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Knowing

8 Jan

As we go through all the many experiences in our lives, we sometimes come across situations that confuse us.  Maybe we aren’t sure exactly what’s going on, or something someone says doesn’t agree with what they’re doing.  Because most of the experiences we have involve other people, and they can do anything they like even if it doesn’t make sense, it’s sometimes hard to understand situations.  Some people may pretend that things are different than they really are and try to convince us that everything is one way when in fact it’s the complete opposite.  Some people may even lie to us, and manipulate us into believing things that aren’t true.  When we’re unsure because things aren’t making sense, when we can’t believe something is happening but all the evidence points in that direction, we can feel lost.  We don’t know which way to turn.  We don’t know what to do.

When we’re confused about a situation, it’s helpful to take a step back away from it and see it more objectively.  We can more easily discern truth if our emotions aren’t involved.  When we’re tangled up and enmeshed in a situation, we may be too close to see the whole story.  If we step back just a little our vision will clear, and we may see things we couldn’t before.  People are complicated and make all kinds of decisions – both good and bad.  Their reasons are their own, and if the reason is selfish, it can hurt others.  Sometimes they don’t care if they hurt others and will continue even after they see the pain they’re causing.  And sometimes the pain is just a byproduct of what they’re trying to do.  Either way, if we’re in their crosshairs and are getting hurt, we can find out why.  We can step back and see things clearly, and then we can make the best decision going forward.

There are times when what we think is happening can be an illusion created by a situation or those involved in it.  It’s possible to be manipulated into believing things are very different than they really are.  Perhaps someone wants something from us and knows we will never give it to them unless we believe it’s for someone else so they manufacture a situation that gives that impression.  Or maybe someone wants us to do something they know we won’t agree to and make the request appear to be something entirely different.  If these things happen we can get caught going down a path we never intended to travel.  There really is no limit to what others can do or say to us.  But we can figure out the truth if we step back when we feel something isn’t right.  We can trust our instincts to know what is real, and when we’re ready, we can uncover the truth.  We will know what to do.  We have everything we need to discern the right path, and then go forward.  We can correct our course at any time, and turn back to the right direction to find peace and happiness.

Today if you feel something isn’t quite right in a situation involving you, and if you’re unsure, step back a little and see it more objectively.  Pretend you’re not involved and see everything clearly.  You’ll find the truth and you’ll know what to do.  You are insightful and wise.  You have everything you need to go forward with confidence.

Magic Words

28 Oct

As times change, societies evolve in different ways and people change the way they receive information and react to others.  Throughout the course of history different accepted models for behavior have changed as well, and our ideas about manners and the rules of engagement have shifted along with them.  During the Victorian Era, the rules for behavior were very formal and the level of etiquette for everyone was quite high.  Our society has changed dramatically since those times, but manners are still important and there is nothing more impressive than appropriate, polite interaction.  Just remembering to say “thank you” when someone does something for us is a way to show our appreciation and acceptance.  But sometimes in the busy lives we lead, and all the distractions we face, we may neglect to speak up and instead just push forward.  There really is no substitute for showing our appreciation and taking time to be polite and considerate in our dealings.  It generally makes our interactions more positive and can smooth over any rough edges.

Many people don’t seem to value politeness in this day and age.  There is a great focus on getting things done, moving fast, and doing what is important to us.  Sadly, there is no shortage of selfishness or callousness.  But a competitive spirit and the desire to accomplish much should never keep us from being kind and considerate to those around us.  Just saying “thank you” when someone hands us something and “you’re welcome” when we are thanked goes a long way in showing people we care.  Caring for one another let’s others know we are aware of them.  If we extend ourselves just a little by being polite and sharing ourselves as we go through our days, we can be a positive influence, and the world always needs more of that.

If we choose to, we can get what we want, and do everything we need to without considering anyone else but ourselves.  We can make our plans alone, and keep our eyes down as we walk along.  We don’t have to engage others if we don’t want to, and may remain silent when someone opens a door for us, or look the other way when someone says hello. We can keep to ourselves and be as isolated as we like.  But that will never bring us the joy and growth that being open to those around us can bring.  If we take a moment to say “thank you” when someone does something small for us, it opens a door, and we’ll feel more connected and closer to them as we pass.  Being polite and gracious means being there, in the moment, and acknowledging others.  It’s said that “please” and “thank you” are magic words, and they are.  When we say them, they open doors every time.

Today if you’ve been keeping a low profile, preferring to remain silent and isolated, think about looking up and engaging those around you.  Say “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome”.  You are a great influence and everyone wants to know you.  Be gracious, be polite, and let your actions welcome them in.

Chameleon

11 Aug

We are all influenced by those around us. Sometimes we can be easily influenced by those we really like or admire. If we’re around someone frequently, we may find ourselves repeating certain phrases they often say, or copying their movements, which is a natural response to our involvement with them, and their influence over us. There is nothing wrong with this, so long as the carryover doesn’t keep us from being who we really are, or who we want to be. But there are times, when this influence can affect us negatively. There are all kinds of people in the world, and they will all teach us something. We can be like chameleons, absorbing the colors, the words and patterns around us, and making them our own.

