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Who We Are

5 Oct

When people ask who we are we may give them descriptions of our lives. We are siblings, children, parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers, professionals, laborers and dozens of others. All of these representations help people understand us and our place in life but they don’t really define who we are. They are merely what circumstances we were born into or where we are in our lives. Who we are goes far deeper than any outward descriptor. It’s what defines us morally, ethically, spiritually, and individually, and is reflected by the actions we take. Our true selves are defined by the choices we make and the values we express. It has little to do with what others expect and more to do with what we expect from ourselves. We set our own personal standards and how we define what is noble and good is reflected in the people we become. We can bring goodness and light to the world or we can bring trouble and conflict. We can be anything we choose and everything we do will show the world what those decisions are. There are endless opportunities in life to make an impact. What that impact looks like is our decision. We can bring joy or sorrow. It’s all up to us.

Most people try to do well and be kind to those around them. We see incredible acts of goodness when trouble strikes as people step up to assist and carry those around them. We hear of heroic acts that save lives and incredible sacrifice that brings comfort. When others give selflessly to those around them it embellishes us and gives us hope for the future. Those willing to give bring great blessings to us all. Our connections to the human race are strong and more valuable than we may realize until things go wrong. We can choose to be noble and kind. We can be a light when there is nothing but darkness and the hand that reaches up when things go wrong.

Personal nobility is a choice we make. It’s easy to coast through life doing the minimum needed to get by. We can keep our eyes only on ourselves and our personal needs and refuse to get involved in anything outside our private world. If we do, we may feel safer in our routines and secure knowing what to expect. But if we take the chance to reach out and help others, and risk our personal comfort to extend ourselves in service, our lives will be enriched and we will become more connected to those around us. We can be anything we choose. Choosing to be noble and kind, selfless and loving, and helpful and charitable, will bring us incredible blessings and enrich our lives beyond our imagining. We have so much to offer. We can be the very best versions of ourselves and bless the world.

Today if you’ve been keeping to yourself, think about sharing your life with others. Look up. There are opportunities to help and serve all around you. Reach out and expand your focus. There is greatness and nobility inside you. Build on it and let it grow. You have so much to offer. Be the best you can be and you’ll change the world.

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Let Me

3 Oct

Life is unpredictable and our situations can change in an instant. One minute we may be traveling along confidently and then suddenly something may happen and everything is completely overturned. We cannot predict what will come and we never really know what lies ahead. If we’re forced into a new reality without warning that has upset our stability and foundation, we may be unsure or concerned about how to proceed. If our lives have been upended and we can’t find our footing, the simple offer of help from someone else can feel like a lifeline going forward. When someone steps in and says, “Let me,” we may feel enormous relief. The offer from someone else to help, to lift, and to assist can be priceless when we are overcome. Nobody can do everything all the time and we all face moments when we need help. The gift of service from those around us can make even the darkest moments lighter. We’re all in this together. In times of crisis, in moments of doubt, and situations of uncertainty, the gift of someone willing to walk with us, to hold us up, and help us face whatever is before us, is the most treasured gift we could receive. Letting others in when we are overcome, and allowing them to help us move forward will enable us to withstand any storm or trial. There isn’t anything we can’t do but we all need help from time to time. That help will allow us to move forward with confidence and enable us to aide others once our trial has passed. Life is all about learning and each experience teaches us valuable lessons. We can move through every challenge with others standing beside us and find success together.

We are all connected far more deeply than we may realize. The depth of our connection is often visible when disaster strikes and people are suffering. There are countless stories of selfless heroism in the face of danger. When we see others in challenging situations who need help, we can stand firm and say, “Let me.” Offering our strength when others are weak will enlarge us and make us equal to the task. We have so much to offer and sharing it with those around us sustains them through the trial and enriches us.

When we serve others, our lives are enhanced and refined. The act of giving often returns more to us than anticipated. The blessings of service are limitless and our compassion for those around us will increase when we serve. Trouble comes to us all. Offering our help and receiving help from others builds our connections and makes our world stronger.

Today if someone near you is struggling, offer your help and assistance. Do what you can to encourage and support. Strengthen your connections to others through service. If you’re facing a trial and feel overwhelmed, allow others to lift you and help you through. You are never alone and all the help you need is there for you. Be strong, be brave, and go forward with confidence. There isn’t thing we can’t do together.

