Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope
November 28, 2011
Inspiration is an extraordinary feeling, whether it comes from a book that changes our perspective, from a person who lifts our spirits, or from simply being out in nature. The impact of a sudden inspiration can change your entire day.
Whenever someone talks and hits the nail right on the head about a particular subject, a parts of my head and heart feel like they explode simultaneously. Positive inspiration brings me great joy.
But when the bottom falls out and I’m personally lacking in inspiration, or I feel that my spirits are flagging, I turn to my bookshelf. Sometimes a particular book catches my eye, and I pay close attention to which section or shelf I feel drawn to. This is also true in bookstores, as well. At times, books have seemed to jump off the table or shelf in Barnes and Noble or at the East West Bookstore here in Seattle.
Sometimes I even create an inspiration field trip of several hours, where I go to the bookstore and wander around until I feel drawn to a particular book or section of the bookstore. There I wait to see which book “speaks” to me. I pick that book up and open it to discover what surprises of inspiration lay in store for me. I have always found these inspirational field trips fun and fascinating. I absolutely love that special pull towards a new book. Reading for an hour or so is just a delight and a welcome break in my workday.
Where do you find inspiration in your daily life? A book? A place? A person? An activity? A slice of delicious cake perhaps?
November 23, 2011
It is said by the masters that even a little poison can cause death, and even a tiny seed can become a huge tree.
And as Buddha said: “Do not overlook negative actions merely because they are small; however small a spark may be, it can burn down a haystack as big as a mountain.”
Similarly he said: “Do not overlook tiny good actions, thinking they are of no benefit even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.”
November 21, 2011
I wondered in this hectic time of The Holidays if a blog on PEACE would be helpful for my readers. I would also be really interested in your point of view on the subject of PEACE as well, so feel free to comment.
The concept of peace has been debated, fought over and meditated on all around the world for centuries. In fact, if you were to ask me right now what I most longed for, I would answer without hesitation: peace. I would suspect that my relentless pursuit of perfection has something to do with why I don’t feel peaceful a lot of the time. But I really think there is much more to a lack of peace than just a self-sabotaging pursuit of perfection. So why is peace so difficult for most of us to achieve, on a moment-to-moment basis?
Our world has become increasingly complex. Information in the world now is doubling, estimated right now at the rate of doubling every two to three years years. And it is speeding up. Estimates now place that rate of information doubling soon to be every one year. Just the fact that all this information is at our fingertips, through our computers and phones at any time, day or night, and our access is only limited to how fast we can type, it’s no wonder we are stressed out.
In a political sense, peace is complex. The American rock guitarist, composer and singer Jimi Hendrix said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” The Indian philosopher Mahatma Ghandi, well-known and respected for his doctrine of non-violent protest suggested, “Each one has to find peace from within. And peace, to be real, must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” Sometimes I find it hard to love and at times, outside circumstances really get to me. Then my peace within is totally shot.
So where is peace hidden in all of this chaos and politics?
One of my favorite poets, Rumi, described peace in this way, “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Many times I have wished that the people of this world could just figure out how to meet in that field Rumi speaks of. Perhaps if we did, together we could all find peace and just get along. In the meantime, I’m working on trying to find that non-violent, peaceful field, right here in my own mind and heart.
Where do you find peace in your life?
November 10, 2011
OK. I’ll admit it. I hate The Holidays. And from what I can tell from talking to people recently, I am not alone. Go ahead and admit it. You’re starting to get that sinking feeling again. The Holidays Are Coming…..
So, here are my
Twelve Tips for People Who Hate The Holidays:
1. No one really enjoys The Office Holiday Party. We work with these people every day. Now I have to do it on my own time? I wish The Boss would scrap the Office Holiday Party and just give me the five hours as paid time off so I could have my own party. Hey. Even a token gift card from The Boss instead of a party would work for me.
2. What is the actual limit on the number of times you can “re-gift’ those absolutely awful, totally useless, “this (whatever) is SO Not Me!” presents? And along the same lines, what is the official response when my “re-gifted” item is “gifted” back to me? Does anybody know?
3. In fact, This Holiday Season, don’t give gifts. Don’t shop. Don’t do Anything for Anyone. Take all the pressure off. Give yourself the gift of Freedom From Care this Holiday Season. You just took yourself right off the “Holiday Consumer Treadmill.” What a concept huh? Funny thing too: It might surprise you how bright, and dare I say “cheerful?”, all those holiday lights might start looking.
4. When you are sitting in the airport waiting for your delayed flight or stuck in a traffic jam en-route to visit family for The Holidays, you always wish you had – just – stayed – home. How about you just – stay – home this year?
5. When you are sitting at The Holiday table listening to “Aunt Jo” tell the same story for the five hundredth time, you might consider screaming, “OH! Put a sock in it!” as you imagine stuffing a turkey drumstick or a Christmas stocking down her throat. Instead, offer her another seriously spiked egg nog. Maybe she’ll just pass out and finally stop talking after all these years.
6. Do I reeeeally have to play “Secret Santa” again this year? Reeeeally?
7. Statistics show that “the average person gains five pounds over The Holidays and never ever loses them.” What if we just skipped all the food and special treats this year, gave the money to charity that we would have spent on all that un healthy food and then went to a fun movie and ate popcorn instead? OK. So some people think even popcorn is unhealthy. But c’mon people, at a movie, popcorn is a must and we can even overlook the “add extra butter” calories too. It’s The Holidays after all!
8. No one really enjoys visiting The Family over The Holidays. Especially if you have to eat four turkeys at four separate houses with four separate families a la “The Four Christmas’s.”
9. Avoid The Holiday Music. Everywhere. It’s seriously contributing to The Collective Holiday Hypnosis which suggests we must go out and buy more stuff, get into tedious conversations with people we really don’t care about, be cheery at all times and hum along with The Holiday Music with a smile on our faces, no matter how we may really feel at any given moment. Wagner’s “Ride Of The Valkyries” would be a more appropriate musical choice for surviving The Holidays. (go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V92OBNsQgxU to get my drift here)
10. Remember humor can be used as a weapon especially when alcohol enters The Holidays. Someone always gets drunk and offends someone else. And that someone else usually leaves The Holiday gathering hurt or in tears. Don’t let this happen to you! Put on and wear your Emotional Body Armor at all times. This Holiday Season when someone hits you with an alcohol induced jab or you see that ol familiar poisoned verbal dart coming your way from that obnoxious relative, you can just let it blow on by. With your Emotional Body Armor on and humming “Ride of The Valkyries” you will emerge victorious instead of your usual emotionally bruised and physically battered post Holiday Season Self.
11. And by the way, feel free to ban whomever you want from your own home during The Holidays. It’s your right.
12. During The Holidays, always do your best to smirk to yourself in private. Just think of all the awful things you reeeeally could say at any given moment during The Holidays, but so thoughtfully keep to yourself. That’s right. You deserve a medal.
So feel free to share your own personal favorite “Nightmare Before Christmas” here as a comment. We all know that The Truth is stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to The Holidays. And you really would be doing us all a favor by sharing because we’ll all feel a heck of a lot better if you air out just a little bit of your Bah Humbug before The Holiday Season officially starts this year. So go on. Let er rip!
And for those of you who truly LOVE The Holidays, what’s your secret? Inquiring minds wanna know!