victimized by them. Their HIS-story and HER-story almost always have a BACK story that include horrid things that have happened to them.
I’ve learned that praying for others is a powerful action. I’ve learned that holding onto a grudge and my anger does nothing for me and does not affect the offender in any way. I’ve learned that in every case there is a lesson for me in there somewhere if I but take the time to explore it.
Here is a small almost silly example from my own life: Last week I was just about to pull into a parking space near the door of the store I was going to. All of sudden out of nowhere, this young woman does a quick U-turn and pulls into it, almost hitting me in her manoeuver. (Anyone ever see Fried Green Tomatoes? “TOWANDA” came to mind!)
I was startled, and then I was mad. How could she? She is young and I am obviously not and she can walk, darn it, and I limp, so come on….where is the fairness here?
Well, first I remembered that I can always use the exercise and even often park far away just so I can get the extra steps in. Second, I remembered the days when I was young and under so much time stress and thought maybe she was so harried that she needed that extra time that that space afforded her and after all, I was not in a hurry and the extra steps would serve me.
Next, I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer for her, parked far away, and walked to the store. I had a delightful encounter with the wonderful cashier. As I walked out of the store with a smile on my face, I realized I had not thought again of the incident and was actually surprised that I hadn’t and that by releasing it so quickly I was able to then enter into a pleasant exchange with the cashier, making both of our days better. And hopefully that young woman who was in such a hurry can find some peace in her life so she is not living in such a harried fashion. Been there, and it’s not good.
As I said, this is almost a silly example, but it does give you an idea of what forgiveness can do in releasing us from the burden of carrying anger over a wrongdoing.
I’d love to hear from you ways you have released your own anger in order to free you from carrying a grudge around. Those grudges get heavier with every day don’t they…..
There is a lot to be said for moving on. Staying stuck in the past gets us nowhere, but releasing and moving on opens up limitless possibilities.
Take it from one who knows. And one who spent too many years stuck in her righteous anger. Move on. And live a wonderful life free from anger and finger pointing. You won’t believe how much better you will feel!
This has been quite a week with the passing of the amazing Nelson Mandela and the proclamation by Time Magazine that Pope Francis is Person of the Year. One hero and role model has exited while another has stepped on stage.
Someone forwarded an article to me from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture about Pope Francis’s selection and they said:
“You and I were not chosen for Person of Year, but we can emulate the one who was……Pope Francis tweeted three days ago, ‘If we see someone who needs help, do we stop? There is so much suffering and poverty, and a great need for good Samaritans.’ we may never be Person of the Year, but we can all be good Samaritans.”
Wise words I wanted to share with you. We also were not Mr. Mandela, but we can emulate him and his huge capacity for forgiveness. Who in your life needs to be forgiven by you? Include yourself if you are hard on yourself and make self judgements like I do. There is no one on earth who is harder on me than myself.
I try to learn from the Masters among us of whom there are many. They are not perfect because they are human, but each one teaches me something: forgiveness, sharing, focus, living in the moment, lightening my spirit, finding joy, feeling love for myself as well as others, caring for others, understanding, how to listen, how to heal, and many more things. For those who are false prophets, of which there are many, and those who think they are the be all and end all, of which there are many, take the focus off yourselves and look to the real heroes who do not have to puff themselves up with importance. They humbly go about the job of living by BEING the examples of how to live a good and meaningful life. If you have to tell everyone how great you are, you probably aren’t that great. But if people are telling you about your attributes, you are probably doing a good job of living an exemplary life that inspires others.
This may be the last post of 2013. If it is, many thanks to you all for reading my posts. I don’t post often as there is so much input out there! But I hope that when I do post, you receive an uplifting, inspiring message. Blessings of the Season to you and a very Happy New Year 2014!
Here we are again at the dawn of a New Year. I see people scurrying around making plans for a party, a celebration, a gathering, or just planning a quiet evening at home. Whatever you are doing this New Year, take time to release old resentments and old pain. It is a great time of year to forgive, really forgive….including yourself.
Who among us has not righteously held onto ill feelings that we feel are justified towards others because of “what they did” to use or what we PERCEIVED they did to us. I just finished a novel in which a dreadful cascade of events unfurled because of a misperceived action. The female lead in the novel felt she had been unjustly treated but in the end, she so foolishly misread the event that it led to some sad and tragic events in her efforts to seek revenge for an act which had really been one of protection and kindness.
This was a novel, granted, but don’t we always quip “truth is stranger than fiction” or “no one could have made this up for a novel”! Indeed, these things happen regularly on the planet and when our egos get bruised, we tend to want to “win” or seek revenge or set things right.
At any rate, from personal experience I can tell you that it is far better for us to forgive and move on than it is to hold a grudge. The other person is out living their life while we fume and mutter to ourselves how unjust that was! My Mother used to say “Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels.” I hated when she would say that to me. But once I could get my thoughts around a situation in which I felt so wronged, I could finally forgive.
It doesn’t mean that what they did was ok, not at all, but I did realize that people, even I, made mistakes, sometimes very hurtful ones. I never hurt someone on purpose but I know I hurt people, mostly through my naivite, sometimes by neglect or oversight, or simply not knowing what I was doing.
Knowing that I also hurt people made me a bit more tolerant and forgiving of others. And knowing that there is a higher form of justice out there than I could ever dish out also gave me a lot of relief.
I realize that there are dreadful, unspeakable, horrible things that occur. But once they have happened, it is over and no amount of anger, angst, or revenge will take them back. It can take years, YEARS, to work through something like this and to some degree, perhaps we never really work all the way through it to total, complete, heart felt forgiveness. But as we take the time to work through these events, we can lighten the load of our burden by slowly working towards forgiveness. It is a journey, like all of life’s challenges.
Forgiving is hard, but not forgiving is even harder. Walking around with the weight of anger is exhausting and produces nothing. So this New Year, start with an empty cart by forgiving what you can and moving on. Then you can heap all kinds of blessings into that cart….believe me, they weigh nothing while anger, angst, and thoughts of revenge weigh tons. You will lead a better life if you make that choice.
Happy New Year! May all your days be light filled and light!