Take My Hand

7 Jul

There are many joyous experiences in our lives but sometimes things can be complicated. There are times in everyone’s life when things go wrong and we feel overwhelmed, or sad, or unsure, or lost. We may struggle to find our way, we may search for answers, we may find it difficult to keep going and we may feel hopeless. During times like those it’s hard to see the sunshine with all the clouds that encompass us. It can feel like everyone’s life is better than ours and it can be a bleak period to endure. During our darkest moments if someone reaches out to us and says, “Here, let me help you. Take my hand,” everything changes. The compassion of someone near can break through pain and pull us up from misery. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to lift us from the gloom, and when we look up again, we can finally feel we’ll survive. There is nothing more powerful than the human touch. When we’re desperate, lonely, sad, overwhelmed or any of the other difficult emotions we’re going through, someone’s offer to “Take my hand,” can be priceless. It can turn the tide back to our shore and help us find our way home again.

There are countless experiences in our lives that teach us many things. We learn by doing and each new thing teaches us something valuable we can take with us. Some of the lessons are easy, even fun, but some are more difficult. When we’re going through trials and feel beset it can be hard to see the end from where we’re standing. The road we have to traverse can look impossibly long and if we are heartbroken because of the experience, can feel impossible to navigate. We may feel isolated, lost in the confusion, and alone without help but when someone reaches out for us, everything changes. The kindness of someone close who is willing to listen and offer support can turn the tide.

Our lives are busy and we have much to accomplish. There are others around us most of the time and if we look up we may see someone struggling. Maybe it’s a physical challenge that is pressing them, or maybe it’s personal. We don’t have to pry but we can step up, offer our help, and listen. We can be a safe harbor for someone else’s storm and when we are they are lifted, and we are blessed. Nothing brings more blessing or personal joy than helping others. We can be the one to say, “Take my hand,” and offer help and encouragement. There is nothing more tender than true compassion. We can offer it and when we do lives change. We have so much to give. We can change the world.

Today if you’re overwhelmed with a challenge that has been difficult and someone offers to help, let them lift you and share the burden. There isn’t anything you can’t do. If someone near you is struggling, offer your hand and support. You have so much to give. We’re all blessed because you’re here.

Sharing It

3 May

When we are young, most of us are taught to share. We’re encouraged to share our crayons and our toys, sometimes our food or treats, and in doing so we learn how to give. As we get older sometimes we lose focus of the blessings that come from sharing. We’re busy taking care of ourselves and making sure our needs are met. We manage our time and our possessions and may hold them tightly in order to control them. Although it’s important to control our lives effectively, we can still include others in them as well. There is a lot of need in the world. Some of it’s financial and we may certainly give to a limitless number of programs or projects, but some of the need is personal. Not all needs are material in nature. We all need compassion, kindness and consideration. And our capacity to share those things is virtually endless. Unlike our checkbooks, there is no limit to what we can share emotionally. If we’re having a good day we can boost those around us. We can choose to be kind and engaged instead of rude and aloof. We can be polite and helpful and when we are, we share our very best.

The world is a big, complicated place with all kinds of problems and issues. Because we have so much access to what’s going on everywhere we can see suffering and trouble every moment of every day. Unfortunately, those who produce our news stories focus on all the negative things that are happening all the time. And there is no end to trouble. But with all that duress and strife, there are people doing well. There are people helping each other, caring for one another, easing each others’ burdens, and sharing what they can to make things better. We rarely hear about those stories but the people sharing their lives in service to others are the ones really changing the world. Sometime it’s not the big events that make the lasting changes. Sometimes it’s the small gift of personal charity that turns everything around.

We don’t have to do huge, impressive acts of kindness to make a change in the world. The smallest thing – helping someone who’s fallen get back up – can turn things around for others. We can be kind and share goodness with those around us and make a big impact on the world. Of course we can share our money and our food and our possessions and those are all helpful. But when we share ourselves by being kind and considerate, when we reach higher to be more present and available to others, and when we do a little more to serve those around us, the world becomes a better place. Lives are lifted and we impact everything for good. We have an unlimited ability to be loving and caring. If we focus on sharing those attributes with others, everything will be better. Our lives will be more fulfilled and those around us will feel happier. We have so much to offer. If we remember to share it, we can change the world.