If we have a friend or acquaintance that we admire, someone we enjoy spending time with, and their language patterns are different than ours, we may find over time that we begin mimicking the same patterns. If these are patterns that are derogatory such as excessive swearing or using expletives that are abrasive, we may find the addition to them in our vocabulary works against us. Human beings are adaptable by nature. If we hear something enough, it’s predictable that we’ll repeat it. If we repeat it enough, it may become routine in our everyday speech. If that change is lower than our desired standards, we may find it detrimental.

The same is true if we associate with someone who is extraordinarily kind, and uses words of compassion, and patience toward others. When we hear their tender phrases, we are impressed, and may choose to adopt those phrases into our lives. If we do, we may become more compassionate and patient by our association with them. It’s wonderful to meet people who are able to raise others up by their noble influence. If we have someone like that in our sphere it’s a benefit to learn as much as possible from them, and emulate their words and deeds. If we surround ourselves with people like that, we will be richly blessed.

Today, remember that the people you associate with are teaching you. Pay attention to what you’re hearing, and what you’re learning from them. Choose to spend time with those who will lead you to be the best you can be. We can learn nobility and valiance by emulating those who possess those traits. Today, find those friends, and learn all you can from them. You have so much to offer, and gaining good gifts will help you share more effectively.

One of a Kind

10 Jun

There are about 10,000 species of birds on our planet, and over 2500 different types of butterflies. There are millions of different animals, and countless varieties of insects, and bugs. The variety in the wildlife kingdom is astounding. It’s amazing to think of the vast array of living things that inhabit our planet. Even the ordinary dog encompasses hundreds of different breeds. And they are all unique – every one of them.

This earth is an amazing place. If we traveled to every location on the planet we would see unique, and interesting animals at each stop. They come in every color imaginable, in every shape, and in every design we could possibly dream up. There are so many different kinds of creatures, there are limitless designs, and each one is unique unto itself. It’s amazing really. But that’s not the most impressive thing about living here on earth. The most impressive part is that there are over seven BILLION people here with us. They come is all colors as well, each fascinating in his or her own way, each perfectly unique, and one of a kind. Billions of us. And, just like the other creatures inhabiting our planet, there is nothing common or ordinary about us. Not one single person is exactly like the other. No matter where we go, we will never find anyone else exactly like us.

All of these differences are a great blessing to us. Imagine what it would be like if all the animals were the same. Only one kind of mammal, one kind of bird, one kind of butterfly, and so on. And then imagine we were all the same. We all looked exactly alike, our personalities were the same, and everything about us mirrored the person beside us. It would be so boring! I’ve heard people say, “If everyone would just do things my way, it would be so much easier.” And it might be. Although our differences can sometimes bring us disagreement, and conflict, those differences are sacred. They make us who we are. They give life depth, and meaning. There are so many varieties of people, how we look, how we speak, how we dress, and how we act. And all those varieties make all the difference.

Today, no matter where you live, as you walk or ride from place to place, look around. Look at whatever animals are around, and notice their uniqueness. Then look around at all the people, and see how amazingly different they are. Feel the pleasure that comes as you notice their individuality. And remember that you are amazing, and unique to others. You are perfectly filling the space you were created for. You are special. The world is different because you are here. There is nobody else like you. You’re exactly as you should be. You are one of a kind. And that’s a perfect design.

Three Seconds

7 Jun

Think about the immense nature of time. When we think of how long the universe has been in existence, how long the earth has been here, and we ponder eternity, it’s hard to grasp. Eternity – a concept where time always was, and always will be. Forever both ways is difficult to understand. We have finite minds, and things with beginnings and endings make sense to us. Thinking about things that continue forever is almost impossible to comprehend. And if we ponder time overall, we understand how enormous it is. When we compare that to our lives, we realize that the period of time we spend on earth is really but a moment. Even if our lives are long, they are but a snapshot when compared to the everlasting nature of time itself.

Think of our time here as three seconds. We have three seconds to live this life, make all our decisions, and try to learn as much as we can. Three seconds. It goes by fast. It goes by faster when we’re busy, and we’re all busy. But even as it races by, we have the chance to make an impact. We can change the world in small ways. But we can only do that if we pay attention, and don’t put things off.

Small choices every day have the potential to create big changes. If we want to create those changes, we must be aware of who we are, and learn to share what we can with those around us. If we take the time to notice others, and do our part to impact their lives for good, we can initiate great change. We can move mountains. We are all connected in more ways than we realize. We are all here together.

One way to effect change is to be kind. Kindness has incredible power to make the world better. Lives can be changed through small acts of kindness. Extending the hand of friendship to someone who is lonely, listening to someone who is suffering, helping someone who is lost find their way – all can change the world for good. Just saying hello to someone as you pass them has the ability to lift spirits. We don’t have to win a Nobel prize, we don’t have to climb Mt. Everest, and we don’t have to invent something that revolutionizes the world. If we’re just kind every day to those around us, we can have an enormous impact for good. Others will notice, and some will follow our example. Then, some of those they touch will do the same, and the impact of one small act of kindness will create an expansive ripple effect for good.

We don’t all have big lives. We aren’t all rulers, kings, and leaders. But we all have the ability to change the world. We have three seconds. Use them to be kind. Use them to be caring. Today, use them for good. Make an impact. You have the power to change the world. Use that power today.