Today remember to offer your kindness to those around you. Be polite and caring in all your dealings and your impact on the world will be great. You have nobility inside you. Show it to others. Be the change we all want to experience. You have so much to offer. Share it with those around you today. And you will change the world.

Dropped the Ball

17 Mar

We all generally try to do our best every day. We try to make good decisions, try to be nice to those around us, and basically strive to be good people. But sometimes things get away from us and we fumble the ball. Maybe we get carried away in conversation and forget a commitment, say something we don’t really mean, or take revenge on someone we feel has hurt us in some way. When we act in ways that are beneath what we really want for ourselves we may feel really bad later, and if we let those we care about down, the disappointment in their eyes can be crushing. But we’re only human and we’re going to falter from time to time. Perfection is after all the goal and not the achievement. And so when we stumble and do the wrong thing, we have to find a way to make things right again. We have to listen when those we’ve negatively impacted tell us how they feel, and we have to take our lumps because we’ve earned them. It’s normal to make mistakes from time to time. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it doesn’t mean we don’t care, and it doesn’t mean we aren’t worthwhile. It just means we dropped the ball. And if we did, we can pick it right back up again.

Personal shame is a horrible feeling. Shame may be one of the most destructive emotions we can feel. It can not only make us feel bad about something we’ve done, if we aren’t careful, it can make us feel bad about who we are. If we feel great shame, depression may soon follow. We may believe that we’ll never get things right, that we’ll always screw up, and that we aren’t worth anything to anyone. But none of that is true. Just because we make a mistake doesn’t mean we never do things right. We often get it right and we are worth more than we can even imagine, even when we falter. If we play a game and drop the ball we may get a penalty, but we aren’t banned from the game forever more. It’s the same in life. If we go the wrong way, we aren’t finished. We just need to turn around and correct our course.

The penalties we face when we make mistakes should be commensurate with the negative impact they cause. Just like in law, the penalty should fit the crime. The same is true with our personal lives. If we forget to bake a promised batch of cookies, it shouldn’t destroy a relationship. But if we lie, cheat, and manipulate others, that might be the cost. It’s like a pendulum – it should swing equally in both directions. That’s important to remember when someone we care about lets us down. If we can keep our perspective when we tell them how we feel and don’t return more chastening than is needed, we have a better chance of preserving our relationships. We all make mistakes and sometimes we hurt others because of them. But nobody really wants to do things wrong and when we do, we deserve the opportunity to make things right again. Our relationships are important. Truly valuing them will help us heal and forgive as we move along.

Today if you’ve dropped the ball and someone has been hurt, you can pick it back up again. Offer to make things right and do everything you can to correct your course. If someone has made a mistake that has hurt you, remember when you’ve faltered and offer the chance for them to fix things. You can be kind and understanding. Extend your hand to turn things around and forgive. You’ll be able to make things better and you’ll be happier because of it.

One Word One Thought

27 Feb

Nobody’s life is perfect and sometimes things go wrong for all of us. When it’s very disappointing or upsetting, we may get angry. If that happens we don’t always keep the anger to ourselves and unfortunately instead let others share it. Perhaps we use offensive words to express how we feel that aren’t part of our every day speech. Or we snap at others who may or may not have had anything to do with our problem. We’re only human and there are times when we aren’t at our best. It happens. If others experience our outburst they may decide out of frustration to return it for one of their own, and then the whole thing can get out of hand. Once things have escalated it’s hard to rein them back in. Feelings can get hurt, and relationships can be bruised. After we’ve ended our furious outburst, and we’ve settled back down, we’ll have to apology for the damage we’ve done, and try to make things right.

Anger can be a very destructive emotion. We all feel it from time to time, but the way we express it is different for everyone. When we’re children we may cry or scream, or kick our feet and stomp off, but as we become adults we must find other ways to deal with it. Some people point their anger inward and manifest specific behaviors to cope. Perhaps they overeat, or can’t sleep, or they close themselves off and hide until they feel better. Compromising ourselves to keep anger hidden away doesn’t help us deal with it, and sometimes the behaviors we embrace while we’re coping make the situation worse in the end. Others of us express our anger outwardly. We take it out on those around us spreading collateral damage everywhere we turn. We say things we don’t mean, and lash out at whomever comes close. Unfortunately those behaviors can damage our relationships and if they are chronic, can ruin them. Learning to deal effectively with anger takes time and practice. It doesn’t just happen the first time we get mad. We have to learn how to control our responses in ways that help us resolve our anger, instead of making it worse.

If someone near us is angry and acting out, instead of jumping into the fray, we can instead offer a word of encouragement. If we do, the anger may lose its impact and suddenly emotions may turn. It’s said that a kind word can turn away wrath – and it’s true. If someone near us is angry and acting out, one kind word from us may change everything. It doesn’t take a lot of effort but it does take self control and thought. We are capable of both. If we’re the angry one lashing out at those around us, we can stop for just a moment, take a breath, and think of one good thing. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, like world peace, it can be something small. Perhaps we had a delicious muffin for breakfast, or the sun is shining, or we really like the color of the shirt we’re wearing. If we can focus on one good thought for just a moment, everything can change. We can put things back into perspective and more effectively navigate our way through. A kind word, or a positive thought are powerful and can help us through difficult situations. Our relationships and interactions are important. When things go wrong, we can do something to preserve them. We can exercise self control and keep the situation for becoming destructive. One kind word or one good thought may be all it takes.

Today if you’re angry about something you can’t accept, stop for a moment and think about one good thing that’s happening right now. There is always something and when you find it, focus on it for a moment. You’ll feel better and you’ll see things more clearly. If someone near you is angry and lashing out, offer a kind word of encouragement to let them know you care. We are all capable of more than we realize. We can do anything. We can do our part to bring harmony back into our lives when trouble is at the door.

Still Waters

26 Feb

Sometimes when we’re interacting with others things don’t go as well as we hope. There may be friction and disharmony, and sometimes we don’t know why it happens. Perhaps someone gets angry over a suggestion we make, or is offended by something we’ve said, and we have no idea why they reacted the way they did and they won’t say. It can be confusing and when we’re trying to get along or get something done, it can stop us in our tracks. If we know why the problem occurred we can try to address it, but if we have no idea what went wrong, we may be lost. People are complicated and we can only see their external appearance.  We don’t know what’s going on inside them.  Many of us are private and don’t express everything we’re going through to others, and prefer to keep our challenges or struggles to ourselves. If we encounter conflict and don’t know what happened, it may be that someone is struggling with an issue of which we are unaware. They say still waters run deep, which means that although things may look calm on the outside, there may be a lot going on under the surface. When we’re dealing with others it’s important to remember we never know the whole story.

If we have someone in our lives who is moody, or unpredictable, we may try to avoid them until we must talk to them because it’s uncomfortable to deal with them. If they talk to us we might try to keep things light and superficial. We don’t know why they are the way they are, and that should be a clue for us. Perhaps it would be wiser instead of ignoring them, to seek them out just to say hello and let them know we’re thinking of them. If they are struggling privately, a few words of support and encouragement, or a kind word that shows we care can mean a lot. If we take a moment to remind them we are there and value our relationship with them, it can lift them in ways we can’t imagine. They may not tell us what they’re going through, but knowing we’re there may help them get through it more easily.

If we are struggling with a private sorrow, or a difficult challenge, and don’t want to share it with those around us, we may keep it to ourselves. But the stress of holding onto something painful may intensify our interactions because we are distracted and worried. We don’t have to share anything we don’t want to, but when we don’t share we have to carry the burden all by ourselves. Sharing the load always makes it lighter, and if we can open up to someone we trust and let them help us we’ll feel better.  And talking about it may help us find solutions that have eluded us. We can be private but if we let someone in, and listen to their advice and counsel, we may more easily find our way. Sharing our troubles often takes us a long way down the road to resolution. We may find the answers more quickly and if we do, it’s worth the effort every time.

Today if you’re struggling with a private matter think about seeking advice from someone you trust. If you share your dilemma with them things may go more easily.  If someone near you is edgy, offer a word of encouragement and let them know you care.  We’re all looking for answers of some sort.  Reach out and offer a little comfort, and let others comfort you.  They’ll feel better, and you will too.